Blogging, Mental health

Ugly Truth 022: I Don’t Like Everything I Write

“The first draft is just telling yourself a story.” -Lisa See

Dear Readers,

Welcome back to the Deskraven Blog, where you mental health finds home!

Depending on how long you’ve been following this blog, you may find that my literary voice fluctuates between formal and personal. Despite all the mountain-top screaming I do for others, I still experience resistance when faced with my own personal truth. Even while writing this I am certain I have said it all before and shouldn’t continue. It sounds silly because it is. After all, this fact is what makes the Deskraven project exactly what it is – a win-win.

Not only do I write for others to spread stigma-free awareness about mental illness, but I write for myself in order to develop a healthy internal dialogue capable of processing interpersonal experience free from self-criticism. This isn’t always easy. Often times I revisit my old works as a form of self-development, of which there are many to smile about, enjoy and take great pride in – while in others I find only gag-worthy disdain.

As a writer, I am well aware that the editing process never ends, however, as a person I continue to struggle with OCD-level perfectionism. I will often question what I did or didn’t say. I will often question my audience, and become overly concerned about who is reading – if indeed anyone is reading at all. I will often question putting myself on public display even though the benefits always outweigh the consequences. Finally, I begin to question the Deskraven Blog in it’s entirety, and grapple with the very real impulse to hit the delete button. That is, right before I remember that writing can take many directions, and the purpose of mine is simply to serve the hearts and minds of others, to help those who lack a voice, to help those who cry alone never unafraid enough to say these things out loud, to reach those who read and never comment, but always find something to gain in the shared human experience of suffering.

The truth is, I don’t like everything I write – and that’s okay. A large part of processing thoughts into expressive language is recognizing not only the what, but the how.

The truth is, writing has been a vehicle for me since the age of 12. I remember this because it was the year my father left that I felt more pain than I knew what to do with, followed by my very first urge to write it down. In the years after, I filled several journals with my ever distorted and evolving thoughts. People took notice, and I began to collect them as gifts and fill them with relative ease. I enjoyed every aspect of the tactile experience that writing has to offer. I often smiled at the process of selecting new tools, paper, and ornate over-priced personal daily records. I often beamed that I could read and write cursive when others could not. As an avid reader and lover of books, I quickly found peace, comfort and escape in the words of the world’s greatest authors – and yearned like hell to be one. While coming of age, I found strength and coping skills in the aptitude I developed through what seemed to be a natural talent. This was reinforced by the easy A’s I earned in Language Arts all through out high school and college. After years of diary entries, exceptional teachers and published poetry, I realized the need in me shifted from proper comma placement to content creation.

(I often dreamed of becoming a professional writer, however, I felt that a career that relied on production was not realistic for someone with major health conditions. That is not to say it can’t be done. Still, I remained ever-concerned that the added pressure would act as an exacerbater rather than a catalyst – and so a hobby word invention remained.)

I am no longer an angsty teenager who confronts the anguish of ailment in hidden pages. Today, I am a woman of age who publishes her struggles on a public forum because it makes her wildly uncomfortable, and yet, she can’t seem to write fast enough. It has become less about word choice and structure, and more about authenticity. This has become especially powerful in many areas of my life as an intensely passive and intellectual introvert.

All artistic disposition aside, there is value to be found in the struggle.

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

literature, Mental health

Deskraven Book Series: Prozac Nation

17depress.span

A Deskraven Book Review

“I start to get the feeling that something is really wrong. Like all the drugs put together-the lithium, the Prozac, the desipramine, and Desyrel that I take to sleep at night-can no longer combat whatever it is that was wrong with me in the first place. I feel like a defective model, like I came off the assembly line flat-out fucked and my parents should have taken me back for repairs before the warranty ran out. But that was so long ago…”

Page 1, Paragraph 1

Prozac Nation (1994) takes us into the mind of the demented and depressed. Feathered and unfiltered, Elizabeth Wurtzel shares her story of hard-earned triumph over a disease that disables and kills countless American’s each year. While this work is far from the top of my favorites list- it has an immense pop culture quality that certainly aided in its envied climb as a New York Times Bestseller. A memoirst at best- Wurtzel provides a safe place to land when we can’t get out of bed in the morning. Prozac Nation can also be seen as a major motion picture (2003) starring Christina Ricci.

