As awareness spreads about there being something wrong with existing approaches to “psychosis” aka “madness,” interest grows in exploring what to do instead…This conference promises to stand out in terms of the variety of voices, perspectives, approaches and traditions that it will bring together to focus on the deeper issue of how helpers can best understand and interact with those experiencing what is called psychosis. … [click on title to read and view more]
By Jacqueline Gunn, PsyD and Brent Potter, PhD
This work stands out as distinct from all other books written on ‘borderline personality disorder’ and other so-called psychiatric diseases. We do not assume that BPD is what is outlined in the DSM and the literature on psychopathology. At no time do we refer to it as a diagnosis or psychiatric disease. This is why you will repeatedly see ‘borderline personality disorder’ in single quotation marks. It isn’t a thing, like a disorder residing solely in the brain organ of an individual. An individual only takes up possibilities disclosed to him or her by the cultural-historical environment. To say otherwise would be to say that the individual creates them out of nothing which, of course, would be absurd. Since distressing states of mind are variations of common human experience, they are expressed in typical ways. For these reasons, we do not consider ‘borderline personality disorder’ in a decontextualized fashion. … [click on title to read and view more]
When we are emotionally dysregulated or in an otherwise emotionally reactive state we act impulsively and without consciousness or interest about consequences because we want relief from that momentarily intolerable emotional state. We cannot imagine an alternative in that moment. Until consciousness comes to such behavior we effectively have no choice. … [click on title to read and view more]
Writing has most certainly helped me profoundly, so I’m posting this in the interest of sharing yet another possibility for a healing method and practice. I have dozens of them at this point. Practices. We all have different ways of finding out how to live well. Expression of some sort seems to be vitally important for most if not all people. … [click on title to read and view more]
The idea of food and local herbs as medicine mostly dried up after world war II. Processed foods, microwave dinners, industrialized agriculture and shopping markets filled with food from far away started to dominate the Western landscape. Food became veryimages bland and tasteless. The notion that food was the essential medicine was overwhelmed by the idea that medicine was found in a drug.
The psychiatric revolution really began in earnest in the 50’s at the same time that industrial farming took off. The first antipsychotic known as thorazine was synthesized in 1950 and was given to people who were deemed psychotic or labeled with schizophrenia. Interestingly, this first widely prescribed psychiatric drug was first developed as a pesticide to kill parasites in pigs. … [click on title to read and view more]
The idea of “Being with what is” — my favorite mantra is also shared here. I’ve come to believe all fear and terror and anxiety is essentially the same…even that which gets pathologized by psychiatry. All fear is experienced in the body on a physiological spectrum, let’s say. So it will all respond to this sort of framing. It has for me in any case. As someone who has dealt with the iatrogenic injury from psychiatric drugs I can speak to this. Even the heinous iatrogenic terror I’ve dealt with as a result of acute psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome which seems to be a variety of extreme and complex PTSD, responds to these methods, though, clearly it can take a long time and a lot of work. I write about how I started doing that in baby steps here. That journey continues since the reprograming of the neural networks take time given the sort of brain injury the drugs incurred. … [click on title to read and view more]
Frankly, I need some “negative” energy from time to time…it keeps me grounded…here’s to celebrating the whole spectrum of being human!
