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Concerning Anonymity

anonymous_bloggerAs someone who openly writes about his mental health and mental illnesses and who is totally ‘out there’ and ‘public’ concerning these and how they impact my life.  And as someone who has – as a result of this openness and some people’s extremely poor and uneducated attitude towards mental illness – experienced (and yes suffered) first-hand  some of the prejudice and stigma attached to mental health and mental illness.  I fully understand some folks preference to remain anonymous in their writings and blogging about their own mental health.

 

My own openness in this regard stems from:

my faith – not wishing to live a lie.

where I am in life – 52 years of age, long-term separated and thus single, unable to work due to mental and physical health issues,

The sincere belief that by being open and public I can have more of an influence in re-educating folk about mental health and mental illness.  And thus do something to fight the unjust stigma which is often attached to these issues.

I am, I fully accept, in a very privileged position.  I don’t have to worry about the reactions of work-colleagues. My children are all adult now and fully able to understand and the grasp the impact of such conditions. I have no partner to be concerned about. And as for folk within my church, I am blessed to be part of a very loving and caring church.  And as for the few folk I encounter (in or outside of the church) who do react badly to mental health or mental illness, well these are few and far between and in my opinion need the exposure to the reality of living with poor mental health or mental illness.

But recognising the privileged position that I am in means that I also recognise the very real fears that others – who are not in a similar position – have concerning people knowing about their poor mental health or mental illnesses. So, as I said, I do fully understand and respect some folks need to remain anonymous as they speak out on these issues.

But it does concern me that some folk may not be as ‘anonymous’ as they may think that they are.Faceless_mask_by_Chris_Lamprianidis

As the administrator of this Guild and also of my own personal blogs, I often receive a number of comments and emails on what has been posted or on what I have written.

And I can’t begin to tell you how many of those comments or emails – whilst showing and often being signed by the blogging name or pseudonym of the person making the comment or sending the email – still display that person’s real name or real email address.

Of course, within the mental health writers or bloggers’ community there is some safety, some security, in the fact that the person you are commenting or writing to also experiences the same or similar issues and risks that you do.

But can we, can you be safer? Especially in a day and age of ‘social correlation’ and where email service providers, social media sites, blogging programs are all under increased pressure to be more inter-connected, more open and more public with our data?

The answer is of course yes.

And the very first step that we  need to take (if anonymity is important to you) is to create and use an email address which is specific to (and thus benefits from the anonymity of) the blogging name that you generally use.

Secondly we need to be careful as to the content of our blogs.  Be extremely careful about providing or inadvertently using specifics within your posts – locations, ages, interests, affiliations to clubs and social organisations, the name of your college or school – if you are a younger blogger.  Even the name of a team mascot can be used trace you to a specific school or college and trust me this information has been used by some.  The truth is that all of these things can help someone discover who you really are and where you are if they are so minded.

Thirdly, be extremely careful about linking social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat to your main email address or your blogs.  Set up blog specific and separate accounts/pages for these things.

Of course, in terms of the mental health and mental illness blogging community we are not talking about anything major or sinister here.

16578623-abstract-word-cloud-for-anonymous-blogging-with-related-tags-and-termsNone of us (I hope and believe) are seeking world-wide domination or to incite the downfall of our governments LOL.  And so this is not about illegal acts or deliberately trying to prevent committed researchers from ascertaining who we really are.

If we were, this post would contain such words as ‘Onion routing’ or ‘layered encryption routing’ and speak about software programs such as Tor and using public hotspots and internet cafés when on line.

And, trust me, I have no desire to feed into anyone’s anxiety or paranoia or into any conspiracy theories.  But I do desire for all bloggers to be as safe and as anonymous as they desire and think that they are.

It is simply about taking basic precautions to protect the anonymity that you rightly desire and need.

Kind regards and  God bless you.

Kevin.

 

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Walking the Walk And Not Just Talking The Talk!

walking-2Having chosen the title that I have, I think I am duty bound to point out that the purpose of this post is in no way meant to criticize but instead to encourage and motivate.  It is also a reflection on my opinion of the wonderful commitment that one of our members – Sam from over at Schizophrenic Confidential has made.  And I really do want to encourage all of our members to take a moment or two and to pop over to Sam’s blog on Blogger and more specifically her post entitled ‘Here We Go Again…NAMIWalks 2015!

In her post not only announces how she is committing to return to participate in NAMIWalks 2015 New York City Metro on May 9th. but also encourages and challenges us all to consider doing a similar thing.

Isn’t that such a wonderful idea?  Wouldn’t it be great to get out there and to make a huge effort to get involved in a similar way?

Namiwalks1

 

Now I am fully aware that there are some of us for whom actually physically participating in a walk of this nature is – either as a result of our physical or our mental health, or for other reasons – simply not a possibility at this time.  But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still participate and get involved.

