My Riverbend Mental Health Center Acceptance Speech

Editor’s note: This speech was delivered last fall by Ken Braiterman, my adopted dad and advocacy mentor. More of his writing can be found at KenBraiterman.com, and at MadinAmerica.com

When I found out I was getting a lifetime achievement award from the Riverbend Community Mental Health Center, I laughed out loud. I’ve been working since 1995 to close it down, or change its treatment mode from meds first to meds as a last resort when alternatives fail. I thought of rejecting the award, but that would be a small spiteful gesture.

Then I realized that the award made me feel

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A Spiritual Awakening Around Passover

Passover begins at sundown, Monday, March 25, 2013.

Lissa Tanenbaum The Passover Seder

With the possible exception of Sabbath once a week, Passover (Pesach) one week a year has the most my has the most spiritual resonance, and has always been my favorite Jewish holiday. It celebrated the freeing of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt, as told in the Book of Exodus, and also the beginning of Spring, a second form of redemption.

It starts with a traditional ceremony and meal, called a Seder. at sundown March 25 this year. Jews who live outside Israel, in the

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Writing Rules andTips for Our Bloggers

Millions of native English speakers think they can’t write. Yet they generate thousands of clear, original sentences every day in conversations and e-mail. So why do so many clear, intelligent thinkers panic, and become illiterate, when asked to write their thoughts down?

Modern word processopr

Most were simply taught wrong, told to follow writing rules that are not even writing rules because they have nothing to do with clear, When they broke writing rules, the teacher scribbled all over their ideas in red ink, and deducted points from their grade. When the poor kid grows up, and has to

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A Tale of Two Spiritual Emergencies

This is an article you all may find of use on spiritual emergencies. http://www.spiritualcompetency.com/jhpseart.html The high points are a list of types of spiritual emergencies, like loss of faith, loss of a teacher, need for growth, mystical experiences, etc. the difference between psychoss and spritual emergencies: being coherent and willing to talk about the experience, sudden onset, and stressors beforehand the difference between regular spiritual growth and spiritual emergencies – the second interferes with daily functionin

Corinna West and I have each gone through different kinds of spiritual emergencies this past fall and winter. Corinna called hers a spiritual emergency

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Accepting Fate Is Good Unless It’s Really Giving Up

I have Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). It has no treatment, cure, known cause, or hope. Accepting fate is the key to my serenity. good attitude, and great quality of life. I live one day at a time to the fullest, still write, and work with Wellness Wordworks and my faith community. I have wonderful friends and supporters, and I’m just fine with accepting fate.

For me, accepting fate is choosing life in accordance with God’s command, not giving up. Accepting fate, staying active, positive,and productive, not boo-hooing over it, is the key to my good attitude,

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My Experience of the Three Phases of Internal Stigma Reduction

By Ken Braiterman, Wellness Wordworks Board Chair

I came out to my family and trusted friends right away, when I was diagnosed in 1977, not with people who only knew me a short time, or at work. I didn’t want them to think about my mental health history if I got angry, tired, or frustrated like everybody else.

What I told myself determined what I told other people. That evolved in stages.

I thought in 1977 that I had a chemical imbalance in the brain, a no-fault disease controllable with medication. That was a new idea then. If enough people

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Why I Stay Home on New Year’s Eve

It’s a good idea for people who deal with emotional distress to be extra careful with alcohol, tranquilizers, and amphetamines, whether they take psychiatric medication or not. Roughly half the people with mental health diagnoses have co-occurring substance addiction. It can make a temporary, transformative problem much harder to get through, because you must also deal with the addiction.

The pros and cons of psychiatric labels and medication are not the subject of this blog.

The assumption in psychiatry has always been that people “self-medicate” their moods with addictive alcohol or unprescribed drugs before they seek psychiatric help. In sickness

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What Fear of ALS Taught Me about Serenity and Emotional Distress

Dec. 5. 2012

Since Sept 28, 2012, I’ve been living with the possibility that I might have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, usually called ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. I don’t think I do, but ALS was my biggest fear long before any doctor said I might have it. I think I have pinched nerves, which are treatable, but docs always eliminate the worst possibility first, and they haven’t eliminated ALS yet.

