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Empathy, Fiction, and Humanizing Mental Illness

  empathyThere’s currently a disconnect between understanding mental illness and understanding/accepting the person behind it. We need to look beyond the descriptions and symptoms of mental illness and see the human being living with it. I have a desire to be one of the many people who work to change this. My motivation stems from multiple sources. Professionally, I have a Master’s degree in counseling, am a Nationally Certified Counselor (US), and I’ve worked and volunteered as a teacher and a counselor. Parajumpers Californian Newport Adidas Ultra Boost Femme Personally, I experience bipolar I disorder and various anxiety issues. Chris Jones Therefore, I set out to tell stories to change the way the world thinks about mental illness and the people who experience it. Yes, stories. Nike Air Foamposite Pro Stories of people. My stories happen to be in the form of novels, of fiction. Air Jordan 10 Retro
However, fiction is a powerful vehicle for illustrating fact. Fiction entertains, and fiction educates. It provides opportunities for conversation. Fiction, at its core, is about life and about human beings. nike free run 4.0 homme We often become attached to characters in novels, and we empathize with them. Chaussures Nike Commonly, we transfer our empathy to real-life human beings. Asics Gel Kinsei 6 Homme Jordan Horizon I write my novels with a purpose. Mujer Air Jordan 4 Duke Blue Devils I’m exasperated by the negative stereotypes that exist against mental illness and the people who experience various forms of it. The stereotypes have led to a stigma so intense that it causes discrimination and isolation and can prevent people from seeking the help they need. AIR ZOOM ELITE 9 I like to believe in the best in people, so I don’t think that people are intentionally cruel toward those experiencing mental illness. Instead, I think they are basing their thoughts and subsequent actions on misinformation and misunderstanding. Canada Goose Foxe Bomber SMU Mustangs Jerseys Mainstream media continues to portray mental illness inaccurately: television, movies, books, advertisements, and the news are all guilty of this. FLYKNIT LUNAR3 New Balance 1300 homme The National Indie Excellence Awards committee selected (2013) Leave of Absence as a finalist in their “faction” category—fiction based on fact. Air Max 95 Hombre Recently, Kirkus Reviews awarded My Life in a Nutshell: A Novel their coveted Kirkus Star, a distinction “awarded to books of remarkable merit,” and had this to say: “As in her previous novels, Peterson demonstrates a tender, notably human understanding of mental illness….[S]he accurately captures the crushing sensations of anxiety disorder[s] while simultaneously offering rays of hope. A vital tool for sufferers and their families that broadens understanding of a debilitating illness.” Losing Elizabeth received Storytellers Campfire’s 2014 Marble Book Award for being a book that “makes a significant difference in the world. James White This is a good sign, I think. Perhaps the world is ready to open its collective mind and heart and deepen empathy and compassion.

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