A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Award And An Offer

As you can see I just got an award for my blog. Here is a list of the other nine winners:

Schizophrenia - A Carer's Journal

Overcoming Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Blog

Gaining Insight

Hope Is Real!

Suicidal No More

Living With An Invisible Disability

Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia

Tony's Schizophrenia Corner

So congratulations to me and the other blog winners for doing a good job. I definitely appreciate it. It makes me think that maybe I'm doing more good with this blog than I realize. I also got a short email from someone "working on behalf" of the Janssen pharmaceutical company. Here's the email:

Dear Kate:
We had the opportunity to read your blog and learn more about your experiences as a person living with schizophrenia and all of the great work you do in the mental illness community. That is why we are reaching out to you.
Our company, Barsamian Communication, is currently working on behalf of Janssen, to develop a Mental Health Community Council comprised of people living with schizophrenia, caregivers and advocates to share their experiences and help guide the development of educational and marketing materials.
I would love to set up a time to speak to tell you more about the Council and see if you might be interested in participating in our next meeting in September.
Please let me know.

So I was wondering what some of you think about this offer. I've emailed Leah to say that I am not very good with talking on the phone, but would be happy if she emailed me more information. So I have to wait and find out if that is okay.

I'm of two minds about volunteering to work for a big pharmaceutical company, even just minimally. On the one hand a company like Janssen is such a powerful business company that I am suspicious of its motivations. On the other hand opening the lines of communication between those that suffer from schizophrenia, either directly or indirectly by being a caregiver, and those that make a product that treats it, is potentially very commendable. Because the Janssen company is so wealthy they have the potential to really help those in need. My first thought is that they could organize support groups in very rural areas, such as mine, to give people the opportunity to receive free mental health support. The support groups that I know of all encourage medication compliance, as do I, and that could benefit the Janssen company, but more than that it would benefit the people who have the least access to healthcare, but who desperately need the community support with or without the use of psychiatric drugs. It still amazes me that no one has latched onto the incredible potential of support groups. They are low cost, low maintenance and they allow people to get help and give them a place to organize themselves.

If a company like Janssen did sponsor and organize support groups in rural areas throughout the U.S. there would have to be restrictions put on them. Community service above business promotion. It would be good public relations for them and that should be enough. I do not know if it can be done legally, but it is worth looking into it. Anyway, though I am somewhat skeptical, I would love the opportunity to help those in need.


On the home front, I've been writing nearly daily for over two weeks. My goal is to write at least 1,000 words a day, or close to that. The idea of writing daily for those who do write and aspire to get published is an old idea, but a generally good one. I recently got the idea from several writers who have written popular books on writing. Carolyn See in her book Making A Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers, pushes her formula which is write 1,000 words 5 days a week for the rest of your life. Stephen King in his book On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft, pushes for writing 2,000 words every day, but then he says he can get through the first draft of a novel in three months. Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity, urges that writers write three pages in stream of consciousness style every morning.

I finished reading the King book yesterday. I had gotten the book for my brother one Christmas because he expressed an interest in writing, but I had never read it. Then I read in Karen Sorensen's "Dignify Me" blog that she was reading the book, so on impulse I bought it for myself as a gift instead of going through the public library system as I did with the other books I mentioned. Mr King starts the book out as a memoir of parts of his childhood and youth up until he became a success with his novel Carrie. I enjoyed that part of the book, especially the author's honesty and sense of humor. There were laugh out loud bits there mixed in with more serious descriptions of his working class mother and his working class youth. I learned later on in the book that it was around this point in his writing and his life that he got run over by someone driving a van and nearly lost his ability to walk. He almost gave up on writing the book, but then found that it was a kind of mental therapy that went along well with his physical therapy and he finished the book. The rest of the book was good too, but not as fun to read. He goes into the nuts and bolts of writing, or at least those aspects of writing practice that he came to stand by, though there is certainly still a lot of honesty and humor in the remaining parts as well.

It's good to be reading and writing regularly again. Many of the writers who write books on the craft of writing obviously write from their experience, hence these books are memoirs. Lately, that is the kind of book that I have been drawn into reading, rather than to straight out memoirs. I like reading about how writers came to become writers. I may not follow all of their advice, but it does stimulate me to keep trying.

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