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alfredo3


Member

Posted Thu Oct 6th, 2011 7:45am Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

Many extremely talented writers whom I know, suffer with depression. For this reason, I have written something which I think should be of interested to many writers here. Again, I would like to say that I am a migrant so that my English is not perfect. However, this does not mean that I am not a writer. Migrants have a lot to say and if we only overlooked a few grammatical inadequacies we would gain a real lot. There are many editors and writers but not enough ideas and variety. Everyone should be encouraged to write because writing is not the possession of the middle and upper classes.

Today, we look at people with mental illness better than we have in the past. We have a very long way to go, but the improvements are real. The fact that some celebrities, politicians and famous sportsmen have written and spoken about their problems (like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder), has had a liberating effect. About 25 per cent of the world’s population experiences anxiety disorder and depression sometimes in their lives and the actual figures could be much higher given that many people do not disclose their mental problems.

While we still don’t discuss mental illness as we should, I am proud to say, as an Australian citizen, that Australia is one of the world’s leaders in dealing with depression. Unfortunately, de-institutionalization hasn’t worked and the idea that patients would be better off at home, supported by on the ground help was never fully realized. Sufficient funds have never materialized and our economic rationalism has penalized those least able to survive society. Stigma is still a serious problem and in a society where every effort is made to cut down on expenses, people with mental illness are often excluded from universities, from the workforce, and from full social participation.

Today, most people who suffer with a mental illness end up in jail, unable to cope with the outside world. Many take to alcohol and drugs and the worrying fact for all of us is that the numbers of people with a mental illness is increasing every year and we know that many of these people won’t get the help that they need.

What is needed is for more celebrities(and let me add that Stephen Fry does a wonderful job and he is an example to many),politicians and all influential people, who suffer with some form of mental illness, to come out and speak of their experiences because this really helps to educated society in a practical and direct manner. We need to understand that economic rationalism must make room (especially in financial terms) for the the mentally ill, if we are to avoid exclusion from social participation. Such exclusion is dangerous in more ways than one because sufferers, when excluded, develop hate and resentment in their hearts and become troublesome for themselves and for their society.

To change the subject abruptly:

Last but not least, good writers need to read other writers.

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Vampyros


Member

Posted Thu Oct 6th, 2011 10:25am Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

Anything to be included in "Purple Girl" needs to be sent to

KatySaraCullingTributeBook@yahoo.co.uk

With express permission to use for free and a short bio of the author.

The closing date is Friday 7th October.

Everything has to be in one place for legal reasons as the publisher can request this information at anytime and they won't accept links to this site.

I am very busy finalising steps for publication so unfortunately I will not be posting re the book until publication.

Thanks again to all those who contributed.
Vx

The Katy Sara Culling Tribute is ready in e-Book form http://chipmunkapublishing.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2326 Charity/Bipolar

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Thu Oct 6th, 2011 11:07pm Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

>"It is better to be in chains with friends , than to be in a garden with strangers."<

I don't know about this Persian proverb. I rather take my chances with strangers in a garden, than in chains with friends.

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Vampyros


Member

Posted Fri Oct 7th, 2011 2:56pm Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

I disagree, strangers scare me. But friends often disappoint me at that hurts more. Some friends, the best friends continually surprise and amaze me.

Alfredo still received nothing from you. Today is the last day for submissions, I would really like you to be involved.

Vx

The Katy Sara Culling Tribute is ready in e-Book form http://chipmunkapublishing.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2326 Charity/Bipolar

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Sat Oct 8th, 2011 5:28am Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

Dear Vampyros,

I am sorry I have not made it in time to send some material but hopefully, there will be other times,.

I know what you are trying to say about strangers and friends. The reality is that in my attempt to help others, I cannot afford to be afraid of strangers. If I was to fear strangers, I would not be able to help anyone.