Because, to be clear, there is some heavy shit going down on this planet and to not struggle with that reality is to be in denial. Denial of that might be the end of us all..we are human and what we’ve managed to create by being who and what we are is nightmarish and lovely and amazing all…
I just found this quote: “Keep inviolate an area of light and peace within you.” — Corazon Aquino
and there-in lies the trick to working with the negative…we must indeed find a source to sustain us…while not denying the dark…so that in embracing the dark transformation can happen. Alchemy. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Every moment is spiritual. Every moment is ordinary. The ecstatic, the mundane. The pleasurable, the painful. Same/same. I have found some measure of delight and freedom, both, in that realization. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
A total, an enriching revolution cannot take place unless you and I understand ourselves as a total process. You and I are not isolated individuals but are the result of the whole human struggle with its illusions, fancies, pursuits, ignorance, strife, conflict, and misery. One cannot begin to alter the condition of the world without understanding oneself. If you see that, there is immediately within you a complete revolution, is there not? Then no guru is necessary because knowledge of oneself is from moment to moment, it is not the accumulation of hearsay, nor is it contained in the precepts of religious teachers. Because you are discovering yourself in relationship with another from moment to moment, relationship has a completely different meaning. Relationship then is a revelation, a constant process of the discovery of oneself, and from this self-discovery, action takes place. So, self-knowledge can come only through relationship, not through isolation. Relationship is action, and self-knowledge is the result of awareness in action … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Therapists and psychiatrists: your patients and clients need love. Can you give them that?
Someone in the comments said, that no, they do not offer their clients love because it breaks ethical codes. My response to her was this: love doesn’t break, indeed, cannot break, any ethical code…that is a misunderstanding of what love is. If love breaks a rule on the other hand, perhaps it needed to be broken!! Love is the highest ethic there is! … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Originally posted on In Sanity:
As a mental health advocate, I feel that it is important to debunk some myths about notions of recovery, and about what someone who is “recovered” should look like. It is essential that I not only speak from the point of view of role model, or of one who has…
The below sentiment is true about learning to live well in general whether you’re thinking of things in terms of spirituality or not. For example we would be much better served if we were told by mental health professionals from the very beginning to trust ourselves rather than anyone telling us what to do. Instead, the entire system is fraught with the infantilization of the client…this is (in general) true of both psychology and psychiatry as currently practiced. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness … [click on title for the rest of the post]
I’ve posted several times now about Bessel van der Kolk’s work. Below are some quotes from his book ” The Body Keeps the Score,” that Laura K. Kerr selected. She is currently reading the book. I look forward to her writing on her thoughts about the book when she completes it. She writes wonderful posts on […]
Healing for me has been more about learning to live well than about finding the right healing method or technique. For me what that might be varies everyday, in fact. So that learning to listen to my body/mind/spirit complex is much more important than habitual and rote healing methods. Everything changes everyday for me. Nothing remains the same. Getting attached to what might be perceived as “healthy” habits by others can be detrimental for me. In the state of high dysregulation that the iatrogenic injury from psychiatric drugs caused what is helpful one day becomes unhelpful the next. Ah! What a lesson in listening. How important it becomes to practice non-attachment. The rug gets pulled from under the feet daily. Truly, it’s been an amazing opportunity (if also sometimes highly frustrating) in not attaching to anything. And thus it’s been a great teacher about the nature of reality which also changes in every instance. Nothing is permanent. All is transient. As I heal all this becomes simpler. But this particular healing process has had a very sharp and very long learning curve. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
I went to a NAMI meeting tonight and my story came out (the guest speaker knew who I was and asked me to introduce myself — as the author of Beyond Meds — being the subject of the meeting was psych drug withdrawal) Telling my story in a NAMI gathering was a rather intense and scary thing. I would not have chosen to expose myself that way, but given that it happened it was very interesting. Those folks don’t want to hear my story. (at least the ones that were vocal) It seems to be very threatening to them. I told them that their story is valid and so is mine. Not either/or, but both can be true. That idea seems to make people’s head explode and people on both sides of the divide don’t like hearing that actually. Which is interesting in general. What I personally didn’t like about being in that position was that this group of people project all their terror — I must be wrong. I must be mentally ill — I left feeling empowered but I was also shaking. Visibly. So yeah, that was a trip … [click on title for the rest of the post]
By Jon Keyes
In the early 90′s, I went through a profound experience of psychosis, a complete and radical change of my consciousness from a state of relatively normal perception and comprehension to a state of deeply unsettling confusion, anxiety with a persistent altered mind frame. Thoughts were easily jumbled. I alternated between periods of frenetic excitability and then spiraled into deep despair and hopelessness. Social interactions could often be torturous to the point where isolation often felt like a good answer. I felt like I was cracking, coming apart. On a deeper level, I believed something had happened to me, changed me; that something possessed me. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
As most of you know by now, I like mixing it up. Well, really, I NEED to mix it up. My body wants and needs something different everyday. I woke up a couple of days ago and wanted to dance but I also felt like I needed some yoga, so I did a search on youtube with yoga and dance in the search query. I got this lovely little short but intense workout and it was exactly what I needed. It’s really fun and very different from the usual sort of classes I take.
