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There are tons of self-help books out there these days, and any of them could help you turn your life around as you struggle to recover from Mental Illness (if you know a few great self-help books, tell others about them here). But odds are, you can't buy and read every single self-help book out there. You don't have the time and you don't have the money.

Since you've stumbled upon my little corner of the internet, I assume that you have heard "There is no cure" for Mental Illness. While that is medically true, the concept that 'there is no cure' is counter-productive and can limit the extent to which we are capable of overcoming our illnesses. Absolutely nothing good can come from resigning yourself to the belief that there is no cure and you're as good as you're ever going to get. If you truly believe that, then yes--there is no cure. The thing is, if you think like that, you're not giving yourself the opportunity to be cured.

The foundation of recovering from a mental illness is finding the right medication and staying on it along with going to see a psychiatrist and psychologist. That's just a start--but there's so much more to recovery than that.

Being cured from Mental Illness is work. Hard work. There's so much that goes into it, and it all starts with yourself--how badly do you want to get better? How badly do you want to go back to being the person you used to be? How are you going to get out of bed and back on your feet again? How badly do you want your confidence, self-esteem and self-respect back? How many times are you willing to jump back on the horse... and I'm not talking about race horses, I'm talking about rodeo horses--you're going to fall off a lot, there's no way around it.

Ultimately, the key to a full recovery from Mental Illness is perspective. If you're like me, there was a point where you lost sight of the things that mattered most to you. You may look back at your past longing for that life, or you might look back at your past and feel sick to your stomach when you think about the person you used to be. Personally, I've been both of those kinds of people at different stages of my recovery.

There are no magic pills or magician doctors who can make fundamental changes to the way you look at the world, your past and yourself. That comes from you, and a willingness to see what you should appreciate, what you should forget and how you see the world as well as your place in it. Those things only come with time and introspection.

I've had more alone time for introspection than I'd care to admit. That's what led to this site.

I mention this elsewhere on this site, but for about the last two years, I've been writing a memoir about my experience with mental illness. The book is narrated in the voice of my delusional self and only covers the year of my life where I was completely insane. What it doesn't cover is the period of depression I went through after being released from the hospital. What it also doesn't cover is the recovery I made. I don't cover my depression and recovery because it's not that entertaining. I intended to write a 15 page epilogue about recovery, but it didn't take long to realize that I had too much to say about recovery, and trying to cram it all into 15 pages would over-simplify the entire recovery process.

There is nothing simple about recovering from a mental illness.

I thought about just starting a normal blog about recovery from mental illness, but one thing led to another and what began as a 15 page epilogue about recovery turned into this site. This site is meant to be an online community for people with mental illness and those who are close to someone with a mental illness. This isn't all about me. This is all about a collective group of people who I hope will take advantage of all that this site has to offer--and my blogs are just a very small part of what this site has to offer.

There's a lot of things you can do on this website, and you can remain anonymous and say anything here. You can create a user profile, interact and send private message with others, you can find other users who are similar to you and you can create your own blog--which other users can follow and be notified when you post a new blog. And if you look around, you'll see there's a lot more than that.

I chose to create an online community instead of a simple blog with a comments section because I don't know everything there is to know about mental illness--nobody knows everything (including doctors). I've been involved with a real life support group for nearly seven years (and leading it for over two years now) and I still learn new things about mental illness every week. You could say that this site is kind of like Facebook, but just for people with mental illness. I'm sure there are Facebook groups for mental illness, but I figure a lot of people would never consider joining one because that would be telling everyone they're friends with that they have a mental illness or someone close to them does.

All I ask is that you give the site a chance. This site is meant to be an online support group for people who might not feel comfortable trying out a real-life support group. I totally understand why some people are reluctant to give a real-life support group a chance, because I was as reluctant as anyone... I hated the first group I tried, but the second one was a home run, which had an enormous impact on my recovery.

It's unlikely that a lot of people who are currently struggling with their mental illness most will contribute much to this site and get very involved in all the discussions. But I do believe those people may stumble upon this site and READ it, even if they don't create an account and don't ever post. I say that because my parents started going to a support group long before I gave it a chance--but I did ask them questions about what they learned every week. That's why I think people might not contribute anything but still read through other people's contributions here.

