Arjuna Nagendran


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What experiences have made you more comfortable with mental health disorders?

What things make you fearful of mental health disorders? And what experiences have made you more comfortable with it?

In the quest to dispell stigma, how can we help our society grow out of its fear?

  • Oct 28 2012: As a child I lived in a little town in Colombia, called Sibaté. Since there isn´t a good public health care sistem in Colombia, every case of mental illness in the main city was taken to little Sibaté, because in this town a team of nuns had founded a mental health care institution for poor people. On Weekends the nuns would let the mentally ill people that were not aggresive go out and visit the town. So we (children) became used to sit in the park on Sundays and have these weird conversations with people that had wild fantasies or could answer the craziest questions in the world. I think I learned a lot from those persons. I came to think that we all live not very far from this frontier and that it is o.k. so. And that people that have accepted their mental illness are sometimes much more easy going than people that try desperately to be seen as "normal".
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    Oct 14 2012: Realizing that we are all the same- seems so simple. My father was schizophrenic and growing up around that and seeing when he was unmedicated how people would dismiss him- how it ended up that I had to move away to be able to function myself. For a while I was in denial, but ultimately that with other struggles helped me see that everyone- even people that make me very uncomfortable- are a part of this world the same way I am, they are the same as me- no better no worse. I make eye contact, I listen, I share- with people no matter who they are or if they seem to make sense or not. Seeing yourself in them no matter how different you *think* you are- then everything is less "weird" "bad" or "wrong" and more just a different shade.
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      Oct 20 2012: Thanks for the honesty Skye. I completely agree; the idea that all of us are just as much of this world is a powerful one. Being deprived of having your existence acknowledged is probably one of the most hurtful things you can do to someone.
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    Nov 9 2012: What refreshing perspectives are represented in these posts. I couldn't agree more, that 'labels' are more destructive than beneficial. And who are the labels beneficial for? The doctors, the system of so-called mental health professionals and society to put these folks in a box. Meanwhile 'these' so-called sane folks use lobotomies, shock treatments and chemical castrations of all kinds to 'render' these misfits 'controllable'.

    Read R. D. Laing's seminal work, The politics of experience to better understand the depths of absurdity of what we call 'NORMAL' , the misplaced basis of much of our mental health.

    I would suggest that as much damage as labels do to the labeled, they do far more damage to the Doctors and society, as their ability to 'see' clearly is shrouded in a deep fog of ignorance, profits and quick fixes. How many savants have we destroyed in our system of boxes and labels? How many doctors have trouble sleeping as they remember the pain and suffering of their 'lobotomies and chemical castrations'? Who are the victims and who are the perpetrators? How far as our 'science' of psychiatry come since the days of Germany during world war 2?

    I applaud the ladies here who question the broken system of labels. Let me add my name to the list who agree with that conclusion.

    Human behavior and consciousness isn't deterministic. We all have free will, and where there is a will, there is a way.
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      • Nov 11 2012: Yes. I like that you like being you. Skip the label and just be. If nothing else it is interesting.
    • Nov 11 2012: I would like state I agree with craig that we shouldn't label people. Though that doesn't mean we should stop psychiatric treatment for people. I fully understand what it's like to have a mental and be judged for it, and understand the need for mental health though my experience. To start off use of shock-treatment has been strictly forbidden in all mental institutions second I know a lot of people with in the mental health fields none of them seen, or condoned lobotomies. If you're make claims please put in current facts about the Issue's.
    • Nov 11 2012: I do in fact have adhd, which I must take medicine for due to the fact that I'm considerable less able to function in my life. I can honestly say I don't like taking meds and prefer I didn't means to control the disorder, and I did in fact stop takes the meds for quite a some months. This unfortunately had serious negative effect's Adhd is basically Attention Deficit Disorder meaning I lack focus. This doesn't mean all adhd is the same and shouldn't be classfied as such. For instance my flaw is that I get exceedingly so one track focused that my mind goes into a trance and my brain moves on autopilot which causes me to lose the essential sense of my surroundings. Unlike my brother who can not focus on any tasks not even playing games outside. Unless it it involves watching TV or which I recently found out just Watching and listening to my ipod. Then he was able to maintain complete focus for awhile.

      I digress my flaw inevitable caused me serious short term memory loss, at such levels that could be confused with having dementia. In my last month of not taking medicine I lost my Key's, My boyfriend's Key, Spare Keys, Id, Shoes, notes, as well as forgetting to complete certain essential tasks.
      Which oddly combined with special K cereal, caused me to lose a good appetite and I ended up starving myself of essential Nutrients. Now my boyfriend has banned me Special K and all other diet food seeing how it turned me into a zombie. Again I disgress. Point being is that I have flaws on which I need to take medicine for.
    • Nov 11 2012: Though I don't believe people make accurate claims when they say they have adhd. One because everyone tends to daydream or lose focus once in awhile, this isn't adhd nor should people claim it as such. If that were the case anyone who has ever being caught up reading a book they found interesting has ADHD. adhd Implies that constantly daydreaming or constant racing mind causes a person to detrimentally forget things because they lack the ability to come out of that trace.

      The large claims of ADHD has positives and negatives one people are more excepting of the disability. Second is that people with ADHD are believed to be incapable of simple task of need of constant help. I often deal with such belief's and prove to people that I am in fact capable. People worry that I'll will burn down my appartment because I will forget to turn off the gas or that I would die in a car accident because I would be lose train of thought.
      I would comment more on this But really tired.
  • Nov 8 2012: I grew up about half a mile from a large mental hospital. Seeing patients was part of everyday community life. It never dawned on me that I would deal with mental health personally. I came by bipolar honestly, apparently and as I found out after I was diagnosed, it runs in the family. I have determined to roll with it. The creative energy of hypomania lets me be outgoing and social, the introspection of depression has given me a philosophical space. When the high or the low get too intense, I turn to my counsellor and my psychiatrist for a combination of talk and drugs to help moderate life. Personally, I have committed to making my condition as "normal" as I can. I would not be hesitant to acknowledge having diabetes or heart problems so I simply state that I am bipolar. Let people think what they will, if enough of us say it out loud maybe it will no longer carry the stigma. I am optimistic and there is nothing to lose. Truth is I am bipolar and inevitably it will out.
  • Oct 28 2012: The experience that made me become most comfortable with my own and other's people mental illness was one conversation I had with a neighbor, a veteran, that in a moment of clarity he said: "People say I am crazy and treat me like I do not know what I am doing. No one knows how hard and so much smarter I have to be in order to live independently with my condition". It was like finding a mirror. So liberating.

    Then we joked about how the majority of people and care providers that give us treatment have NO IDEA how is to be in our heads. They cannot imagine the same way I cannot imagine thinking "normal" without the days floating around me. For me that conversation gave me more acceptance and made me conscious that us, those who live with mental conditions, have some sort of a special culture unfamiliar to many. That gave me comfort.
    • Nov 8 2012: I love your experience and wonderful conclusions. You are so right about a different way of thinking. I flow in and out and occasionally visit that sort of normal space. Reading your comment made me feel more okay about the difference. Thank you.
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    Oct 14 2012: I've been working in Mental Health for several years as a counsellor.

    I got into that because I have a mental health problem myself (moderate to severe depression), which I figured would give me a good understanding of others with similar problems. It has made me very comfortable in the presence of those who also suffer - and as a kind of symbiosis of understanding, has made me more comfortable with myself in the process.

    There is much truth in Jung's statement that: "...the wounded healer refers psychologically to the capacity to be at home in the darkness of suffering and there to find germs of light and recovery..."

    I realise that in admitting this in open forum, I may be leaving myself open to those who stigmatise. But then stigma is profoundly weakened in the face of openness.
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      Oct 14 2012: i think i have a slight stigma .how can i get rid of it ?
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        Oct 14 2012: Do not hurry to grow to know and then to blow , just be as you are becouse knowledge and grow does not mean you are in the peak of humanity. Maybe later you will realise how beautiful childhood was or not, depends on how happy you was that time you were playing or learning so do not worry ... be happy. If you wanna be with us be but think that if feel unconfortable maybe you should come back later or be with those you feel well. I have made this application for this purpose. You can help, this is why China has 50000 people (the great Internet firewall) to protect people of harm from "outside" and is good and bad becouse protection should be graduated and let down as you grow up :) .
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        Oct 14 2012: Hi Xin - When do you notice the stigma? Is it exclusively related to people with mental disorders?
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          Oct 14 2012: sometimes i put my attention to one question .i think and think ,if i can not get through .i may have a head.and feel wrong with myself .
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    Oct 11 2012: I am grateful that there is no longer such a stigma that people are afraid to seek the help that could improve not only their quality of life but that of their families and loved ones.

    I think what has made mental health challenges more accepted is that so many more people openly share that aspect of themselves alongside everything else they are. When I was young, I never remember anyone talking about being bipolar, and now I know lots of people who are.

    Many people also realize at this point that some of the most creative people who have ever lived have had mood disorders.

    There is a wonderful book on creativity and mood disorders by Kay Jamison of Johns Hopkins Medical school, I think, called Touched with Fire.
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      Oct 11 2012: Re suffferers coming forward.. For what are likely multiple reasons (including stigma) 90% of those with schizophrenia are untreated in developing countries.

      Globally, we have a lot of work to do.
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        Oct 11 2012: I don't hear many people talk about being schizophrenic. It is mood disorders people seem to share a lot.
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          Oct 11 2012: Schizophrenia is common, affecting ~ 0.5-1% of us, depending on your exact qualifying criteria, but that's about 1 in 100, which I think is a lot!

          Even with respect to mood disorders, depression for example. the figure is still high - 50% do not get treatment globally - and one of the 3 big factors this is put down to is social stigma. (The others being lack of resources and lack of trained providers).
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        Oct 11 2012: I have a simple question .... can you say if I am schizophrenic or not if you talk to me like now and would you belive in your feelings or an entire school system represented by a psychiatric doctor. Will you be blind and obey to a doctor paper and sign or you will want to know and maybe help one such person.
        I can give you also a foto copy of my diagnostic and I will ask then? Do you belive in what you see or your self perception and feelings about a person. Is a choice to belive in yourself and to belive in an entire medical school. Chose one, I am already "out" - "of my mind" :) but more can come if you do not take care of people around you and ask yourself, who will lose and who will have a lot of income in the next years for the simple matter that we do not love each other and take care of us.
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          Oct 11 2012: Schooling in any subject can only provide a framework, useful for learning from the collective past.