I’m in the third month of waiting for them to confirm or eliminate ALS. For two months, I was immobilized by fear of ALS. I’m over the worst

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Dissed Fan Teaches NFL Team: Don’t Diss Fans on Twitter

Editor’s Note” This incident between a dissed fan amd the K.C. Chiefs on Twitter has gone viral on the Internet. Don’t be nasty or sarcastic on social media;

 

Dissed Fan Travis Wright Gets Revenge

An executive with the Kansas City Chiefs professional football team decided to diss, in a sarcastic, dismissive way, a lifelong Chiefs fan. He sent a Twitter message to a disgruntled fan who had vented about the team’s ownership on Twitter.

It all started on Monday, when decades-long Chiefs supporter Travis Wright (pictured at right), who uses the Twitter handle @teedubya, was texting with a

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Are Bipolar and Creativity Caused or Linked by Our Genes? Part 2 of 2

Is a gnetic cause of bipolar and creativity hidden along these chromosomes somewhere

Is a gnetic cause of bipolar and creativityin these chromosomes?

I used to think – only half seriously — that there was a genetic link between bipolar and creativity. One element of the theory made my friends with biology training laugh out loud.

My idea was that so many people with bipolar are also very creative, and bipolar is a genetic disease. So creativity must be nature’s way of helping some people with the bipolar gene live long enough to reproduce. “Live long enough to reproduce” is what made biologists laugh, an essential principle in biology absurdly applied.

I

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Why We Insist on Documenting Medication Claims and Opinions

The one thing we know for sure about psych meds is that nobody knows anything for sure about psych meds. Everyone reacts differently to every difference drug, and most of what people say is based on their own experience, good or bad, or their personal ideology. Scientific experts and studies disagree as much as advocates and lay people do. That’s why this website requires documenting medication claims and opinions.

Citing authority won’t resolve any conflicts, but documenting medication claims will at least show that the blogger did some research, bases his opinion on something, is not shooting from

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Audit Requested of California’s Mental Health Recovery Services, and Special Tax That Pays for Them

In 2004, California voters initiated and passed a new far-reaching Mental Health Services Act (called Proposition 63 in Calfornia) to upgrade its obsolete, notoriously underfunded mental health system. Since it was enacted, MHSA has raised more than $8 billion for mental health services, Valley Public Radio reported Aug, 9, 2012.

The services are paid for by existing mental health funds, plus a “Robin Hood tax.” People who make more than $1 million per year pay one percent of their income, earmarked for “recovery services” for folks with mental health labels.

Now, a Republican lawmaker is calling for an audit of

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Elvia Knoll and Ken Braiterman: Two Workaholics Discuss Workaholism

Workaholism is unsustainable, the authors agree

I haven’t figured out how to be an advocate, and do this work, without burning out every few months. In a very good article by Ken Braiterman about strength-based recovery and peer support, he mentioned his workaholism.

What hit a chord for me was when he said that, earlier in his life, “my life was my work, and my work was my job.”

I am like that. Everything runs together like a big clump of things that intertwine. I don’t have a good work schedule sometimes, and then i feel like

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Today’s Personalized Internet Looks Back at You When You Look

Your personalized internet remembers and analyzes every move you make

When you look at things on personalized Internet search engines, your own social media, your cell phone, and GPS navigation tool, they’re looking back at you, recording electronically all kinds of personal information about your likes, political beliefs, friends, phone contacts, where you are, and where you go, a new book says.

Mathematical formulas (algorithms) turn that personal information into an electronic profile of your likes, dislikes, habits, and beliefs, and those of your friends. They turn the information into money by creating a profile of you, and sending

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How to Work, Earn Money, and Keep Your Benefits Unchanged

Earn money and keep your benefits unchanged

If you are collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or living in subsidied housing, the law allows you to work part-time, earn some money, and keep your benefits unchanged.

Your Medicare continues for three years after you go off SSDI, to make the transition to full-time employment a little smoother. You can take a job that does not include health insurance right away.

And SSDI lets you earn $1,010 per month, and leave your benefit unchanged. That number changes a little every year according to the cost of living. It can be

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