Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

Clinical Depression, Bullying, and Suicide

On Tuesday August 3, 2010, at 7pm EST, on the Psyche Whisperer Radio Show Life and Mental Health Coach, A.J. Mahari, interviewed Letricia Hendrix who is the author of  “Behind our Faces: Thoughts and Reasonings of Suicide”. In her book,  Letricia Hendrix writes about her own experience with clinical depression and being suicidal. She writes about how no one is really alone with these feelings – how you don’t have to be alone with these feelings. She also writes about hope and also focuses on how the ways that we treat each other can often have a profoundly negative impact on people and for some, to the point where they feel so bad about themselves, they just want to die. The author also stresses that many people with clinical depression who may not understand what they are feeling and why often think that the “problem” is everyone else and aren’t aware of how they feel or why they feel what they do.

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“Behind our Faces: Thoughts and Reasonings of Suicide” is a book that offers personal insight and understanding into what it’s like to just want to die, and why. Depression, mental illness, and the growing stress in life, for so many, continues to create an increase in a crisis of faith and/or hope. Letricia believes that “there are so many personal forms of hell that people impose upon each other and the personal hell within ourselves.” Too many people are stressed out and often feeling disconnected. Too many people who feel depressed and/or suicidal often fail to ask for help or to reach out for support.




Letricia Hendrix is a professional actor and graduate of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Washington, DC. She has appeared in several productions, such as HBO’s The Wire, The Vagina Monologues, and Death and the Kings Horseman at Washington Shakespeare Company. She has done industrials for companies such as A&E Television, Discovery Channel and Discovery Classroom, The History Channel, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the Federal Judicial Center. Other projects include Print work, Indie films, and medical student training. Letricia believes that thoughts and feelings of suicide are on the rise. Her book offers insight into her own experience and her insightful message for others when it comes to clinical depression and feeling suicidal. Find out that you yourself are not alone with these feelings. The fast-pace of life, increasing demands, increasing stress, less time to just connect with others, often leave people feeling more isolated. Many people experience overwhelming emotions they aren’t sure how to cope with or have a mental illness. Suicide has many causes. It is on the rise. There needs to be more understood about feeling suicidal and how you can feel that way without acting upon it – feelings often do pass in time.



© The Psyche Whisperer Radio Show, August 1, 2010 – All rights reserved.


Biopsychiatry – Mental Illness as “Brain Disease” – the major problem with modern psychiatry

Have you heard that mental illness, according to some in the profession of psychiatry (mainly in the United States) is “brain disease”? What do you think? Is it a coincidence that many studies aiding in these theories of what is known as biopsychiatry are being made on the basis of the outcomes of studies that are largely funded by pharmaceutical companies in the United States? Do you think that all psychiatrists or even all psychologists agree with this un-proven conclusion? Many do  not agree. One very well known opponent of his own profession’s all-too-common practice in recent years is Australian psychiatrist, Dr. Niall (Jock) McLaren. I interviewed Dr. McLaren on Friday July 23, 2010, at 7pm EST on The Psyche Whisperer Radio Show on


Niall (Jock) McLaren, MD, is an Australian psychiatrist, author and theoretician. His work opposes the mainstream view in psychiatry to the extent that he argues modern psychiatry has no scientific basis whatsoever. However, he insists that he is not “anti-psychiatry,” but a committed scientist following his duty of criticizing the prevailing models in his field in order to improve it. He is the author of the two books, Humanizing Madness: Psychiatry and the Cognitive Neurosciences. 2007; and Humanizing Psychiatry: The Biocognitive Model. 2009. He is working on another book due out later this year.

“McLaren has never held an academic post and has had practically no involvement in teaching, either medical students or post-graduate trainees in psychiatry. At the beginning of his training in psychiatry, he was interested in the biology of mental disorders but soon realized that many of the claims being made by biological psychiatrists were simply not supported by the state of neurosciences. At the same time, he developed an interest in psychotherapy and delved into psychoanalysis but soon reached the same conclusion, that analysts were making claims which went beyond the available evidence. In particular, he noted the way they quoted from Freud, analysed the quote and determined it was correct.  This led him directly to the philosophy of science and the philosophy of mind, as well as studies in history and epistemology. When he was accepted as a PhD candidate, he had no training or qualifications in philosophy but was required to complete several philosophy units before proceeding. His books are the culmination of a long and, he says, lonely journey. The response of mainstream psychiatry in Australia to his work ranges from indifference to hostility.  The author does not claim to be “anti-psychiatry.” As a psychiatrist with 35 years diverse experience in difficult and remote areas (including extensive work with veterans and aboriginals), he insists his interest lies in building the foundations for a better psychiatry: “A critical analysis of the logical status of modern psychiatry shows that psychiatry has no rational basis to its practice, its teaching and its research. At best, it is a protoscience.” In his view modern psychiatry is currently operating within the Kuhnian realm of “normal science.” He regards psychoanalysis and behaviorism as historical aberrations, eighty-year deviations which could have been averted if psychiatrists had looked critically at what was being offered.”

