Monthly Archives: December 2011

When all is certain, there is no choice.

Certainty is a cruel mindset. It hardens minds against possibility and closes them to the world we actually live in. When all is certain, there is no choice. Ellen Langer

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I Need Attitudinal Healing

How many  people have you heard say, “It’s been a tough year. I’ll be glad to see 2011 go”? I’ve lost count.  I’ve said it myself. I tend to get caught up in reflections from the past and projections into the future both of which typically leave me awash in some mixture of anger, resentment, fear and sadness. When I get stuck in that mode of thinking, I become fixated on the idea that the source of and solution for these feelings must come from somewhere else.  Someone needs to apologize and atone for actions taken in the past. Someone needs to do more of something for me or to me. The world needs to change so that my life can be better. I would like to change but I can’t because these things have to happen first. Whatever it is, the solution doesn’t come from inside me and therefore I have no control over it.  That form of thinking is a deeply engrained part of my experience of depression. Read the rest of this entry

The Perils of Stigma Busting: Why I Hate the “NUT HOUSE”

When I started teaching Movies & Madness in 2004, I encouraged students to become vigorous advocates challenging “inaccurate and hurtful representations of mental illness” (NAMI).  I receive NAMI StigmaBuster Alerts by email and have taken action by writing letters and emails and making phone calls on many occasions.

VTB Crazy for You bear

In 2005, NAMI issued a StigmaBuster Alert arguing that the “Crazy for You Bear” offered by the Vermont Teddy Bear Company for Valentine’s Day was offensive and damaging largely because it minimizes, trivializes, and makes fun of the challenges faced by people with mental illness and their families every day. That year, thousands of people, myself included, wrote letters to the Vermont Teddy Bear Company asking that the company stop selling the bear and that the CEO of the company resign from the board of a large hospital.  While VTB pulled advertising for the bear, it continued to sell it throughout the peak Valentine’s season.  The company apologized saying it meant no harm or disrespect but continued to sell the bear. Eventually, the CEO did resign from Fletcher Allen Health Care’s Board amidst the flurry of negative publicity. Win. Right? Not entirely.

The backlash those of us who challenge such products or images face is often as vigorous and harsh as our protests. Read the rest of this entry

Taking Action

If I am worried about a friend, I would rather be aggressive and wrong than passive and right.

Sometimes I Forget to Remember

It has been tough couple of months. Not only have I had to fight through the usual seasonal transition to the early darkness of fall but I have been facing a number of additional stressors that have allowed my depression to do more than lurk in the back of my mind.

All the while, I have been forgetting the lessons I learned while in therapy so many years ago. Read the rest of this entry

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