Since this site is new, it needs more content and I've tried to make it as easy as possible for people to find some page of this site that they can add to. So don't let the fact that the site isn't overflowing with contributions from others stop you from contributing--if you found this site, then that means others have as well, but those others might just be surfing the internet looking for information that can help them recover from their mental illness. Help the site because you'll be helping them.

Above, I mentioned that the key to recovering from a mental illness is perspective. That's true in more ways than one. First, I put in the effort to make this site instead of a simple blog because, even though I know a lot about recovery from mental illness and have helped a ton of people in my real life support group, I'm still just one guy with one perspective. As the leader of a real-life support group, my main responsibility is to keep the discussion moving and get everyone involved. My job is to know the stories of everyone in the room and so, when someone needs some help, it's my job to get the person who has been in a similar spot and has the kind of perspective the person looking for help needs. So that's why I made this site--so people who need help get as many different perspectives on mental illness recovery as they can, because eventually that person will read something from someone who has the exact kind of perspective they need most.

A huge part of my recovery was reliant on changing my perspective on myself, my life and my illness. Leading my real life support group gives me even more perspective every week. And writing my blogs has given me new perspectives because, for me, writing is a process of discovery--I find myself coming up with things I hadn't thought of before when I'm kind of in 'the zone' and writing my blogs as fast as I can type. So you may think you have a great perspective on yourself, your life and your illness, but believe me, when you really just let yourself write without thinking much about what you're writing, you'll learn things about yourself you never thought of before. So, if you contribute to the site, you're not just sharing your current perspective that others can benefit from--you're gaining an even better perspective about yourself, your life and your recovery than the one you already have.

If you choose to take a little time to contribute to this site, you're not just helping others--you're helping yourself. I'll say it over and over again on this site: Helping others is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself and your own recovery. You might think you're as good as you're going to get, but I can guarantee one thing: nothing will make you consider yourself "cured" more than becoming the kind of person who helps others, when you used to be the one who needed help from others.


On this site, people will only know you by your username. You never have to reveal your identity. For instance--private messages are sent straight to your email, but your email address always stays private. On this site, there is no way anybody can learn your real identity or your real email address. No matter what you do on this website, you will always remain anonymous.




  • !!! USER ACCOUNTS !!!

    • CREATE ACCOUNT TO POST ON THE SITE: I really hope everyone who visits this site creates a user account--this feature is more important than you might realize, and I will go into why its important below. A user account is required to make posts on most of the pages on this site. ALL FIELDS IN THE CREATE ACCOUNT FORM ARE OPTIONAL (except or email address)

    • LINKS TO PROFILES: I require an account to post because someone who may not post still might read things on the site and notice that a specific user says a lot of things that really apply to their own situation. Whenever someone makes a post, anyone can click their username to read their profile and discover that they have a lot in common.

    • USER-2-USER: The term 'pen pal' sounds lame, but that's essentially what U2U is. As I just said above, someone may read another's profile and posts, and see that they have been in very similar situations. When you create an account, there is an option for whether or not you are interested in participating in the U2U feature. Having an ongoing back-and-forth with someone can be really helpful in the recovery process.

    • PRIVATE MESSAGES: When you click a user's name and are taken to that user's profile, click the "Send Message" link at the top of the profile. You will be taken to a form which you can fill out to send that user a private message. The idea behind it is to allow you to discuss something that the user may have posted on another part of the site in greater detail... or to understand what they posted more clearly... or maybe a struggling user posts something about what they are having trouble living with and you feel compelled to send them a message to offer your advice in a more personal way--that's exactly the kind of situation I created this site for--and believe me, taking the initiative to offer advice privately is extremely rewarding.

    • FOLLOW USER: If you notice that another user keeps making posts that really apply to your situation, you can click their username, be taken to their profile, and then click the "FOLLOW USER" button. After you have done that, you can go to your own profile (or click the "Posts by Followed Users" link in the side bar after you have logged in) and be taken to a page where you will see links for every post that the users you follow have made. When a followed user makes new posts, your followed users page automatically updates.