“Similarly, he argues that biological psychiatry is “mere scientism,” the inappropriate application of scientific methods and procedures to questions with no empirical content. The claim that mental disorder can be reduced to a matter of brain disorder is, he insists, a metaphysical claim which cannot be resolved by brain scans or blood tests: “The claim that all mental disorder is due to a chemical imbalance of the brain is an ideological claim, where ideology preconceives reality.” He emphasizes that the major problem with modern psychiatry is that it lacks a unified model of the mind and has become entrapped in a biological reductionist paradigm. The reasons for this biological shift are intuitive as reductionism has been very effective in other fields of science and medicine. However, despite reductionism’s efficacy in explaining the smallest parts of the brain this does not explain the mind, which is where he contends the majority of psychopathology stems from. An example would be that every aspect of a computer can be understood scientifically down to the very last atom, however this does not reveal the program that drives this hardware.” (Source – Wikipedia)


Personality Disorder – (From Wikipedia – by Paige Lovitt )

[In his book Humanizing Psychiatry] “He begins with defining personality as “the distinguishing, habitual forms of interaction between the individual and her environment in the stable, adult modes of behavior…personality just is a set of rules” and argues that previous methods of defining personality are but mere typologies (i.e., personality as described by behaviorism). Typologies do not describe or determine the roots of personality but merely put personality into groupings which can then predict future actions based on previous actions. From a psychiatry perspective this falls short because the therapist’s goal is to modify behavior by reconciling the personality and guiding it.




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However, the output of personality is not static and can vary depending upon the situation and the largely unconscious rules which guide it. An example in the book reveals “consider Mr. James Smith, a man of normal intellect and no compelling idiosyncrasies, who is sitting quietly on a park bench somewhere. He brings to his bench a personal background, a huge, rich history of events dating almost from the day he was born. His head is full of rules derived from his myriad life experiences, some of which he could tell you but most of which he couldn’t. These rules amount to his personality (note I didn’t say rules are identical with personality,; a generative mechanism is not the same as its output, of which more later). When something happens near him, his reaction is determined by a high-speed and unreportable interaction between what he sees and his unique set of rules. some of his rules are more or less fixed and won’t vary much from one year to the next, but some are more fluid, even a little unpredictable. If, today, a man comes past and asks him for money, Mr. Smith may be inclined to smile indulgently and hand over a few coins. However, another day, he may have had an argument with his wife or his boss and not be feeling so chipper; this time, the same wheedling request may elicit only a snarl to get a haircut and a job. His personality hasn’t changed, and the inconsistency doesn’t mean he has a personality disorder, he’s just being normal. Normality is a huge, multidimensional range and behavior is only disordered at the extremes.” Additionally, since personality is guided by rules coded in memory “therefore, anything that interferes with memory can affect the rules we call personality, and anything that affects current computational capacity will affect the application of those rules.”

Personality disorder is then defined, “if the rules governing a person’s life are internally inconsistent, or there are so many of them that he can’t reach a decision, or they generate disabling emotions or cause repeated conflict with his neighbors, then we say he has a personality disorder.” However, the major problem with personality disorders is that the “distorted rules give rise to the disordered behavior and generates an output state which serves to reinforce the rules. That is, either directly or indirectly, the individual’s behavior or emotions are such as to convince him that his beliefs or rules are correct (therefore creating a positive feedback loop of psychopathology, ie a vicious cycle). Of course, he doesn’t refer to them as rules; he simply knows what is right.” The author lists several examples but one of widespread significance is “I’m stupid, ugly and worthless. I hate myself.” which leads to “if my girlfriend looks at another man, she’s probably thinking of leaving me.””

The author argues that the path of mental wellness should involve replacing destructive rules with more adaptive standards. He contends that in general religion, the Freudian model, relaxation therapy, and many other therapies fall short because they seek to “suppress the output without changing the pathological factors generating the output.”



Dr. Merri Lisa Johnson – Author of Girl In Need of a Tourniquet – Interview

On Tuesday June 29, 2010 I had the pleasure of interviewing Merri Lisa Johnson. In this interview available to be listened to now in our show archives on our  Blogtalkradio Show Page  you will also hear the author read a few excerpts from her book and talk about her experience and thoughts about Borderline Personality Disorder.

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Girl in Need
of A Tourniquet

Memoir of A Borderline Personality

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English

    An honest and compelling memoir, Girl in Need of A Tourniquet is Merri Lisa Johnson’s account of her borderline personality disorder and how it has affected her life and relationships. Johnson describes the feeling of “bleeding out” — unable to tell where she stopped and where her partner began. A self-confessed “psycho girlfriend,” she was influenced by many emotional factors from her past. She recalls her path through a dysfunctional, destructive relationship, while recounting the experiences that brought her to her breaking point.


    In recognizing her struggle with borderline personality disorder, Johnson is ultimately able to seek help, embarking on a soul-searching healing process. It’s a path that is painful, difficult, and at times heart-wrenching, but ultimately makes her more able to love and coexist in healthy relationships.








