Monday, November 23, 2009

I have been invited to speak at an annual gathering of 40 local mental health professionals and paraprofessionals. I am very excited since this provides me with the opportunity to share my anti-stigma campaign with people who work in the field. My ultimate goal is to have professionals use my documentary during the recovery process. Before I speak, I will display my canvas paintings along with accompanying audio (on headsets). I will also display my large scale posters of Joshua and talk about how family has played a large part in his recovery. 

I think it is important to take this opportunity to discuss my thoughts about the mental health system. My family (along with many others) have been shut out of treatment, especially during psychotic episodes. I think it will be good for professionals to understand what we experience from a very frightening and helpless point of view. Finally, I will present the first ever footage of my next documentary. I am no where near the end of editing (thanks to the pregnancy :), but I think a sneak peak will be a great way to show the professionals what to expect. I would like to thank Peter at Friendship House for giving me this opportunity to reach even more open minds! 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I think it's wonderful that more and more people are coming forward to fight stigma. I recently learned about the program "In Our Own Voice" through NAMI. This educational program allows people who have struggled with mental illness to be seen as courageous and confident individuals. Please read the following description of the program to learn more! I only hope that my work can make the same impact. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I have mentioned Perez Hilton before and his discriminating ways. Of course he is just a gossip columnist but what's worse is that he attracts millions of readers. This means his opinions could sway others who may not have developed a view on a particular subject. Perez is notorious for stereotyping those who seek medical help for any mental disorder. I find this very hypocritical coming from a man who is FIGHTING for the rights of gays and lesbians (which I agree with). You can't have it both ways Perez.

A few months ago, Mischa Barton was pretty much forced to explain a hospital stay since it involved being admitted to a psychiatric ward. When someone hears PSYCHIATRIC all those negative connotations come to mind. Connotations that have been fueled by stigma. This is sad to me since many people (including my brother) receive much needed treatment from this section of a hospital. Yet, the public continues to stereotype those who set foot into a psychiatric ward. This angers me too no end. Unfortunately, I've seen too many forgotten souls roaming the halls of these hospitals with little to no family support. Would family suddenly forget about their loved ones if they were suffering from cancer or heart disease? I think not. 

The following was posted on after Mischa made a comment about her hospital stay (copy in bold is from Perez).

""I went through a tough spot where everything compounded on me, and it was like a perfect storm, like everything was happening to me at once," says the wacktress. 

It seems that before Mischa was scheduled to begin filming her new CW show, Beautiful Life, she had done some extensive traveling on top of having a botched wisdom tooth surgery! And then she turned to coke?! Because they don't hospitalize or grant you a police escort for stress!!

"I had to get through it without proper painkillers because I couldn't take those during work," she says of the dental procedure. "So it's been a nightmare." "I was down in the dumps about everything there for a while," divulges Mushy. "Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom about things and have to get the most stressed out just to feel better again. I got completely stressed out and couldn’t handle everything, and now I feel really in control."

Because of her psychiatric stint at Cedar Sinai last month and we don't find it very convincing. We're not surprised life was difficult for her without drugs! Mischa denies she suffered a mental breakdown. Awww, honey. Denial is not one of the steps of recovery. The truth will set you free! Yeah, she might be OK. It's a slippery slope, though, when these starlets start to loose it. Welcome to the Mushy Mischa Meltodown Watch 2009!"

Why is it so convenient and acceptable to put someone DOWN for accepting medical treatment? I am sick of how we force shame onto an individual when it comes to any sort of mental health issue. It makes me sick but I will continue to try and change attitudes for the better. For now, I guess most people won't get it until they have experience the utter despair that results from either dealing with an unwanted mental disorder or watching a loved one fight everyday to manage their recovery. These individuals are courageous, yet no one is courageous enough to tell them so. WE HAVE TO END THE HATE.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I want to thank everyone for their well wishes. As you can see from the fuzzy image above, we are expecting our first baby in April. I am about 15 weeks and will find out if it's a girl or boy in a month.If it is a boy, I have decided to make his middle name Joshua (after my brother). He will have a great uncle:) 

As I take all my vitamins, get plenty of rest and exercise, I will always have in the following thought in the back of my mind. Will my child develop a mental illness? I do not fear this possibility because of shame, rather, I know what it is like to see someone you love struggle with a mental illness. In my parent's case, they were not aware that mental illness runs in the family. I think this is due to the fact that some relatives did not identify mental illness or ignored it (by chalking it up to strange behavior). In my case, my siblings are very aware and my immediate family is very open to discuss this topic (which I am grateful for). But once you are aware of a genetic link, it is only natural to have worries here and there. I am learning not to dwell on these thoughts because in the end, I do believe we are given what we can handle. All I can do is be prepared. 

I am so excited to raise my child with the awareness and sensitivity towards those who have a mental illness. My husband and I will have so much to teach and express. We look forward to immersing our child in culture, music, art, and so much more! I will keep you updated. Thank you again for your support, especially with my brother! It is nice to know he is not alone.

One last thing, I just heard that my brother may be working part time through a program with the hospital. I am so happy and proud of him!!