Posts Tagged ‘chronic mental illness’


“A deeply personal account of the difficulties faced by people suffering from mental illness… Schroeder’s brutally honest memoir reveals the extraordinary effort required to take control of one’s mental and emotional health.” –Publishers Weekly

“A riveting and painfully honest account, Beautiful Wreck not only demonstrates the importance of humor and perseverance in the face of mental illness, but also affirms the power of self-reinvention.” -Kaitlin Bell Barnett, author of Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up

“I highly recommend this candid memoir, particularly for Schroeder’s strong voice that successfully balances life’s darkest moments with humor.” Persephone Magazine

“Brave and relentless, a courage to do it all that astounds one. To write it all down. But that is what I have come to expect from Stephanie Schroeder. I have known her some 25 years and watched what she has done with her life: journalism, law; wonderful what she has been through; to hell and back again. A survivor. Always with a sense of humor, a jauntiness that says to hell with ordinary opinion.”  -Kate Millett, author of Sexual Politics

Written with humor, insight, perception, courage–a much needed work from a talented writer.” -Joan Nestle, activist, archivist & author of A Restricted Country and A Fragile Union

The memoir is now de rigeur, a rite of passage for middle-aged writers. To make one’s story stand out, it must stand up—to scrutiny, to deconstruction, to other people’s revisionism. Beautiful Wreck stands up—it’s the raw, honest, balls out (ovaries out?), in-your-face lesbian version of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces without the lying and posturing. Schroeder takes us, in real time and retrospectively, on the trip through “comfort suicide”—the belief that death can be an answer to depression. She explicates how normative emotional pain so severe it makes you want to die can become. Fortunately, three attempts with no success were the charm; that dark round-trip down the river Styx brings Schroeder back irrevocably to life at its deepest, fullest and most inspirational. This is what survival is, and Schroeder lays it bare. -Victoria A. Brownworth, award-winning author, Too Queer: Essays from a Radical Life and Coming Out of Cancer

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DSM“The world’s biggest mental health research institute is abandoning the new version of psychiatry’s “bible” – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disordersquestioning its validity and stating that “patients with mental disorders deserve better”. This bombshell comes just weeks before the publication of the fifth revision of the manual, called DSM-5.

On 29 April, Thomas Insel, director of the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), advocated a major shift away from categorising diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia according to a person’s symptoms. Instead, Insel wants mental disorders to be diagnosed more objectively using genetics, brain scans that show abnormal patterns of activity and cognitive testing.

This would mean abandoning the manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that has been the mainstay of psychiatric research for 60 years.” (Source: New Scientist: Psychiatry divided as mental health ‘bible’ denounced)

This move is being heralded as great news in the “survivor” community. But, I want to know who in the hell will pay for the brain scans and cognitive testing the NIMH is recommending as diagnostics?! Let’s get real, this is yet another way to pass the buck on treatment of mental illness! Most claims by the US government regarding the improvement/advancement of mental healthcare is extremely insincere  and aimed to keep/place the burden of mental health care square on the shoulders (and wallets) of those with a mental illness.

Honestly, my brain scans have been non-events. No doctor would never know I have Tourette syndrome, let alone have struggled with severe depression and bipolar EVER by looking at the results of my brain imaging!

Of course, I don’t like the idea of any sort of “bible”. I think the DSM began as merely a set of guidelines that have been extremely helpful for a lot of doctors and a lot of folks with psychiatric disorders as well as abused to no end by the medical establishment and extremely destructive for a helluva lot of women and many, many members of my LGBT family, too.

Also, see The Walrus: Mind Games for some interesting reading on this.

What are your thoughts on the possible demise of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual?

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So, I’ve evened out having been back on Abilify for four days. It’s kind of amazing how fast it took effect.

I saw my therapist yesterday to discuss some things. She said that in the 5/6 years she has been seeing me she never really knew what all the medication I take was doing, exactly. She said she never knew the “old” (read: crazy) Stephanie and that since I am usually very together she has been curious whether/why I need so much (I don’t think it’s “that much”) medication.

Well, she saw it yesterday, muted from the past week, but we had been in touch by phone and text. So now she knows: I NEED the meds. And, fortunately, I have found a way to get free Abilify! I’m not telling how…I would totally share if it would help anyone else procure their meds, but it’s a singular solution and I don’t want to reveal it.

I’d like to hear how others muscle through the hard patches. Please post to the comments section – it helps all of us! Thanks.

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Here’s an interesting post from the black & white cookie, which explains why bipolar individuals CANNOT stop their meds! Meds 4 Life

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Mental health: What’s normal, what’s not

I don’t at all dig the use of “normal” as the antithesis of mentally ill, but this article is pretty right on about symptoms and the very small margin between everyday “jitters” and negativity vs. clinical mental illness, including chonic anxiety and other diseases. And mental illnesses ARE diseases NOT disorders!

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Read here about how to prepare for –and perhaps avoid– depressive episodes (or any other type of chronic recurring mental illness).

I have to admit I’m in a place–and have been for a few weeks–where I am just holding it together. I’ve got everyone on board: my therapist, my shrink, my girlfriend, my family of friends an, to some extent, my bio family.  I know my triggers and lots of them are coming up. However, at this point in my life and therapy (both cognitive and pharmaceutical) I am better able to be aware of the changes going on both in my life and in my brain and cope with them in an informed manner.

I hope this column helps anyone who needs and reads it!

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