Tag Archives: mental health and wellness

Exciting news…

Here’s what I posted on Facebook and Twitter today.

Great news! The next incarnation of this blog, “Coming Out Crazy” is now in development at Psych Central. Looking great. And, I can keep my  Canadian spellings, too. Should be up in about a week. Thanks to Dr. Grohol and your team.

And thanks to you, for taking a chance on me and moving here with me. I hope you will follow me and our community when we make our move.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, it turns out we were simply “waiting” for the universe to unfold, here, at this address.

I didn’t have a plan, but I did have a dream. I had no idea any of this was going to happen when I launched this incarnation of “Coming Out Crazy” on Wednesday, April 14th from my final post at The Toronto Star.

Your comments there warm the cockles of my heart. They mean more to me than my replies can ever possibly express. I’m speechless. Rare for me. :)

All I did was keep churning out my lemonade and working like I’ve never worked in my life. Hard and Fast. There was no time to worry or brood. That’s not my style. I accept the past. Stay in the present. And, somehow, the future takes care of itself.

So, have a great day and speak soon. When we launch, I’ll be signing off here and continuing to post on Facebook and Twitter just like I do now. All that stays the same.

Nothing will change. This is my blog, our blog, and always will be. Things are just going to get a whole lot better. More freedom. Shorter posts. At least three or four times a week. Maybe more.

Plus I’ll have lots of blogging support for WordPress – which I’m just learning to use – and a lovely editor with a “light touch” – we’ve already started corresponding. She’s not unlike my beloved Toronto Star editor Brandie Weikle.

She and I are still working together, by the way. I’ll be writing features for her at Healthzone, where Coming Out Crazy originated.

At our new address, I’ll be joining a fascinating and eclectic party of Psych Central bloggers with a delicious smörgåsbord of intriguing perspectives and assorted specialties ~ to suit every interest and taste. I’m joining a vibrant community. The first mental health website on the planet. Fifteen years old. Leading the way. A team. Like the newsroom of a big urban daily newspaper.

We’re retaining our name and our ethos. Coming Out Crazy and community development. Conversation. Discussion. Disagreement. Freedom to be who we are. To evolve and practice using our voices in a safe haven.

“Share. Learn. Grow.”

I’ll have complete freedom to continue our conversation. Continue with my mental health advocacy. Continue my teaching. Continue my commitment with my commitments to social change through public education.

I have to confess, I’m daunted by all this. A mite nervous. But I’m not going to think about it right now. I’m pulling a Scarlett O’Hara, who famously said in the final paragraph of Margaret Mitchell‘s romantic Civil War classic, Gone with the Wind, “I’ll think of it all tomorrow… After all, tomorrow is another day.”

So bye for now. Today, I’m offline so I can finish my end-of-term marking/grading.

The clock is ticking.

Sending you all my affection and gratitude.

Speak soon!

“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.” ~ Groucho Marx

And finally, thank you, Mr. Marx, wherever you are ~ for defining our spirit with your vivid wit and wisdom.



“My baby”…

My friend and fellow blogger, Susan, of If You’re Going Through Hell Keep Going, calls her blog “my baby” and when I first heard this, I couldn’t quite fathom what she meant.

Now, I’m beginning to understand.

I came in a few minutes ago, simply to shut down all my applications, but before I did, I just wanted to check here to see if there was any “action” and by that I mean “comments.”


Then, one thing led to another, and here I am again. I am thinking about my next serious post. All the stuff up now is window dressing and introductory stuff. Necessary, but not very important in the scheme of things.

I’m going to do some research on psychological resilience. Is it a buzz word or does it have meaning for us. Is there psychiatric resilience? I’m curious.

I never thought I was very good at handling change, but I’m beginning to believe we can change that, too. Though it takes practice and mindfulness and determination. Serious work and a certain ability to willingly suspend disbelief as English Romantic poet and philosopher William Taylor Coleridge wrote back in the 18th and early 19th Centuries.

Essentially, what he was talking about, I think, was “poetic faith.” That’s a real oversimplification, but the gist – and this is a stretch – is to envision where you want to be and then work like crazy to reach that destination. Even if you don’t arrive at the exact spot, invariably you’ll be closer than you were before and certainly farther ahead than when you started. You would be much better off, for sure, if you had taken another course and said, “I can’t do that, so I’m not even going to bother trying.”


The point is, you have to believe in what is essentially imagined if you want to change. That’s the dynamic behind all change-making. Especially social change. To believe things can be better and then set your sights there and work like hell to that end. I’ve always lived my life that way. I’ve never considered myself to have a dis-ability with my mental illness. That’s never stopped me. I just blindly carry on.

