Dr. Hallowell Family Lessons

I have a Crazy Family… and you may too. In fact, many, many people come from “crazy”. Listen to this great podcast with me and Dr Charles Parker on Corebrain Podcast. We discuss the lessons I learned from my family, my challenging childhood and why I became a Psychiatrist.

What to learn more about my strange childhood marked by what I call the “WASP triad” of alcoholism, mental illness, and politeness?  Read my Memoir: “Because I Come From A Crazy Family: The Making of A Psychiatrist.”

Erasing Stigma of ADHD, Dyslexia, Depression, etc.

KUOW interviewed Dr. Hallowell and Lesley Todaro, Hallowell Todaro Center, about erasing the stigma around the word “crazy,” the relationship between ADHD and creativity, and talking to kids about ADHD.

“Most people who have exceptional talent have one or another of the conditions we diagnosis, whether it’s anxiety disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, major depression, substance abuse,” says Hallowell. “It’s rare to find someone who has major talent who doesn’t wrestle with one or another of those conditions.”

CLICK HERE to read more and listen to KUOW’s interview on “Why Ned Hallowell wants to celebrate craziness.

If you miss ADDitude’s online webinar “From Shame and Stigma to Pride and Truth: It’s Time to Celebrate ADHD Differences,” with  ADHD experts Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Dodson, no worries. Thanks to ADDitude, you can LISTEN HERE and learn how to celebrate your ADHD.

Mental Illness Swam In My Genes…

Giulia Rhodes, The Guardian recently interviewed Dr. Hallowell about his Memoir.  In her article, Mental Illness Swam In My Genes…, she asked him why he wanted to become a psychiatrist. Dr. Hallowell replied:  “I wanted to become a psychiatrist because I wanted to understand my people in particular and crazy people in general.”   The “selfish desire”, he says, was always to save his family: “There was a drive to repair families, repair my own – though it was too late for that, of course.”

Read more HERE!

 

Get The Story Behind Dr. Hallowell’s Memoir

Matt Forte, Build NYC interviewed Dr. Hallowell  today to get the story behind his Memoir,  Because I Come From A Crazy Family. 

In his interview with Matt, Dr. Hallowell shares his personal stories about why he loved his Mom, his dad’s mental illness, why he wrote his Memoir, his unusual journey to becoming a psychiatrist and even how he was conceived. His interview also supports the importance of removing the shame surrounding  mental illness.   LISTEN NOW!

Dr. Hallowell’s Memoir

Today marks the release of my memoir, Because I Come from a Crazy Family: The Making of a Psychiatrist.  It’s unlike any book I’ve written before, this one only tells stories, true stories from my childhood and my early training in psychiatry.  I introduce you to the great array of eccentric, wonderful, colorful and yes, sometimes crazy people who populated my life.

Growing up I didn’t know we were any different from other families.  I thought the zaniness that surrounded me was just the way life was.  Everyone was very loving, often very funny, usually unpredictable, and most of the time a lot of fun.  This memoir is a celebration of craziness, my way of expressing my pride in my family in all our differences, craziness included.

Ending  the Stigma of Mental Illness

It’s time to blast away the stigma that has plagued mental illness for thousands of years.  The fact is, many, if not most people of exceptional talent struggle with one or another of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses:

  • depression,
  • anxiety disorders,
  • substance use disorders,
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
  • post traumatic stress disorder,
  • bi-polar disorder,
  • reading disorders, or
  • various personality disorders.

Yet they don’t seek help because they fear the shame and stigma that comes with the diagnosis.

However, I see these conditions as markers of talent.  When I diagnose someone, I tell them we are embarking on a process of unwrapping their gifts.  The mental illness can completely bury the talent so that it cannot emerge, or it can conceal it so that it can only partially emerge.  My job as a psychiatrist is not just to treat the illness but just as important to develop the talent, to encourage the growth of the healthy part of the person.

One reason I wrote my new book was to show personally, through characters in my own family, how talent and mental illness can appear in the same person and how lack of treatment can bring a person down. Furthermore, I wanted to show how proper treatment can save a person altogether; and how wonderfully freeing it can be to live true to oneself with others who appreciate who you are for who you are without shame or recrimination.

The great gift my family gave me was just that: permission, indeed, insistence to be real.  Our only real rule was don’t be a phony. And so in this new book I share with you all the true and wonderful characters I grew up with, and then the true and wonderful people who taught me psychiatry at the old Mass. Mental Health Center.  The best teachers I ever had were the patients who let me take care of them.  Like the people in my family, they could never be phony.  Sometimes I couldn’t understand them, but I always new they were real and true.

So it gives me enormous pleasure to share with you all the gifts they gave to me through this memoir.

Order here

Changing the Stigma and Shame of Mental Illness

Mental illness affected my family. My dad left home when I was 4 years old. I didn’t really know why. Nobody told me what was going on. The fact is that he was in and out of mental hospitals. I didn’t know that though until I was in high school. That’s because stigma and shame so surrounded anything relating to conditions of the mind that people just didn’t talk about it. There were no “Hallmark” cards saying “Hope you get over your latest psychotic break soon.” These conditions were shrouded in shame. Unfortunately, in many instances, they still are.  It’s time for us to bring that to an end.  I invite you to watch my video on:

Changing the Stigma and Shame Associated with Mental Illness. 

Let’s band together to eliminate this stigma and shame. Share your story with me. Thank you.

Read my article on Beating the Odds

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

Click here to learn more about my Memoir: Because I Come From A Crazy Family The Making of A  Psychiatrist.

Beating the Odds

I almost never thought about the odds I was actually beating every day. But when I looked back at my childhood and wrote about it in my Memoir “Because I Come From A Crazy Family The Making of A Psychiatrist”, and when I looked at the studies of kids like me, I had to acknowledge the elephant in the room. How is it that I was where I was? What had happened? How on earth (or elsewhere) did I beat those odds?

Learn tips and more about beating the odds in my article on “Beating the Odds” in Psychology Today.