Why peer support is so damn useful for mental illness recovery.

We could also call this: Recovery is like rowing. You’ll be bad at both until you’re not. And then...

Overcoming anxiety at work and on the job hunt.

Recently, Daniela posted over on the Everybody has a Brain Tumblr about some anxiety challenges she tackled after getting...

Order The Mind Workout in the UK

My book, The Mind Workout, all about the steps anybody can take to get comfortable with the stuff in...

Scott's story so far...

I think back to when I was a pre teen and there was so much happening, not only physically...

How I Finally Recovered From OCD

I had watched Mark’s videos over and over again, especially my favorite one, “How to Deal With Intrusive Thoughts“. The...
Be yourself, Personal
Why peer support is so damn useful for mental illness recovery.
Be yourself, Eat
Overcoming anxiety at work and on the job hunt.
Books
Order The Mind Workout in the UK
Be yourself, Testimonials
Scott's story so far...
Be yourself, Testimonials
How I Finally Recovered From OCD
My name is Mark and I have mental health (because I have a brain), but it took me a long time to realize that. By the time I did, I had a bunch of mental illness labels stuck on me. It didn’t have to be that way. I could have saved enormous amounts of pain, energy, and money, if I’d taken a more proactive, preventive approach to mental health much earlier in life. The focus of the work I do now is on helping people learn skills to overcome mental health challenges and prevent them from happening so they can do what matters to them. Learn more about Mark
Be yourself

You are not your farts or your mental illness symptoms.

I got this question over on the EHAB Tumblr:

Can I ask why it’s not good to define yourself based on your mental illness? I mean I understand that I am complex and interesting beyond my depression, but sometimes I feel like people who say things like that are trying to get me to stop talking about it/get over it. Can you explain what you think the goal of “you are not your illness” mantras are?

The simple answer is: because you are not your farts. Building your identity around mental illness symptoms is no different that building your identity around farting.

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Personal

Overcoming stigma when blogging about health and illness.

I recently gave a keynote presentation at Diabetes Linkup, a conference for Type 2 Diabetes bloggers, on the topic of overcoming stigma to connect with peers online. I was sharing lessons learned from the past four years of sharing about my brain. Whether it’s diabetes or mental illness, the challenges we run into online and the ways we can overcome them are very similar. Here are the five lessons I shared:

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Media

Mental Illness Recovery Q&A with The Mighty

For OCD Week, I joined The Mighty for a live Q&A on their Facebook page all about my journey with recovery from mental illness. I usually keep my videos focused on mental health and where I’m going now, so I don’t often talk about the specific symptoms I struggled with but in this video I go more in-depth into what it was like deep in the mental illness hole, and what was involved with getting out of that hole:

Mark Freeman OCD Q&A

Mark Freeman is a writer, filmmaker and mental health advocate who has recovered from obsessive-compulsive disorder. He’s live now sharing his experiences and answering your questions as our final guest for OCD Awareness Week.Visit Mark’s blog and watch his videos at markfreeman.ca

Posted by Mental Health on The Mighty on Thursday, October 13, 2016

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Blog

The City of Brains Project

Over at the CivicTechTO meetups, I’ve started up a project with a bunch of awesome volunteers to tackle a simple question:

How do you find effective, accessible mental health services in Toronto?

The answers, however, have been anything but simple. Each answer typically comes in the form of a story. And we’re finding that these are stories full of hope, frustration, tragedy, failure, success, challenges, kindness, inequality, complexity, barriers, and perseverance.

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Be yourself

There are no OCD sub types or themes. Only OCD (and llamas).

It’s very popular in OCD patient communities, and in mental health communities in general, to get stuck on labeling superficial symptoms. But it becomes just another way to practice the judging and categorizing and discriminating that can fuel so many compulsions. A more effective approach to support recovery from OCD is to understand (and eliminate) the compulsive patterns of thinking and behaving beneath any symptom.

This might be easier to understand by looking at the sub type of OCD that is, without a doubt, the most horrific to deal with: LOCD. LOCD is the subtype of OCD that includes all of the compulsions related to the fear that you’re a llama. Common compulsions include:

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Draw

University Peer Health Engagement Workshop

This past weekend I was at the Toronto Peer Health Network’s annual symposium to facilitate a workshop on peer engagement. There were around 60 student leaders in the workshop who run peer health education programs at universities and colleges around Toronto. They’re working with their peers right around the age when all sorts of mental and physical health issues can emerge on top of learning to live independently and start a career–it’s a complex time for behavior change and difficult to engage somebody in making healthy changes when they’re bombarded by so many competing priorities.

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