About the Blog

This is the true story of the year long life and death struggle of a woman with severe mental illness and her journey from unrelenting despair to a life of stability and meaning. This uplifting story of illness, treatment and recovery is told from both the perspective of the client, Robin, and of the psychologist who treated her for many years (Sharon).  The recounting of the intense and dramatic experiences of Robin’s life covers the years leading up to her year-long “meltdown,” and the subsequent years of her working to re-build her life.  Over ten years later she is at a place of accepting the loss of her previous career in the mental health field, and of her independence.  She has been able to build a fulfilling life of mental stability despite her illness.  Reading Robin’s story can help anyone struggling with significant mental illness move from a place of confusion and despair, to accepting themselves and finding a meaningful life and identity separate from the illness they experience.

Reading this blog will help people who experience mental illness to:

1. Know they are not alone and feel more hopeful that they can truly heal.

2. Have a better understanding of the process of treatment including psychotherapy, psychotropic medications, hospitalization and even electroconvulsive therapy.

3. Gain insight into how the therapists who treat them experience the process, and the fact that even when they may be feeling “worthless,” they are impacting others in positive ways.

 4. Feel empowered to find and stick with treatment, stay alive, and work to accept that mental illness is a part of their lives but not their whole identity.

This blog will also be of interest to therapists, family members of people with mental illness, and anyone who wants to feel inspired by a truly amazing experience that positively changed the lives of two people forever.

Note:  This is a serial blog.  Click on Chapter 1–The Meltdown under “Categories” and go to the bottom to begin the story.

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53 Responses to About the Blog

  1. m riggs says:

    ready for more. 🙂

  2. Sandy Sue says:

    Thanks so much for visiting my site and choosing to follow along. This story and your approach to it is intriguing. I’ll be reading more.

  3. I support your site and its message. There are not enough people out there combating stigma and promoting a positive viewpoint of recovery from severe emotional problems. I would encourage you to go even further in encouraging people with emotional problems – rather than helping them accept that mental illness will always be a part of their lives, encourage them to be be open to the possibility that they can be free from it. That is what I have done.

  4. Thanks for your comment. I am really glad you have been able to become free from your symptoms. I think after the next post, however, it will become much more clear why Robin’s story is about acceptance rather than becoming symptom free. I hope you will keep reading!

  5. Nikki says:

    This is so fantastic. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by my blog and adding me to your blog roll. I am also venturing forth into writing my story with it’s many moving parts and hope my blog will be a vehicle for finding some form or structure around doing so. Look forward to reading more of yours!

  6. Amber says:

    Hi, I have a couple questions to ask you about you being a psychologist and all. Do you like it? Would you say it was worth going to school for all of those years? What do you like and not like? My blog is amber alas, and I would love to talk further with you about these things. Maybe you could email me or just answer them on your blog!? Let me know which works best. Namaste.

    • Thanks for asking. Love the dialogue! I am very glad I became a psychologist and am passionate about what I do. I went to graduate school in the 1980s though, before managed care. In the U.S., anyway, it is now hard for psychologists to find jobs because insurance companies don’t want to pay for psychological testing, the one thing psychologists do which no other profession can. If I were to go to school now, I would get a Masters degree in Social Work (MSW). There are many more jobs available.

  7. larart29 says:

    I wanted to stop by and thank you for taking interest and following my little blog. I was very curious to see your blog in turn and I must say that I am fascinated and slowly making my way through Chapter One. I have reached Robin’s thoughts and it intrigues and kinda scares me how similar my own thought patterns are.

    Once again, thank you and I am definitely going to keep reading on!

  8. Marvelous blog site. We need your voice. Keep on

  9. Thank you both for showing courage and perseverance. I feel honored to be able to witness, in a small way, your journey and accomplishments. And thank you for following my blog.

  10. robin1967 says:

    Thanks for your kind comment. The story has just begun in our journey, so keep reading…

  11. Aden Ng says:

    Glad to know there are others sharing life with mental illnesses. Keep up the good work!

  12. Pingback: Really interesting blog, I will be following. | Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

  13. Hi there, thank you very much for the follow, I like your productive approach, very interesting, will keep reading xx

  14. carissamaria says:

    I’m impressed by your extraordinary approach on Robin’s case, it shows implication, creativity, professionalism and a passion for a very interesting domain. I admire you and i was touched by Robin’s story and by her courage and inner struggles. I think that her case was more than a challenge…she’s the kind of client who reminds you again and again to keep your “therapeutic mind” open and motivates you to search the best ways to reach to her inner world.
    Thank you so much for visiting and following my blog, i’m honored. I’m looking forward to read more from your amazing work.
    Blessings,
    Carissa

  15. suchled says:

    Sharon, I wonder what effect it would have if therapists could get their patients/clients to start a blog? I have found since I started in January that the anonymity of a blog allows people to be very open. It also gives a person an understanding that they are not alone. I started my blog to put down incidents that my children might one day use to understand their ‘old man’ (Australianism for father). But since starting I feel that I have made some friends that fill gaps in my life. You and Robin are a very valuable couple of people.

    • I agree completely that the anonymity allows for safe support. I can think of many former clients who would have benefitted from this type of support, especially given the stigma that keeps people from feeling comfortable being open with others! If I were still working as an outpatient therapist I would definitely be recommending blogging as a way to be more open.