I think that there is a lot of good in every person, it is just a matter of learning how to tap into this goodness and what to do. As someone who once helped homeless people, I have had to face all sorts of situation, like people on drugs, violent alcoholics and people who had lost the plot. I think that because I was always there with a honest and helpful attitude, nothing has ever happened to me. People usually sensed that my intentions were good and that I wanted to help.

There is no right or wrong way to do anything, and both strangers and friends can be unpredictable. It all depends. There is no black and white in life.

I was just joking in the previous post, just my sense of humor.

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Mon Oct 10th, 2011 5:53am Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

I just finished to write something on Toulouse Lautrec and the Mouline Rouge. For those of you who are interested here is the link to it:
http://alfredo123.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/a-s-c-d.....y-ability/

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Fri Oct 14th, 2011 2:19am Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

This below is the link to the January edition of the A.S.C journal.
http://alfredo123.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/asc-january-edition/

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Mon Oct 17th, 2011 10:48pm Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

I am often accused of being in love with myself, of having an ego problem because I share my art and I show it off. Am I vane or do I have an ego problem? I don't think so. I am ignorant in many ways and I have a lot to learn. But one thing I know is that we are all connected and what is mine, intellectually speaking, is yours because I share it. Let me quote Stephen Fry:

People sometimes accuse me of knowing a lot...This is a bit like telling a person who has a few grains of sand clinging to him that he owns much sand. When you consider the vast amount of sand there is in the world such a person is, to all intents and purposes, sandless. We are all sandless. We are all ignorant. There are beaches and deserts and dunes of knowledge whose existence we have never even guessed at, let alone visited.
-- Stephen Fry, Preface for "The Book of General Ignorance" by Lloyd & Mitchinson, 2006

Where is everybody? We are all connected you know there is no I or you this is only an illusion. There is "us" and we do not share our knowledge and experiences because we are ignorant.

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Tue Oct 18th, 2011 9:01pm Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

It has been a pleasure to write here on Stephen Fry’s website. However, given that my face is slowly starting to take over this site, I have decided to discontinue writing for a while, especially because there is no one discussing thing with me. It is true that I am lonely, intellectually and spiritually lonely.
I don’t write here or show my art because I am vane or because I like to talk about myself. I am here because I am trying to understand myself and find myself and I would like to do so with others here because we are all connected. We are all special, this I know. But in order to nurture one’s gifts it is important to open up and be part of a community. If we adhere to the Western ideology we don’t go far. We all have unique abilities and gifts that we can share. These can only be developed if embrace the community spirit. There are many people who are not aware of how creative they are and feel that they are useless. But this is not true. Every human being has the “gift” but we don’t all develop it. Why? Because we have the wrong ideas that one should not show ones talents or that one needs to be talented to communicate with others. All these ideas are based on myths.
Art isn’t just the artifacts one produces. Art is a journey, it is love and it can be many things, even the ability to rare one’s children in a creative fashion or to do things in a different and novel way. We all have gifts but we are not always aware of this.
I feel like a fish out of water and I know that many people misunderstand my intentions. I am used to it. In my heart I live in a different intellectual world where no one is jealous or resentful of anyone else’s gifts because everyone knows that these gifts are not the gifts of one person but the gifts of the community and that each individual can contribute in her or his special way. No one is better or less, we are all equally capable but not all can read the myths and work around these to find a way to live a fulfilling and creative life. It is with this understanding that I share my art and that I write here. I am not one but many and I am part of a big puzzle. Not all pieces are the same: some are small and some are huge but together, the pieces form a picture which is unites and whole. By myself I am incomplete and it is true that we are all incomplete, even Stephen Fry, because we live a lonely and competitive life not naturally designed for humans.
My art is your art and it is a celebration of life not a symbol of vanity, of selfishness or self prize. But I know that many do not understand this. No, I am not trying to be a guru or a leader. This may be the impression but it is not true. I am me and I seek to find friends who discuss and share things. But I am afraid that in our world we are forgetting how to be friends, talk about things and share things. We have learned how to be competitive, who makes more money, who is smarter and who can do more things better than others. This is not what life is about.

