Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Chipur.com and Bill White

I stumbled across Chipur.com on accident one day during another one of my wild goose chases to cure my condition. It took me to an article about Derealization and Depersonalization. Those of you who know me also know that I suffer with these conditions as well as Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia. There’s just no bones about it. Years of research led me to the same dead end: There is no cure for either Deperssonalization or Derealization. I had spoken to psychiatrists and challenged the sanctity of their intellectual ivory towers from which they proclaimed edicts and treatment plans. The treatment plans all seemed to be centered around a vast array of powerful psychotropic drugs which did no good and actually landed me in the E.R. 

Chipur.com is run by a licensed counselor named William Chandler White or, as he prefers to call himself, simply “Bill”. Now, unlike all the other so-called professionals I have met, Bill has been there. Years of struggling with Depersonalization, Derealization, and Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia led him into a spiral of alcohol use to dull the pain and to self-medicate. Mr. White, however, was not your average statistic. He emerged and came out on top—winning the war with his illness and his dependency problem. Now he’s focused on helping others who are ill. 

Mr. White is a straight shooter. He is clever, stubborn, and empathetic. Like I wrote earlier, he has been where many of us are now. Unlike other professionals who charge an arm and a leg for services that usually end with you smashing your head against a brick wall out of frustration, Mr. White charges a modest fee for phenomenal work. Believe me; I have tried to trip him up. I have challenged him. I have voiced doubts. I have cried. I have done all of this in the presence of this man and I can’t seem to shake him. He knows what he is doing. He knows how to get the derailed track wreck of life back onto the tracks with a blend of cognitive therapy and frank common sense.

I have thrown money at many projects over the years. I have studied my own illness obsessively combing through the print for answers. Mr. White offers help and most importantly he offers hope. I am new to this concept of hope. I have read and been told that there is no known cure for Depersonalization and Derealization. While it is true that I am not in full recovery mode, I have been moving forward slowly and with Mr. White’s guidance I have been breaking down some tough barriers in my own mind.

Check out Chipur.com. Read a few articles and drop Mr. White a line. He will answer and arrange a session in which he will evaluate your condition and see if the two of you make a good therapeutic match. If he believes he can help you, he will do just that. Despite his wide range of clients, he has an accommodating schedule for his clients and is generous with his session lengths. He is not another psychiatrist who wants you to pull you in, write a prescription, and then cynically push you back out the revolving door of a doomed outpatient recovery program. Don’t waste your time and don’t waste your money on inadequate care. 

Thanks to Mr. White, for the first time in my life I believe in the possibility of getting well. I don’t know how long it will take and I know it will be challenging but there is no other way. You have to work through your illness. But with someone like Mr. White, you are not alone. He is not the cold and stoic psychiatrist you meet in the clinics. He is not a pill pusher in a suit and tie. He is someone who beat his demons and who can help you wrestle with your own. To my knowledge, there is no other effective treatment for this disorder. And there are even fewer people who have experienced it. Yet, here is Mr. White willing to help and absolutely understanding what you’re going through. So, do yourself a favor and stop by Chipur.com. Healing is a click away!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

State of the Nation: In the Wake of Sandy Hook

No doubt most of you have been entrenched in the news about Sandy Hook Elementary and Adam Lanza. The case brings out a lot of anger and sorrow—and rightfully so. This is a situation where we have babies (yes, babies) between the ages of six and seven being slaughtered. Twenty of them lost their lives and we cannot nor must we ever forget that.

I want to talk about some things on the blog today because there have been some chats in newsrooms across the country that have put me on edge. They pertain to mental health issues which already carry the heavy cross of stigma.

We know two things: Adam Lanza was either mentally ill or evil. There is a difference between the two and let’s not forget it. Now, people have been batting around the idea of him having a personality disorder, Asperger’s, or autism. I hate to burst your bubble, media, but none of those conditions can fairly be held accountable for the actions of Lanza  in that elementary school.

I recently saw a post on Facebook with Lanza’s picture. The caption below read: “Like” this if you think he should burn in Hell. We’re seeing the fallout of a serious act of carnage and reacting viscerally. I don’t want to think of Adam Lanza in Hell because I don’t want to think of anyone in Hell. Lanza was once someone’s baby, someone’s son, and someone’s brother. But before you go accusing me of having “sympathy for the devil”, let me get to my main point.

My main point concerns a national dialogue that is beginning to spin out of control. People are wondering how we prevent tragedies like this and in the interim of their attention spans they are playing judge and jury with what should be done with the mentally ill. 

Just yesterday I saw a psychiatrist being interviewed. He was proposing ideas such as vigilance and monitoring suspicious behavior and actively reporting it to authorities. He listed things such as isolation, not being present in public situations, being shy, being aloof, and being pensive and inward looking. None of these things are mental illnesses. In fact, there are “normal” adults who prefer to spend a night at home, who get uncomfortable around other human beings, and accidentally say embarrassing things. Are these people, too, mentally ill? And exactly to whom are we going to report their behavior? The police? Or even worse: the government?

 How short are our memories? Do we not remember the massive stone buildings which now stand empty and silent that used to house people suffering from various ailments which one could conveniently slap the label of “mental illness” onto with the right degree? Have we forgotten the institutions, the suffering, and the permanently silencing of the “undesirables” by locking them up and throwing away the key? Do we really want to go back down that road again? 

My point is this: We had better think hard and we had better make darn sure that we know what we are doing as a society. If acting inappropriately can land you in a new institution then so can speaking inappropriately. Doesn’t that stand to reason? It’s an all too convenient way to do away with people that become obstacles in our daily lives. But is it right? Is this still going to be the land of the free twenty years or so down the line? This is just some food for thought.