In her post, Sam has offered a number of suggestions or ways to get involved at a number of different levels.  And I don’t want to reproduce or re-list them here, as I really would like our members to pop over, visit, read her post and comment – either by sharing your own commitment or by encouraging Sam in her’s.

But what I very much did want to do, is to feature and highlight Sam’s post and her commitment here in the Guild’s posting and to all our members.  Because I have been so touched and so blessed by just what a wonderful community we have through the Guild and because I am certain that our members can get behind this!

So how about it? How will you show your support?

walking-2Sam

Kind regards and God bless you.

Kevin.

 

 

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Where Is Your Safe Place? – Guest post by Annie from gentlekindness’s blog.

poor-yurik“Alas, Poor Yorick, I knew him well”

Being silly, I placed my hand like this over the glass and quoted Hamlet by Shakespeare. In the gravedigger scene, Prince Hamlet picks up a random skull and says “alas , poor Yorick. I knew him well”

This is my sense of silly humor when I am not under the weight of anxiety.

I went to a local museum with one of my daughters. Just the two of us for a Mommy / Daughter Day. I like to that once in a while.

Let’s talk about silliness. We all need to be silly and humorous sometimes. It has an amazing therapeutic effect on us. It is very difficult to access that side of our personalities when we are being drowned by the weight of our own thoughts. The simple pleasures that other people enjoy are no longer accessible to us, when we are being tormented by our poor brains.

If we can find a way to be able to be silly, funny, whimsical and to laugh, it would be of a great to help with the anxieties we all have.

Personally, I find that I have to feel safe and not threatened in order to access my funny side.

The perception of threat can come from an immediately threatening situation, an impending threat, or a perception of threat which is triggered by something and then interpreted in our mind as an unsafe situation.

In order to experience the healing of humor, we need to be in a situation that is unlikely to trigger any feelings of threat.

A threat can be a perception of imminent danger to our person. Another type of threat would be a financial threat which in our minds would ultimately lead to loss of our shelter and safe haven.

There are other kinds of threats. Different people have fears in different areas. A threat of humiliation and loss of respect is common. This type of threat could have a domino effect. In our mind, it would start with a loss of our reputation, disrespect, and then an inability to get what we need from others.

For people with severe anxiety disorder, the threat of being triggered into fear and mental torment is a very frightening thing. The attacks of post traumatic stress are so frightening that sufferers try their best to avoid being triggered.

Winston Churchill , in 1940, said the famous quote,
“There is nothing to fear, but fear itself”

The fear of “fear itself” is very real for people with severe anxiety disorders. Therefore,  there is actually something to fear for us.  Fear is real to us. The fear we have is that something will trigger an attack of our brain against our nervous system.

 The brain is directly linked to our nervous system, which runs through our entire body. Once the nervous system is on high alert of threat, the physical discomfort can be unbearable. This is why we do all we can do to avoid this.  I have PTSD and I am always aware that I need to protect my brain from triggers. It takes a lot of mental energy just to continually scan for threats to my brain function.

I personally find that I feel less likely to be triggered if I am in a neutral place. This is not true for everyone. You have to learn where your “safe places” are.

I feel more like myself, at a place like this museum, where no one knows me. I can re-create myself and be whoever I want to be.

If you can find your “safe place”,  then you can find yourself again. You may be able to relax and laugh at things again. Your sense of humor and ability to find pleasure in the little things is still there. It is under the tremendous weight of anxiety and / or depression. Believe in yourself.  I believe in you ! Laughter really is good medicine for mental healing.

Blessings to all :)

Annie

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Editor’s note:

I would like to really thank Annie from over at gentlekindness’s blog for being kind enough to send this guest post to us for publication on this site.  I know that I really enjoyed reading it and hope that it will benefit and bless a lot of our members.

The idea of ‘guest posts’ is one which I actively encourage and you can find out how to go about submitting such an article/post by visiting our Submissions page

Kind regards and God bless you and thank you once again, to Annie.

Kevin

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At The ‘Heart’ of It All.

HeartMonthI admit that it might, at first, seem a little strange to see a heart graphic on a mental health site/blog.

But please bear with me, if you will, as I really do believe that this is an important issue and one which can be impacted by and therefore definitely is related to Mental Health.

You see February is American Heart Month and I have been contacted by our friends over at the American Recall Center and asked if we would help get the word out about how important this – and looking after our hearts – really is.

And since this is an International Guild and since we all do have a heart, I am more than happy to do so.

On a personal note I know only too well how our mental health can impact our physical health and in fact, in support of the American Recall Center’s request for us to highlight positive heart health I have this morning written a post (entitled New Hope For The Suffering Heart) on my personal blog, in which I openly share some of the struggles and yes some of the victories that I personally have experienced in this respect.