I thank Stephen Fry for letting me write here.

Love to you all

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Vampyros


Member

Posted Sun Oct 23rd, 2011 12:16am Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

Great stuff and thanks for getting involved.

Will email you a draft copy so you can review your contributions.

Thanks again,
Vx

The Katy Sara Culling Tribute is ready in e-Book form http://chipmunkapublishing.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2326 Charity/Bipolar

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Wed Oct 26th, 2011 7:57am Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

Katy Sara Culling was an email friend. We have had many email conversations about bipolar and shared our experiences as online helpers for sufferers. This is a song that I have dedicated to Katy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmUGhiP0r_I&feature=feedu

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Wed Oct 26th, 2011 10:40am Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

I know that this may not be the right place to put this about Katy Sara Culling but given that I have dedicated a song to her I write here:

One early morning, I remember that it was about 4 am, knowing that Katy Sara Culling was often up, unable to sleep, I decided to send her an email and there she was. She replied almost instantly. We started a discussion on mixed episodes http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/reprint/165/8/1048.pdf of which I have direct experience, where mania and depression are experience concurrently. Katy suffered a more severe form of bipolar and mixed episode than me and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t know how one could cope with more severe mixed episodes than mine. For me it is a tremendous struggle. For Katy it must have been hell. If you don’t have experience of what it is like don’t even try to understand it. It is simply impossible.
At the time I was helping a number of sufferers with mixed episodes and I remember that a few interesting issues surfaced: there is not enough research of mixed episodes precisely because such research would require the input of sufferers directly and, as we know, it is difficult to find sufferers involved in research for a number of reasons including stigma and general ignorance; people who suffer with mixed episodes tend to be more prone to commit suicide, especially after multiple episodes, where the mind becomes so overwhelmed and exhausted by the rapid fluctuation of moods, from one extreme of joy and elation to despair, and where one feels as if s/he was sucked into a black hole and then violently pushed up, by a tremendous force, into the stratosphere; and while depression can lead to suicide, in mixed episodes it is the mania that is most dangerous because during mania the mind does not think clearly and that is when an attempted suicide can turn into a completed suicide.
Katy loved life and the people whom she helped and the reason why she ended her life is, in my humble opinion, due to mania experienced immediately after a deep depression. We had spoken about this at length and it was clear that both Katy and I wanted more sufferers in research. But for this to happen, universities need to change and make more room for sufferers; they need to facilitate things so that access is possible and, in particularly, they need to learn how to support students in distress. In this sense we have a long way to go, but we do desperately need sufferers in research.
No sufferer with bipolar is equal to any other sufferer and each bipolar disorder is different from anyone else’s. There are many interventions that can help based on pharmacological, psychological and sociological intervention. However, it is clear that we need all of the three, particularly in more serious cases like that of Katy. In addition, there is need of more studies to find the right medication. For mixed episodes, it is extremely difficult to find the right medication and, to this day, I don’t think there is a suitable medication. Antidepressants can lead to mania and anti psychotics are not really indicated for depression. These are the tremendous difficulties. I am fortunate that my bipolar and mixed episodes are mild which means that I can cope without medication but for more severe cases it is simply impossible.
When we begin to understand these difficulties, we also begin to understand the desperate need of having sufferers involved in the research. Without the sufferer’s input we are shooting blanks and we won’t be able to advance very much. But here is the difficulty: in order to include sufferers into the research, universities need to change their structure and matching ideology. We are ignorant and we don’t know what bipolar really is. We have a broad term that covers the bare minimums in terms of basic characteristic of the disorder but we need to go much deeper and to understand that each bipolar case is different and unique and each sufferer requires tailor made therapy. In a world where we rely on mass production of anti depressant and anti psychotics the aim is to treat everyone as they were equally affected by a disorder of which we know little or nothing.
Katy was a gifted person who really loved people. For mental health advocates the death of Katy is a tremendous loss. She was extremely helpful and always knew how to say the right thing. I always told her that compared to her I was arrogant, a bit odd, and that people did not immediately take to me. I am a kind of person that you either like or dislike with not much in between. Katy was different in that she was always nice and everyone liked her. In any case, I have managed to create an online community of sufferers and we all help each other. Both Katy and I help people as volunteers but I am not as efficient as Katy was. I guess that we do the best that we can do.
What I wanted to say here is that Katy loved her friends and loved helping people. She could simply not go on and I know why because of direct experience particularly knowing that her mixed episodes were so much more severe than mine. It is nearly impossible to cope with such disorder, and, in some cases, completely impossible. That is why we need to do more research and to include sufferers into this research so that we can find solutions which should be based on holistic approached where the RIGHT medication, therapy, support and stigma reduction all combine to bring relief.

