The other day I went to a game night among friends. Among the games available was a recent edition of “Operation”. For those unfamiliar with the game, the basic premise of the game is that players have to remove small objects with tweezers from wells without touching the sides. Each object is supposed to represent an ailment. For example: ‘Water on the knee’ is represented by a bucket, a pulled muscle is represented by a rubber band and so on. While we set up the game I was surprised to find a small bird that was to be placed in the well associated with the head. The ailment was called “Bird Brained”. Bird Brained: ditsy, insane, nonsensical, light headed, etc. At first I was taken aback and then found myself very offended.


Operation Game Box
Operation Game


The idea that the mental disorders associated with insanity could be operated on surgically goes back to a very dark time in U.S. history in terms of health practices. In 1935 it was common practice to drill hole into the heads of patients experiencing psychotic or depressive symptoms. Many thought this would help release demons. Antonio Egas Moniz, who came up with the procedure was given a Noble Prize for his work in 1949. Success of a procedure was measured by how much the patient “calmed down”.  Walter Freeman is the one who made similar procedures famous in the U.S. in fact, he was the one that modified the procedure and coined the term ‘lobotomy’. However, his version involved separating the entire pre-frontal cortex from the rest of the brain by inserting a surgical device behind the eye after the patient had been knocked unconscious by electroshock. (However, being the talented showman that he was he would often insert devices into both eye sockets simultaneously)  He performed lobotomies on as many as 2,500 people. This came at a time when the nation was desperate to find solutions to mental illness. So, when Freeman’s patients seemed to no longer be exhibiting symptoms (in addition to not exhibiting a great many other things, like personality) many other doctors took up the procedure. Between the “insane” asylums, shock therapy and anti-psychotic medications available at the time and now lobotomy, there were very few safe treatment options for those suffering from these illnesses.

By the time that lobotomies were outlawed in the U.S. in 1967 it is estimated that about 50,000 people had been subject to one or more lobotomies. At this time the procedure had been outlawed in Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union for many years because it was “contrary to the principles of humanity.”

That game that I played is just one example of the way that such ideas have persisted into the 21st century, the idea that if the brain is not conforming, it must be operated on. Similarly, people with sexual orientations other than heterosexual were also treated as though they had severe mental illness, and still are to a certain extent. Many would say that we have moved on past that. However, in all reality it’s only been about 47 years since that procedure ceased to be performed. Meaning I could have a doctor that studied during this dark period of time. How has that affected their views?  I think to a certain degree medicine and therapy is still hindered by these past ideas. One situation that seems to keep popping up is that because of my disorder I may not know what is best for me. This can manifest in conversations with friends and family, even care providers. For example:

“Doctor, I don’t like the way my meds make me feel…it’s like I don’t have emotions, I feel like a zombie.”

“Have the symptoms been reduced?”

“Well, yes, but…”

At this point the conversation is over. Chemical lobotomy.

With that harsh point made, I would like to make it clear that I have had some very good doctors. Excellent doctors who cared for my recovery in a wholesome way and I owe them a large debt in terms of that end. However, I have many friends that have not had good doctors, doctors that diagnose without enough information and prescribe with even less. The problem seems to me to reside in a huge power differential. The doctor has years of schooling and is probably constantly able-minded. The patient on the other hand is probably very scared, conditionally able minded and typically has no or little background in the field of mental health. Society tells us that people with mental disorders are not able to manage themselves and do not know what is best, therefore it is the job of the Able Minded to come in a rescue us from our plight. This philosophy is very disempowering for those that would seek wellness. On top of that I can speak from experience in saying that it is very hard to advocate for yourself while wrestling with these disorders. When I first went in to seek medical attention I was very vulnerable to my care providers and I am grateful that they sought out my best interest through medication and non-medication methods. I know of those that have given up on doctors due to negative experiences and are now self-medicating, or not medicating at all with varying levels of success.

I think that doctors have to potential to be powerful allies for those of us who struggle with illnesses such as these. However, I feel the strong need to suggest a revision of prerogative on behalf of these care providers. For them to examine whether they are here to “save us” of if they are here to supply us with the tools to secure our own release.

“The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” –Steve Biko

-Erich Zann (pen name)

Erich is the pen name of our guest student blogger who can be contacted by e-mail at:

Disclaimer: The views expressed by guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of Disability Access Services or those of Oregon State University.

Many times in the course of intense mania or psychosis context becomes very difficult to grasp. You can begin to loose social context, introspection, orientation or even awareness that you are held within such a state. This effect is amplified during “Onset” or the first time that an individual experiences symptoms. During my Onset it took me several months to realize that my brain had stopped working in the way in which I was accustomed. There were very few people around me who knew me well enough to notice a change since I had just arrived at college. Even once I began to realize what was happening there were few who could help, I turned to music, a decision that probably saved my life. Something about music helped my simplify my feelings and consolidate them. I soon found Grunge, a raw and organic genera of rock from the early 90’s. I found comfort in relating to music written by those just as angry and confused as myself. Day after day unto this day this music gives me a venue to mentally purge and perform self-exorcism.

