"Minds On The Edge"

Minds On The Edge
MINDS ON THE EDGE: Facing Mental Illness is a multi-platform media project that explores severe mental illness in America.

The centerpiece of the project is a television program that will air on PBS stations in October 2009. This video component is part of a national initiative that includes an extensive web site and an ambitious strategy to engage citizens, professionals in many fields, and policy makers at all levels of government. The goal is to advance consensus about how to improve the kinds of support and treatment available for people with mental illness.

The television program MINDS ON THE EDGE: Facing Mental Illness effectively illuminates challenging ethical issues as well as systemic flaws in program and policy design, service coordination, and resource allocation that are contributing to a mental health system that is widely acknowledged to be broken. MINDS ON THE EDGE also provides a glimpse of many solutions that are currently being implemented across the country. These innovations, many shaped by the guidance and expertise of people with mental illness, offer promising solutions and hopeful direction to transform the mental health system.

Become Involved! Educate Others.
Visit the Website: MINDS ON THE EDGE

Depersonalization in Pop Culture

I found this in Wikipedia recently and was quite surprised by some of the pop culture representations of depersonalization. For instance, I have not read Ellis’ American Psycho, and am not certain if the author clearly understands depersonalization; I will report back on that one.

I’d also like to emphasize that depersonalization (in the neurological/medical sense I discuss on this website) has nothing to do with the philosophy of existentialism such as in Sartre’s book
Nausea; this is briefly noted in the article that follows but this has never been discussed adequately in any literature I have come across.

Depersonalization also has nothing to do with Buddhist enlightenment. I will discuss this misunderstanding re: enlightenment in another entry. There is tremendous confusion surrounding this assumption as well.

When Does DP Become a Disorder?

I have thought about this long and hard over the years, and for me it has essentially been 50 years ... Disclaimer: do not take the chronicity of my problems as your fate!
One day at a time.

My DP and DR have changed over time. I attribute that to everything from the deaths of my parents (1990 and 2001-- both abusive and absent), therapy, medications, distractions of all kinds (from university courses), to hobbies, to work to volunteering.

I also have GAD I now know I had ... probably since I was born. I also had panic attacks which have DP/DR as a secondary symptom. These days, I have a lot of anticipatory anxiety without an increase in my "daily" DP/DR. Very odd. In the past I anticipated DP/DR and that brought on anticipatory anxiety OF the DP/DR. When I have horrible DP/DR THAT is the focus of my attention. I have TERROR, not anxiety.

At any rate, I would say in the majority of psychiatric DP/DR, the symptom is indeed secondary. But a secondary symptom can BECOME CHRONIC as in my case. Again, research at the IoP would indicate ... as I interpret it ... that "Depersonalization Disorder" is rare. The description in the DSM-IV is incomplete and misleading. I hope to God they get a better definition in the new DSM in 2014.

And clearly, each case is unique. Every single case here [on my DP support board] includes more than just DP/DR. If DP/DR were the ONLY symptoms per the DSM, it would be true Depersonalization Disorder. Many here have noted over the years they recall being anxious on some level before the DP hit. Or they were under stress. Or they had a bad drug trip that included panic and anxiety.

I have not had a HORRIBLE DP/DR experience in about 5 years. Now my anxiety is high as it was when I was a teen.

DP/DR, IMHO, becomes a CHRONIC SECONDARY SYMPTOM in many situations -- not necessarily a DISORDER which would be "pure" (and that definition is ridiculous save in neurological cases, IMHO), and it depends on so many factors to reduce the symptom. Pure DP/DR is described in neurological disorders more frequently, and in taking antibiotics and in Lyme Disease. Epilepsy auras as well.

Meantime, fight the good fight! As best you can, in any way that helps.