CONTENTS

Prologue: I Hate Myself and I Want to Die

1 / Full of Promise

2 / Secret Life

3 / Love Kills

4 / Broken

5 / Black Wave

6/ Happy Pills

7 / Drinking in Dallas

8 / Space, Time, and Motion

9 / Down Deep

10 / Blank Girl

11 / Good Morning Heartache

12 / The Accidental Blowjob

13 / Woke Up This Morning Afraid I Was Gonna Live

14 / Think of Pretty Things

Epilogue: Prozac Nation

Afterword (1995)

Acknowledgements

RAVES FOR PROZAC NATION

“Wrenching and comical, self-indulgent and self-aware, Prozac Nation possesses the raw candor of Joan Didion’s essay’s, the irritating emotional exhibitionism of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and the wry, dark humor of a Bob Dylan song.”

-The New York Times

“A very important book, particularly to the countless number of people who aren’t sure what’s wrong with them but are suffering from the negative thinking, erratic behavior, and dark moods associated with clinical depression. A powerful self-portrait…well worth reading.”

-San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Wurtzel portrays, from the inside out, an emotional life perpetually spent outrunning the relentless pursuit of what she describes as a black wave, often sacrificing her likability on the altar of her truth.”

-Vanity Fair

FINAL THOUGHTS

Wurtzel’s story is important because it highlights the highly controversial topic of the over-medicated public in the face of big pharma drug trends, and symptomatic treatment for valid and significant mental illness. Having read this book twice myself, I feel Prozac Nation is a mainstream necessity for every psychology enthusiast. In many ways it returns us to the vastly misunderstood experience known as depression. Despite its often ugly truths that will leave you wanting to look away, this book bridges the gap where a lack of language lies. Click below to take a look. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

VISIT OTHER DESKRAVEN BOOK REVIEWS

Sybil [Exposed]

No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

Manic

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog – and Other Stories From a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

literature, Mental health

Deskraven Book Series: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog – and Other Stories From a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook

A Deskraven Book Review

“Tina was my first child patient, just seven years old when I met her…”

Page 7, Paragraph 1

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog-And Other Stories From a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook (2006) provides vibrant insight to our lesser angels by shining a light on mankind, inhumanity, and our competency of child psychiatry as it relates to childhood trauma. While demystifying the misguided “child-resilience” theory, this book illuminates important clinical research and terror on a grand scale. Dr. Perry is intelligent and compassionate in all realms of his practice. A man to be admired, he is the psychiatrist we all hope for. An important book for every parent, this is a work I found impossible to put down.

BACK OF THE BOOK

What happens when a young child is traumatized? How does terror affect a child’s mind-and how can that mind recover? Child Psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses to their own parent’s murders, children raised in closets and cages, the Branch Davidian children, and victims of family violence. In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, he tells their stories of trauma and transformation. Dr. Perry clearly explains what happens to the brain when children are exposed to extreme stress. He reveals his innovative methods for helping to ease their pain, allowing them to become healthy adults. This deeply informed and moving book dramatically demonstrates that only when we understand the science of the mind can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child.

CONTENTS

Author’s Note

Introduction

1. Tina’s World

2. For Your Own Good

3. Stairway to Heaven

4. Skin Hunger

5. The Coldest Heart

6. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog

7. Satanic Panic

8. The Raven

9. “Mom is Lying. Mom is Hurting Me. Please Call the Police. “

10. The Kindness of Children

11. Healing Communities

Appendix

Acknowledgments

Index

PRAISE FOR THE BOY WHO WAS RAISED AS A DOG

“I have never encountered a child advocate with a better mind, a bigger heart, or a more generous spirit than Bruce Perry. This book captures the essence of his insights and the heroism of his actions on behalf of children who have encountered the dark side of human experience.”

-James Garbarino, Ph.D., author of Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them

“For many years, Bruce Perry’s work has been deserving of our highest praise. This book is his crowning achievement, the ultimate combination of science and humanity.”

-Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP, University of Arizona College of Medicine, and President, American Psychology-Law Society

FINAL THOUGHTS

A fellow Houstonian, you can learn more about Dr. Perry and his clinical group at ChildTrauma.org, an extension of his ChildTrauma Academy.

