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  1. #1

    A Beautiful Mind

    A Beautiful Mind is on TV and I watched a bit of it.* I bought the movie a while ago because I found it to be so moving. What an amazing movie.* An incredible, powerful, emotional and extremely inspiring film.



    I struggle with "staying in reality", but I don't stray nearly as much as someone with schizophrenia, but none-the-less, I struggle on a daily basis. I live very much in my mind instead of my emotional or physical self, but most of the time, I'm still connected to what is happening around me.

    So, if John Nash, who has schizophrenia with hallucinations can accept his illness and continually work towards staying connected to society, maintain his marriage and continue working - certainly, I can too.

    And the courage as well as commitment from his wife and friends who stood by him and supported him makes me emotional.

  2. #2

    Re: A Beautiful Mind

    Another excellent example is Bill McPhee, founder and publisher of Schizophrenia Digest.

    William J. MacPhee:
    President/Publisher
    Mr. MacPhee was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1987. After years of struggling with the devastating symptoms of the disease, the Fort Erie, Ontario resident was able to regain control of his life through medication, family support and other therapies. Recognizing the need for an informative publication, he launched Schizophrenia Digest magazine in March 1994.

    Mr. MacPhee oversaw the growth of the magazine to a quarterly full-color publication. He also established Magpie Publishing Inc. to further develop the magazine business, as well as expand into books and videos dealing with the illness. For his efforts, Mr. MacPhee was most recently awarded the prestigious Golden Jubilee Medal of Queen Elizabeth II by the Department of Canadian Heritage in September, 2002. The medals recognize Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, their community or to Canada.

    Mr. MacPhee's ability to describe schizophrenia from his first-hand experiences has made him a sought-after speaker and he is often called upon to speak for mental health and other consumer groups. He now tours Canada and the United States giving inspirational talks about the disease and explaining its symptoms at meetings often organized by the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, the Canadian Mental Health Association, psychiatric hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. Mr. MacPhee also raises awareness of schizophrenia through the media: he is frequently quoted by newspapers and has appeared on several television programs.

    Mr. MacPhee has served on governing boards of numerous schizophrenia and mental health associations.

    In July, 2001, Mr. MacPhee was selected as the recipient of the Canadian Mental Health Association's 2001 Media Award, honoring a member of the media who has made outstanding contributions to the coverage of mental health issues.

    In the Spring of 2003 Mr. MacPhee is launching a U.S. edition of Schizophrenia Digest in response to the numerous requests of American sufferers and caregivers.

  3. #3

    Re: A Beautiful Mind

    Wow - another great inspiration! I hadn't heard of Mr. MacPhee. I LOVE to hear things like this because it reminds me that we really do have choices EVEN THOUGH it doesn't feel like it. Mental illness is extremely challenging. And frustrating. And isolating. BUT, there are those who have accepted their illnesses and who have moved forward anyway.

    I am still searching for my way to contribute to awareness and resources about mental illness. I recently donated a painting to an auction where 100% of the bid on my painting will go to CMHA.

    My situation is different than Mr. MacPhee and Mr. Nash's. My biggest frustration is that, in general, I think people have a difficult time believing me or acknowledging my struggles as serious or debilitating. I think this because it is the impression I get. And it's possible that I'm in some denial and I'm really not as "ill" as I feel, but it's hard for me to lean towards that because of how hard I work on "getting better".

    I do not look ill. I do not look disabled or debilitated. But, how come I struggle so much with the basic things in life, then? Why am I so "spooked" ALL the time? Why can't I just "get organized"? Why can't I just be more "normal" or more like the way people perceive me to be?

    I'm not sure. BUT I do know - that if these two men can move forward and contribute something meaningful, then I should be able to as well, right?

  4. Re: A Beautiful Mind

    Healthbound, hon, you ARE normal! What the heck is "normal", anyhow? Normal has a lot of permutations, apparently. Otherwise, we'd all be clones of one another, eh?

    You can take it as a compliment that others don't see you as someone to be pitied, or as someone who just can't get along in society. That says a lot for your ability to deal with your problems and press on, hon. Perhaps, you're more like these people you admire so much than you're giving yourself credit for.

  5. #5

    Re: A Beautiful Mind

    Hi TL!

    Healthbound, hon, you ARE normal!
    But, if I'm normal, how come I feel so abnormal?

    Perhaps, you're more like these people you admire so much than you're giving yourself credit for.
    Hm. Maybe. My therapist suggested something similar when talking about something similar. I think she used the word "projection". Which would make sense. Except, I always thought when one was projecting, it usually had to do with more destructive characteristics and feelings.

    But, again, I come back to how far apart other's perceptions of me are from my own perceptions of myself at this time. I've been feeling frustrated because I'm getting feedback that I'm "more normal" than I feel or think I am. Of course, I assumed they were the one's that were confused, but maybe it's me?

    Hm...another thought I just had...I remember reading that if one's own perception about themselves is much different than other's perceptions of them, than that could indicate that they have low self esteem. To me it would just indicate that I'm not "in reality" about who I am. My perception is skewed. I feel scared about that.

  6. Re: A Beautiful Mind

    Personally, I think that as we progress on our way to a more healthy us, our perception of ourselves lags behind a bit. I don't think we are always aware of just how much progress we've made. Those around us can see it, but we can't. We still feel the same inside, more so at some times than at others.

