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National Alliance on Mental Illness Marin

call 415-444-0480

June 2007

NAMI Marin has speakers

The NAMI Speakers Bureau held its first speaking engagement March 27th for staff and volunteers at Community Violence Solutions (CVS).

Kim Denn and Marilyn Geary spoke about the relationship between sexual assault and mental illness from a client and family perspective. Wendy Labov-Dunne and Jacqueline Janssen facilitated. The CVS group was inter- ested in enhancing support for people with mental illness who call its crisis line. Speakers provided resources, including CMHS Thursday night sup- port group meetings for families and clients in crisis, the Enterprise Re- source Center, and the WARM Line (459-6330).

Formerly the Rape Crisis Center, Community Violence Solutions pro- vides a wide range of services to child and adult victims of sexual violence/ abuse, their families, and the commu- nity. Services include a confidential 24-hour crisis line (800-670-RAPE), crisis intervention, clinical counseling, and youth/community prevention edu- cation. CVS served over 1,700 clients last year, over half of whom were chil- dren, and provided education on issues such as personal safety, assertiveness and self-defense to over 10,000 indi-


The NAMI Speakers Bu- reau has been created to fight stigma and dispel myths of mental illness. Through community out- reach, it educates and in- creases awareness of mental illness issues. It is also an excellent way for NAMI Marin to forge alliances with other community agencies. The NAMI Speakers Bureau is available for presentations on mental illness with speakers who are clients, family members, and providers. Please call Paula McNally at 461-9515 to arrange a presentation or to volunteer as a


Jacqueline Janssen

Book Review: The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, by David J. Miklowitz, PhD. The Guilford Press, New York, NY 2002. Available in NAMI Marin library. Reviewed by Jill Owen.

One of the major themes in this book is taking control; one wants to regain control over one’s life after periods of suffering due to bipolar disorder. This survival guide is about how to do that and takes us from learning how bipolar is diagnosed and what are the causes and treat- ments, to how we can deal with the idea of taking medication, to self- management. Not all the suggested techniques are easy. In the section on self-management, for example, several pages are devoted to the mood chart. At first you may feel that you don’t want to even think about your illness as much as you would have to in order to track your moods—and the surrounding circumstances—over the course of a month or more. But doing it will help you to regain control. It will involve thinking about how you felt at different times during the day and giving a numerical rating to these moods, such as -1 for somewhat depressed, +3 for very elated. Today’s moods are compared with the highest and lowest you have ever felt; your average mood over time is called the baseline, and would be zero. There are columns for anxiety, irritability, hours slept, meds taken, therapy, and daily notes about things that happened, weather, etc. At the end of each week, looking over the chart, you may spot pat- terns in what influences your mood. Also in the self-management section is the strong suggestion to maintain regular daily and nightly routines. Making and evaluating a social rhythm chart “can help you design a daily schedule of sleeping, eating, exercis- ing, and socializing that is comfortable and feasible, given the demands of your current social, family, and work life.” Miklowitz stresses that keeping this routine as well as possible, even when your mood is going up or down or life feels rough, will give continuity and help you get back to baseline sooner.

Another suggestion on maintaining wellness is “relying on social sup- ports.” This idea is illustrated by the story of a woman who suffered from an ongoing depression and had become socially isolated, but was encouraged by her therapist to do more socializing. She didn’t want to do it, but finally joined a weekend soccer team. After a while this con- nection with people made a very noticeable difference in her life and she became less depressed. The author says that “having a group of people you know well, whom you trust with knowing about your bipolar disor- der, and whom you see with some regularity, will help you do better in terms of the cycling of your disorder.” In future chapters, when we learn how to plan ahead for times when we may become manic, depressed, or suicidal, part of our plans will include a list of people we can trust, and

it’s good if there is someone with whom we don’t have conflicts, as we sometimes do with family members or co-workers. The exer- cise, “identifying your core circle,” is helpful, as is the final chapter, “Coping Effectively in the Family and Work Settings.”

NAMI Marin News is published nine times a year by NAMI Marin, Marin County’s Voice on Mental Illness, 555 Northgate Dr.

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    280, San Rafael, CA 94903. NAMI Marin

is an affiliate of NAMI California and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Edi- tor: Joan Olsson; Circulation: Karen Illich. Publ.deadline: 2nd Wed. of the month. Editor’s e-mail: olssons@aol.com


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