          Experience is the only thing that will fill in the gaps for the individual, to allow them to handle the future in a way as tailored to an individual as possible.
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        Oct 14 2012: So from your point of view individuals have "gaps" and you play a role in a scene and make this kind of scenes untill you do not see the "gap" to the the individual and if do not love that individual you give him more of your "gaps" as to say becouse I am sure love has nothing related to knowledge and only freedom of love and without borders like your "gaps" (or haps or caps - how I should say ?) can make happy anyone on Earth and also your ancestors and future family (or generations ... i should say :) ) . Think about .....
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          Oct 14 2012: Perhaps I wasn't expressing myself well, I think you've misunderstood.

          When I refer to "gaps" I refer to the disparity between all collated knowledge from books, teaching and the unique case of each individual. To help someone holistically, the medical professional needs to combine their theoretical knowledge with experience from multiple previous patients, and then tailor treatment to the unique needs of the individual. Medication is not the only treatment, in psychiatry in particular a lot of emphasis is placed on the biopsychosocial model - and even this can be tailored to what is the particular way, at that particular time that will help that particular person best.
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        Oct 14 2012: I can make you a small poem for the "doctors" with bad intention.

        Can a hap with a cap ,
        cover an imaginary gap?,
        If you hurt and you are so alone
        And can not throw into anyone the bone?
        Maybe you should have someone
        And show how is to love and done.
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    Gail .

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    Oct 11 2012: .
    Brother and sister with schizophrenia
    Another brother and sister with bipolar
    Mother life-long clinically depressed
    Husband just diagnosed with dementia

    I don't know how comfortable I am with all of that (given the impositions in my life) but I certainly am used to it and find no shame in it.

    How to help erase the stigma: I'm not sure. I would prefer that we correct the deficiencies in our cultural norms so that at least some (if not most) of these diseases can be precluded. In the meantime, perhaps movies that present the mentally ill in a more favorable light, or characters seeking professional help and transforming their lives through acceptance of the illnesses. We hear about the most dangerous, but not about the non-dangerous.
  • Nov 9 2012: We assign such special status to the brain among all the organs. People who would not think twice about being diagnosed with a disorder of the lungs, kidneys or heart cannot accept the fact that the brain can be "broken" too. Likewise, there is medication which can help treat those maladies of the brain just as there is medication for thousands of other physical issues. When we can see that the brain is an organ like any other and, as such, subject to physical imperfections, we can start to de-stigmatize mental illness.
  • Nov 8 2012: I think unless you have been directly affected by mental illness in your life it is extremely difficult to even begin to understand a person, or feel comfortable with their mental health disorders. For me I have experienced mental illness (schizophrenia) in my family and have seen first hand how this illness can appear to drastically change a person. Also my partner of 4 years suffered with bi-polar and again the changes in his personality were dramatic. When he was on a high he could be the happiest person in the world but on a low it was virtually impossible to get two words from him, which initally is hard to reconcile. I think the thing you come to realise is the mental illness is just that an illness. In the end the person you know (or are if you suffer yourself) still exists their true nature remains unchanged even if to others or even yourself sometimes its difficult to see. Accepting this for me makes it much easier to understand and be comfortable around mental illness. Just as you would not blame a cancer sufferer or amputee for a bad day, its the same with mental illness.
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    Sarah M

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    Oct 30 2012: I worked in Mental Health for 5 years. I absolutely loved it and I loved the people I worked with. My clients lived in Licensed Boarding Houses and I provided recreation and leisure to my clients and took them out into the community.

    Only once in 5 years was one of my clients so unwell that I felt a threat. I can honestly say I got so much more out of my clients than they ever got out of me but I am sure they think that they were getting more out of me. They enriched my life with their Resilience, Humor, Stories and Outright Craziness. I have heard it all and will never be shocked again at anything anyone tells me as I have heard the most amazing, outrageous stuff.

    I use to get up for work every morning happy to be going to work and I still think of my clients often with a smile on my face.

    Yes Psychosis is scary I wasn’t dealing with people with Psychosis I was working with people out of hospital who were of varying ability who were trying to be part of society again.
    Always remember that perfectly sane people can commit the worst of crimes.
    Mental illness does not mean danger most of the time and sadly most of them are more intent on hurting themselves rather than others when unwell.
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    Oct 26 2012: I think that the media is to blame for the mass stereotyping of mental disorders and have made people very scared of these people. Thanks to shows like criminal minds, CSI, and other media mental illness is portrayed as crazy people who could snap in a minute and go on a mass killing spree. I am very comfortable with mental illness because I am a 4th year psychology student in university, so I learn about these disorders and am very aware of the horrible bias these people face everyday.
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    Oct 23 2012: My first wife was the victim of abuse. She had all the earmarks of what religion would have called demonic possession. A religious friend walked me through what could've been a nightmare until her death from an accident. This friend even foresaw her death and prepared me for it in advance.

    I recognized that my first wife had multiple personalities. I also recognized that the abuse she endured was probably the cause. For this, I gained much from the experience. My love for her overcame any fear that I might have felt.

    I had another friend that was hyperactive and had a lot of built in anger. He had been put on Ritalin as a child and often given additional doses to shut him down. He felt that his childhood had been robbed from him. He would talk tough and even violent that no one had better mess with him. I discovered that his demeanor was a survival ploy. I told him that his demeanor was sabotaging his ability to make friends that could help him out in life. Gradually he began to listen and realized that I was on his side. In time, he softened up, which helped him land a job and things improved for him.

    I have another friend who is also hyper. When I first met him, he couldn't stay focused on anything. He was considered a misfit by the community. My talking to him helped me to understand him, and as this went on, I was able to mentor him to a more responsible person. He just needed someone who was willing to listen (and not charge him $$$ for it).

    I read a book by Dr. Arthur Janov called "The New Primal Scream" that talked of how early childhood trauma can lead to mental disorders. Once the trauma is exposed, the disorders generally fade afterwards. For those who are not born with brain disorders, there is hope if your are willing to listen. I've learned not to judge one's behavior, but to listen for clues that underlie the behavior. I find that they recognize when someone shows that they care, and it brings about a change in their demeanor.
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    Oct 20 2012: I am compelled to add one more comment: Until relatively recently, homosexuality was officially considered a mental health disorder by our medical, governmental, and social establishments. Nothing could be further from the truth, as is now officially accepted by these same establishments that once punished and vainly tried to treat these "conditions". Fundamentalists notwithstanding.

    Seeing this happen within our own lifetimes makes me suspect that perhaps other "mental health disorders", maybe even many of them, are not actually disorders.

    I also have to add that we live in an insane society racking up huge debt and perched on the edge of nuclear destruction for 50+ years. It is hypocritical for society to call a person crazy because they have a mental health disorder, when our society itself is insane. It can't make a valid judgement about sanity, as the homosexuality issue has proven.
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    Oct 20 2012: It is a sad fact that self actualization and spiritual evolution grace many people only after experiencing some level of horrific experience - often involving life threatening issues. Steve Jobs commented on this in his awesome Stanford address, and there are some studies that suggest that accident victims may experience more life satisfaction than lottery winners. I almost feel like calling them accident winners and lottery victims though, given the five year outcome in terms of self actualization.

    When bad things happen to us, we have a tendency in our society to overly medicate ourselves and protect ourselves to the extent that, sure maybe the drugs allow us to continue moving through life being a good citizen, but I worry we will not gain the life lessons we need to learn from our own lives. How many of us reading this right now are on anti-depressant or mood altering drugs? This can result in mental illness. Some call this "soul loss", and they attempt to cure this condition through a soul recovery. That is an approach I am very interested in personally.

    Our pharmaceutical industry is paying our elected officials to ensure that they continue making huge profits by selling more and more drugs, which I think further exacerbates the issue and gives us a "prescription" for disaster.

    In some cultures, notably many indigenous cultures, the crazy people are the shamans giving the culture wisdom and healing. Interestingly, finding yourself called to being a Shaman is somewhat of a curse as well.

    There is an interesting movement called the "Mad Pride" movement - about legitimizing the spiritual process some of us feel called to go through as our life's learning process.

    With all of that said, I totally support using any healing modality possible to cure mental health disorders. My main point, is that it is the very full experience of life itself which has made me more comfortable with mental health disorders.
    • Nov 5 2012: Life is for living. Life is an adventure. If it were easy they would never call it adventure. I am, in my own belief, right where my deity wants me to be, because as I grow and develop through it I will be able to minister to and console and edify those who see me or may be going through a hard time. To build up another is a calling from God. To strengthen the weak and help the downtrodden...but how do we empathize with such if we never experience it for ourselves? I'm beginning to think of this life on earth as a boot-camp for a later existance.
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    Oct 20 2012: As a person with psych labels (note plural) I would like to add the following. Sometimes having an episode can make life really strange. Sometimes I have a lot of energy and other times I don't. Sometimes I seem to be able to engage with other people really well and other times I don't. I agree with Ruby Wax about the stigma. My life opportunities have been drastically affected - you may or may not see it as a blessing that I cannot get credit or life insurance. Sometimes I really wonder who is insane. People literally stop seeing you as having any potential once you have a pscyh. label. I also viewed Vikram Patel's talk and added my comments about the role of talking therapies like counselling. I do have neurological issues as well and there is a huge crossover in the two. The meds are not benign. Lithium is nasty, risperidone makes you produce breast milk now seems long-term use of some antidepressants may lead to early dementia. So I would advocate for a combination of talking therapy with meds to a minimum for severe episodes and a bit more love, support and understanding. Am a person not an animal. Used to be places for people like me in communities, creative people with ideas but less and less so in a world where you need cold hard cash to pay the bills. So grateful for community based care in the U.K,. and closure of the asylums. Think people are scared possibly because they may think 'well that's what I am like some of the time, am I insane ?' then others may project their own stuff (note tech term from psychology) on to someone else. Nurture, support and tolerance not blame, shame and isolate. Also note the lack of family support and friends for people on psych wards, gentleness helps when someone is having a psychotic break, ever consider a patient might actually be very frightened hence fight or flight. BTW Gullivers Travels written after a psych episode I understand and so many creative people. It's all about different ways of seeing.
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      Oct 20 2012: /
      Who couldn't use a little holistic therapeutic haven? Label me crazy but I like that idea. Do your best to shrug off the shame game. Everyone can afford more tolerance, support, gentleness. Some of us have more scary strangeness happening than others. Some of us engage with others better than others. When I'm not feeling able to engage with others I make sure I am my own best friend. I know what shame is and I know what it feels like and I don't wish that on you or anybody.