    We can't ever completely erase the experiences we've had, nor can we ever completely erase the fact that we're depressive. We learn to cope better, that's all. When you've lived with those feelings over a long period of time, it takes awhile to realize that the better coping mechanisms keep them from controlling our actions and behaviors. Therefore, they're not visible to others, and only we are aware of them.

    In my experience, depression is kinda like a stray cat. If you quit feeding it, it finally goes away. It's always nearby, in case you happen to soften your stance against it, but...it doesn't stand there staring at you anymore. With therapy, medication, and the learning of new ways to cope with our problems, we keep that stray cat off our porch, so to speak.

  7. #7

    Re: A Beautiful Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by healthbound
    Hi TL!

    Healthbound, hon, you ARE normal!
    But, if I'm normal, how come I feel so abnormal?

    Perhaps, you're more like these people you admire so much than you're giving yourself credit for.
    Hm. Maybe. My therapist suggested something similar when talking about something similar. I think she used the word "projection". Which would make sense. Except, I always thought when one was projecting, it usually had to do with more destructive characteristics and feelings.

    But, again, I come back to how far apart other's perceptions of me are from my own perceptions of myself at this time. I've been feeling frustrated because I'm getting feedback that I'm "more normal" than I feel or think I am. Of course, I assumed they were the one's that were confused, but maybe it's me?

    Hm...another thought I just had...I remember reading that if one's own perception about themselves is much different than other's perceptions of them, than that could indicate that they have low self esteem. To me it would just indicate that I'm not "in reality" about who I am. My perception is skewed. I feel scared about that.
    Do you think that people just see what you want them to see? I think for me, there is such a stigma to having mental health issues (even though so many people suffer with them) that I try my best to appear together for people. Maybe how you feel on the inside, that fear, that feeling of being spooked doesn't come across to people? I know I was in a store a couple of weeks ago and a little, fat, cute stuffed easter bunny caught my eye and I wanted to just sit down and cry and tell someone about my little nephew who passed away who'll never get to have a stuffed easter bunny or an easter basket or eat easter candy. I wanted to scream almost because inside it hurt so much, but I didn't. I just acted normally. I sometimes wonder if a lot of people are just screaming on the inside and we just never see it. I search people's faces at the grocery store sometimes while I'm standing in line and wonder if they're really ok. Does that make any sense?

    We can't ever completely erase the experiences we've had, nor can we ever completely erase the fact that we're depressive. We learn to cope better, that's all. When you've lived with those feelings over a long period of time, it takes awhile to realize that the better coping mechanisms keep them from controlling out actions and behaviors. Therefore, they're not visible to others, and only we are aware of them.
    I think this is true too.

    Also, I think it's really cool that you donated one of your paintings. That is great.

  8. #8

    Re: A Beautiful Mind

    thanks guys.

    Janet - like you, I am very good at denying my needs, feelings and ultimately myself. I do feel embarrassed about my depression, anxiety and ptsd. Especially during this process of going back to work because I am reminded of how well I have functioned in the past. I could work a little bit more on reminding myself that I'm not going to function at that level right away. And I could tell myself that it's ok. And it IS ok. Like, in the grand scheme of things...who cares if I ever go back to the way I was. I'm just happy I'm still here!!

    It is challenging though. I'm nervous about maintaining clarity about where I'm really at and where I think I should be at. And again, I'm just realizing as I write this how important it is for me to remind myself that I'm ok just as I am - wherever that is. And that I will handle this transition. Man, I'm also realizing how scared I am all the time.

    TL - I like the analogy of the stray cat. Last night just before falling asleep, I thought about it similarly except the stray cat was more apart of me. But, it was only a PART of me. It's a part that perpetuates the depression and wants to see it continue to flourish.

    Many times I feel like I have very different parts of me. The part that others see IS part of me too...it's just seems farther away from my grasp right now. It's the healthy part of me that wants to be balanced and happy and in control of life. Utilizing all my skills and mind etc. The other part of me that I've recently been more aware of is the part of me that doesn't want to (or think it can) move forward.

    And maybe that's why last night's movie sparked so much emotion for me --- Nash was clearly battling 2 parts of himself. His illness with hallucinations and his desire to be a husband and member of society. In the end, his healthy side was stronger and while his illness side never completely diminished, he found a way to accept it...acknowledge it and live with it on a daily basis AND continue to keep the healthy side more active and predominant.

    And that's what I want to do too (again, I realize I'm comparing myself to someone who is farther than reality than me, but the concept is the same. And, again, if he can do it, so can I. I would like to consciously bring that healthier part forward a bit more. Make her a bit more "present". And then soon, I'll feel as strong as I perceive other's are seeing me).

  9. Re: A Beautiful Mind

    Hmm...if the stray cat analagy works for you, you could try to use it to your advantage. When you're feeling particularly stressed, try to imagine that stray cat having learned to fish in a nearby pond, and learning to hunt for itself. It's moving further and further away from your house and closer and closer to a happy, healthy cat-life of its own, frolicking in a forest somewhere. Just remember, one day it will be miles away being what it is, and you'll be the you you really are.

  10. #10

    Re: A Beautiful Mind

    stray cat having learned to fish in a nearby pond, and learning to hunt for itself. It's moving further and further away from your house and closer and closer to a happy, healthy cat-life of its own, frolicking in a forest somewhere
    Interesting...the depression doesn't have to be perceived as "bad" in this scenario. It's simply perceived as something that was dependent on me for survival until it learned how to survive on it's own and become independent and happy.

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