Now, I understand that not everyone is able to so closely relate to music in this way. However, I think that music can be a great tool to supplement other treatment. Most importantly, music mixes will all forms of medication (regardless if you were prescribed the right kind), can be effective no matter the “diagnosis” (even if the doctor got it wrong) or even if no one believes you.

Since my Onset I have done a lot of headbanging and air guitaring. I find it a way to channel all of my confusion, hate, sadness and perhaps even my loneliness. I doubt that many will understand just how important this is to me. It has stopped to be just expression, but part of my survival.
I found that different songs, artists and styles were more or less effective based on my mania, depression, psychosis or even sanity. I highly encourage music therapy; some may prefer more calming styles of music…or perhaps something with more than 3 chords. The point here is to find something with tone and/or lyrics that you can relate to. On that note, sometimes trying to cheer yourself up isn’t the best thing for you. To be perfectly honest, you will always have those around you that will try to cheer you up, even if it isn’t what you want. You have the right to be angry, furious. Therefore, you also have the right to a healthy outlet. This can be one of those.

Below are a few songs that have been very important to me, I hope they can bring you a similar sense of meaning and resolve.

-Erich Zann (pen name)

Erich is the pen name of our guest student blogger who can be contacted by e-mail at:


“She scratches a letter
Into a wall made of stone
Maybe someday
Another child
Won’t feel as alone as she does

It’s been two years
And counting
Since they put her in this place
She’s been diagnosed
By some stupid ****
And mommy agrees
Why go home?”

-Pearl Jam: “Why Go?” (Ten)

“To put my mind to bed.
This ringing in my head,
Is this a cure ,
Or is this a disease?

Nail in my hand,
From my creator.
You gave me life,
Now show me how to live.”
-Audioslave: “Show Me How to Live” (Audioslave)

“On an evening such as this,
It’s hard to tell if I exist.”
-Barenaked Ladies: “Pinch Me” (Maroon)

“Like autumn leaves
His sense fell from him
An empty glass of himself
Shattered somewhere within
His thoughts like a hundred moths
Trapped in a lampshade
Somewhere within
Their wings banging and burning
On through endless nights
Forever awake he lies shaking and starving
Praying for someone to turn off the light”
-Rage Against The Machine: “Born of a Broken Man” (Battle Of Los Angeles)

Disclaimer: The views expressed by guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of Disability Access Services or those of Oregon State University.

I want to talk about health, moreover I want to talk about health in a way that will not leave us further smothered by old arguments and clichés. Rather, I would like to break new ground in an attempt to integrate new subjects that have been stifled previously into the larger topic. I want to talk about mental health.

At this moment many may suggest that maybe I should direct my attention another direction, that topics that fall under the practice of psychology have their very own place carved out for them in society and should be retained thusly. I politely refuse such suggestions and would like to take such statements as an opportunity to further highlight my thesis.

Even within the English language ‘mental health’ is separated from the rest of ‘health’. Whenever someone says ‘health’ most will assume that the word refers to the physical. The idea of considering not only our mood, but also the more deep seated condition of our brains, seems not to have crossed our minds. I think that there are many reasons for this, but I will defer the subject for another time. For now I will focus on the idea of ‘health.’ As a mix of cultures and ideas we have many ways to define what constitutes a healthy individual and to what end. Though we have different ideas of what perfect health looks like, we can all agree that chronic conditions can be detrimental to reaching good health. Most of us have some sort of “diagnosable condition.” For example:

Some people have anxiety, while some have depression. Others even hallucinate. I have a schizoaffective disorder.
Some people have arthritis, while some have hypoglycemia. Others even have hypertension. I have no physical disorder.

So, the question is, “Am I healthy?” To be honest, it is difficult for me to answer sometimes. What I do know is that when my mind is not well, my body follows. I gain weight, lose endurance, desire, strength and ability. To completely reverse the situation, when my body is doing well I tend to maintain a better mood, can focus longer and wrestle with my psychosis less. In this way you can see a strange duality to human health. When one does well, it benefits the other. When one suffers it adds strain on the other. The two are directly connected and as such it is absurd to suggest the idea that traditional views of ‘health’ should not contain the aspect of mental well being.

Imagine an athlete who is in peak physical condition: strong, quick, and tough. However, his or her performance has begun to decline. They aren’t as fast, they don’t seem to have the same level of tenacity and they find themselves suffering injuries more easily. The situation suggests a state of unrest in the athlete. This could come in the form of depression, stress, loss of sleep due to mania or any number of other possibilities. In this case it is unlikely that a trainer will be able to help them. No amount of performance enhancing products will fill the gap caused by this issue. It is the same with a physical ailment. No matter how much counseling one receives, a broken leg is a broken leg. The counseling will not heal the broken leg, but the bettered mental health my influence the physical recovery in a positive way.

The human is strange in that way. The mind and the body directly affect one another yet have different requirements to be healthy. It’s as though you have buoys similar size joined together by a rope. What effects one will affect the other as they move together. If one becomes unhooked from its moorings it will pull on the other to drift in the currents. If one begins to sink the other will be burdened by the weight. Yet for some reason the buoys are each constructed from bolts of different sizes. The same wrench cannot be used to operate on the other, though the two are built analogously to each other.

