invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

anonymity April 12, 2009

Filed under: new beginnings — clementine @ 10:43 am
Tags: ,

To my regular readers and new readers: I will be using a different name on my posts. I picked Clementine because it’s a character from one of my favorite films, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I would greatly appreciate it if you address me in the comments section as Clementine or anything other than my real name which most of you know. Some of you know my nickname in the business I work in, please do not address me with that nickname. This is one of the reasons I’m switching to a pseudonym. Although my business is generally open and accepting, there have been a few occasions where this has been proven not be the case. And so, to protect my career that I’ve worked long and hard to achieve and remain in, I can no longer use my real name.

Unfortunately, I will have to go back and delete certain comments and posts. I am terribly sorry for this but I must protect myself and my career. Stigma is still widespread. I have also changed my email address in the contact section. If you are a regular reader or know me personally, by all means, please email me directly at my normal email address. If not, contact me via the new address.

I don’t know if this will solve anything or prevent anything. I am simply taking a precaution, especially after my latest trauma post.


Kevin Siers’ cartoon April 8, 2009

Filed under: mental illness,stigma — clementine @ 10:15 pm
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If this cartoon titled: Local Terrorist offends you, I encourage you to write a letter to the editor at the Charlotte Observer. According to his bio, Kevin’s cartoons are distributed to over 400 newspapers nationwide by King Features Syndicate.


Here are the email addresses:

Rick Thames, editor:

Letters to the editor:

Cartoonist Kevin Siers:

This was my letter to the editor and I cc’d Rick and Kevin:

I am writing in regards to Kevin Siers’ cartoon titled “Local Terrorist”

Horrific images like this one promote the stigma associated with mental illness. Just look at some of the comments regarding Kevin’s cartoon. I find this cartoon extremely offensive as someone who has lived with a mental illness for more than 25 years. I must ask if you, your readers or Mr. Siers has a family member or close friend that suffers from depression or another mental illness? I have news for you: mental illness is an illness just like any other and it can be successfully treated. I am living proof of that-although, no thanks to Big Pharma. Unfortunately, I have spent more than half of my life living with the stigma associated with mental illness, meanwhile I have family members who have diabetes or cystic fibrosis and there is no stigma because people are not ‘afraid’ of those illnesses. People continue to be afraid of anyone with a mental illness partially thanks to cartoons like this. It is disgusting and you should all be ashamed for printing such a thing. This is one giant step backwards for the millions of people who have long suffered and been misunderstood. Don’t be surprised if you lose readers over this and you should!

****UPDATE: I should note that I don’t necessarily believe in mental illness these days. Of course my entire life I wanted to believe I had an illness because at the time it was the only thing keeping me alive as others around me labeled me crazy, odd, insane, etc. You get the picture. Today, this is my belief, if there is such a thing as mental illness…where is the scientific proof? Where is the cure? Scientists have had plenty of time to prove this and yet they haven’t. That speaks volumes. Instead we have numerous drugs promoted on television, pimped by our doctors and pharma reps for a quick fix. And let’s face it-there’s a a lot of money in it for Big Pharma and doctors. I wrote this email to Kevin because he does feed the stigmatization of a group of human beings that have been discriminated against their entire lives. That is not something I can sit back and ignore.


you might be oblivious but sometimes you insult and hurt me December 28, 2008

Thanks to finding optimism for this:

There are many ways to insult someone with depression, without even trying very hard. The best way is to give them some unsolicited advice. Something that you think is simple, yet profound, and potentially life changing. But said in ignorance. Nothing cuts deeper to someone with depression, than when their illness, which is serious, is trivialized by another who doesn’t understand it.

Here are the some of the terrible things that people say:
“This is what life is like. Get used to it.”
“Life isn’t meant to be easy.”
“Just snap out of it!”
“Pull yourself together.”
“Who said that life is fair?”
“You just have to get on with things.”
“At least it’s not that bad.”
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
“You have so many things. What do you have to feel down about?”
“You just need to cheer up.”
“Quit trying to be a martyr.”
“Stop taking all those medicines.”
“I know how you feel. I’ve been depressed for whole days at a time.”
“You don’t like feeling that way? So change it!”


lemonade award December 13, 2008

Filed under: hope,love,mental illness — clementine @ 2:48 am
Tags: , , ,


Stephany at soulful sepulcher very kindly awarded my blog with the Lemonade Award. It was quite a surprise and a true honor coming from her. I sincerely thank her. I have enjoyed reading her blog for a year or so now. she reminds me of Erin Brockovich-although on a somewhat different journey, Stephany, like Erin, is a fighter. she fights for truth and justice and peace. but more importantly, she fights for her child. she fights and lives for love. and she never gives up. she is truly gifted and is able to find so much beauty in a (sometimes) ugly world.

this is a little more difficult than i expected. you see, as i type, i long for understanding from my mother. i have her love. but she turns her head when it comes to my illness. for many reasons. her mother was mentally ill and i know i must be a reminder of things unknown to me but possibly sad, tragic events from her own childhood. my mother sees my behavior and actions and does not “see” the illness. my mother chooses to not talk about my illness and feels she must walk on eggshells around me. i understand. i can be unpredictable and most definitely emotional. i take many things personally. but that is who i am. i remember when i checked myself into a mental hospital over ten years ago…my family and then friends did not know what to say or how to act around me. i felt safe and loved only by the people i met at the hospital. since then, things have changed. i lost touch with the girls at the hospital. but my parents still love me, unconditionally and that’s all i can ask for. these days i am very fortunate to have friends who listen to me and love me unconditionally. today i spent time with two of those friends. they have been helping me get through the past few weeks, listening to me and loving me. and i am grateful for the internet and the ability to connect with so many people that do understand me.