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Fri Oct 28th, 2011 11:03pm Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

I received a few emails from some email friends who have read some of what I have written on this thread and I have been asked why my ideas are in conflict. On this page, I refer to Mental Illness as an illness and in some of my journal I refer to it as a disorder or malfunction of the mind giving the impression that it is not an illness. What is going on?

Bipolar is an illness, a serious illness, but it is not like a physical or viral illness. It is much more complex than that. For one thing, the brain is plastic and is unlike any other body organ. Granted that Bipolar Disorder can destroy parts of the brain as years go by and for those who are on large amounts of medication it is even more difficult because medication can also do some damage to both mind and body, particularly after years of intake.

What I am trying to say in my journals is that: yes Bipolar is an illness but it is a unique illness. If we focus on the illness side of the disorder, and basically tell sufferers that only medication is the solution and that they are in a hopeless situation, this does not help at all. It is best to focus on how sufferers can help themselves and I know many sufferers with severe mental illness who are able to live a fulfilling life. How do they do it? For someone with bipolar it is important to focus on the positive aspects of the illness particularly those who are creative. Knowledge and self awareness, or the ability to engage in mindfulness, can make all the difference. Knowledge and wisdom tells us that things are never permanent and that there is calm after the storm; there is sunshine after big dark clouds.

Mental illness is unlike any other physical or viral illness but not less painful or severe. In fact, for many, it may be less painful to break one's leg or arm than suffer depression.

I feel that some of us, particularly those who suffer with milder forms of bipolar (cyclothymia or bipolar lite) there is suffering but we understand that through suffering we grow both spiritually and emotionally. We know so little about Bipolar and I am confident that with adequate research and holistic approaches we may just be able to learn to ride the monster one day and get the best out of it.

Not if we focus on the illness aspect of it though, medication alone therapy, and the hopelessness of the disorder. Buddha showed us that no matter how uncomfortable our position in life is, we can always make something good out of it. This is what Mindfulness is and I strongly believe that no matter how serious our mental illness may be there will always be something that we can do to continue our journey on this planet and make it a fulfilling one. Life is a journey and we all have our handicaps. This does not need to stop us for where there is a will there is a way. And I do believe that there is a reason why we are here on this planet. A look at the Universe tells us that this is an intelligent design and creation not something likely to come from nothing.

Both my wife and I suffer with bipolar, I with bipolar 2 and my wife with bipolar 1. We both attempted suicide many years ago and ended up in hospital, before we had met. Both had a near death experience and both felt that we were in a tunnel walking towards a Light and were told that it wasn't our time, that we could basically either decide to die in which case we would have to return to Earth and start all over again or that we could go back and continue our lives. I don't know if this is a side effect of a near death experience and why both my wife and I, before we even met, had the same experience to walk through a tunnel towards the Light; but I strongly believe that there is something in it, although I am not positive. In any case, for both my wife and I, this has been a revealing experience. We would not even think about suicide today. We got our message and we understand that we have to go through with our journey no matter how difficult things get. It is a strength that we are developing each day. Having a partner does help. I could not imagine doing this on my own. In fact, only a partner with bipolar could ever understand me and in this respect I am so fortunate to have met my wife. It is perhaps this that tells me that there is a positive side to bipolar and I like to focus and work on this positive side of the monster.

