Initial Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     

 

Outskirts Press Releases New Memoir About Surviving a Diagnosis of Schizophrenia:

Fighting for Freedom in America by Clyde Dee

 

In the frontiers of America’s mental health institutions, fighting for freedom can become very personal.

September 24, 2015 – Denver, CO and Oakland, CA – In Fighting for Freedom in America, released by Outskirts Press, mental health counselor and author Clyde Dee asks, “Have you ever wondered if something is wrong with you? Have you ever wondered what it is like to find yourself driven into madness; and whether you will ever come back from catastrophic loss?”

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Stigma

Jargonizing the Stigma Concept:

Stigma is a mysterious external process that becomes internal that all message receivers face. Though stigma works in many different ways, I think it is particularly astounding and deceptive that it is not considered part of the definition of all forms of schizophrenia disorders. In my mind including it in the definition is a way of acknowledging and respecting that part of the negative outcome for those who suffer is the way society and our culture defines and treats the phenomenon of special messages. Acknowledging the role of stigma suggests that the outcomes of people becoming resigned to isolate, to sit and smoke all day in a board and care setting, is not only the result of their internal choice or abilities but the systemic interplay of individuals and the community that surrounds them.

For example, having myself transitioned from being treated like a hard-working, conscientious social worker who inspired social change, to a mental patient who needed to be locked on a ward for my own safety, I know that the power of this concept first hand. The transformation was profound! Suddenly my strengths were no longer defined by me. As I walked in circles on the floor to maintain my need for exercise, the only strength my psychiatric nurse gave me was that my family, in spite of all the hurt that I had experienced over the past fifteen years, was good family support. Two years later stigma still dogged me as a deli worker who worked under the constant threat of being fired. Now, fifteen years later, in spite of the fact that that I have a house, a wife, and a job where I am appreciated, I still battle with a sense of being slandered and rejected while my work remains unacknowledged. While I have not let stigma ruin me, I work with people who are extremely undervalued who are fighting the same demon. I write notes that diminish their efforts so the organization I work for can get paid.

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Letting the Public Know I Suffer from Schizophrenia

When people seek mental health services from me, I routinely break what was once a cardinal sin to me early on in my recovery; I review my diagnostic history. I do this with love in my heart to help inspire recovery, however, in the process, the “s” word, “schizophrenia,” will bubble up.

I do this habitually in the outpatient program I work in. I have done this by redefining the medical model definition of the word so that it more accurately reflects the shared internal process that we with “schizophrenia,” or “schizoaffective,” or “bipolar,” or “depression,” or hosts of other diagnoses experience.

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Nine Social Skills Continued

Nine Social Skills I Developed for Myself:

Though in developing these social skills, I initially took a stab at writing from a universal perspective, I have had enough experience running them by people in groups to recognize that many of these are personal. Mad people are very diverse. As a result, the following are meant to be helpful in helping message receivers consider social skills that they need to penetrate the cultural enclave of their choosing. However, it is a wide world with very distinctive individuals and cultures so message receivers need to be constantly exploring their social skills even if they are neuro-divergent, like me, and struggle to do so.

I, for example, have learned to adapt to a ghetto culture and am somewhat comfortable in these contexts, however, have a difficult time switching so that I can be in mainstream culture without losing my social skills. When I feel excluded or sense gossip and slander, I withdraw and lose my ability to socialize. Thus, my ability and sometimes willingness to overcome deficits varies.

The following are set up to help me survive and overcome hostile environments. I’d argue that all message receivers need to consider adjusting social skills to overcome stigma and work together to help each other be successful. Perhaps some of what I have put together for myself may help message receivers and their helpers spot these issues in others and better reflect on the social skills they need to use to replace their retaliation reactions. The goal is to build relationships instead of break them.

 

Social Skill #1: Learning lessons from being punished or unjustly victimized
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When the Public Studies Mass Murder

January 7, 2017: I sit stunned in the wake of the tragedy of yesterday’s Fort Lauderdale shooting. As statements appear in the press that insinuate that these evil acts need to be avenged, I grieve for the senseless loss of life.  I grieve and I also wonder if anyone cares to understand the dilemmas that people like Esteban Santiago-Ruiz face. Having just endured another holiday season as a mad person, I am reminded of the importance of giving social scapegoats a space to celebrate their otherness. As a licensed psychotherapist, I create safe places where the untold story can be heard. I know that a state of victimhood can be transformed to a celebration. I see it happen every day. It helps me exponentially.