      • suchled says:

        With regard to the whole idea of stigma, we had in Victoria a Premier ( the elected top dog)who was a tough conservative politician, but after losing an election suffered from depression. He then established an organisation called Beyond Blue and has spent the last number of years promoting the idea that people with mental illness should not feel stigmatised. It might be worth a visit.
        http://www.beyondblue.org.au/‎

      • Thanks. Will check it out.

  16. I have only had time to read a little, but I am looking forward to reading more. I am on a journey of mental healing as well, and I give you my love for this is a difficult one.

  17. Wonderful site and I look forward to reading more. This is such an important topic and one that is very close to my heart. The stigma of mental illness makes everything harder. I spent 30 minutes trying to explain this to my mother THIS morning. I was telling her that I was having a difficult time because I’ve developed a bad reaction to a medication that has worked very well for me. I’m frustrated. My background and education is in mental health and I have loads of personal experience as well. I needed a safe space to express what I was feeling. Instead, she delivered a dose of unnecessary (at least in that moment) perspective. She reminded me that things could be worse. Why yes, they could be. She then listed several illnesses that I should be thankful that I do not have (her background is obviously NOT in mental health.) I’m sharing this not for sympathy, but to illustrate how quick people can be to dismiss the seriousness of mental illness. I’m doing well managing my condition and am VERY grateful for my education and that through therapy I have learned to reach out and find resources to help me. However, I know that sometimes the stigma makes me wait longer than I should. I’m hesitant to tell people that I need help with my children — I often lie and say I have a migraine. I don’t want to appear “crazy” and not capable of taking care of my children. If I had one of the illnesses my mother mentioned, I’d probably have people offering to help make food and care for my kids. Sorry this is so long — it really struck a nerve and I commend both of you for sharing your story. I look forward to reading more.

  18. afsheenanjum says:

    Hello there I am here to thank you that you liked my post ” Love of Mother” . Please visit again, your opinion and comments are valuable for me.
    May Allah bless you and your loved ones, ameen

  19. Pingback: Sisterhood of World Bloggers | Complicit Grace

  20. complicitgrace says:

    Sharon & Robin I have nominated the both of you for a blogger’s award…mind you I’m unfamiliar with the whole blogging award thing it is your work that came to mind with one other blog that I have found so helpful on my journey to heal. The award is the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Here is the link to my acceptance of this nomination. http://complicitgrace.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/sisterhood-of-world-bloggers/

  21. herestill says:

    Had no idea who you were! Just someone who occasionally commented on my blog. Great posts. My first therapist was amazing like you. So sad I had to move away.

  22. Dr. DeVinney,

    Thank you for following “A Way With Words.” I find great joy in writing and my joy is made more complete when people read what I’ve written. While I write primarily about faith & mental illness, I am always looking for new topics to address. If you have anything you’d like to see, please let me know.

    I appreciate the work you are doing here. I plan to follow your posts as often as I am able. Very intriguing.

    I pray you are blessed in your life and writing.

    Gratefully,
    Tony Roberts

  23. Thank you for following my blog, Sophisticating the Rudimentary. As the name implies, I approach my site as a way to motivate myself to write, hone my fledgling skills as a storyteller, and share my works-in-progress with a larger audience. That being said, I ask you read each post with a critical eye. What doesn’t make sense? Where are there gaps that need to be filled? Where do gaps need to be left open? What would be a fun place for the story to go? What more do you want to know? What should be left to the reader to understand? Please do not hesitate to leave critical feedback on any or all of the pieces on my site! That is one of the motivating reasons behind my decision to keep this blog going. Also, please feel free to share my work with readers whose feedback you think my pieces might benefit from. As I continue to work, I update my pieces on the site in the hopes that we can track this process of revision together.
    Yours in letters,
    Daniel J. Metzger

  24. katelon says:

    Thank you for checking out my blog and following it.

    I appreciate what you and Robin are doing with this blog to assist the many people who have suffered through mental and emotional challenges, and to help them know there is a way through it all!

  25. Jill says:

    I commend you on the quality of this blog and now that I have found it, I want every new post to pop into my mailbox daily. Please keep up the wonderful job of relating what it is like to battle an illness like this.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog too.

  26. Wonderful blog. Will follow. I write about the human-animal bond and mental health. Thank you for sharing this story.
    Jill

  27. Hi there, after reading this remarkable piece of writing i am also glad to share my experience here with
    colleagues.

  28. Ganesh says:

    Nice and inspiring blog, dear friend! Thanks for following “Known is a drop, Unknown is an Ocean”. 🙂

  29. Well I’ve only read the About the Blog page and I’m soooo ready to dive in!! What an amazing idea to do this together. Powerful and incredible. So happy to meet you two.
    Amy

  30. tonyroberts says:

    Hello Dr. DeVinney, I hope this finds you doing well.
    I see you have been a follower of “A Way With Words.” Great! Thank you.

    We have now transformed into, “Delight in Disorder: Faith & Mental Illness” (delightindisorder.org). I hope you will join us there. On the left sidebar, there is a box (below “Get More Delight”) for subscriptions so you can get the most of our mission.

    Take care & God bless,
    Tony

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