Category Archive for ‘Personal’

A New Way to Study Hallucinations: The RDoC

“Not to worry, Robin. They’ve got no idea.” Startled, I look around to see who was speaking. I find no one. Was that just a thought? No. Someone is definitely talking directly to me. It is someone in the room, not in my mind. It is someone next to me, or behind me. But who is it? And where is he? Why can’t I see him? “Who are you?” I whisper. “Don’t be afraid. They’ve got no idea.” “Where are you? Why can’t I see you?” I ask silently. “You can’t see me because I don’t want to be seen.”  “Who –“ “Pay attention! Your parents have no idea who you’re dealing with!” Oh my God, it has to be Satan! He is not only putting thoughts in my mind — now he is also talking directly to me in his own voice! My skin itches and I begin to […]

Read More »

Goodbye, and Thank You, to Scotti DiDonato

By Hakon Heimer   “Can you tell me why you aren’t joining the Mental Health Association of RI, whose mission you seem to have chosen for yours, rather than beginning a new organization?” That was my introduction to Scotti DiDonato, who died January 17, at the age of 80. She wrote me a challenging email on the weekend we launched Cure Alliance for Mental Illness with a party at PeaceLove Studios, and followed it up with a bracing interrogation over coffee a few weeks later. It was the start of an all-too-brief friendship. I explained that we were creating a dedicated national voice for research on mental illness, specifically targeted on the Federal public health research budget. I also said that MHA and NAMI had more than their hands full helping people with services, housing, insurance and other immediate needs. Scotti immediately said, Okay, what do you need? … How […]

Read More »

Depression Hits Close to Home

By Audra Moran My name is Audra Moran, and I am a founding board member of Cure Alliance for Mental Illness. I spent the early part of my career working in mental illness—first as a rehabilitation counselor and later in research funding, at the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, where I was Vice President for Development and Scientific Affairs. All of which is to say that I am no stranger to psychiatric brain disorders. So when my father, at age 60, experienced his first episode of major depression, I should have been prepared, but instead felt immobilized. What should or could I do to help, especially from so far away? I was in New York, he was home in central Florida. My first attempt to help didn’t go so well—a clinician I located in his area began my father on a course of antipsychotics, though his depression did not have […]

Read More »

Schizophrenia: Change is Afoot . . .

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1956 at thirteen years of age and have lived successfully with this brain disorder for well over 50 years.  Many members of my father’s family had schizophrenia, but I was the first to receive “best practice treatment” over the entire course of my illness, consisting of early intervention, continuity of treatment, medications, and cognitive therapy. This comprehensive treatment approach is rarely available to people with schizophrenia even now. By most standards, I have been successful in my life, particularly in my business career, where I have held senior executive positions with a number of large international corporations and have been instrumental in the formation of several new ventures. People with schizophrenia are not expected to lead such high-achieving lives. In a New York Times opinion piece, Elyn Saks, (a law professor at University of Southern California and winner of a Macarthur “genius” award) writes […]

Read More »