    • USER BLOGS: Once you create an account, you can go to your profile (by clicking the "Go to my Profile" link in the side bar after you have logged in) and click the ">>>Start a Blog" link. You will be taken to a form where you can come up with a Name for your blog, post the title for your first blog and post your first blog itself. (as an analogy, the 'Name' of the blog would be "Star Wars" while the 'Title' of a given blog would be "The Empire Strikes Back" -- yep, I'm a geek at heart).

    • READ USERS BLOG: When you click a username and are taken to that user's profile, if that user has created a blog, there will be a "Read [user]'s Blog" link. When you click it, you will be taken to their most recent blog. If you want to read their older blogs, click the "Previous Blogs" link. Just like my blogs, all registered users can post comments in response to a user's blog.

  • BLOG ARCHIVE: I will post at least three blogs a week--a featured blog, metaphor blog and quote blog. Click the 'BLOG ARCHIVE' link (in the sidebar) to be taken to a page where I explain each category of blog in greater detail. Click "Go to [category of blog] Archives" to be taken to a page that lists all the blogs I have posted. The BLOG ARCHIVE page also includes the links to all USER BLOGS that have been posted as well.

  • YOUR COMMENTS: The least important part of the site is my blogs. They'll probably be hit or miss as far as a given user is concerned... you might disagree with what I write, and that's fine--I encourage it, actually. That's why I have included the comments feature for all of my blogs and all of the user blogs. The comments feature was created so someone can correct me, provide a different perspective on the topic of the blog, or bring up certain things I may have overlooked while I was writing a certain blog. My blogs aren't gospel. I want them to spark conversation more than anything.... I could make a legitimate argument that the comments feature that goes along with the blogs is more important than my blogs themselves. To read and post comments, navigate to a blog and click the "Comments" link to be taken to a page containing the blog and the comments related to it, and then click "Post Comment" to be taken to the form you fill out to post a comment.

  • DISCUSSIONS: Basically, a series of message boards. The is different than all the other pages of the site where you can contribute your thoughts. That's because, on the discussion boards, users choose their own topics and the conversations that come from those topics are all in one place and can be read long after the discussion ends.

  • RANTS DISCUSSION BOARD: I created the 'Rants' message board as a way for users to get all their troubling thoughts off of their chests--when trying to recover from Mental Illness, or even while you're in the thick of it, there is the natural tendency to bottle up a lot of emotions. At some point, you can't contain your troubling thoughts that have been piling up in your mind anymore. A lot of the time, there isn't someone who you can talk to and let out all the thoughts you've been keeping in. Or maybe there are people in your life that are making things even worse for you but for some reason or another, you can't tell them exactly how much more difficult they are making your life for fear of getting too angry. The RANTS board is a place where you can let it all out--and I have decided that no user account is necessary to make a post on the RANTS board... just say everything you can't say in your real life. Other users can reply to your rant and maybe someone will be able to help you through it. (to post a reply to a RANT, you must have a user account).

  • FAMILY PAGE: This is a page where family members (or friends) can offer their advice on how they have dealt with someone close to them who has mental illness. This is different than the FAMILY Discussion board, because the FAMILY PAGE is made up of pieces advice with minimal back-and-forth between users whereas the Family Discussion Board is intended for ongoing conversations. Basically, the FAMILY PAGE is made up of words of advice, whereas the Family Discussion board is made up of topics that a user who is close to someone with Mental Illness can ask for advice and be more specific about their situation.

  • NEWSLETTERS: Read the page where I discuss the value of Newsletters and why they are under-rated. Please post any newsletters or magazines that you subscribe to, a description of it (optional), and provide information on how someone can subscribe to the newsletter or magazine.

  • HOSTED NEWSLETTERS: This is a feature of the site where you can create your own Newsletter. Several people can contribute to the same newsletter. All you need to do is fill out a simple form and the site puts it all together for you in a Newsletter Format--the created Newsletter looks like a stand alone page--the side bar, top logo and the whole design of is not shown in a created Newsletter. Additionally, a page is automatically generated that lists links to all of the old issues of your newsletter, so people can 'catch up.' (You can find the hosted newsletter page by going to the newsletter page. Click "read more" to be taken to the page that explains what a Hosted Newsletter is in more detail. Click "view example" at the top of that page to see what a created newsletter looks like).