Mind you, I’ve always imagined what it would be like to be six inches taller. I’ve “willingly suspended disbelief” and imagined that real hard. But nothing ever seems to budge me upward in that direction by a single centimetre. In fact, I suspect I’m growing in the other direction as I grow older. Either way, I seem to have reached my height in that department – 5-ft, 1-in – and no amount of willing suspension of disbelief is going to change that.

Now, Coleridge would be rolling in his grave if he had internet access and could see how I’m mangling the much more lofty meaning of his phrase and its literary intent.

So, on that pathetic little note, I’m now going to sleep, my head swimming with ideas about resiliency – there are about five million posts to explore on Google – and how I fared this last few days.

What we can learn about developing more resiliency as a coping tool? Can we change our resiliency quotient? I wonder.

It’s a good thing, too, that I’m seeing Dr. Bob on Monday. But I’ll be back here before then. You can be sure.

After all, I have a new “baby” to take care of.

Now, I’m off.

Speak soon.

“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.” ~ Groucho Marx

And a new window opens…

I love new beginnings. They’re like mornings. Like blank pages, pure and pristine, with nothing yet written on them. They’re exhilarating and that’s how I’m beginning to feel, right now.

This post was written about three days ago, when I was beginning to envision a new beginning for our “Coming Out Crazy” community. So it’s a little like an introduction that you don’t really need, especially if you’re coming from our original home at The Toronto Star site, Healthzone.ca.


If not. Welcome. And please be patient with me. I’m learning new software. I was using Typepad. Now, I’m on WordPress. I’ll make some mistakes and I hope you’ll understand.

The point is, now I’m on my own. I can post whenever I wish and as often as I wish. So here goes.

“Coming Out Crazy” is not a personal blog, in the traditional sense.

You won’t be privy to a play-by-play of my moods, for example. That’s just not my style.

Instead, you’ll be joining a viable, dynamic, supportive, existing community. With a new address and a fresh coat of paint. But that’s just cosmetic. The key is, I’m still here, with the same philosophical values – fairness, balance and sensitivity. The same journalistic spirit. The same goals.

To engage you in an ongoing conversation, a dialogue.

To challenge discrimination and prejudice with information and education.

To inspire a sense of community.

I’ll continue my quest for new sources and new ideas that will encourage learning – yours and mine – about all things related to overall health and well being. You can’t separate the physical from the mental and the emotional and the spiritual. We’re all “package deals” despite what Rene Descartes and others have said about mind/body dualism.

My name is Sandy Naiman and I’m throwing out a fresh new welcome mat for you, so come on in…


Here, as you may already know, you’ll find a place that’s about whatever you want it to be ~ with a focus on a broad range of issues relating to mental health and wellness. With an eye on Recovery. Empowerment. ResilienceHope. Most of all, the ongoing crusade to feel comfortable in our skins. Like the name suggests. Not normal – I don’t know what that word means. If you do, please let me know.

Here, you have your say. It’s safe to share here, to be open, to be honest, to be yourself, or to just hang out. No matter who “yourself” is. You’ll find comfort, compassion and empathy. You’ll also meet some fascinating, brilliant people who will share their knowledge, expertise and insights with us.

This is a place to come when you’re feeling lonely or isolated or dispirited. Or, for that matter, happy, excited and exuberant. All emotional states have a place here, no matter how extreme. You will be listened to ~ with my eyes, ears and heart. We’ll all actively listen to you, though I’m no professional. I cannot give advice.


Most of all, this community is about change. Sorely needed change.

I may initiate a conversation. You can run with it. I do the research and link to sources that may enlighten you or enrage you. That’s when the fun begins and where the exchange of ideas happens. Sometimes sparks will fly. That’s what change is all about. To quote the late American community and labour organizer Saul Alinksy:

“Change means movement; movement means friction; friction means heat; heat means controversy.”

You’ll find controversy here, too. I’m not afraid of it. When it comes to mental and emotional health issues, there are lots of hot button issues that don’t get much play, but here they will. Nothing frightens me because chances are, I’ve been through it over my own dramatic 50-year psychiatric history. If not, I want to learn. I am curious.

We’ll discuss labels and language later.

Right now, just come in and take a load off.

This is the beginning of a brand new leg of our journey together. Who knows what’s around the next corner? We’ll see. Life is filled with all kinds of delicious and challenging surprises. I can’t wait to hear from you. I live for your comments.

“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.” ~ Groucho Marx