Sunday, December 30, 2012

Psychotic is Not a Dirty Word!

The direction of this blog post just took a quick turn when I visited, as well as and looked up the terminology “Psychotic” as well as “Psychosis”. I was originally going to give a brief background of psychosis knowing that I have already given much detail in the past and then discuss my own experiences with psychosis- which I have not yet done in detail on this blog. However, upon looking at the definitions that these particular websites furnish for such terminology, I find myself completely and utterly appalled and find the desire bring attention to these websites.

Before I get into the definitions, synonyms and antonyms that these websites provided for the terms psychotic and psychosis, I would like to begin by saying both of those terms are clinical terminology. Psychosis is a clinical term used to describe a set of symptoms that someone is experiencing and psychotic is the clinical term used to describe that someone is in a state of psychosis. Neither of these words are by any means derogatory or slang words and they should never be mistaken or used as so.

Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that can include the following:
  • Delusions: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is
  • Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren't there
  • Disorganized thought and speech
  • Disordered thinking: thoughts that jump quickly between unrelated topics

Psychosis or psychotic symptoms can be found in:
  • Most individuals with Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Some individuals with Bipolar Disorder
  • Some individuals with Personality Disorders
The following is taken directly from psychotic definition

1. Psychiatry. characterized by or afflicted with psychosis.  
Synonyms: (in nontechnical usage) insane, psychopathic, 
lunatic, mentally ill; mad, disturbed, deranged, demented, non compos mentis.  
Antonyms: sane; compos mentis, clearheaded, lucid
2. Psychiatry. of or relating to psychosis: psychotic symptoms; psychotic delusion.
3. (loosely) mentally unstable: The man who threw a stone through the convenience 
store window must be psychotic. Synonyms: loony, crazy, nutty, nuts, bonkers;
 kooky, cuckoo, daft, batty, screwy, potty.
4. intensely upset, anxious, or angry; crazy: My dad gets so psychotic when 
I come home even a little bit late.  
Synonyms: crazed, furious, enraged, wrathful, irate, incensed, infuriated; livid, pissed off.
5.Psychiatry. a person afflicted with psychosis. 
Synonyms: (in nontechnical usage) psychopath, madman, maniac, lunatic.
6. (loosely) someone who is mentally unstable: I always cross the street when 
I have to go past that homeless shelter; it's full of psychotics. 
Synonyms: nut, kook, cuckoo, loony, loon.

The following is taken directly from psychotic definition


Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: mentally deranged

Synonyms: certifiable, crazy, demented, distracted, flipped-out, 
insane, lunatic, mad, manic-depressive, mental, 
non compos mentis, nuts, off one's rocker, over the edge, 
psycho, psychopathic, schizophrenic, sick, 
unbalanced, unhinged

The following is taken directly from psychosis definition


Main Entry:
insanity  [in-san-i-tee]

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: mental illness; foolishness

Synonyms: aberration, absurdity, alienation, craziness, delirium, delusion, dementia, derangement, distraction, dotage, folly, frenzy, hallucination, hysteria, illusion, inanity, irrationality, irresponsibility, lunacy, madness, mania, mental disorder, neurosis, phobia, preposterousness, psychopathy, psychosis , senselessness, unbalance, unreasonableness, witlessness

balance, sanity, soundness, wellness

The following is taken directly from

Psychotic: having or showing a very abnormal or sick state of mind <the identity of the psychotic murderer known as the Zodiac Killer remains an intriguing puzzle>

Synonyms balmy, barmy bats, batty, bedlam, bonkers, brainsick, bughouse, certifiable, crackbrained, cracked, crackers, crackpot, cranky, crazed, crazy, cuckoo, daffy, daft, demented, deranged, fruity, gaga, haywire, kooky (also kookie), loco [slang], loony (also looney), loony tunes (or looney tunes), lunatic, mad, maniacal (also maniac), mental, meshuga (or meshugge also meshugah or meshuggah), moonstruck, non compos mentis, nuts, nutty, psycho, psychotic, scatty [chiefly British], screwy, unbalanced, unhinged, unsound, wacko (also whacko), wacky (also whacky), wud [chiefly Scottish]

