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
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 claims
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
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
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 or reinforce it, depending on
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.
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
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
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 before I
(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.