Yesterday, Dee Yoder requested more information on one of the workshops I attended. “Bipolars Don’t Twitch: Mental Illness Workshop” was presented by Dr. Cathy Chance. We’re not allowed to post the workshops themselves, but I’ll give you a taste for what I’ve learned.
A lot of this workshop was put together so writers could get a better understanding of different mental illnesses. Dr. Cathy Chance wants us to depict these people as realistically as possible. Too many writers of books, movies, and TV shows don’t do the research and write the characters according to myths rather than truths of some mental illnesses.
Day 1: Aside from the welcome and overview, she talked about the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist, and described a variety of therapists. She went into laws and ethics, including hospitalization of a patient.
Day 2: The second day was all about psychotic disorders. What are hallucinations and delusions? Schizophrenia was described along with misconceptions with this disorder.
Day 3: The next session focused on mood disorders. Major depression, bipolar disorder, and post partum depression were discussed.
Day 4: Some anxiety disorders were identified like: obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, panic disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder.
Day 5: Dissociative identity disorder or multiple personality disorder was explained.
Day 6: Personality disorders were the last on the list, but extremely important (at least to my research). Dr. Chance shed some light on antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.
It’s hard to know what your psycho character has and what to research unless you have a general understanding of these disorders, which is exactly what Dr. Chance gave us. She also answered specific questions to assist us in our story writing.
If ever you have the opportunity to take this workshop, I recommend it.
Do any of your characters have mental illnesses? If yes, which ones?