Related Words dotty, fey, loopy, off, potty [chiefly British], teched (or tetched), touched; aberrant, delirious, delusional, delusionary, disordered, disturbed, neurotic, obsessive-compulsive, paranoiac (also paranoic), paranoid (also paranoidal), schizoid, schizophrenic, sociopathic; eccentric, odd, oddball, pixilated (also pixillated), queer, strange; foolish, senseless, witless; irrational, unreasonable; amok (or amuck), ape, ballistic, bananas, berserk, nuclear; depressed; distracted, distraught, frantic, frenzied, haywire, hysterical (also hysteric), raving, wigged-out; fixated, monomaniac, monomaniacal, obsessed

Near Antonyms clear, lucid, rational, reasonable; judicious, sensible, wise; healthy, normal, well-adjusted; unneurotic

Antonyms balanced, compos mentis, sane, sound, uncrazy

Reading these defintions, synonyms and antonyms absolutely infuriated me. Had I sat down and wrote this blog immediately after reading them without first digesting them, I would have just been spouting negativity, which would achieve absolutely nothing. After digesting what I read and giving myself a chance to think about it, here is what I came up with. These definitions are wrong and should not be on these web pages. Individuals go to these pages as a valid source for definitions of all kinds of words. These websites are doing nothing other than perpetuating the stigma associated with mental illness. Here is what I think we should do; we need to write letters to all three of these websites. I can't do it alone, there is something to be said about doing things in numbers, 1 person just isn't enough. I will gladly draft the letters but I need your help distributing them and personalizing them if you so choose. I plan to post this idea to my Facebook followers as well, which is over 800 followers at this point as well as others who hold pages just like my own. It is the job of those of us who live with a mental illness, love someone with a mental illness or just plain care about individuals with a mental illness to fight this fight when we find something the perpetuates the stigma. Are you with me? I need about 4 or 5 days to develop appropriate letters to address the situation and once I have developed it, I will post it on my blog, my Facebook page and will send it to others who have pages like mine who share the same stigma fighting passion as mine! Together, let's see if in numbers we can get those hateful definitions removed.

You will be hearing from me soon with a letter and the contact information! Thank you in advance for helping me fight a fight that is so important to me and all my loved ones!

Thank you for reading!

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

Saturday, December 15, 2012

CBT added to medication may be a better therapy

This is the link to a good article about how the addiction of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in addition to anti depressant medication could improve the outcome of treatment for individuals who are not fully medication responsive.

CBT added to medication may be a better therapy

Temple Grandin- Understanding autism

Treatment for Mental Illness Should be as Easy to Get as Guns

Article by: Treatment Advocacy Center

(Dec. 14, 2012) ARLINGTON, VA – Friday’s mass shooting that left nearly 30 dead in Connecticut – including 20 young children – is one of nearly a dozen 2012 rampages involving assailants with suspected mental health issues. The year appears on track to end with more victims of rampage killings than any year before.

“Our mental health system has completely failed individuals with severe mental illness and their communities,” said Doris A. Fuller, executive director. “We have emptied the nation's hospitals, gutted state and local mental health programs, and turned involuntary treatment into a debate point instead of using it as a viable option to prevent tragedy involving those too ill to help themselves.”

Federal law enforcement officials say Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother, Nancy, who worked at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 20 children and six adults. He was dead at the scene.

While the cause of Lanza's death and other details are still not known, the theme of untreated mental illness that so often characterizes rampage killings already has emerged. Neighbors have described Adam as “troubled for sure for a long time” and "displaying characteristics associated with mental illness." A relative told ABC News he was "obviously not well."

