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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UPDATE: Why So Many People Are Ignorant About Psych Meds They Take

Editor’s note This blog ,by Diane Engster, was first posted August 18, 2012, without documentation. As editor, I take full responsibility for the oversight, which several readers called to our attention. We are updating the blog now, with documentation.

Whenever possible, WellnessWordworks.com embeds our documentation as links in the in the text, not a list of references at the end. This enables the reader to click on the link, and look at the reference, without leaving the original page of the blog entry. In this video, Wellness Wordworks founder and creative director Corinna West discusses the importance of documenting all

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Talking Back to The Language Police

Language police control ideas as well as words

Recently, I got “beat up” by the language police in a bloody Facebook fight. I was charged with:

1. Using the term “SMI” to refer to the “Seriously Mentally Ill” population.

2. Asserting that conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were “organic brain disorders,” different than situational issues such as trauma-based depression or stress-related anxiety.

The “language police,” aware of my personal history with traumas from hospitalizations and misdiagnoses, blasted me for my “hypocrisy,” and “holier than thou” attitude. Many people shared stories of having been traumatized by narrow-minded or inaccurate

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By Shirazeh Tabibi – Forced Medication and Eating Disorders

 

The eating disorer “bulimia” is binge eating followe by forced purging

It could be my sister, niece, or best friend slowly trying to kill herself with an eating disorder It is a quiet, unintelligent cry for help/suicide attempt. But no treatment works unless the person with the eating disorder wants it to.

Trust me. I’ve had eating disorders..

When I was coming off of my first eating disorder (compulsive eating), and losing weight, everyone on earth said, “Wow! You’re really looking great!” Our society encourages eating disorders in a huge way. Even people who spent 24/7 with me

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By Faith Rhyne – Peer Support in Disease Model Agencies: A Compromise that Helps Many People, Part 1 of 2

Peers at a recovery conference in Kansas

I think it’s best if I begin by acknowledging that I have pro-Peer bias and conflicted feelings about my job doing Peer Support in a disease model agency. I believe most state-funded community mental health centers (CMHC’s) provide poor and harmful disease model care. People in those systems do not support recovery if they are complicit with harm, such as coercive or non-informed “treatment” with dangerous medications and the use of clinical language that supports stigma.

Peer Support in disease-based agencies can challenge the medical model

Continue reading By Faith Rhyne – Peer Support in Disease Model Agencies: A Compromise that Helps Many People, Part 1 of 2

Your Reaction to Post-Traumatic Feelings and Behavior Is Your Choice

Post-Traumatic Feelings

Lasting reactions to post-traumatic feelings, are natural, normal, and justified. But how those feelings about horrible events in the past affect your life in the present is your choice.

The reactions you choose to post-traumatic feelings can be the difference between emotional growth, a socially useful, personally satisfying life, or lifelong bitterness, and stagnation — being a permanent victim, or becoming a survivor.

It’s never too late to become a survivor (I did at 50), and nobody is too traumatized to make their post-traumatic feelings less crippling., even if they never completely go away.

I know people

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David Hilton, Part 2: Good Anger, Bad Rage

David Hilton Would Not Take Care of Himself

My Mentor Was A Giant in the Mental Health Empowerment Movement

Note: David Hilton, Part 1 looks at David Hilton’s contributions to the mental health empowerment movement, and being my mentor and partner in New Hampshire.

http://wellnesswordworks.com/david-hilton-part-1-activism-friendship-anger/

David Hilton

When facts and experience contradict an ideology, rational people question their ideology. Ideologues deny the facts and cling to their ideology.

My best friend, colleague, and mentor in the mental health recovery and empowerment movement, David Hilton (1953-2003), repeatedly ignored his own experience, and followed his anti-medication ideology to repeated episodes of

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David Hilton, Part 1: Activism, Friendship, Anger

David Hilton Changed the World His Anger Killed Him

David Hilton Photo in David Hilton Memorial Conference Room, NH Bureau of Behavioral Health

Anger alone is a self-defeating, unsustainable motive for a lifelong commitment to social change.

This is how David Hilton (1953-2003) inspired me to change the system, and how I learned to combine his inspiration with my own personal qualities to sustain a lifetime of activism.

Plaque in David Hilton Conference Room

When I met my friend David Hilton in 1997, New Hampshire had the best mental health system in the country.

The bureaucracy wanted to

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Paul Cumming – Building mental health solutions is our best approach

I suggest stop wasting valuable time and energy talking about meds. We’ve known since the meds came out that they had problems. The side effects are listed, although maybe not shared complete honestly. The lower efficacy was well known from the release of each medication, although maybe not shared completely honestly. Rather positive energy can be used to create, and/or promote mental health solutions. We need programs and treatments that consumers can choose to utilize. With no choices there is nothing to choose!

Look at Mary Ellen Copeland, she created a program, packaged it for sustained growth and in due

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How I Manage Severe Traumatic Distress

Traumatic distress has many faces

Naming the Trigger Shortens Traumatic Distress Episodes

Someone once asked what I find helpful when someone triggers severe traumatic distress — my post-traumatic feelings and behavior. “Your ideas might help someone else who got triggered today,” she said.

What helps me get through these tough times I learned from experience. An essential element of dealing with traumatic distress is finding what helps YOU. It’s different for each person.

When Traumatic Distress Feelings and Behavior Are Triggered

The ideal trigger plan would enable me to stop the cascade of traumatic distress feelings and behavior

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How Distress Language Cured Corinna West’s “Psychosis”

By Ken Braiterman

(NOTE: Corinna West gave me permission to write and post this story using her name. She read, reviewed, and made suggestions prior to publication.)

Corinna West and Ken Braiterman: We Taught Each Other to Use Distress Language

One night in 2008, Corinna West called and said she was “psychotic.” She was afraid she’d be fired, go to the hospital, and lose all the ground she’d gained. She had lost sleep and was hallucinating, she said. When the “symptoms” started, she got scared, and called me for support.

Disease vs. Distress Language

In those days, Corinna

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