      Thank you for writing, Elizabeth. I like how real you are here and the way you talk about how things are for you. I'm glad you have that community based care and that its working out for you.
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        Oct 21 2012: Problem is Mark it's not. Psych label 16 years old. Serious consequences. Less than a person legally, not allowed to do jury service and any court case dismissed by Crown Prosecution Service as 'unreliable witness'. Discrimination in allocation of welfare benefits. Inadequate health care leading to permanent physical disability, spinal op should have happened max 6 months after notification of same. Second disc collapsed in 15 month wait. Serious permanent neurological damage plus meds possibly damaged renal system and now body struggling to cope with pain meds let alone psych meds. Son now 16 my main carer for years and now potential eating disorder. Not having 'career' in mental illess for him. He is brilliant at Maths and wants to be engineer or architect not my carer. Not 'the cervical myelopathy' in bed 2 or 'higher functioning manic depressive' in the community. Graduate Goldsmiths College London 2002 Creative Writing Course then episode stopped progression. Graduate Foundation Degree Integrative Counselling. Enrolled University of Greenwich, spinal surgery potentially ending final B.A. My life ruined, no access to credit or life insurance. Liability for employment but luckily unable to fill shelves. Not giving in to psychosis as escape, psych wards a living hell. Just like Ruby Wax and Stephen Fry but 'non-celebrity'. As a middle aged woman become invisible, humour an ego-defense for truly painful reality.
        • Nov 5 2012: Well Elizabeth, i too am aware of the way people treat you differently when you are a little different mentally. depression has been a lifelong battle for me although it wasn't diagnoed until after military service. My mom battled it all her life. Both of my brothers are recovering alcoholics as was my Grandfather. My dad had PTSD from Korea and taught it well to us kids. But still, through all of my weirdness and depression and creative bursts and MS, I have discovered a couple of things. It has made me extremely adaptable. Darwin didn't say it was the fittest that would survive, it would be the most ADAPTABLE that would survive. Those of us with "The Label" need not totally follow societal norms and we will be better able to adapt AND think outside the box we have been so conveniently excluded from. I don't miss their version of reality a bit even though I have to play the game daily. yes, the exclusions are painful but they allow for self growth within ourselves. That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
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    Oct 13 2012: Hello Arjuna,
    I have been comfortable with many different "types" of people my whole life, because I am fascinated with human behaviors...mine included! I love observing and exploring human behaviors from many different angles.

    Years ago, I had the opportunity to coach kids who were competing in the special olympics. The kids I was teaching to ski, were labeled mentally disabled.....mostly Down's syndrome. They were all some of the most enthusiastic, energetic, joyfull and unconditionally loving people I have ever encountered! That was my first interaction with a large group of people labeled with mental disorders.

    Their demeanor was so delightful and encouraging to all of us, that we (the coaches) often wondered and asked each other....who is teaching who here! The experience really opened my eyes and heart to see something very different than a "disorder". If we could all have the enthusiasm and love those kids shared with us, what a wonderful world it would be:>)
    • Oct 13 2012: What a wonderful experience it is, right? :-)
      Experiences surely teach us a lot more than we think...
      I wish I could have that kind of meaningful experiences in the near future..

      One experience of helping a person with mental disordor was actually quite demanding and even stressful...

      But that was a special case with kinda long story ...

      Anyway, those kids would also be happy when they realize(I believe they probably will) there was a person who found hope in their hearts. :)
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        Oct 14 2012: Yes indeed Elizabeth....a wonderful experience.

        You are in luck my dear one!
        The 2013 winter special olympics are going to be in So. Korea!!!

        Here is a link with information about volunteering. They need all kinds of people with various skills and talents, so DO IT Elizabeth if you can:>)
        • Oct 14 2012: Wow....I didn't know these opportunities...!
          Thank you so much, Colleen :D
          I'll first find out what I can do through skimming through those websites.
          If there's any question on that matter, I'll send you an email via 'TED contact' to see if I can get your advice...! :)
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        Nov 8 2012: Any news Elizabeth?

        As I recall, one of the sites had a link to connect you with information regarding opportunities in your area. That is what I did with special olympics. I was involved in the state pre-qualifiers. The state special olympics that year happened to be at the ski area close to my home (Northeast USA) while the finals were out west. I really hope you can's a wonderful, very fullfilling experience:>)

        You are welcome to contact me any time....I enjoy our conversations Elizabeth:>)
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      Nov 6 2012: Hi Colleen,
      Long time no see. I hope you're keeping well.
      Being very familiar with Down's Syndrome it makes me really uncomfortable, not to say angry at the least, when I see it related to words such as mentally disabled or mental disorder. I strongly believe there is a huge difference between people suffering from mental health issues and people with down's syndrome. Let's encourage people to stop using such labels and yes, let's all allow ourselves to appreciate the authentic enthusiam and love they so generously always share.
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        Nov 8 2012: Hello Helena....always nice to connect with you:>) I am well...hope the same for you?

        It is not comfortable for me either Helena, when people are labeled. I was labeled for awhile after my near fatal head injury. Medical professionals told me and my family that I would never be "normal" again. As I began to recover, I was curious to find out what that meant for me the rest of my life, so I did a lot of research and study regarding mental disabilities.

        What I discovered, is that we all experience many so called "disabilities" at some level, sometimes in our lives. We all experience fear at some point, on many different levels, we are all paranoid on some level, at some time in our lives, we have "up" and "down" times, so we may all experience manic/depressive behaviors on some level, we are all often obsessed with something or someone...who knows when this becomes obsessive compulsive.....etc. etc......

        Thankfully, all the cognitive testing I experienced as the brain healed showed no permanent cognitive challenges. As a matter of fact, tests indicated that I was high average/superior AFTER the brain was damaged.....don't know how THAT happened!!!

        My experience with the head injury and subsequent exploration, research, and study, gave me even more information that tells me that labeling anyone is not always a good idea. I think/feel that to evaluate someone and possibly labeling for the purpose of helping to support someone with their function or dysfunction may be an acceptable use of labels. Other than that, I see us all more the same than different:>)
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          Nov 9 2012: HI Colleen,
          I'm very well, thank you.
          I simply have issues with the connotations involved in the word disabled and some of the meanings the dictionary offers, that's all. I personally think labels do a lot of damage. On the other hand, I believe the general sense of "fear" in relation to this topic, comes from uncertainty. If we were informed about the different conditions people may experience, the fear would be less and therefore people would have the chance to interact with one another more comfortably.
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        Nov 9 2012: Hi again Helena,
        I understand, feel the same way, and I also agree with you that fear is a major factor with this topic. Information certainly helps us understand various conditions of the human body/mind and if we could realize more about different levels and degrees of various conditions, it might be helpful to our understanding. As has been mentioned already on this thread, many people who supposedly have mental disorders have a great deal to offer us if we can really be with them without fear.
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      Aja B.

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      Nov 7 2012: Testing replies...
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    • Nov 11 2012: You are an inspiration. I have a mental illness and over and above that, I am dealing with a step daughter who is an alcoholic and clinically depressed. I am going to share your thoughts with her. She is so hard to reach and feels like everyone is trying to tell her what to do. Your approach seems to value doing rather than being told. I love it. Thank you.
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    Nov 9 2012: That's a great question!

    I know a kid with mild epilepsy who's father was able to 'cure' him through the removal of heavy metals. So I looked into heavy metals and their impact on our bodies, and that it can account for both mental and physical disorders, which then made me think that everyone we meet including people we may have known for all our lives may not actually have much choice on who they are or how they think, and therefore not really 'themselves'.

    So I figure everyone is normal and doing the best they can with what they have.
  • Nov 7 2012: Perhaps, my experiences as a student nurse before have made me see people with mental disorders in a different light. As part of the learning process, we were tasked to stay in a mental facility and take care of patients with various conditions - schizophrenia, dementia, bipolar disorders,etc. I used to have this fear of being harmed by these patients, having the stereotype that they are rather banes of the society. But how was I able to outgrow that fear?Being knowledgeable of what these people are going through and above all, empathy. It is believed that once we put ourselves on the shoes of others, taking it in the figurative sense of course, we learn to understand them.When we leave our own boxes and see things in a different perspective, that's how we begin to see the bigger picture.

    Also, we need to put into consideration that the etiology of some of these disorders is unknown. These people or most of them do not even understand what they're going through.
  • Nov 5 2012: I haven't seen anyone note the differences between mental disorders based in brain anatomy/physiology and problems based on poor coping skills, or on attitudes/beliefs/habits that lead people into behaviors that do themselves or those around them harm, or to growing up in a dysfunctional environment or family, or suffering from a physical illness that leads to behavioral signs & symptoms (some severe vitamin deficiencies, infections, endocrine disorders for example).

    Consider people with clinical depression - some can get a lot of relief from cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication, others who have different brain chemistry may react badly to meds and/or get no relief from therapy strategies.

    People with severe brain disorders like schizophrenia, rapid cycling bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorders or other severe brain disorders can be very difficult to interact with - most folks just don't understand how to interact with someone who perceives reality very differently than they do themselves, or who isn't perceiving external reality at all well when they're in the grip of overwhelming and often terrifying hallucinations. It's awfully hard for many people to "see the other person's point of view" even when that other person is within the same range of common or normal brain function and behavior.