I am sure that there many members or the Guild will know just how important this issue is and just how our mental health can and often does impact our physical health.  But it also wouldn’t surprise me – and I say this because it was something I never really considered or was mindful of for such a long time – that there will be some who have never really sat and thought about just how this happens and what effect it can have on us,

So I want to encourage our membership to do one or more of a few things that I have listed below..

  1. How about popping over to the American Recall Center site and checking out the info-graphic and other great information there?
  2. Alternatively how about checking out their info-graphic which I have included below.
  3. How about spending a few minutes considering how your mental health is impacting your physical health and especially your heart?
  4. How about performing a self-health check on your heart and how you treat it.
  5. How about writing your own post on your personal blogs/sites promoting this?
  6. And if you really are bored or simply curious – please feel free to check out my post on this subject on my personal blog.

And in closing – and before I display the info-graphic that I mentioned earlier – I would just like to say one more thing.  In the years that I have been blogging on Mental Health and Mental Illness and indeed in the time that this Guild has been operating the one thing that stands out more than anything else is the heart of love and support and encouragement that is there from so many to so many.  But let’s not forget that without good health in our physical hearts, that mental, spiritual and emotional hearth that I speak of will suffer.

Kind Regards and God bless you.

Kevin

ARC-Heart-Month-Infographic-02.09.152

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Member’s Profile – My Depersonalization Experience.

MHWGGTKY

Well, I haven’t posted a member’s profile post for a while now and so I am absolutely  delighted to be able to post this one in which we profile our newest member – Christopher – from over at My Depersonalization Experience.

Due to my having again been unwell lately and only now starting to recover, I haven’t had a great deal of time to read through his blog posts  but from what I have read a I am sure that you will find lots of very interesting stuff if you give his site a visit.  Certainly, his condition is not one which I think a lot of people know about.  And I have to tell you I can certainly relate to so much of it.  

And don’t forget to say hi and offer some help and support if you can make it across.

It really is good to have him here as a member of the guild and I hope that you will make him feel welcomed.

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The author of “My Depersonalization Experience” writes (in a recent comment to us)…

“My name is Christopher, a sufferer and survivor of a very rare and misunderstood condition – Chronic Depersonalization and Derealization.

Whilst this condition is quite common within the psychiatric community (secondary to other conditions or when one has “transient episodes”) it is quite rare that someone (like myself) has the condition as a primary (Chronic) condition.

I maintain a blog entitled “MyDepersonalizationExperience.com” (run on WordPress – I purchased the domain name) which has a menu offering resources for fellow sufferers (books, links, theories, treatment options, contact info, pictures, and more).

It also offers insight on the medication mismanagement involved in me “inheriting” this condition.

I blog often, as often as I can, on various topics involving Mental Health, Medications, etc.

Most of which are about new articles on Mental Health or my life as it relates to Mental Health and my illness.

I would like to be a member of the Guild, and hope to have a positive impact on others lives via my blog and constructive debate and discussion.”

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As I said above, it really is good to have Christopher with us, and I hope he will be more than welcome and that his blog will be of interest to our members and provide a lot of interesting reads, support and insights.

Kind regards and God bless you all,

Kevin.

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Apologies For Absense

Hi all,

Just a quick post to apologize for my recent absence and subsequently the delays in approving comments and memberships.

This has been down to my having been ill of late and also as a result of my having a lot of other things which simply had to be done and which were hindered by my last episode of illness.

I have today just approved and responded to the pending comments and membership requests.  But it is possible that I may have inadvertently missed one or two along the line.  If this is the case please understand that it is down to my still not being completely ‘with it’ as yet and please do not take it personally.

Simply email me or comment and I will fix it.

Kind regards and God bless.

Kevin

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Member’s Profile – lilypupslife

MHWGGTKY

In the spirit of sharing information about our members and the resources or writings that they offer we often run our Member’s Profile Feature.

Today I am sharing the profile of one of our newest members and I hope that you will make them feel welcome and go over and visit their blog/site.

Please remember that the information shared as part of this feature is ALWAYS provided by or at the request of the member themselves.  Although we, of course, reserve the right to edit or omit any information supplied.

 

My blog ‘lilypupslife‘ has been going for only one month, but has been an amazing experience.
I have battled bipolar 2 with psychotic features for approximately forty years.
The blog started as an alternative to journaling which I believe is helpful during recovery.
I am a former school teacher and administrator and work as hard as I can to reduce the stigma of mental illness.
Additionally, I speak and give presentations through the NAMI “In Our Own Voice” program.
My blog reflects my serious efforts through my recovery to “minister” to those suffering.
Struggling recently with psychosis and a serious med change, I try to encourage others through my trials.
I like to infuse a sense of humor in my writing…nothing like a laugh to heal.
I’d be honored to have anyone join me and read.
Many good thoughts to all.
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