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Sat Oct 29th, 2011 10:10pm Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

I am glad that some of my friends are following what I write here. But I would really like to ask some of the members here to please join me in this discussion. I have studied a lot about mental illness but, in reality, I feel that I am still very ignorant and when I started I started by writing a lot of nonsense. Still, the only way to learn is to make mistakes and here, in an environment where most people are kind and understanding, it is not difficult to open up and show our faults, hopes, desires and visions because we all have something to offer and to teach our society. We are all precious.

What did I think about the film/document: "The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive?" I really enjoyed Stephen Fry's narration through the film; he has a very interesting voice and way to tell the story. I enjoyed that film and found it very interesting and informative. However, at all times I was aware that this is a very British/American presentation of Mental Illness from a very Western perspective.

I say this because I have friends who are Shamans and still practice Shamanism today. Many of us may immediately think that Shamans are nothing else but non trustworthy people who mislead the less educated and dress in funny clothes pretending to be superhuman, in touch with spirits. This is one way to look at the situation. Another way is to look at current research which shows that respectable transcultural psychosocial research can assist in rectifying Shaman's reputation. Indeed, there is now evidence that respectable and honest Shamans have extraordinary psychosocial abilities that are extremely helpful and that often lead to recovery especially in milder forms of mental illness. In severe cases Shamans are often better able to assist sufferers by teaching them unusual copying mechanisms.

For those who wonder about medication, let it be known that pharmaceutical companies are now investigating many of the herbs used by some Shamanic cultures which are potent drugs that interfere with chemical and electrical pathways of the brain. The Shamans of the past, who lived in forest, had powerful drugs that they used to help sufferers. These are today proven to be anti psychotic and anti depressive drugs. The difference is that Shamans did not prescribe drugs to be used permanently but integrated drugs with therapy over set periods of time.

The difference is that Shamanism did not lead to increase mental illness in their community; that mental illness was seen as a social problem, often to do with external forces rather than just internal; and that stigma was almost non existent in their cultures at least in regard to mental illness. People with mental illness, where never excluded or marginalised in Shamanic cultures. To the contrary they were often treated as special people who needed extra help because they were often creative and society needed their creativity.

I guess that what I am trying to say is that Stephen Fry has done a tremendous job with this film. But here is a creative suggestion: I would very much like to see Stephen Fry in a film/documentary that looks at non Western ways to deal with Mental Illness because, I firmly believe that a combination of good Shamanic Practices combined with Western way of treating Mental Illness, is the way to go.

A possible title would be: Western and Non Western ways to treat Mental Illness.

Let me finally add that despite the billions of dollars and tremendous effort of the Western World we are loosing the battle against Stigma: Stigma is worsening. And Mental Illness increases annually. I feel that our lifestyle and way of thinking has a lot to do both with the creation of mental illness and our inability to truly help sufferers.

For Bipolar Disorder two drugs are extremely successful and this are first generation drugs: Lithium and Epilim or Sodium Valproate (also used to treat epilepsy). But these only assist a few fortunate people whose body can cope with the toxicity. Other newer drugs are not as efficient as their efficacy only lasts a limited time before either the dose has to be increased or a new medication introduced. The track record for second generation anti psychotics isn't that good to be honest.

What are we to do? Look as some of the methods that the Shamans had in place and see if there is anything for us to learn.

Meanwhile, I am writing a journal on Shamanism and how some of their practices could be integrated in modern ways to treat sufferers. I will give the link to the paper on Shamanism here on this thread.

I thank Stephen Fry for letting me write here and share such political views. My heart is in the right place and I am aware that I am not a professional nor I want to be one. I am a sufferer who has direct experience of hell and heaven and who want to help others by sharing my experiences.