I’ve not been able to go to yoga or tai chi classes much lately because my stamina for the physical just isn’t there for classes. I don’t see this as a set back. I see it as my body very wisely allocating it’s energy. I’m doing a lot of really deep contemplative somatic work which is large internal but demands a lot of energy. Exercise remains critically important but I have to exercise smart. I have been doing small bursts of intense stuff and longer gentle slow walks, for example. I’m ready for this need to change any time, since that is how my healing goes. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
To be totally honest, I don’t know who I am. And I don’t think people ever will know who they are. We have to be humble enough to learn to live with this mysterious question. Who am I?
I am a mystery to myself. I am someone who is in this pilgrimage from the moment that I was born to the day to come that I’m going to die. So, what I have to do is to honor this pilgrimage through life. And so I am this pilgrim who’s constantly amazed by this journey
By Will Hall
Dear Post-traumatic Disorders Program, Psychiatric Institute of Washington,
A close and dear friend is dead.
She was a patient at your hospital, and a few days ago she sent me this text:
“I left the trauma program after 48 hours. I was appalled at the environment, the terrible therapy and being treated like a prisoner. I went there looking for healing and support and found the experience even more traumatic. Western mental health systems are dehumanizing and insane.”
That was the last message I ever received from her. I got a call that my friend’s body was found in the river: she drowned herself. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
I enjoyed this. I don’t know this guy or what he does beyond this video. I’m clear that we are all desperately in need of play in a world where children play on computers rather than outside. These are all different ways to get to know the body and have fun too. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
The Autoimmune Summit: may help anyone with chronic illness, including protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal
A lot of people with protracted withdrawal issues are likely to have some sort of auto-immunity issue. It’s worth learning about auto-immune disease if you have chronic illness of any kind since mainstream doctors don’t even look for it quite often. This is a free online conference of sorts…it looks like a great way to get to know about this stuff if you don’t already. My healing protocols take into account auto-immune issues and much of what will be taught in this course informs my own healing process. IT’S FREE
There are some good doctors involved in this. Including one’s from whom I’ve learned a lot in my process. Beyond that I don’t really know more about this program than what I’m sharing. (just as a small disclaimer) I receive nothing for this post and share it only because I think it would be great for everyone to understand more about chronic illness and autoimmune disease. Both are far more common than most people realize and there are a lot of people who are sub-chronic in that with one more trigger they could get sick. We all need to tend to our health, always. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
I’m reposting this because I’ve been going through another backbend stage and I thought of this post from a while back. I like to help people see how easy yoga can be. You can start with something as simple as this and see where it takes you. Being a yogi is about listening to your body and learning from it and it really doesn’t matter if you can do really complicated poses or not. Start simple and see what happens. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Mental health-related stigma in health care and mental health-care settings: response to journal article
There is a study in the Lancet Psychiatry this month that looks at the high incidence of “stigmatization” towards those with psychiatric labels by MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. I respond below the excerpt with a piece based on my personal experience of such bigotry in the ranks of those charged to care for folks with diagnosis. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
How much of the ugly does it take to substitute for a lack of the beautiful? How many adventure films does it take to compensate for a lack of adventure? How many superhero movies must one watch, to compensate for the atrophied expression of one’s greatness? How much pornography to meet the need for intimacy? How much entertainment to substitute for missing play? It takes an infinite amount. That’s good news for economic growth, but bad news for the planet. Fortunately, our planet isn’t allowing much more of it, nor is our ravaged social fabric. … [click on title for the rest of the post]