    Until the 20th century hardly anyone thought that hallucinations, obsessive/compulsive behavior and other far-out-of-the-usual-range behaviors were rooted in physical diseases and such behaviors were often assigned supernatural causes - and treatments. Less severe behavior issues were often simply dismissed as "That's the way s/he is." It wasn't until medications that could influence psychotic behaviors were discovered and brought into use that anyone thought that severe mental disorders could be brought under control at all - sufferers here in the US were institutionalized and expected to remain in that environment for life.
  • Nov 4 2012: my experience taught me not to get connected to any thing eternally in physical sense, besides
    nothing happens as we plan, but it gets connected the way we want.
    in fact the commands are followed by us, the results too are decided by source of invisible intelligence.
    it is just like ice cube wants to know what is water?
  • Steve C

    • +1
    Oct 26 2012: I have gotten much from reading Ty C. Colbert, Edward Barrie, James W. Prescott, Thomas Szasz, and Dr. Patch Adams.
    I have also gotten much from talking to others with various "afflictions," and seeing their lives and problems, and how they continue to strive.
    "how can we help our society grow out of its fear?" By connecting; not merely connecting via web links & tweets, but by consideration & trust. By choosing to spend time and energy with them. And by being truthful & accountable; give and take.
  • Oct 22 2012: I was labeled and thrust into the world of mental disorders as a young child. I became more comfortable with mental health disorders, when I discovered people who had them were kinder, and far less judgmental of me. I had myself hospitalized in a place with colorful characters, just to escape bullying.

    I never liked the term "mental Illness," and even now it is hard to define myself in this way. I spent my late childhood in a residential school, where I was told that kids who wind up there are the hopeless cases. They are the ones society including their own families "throw away." I know that I was loved by my parents, so I decided that this particular mental health professional, a self-declared picture of mental health was in fact suffering from a frighteningly deranged God complex.

    It is hard to be comfortable with such a label. My own family thinks my depression is just laziness, though it is harder for them to ignore the recurrent panic attacks. Panic attacks have physical manifestations, so I suppose on some level, panic disorder seems less like a mental illness.

    As a child, I had a psychologist who told my Mother not to let anyone label me. Oops, too late. Every therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist created more and more labels.

    I agree with Ruby Wax that stigma has to go. I believe one in four people are diagnosed with a mental disorder, but I see shades of all kinds of illness in "normal" people.

    I agree that my anxiety has nowhere to go in this toxic society we have created for ourselves. Long term exposure to poison makes people sick. Those with greater sensitivity to such poison will get more sick.

    On the brighter side, I no longer feel shamed by others who look down on me for my illness. Especially regarding certain members of my family, I figure if they don't get it by now, any more explanation (excuses according to them) is wasted on them.

    If someone is afraid of me due to their own ignorance, I'm happy to chase them away.
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    Oct 21 2012: was give the thought, let go, let life, and learn, from all you live through, Its the process of coming into your own, clearing all you have learned out, and practicing the art of being, it is then consciously assimilating, as to what you see as best for you. . to not live in another's shadow . . . too oft, people are panic struck. . it all begins with losing our power, having our feelings dismissed, oft send to nurseries where we have to fend for ourselves, from way to early in life. told what and when and how to do. . it all about the narrowing our views, which in truth, are exploding with insights. school windows were shut down. . to prevent daydreaming. oops, that when the iniverse is downloading massive loads of insights to you, or just delightful scenarios, to heal your mind from having been so overtaxed that it simply tuned out from within, for a speedy gazing at the sky, not denied. . . the shadows of our never being let live in our own light, snaps . . and every time life gets too much. . .we unravel much due to lack o sleep tearing through the nights as we did when waking up to the world that had not been kind to you, up to that point
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      Oct 21 2012: Deep insights coming out.
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        Oct 21 2012: thank you. I've looked at the big picture first since I began framing in jigsaw puzzles at 7 on being a 900 piece puzzle and presently I am awed by all that is coming to light with the TedTalks.
        I always begin with no matter you views or discipline in life, we are all speaking of one and the same universe of which we are all give our own views and perceptions, each of which broadens our outlook on life through retreating from fields of conflict and peacing it all together . . so far, its working like a charm, on all which has come to light . . about bringing the light years down to earth. which is our clearing the way for youth, whose health and well being are severely taxed when we force our views on them through schooling, instead of letting them guide us with their insightfulness and fresh ideas.
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    Oct 21 2012: From the moment of conception, every cell of our being takes form out of the store of memories, imbedded on our being upon which our parental linage back to the dawn of time the our spirits began to fabricate the dream. . wonder, if that was the fitting word. the mind let dance on wings of wonder. singing itself in matter, igniting the galactic lights at the convergencess of consciousness. . oozing all from all and popping up in a 50 50 recombine. . diversifying with every generation. . youth, picking up on where we have evolved to. and with fresh minds, untrained eye, as so many have spoke of in the tedTalks . In all o nature, and even life, we clear way for the new growth. .
    Many hands make light work . . or is it work light. . which ever. . through advancess and automation, take the work out of living .most are keeping busy because they cannot stomach the thoughts they have. as life is a constant process of assimmilation, with the universe constanty feeding you the easy outs, sadly, they are all relegated to the fairy land department. .
    I had the following down when I started over. the whole of creation is a grow from within. Humanity so taxes its body mind and spirit, that each day, it needs take time out to . . defrag or defrazzle. . in a massive nightly blitch, without a beep out of you, thank you kindly. Catch your second wind and soar like a wondering albatross o'er all, that's left others stumped, for life. ALL humanity is about, are the thoughts which came to mind in the sweet by and bye . . giving way to the present, now concreted into matter, by those who enshine the laws and fence in all the years of our youth . .
    go take a walk and like on the forest floor for a spell. . . make music, and soothe the busyness of your mind. . . play shaman, break the spell with music. and what the cosmic B-Line we all have , like wise, change its tune
    • Nov 5 2012: Very well said! To quiet the busyness of the mind....I find that solitude within nature helps me amazingly. I am a Christian but not like most other Christians out there. My church is nature and God's creation surrounding me, where I become one with the Creation, where I come home to the reality of life. Not the realities imposed on us through societal pressures but the reality of being a singular, unique work of creation meant to be a BEING not a DOING. I AM what and who I am. My personality traits and oddities are my own and they make me ME. Am I insane. No, maybe. Do I battle severe depression? Yes but I ALWAYS win. never go into a fight allowing for the possibility of defeat, you will lose. Go into a fight KNOWING and SEEING yourself as the victor before the first blow is ever WILL WIN. EVERY TIME! Mental illness, maybe. mental strength and endurance, unquestionably. let me be me rather than NORMAL any day. I am a fringe rider. I ride the fringes of normality so the loonies that know me and like me can feel a little more normal about themselves and all the straight arrows like me because they feel like they are associated with a wild child. Yahoo, what a ride! Let's rock-n-roll in our peculiarities!
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    Oct 20 2012: /
    Experiences. Thoughts. Insights?
    Every time I see (really notice) a failing of mine in any respect, I become more ready to accept something like mental illness as part of the way someone operates because of bad chemicals or bad wiring or both. Many many people (myself included) are buried under baggage of some kind or another and "mental failings" is a kind of baggage. The strange thing about persons is that we can drive ourselves insane. How is that even possible? We are wired to have the ability to synthesize happiness. We can actually envision grand and glorious things and then later ignore this wonderful ability as if it didn't matter.

    Our pets are happier than we are.
    I think the problem of not being comfortable with mental illness stems from the very boundary of our self. Play a game of same and different. Are you a loser? Are you a winner? How much like a loser are you? How much like a winner? Is being happy more about making the right choices or about accepting as OK the choices you've already made?

    We don't have a clue about how to be excellent persons. But our boundary of self can expand to include everything and everyone. If I change the fear from "will I fail by being like" THAT CRAZY PERSON (obviously a loser) to "will I fail to be a hero to this part of me that obviously needs my help" I win.

    Jill Bolte Taylor (wonderful TED talk) had her stroke of insight. I once fainted and awoke in such a state (giddily happy to be alive) that I thought about this frail crazy temporary thing we call life in a different way from then on.

    Life is great. We should be ready to do more for our mental well-being.

    That "crazy person" IS me. That psychotic is me. That depressed person is me. That paranoid person is me. Will I fail to be a loving hero when I'm needed?
    • Nov 5 2012: Well stated Mark. We ARE all of us. Will I choose to be happy or sad? Will I choose to walk in love or hate. Am I too good to help that odd person or might I be missing the chance of a lifetime to know a unique and interesting person that adds value to my life> May I be allowed to add value to theirs? It is an honor to give up 0oneself for the enrichment of another. Those are life's true values.
  • Oct 20 2012: My mother suffered from mental illness for most of her life, depression, drug abuse, borderline personality disorder until she finally succeeded in ending her own life when I was 17 years of age. This experience has given me a profound sense of empathy for anybody that has or is currently experiencing mental illness.

    I am now a doctor and I am currently doing a rotation in psychiatry based in the same inpatient unit that I visited my mother in on more than one occasion. I know that because of my past experience I am much more empathetic towards the patients I care for and perhaps I have a little more insight into the impact that mental illness has not just on the patients but also on their families.

    What has made me more fearful of mental health disorders? Since becoming a doctor I understand the reluctance of other health professionals in coming forwards and seeking treatment due to the stigma associated with mental illness. It's not like a broken leg, or even heart failure, these illnesses generally garner sympathy. Mental illness often does not.

    One of the most frustrating parts of mental illness for me relates to my work. Psychiatric notes are kept separate from medical notes (for which there are some good reasons to do this), but at the very least, when I am treating a patient, I would like to know what illnesses afflict their mind as well as their body because the two are not mutually exclusive, they are deeply intertwined and you can not treat one without treating the other. This separation is mostly due to the abhorrent stigma associated with mental illness.

    How can we help society grow out of its fear? A start would be for those who have experienced mental illness, either in themselves or others close to them, to begin conversations, to discuss the stigma they have felt or seen and to be willing to share. I feel this is even more important for people in what are considered "professional" jobs. Sharing is the start...
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      Oct 20 2012: Thanks for sharing Katie. I'm also on my psychiatry rotation at the moment - your points about the seperation of medical and psychiatic notes is something that frustrates me too. It's a bit of a paradox really, because the "good" reasons are to stop any prejudice against the individual, the converse being that you almost perpetuate a distinction by submitting to its effect.

