Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sandy Naiman

Filed under Babble Blog

sandynaimanSandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a writer, a blogger, a broadcaster, a teacher, and an inspiration to those who are working towards creating a more just society.

Sandy Naiman is an advocate for those living with mental illnesses, and is, herself, in recovery. She won the Courage to Come Back Award in 1998.

Sandy Naiman is also my friend and one of the bravest people I know. Sandy lives her life out loud, never shying away from tough subjects. For thirty years, she wrote for The Toronto Sun. Now, she has a blog for the Toronto Star called Coming Out Crazy. It is inspired, inspiring, and offers insights into the world of mental illnesses and the professions and cultures that have sprung up around them.

Sandy is currently off with a bug. And if it were any other week, I’d wait to single her out for her extraordinary contributions to Toronto, Canada and the world – and make no mistake, she is deeply respected around the world. But this week is Mental Illness Awareness Week and I could think of no greater way to mark the week than by celebrating Sandy Naiman.

Sandy, thank you for your courage and for your unwavering belief in tomorrow. You are, as you have always been, ahead of your time, writing about topics long before they are mainstream or even accepted. You are ahead of the curve and a bastion of sanity whenever the world turns upside down.

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One Response to “Sandy Naiman”
  1. Sandy Naiman says:

    Dearest Susan,

    Profound thanks for including me on your fabulously redesigned new Website. It’s sensational and I feel honoured to be there.

    I hope you don’t mind if I correct a few tiny inaccuracies.

    First, I do not live with “mental illnesses.” I thrive despite a long psychiatric history and a history of many psychiatric diagnoses.

    I live with mental and emotional health in recovery from my “unipolar mood disorder with a vulnerability to mania.” I don’t get depressed. I prefer the term Hypomania ~ which is on the Bipolar Spectrum ~ but on way over to one side. It’s exuberance. Energy. Too much, sometimes.

    I have been seeing psychiatrists in psychotherapy for close to 50 years and I do take medication to keep my manic moods in check. An anti-convulsant called Tegretol, used originally by neurologists for treating patients with epilepsy or seizure disorders. It does the trick for me.

    Though I was labeled many times over those 50 years ~ with many different diagnoses ~ curiously, I haven’t changed much.
    I detest labels. They mean very little. Sadly, they stick. They’re for jars, not people.

    Secondly, in Canada, there are two Awareness Weeks concerning emotional health. The first week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week. The first week of May is Mental Health Awareness Week.
    They are far from synonymous.
    This is actually Mental Health Awareness Week in Canada and May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S.

    There isn’t enough space to go into the difference between health and illness, suffice it to say that healing is the goal and healing means to become whole. I am not dis-ordered by my so-called dis-orders or dis-abled in any way. I live in the present, focus on the present, and the future tends to take care of itself. Dwelling on the past is a waste of time for me.

    All my best to you on your amazing new blog. I know it will help you get the word out. And in your case, the word is always worth reading and considering carefully.

    I hope this clarifies things. It’s my opinion. In mental and emotional health and well being, everywhere, in fact, we all have our own truths and there is no one absolute. We’re all unique, we’re all equal, but we’re far from the same as Temple Grandin says, “Being different does not mean being less.”


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