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alfredo3


Member

Posted Sun Oct 30th, 2011 10:38am Post subject: WRITERS THREAD

I am fortunate to know two outstanding Shamans: Valda Wojcrow, who was born in Siberia and migrated to Australia; and Kalderini, an American Indian. These modern Shamans do not charge money for their services. They do it for love and because, in their own words, they were born to be Shamans. The fascinating thing is that Kalderini is a Catholic priest and a Shaman at the same time and according to him the two work well together. Shamans are not all the same. There are many varieties like Classical Shamanism and Core Shamanism. In addition, there are many dishonest Shamans and those who claim to be Shamans but are not. It is extremely complex to define Shamanism today. For these reasons I have decided to get to know two Shamans and let them speak about their unique experiences.

Valda has given me permission to write about her views and perspectives, while I am still waiting for Kalderini's permission.

According to Valda, we have to understand mental illness as a three dimensional concept (let's picture a triangle): the biological aspect of it; the social/cultural aspect of it; and the psychological dimension. In the Western world we are doing OK in the biological department but, unfortunately, we are not doing well at all in the social/cultural and psychological dimensions. A good Shaman considers the three dimensions and works tirelessly to attend to these three forces equally, so that some harmony can be restored in the sufferers.

Whether we know it or not, our Western world is sick. We have some technology but what good is this technology, really speaking? Yes we have computers, mobile phones, cars and all of the technological luxuries, but these are not always used to advance our spiritual knowledge. In fact, much of this technology can be harmful to our younger generation stuck in front of a screen playing games and engaging in small and often useless talk that leads to problems. When we really think about it, our technology comes at a great cost; tremendous impact on the environment and on our spirit.

Sufferers do watch the news, keep in touch with what is happening in the world and this, for people who suffer with bipolar or depression, is a heavy load to carry particularly for those of us who are intellectuals. As Stephen Fry writes: "Having a great intellect is no path to being happy."

To put it simply, take away our technology, we are really Neanderthals dressed in modern clothes. Spiritually, many of us are bankrupt and to live in the Western world as it is today one needs to be a little insane just to cope. How can we recover from mental illness under these circumstances?

We live in a world where there are many overwhelming problems created by greed, ignorance and lack of wisdom. We can medicate the biological dimension of mental illness but we are unable to attend to the social and psychological aspects of it. Hard to get better when our humanness is being extracted from us.

I will write more about Valda but for now her advice is that we need to attend to the three dimensions of mental illness. Is this possible in our society? For Vlada it is possible if we engage in a constructive debate about these problems and work towards a better future. Vision can help us, even if we cannot yet achieve this vision. But it is important to recognize this vision and hold it close to our hearts.

To reduce mental illness and help sufferers, according to Valda, we need to reduce Stigma. Stigma has to do with both the social/cultural and psychological aspects of mental illness. Stigma is the most damaging force that needs to be eradicated. We can medicate people as much as we want but if we don't get rid of stigma we will loose the battle against mental illness. It will keep on increasing yearly to the point that it will become the number one burden of disease.

Stigma makes people feel as if they don't belong to the social world, disconnected from their people and themselves, almost as if enclosed in a vacuum. Our number one priority is to reduce stigma. How can we do this when stigma is increasing? That is the question, but we must not loose heart. We must work on our vision for where there is a will there is a way.

According to Valda, the reason why some Shamans were so successful, in helping sufferers, was because there was no stigma in their cultures. Once you have no stigma, the sufferers has a chance to recover, to find the strength to at least learn how to cope. The biological aspect of mental illness will probably always be there, but the sufferer who finds him or herself in a stigma free society feels included, loved and cared for, and in this position s/he has all the will to get better. But in our society, all this support is missing and for many what is the point of getting better when we are left to deal with the stigma?

According to Valda, doctors, psychologist and mental health professionals need to focus on stigma reduction. To this day, they have failed. They need to ask themselves why? What can they do to really help? This is a question that is difficult to answer and that requires some vision and reflection.

Vision is the word that Valda kept repeating. We need vision in all senses of the word.

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