Stephany has been to hell and back. she has the scars to prove it. and mostly all for her beautiful daughter. she is a rare flower. there are very few people in this world willing to stick around, listen, understand, love and fight for such a long time. i can think of numerous people that have called me over the years asking me to call their mentally ill friend or family member because they didn’t know what to say. they were tired of trying to understand. they were giving up. and so, thank you, stephany…for never giving up.

The rules of this award are as follows:

* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
* Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
* Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

and here are my ten nominees, some know what it’s like to fight and survive in a world full of stigma. some know what it’s like when the darkness is both comforting and disturbing. some chose a path without medication, knowing all too well that most psychiatric medications do not work. some speak out against the pharmaceutical companies that are poisoning our children, friends and the elderly. some take these very medications to stay alive. some are still trying to figure out their own path. and all of whom are very brave souls.

beyond meds

…salted lithium

tilting at windmills


if you’re going through hell keep going

experimental chimp

storied mind

chunks of reality

bipolar recovery

the trouble with spikol

one bipolar life


nyu ransom ads December 18, 2007

This past week The New York University Child Study Center introduced a public service campaign to raise awareness of what Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, the center’s founder and director, called “the silent public health epidemic of children’s mental illness.” Their plan to bring awareness consists of running ads that read like ransom notes.

From the NYU Child Study Center website:

“The idea behind the “Ransom Notes” is that, all too often, untreated psychiatric disorders are holding our children hostage. These disorders rob children of the ability to learn, make and keep friends and enjoy life.”

Dr. Koplewicz told the New York Times the campaign was inspired by filmed conversations of parents and children talking about life with a psychiatric disorder. “These families felt their children were trapped by their disorders.” The ads began running last week in New York magazine and Newsweek as well as on kiosks, billboards and construction sites around New York City.

We have your son. We will make sure he will no longer be able to care for himself or interact socially as long as he lives. This is only the beginning…Autism.

We are in possession of your son. We are making him squirm and fidget until he is a detriment to himself and those around him. Ignore this and your kid will pay…ADHD

We have your son. We are destroying his ability for social interaction and driving him into a life of complete isolation. It’s up to you now…Asperger’s Syndrome

We have your daughter. We are forcing her to throw up after every meal she eats. It’s only going to get worse…Bulimia

We have your daughter. We are making her wash her hands until they are raw, everyday. This is only the beginning…OCD (more…)


i’m home November 29, 2007

i’m home and it feels good. leaving home for a weekend or week is one thing…but 7 weeks is a whole other beast. some of you know i work in the film industry and occasionally work will take me out of town for weeks or months at a time. and i rarely post about my experiences on set because they usually involve those that we read about too much. however, i will say it was a pleasure working with hawkeye. overall, it was a long 7 weeks and i returned feeling exhausted and broken. during the second week i injured my back and sciatic nerve. over the last two weeks of filming i battled “whatever flu virus has been going around” and it’s still lingering…thanks in part to the ever-changing weather. i’ll leave it at that for now.

decided to return with some headlines that caught my attention over the last month or so. hoping to follow up on a few of them.

Dr. Drug Rep

Lilly makes billions off Zyprexa while approved for Schizophrenia only

120 War Vets commit suicide each week

State files suit against maker of medication

Changes in psychiatry’s ‘bible’ altered children’s care

Republicans have better mental health than Democrats

Friends, family mourn tasered man

Before shooting in Brooklyn, a history of mental illness and family discord

Law on mental-illness coverage near fruition as details ironed out

Moody is the new bipolar

Abilify approved as additional treatment for major depression

Minnesota limit on gifts to doctors may catch on


antipsychotics and oprah on bipolar September 25, 2007

In what some are calling ZyprexaGate…another state is bringing forth a lawsuit against Eli Lilly, Janssen and Astra Zeneca for a marketing scheme involving the antipsychotics Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel. To date, nine states are suing antipsychotic makers. Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia are suing Eli Lilly regarding Zyprexa. Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania are suing Janssen regarding Risperdal. Pennsylvania and South Carolina are also suing AstraZeneca regarding Seroquel. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is planning a lawsuit against three pharmaceutical companies, you guessed it… Eli Lilly, Janssen and AstraZeneca.

From the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

McDaniel said the companies engaged in a “marketing scheme that was very effective to where a drug that was never approved by the [federal Food and Drug Administration ] for children… the elderly… or run of the mill behavioral disorders like depression, all of a sudden was touted to America’s doctors, Arkansas ’ doctors, as a miracle drug. So, a child that has [attention deficit disorder ] is taking a drug that was never authorized for that child, causing serious complications… that could last a lifetime.”

He said the state Medicaid program has spent $200 million on those drugs over the last eight years and, under Arkansas’ Medicaid fraud law, the state could collect three times that much.

These antipsychotics are being prescribed for everything from depression to anorexia to bipolar and they’re just making us sicker. I am not a doctor but I do have firsthand experience with one these medications and twenty years of experience living with a mental illness. It’s quite obvious to me these drugs should be used in extreme cases or short term. We know that these drugs have killed more than 6,000 people. If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is. (more…)