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photo-325Yesterday, I was in an out of the pharmacy in less than an hour at my local public hospital where I get healthcare on a sliding scale basis. My scripts are 2 bucks apiece and each visit to the outpatient psych clinic  is only $15. This is not brought to me by Obamacare, the insurance scam of the century, but Artists Access, a health program created for artists in NYC.

I have a 5-10 minute psych visit every two months to get my prescriptions paired with a quick, obligatory psychology visit every three months to make sure I remain stable.

So 4 scripts at $2 each = $8 + shrink at $15 =$23 + psychologist at $15 =$38 a month for my mental health care. This is exactly as it should be! Not forcing me to pay $500+ monthly under Obamacare and then on top of that paying out a yearly deductible, plus co-pays for doctor visits and also medications that, of course, are not in the formulary. This is why I will not join Obamacare and will instead pay a penalty of a few hundred bucks – it’s still less than a month of a bogus insurance premium.

I know most folks mental healthcare is not so inexpensive or straight forward, I know that. Mine hasn’t been in the past and may not be again in the future. But for now, I’m very grateful for this program which provides me with good care at an affordable price.

 

http://www.freeimages.co.ukIt’s a constant effort to ensure journalists, including writers at “progressive”, reputable and even “venerable”publications, use correct language when describing people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

The “people first” language guidelines ere greatly expanded in the midst of the terrible, initial (and subsequent) reporting about HIV/AIDS. Calling everyone with an illness a “patient” diminishes greatly (or completely demolishes) our agency as individuals and raises questions about our veracity and reliability. This also implies we are not believable sources or reliable narrators.

The AP Stylebook added guidelines about reporting on people diagnosed with mental illness in early 2013. http://www.ap.org/Content/Press-Release/2013/Entry-on-mental-illness-is-added-to-AP-Stylebook.

And, there are expanded resources for those journalists interested in fair, accurate, and responsible reporting on the topic:

Journalists and other writers can find plenty of other resources and guidelines online and from professional writers organizations.

 

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Reader Responses
“If anybody is looking for Prozac Nation 15 years later, please, please check out Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies & Suicide by Stephanie Schroeder. I read it in one day and for anybody who…suffers from depression, anxiety problems, and/or bi-polar this book will reaffirm and comfort you.”

“…this is such an important message you have to share! By being brave enough to open your heart to speak about your experiences, many people can be helped and healed. A book like this, coming from a place of bravery and honesty can help people of all backgrounds.”

“Just got off the phone with a young gay patient to whom I recommended your book. He saw his own situation in your experience with that doc and it “hit me like a ton of bricks.” He said he realized it isn’t his condition keeping him from doing his own thing, it’s the negative caretaker in his life telling him he can’t. He’s finally agreed to therapy with medication, something his lover has discouraged. Just so you know. Mega thanks. This is huge.”

“Hi, I just had to write you..I spent the night reading your book from beginning to end and WOW, you are such a strong, beautiful woman with such a powerful story to tell. Thank you, Steph the story of you is so touching…so many of us can relate to what you’ve been through.. Congrats and…keep up the good work sista!!!!!”

“Illuminating book. Amazing. I saw far too much of myself in it and had to take a long walk this morning. I hope you continue to write about your life for those of us who can’t, whether we lack the talent, courage, or for other reasons. Hugs. Thanks again for the book.”

“This is an amazing book I’m reading for the second time. I have ADHD and a learning disorder so it’s hard for me to read front to cover but I am hooked. Hat’s and shirts off to you Ms. Stephanie Schroeder, your words, wisdom and honesty bring much inspiration and enlightenment.”

“Just finished your book. Amazing trip that I unfortunately RAN through – started last night and am now done… Hungry for more of your writing. Even though there were many passages that were terribly hard to read because they were just too vivid and I could breathe them myself. Brava!”

“I think that it is a very brave thing to do to write a memoir like that. To tell your story just the way it happened without editing any “ugly” parts (like suicide attempts) away. Because then it would not be YOUR story, it would have been an edited version!  It was so inspirational. I felt that the key message was that it is never too late to get help and find the happiness and love that you deserve!”

“Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your book! I’m glad you brought so many things to light… really gave me some insight into some of my own relationships! ”

 

 

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Please support the amazing “KINGS PARK: Stories From An American Mental Institution” – screening at The 10th Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival in Brooklyn, NY at St. Francis College on Sunday, May 18th @ 2:15 pm. Talk with the Filmmakers will follow screening.

FOR MORE INFO, see here.

How I hate April 25th!

I know today new babies will be born, others will celebrate their birthdays, and there will be other good news. April 25th just arrives abruptly every year to remind that Ken died on this day – now four years ago.

Grief is often so very solitary…

I think of Ken so often, and I am researching a book about him.

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Among his former colleagues in New York City, I’ve already had correspondence about Ken with iconic designer Milton Glaser and former NYT art director (for 33 years!) Steve Heller. Both told me they didn’t have much to say, except that they were big fans of Ken’s work.

I am looking forward to meeting, in The Netherlands, his friends and colleagues from the several decades he spent in Holland until his death. Here is a little snippet of a note Ken’s friend Ton sent me a few years ago:

Ken Rinciari passed away on Sunday the 25th of April 2010, his cremation was on the 29th at the crematorium of Driehuizen-Westerveld in The Netherlands. Ken was suffering from cancer that he pretty much kept to himself. He would not talk about it but his good friend Dawn Bremner from Alkmaar took great care of him. She deserves a lot of credit for that.

 

Trailer for SEMPER EST SPERARE, a documentary shot in the past year with volunteers from around the world telling their personal stories.

Through the Years

Originally posted on Respite through Writing:

By Anne Schroeder

I in no way think my sister’s story is mine.  But our lives are entwined.  I believe anything that has been hard for me has been a million times harder for her.  But I haven’t lived her experience; I’ve only lived mine.  The timeline is jumbled in my mind, but these are things I remember.

Looking back at our teen years, I can see my older sister’s illness.  I didn’t know at the time.  No one talked about stuff like this.  There was no Oprah show.

My sister stops speaking to me.  I don’t know it’s because she is in an abusive relationship and struggling with mental health issues.  I wish I would have known.

 After a number of years, my sister reaches out to me, but it is off and doesn’t go well.

She tries to reconnect but doesn’t really know how.  I don’t understand what…

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