Having caught a fever, I spent Christmas day in bed in victim mode, reflecting on the way I feel scapegoated. Instead of working through the pain like usual, I lay incapacitated, overcome. I thought of my project design that could bring specialized groups into the county service system. Turns out eighteen months of pro bono work only further smeared my reputation. I not only am left unnoticed, I know there are rumors based on past politics and current ones that I can do nothing about. I reflected how, when I recently shared these ideas in a survivor work group, I only felt further marginalized. This hurt, as did the fact that my award winning memoir isn’t selling.

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Retaliation Reactions

Jargonizing the Retaliation Reaction Construct:

This chapter’s construct consists of natural reactions that come up for message receivers as a result of acting as though their message experiences are the dominant reality.

Retaliation reactions can be as minor as a facial response: a glare, or a laugh; and in more dramatic occasions can involve actions that put the message receiver or the public at risk. In the course of this chapter I will provide some examples from my experience. While I certainly have observed the actions of others as most readers have too, I will limit the examples within, to my experience. Perhaps doing so will help make a case for group leaders to demonstrate their wellness by being able to take responsibility for their own complex behaviors.

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Positive Self-Fulfilling Prophesies

Self-Fulfilling Prophesies in All Aspects of Culture:

The spiritual concept of the positive self-fulfilling prophesy, which represents things like prayer and faith, is pivotal for message receiver and arguably for anyone dealing with trauma.  As many people I have worked with have pointed out, the concept is present in the Bible and, I believe, in other spiritual traditions from the major world religions to the local indigenous practices.  Whether this is true or not, I’d argue that the concept of positive self-fulfilling prophesy is also clearly present in modern music (I heard it in a John Mellencamp song) in self-help books (“The Law of Attraction,”) modern spiritual videos (“The Secret,”) and in the foundations of positive psychology. I am essentially arguing that this is a major cultural phenomenon that message receivers are simply denied in the current system due to labels and prejudice which they ever so desperately need!

I argue that the institution and wider culture fail to teach it to message receivers when it is so particularly needed in message crisis. Indeed, somehow social goals associated with self-fulfilling prophesy get permanently dropped when they need to be first and foremost on the helper and messages receiver’s mind. It is hard when someone is locked in a warehouse with nothing to do to teach such a concept. Still, some recovery minded helpers manage to help message receivers focus on activities in some stark circumstances.

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On a Writer’s Need for Acknowledgement

Ever since I finally, at the age of forty-three, published some of my writing, I’ve found that I am particularly prone to pain again. Ever since, each morning I have woken up driven to find ways to get people to read my book.

A year and a month later, I have primarily had to pay people to check out my work. There are those who accepted the free book without giving it a read, let alone write promised reviews. Sure the memoir itself has collected two awards and primarily five star reviews, but amid the boom of self-published authors I find myself more hurt by the silent echo, than grateful to the friends who have read, and not balked.

After a tough week,  I find  this pain expounding itself through every facet of my consciousness. I am out walking with my wife and I think about how psychiatrists have hustled me through explanation of my psychotherapy; about the numerous presentations I have provided that ended up empty; about leaders of the psychiatric survivors movement who promote those with less experience; about the presentation when I had people finally laughing and listening to me, and the smoke bomb that forced evacuation. There were past company owners who hired me, ignored statistics as I worked sixty hour weeks and demoted me . . .

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The Importance of Causation in “Psychosis”

I think groups help message receivers when it comes to being flexible with the concept of causation of “psychosis.” One of the few rules of a Hearing Voices Network Group is that all causation explanations are allowed. I’d argue that this sets the stage for what I have come to term functional flexible theory styles. Hearing authentic stories from peers about their experience and beliefs of causation  invites collaboration and ultimately flexibility. I think this naturally helps people out towards their social goals

Not only is discussing their experiences without punishment a novel and emancipating idea, it encourages a sense of belonging to a peer group. A positive consequence is that the group becomes more less focused on the content and more the process of what is going on. There is a sense of working together that helps the message receiver be more mindful and open.  For eight years I have watched this process help heal people.

It is true I have developed some jargon to describe the process of message receiving. In the process of doing this I have become a believe that causation flexibility can help facilitate social goals.  For starters, in my upcoming book on Special Messages, I identify five causation styles:

5 Styles of Theory

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“Fighting for Freedom in America” is a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Honorable Mention in the Non-Fiction – Biography category!

For Immediate Release:  September 24, 2016

Reader’s Favorite recognizes “Fighting for Freedom in America” in its 2016 international book award contest.

The 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from over a dozen countries.

Oakland, California. Readers’ Favorite has become the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.

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