Posts Tagged ‘mental health’


“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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rocks in my pockets poster image

The phenomenal animated feature “Rocks In My Pockets” is debuting on VOD & DVD January 29! Be the first among your family and friend to see this exceptional movie – check in here to http://ykr.be/lcl6hb8ls pre-order both rentals and purchases of the film.

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Book cover


  1. Katy
  2. Lisa
  3. Iliana 
  4. Kitty
  5. Ann 
  6. Megan
  7. Jane 
  8. Doris
  9. DeAnna
  10. Sylwia

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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.

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50 bd candlesWriting my annual birthday/World Suicide message is getting “old.” I guess because I no longer find myself in the very dark spaces I once occupied. I feel so distanced from that person who was not-me for 42 years.

Now, at 50 years of age, and living happily, healthily, and according to my own needs and desires, I am no longer at the mercy of an unpredictable and invisible illness that torments and controls me. Rather, I control my illness.

It’s still very poignant to me, reflecting in my 50th year on World Suicide Prevention Day that I survived. And that my 37 year old, 39 year old, and 42 year old selves felt the need to kill the pain by killing the person. MY person. But that was the Stephanie who was not-me.

Folks ask me if I regret those 42 years. I don’t and won’t live in regret, or lament regularly what I did in the past. I will live for the moment and take everything day by day, eagerly approaching life — and myself — creatively and with great care.  Because I AM me.

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Stephanie Schroeder photo QMI’ve been trying to get in touch with my former therapist for several weeks. I’m feeling quite healthy and happy, more than ever, and I just want to thank her and let her know.

I’ve recovered from bipolar disorder. I’m not even going to deal with “remission” because I’m not feeling like I could even go to the darkest places I have already been ever again under any circumstances.

We’ve been exchanging texts and brief telephone messages, my former therapist and I, but I’m really feeling the need to speak to her directly. To tell her that eight years of CBT have really worked and  I’m really well and quite happy even though the day I came in to see her for the first time I never thought I could be even content.

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Check out my post on GoodTherapy.org about how writing, for me, has been a therapeutic and life-saving experience.

Following is the “grabber” generated to accompany my post to pique readers’ interest and attention. I think it’s accurate, but a bit melodramatic: In a turbulent journey of partner abuse and violence, depression, bipolar, and suicidal ideation, writing was my constant, therapeutic solace. 

Happy reading!

(I’d love to read your feedback in the comments section.)

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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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recoveryI am asked a lot  about whether I think I have recovered from bipolar disorder. I say yes, but I always get a queasy feeling along with my affirmative answer. It’s because we (or at least I ) have been socialized and led to believe there is no recovery from  mental illness. Plus, some stupid buzz-kill must show up to remind me there is always a potential for relapse.

I said this to a new friend, a sister traveler in the consumer world, recently. “That’s ridiculous,” she said, “if you recover from the flu you can still get it again, but you’ve still recovered.” Now, I don’t usually like comparisons between physical illness and psychic pain, but this made a lot of sense to me.  As we discussed the issue further, I became more comfortable in what I already knew in my gut: It is possible to recover from bipolar disorder for some people and I am one of them.

I did a presentation for some drama therapy students a month or so ago. One of the facilitators is a social worker on an inpatient unit at a large metropolitan hospital. He said the team he works with never (NEVER) thinks in terms of recovery, only remission and relapse. He reflected on this, said he never really considered recovery for his patients and that upon momentary reflection about my discussion of recovery, it was interesting to think about and also pretty fucked up, too, to operate only in a space of perpetual illness.

Now, of course all people don’t recover, and folks recover at different levels, different times, different ways,etc. But, with THE WORD from the top  (the ‘helping’ professions) being that we cannot recover, well, then, there you go. We. Cannot. Recover.

But FUCK THAT! I don’t believe there is no recovery from mental illness, and neither do a lot of folks I talk to, read, agree with, disagree with, and otherwise. So, today is a new day of believing, affirmatively, that I am recovered, and I will stand my ground with anyone who tries to tell me otherwise.

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5_23 Mental Health Care A Painful Legacy Today's Crisis Presented by Paradigm Shift NYC-1PARADIGM SHIFT: NYC’S FEMINIST COMMUNITY PRESENTS


Screening & Discussion with LUCY WINER, Filmmaker of “Kings Park: Stories from an American Mental Institution” and STEPHANIE SCHROEDER, Activist & Author “Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies, and Suicide”

Trailer of Kings Park

Thursday, May 23, 2013

6:30-9:15 PM

The Tank- 151 W. 46th St. (b/t 6th & 7th Ave) 8th Floor, NYC 10036

elevator access

Subway: N,R,Q to 49th St. or B,D,F,M to Rockefeller Center

Cost: $12 pre-paid, $15 at door



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