      Sharing is indeed the start - the work done by Ruby is a great example :)
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      Oct 21 2012: Know that you and those like you are very much appreciated.

      Over the years I often visited close family staying in psychiatric hospitals. The few that really care they really do the job and make a difference. I'm gratful to them.
    • Nov 5 2012: Katie. or Dr. Katie, sorry, you earned your title, I, as a person dealing with major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorders chronic Reactive Arthritis and recently a diagnosis of Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, that has really hit the depression and everything else hard...anyway as one of thi=ose folks I say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Yes I battle mental illness, as does most of my family, but we can and are still able to live fulfilling productive lives. We just have to bend or break a few of the rules to pull it off. Being WEIRD is just fine with me. Neuropsych eveals put my intelligence at to top enf of the bell curve, way out there in the upper 98-99%. That scares the shit out of me. I always knew I was reasonably bright but nw it explains my wierdness and difficulty relating to others. It explains why I devoured books on ALL topics as a kid. I was always very good at math though I hated it, but I did find it useful for my scientific education and Physics. But all my life , I've been wandering around wondering why I seemed so different and strange to everyone around me. I'm a proud nerd, that thinks differently than other folks. I'm wired differently. And that's JUST fine with me. keeps everyone else on their toes because they never know what the wild eyed bearded weirdo is gonna say or write next. Pair-o-dice!
  • Oct 14 2012: How to support society in dispelling the stigma of mental health disorders:

    Open and honest communication and increased education is critical. We need to discuss mental health just as we would discuss diabetes or cholesterol. We, as a society need to understand that mental health is simply another facet of our physcial health and there is no shame in living with a mental health condition. We must strive to find more effective and compassionate ways to care for ourselves and eachother. Also, the more people step forward, (just as Ruby Wax adn Elyn Saks have courageously done here at TED), the more people will see that the faces of mental health (wellness and "illness") may look very much like our own. We also need to eliminate the myth that one person is "healthy" while another person is "sick." Throughout our lives, we are likely to experience various blends of everchanging levels of wellness, recovery, resilience, robust thriving, remission and pathology.
    One could argue that we all live in a state between "sanity" and "insanity" as we struggle to fully understand ourselves and truly comprehend the world around us and our place in it.
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      Oct 14 2012: I am until someone make harm to me and all the bad thoughts (and not only) make me suffer. Kidding ..... I was child also you were child also and we were happy until ..... Think about ....
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      Oct 14 2012: If you think that people that define mental health are the very healthy .... you are wrong but they have more tools to oppress you or me and I do not say that problems do not exists but they are aggravated or hidden until they blow up (see what happened in America in highschools when they give them pills and after they are totaly lost). Is like they hide the bad and let it out when they need to have more financing and those kids maybe have only small problems at first .... Think about ..
  • Oct 13 2012: I'm crazy. I've got the papers to prove it. Those papers give me the right to pontificate on this subject. An estimated 30% of the world.s population are functiional psychopaths. How many sociopaths have you met in your lifetime? . How many nuerotics? Lots. How are we treated. Ask any monosexual , male or female, in montana today. Or ask the black man walking home from work one night in georgia in 1931. So how should we be treated? With kid gloves. We are dangerous because we are unpredictable. But I am predictable. I know what sends me over the edge. Knowledge is power.Recognizing the danger signs I can at least retire and rebuild my shattered self-image. Try to imagine what it feels like to know that at any moment you could lose consciousness while your body continues to do....something. Imagine the long nights waiting for the knock on the door that signals the arrival of the police at the door with questions about your whereabouts. last night and you can't tell them. What can you do? Respect the sufferer as you would any other person who is dealing with a personal tragedy. Lastly, remember that as uncomfortable as it is to be around him,
    it is more painful to be him.
  • Oct 13 2012: After reading "Veronika Decides to Die--by Paulo Coelho"...I found it normal for people to suffer from mental disorders.

    This book would help people a lot to get rid of their prejudices against those people who suffer from mental health illnesses, I highly recommend. :-)
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      Oct 13 2012: Paulo Coelho.. I love his writing so much - it's no suprise to me that he would have tried to break through such boundaries! :)
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      Oct 14 2012: I think 100% of doctors today do not know who invented this term "mental disorder or illness" make a questionnaire and ask about. haha :) but do not cheat ... Ok ?
  • Oct 13 2012: Stop worrying. Your job today is to make today successful.. Got a problem you can't solve today, then find one you can. Take that dirty car of yours to the car wash and get it detailed or join me in the gutter and I''ll handle the soap and you can have the hose. You'll feel better. You'll like yourself again,gain confidence and see each day as an opportunity and not an obstacle. Once a day for a year. 365 problems/year. Most small and probably temporary but with each success you'll gain peace of mind which will inform your decision making and raise your self-respect.
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      Oct 11 2012: I would like to give you another 9 ups but I can't and is not becouse of the same "problem". Cheer up we are not alone :)
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    Nov 5 2012: Michael thank you so much for your feedback. Labelitis a hugely debilitating condition, my communication skills still strong, Click on my icon to read all the other conversatons I have commented on. My passion is people and their environment. Made up my own fun formula C=Ettr2=C. Not at all unique in this apparently Pi*z*z*a is the formula for a pizza (can't remember what z and a were but can probably google it, fun formula in Sunday newspaper yesterday). In same paper huge percentage of USA citizens illiterate, how did that happen in the most affluent nation on earth ? Love Dr Seuss, ever read him ? BTW my greatgrandfather returned from WWI with acute PTSD, burned down a public house then spent rest of his life in county asylum. Cousin scientist at Kew Botanical Gardens. Social mobility often oppportunity and chance. My other grandmother trained to go into service as a cook. My other cousins Professor of Genetics, senior medical staff etc. Sometimes feel like having difficulty 'materialising' (transporter beam in original Star Trek movie). OK everyone has a different truth but like you still a person. Our family essential neurological tremor. We are holistic beings not a mind separate from a body. Yes Mother Nature does not tolerate a truly dysfunctional organism. Feel like the biggest actress in the world sometimes (BTW not Elizabeth Muncey, Actress which someone else found). Real person In London. Possibly about my chronological age Michael though both of us much older souls, what do you dream of ? Personally trying to warn people about the effects of global warming and keep people safe. Hate fracing of any kind but not for me to alter other people's behaviours just to say sometimes reflection before acting a better choice. PS Watching USA presidential elections with huge interest.
  • Nov 5 2012: Simply put, I grew up with two parents suffering from PTSD at a minimum and possible Bipolar tendencies as well in my mom. I too have been diagnosed as depressed severely and overly anxious. I didn't really get a choice about dispelling the stigma of mental illness, I live with it daily. BUT, notice the CAPS, BUT...I LIVE with it daily. I survive and even thrive in my own ways. I excell at being me. I have tried to develop a sense of humor about it, not to laugh AT mental illness, but to laugh with and through it. Hey gang, I'm nuts! This might get entertaining. I embrace my battles because I know I will prevail. If folks will stick with me we might have some fun and learn something new. If they choose to abandon me, I'm gonna have some fun and learn something new. My new motto, sorta Latinish: SCRUEM!
  • Oct 31 2012: Realizing that as uncomfortable as I am around him, being him would be tragic.
  • Oct 31 2012: Do sth what I like.
  • Oct 28 2012: About two years ago a very attractive 25year old woman walked into my surgery and stated "I am depressed, I am suicidal and I want something to sleep". I replied " I do not know anything about you I feel it would be appropiate to refer you straight away to the local hospital to be assessed by a on duty psychiatric registrar, " This was immediately refused, as was an offer to contact the Crisis team. I stated I was not prepared to prescribe her sleeping tablets and she would have to decide my offer of a referral to the hospital as I could not see any other way of dealing with her situation. She said "ok" and stood up and walked out. I called the Crisis team with her details. They contacted me a week latter stating she refused their assistance. I received a complaint, from her that I was not caring, this a lesson for me to remember.
    • Oct 31 2012: Dear Harry,

      It sounds to me that you were being responsible in not giving the sleeping pills. It is unfortunate that the way that medical appointments are set up, there is little time to get into a long and intricate conversation and you may have felt that a referral to appropriate support was most important (and it probably was.) She may have taken your default to referral as "cold" ... perhaps you responded with a serious tone (which is appropriate considering that she stated that she felt suicidal.) Perhaps you did not have ability to express your empathy with warmth and caring as your mind raced to decide what was the best course of action to help her.

      It sounds as if you were indeed doing the most responsible thing in trying to get her professional help.

      I would not want to be in your situation. I hope that she at least expressed (in her letter) some specifics about what she had hoped to receive from this interaction (besides acquiring sleeping pills.) Your refusal to give her those pills may have saved her life and so, that is no small thing. If someone comes in again with similar circumstance ( god forbid) you may first respond with something like " I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering" and then proceed to the best of your ability to get he/ him appropriate help.

      Try to not beat yourself up ... I think you did the best you could and as I said, may have helped her more than you realize.
      Best to you,
  • Oct 22 2012: Hi Elizabeth,

    Ahhhh .. now I have an excuse to eat more blackberries! You know, I was doing much better before i experienced a sharp decline in my financial resources a few years ago (along with most people). Financial hardship ( in and of itself ) caused some strain but the biggest problem is that I had to stop taking some vitamin supplements that were helping quite a bit. I hope to start taking Phosphotydyl Serine, Alpha Lipoic Acid,Ginkgo Biloba, and a few other supplements that had dramatically improved my brain function. My financial hardship should (hopefully) ease up in about a year when my partner finishes her medical program ... so, I am very lucky that I should be able to get back on track with my natural healthcare in the near future (if all goes well.) Feel free to e-mail me directly Elizabeth ... we seem to have similar interests in holistic medicine. And yes .. the Blue in Juniper Blue is not a sad color ... it is just blue .. like the sky ... like Juniper berries.

    Best to you Elizabeth!
  • Oct 21 2012: the idea that mental illness will always turn out to be better, all people have chance to recover make me feel secure to talk about mental illness. and once I realize that the world is driven only by good will make me feel relieved from the fear of all kinds of bad things include mental illness.
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    Oct 21 2012: Hi Arjuna,

    Everything about mental disorders makes me uncomfortable.