    About the Author


    Merri Lisa Johnson believes in bold lines, strange truths, off rhymes, and the art of the glimpse. After pursuing various graduate degrees in colder climates, Johnson returned to the southeastern US, where she performs a curious balancing act as author, professor, and Women’s and Gender Studies program administrator. A newlywed lesbian-after-­marriage, Johnson currently resides in South Carolina with her part­ner Stace and their two loyal shih tzus.


    Johnson’s previous publications include three anthologies in feminist cultural studies — Jane Sexes It Up: True Confessions of Feminist Desire, Flesh for Fantasy: Producing and Con­suming Exotic Dance (with R. Danielle Egan and Katherine Frank), and Third Wave Feminism and Television: Jane Puts It in a Box — as well as essays published in Sex and Single Girls: Women Write on Sexuality, Her-space: Women, Writing, and Solitude, Homewrecker: An Adultery Reader,and Fucking Daphne: Mostly True Stories and Fictions. 

     Johnson blogs at

    Praise for Girl in Need of A Tourniquet

    “Merri Lisa Johnson takes you, at breakneck speed, through a brilliant young writer’s chaotic life and a remarkable mélange of important psychological theory. The result is vivid, heartbreaking, and deeply feminist.” —Jennifer Baumgardner, author of Look Both Ways, Abortion & Life, and co-author of Manifesta and Grassroots

    Girl in Need of A Tourniquet is an artful, brave memoir that invites compassion from those on the outside of borderline personality disorder and inspires hope for those on the inside.” —Randi Kreger, author of Stop Walking on Eggshells and The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder

    “With the eye of a detective, the hand of a surgeon, and the heart of a postmodern fabulist, Merri Lisa Johnson relentlessly pieces together the truths of her borderline behavior, diagnosis, and recovery. Unflinching, ruthless, and always compelling, Girl in Need of A Tourniquet shows us the furiously beating, all-too-human heart under all the blood.” —Daphne Gottlieb, author of Kissing Dead Girls

    “Lisa Johnson may have written the first truly lyrical book-length memoir. Girl in Need of A Tourniquet is a fiercely intelligent, formally inventive, emotionally searing account of borderline personality disorder.” —Susannah Mintz, author of Unruly Bodies

    “This book delves with intelligence and insight into the chaos of a disordered mind, leaving the reader at once astonished, sometimes baffled, and englightened.” —Nancy Mairs, author of Waist-High in the World



    “An honest and compelling memoir, Girl in Need of a Tourniquet is Merri Lisa Johnson’s account of her borderline personality disorder and how it has affected her life and relationships. Johnson describes the feeling of “bleeding out” — unable to tell where she stopped and where her partner began. A self-confessed “psycho girlfriend,” she was influenced by many emotional factors from her past. She recalls her path through a dysfunctional, destructive relationship, while recounting the experiences that brought her to her breaking point. In recognizing her struggle with borderline personality disorder, Johnson is ultimately able to seek help, embarking on a soul-searching healing process. It’s a path that is painful, difficult, and at times heart-wrenching, but ultimately makes her more able to love and coexist in healthy relationships.”


  where you can purchase the song used in our guest’s intro, “On the Borderline” and other music by the very talented Kayla Kavanagh.









    © The Psyche Whisperer Radio Show, June 21, 2010



    Diagnosed with Borderline Personality and Bipolar Disorder

    A Man and His Experience with and Message about Mental Illness

    Ronald Paul Corbin is a 33 year old man who was diagnosed in 2008 with Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. Ronald lives in Indiana, U.S.A. He wants to share his experience with mental illness. He has been able to find a group for support for his bipolar disorder but hadn’t yet been able to find therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder.

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    In Ron’s Own Words:

    “My name is Ronald Paul Corbin. I am 33 years old, and was diagnosed with B.P.D and Bi-Polar in 2008. I am a father of 4 boys, 2 of which have autism. Much of the last 8 years of my life has been that of raising awareness in one form or another. Most of it being for people with Autism, and now for those with mental illness as well. Eliminating the stigmas and gaining public support are at the forefront of the fight for reform and health care concerns.

    I am also a musician, artist, writer, and video producer. These hobbies have been a great outlet for me in coping and recovering. My hopes are to reach out to all peoples with mental illness or disorders, and let them know they are not alone. Millions suffer in silence, I choose to put myself out there in order to send a message of hope. Even though I feel like giving up on some days, I make it to the next to fight the good fight.”

    In his video below Ronald’s purpose is to convey and express to others how he experiences daily life with mental illness.

    Ronald’s message to people with mental illness, at the end of this video is an important one. It is one that needs to be remembered when you are having a rough time or feeling depressed. It is a message that most people with mental illness reinforce often for each other. It is a message that those with average mental health need to embrace in the letting go of the stigma that leaves so many with mental illness alienated, isolated, and feeling as if they are all alone in the world. To not be all alone each and every person with mental illness needs to know and feel that they are valued, respected, and not judged as being the sum-total of whatever they happen to have been diagnosed with.


    © The Psyche Whisperer – A.J. Mahari 2010 – All rights reseved. (Except Video Content)