In the early 2000s, I worked in community mental health in Portland, Oregon. I had the privilege of working with this amazing psychiatrist, Dr. Phil Shapiro, on an Assertive Community Treatment team. You can read an article about him here (on his website) or here (an article from the Oregonian, 2010).
At the time, he was working on this book called Healing Power: Ten Steps to Pain Management and Spiritual Evolution. He had groups that he did with clients in both community mental health and in the regular community (I attended!), all based on the program he outlined in his book.
He recently shared that his book and the subsequent workbook he published, are available for FREE from his new website. The books are available for download in text or audio format. What a gift! Please check out his new website to take a look and download these gems.
Thank you Dr. Shapiro, for your years of service and for making this work available to everyone!
One of my goals at the beginning of this year was to read at least one book per week, or 52 books this year. I am well on my way to reaching that goal!
I was recently contact by a man from India who who asked me to read and review his book entitled Gulabi. The book was about a man who experiences psychosis. As I read the book, I couldn't help but wonder if the author himself had experienced psychosis. I reached out to him and he informed me that he was in fact diagnosed with schizophrenia and that Gulabi was one of his hallucinations during a psychotic episode. I was so impressed that this author, who has struggled with schizophrenia, was able to write this short book, and give readers a small glimpse of what it could be like to experience psychosis. He is now in graduate school and doing well!
It all got me thinking about mental health and recovery. When people hear the word recovery, they often think of addiction. But there is recovery in mental health as well. I thought I would share with you today some books written either about recovery or by those who are in recovery from mental health challenges.
Gulabi, written by Pankaj Suneja
Dante's Cure, written by Daniel Dorman
New Vision of Recovery: You Too Can Recover From Mental Illness, written by Daniel Fisher
Nobody's Child, written by Marie Balter and Richard Katz
There and Back Again: A Mental Health Recovery Book written by Someone Who Has Lived It, written by Emily Grossman
First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery, edited by Craig LeCroy and Jane Holschuh
My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness, written by Sandra Yuen MacKay
If you find yourself struggling with a mental health challenge, know that you are not alone. And, know that there is hope. It is possible to get better! The people and books above not only give us a glimpse of mental illness but also give us a glimpse into the possibility of recovery.
As always, feel free to contact me if I can be of help!
One of my goals for 2014 is to read more.
I recently finished a book called I Thought It Was Just Me (But it isn’t): Making the Journey from ‘What will People Think’ to ‘I am Enough’ by Brene Brown, and wanted to share it with you.
It is a book about connection with others. And how shame can disconnect us from others. While the book is geared towards women and the most common categories of shame that we experience (appearance/body image, motherhood, family, parenting, money and work, mental and physical health, sex, aging, religion, being stereotyped/labeled, speaking out, and surviving trauma), the strategies Brown offers for working through shame can be applied by anyone.
Learning to recognize and understand our shame triggers is the first step. Next, we have to practice critical awareness, reach out to others, and then (perhaps the hardest step) “speak our shame.” Now none of these steps is easy by any means, but necessary. Necessary because they move us towards more connection, empathy, and compassion, with ourselves and others. After reading the material, I have another goal to add to my list for 2014—practicing these steps.
If you would like to read the book, or learn more, here are a few links (both to her book and to a couple of talks she has given).
Hoping your 2014 is off to a great start!
Amber is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She offers counseling for individual adults and clinical supervision for social workers. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, researching genealogy, reading, and dragon boating.
***THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.