    But, that's not so bad - discomfort is a great motivator - and through the motivation to understand those close to me with various conditions, I've learned a massive amount about neuroscience.

    It's a piece of string though - most of this stuff has no reliable cure.. plenty of prevention .. it helps to understand, but who can say what the value of knowing all this is?

    There seems to be a lot of light on the horizon. Is that the dawn? Or just another storm?

    What I find most painful is the realisation that many are labelling all empirical knowledge as leftist. I cannot see the preventions being practiced consistently enough to make a difference. I suppose when everyone gets uncomfortable enough to do the hard-yards, those still in ignorance will be in the minority - there can't be many left untouched by these issues.
  • Oct 21 2012: Oh yes ... we must remember to laugh! :O) Thanks Elizabeth for this and best to you.
    • Nov 5 2012: Laughter absolutely! Insane, maniacal gut wrenching, side splitting cheek-cramping guffaws all around! My mom has/had a mental illness that my father and she refused to tell us the diagnosis for. She eventually abandoned the entire family and has madeit very clear that she wants NOTHING ever to do with us again. That sucks but that was my mom. Brilliant self taught musician and artist, wired for sound. PTSD from childhood abuse? Major depressive disorder? Who knows? I have MS. Depression has been a life long companion. But I'm okay with it. bad days are bad but I try to concentrate on the good days and I strive to get people to smile and laugh because we really are ALL just a little nuts. Couldn't survive in this world without being so. Live with it, embrace it, run with it. Let the loonies on the grass! We at least know how to have fun without putting on aires. We've been in the shit and know it and are getting through it. The High-lifes don't know what they are missing.
      • Nov 5 2012: Skipping with you out on the grass Michael!
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    Oct 20 2012: /
    Arjuna Nagendran

    Like your polar bear avatar seems to express, we are all ashamed of the possibility that there is something deeply and fundamentally wrong with us and I think it is that link with shame that makes your question both difficult and important to address. I also think that working to solve this kind of problem will solve many many others in its wake. I will attempt to gather my wits and data about me, peruse the comments here, and then launch a stunningly brilliant new way of thinking about this. No guarantees but I will attempt.

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      Oct 20 2012: It's in the words Mark. 'Comfortable' and 'Mental Health disorder'. Hmm. Been on the wrong end of the endless dissection and labelling. DSM IV and ICD diagnostic tools looking down the wrong end of the telescope. Not who is this person and what is making them behave like this. Suggest who is this person and who are they interacting with and what is the combined result of the relationship between the two might be a better place to start. Huge power imbalance between mental health 'professional' and 'service-user' for a start. Stunning is so apt. Often not stunningly clever unfortunately, my experience is usually 'stunningly stupid and judgemental'. Do actually have a sense of humour, love your smiley face. Got to laugh at it all sometimes. Let's face it, it is an employment creator - psychiatrist, psychologist, pharmacy, A mental health disorder gives order to lots of other people.
      • Oct 21 2012: Elizabeth .. that is such a great point about titles" "professional" and "service user" in NAMI (the national association for the mentally ill) in the U.S. the terms "Professional" and "Consumer" are used. I am not comfortable with the terms "service user" or "consumer" ... I mean ... yuck... I guess it is better than scum-sucker but just barely. With all the money I spend on therapy and medication can I at at the very least be referred to as a client or customer? or even better .. try ... human being?
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          Oct 21 2012: Love you Juniper Blue. Think bluebirds as in happiness not as in sadness. You are such a strong person. See my comments further on in this thread about ICD-10 and DSM IV plus updates to those diagnostic tools. Also see my reply to Mark on his single comment thread. In U.S.A psych issues a commodity in an economic model supported by ideas about a productive citizen consumes. In Hitler's pre-war Germany psych patients some of the first to be consumed. Only too easy to disappear with a psych history, if not by your own hands then by society. Juniper Blue keep fighting on and keep posting on TED. We are whole people. Like trees we support so many people, not just our families but the whole edifice of psychiatrists, pharmacy, psychologists etc. We are our own little service -led economies. Love the ideas of Jung who did a lot of work with 'schizophrenics'. Takes one to know one. Made up my own little formula inspired by his obsession with mandalas. C=Ettr2=C. Community, energy btween two people in dialogue, leading to (fill in here - creativity, chaos, care, calm. Overarching C possibly compassion or choice or 'certifiable'. Got to keep a sense of humour in this.
      • Oct 22 2012: Yes ... I am grateful for my CRAZY sense of humor ... How else can we survive the INSANITY that surrounds us??!!
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          Oct 22 2012: Hey Juniper Blue did you know blackberries a brilliant source of micronutrients that might help counteract some of the effects of psych meds i.e. the dehydration and plasticisers. Go and have a look at the debate about 'free will', think still currently active and see my post on that. Love you Juniper, such a useful plant, wonder what it's applications might be for psych meds. Sure you know aspirin is from willow bark. Wonder what part of the juniper bush might be useful, the fruit, the leaves, the berries. Juniper please let go of whatever is making you depressed but be careful what you do with the anger. Use the energy of the anger in a focused way and go for your passion.
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          Oct 22 2012: Juniper - am very worried about plasticizers in psych meds, especially given BRCA1 genetic difference in women. Here in U.K. it is now predicted 1 in 3 women will get breast cancer in next few decades. Women always the sponges (not quite right word) for other people's negative emotions and also for the toxins in household cleaning products. Psych meds also contain plasticisers as binding agents and coatings. You will note most women on anti-depressants. You might also note many women getting premature menopause. We are whole people not a mind and a body but a mind within a body. Mind influenced by hornones and electrons as well as lived experience. Point 2. Psych meds also full of talc and of salts. Not good for anyone with neurological issues, especially about the firing of the ganglion and other nerve cells. Not a scientist not in an industry which might listen to me. Can you get these messages passed on for me ? Not Chinese whispers style but through everyone you know involved with psych issues. Suggest not too passionate in front of cold psychiatrists and psychologists and businessmen. Find advocates in NAMI etc. Over here in UK best advocates charity MIND. National charity see their website for ideas. Love you Juniper.
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      Oct 22 2012: Mark love you. Please see what I am saying to Juniper Blue on this thread. Applies to men as well about everything, including the hormone balance issue. Testosterone the issue for men. Also the effects on the hormones produced on the pituitary gland i.e. oxytocin, the hormone that encourages social bonding and correct partner choice. Psych meds often just a chemical cosh to shut loud people up, go see what I said on the subject of free will. C=Ettr2=C always.
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    Oct 19 2012: Hello Arjuna,

    Have you ever heard of lucid dreams? Strangely, for me that was one experience that brought the very humbling realization of knowing so very little about how consciousness and the human brain work.

    Through that new lens, rather than seeing mental disorders as something very well defined (almost like an on or off switch) i now see most of them as variations in a very rich spectrum of brain configurations and states: add a few more neurons of certain kind in the frontal lobes, and now we have a brain that has less trouble planning in the distant future... lower the threshold of signal to noise in some synapses and now we have a brain that has a harder time focusing and keeping attention... listen to and analyze what your intuition tries to tell you and suddenly you can make smarter choices... let your subconscious drive all the time and suddenly you start making poorer choices...

    we all have many things in our brain that are well beyond our control, isn't that the beginning of something that could be considered a mental disorder?

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      Oct 20 2012: Hi Andreas,

      Interesting point! We do know so little about the brain - exactly HOW it does all the things it does it still very much unknown, with no sign that that is going to rapidly change! I agree that mental health disorders would sit on a spectrum ranging from the "normal" brain - evidenced by the fact that you can get very mild to very severe mental health disorders.

      The distinction I suppose is that behaviour/thought processes in mental health disorders are not beneficial, at least in the current world we live in anyway. Now, I'm sure someone can find an exception, but I think it will likely prove the broader rule that the majority of these behaviours are not helpful to the individual and their survival.
    • Nov 5 2012: Ahh, the age old question of the boundaries of mental disorders; When the diagnostics books define very well what amounts to a mental disorder but the application of those terms to human variabilities in subjective descriptions of their feelings or moods or even their veracity as a real patient can makes for some strange and tremulous brews. I knew a guy that literally faked his way out of the United States navy in the 70's, long before don't ask, dont tell, by claiming to be gay. Realizing of course that he would be given certain psychiatric exams and evaluations before a discharge was possible, he spent about a month of his free time in the library studying everything he could about homosexuality, it's mental effects, it's "symptoms" aand "co-morbidities"...the works. Then he walked into the CO's office and declared himself to be gay. Gone within two weeks. He told me he'd be glad to name me as a partner if I wanted out and I declined. I'm not gay and had less than a year of a five year enlistment to go. But his scholarship bought him a discharge and, to my knowlesge, he was straight as an arrow. Even from my hometown where I knew his family. A good brain can help rise above disorder and bring clarity in the face of apparent chaos. Unless, like me you have repeated cerebral flatulence, but I won't go there.
  • Oct 18 2012: I think Brene Brown makes some really valid comments in her shame Ted presentation and if those who have not seen her vulnerablity presentation see that first.

