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From The Inside



Encouraging productive interaction among people from diverse perspectives, promoting new and continual exploration of issues relating to mental health and broader issues relating to the body/brain/mind/self, and facilitating the new openings which emerge from the sharing of perspectives.


From the Inside

Issues relating to mental health are primarily presented "from the outside"-- by doctors, scientists, and other professionals who observe the behavior of others. While such perspectives are indeed valuable, they are limited in their ability to make sense of (and help others make sense of) such issues. To encourage a diversity of perspectives, the following links provide accounts "from the inside"-- by people experiencing and addressing mental health issues in their own lives and/or in the lives of family and friends.


On Serendip

Feingold Gallery - a virtual gallery of digital artwork exploring human diversity, brain and behavior, mental health, and disabilities and cultural evolution

The Slippery Brain Sodality - A discussion about neurodiversity and associated discussion/book club exploring what it means to have a "slippery brain".

Learning "From the Inside": A Neurodiverse World - A commentary on "A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World" by Suzanne Antonetta.

Learning "From the Inside": Being on the Spectrum - Excerpts and comments on "Look Me in the Eye" by John Elder Robison.

A conversation about experiencing depression - "If depression is genuinely 'psychodynamic' important aspects of it may be invisible except to those actually experiencing it. With this possibility in mind, we here provide excerpts from a conversation about depression among three people..."

David Hume: A Letter to a Physician "It is a weakness rather than a lowness of spirits which troubles me... a coldness and desertion of the spirit..."

Measure for Measure: An Artistic Exploration of Eating Disorders, Body Image, and the Self by Janna Stern - a gallery of images and on-line forum exploring the Mythology of Eating Disorders.

A Story about Grace by Mariellen Gilpin; "...Basically, grace means gift from God. Examples are better than definitions, so maybe it'll help if I tell you a story about God's grace. It's a story connected with my mental illness..."

A Personal Experience of Learning About Bipolar Disorder by Debbie Plotnick; "... My daughter Ashley, an engaging, highly intelligent, beautiful and artistically talented teenager, suffers from a life threatening genetic illness. It is an illness of extremes with a high, some estimates are as much as 20%, mortality rate. It is sometimes, as with my daughter, difficult to treat. It is always difficult for those so afflicted and their families. The contemporary nomenclature for this disease is Bi-Polar Disorder (1). But I prefer the more descriptive, no longer politically correct name, Manic Depression..."

An autobiographical essay by Ashley Plotnick; "...My strife was not against poverty or hunger, nor family or society; it was against myself..."

From Biblical Times to Today: What Has Changed and What Hasn't Changed about Epilepsy by Patricia Palermo; "... The value of evaluating a person's experience with epilepsy during biblical times, in comparison to a person's experience today, is to recognize two main things. Shame and secrecy are not exclusive to either time period's approach to handling this disease..."

Getting to the Same Place Along Different Paths: The Scale of Humanness; "... Sam has PDD, a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. As a result, he often sees things quite differently than other children, and sometimes his perception can be breathtakingly clear..."

Breaking the Silence: Mental Health Issues at Bryn Mawr College - a conversation from the Making Sense of Diversity series.

*NEW* Mental Health and the Brain Working Group, Spring 2009 - a conversation with particular attention to brain research and experiences from the inside.


Ongoing Serendip forum discussions

Elsewhere on the web
Normal Is a Place I Visit
Self-Injury - In Their Own Words
The Body Image Project

Patient Voices: A.D.H.D.
'Mad Pride' Fights a Stigma

Pain an Art Form and related Pain Exhibit
Prosopagnosia (Face-Blindness)
Reflections on Depression
Borderline Dilemma: The Way It Was For Me
The Trouble With Spikol: A blog about mental health
Living With Love, Chaos and Haley
Institute for the Neurologically Typical
New York City Voice
"Eleven Personal Stories" on McMan's Depression and Bipolar Web
Medication: A Foundation for Recovery
Living Manic Depressive: A Biopolar and Depression Website
Our Bipolar Stories from Bipolar
What Does Depression Feel Like?: A forum on Wings Of Madness
Understanding OCD
The Pathway to Recovery - In Their Own Word
The Experience of Schizophrenia
People Say I'm Crazy
Caring Online
The Icarus Project


Related reading

  • Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression edited by Nell Casey
  • An Unquiet Mind: A Memori of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison; see Serendip's Bookshelves for reviews.
  • Night Falls Fast, a compilation of both scientific information about suicide as well as personal accounts.
  • Darnkess Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron
  • Win the Battle by Bob Olson
  • Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness
  • Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals: The Hidden Epidemic of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder a collection of individual stories as well as personal accounts by the author/editor Ian Osborn
  • The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon
  • Muses, Madmen, and Prophets: Rethinking the History, Science, and Meaning of Auditory Hallucinations by Daniel B. Smith
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World by Susanne Antonetta


In the spirit of Serendip, thoughts, contributions, and ideas for additions/changes are both invited and encouraged. Visitors are welcomed to post comments and thoughts using the form below or may also submit comments directly to Serendip.


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