“Mental illness is a real disease that can be treated, and those who receive timely and effective treatment are no more dangerous than the general public," said Fuller. "Tragedies like Sandy Hook are often evidence of five decades of failed mental-health policies. Mental illness treatment laws and policies need to address this failure so people get help before they become dangerous and so the public is protected.”

Connecticut has an estimated 140,000 people with severe mental illness, of whom approximately one-half are untreated at any given time. It is one of only six states without a law authorizing court-ordered outpatient treatment for qualifying individuals with severe mental illness. Between 2005 and 2010, the state eliminated 17% of its public hospital beds, leaving it with only 43% of the number deemed minimally adequate to meet public needs, and has twice as many people with severe mental illness behind bars as in psychiatric hospital beds

Treatment Advocacy Center 

I will personally reflect on this article and the lack of access to mental health care in general either tomorrow or Monday- I am still letting it all sink in at the moment. -Kissing Stigma Goodbye-

Mental Health America: Mental Health America Mourns Victims of Newtown, Connecticut, Shootings

This is the link a good, insightful article written by Mental Health America.

Mental Health America: Mental Health America Mourns Victims of Newtown, Connecticut, Shootings

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Video: Schizophrenia Overview

Video: Bipolar Overview

NAMI | Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The following link is to a great article on NAMI's website about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Many of us with a mental illness suffer from SAD this time of year and many individuals who do not have a mental illness suffer from it as well.  It is a good read and worth checking out!

NAMI | Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Here is the story of another one of my readers...

The following is a story of one of my readers.  I have posted two previously from other readers in the recent weeks.  I am hoping to continue to post more stories of readers soon. I have a couple waiting to be posted but would like to post as many as possible.  If you would like to share your story with me, so that I can in turn share it with my readers please e-mail me at! Your story will be posted completely anonymously and I copy and paste stories exactly as they are sent to me.  I look forward to hearing from you! ~Sara~

I am a 39 year old twice divorced single mother.  I had my first inpatient stay for depression and anorexia when I was 17.  I spent 2 months in the hospital that time.  I think I was 22 when I had my first "bad" manic episode, although in retrospect, I had been having hypo-manic episodes all along, they just hadnt been recognized as such until then.  I also started having panic attacks around that time, so diagnosis was changed from depression to bipolar, and panic disorder was added.  Between the ages of 23 and 30 things evolved and changed back and forth between bipolar and schizoaffective disorder, as I have a psychotic feature that is inconsistent, but not just when I am manic.  Also, as the panic attacks got worse and worse, my world got smaller and smaller, and I became agoraphobic.  For two years I barely left my house, I didnt even check my own mail.  Then through therapy, I gradually started venturing out again.  First it was just to the front door, then the mailbox, then to the sidewalk, then the end of the lawn, then the I go most places, as long as I can get there without driving in heavy traffic or on the highway.  Driving on roads that I am unfamiliar with is still very difficult for me. Somewhere over the past 6 years, doctors have looked at accumulated medical records and decided that it wasnt enough to waffle between bipolar and schizoaffaffective, they thought it would be fun to throw borderline personality disorder into the pot.  I was resistant to this one for a while.  This one felt like more of a label, and felt like it came with more of a stigma.  The books I bought to learn about it talked about "to tell or not to tell"  and "when to share that I have this".   Made it feel like even the writers of the books knew it was some awful secret that I shouldnt share with my loved ones.  I hadnt encountered that as much when reading books about depression, bipolar, or panic disorder.  And the recommended treatment?  DBT, or dialectic behavioral therapy.  This wasnt just sitting in a therapist's office talking about my problems, this was what everyone warned me right off was going to be HARD WORK.  And I wanted nothing to do with it.    So for 4 years I declined DBT.  Then I decided to do it.  In 3 weeks I finish a 9 month intensive program, and while it certainly hasnt "fixed" me, it has given me an incredible number of skills to deal with whats broken in the first place.  Its a start.

I Am Not A Mental Illness!

I have Bipolar Disorder not I am Bipolar Disorder! It is an illness I have, it is not who I am. I say this all the time and  correct people all the time.

