An interview with actress Glenn Close about her sister Jessie’s bipolar disorder, and how the stigma of mental illness impacts whole families. Glenn describes the remorse she feels for not being able to be a more protective older sister as her 9 years younger sister Jessie was growing up. She describes the way [Read more…]
An interview with family educator, Valerie Gamache about her relationship with her mother who had bi-polar disorder. Valerie describes her mother’s illness and the frightening ways she could become suddenly violent and then have no memory for the episode. She reports the ways her family tried to keep, “the Big Secret” to the point that a friend thought her mother had actually died since Valerie spoke so little about her. She describes encounters with discrimination and prejudice that fuel this kind of silence. Valerie has taught numerous family to family classes through NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and spoke about her deep motivation that other families not have to go through what she did.
An interview with social psychologist and author, Susan Newman about the stigma and misinformation about only children. She describes studies that not only show that only children do not suffer from the lack of siblings but show improved academic achievement. She reports that the stereotypes of being spoiled, bossy and lonely do not hold up to research and that only children families are the fastest growing type of family in the US and in many parts of the western world, approaching a quarter of all families. She describes the factors that lead parents to have one child including wanting to give the child the best of their limited resources and time, wanting to avoid favoritism and rivalry, marriage and child-bearing happening later in life, secondary infertility, and the economy. Her books are Parenting Your Only Child, and The Case for the Only Child: Your essential Guide.
An interview with Dr. Diane Morrow about writing and healing. Diane describes the ways that writing was healing for her in coping with her mother’s severe depression. But she also talks about how writing can be healing as a process or ritual in itself, how writing fiction can be create enough distance from pain to allow the listener to resonate with it. Diane describes the way that the blank page itself may be the best listener to a difficult story, and the painful need to let go of our longing for a specific person to hear our difficult stories.
An interview with law professor, author and Macarthur fellow, Elyn Saks, about her experience of living with Schizophrenia. Elyn describes the experience of psychosis as like living in a nightmare from which you cannot wake up. She describes her 20 year long struggle to deny that she had schizophrenia, and especially that she did not need medication, despite months long hospitalizations, and daily experiences of psychosis. She was given a grave prognosis and told that she might never live independently. With the help of psychoanalysis and medication, Ellyn returned to law school and is now an expert on mental health law and the author of four books. Elyn speaks powerfully about stigma and mental illness, the use of restraints in psychiatric hospitals and her research into the lives of high-functioning people with schizophrenia.