    I bring this up because there is such shame within individuals who have mental illness, such as Ruby Wax stated there was no sympathy when there is a problem with the brain, no cards, no flowers just a few phone calls to "perk up"
    • Nov 5 2012: I watched and thoroughly related to both presentations. My wife and son both deal with adult ADHD and are simply wired differently than me. While this has led to some conflict, I on the other hand, have MS and occasionally severe depression. So we are quite a crew...their brains going 400 miles an hour with their hair on fire, five directions per channel, and I with my mono-channel single receiver brain trying to keep up. It's a house filled with genius and all sorts of differing ways of dealing with things. I finally was forced and got a man-cave, my own private little room with a small workbench and tools, a desk, and my computer, so I can escape the sensory overload of living with human tornadoes. But we are ALL different.. Not lesser in ability, just different in experience and modality of coping. Differing points of view have definite merit when utilized well. We may be slightly nuts but we are still viable humans with nothing to be or feel ashamed about. So our experience is different than the expectations of others...who made the lord high executioner in the first place? What makes them so unique that they are any better than any of the rest of us? NOTHING! Find your identity in YOU not the expectations of others. You are unique, they are NOT!
  • Oct 18 2012: fluoride contamination is directly linked to mental disorders. thats why there putting it in the water , so that we get sick and they get to sell more meds....
  • Oct 18 2012: Vicious circle of fluoride contamination, illness and poverty
  • Oct 16 2012: Meeting genuine people with disorders helps significantly, studying psychology at A-level also helped as I looked at the causes, symptoms and treatments of both Schizophrenia and depression. It dispels an unbelievable number of stigmas and assumptions, the modern media is the main problem in my opinion. The general population isn't going to move past its stereotypical view of a mental disorder such as Schizophrenia when the only time they ever hear about it is on the one occasion that somebody with the disorder is especially violent or dangerous. One important sentence my teacher said that turned that stigma around was that the voices that some schizophrenics can hear are very rarely telling them to hurt other people, in fact it's more common that they tell that individual to hurt themselves than another though still uncommon.
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    Oct 15 2012: Relatives of people close to me suffered from several and from therapists I know, I see it as more of something that may stem from their childhood sometimes and may have more to do with their environment and other factors. Even if it's a medical issue, having knowledge that some aspects of it may be attributed to other factors allows me to see past simply the medical issue and understand there's a person there suffering from something. Then disorders which may typically be uncomfortable to think about or deal with become easier as the problem is spread across multiple causes allowin gme as a person to feel like I can be of help in some way. If the issue is solely related to a genetic disposition for example, then I feel helpless. As a friend, I want to help, so understanding that even genetic issues are accompanied by other things enables and empowers me to feel like I can do something about it, and that is something all people seem to desire to do.....So I would say it's not enough to know what the condition is, but moreso to understand how I can impact forward and positive pogress on it for that person.
  • Oct 15 2012: Doing a workshop for adults with mental health issues, some of whom were professors & lecturers in very senior positions, prior to the breakdown of their mental well-being, some, because of disillusionment with their work/life & then the other side of this problem, people who hadn't been so, societally deemed, "Successful", drug addicts & elderly folks who'd just not had a particularly easy life & the recognition that, a lil' time spent delving into what fuelled their thinking, proved how sane & caring, some of them were.

    Medication aside, one has to wonder, when looking at the "Apparently Sane", workers & people of the world, who indulge in so many falsehoods & fallacies to keep their, "Little version of Normality", going, who the people are who have REAL Mental disorders ....

    It has been said on numerous occasions before, but, in this day & age, the person who spends their life behind a computer screen, claiming to connect with people, defines sanity ... ???

    As opposed to the individual who literally, could no longer cope with the nonsense that humanity now embraces as being civilized ....

    Denial, like cocaine ... is a hell of a drug !!!!!

    But ... Mental health issues are not something people should be so uncomfortable with as they seem to be, but, I guess, those who can't deal, invariably, see a piece of themselves & that's what's so difficult for them to deal with ....

    My workshop experience didn't make me more comfortable, but, it made me less disparaging of those who suffer.
  • Oct 15 2012: Maybe I hang out with the wrong crowd but I have yet to find anyone that doesn't have one disorder or another.

    Then again its not that strange just look at the DSM ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has nearly 400 entries now.

    I'm officially diagnosed with Dyslexie and attention deficit disorder but just for fun I paged trough the DSM tome and I can find myself in at least 20 more disorders and I'm sure a psychiatrists can find even more :)

    And in my opinion it's often the people with the obvious disorders that are the most fun and interesting to talk to. People that know they have a disorder are generally much more open minded about almost every topic.

    On a side note:

    I believe that because society doesn't see people as individuals and everything from education, work and social standards are defined by people that are unable or simple refuse to recognize that everyone is different.

    Because of this a lot of talented people are doing work well under their ability and are often publicly degraded while they are more often then not some of the most brilliant people around.

    Don't judge a person until you walked a mile in his or her shoes. That should be one of the key values in education from kindergarten to university.
    • Oct 24 2012: We can't walk a mile in someone elses shoes only our own.
      But we can walk with them, and maybe learn from ech others experience.
      We live in an age where science is god but what makes us human and a part of humanity?
      • Oct 24 2012: I have always doubted our definition of humanity.

        If you look deep down into it we are really not that far from machines. Our bodies may be of flesh and blood but our brains are basically computers and are run on electricity just as our technology.

        Just think,

        What is the one major flaw of a robot with an A.I.? It can't reproduce.

        Sure you can copy an A.I. but a copy is just an copy a single virus could wipe out an entire set. So in order to resolve this we do two simple things:

        - Add a maximum lifespan. You could do this by replacing metal by flesh for example.
        - The ability to take core "settings" or genes and share/mix them with another body. Then you basically have sex.

        And there you have it an machine race with a limit lifespan but with the ability to strengthen itself by reproducing. The strongest (read: most efficient in its environment) will reproduce more often creating a stronger offspring.

        It's a pretty good system. Ohh, right what makes us human? No clue :)
  • Oct 15 2012: Just because a person brain operates differently does not mean they have a disorder. Labeling these different in the negative undermines the power of whatever brought us to this point, and while it's human nature to look for ways we are better than our fellow man time and time again when we look in history the one we are trying to get rid of has incredible value. I wish we had better ways to diagnose and support healthy minds rather than looking for cures for phantoms aliments.
    I think the people in the mental health community should have to show that harm is happening before suggesting it is a disorder. Their reward though tends to favor them finding something wrong to treat. Often like most humans when they see that they focus on that and not the whole individual that it came from. This is like trying to draw a map of the world by only focusing on one tiny room inside it. That too me sounds unhealthy.
    I do believe there are mental disorders that need treatment and study, my friend that tried to cut a microchip from his nose needed help, but i think that we need to define healthy differences between brains and brain patterns as well. Just because there a different pattern doesn't make it inferior. Lots of our art, music, and literature was written or created by people who had different patterns in their brain than we do, and I don't want to find a Soma pill for that.
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    Oct 14 2012: Watching TED videos. Some of them show well how out of whack humans are. It would be crazy to think that I am "normal" or "reasonable" in any way. But it's nice to know that I'm in a good company :-).

    Some other experiences include having a son with learning disabilities, learning about autism, reading Julian Jaynes "The Origin of Consciousness" where he argues that humans became conscious through having hallucinations, and reading David Hume who makes it fairly clear that our ability to reason is over-rated. I personally know good educated people, long-time friends, who did things incompatible with definition of "normal behavior". And reading in the Bible how kings were "driven away from people and ate grass like cattle" makes me think that none of us can be sure about anything.

    It takes just a little life experience to realize that these things are not funny at all. And if we think we don't have mental issues, we might need to think about it again. Some of the people we label as "crazy" have more sanity than most of us.
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      Oct 14 2012: Hey do not make yourself mind problems, you know that this "problem" can be only a way to protect himself or you all as family from the more "other" problems around you. Is not that has a problem but has a willing to be happy more before is grown up. Just see like this and be happy all of you as you like but be close to nature as you can and be close to those moments that make you all happy ...
  • Oct 13 2012: I worked for many years with people with mental health disorders. I found that although mental health conditions may cause some challenges in perception and gaging "reality" or in regulating emotions, most of the people I met were good-hearted people with interesting perspectives and much to contribute to the world. In contrast, I have met people with no diagnosed mental health condition who lacked character, were dull, selfish or even violent.

    I was shocked to hear of a study in college that showed that most rapists are not technically mentally ill (based on thier answers to a questionaire aimed to evaluate mental health.) Is this true?

    What seems true, from my first hand experience, is that there are many people who appear to be very high functioning, show no outward symptoms of mental illness but go on to do some terrible things ... even criminal things. Then, there are people with severe mental illness who are non-violent, very kind, creative, even brilliant and are just very wonderful people.

    So, I guess for me, dispelling the myth ( that I was raised with) that mental illness is a character flaw has been major breakthough. One can be mentally ill and also be a very fine and honorable person. Mental health is not a measure of one's integrity or value.

    Bottom line ... people are people. Some are diagnosed with mental illnesses and some are not. Everyone has equal value even if they struggle with mental health challenges.

    I have to remember this ... as I fight to maintian my own sense of self-worth as a person living with chronic depression and PTSD.
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      Oct 14 2012: I can tell you my experience started with a depression becouse of a lot of factors (is hard to explain here) but it depends on how much you learned about and how much did you think about someone that is mentally ill ( for me to say about someone is mentally ill means i do not belive in God and the will to help us find our happiness). I realise that in my life I have made small bad things to people and do not had now the opportunity to excuse myself and maybe I will not have the opportunity later to do it and if I interfere with bad intention in the way of someone happines I will suffer later a lot so i try to do everything I do from all my heart as to say ... even that I know I am susceptible to mistakes.... Something like this
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        Oct 14 2012: so free you are ! lots of time was used on line
      • Oct 19 2012: Thank you for the youtube link and thoughtful response lulian.
  • Oct 13 2012: I'm 21 and university student. sophomore.
    I am worried about my future. like what job is fit to me? What things I can do better than others? what's my merit?
    and trivial things. such as Do I have to go to school today even if there's class.
    IT'S the undecidd things I fear of..

    I have these things. but don't know how to solve them. When I feel stressed, I volume up the music.. make some noise to focus on just other things for a moment.
    • Nov 5 2012: I'd say Nuri that if loud music helps you actually cope - not just distract you from your worries, it's a good coping mechanism. If music just distracts you so you feel better when listening, but the worries are unchanged it's not a good coping strategy. I think most people have distraction strategies that just put whatever problem aside for a while, but those who learn ways to face their concerns, to think of ways to manage them or to improve their situation will do better in the long run.
      One useful strategy I've learned is first figure out exactly why I'm worried, afraid, angry or whatever - what assumptions about myself and the situation am I working from? If I have a worrisome situation - expenses exceeding income, job loss, whatever else, after step one above I ask myself "What's the worst thing that can happen here? What will I do if that happens? As soon as I begin to see that the universe won't come to an end and that I'm unlikely to end up living in a cardboard box my anxiety begins to decrease. Then I ask myself "What's most likely to happen?" "What will I do if that happens?" At this point it's surprising how often I can think of strategies to handle the situation, and my fears are down to a managable level.
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    Oct 13 2012: OK. So if I am a serial killer (anti-social behavior) and I am comfortable with the people I hang around with because they are serial killers too, that means we are all normal?