Whether you’re a traumatized child, a psychology student, or simply curious about brain science there is much to be gained by picking up this book. Click below to take a look. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

VISIT OTHER DESKRAVEN BOOK REVIEWS

Sybil [Exposed]

No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

Prozac Nation

Manic

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

Lifestyle

Transparency for Transparency’s Sake

Dear Readers,

I can’t sleep. For the better part of a week I have been battling an unforgiving viral what-have-you passed oh so generously from my little one. Within the woes of my sleepless motherhood, I came here to read, and read I did. In so doing, I familiarized myself with a Columbia educated writer who took my breath away with her rhythm and word choice in a longread depiction of “Lolita”, the 1955 controversey written by Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov.

It was in this moment that I realized my writings were still jailed up by my defense mechanisms.

With pressure in my ears, I realized I remained overly cautious and concerned about who was reading my thoughts. I gathered that, despite my introspection, I was sticking to the facts of my ability to convey previously published information rather than swimming in the candor of my own growing pains. The truth is it benefits no one, namely myself, if I continue to cloak my craft in academics and resource referrals. Not only are my readers subject to a skimmable quality, but I also rob myself of the truly therapeutic organics of simply writing.

Moving forward, I vow to share fewer links and more natural story-telling. I vow to honor the space I’ve invited you all into with genuine reflection, memories, and thought-strings. If I lose a client or employer on behalf of this conviction, then so be it. To hell with the consequences. I am done operating at face value on a platform designed to engage others in either shared conquest or rage. If you hate me, I have still done my job as a writer to provoke. So, I remain resolute in my high-mindedness.

If you’re still here, I suspect a shift is occurring. I suspect you’ll appreciate my 3am content all the more, and I will be better for it.

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

Mental health

Favored Expressions of Madness in Entertainment

art

Dear Readers,

As the topic of mental health continues to take progressive leaps forward, there exists much retroactive speculation on the undiagnosed mental health conditions of the famous and deceased. Indeed, the great composers, painters, musicians, writers, and characters of art history are often associated with an enthusiasm of the psyche.

My favorite book ever written happens to be on this very topic. Touched with Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison. Jamison is an author and American clinical psychologist living with Bipolar Disorder herself. She uses her craft to advocate for others, and explore the relationship between the ill mind and creative genius. This book had a profound impact on me, keeping me company on late night’s when I felt most isolated by my own idiosyncrasies. It is so dripping with content that you will take something new away from each read. Read on for more of my favorite depictions of madness in American culture.

TOUCHED WITH FIRE

GIRL, INTERRUPTED

I most enjoyed Susanna Kaysen’s telling of Borderline Personality Disorder in Girl, Interrupted due to its unflinching honesty and value as a time piece. Naturally, the literary telling of her story is even more profound and bizarre than the best-selling blockbuster film. It speaks volumes to the mental health climate in American Culture within the confinements of the sixties, and prompted me to begin my own journey through therapy.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Silver Linings Playbook remains a controversial piece with mixed reviews. I, for one, happen to love this depiction of mental illness in cinema. Above all, I admire that more than one illness is conveyed in nothing shy of imperfect glory. Bradley Cooper displays a character with classic symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, and candidly demonstrates what it feels like for someone with this illness to be triggered by their environment. His love interest, played by Jennifer Lawrence, compassionately embodies Borderline Personality Disorder, while Robert DiNero offers a voice for Obsessive Compulsive and superstitious tendencies. This is one brave bold film, unafraid of exaggeration paired with empathy.

IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY

Keir Gilchrist beautifully embodies the anxious nervous breakdown associated with depression in this black comedy. I can deeply appreciate any portrayal of mental health that offers up a laugh without detracting from the validity of necessary intervention. Comedy serves as an excellent buffer between stigma and reality, revealing to those who may not always understand that we remain fundamentally the same.

RAIN MAN

A shining classic tale of autistic savantism and full-range emotional familial integration. If you haven’t seen or heard of this film, you now have some homework.

FIGHT CLUB

Ultimately my favorite movie and satirical novel, Fight Club offers a terribly clever exploration of psychology, insomnia, and a pervasive distaste for societal over-indulgence.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB

In this timeless film, John Hughes exposes the inventories of five adolescents within the confinements of our public institutions. Painfully honest with familiar anthems, The Breakfast Club holds a mirror to us all and reveals the all-too-forgotten trials of what it means to be young in America.

For more on this topic, the following article from Kevin Redmayne at Medium.com features poetic portrayals of speculative BPD in Three Literary Characters with Borderline Personality Disorder. 

Discuss: What are your favorite mental health stories in entertainment?

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!