Keep Talking About Mental Health!

Please do! It is so very important to keep talking about it in order to raise awareness and understanding and fight stigma!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Here is the story of another one of my readers...

The following is a story of one of my readers.  I posted one from another reader a couple of weeks ago.  I am hoping to continue to post more stories of readers soon.  If you would like to share your story with me, so that I can in turn share it with my readers please e-mail me at! Your story will be posted completely anonymously.  I look forward to hearing from you! ~Sara~

As a teenager, I was a nice, happy, and energetic girl. I truly was standing on top of the world. I was an excellent student, an over-achiever, and ran my mouth a lot. I didn't get into much trouble, though. I really could do anything I wanted with minimal consequences, or so I believed. I started being sexually active when I was 15. (I say this only to highlight my symptoms). I was full of life and could do no wrong. The saying "anything you can do, I can do better" fits that point in my life. People would say, "There's the weird girl", and I just didn't care.

When I was in a depressed mood, I would cut myself. Not because I wanted to die, I just wanted to relieve my internal pain. It was a lot easier to deal with the physical pain than the emotional pain. I have a number of scars from doing it. My biggest and last scar was about 3 inches long, going down about half an inch to an inch. That one was the one that "woke" me up to the danger I was putting myself in. Had it been my wrist, I could have died. The urge is still there, but I made a deal with my husband (type on diabetes), I would work harder at taking care of myself if he would do the same. Plus, I don't like having to try and explain it to my nieces and nephews, and I want to see them grow up.

I live mostly with mania. Which I think is great, most of the time. I love feeling happy and on top of the world. But, by being such, I have wrecked my credit beyond belief. A foreclosure on my home, a repossessed car, loans, credit card debt. I have had hallucinations and delusions, which can be scary at times. And I've said things that have hurt other people's feelings. And panic attacks and anxiety always comes along eventually. I still get the feeling of being better than others. I have trouble sleeping and then end up needing a nap to get through the rest of the day. I still wouldn't ever trade the mania for depression, though.

I have found that writing, jewelry making and sketching helps focus the hundreds of thoughts going through my head in the same direction. I consider myself lucky. I have family and friends that all know about my illness and are supportive. I know others may not be so lucky. And I remind myself, no matter how bad it gets, I will get through it. I have learned a lot about myself and my bipolar, and am always learning something new. I've gotten a little better at asking for help, but I always remind myself that I am the first line of defense in keeping myself my own sort of "sane".

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was born on November 30, 1874 to a family that had both a history of political prominence as well as a history of mental illness. When Churchill was appointed Prime Minister of Britain he changed the political strategy.  His view of the realistic threat of Germany during WWII was attributed to the way he thought as a result of his mental illness. 

Psychiatrist Anthony Storr described Churchill’s reaction the Germany in the following way:
“Only a man who knew what it was to discern a gleam of hope in a hopeless situation, whose courage was beyond reason and whose aggressive spirit burned at its fiercest when he was hemmed in and surrounded by enemies, could have given emotional reality to the words of defiance which rallied and sustained us in the menacing summer of 1940.”-Anthony Storr

Storr was also quoted saying:

“Had Winston Churchill been a stable and equable man, he could never have inspired the nation. In 1940, when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished”. - Anthony Storr

Winston Churchill called his Bipolar Disorder, his black dog.  He didn’t given into his black dog at all, instead he used it to his advantage which I find to be very admirable. Below you will find some notable quotes by Winston Churchill.  Not only was he a politician but he was a great writer as well. Winston Churchill died in 1965 at the age of 90 as a result of a stroke. Read a more in depth biography of him here: NAMI Winston Churchill Biography

Winston Churchill Quotes:

I don't like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don't like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second's action would end everything. A few drops of desperation.
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.

If you're going through hell, keep going.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.

Never, never, never give up.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

History is written by the victors.

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.

Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.

I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.

Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.

Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning. 

 -Kissing Stigma Goodbye-