Why Won’t You Take Your Medication?

“Why won’t you just take your medication? I take pills for my cholesterol every night and its no big deal?”

“Every psychiatrist we’ve seen has said you have a mental illness. Why won’t you accept it? Why would the doctors tell you that you’re sick, if it weren’t true?”

“Let’s look at when you were doing well and when you got into trouble. What was the difference? Medication. It was the difference. When you were on your meds, you were fine. And when you weren’t, you got into trouble. Can’t you see that?”

These quotes may sound familiar to you if you are a parent and have a a son or daughter with a severe mental illness. I’ve said everyone of them to my son, Mike.

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Glenn Close, Joey Pants and Fighting Stigma


Everyone complains about stigma and I am convinced that the best way to end it is by putting a human face on mental illness.

It is much more difficult to walk by a person who is homeless and psychotic if that person is your son, your daughter, a member of your family or someone you know. This is why I encourage people with mental disorders and their loved ones to speak out and tell people that mental illnesses are exactly that – illnesses – which can happen to anyone.

Last week, I appeared on a panel at the National Association of Black Journalists Conference on Health Disparities in Washington D.C. that was sponsored, in part, by Eli Lilly. It was an interesting conference for me because I learned a lot about cultural disparities from Dr. Henrie Treadwell of the Morehouse School of Medicine, and Dr. Annelle B. Primm, Director of Minority and National Affairs at the American Psychiatric Association. Both explained that schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression do not pay attention to skin color. But there is a huge difference in how various ethic groups react to mental illnesses. Many African American males are reluctant to seek help because they are afraid of being perceived as being weak in their communities.

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Follow Pete Online and Website Changes

Thank you to all who responded to the blog post awhile back about improving the blog. We have implemented many new updates. For one, the site has been completely revamped so that now individual pages are linkable and more easily accessed. For instance, you can link directly to the Crazy book page.

Pete is also now on Twitter (@peteearley), he has a Facebook fan page and I set up a Feedburner RSS feed for some of you to more easily track the blog updates. Please invite your friends, organizations, companies, etc. and let them know!

Once again, Pete has been thrilled with the response from the blog, so thanks to you the readers!

Making a Difference: CRISISLINK benefit

It’s not uncommon for parents to approach me after I give a speech and tell me that their son or daughter has attempted suicide or successfully ended their own life. These are always heartbreaking moments and I am always at a loss for the right words.

What do you tell a parent when their child has committed suicide?

One of the most poignant encounters I have had was with two emotionally distraught parents who approached me after a speech in Philadelphia. The couple explained that their son had ended his life and then they told me that they were both psychiatrists. “Even we didn’t know how to save him,” the father said.  

Suicide is something that terrifies all of us who have a loved one with a severe mental illness.

Which is why I was both thrilled and honored when I was invited to participate in CrisisLink’s annual fund-raising banquet March 24, 2010 between 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Clarendon Ballroom, 3185 Wilson Blvd., in Arlington, VA.

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Books, Technology and the Future

Three comments:

(1.)  In the early 1990s, Tom Clancy and I shared the same New York literary agent. Clancy was on a roll, having published a string of international best-sellers. He was being called the father of the “techno-thriller,” a new genre that combined accurate information – about military tactics and weapons – with a fictional adventure stories.

So I was surprised when my agent told me that Clancy was putting writing aside for a few months to concentrate of developing a video game.

Huh?

Why I wondered, would someone who was at the top of the writing game and was earning millions of dollars worldwide bother to waste time creating a computer game?

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‘Speeches’ Dates, Times and Info Updated

The “Speeches” section of PeteEarley.com has been updated now to include specific addresses (as they are available) as well as links to maps and ticket/registration information. There is also an interactive map that plots all of Pete’s speeches throughout the United States. If you are in charge of an event Pete is speaking at and the information listed is wrong, please contact me at [email protected]. If you are interested in having Pete speak at an event of yours, email [email protected]