More Famous People With Mental Illness

The local NAMI chapter has literature all over a counter at my local library. One of the pieces of literature actually was a 5×7 index card with a list of famous people who struggled with mental illness. It was kind of interesting so I figured I’d share it. Some I’d already known about; others were a bit of a surprise. How did they figure out who had bipolar disorder back in the 1800s?

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When You Care to Send the Very Best

Hallmark has really outdone itself now. The Trouble With Spikol linked to an ABC News article that revealed Hallmark’s new line of cards: Journeys. The new “sensitive” line of cards covers just about everything in the merged “Get Well Soon”/”Sympathy” category.

      • Congratulations
      • Divorce
      • Eating Disorder
      • Friendship
      • Grief, traumatic loss
      • Inspirational
      • Leaving a bad situation
      • Losing hair from treatments
      • Miscarriage Post-partum depression
      • Quitting a bad habit
      • Significant anniversary
      • Thank you for being there
      • Thank hospice worker
      • Thinking of you
      • Tough times
      • Waiting for results
      • You can do it!

Anything you can think of, Hallmark’s just about got it all. “Thank hospice worker???” Even a card for gays coming out. It’s just weird. I feel like this is a gag akin to that I read (and fell for) at Furious Seasons.

I have to get on my soapbox for a minute here. Really, how did Hallmark’s Editorial Department think this up? How do you express your feelings to someone with an eating disorder? “You’ll get better soon! Just look at Katharine McPhee from American Idol!” Umm…

“Theresa Steffens, an assistant product manager at Hallmark, said a majority of online and focus group respondents said they couldn’t find what they were looking for when needing an encouragement card.

‘Either the consumer said they were walking away from the display or they were just unhappy with the card that they purchased, so we saw this as a huge opportunity,’ Steffens said.

Customers said they wanted cards dealing with more real-life situations.

‘They said, ‘I don’t know what to say during a difficult time, so I don’t say anything at all,’ Steffens said. So again there’s an opportunity there to help them talk through these tough situations that they’re dealing with and to foster that communication.'”

  • Leaving a bad situation: “I know you’ll succeed and walk away from this stronger than you ever imagined.” Oh wait, that’s plausible.
  • Losing hair from treatments: Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had a friend with cancer, but I’m not quite sure what you’d say to this. “Remember: beauty comes from within.” Dangit, that’s plausible too.
  • Miscarriage postpartum depression: Uhh… I’d need to see a card for this. I really can’t come up with a good one. “Don’t worry! There’s always the next round!” It’d suck to get something like that if doctors said that the (almost) mom could no longer conceive.
  • Quitting a bad habit: “Good for you! We all support you and stand behind you as you kick your bad habit of biting your fingernails!” Good grief if that card exists.

ABC News found an example for a card for depression:

“When the world gets heavy, remember, I’m here to help carry it with you.”

It’s a nice gesture, but it would mean nothing if there person who gave it never really called or visited afterward. At least writer Sarah Muller of Hallmark realized the sensitive potential of these cards:

“Writing the cards proved a challenge because the messages were designed to take a more personal approach than the standard sympathy card, said card writer Sarah Mueller.

“You can’t send somebody who is seriously depressed a ‘cheer-up’ card because it’s insulting and it doesn’t help,” Mueller said. “That’s what depression does, is it makes you feel like you’re all alone. So just being able to write something, the attempt was just to say, ‘I’m here.'”

It’ll be interesting to see how well Journeys does and whether it’ll still be around a year or two from now. Below is a card that I kind of found displeasing:

Hallmark Card

Maybe I need a better sense of humor with this.