    Or if I am not a serial killer, but I am hanging around with somebody who is who doesn't make me uncomfortable because I just don't realize they are a serial killer, does that make the serial killer normal?

    We all may be "different" or "unique", but I think it's a stretch to say there is no such thing as "normal" when it comes to mental health. The definitions of "normal" exist in the same things you described in a previous reply to an earlier post of mine. The DSM looks at how a person relates or copes to the rest of society, based on rules, laws, accepted types of behavior, etc. To me, that is what establishes the "norm". Anyone acting outside of those "norms" is considered "not normal", and the diagnosis of the mental illness is based on that criteria.

    And yet, the rules and laws can't be the only determination in whether someone "acted mentally normal" in commiting a crime, or else we wouldn't have extenuating circumstances like "temporary insanity" in use in our legal system.

    There appears to be a wider scope to the use of "norms" when considering mental illness.
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      Oct 14 2012: I guess Rick you're talking to me.

      "Rules, laws, accepted types of behavior": did you think what this meant in Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, in the Russia of Stalin and many countries today that are ruled top down by corruption?

      There's only one rule to decide what is normal and what not, look into your heart to see what feels good and what not. If people listened that way no army would ever have marched. Collective madness is dangerous and ruled by fear.
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        Oct 14 2012: Well, I wasn't specifically talking to you, but your reply above describes the problem about "norms".

        On one hand you say, "There's ony one rule to decide what is normal and what is not, look into your heart to see what feels good and what not".

        But you use the example of Nazi Germany, Facist Italy, Stalin, etc. I'm fairly certain that in the hearts of those people, they "felt good" about what they were doing. Until somebody else said, "Uh, wait a minute. What you are doing seems a bit ABnormal to the rest of us."

        Maybe everybody is misunderstanding what I am saying about "norms".

        If "anybody" is going to say that "anything" is a mental illness...there has to be a "normal" to compare it to. And somebody has had to define what that "normal" is. Or at least the society has to somewhat agree on what it is.

        So, who makes the decision? You certainly can't leave it up to each individual to decide for themselves. If we used that method to make laws making some actions criminal and some not, there would be total chaos.

        I can't agree with the concept that EVERYBODY is mentally ill, ALL the time (ABnormal, as some here seem to want to say). Everybody may experience PERIODS of depression, mood disorders, or any other of the disorders included in the DSM (or any other countries diagnostic criteria). But I doubt seriously that any expert in the field would say that the entire population of the world at any given time is mentally ill (ABnormal) all at the same time. If that is the case, there is no need to worry about trying to solve any problems at all. Nobody would be "normal" enough to make any good decisions to begin with.
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    Oct 13 2012: People usually feel comfortable with someone they know, someone from which they can predict how he or she will react and behave. People that are strange are less comfortable and more so if you know you can't know what to expect from their behavior.
    Because of a history where strange people were displayed and presented as creeps and dangerous freaks (Within English literature more than anywhere, I think.) people anticipate likewise.
    It would be a good thing as this stupid way of portraying people was replaced by a realistic view and some attention was given to the hardship of living life with these kinds of handicaps,
  • Oct 13 2012: I was told, many yrs. ago, that those who went into the mental health field do so to "heal" themselves. Since then, many in the field have confirmed that through their own words. I have no idea if a survey has been done on that but it could be surprising & enlightening.
    I agree, in part, with Barry Palmer. It's all about the level of the person's disorder. But even mild levels can cause discomfort in some people.
    We all have at least a touch of some sort of disorder, mainly cause there is no such thing as "normal". That is what makes us all different & unique. Having a flaw, so to speak, can be attractive to some & a turn off to others.
    Many great developments have been created by folks who were not considered "normal".
    To be honest, being around a so called normal person, would make me uneasy.
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      Oct 13 2012: Interesting point about people who go into the mental health field.. I wonder how true that is for all specialties?

      I think that mental health disorders do form part of a spectrum in certain conditions, but I'm not sure I see the same representation in others. Those who suffer with disorders of mood - depression, bipolar affective disorders seem to be in a different category to those who suffer from a change in their ability to think logically (such as with schizophrenia) and/or respond to imagined, non-existent stimuli.

      If we look at mood disorders as sitting on a spectrum of "normal", I guess where things change is where it interfers with your usual function - which can vary by the individual. There tends to be a time factor as well, because the longer you suffer from lack of energy, lack of enjoyment from things you normally enjoy etc, the more likely it is, I suppose, that you will become more withdrawn from the environment you have previously become used to --> and where you enter a stage that intervention, becomes increasingly necessary to help.
  • Oct 13 2012: I am not really trying to start an argument, but ...

    I get the impression that some of you have the expectation that educated and informed people should feel comfortable around people with mental disorders. To me, that does not seem like a reasonable expectation. People with mental disorders are different from those who do not have mental disorders. Increasingly, the concept of mental disorder is being limited to people who are harmful, either to themselves or others. It just does not seem reasonable to expect people to be comfortable around people who are harmful. Certainly, there are levels of discomfort, from very mild up to severe. Personally, when introduced to someone with a mental disorder, my discomfort is rather mild; I am more wary and more reticent. I would find it completely understandable if others would feel more discomfort.

    The stigma issue is very different. Much of the stigma attached to mental disorders seems to be based on fear that is out of all proportion to the facts. The stigma might be reduced by education and spreading the attitude of judging individuals as individuals.
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    Oct 11 2012: (Quote from topic narrative): "...what experiences have made you more comfortable with it?"

    Early in my professional military career I volunteered for a position of responsibility involving the training of people. Part of the job was to place those people in safe yet "stressful" situations to evaluate their ability to handle stress effectively. I received limited formal training in psychology related to it, but became fascinated by the overall subject. I ended up personally reading the DSM (called something different back then) and it was very enlightening to me. Since then, I periodically read the updated versions of the DSM, such as the upcoming DSM-5 that will be released next year.

    I am by no means a certified expert in psychology or psychiatry, but just having the CURRENT knowledge associated with it allows me (most of the time!) to avoid the pitfalls of many of the symptoms of things like what Fritzie described...the "Mood Disorders" section of it. Also to have a better understnding of why some people act the way they do. I still catch myself falling prey to the hazards of things like "mood disorders" myself, but they are easier to identify within myself when they happen. We are all still Human, and will do Human-silly stuff occassionally.

    I think it is important to understand that anything descibed as a "mental illness" requires that there first be a foundation of "normal" to compare that mental illness to. Somebody...or a group of somebody's...has to define what "normal" is in the first place. Try to do that with 7 Billion "specimins" inhabiting the planet, and it can be challenging at best.

    It's also important to realize that whatever we decribe as a "mental illness" today is constantly being updated as we acquire new information and understanding about Human physiology and brain function. An example is the projected changes to the upcoming release of the DSM-5 and the reasons given for those changes.
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      Oct 13 2012: There is no norm to compare with for everyone is unique but those that can't follow the rules and ways we set up in society because of their mental impairments need some help.
      If you maybe experience some mood swings that doesn't make you a bipolar but if your can't cope within society and life becomes a mess because of it than it is something more.
      Every trait you name as found with mental health disorders anybody sometimes ever had but if you hear the radio speaking to you to jump out of the window as one of my kids once did it is something different altogether.
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        Oct 13 2012: Agree with everything you said as it applies to a person's ability to follow rules and cope with other members of society.

        But there are some things applicable solely to the determination of an individual's own well-being (mentall health), like suicidal tendancies, that may need to be addressed differently. Yes, it can be said that the suicide prone individual is not "coping" well if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts. But no amount of societal rules may change that person's behavior. From a mental health standpoint, the suicidal "thoughts" could be physiological in nature, unique to the individual, caused by abnormal levels of the hormone seritonin for instance, which can be a contributing cause of depression, which is directly related to suicidal tendancies.

        It's important to remember there are two "primary" disciplines associated with mental health treatment. Psychologists seek behavior change by conducting counseling without the use of medication. Most psychologists can not issue a prescription for medication to a patient (it depends on the State in the U.S.). On the other hand, psychiatrists can deal with the possible physiological aspects of the mental illness, and prescribe medication to assist in the treatment. Those are two very different ways of approaching mental health treatment, and there are "norms" in some of them.

        But even more, there are Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Clinical Social Workers, and Psychiatric or Mental Health Nurses.

        And all of those disciplines rely on the use of the same criteria to define the mental illness...the DSM publication.
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          Oct 14 2012: I wasn't talking about suicidal thoughts but psychosis.

          Psychologist aren't allowed in our country to prescribe medications and are in general not of much help.

          Apart from brain disorders a lot of people are mentally damaged, that's where a psychologist can do some good.
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    Oct 11 2012: It's everywhere but mostly it's silent.
  • Oct 11 2012: Just growing older has shone me that all are insane....except me. So have no problem with mental disorders.
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      Oct 12 2012: Oh good , whew becouse if you had a problem with, you'd be asked to debate which order is better, mine or yours and if you won you will going to debate with another one until we are all ordered in behaviour and we gonna have such a "fun" until we get asleep all coordinated by just pressing your nose. Have fun :).
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    Oct 11 2012: You chase and follow the monkey or dance with your friends and people. I chosed already :)
  • Mats K

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    Oct 11 2012: Mainly technology, the possibility to cure most mental disorders. And people like Gabor Maté, Robert Sapolsky and James Gilligan who truly understands where mental disorder stem from.
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      Oct 11 2012: Explain more becouse mainly this is the problem "technology" and see my other posts you will understand the reason.
      • Mats K

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        Oct 12 2012: Technological advances gives me hope. With nanotech we can (soon) reorganize the synapses in the brain, without any side-effects, and restore the brain functionality to a healthy and productive brain. Not only that, we can also repair damages brain tissue with the advent of stem cells.

        But, a healthy brain is not done by technology alone. As a behaviorist, I believe that peoples values and psyche is a product of environment as well. So in order to have healthy people, you need a healthy society/environment that nurtures people and provides the necessities of life with minimal stresses and physical and mental strain.
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          Oct 13 2012: That's really interesting, haven't heard about that sort of nanotechnology! Can you point us to any particular articles/publications?