The Voices in My Head


Welcome to another Tuesday with TED. This week we are watching psychologist Eleanor Longden describe her experience with mental illness. To all appearances, Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized and drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn’t know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.

This is a powerful story about acceptance and overcoming fear and shame. Because of my experiences with my ex-husband, who struggles with bipolar disorder and other mental health challenges, I felt compelled to share it.

Does this change how you think about schizophrenia and other mental illnesses? Do you agree with her viewpoint that mental illness is a condition that can be overcome rather than an incurable disease? How might acceptance (rather than resistance) help you to move forward?

Until next time,
Cynthia Patton

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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