  • FEEDBACK ON SUPPORT GROUPS: If you go to the support group page (by clicking the 'support group' link on the sidebar), there is a 'survey' you can fill out (no user account required) where you can share your thoughts on the idea of support groups--whether or not you have ever been to one. Their is a page for all of the feedback for each question, so people who are part of a support group, people who lead a support group, or people who are starting a support group can read about how to make their support group better. (Click the Support Group link on the side bar to be taken to this page).

  • SUPPORT GROUP DATABASE: NAMI has a huge database of support groups around the country. That's great, but I have heard more than a few bad things about NAMI support groups (although, I have no doubt there are plenty of great ones) but I decided to create a database here anyways. I made that decision because both the leader of my support group and myself have a very different kind of philosophy about what makes a support group successful than NAMI does. Even if you've already listed your group on NAMI, list it here as well. That's because, if you add your support group to this site's database, it implies that you have read some of my blogs about support groups and/or have read the feedback about support groups on this page. (Click the Support Group link on the side bar--you do need a user account to list your support group)

  • DOCTOR'S WORDS: This will be a series of question and answer interviews with doctors. You can type in a question that I will ask the next doctor I interview. (no user account is necessary to submit a question to be asked).

  • TESTIMONIALS: This is where you can type your story about your experience with Mental Illness. (click "Testimonials" on the side bar)

  • LITTLE VICTORIES: One of the things that leads to a successful recovery is the ability to notice the little things in your day-to-day life that make you feel good about yourself. These can often be tiny and seemingly insignificant, but as you train yourself to see enough of them, they add up and can make a huge difference in your happiness and the way you see the world and the people you know in it. Post the little victories you have noticed in your life so those who are not at the stage where they can recognize the 'little victories' themselves can get some ideas about what they should be looking for (no user account necessary to post a little victory. Click the 'little victories' link in the sidebar)

  • SEVEN THINGS I'VE LEARNED: Why seven? No reason, really--except for the fact that when you need to come up with a certain number of things you've learned, you might have to force yourself to think a little deeper in order to discover more things you've learned... things you might not have thought about if it was "Three things I've learned" instead of seven. You'd be surprised how much wisdom people have in them without knowing it. (Click the 'Seven Things I've Learned' in the sidebar)

  • LYRICS / MUSIC / POETRY: This is where you can post some songs or poems that have helped you or someone close to you deal with Mental Illness. Post the lyrics / music / poetry and write your thoughts on the reasons why a song or poem helped you.

    ALSO: When filling out the form to post lyrics or poems, there is a drop-down menu with the options: "Song," "Poem," "My Song," "My Poem." So, obviously, if you write songs or poems, you should definitely post them on the page. (Click 'Lyrics / Music / Poetry' on the side bar, then click the "Add Poem, Lyrics or Songs" link to be taken to the form where you can add songs/poems).

  • BOOKS: Post your reviews of books you have read about Mental Illness--all kinds of books (self help, memoir, informational etc). There are tons of books out there about Mental Illness, and we can't buy them all, we don't have the time to read them all, and we certainly don't want to pay for a book only to get nothing out of it. Post reviews of the books that you have responded to... also, its just as helpful to post reviews of books you hated and thought were a waste of time--save others some disappointment and money. (click the "Books" link in the sidebar, then click "Post Book Review" to be taken to the book review form).

  • WHEN DID YOU KNOW: A lot of people aren't sure whether or not they have a Mental Illness. Post your story of when and how you realized that, 'yes, I do have Mental Illness.' This is a more important part of the site than you may realize: too many people realize they have Mental Illness only after something goes seriously wrong. Hopefully your contribution will convince someone to seek help before its too late and they find out the hard way.

  • CHATROOM: Self explanatory, except for one feature: You can set up a certain time and topic for users to meet in the chatroom and have an online support group of sorts.

  • BECOME AN ADMIN / FEATURED CONTRIBUTOR: At the very bottom of the home page, there is a link you can click where I explain how you can become a blogger whose blogs show on the front page sharing the same space that my blogs are currently shown.







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