The Real Madness of Mental Illness

Harvard freshman Stephen Hinshaw was back home in Columbus, Ohio for spring break. His father, prominent Ohio State philosopher Virgil Hinshaw Jr., called him into his study for a talk. Within minutes, the son’s life changed forever.

For Stephen, the ensuing talks with his father answered questions he had kept buried for a lifetime. Why did Dad disappear all those times? Where did he go?

In Another Kind of Madness: A Journey Through the Stigma and Hope of Mental Illness Stephen Hinshaw brilliantly shares his family’s story.

Now an eminent psychology professor at UC Berkeley, the author relates his father’s story. He tells how his family’s silence left its marks that he sees in himself every day.

Where did his dad go all those times? To various institutions for what was diagnosed at the time as schizophrenia. The treatments were extreme and included electric shock therapy.

Why did his father have to go away? His highs and lows were so extreme that he was unable to function in his job, in his family. Later came the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, or manic depression.

Stephen Hinshaw describes how ending the silence and stigma attached to mental illness can heal and even prevent scars in patients and their families. The book will help some readers recognize scars in themselves.

Another Kind of Madness envisions a world in which stigma is no longer attached to any condition of human life.

You Can Make Anxiety Your Friend

If you are worried that you don’t know how to deal with anxiety, Sarah Rayner may be the just the person who can help.

Making Friends With Anxiety may seem like a terrible title if anxiety threatens your peace of mind, follows you everywhere, and ruins what should be the best of times. So, if making anxiety your enemy makes it worse, what should you do?

Rayner uses the gentle approach of a friend who understands. She describes how-to exercises and tips about life, including diet, breathing, and handling criticism. She breaks down medications, how to approach your doctor, the kinds of anxiety, and much more.

The author knows from experience. At one point, she admitted herself to a clinic to get help. Her struggle is real. Her words are genuine.

She helped me understand that my body sets off adrenaline and other stress hormones as a signal that something is wrong. It showed me it is harmful to come down hard on myself when I can’t necessarily stop the physical symptoms.

She makes it clear anxiety can be a difficult friend to live with. But Making Friends With Anxiety is full of support and hope.

As a companion book, have you read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz? Click the title to see my brief discussion about one of the greatest books related to mental well-being.

My best wishes.

Camino Sunrise: Thank You, Readers!

I am grateful for two reviews of Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows that arrived this week via Amazon. Also, I am thankful for my wife Sue’s ink-and-watercolor art. There is rarely a shortage of signs on Spain’s Camino de Santiago. To everyone who has shared our journey: Thank you!

From the United Kingdom: “While reading this book I was transported to the Camino. The descriptions of the people, difficulties and triumphs are so vivid and told with humour and insight. I got totally engrossed in it and could imagine myself walking with the author and his wife. They would be such entertaining companions. Great read.”

From the USA: “I’ve lived vicariously for years reading others’ adventures hiking the Camino. This book was my favorite! Down to earth, funny, moving, heartfelt, loved it, felt like I was taking the journey along with the author. I would definitely read other books he writes.”

Our adventures on Scotland’s West Highland Way, the Alps’ Tour du Mont Blanc, Italy’s Way of St. Francis, and England’s South West Coast Path are getting closer to publication. Stay tuned!