Unfortunately, in our society emphasis on physical health has dominated any conversation about mental health. It is not that physical health is less important, but that mental health is just as important and therefore deserves equal representation. This non-representation of mental health has resulted in mass misrepresentation. This misrepresentation has promoted stigmas and stereotypes surrounding a crucial aspect of human wellness. This has further fueled a false divide between our minds and bodies, but nonetheless, the connection between the two remains constant. It is my dearest hope to see the rift continue to shrink in my lifetime and to play my part in that effort.

-Erich Zann (pen name)

Erich is the pen name of our guest student blogger who can be contacted by e-mail at:

Disclaimer: The views expressed by guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of Disability Access Services or those of Oregon State University.

Disability is one facet of diversity that is being discussed during OSU’s annual Martin Luther King Jr celebration. There are two events that focus specifically on disability and disability rights issues.

The Social Construction of Disability
When: January 15th, from 2:30-4:00
Location: Kerr A202
Presenter: Tay McEdwards from Disability Access Services
How is the disability rights movement tied to Dr. King and his ideals? Come find out.

Sound and Fury (film and discussion)
When: January 18th 12:00-2:00 Kerr A202
This is the touching story of two deaf children torn between the “hearing” and “deaf” worlds.

College students with disabilities looking for an opportunity to jump start their career path may need to look no further.

Emerging Leaders, coordinated by the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center, is a highly competitive program that places top undergraduate and graduate college students with disabilities in fulfilling summer internships nationwide that provide them with meaningful leadership development and networking opportunities.

“Since NBDC began offering the Emerging Leaders program, qualified applicants have been placed in internship positions at a wide spectrum of businesses all across the United States,” explained, Laura M. Francis, Executive Director at the National Business & Disability Council at The Viscardi Center, a comprehensive resource for Fortune 1000 companies seeking to include people with disabilities in the workplace, marketplace and supply chain. “Given the tough competition for jobs at all levels and the fact that people with disabilities continue to be employed at much lower rates than people without disabilities, it is clear that employment preparation and engagement for our younger generation is more important than ever.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Employment Report, the unemployment rate in October for people with disabilities is 12.9%, far greater than the general unemployment rate of 7.9%. In fact, the unemployment rate has been in the 13% range for people with disabilities most of the past year. The BLS report also noted that in October there were 23.3 million people with disabilities who were not working.

Further, people with disabilities who have the educational requirements to find rewarding and satisfying jobs continue to participate in the workforce at a lower rate than the general population. Only 33% of people with disabilities, holding a Bachelor’s degree or higher, are employed versus 80% of those without disabilities.

“Often intelligent, young men and women with disabilities are denied the opportunities for a strong start to their career that other college students enjoy, such as internship experiences,” noted John D. Kemp, President & CEO of The Viscardi Center, “and many studies have proven that volunteering or participating in an internship are the best predictors of future success in the workplace.”

The program gives students priceless insight that can positively impact their career development. “My Emerging Leaders internship was an ideal introduction into corporate America and opened my eyes to possible career paths. My manager and colleagues mentored me and ensured that I had every opportunity to gain new skills, grow my strengths, and network. My experience this summer is invaluable,” said Kylie Long, Emory College, Emerging Leaders Class of 2012.

Jason Lee, a New York University student, summed up his experience, “The internship has prepared me to tackle the real world and have confidence in doing so. Truly, Emerging Leaders is like no other program. You receive guidance and opportunities to grow and learn. I will forever remember this program as the first major stepping-stone to the real world.”

Applications for the program are due by January 18, 2013. For more information about the program and to apply, undergraduate and graduate college students with disabilities may visit

Founded by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who served as disability advisor to eight U.S. presidents and became one of the world’s leading advocates, The Viscardi Center provides Pre-K through High School education, school-to-work transition services, vocational training, career counseling and placement and workforce diversification assistance to children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities and businesses. A global leader, it employs more than 300 professionals, including experts in education, human resources and technology. Learn more at .


QUESTIONS? CONTACT: Kim Brussell,, 516.465.1608

Fall term is quickly approaching and Oregon State University has planned some exciting events to help you get CONNECTed to campus. The Scholar Symposium events can help you brush up on your math skills. You can also take a tour from experienced students who will point out the best study spots on-campus.

On Friday, September 21st at 9:00 a.m. in the MU Quad you can join other new and returning students to be Powered by Orange (Juice) and help break the world record for number of individuals drinking orange juice at once.

Dixon Recreation Center is also hosting free “Fit Pass” classes all week.

Check out these great events and more at:

The United States Census Bureau has released updated statistics on the population of people with disabilities in the U.S. According to the new figures, 56.7 million Americans (18.7% of the population) have some type of disability. Of this number, an estimated 38.3 million (12.6%) have a disability characterized as “severe.”

The findings, which are contained in a study based on the Bureau’s 2010 Survey of Income and Program Participation, also provide estimates on the prevalence of different types of disability:

• vision impairment: 8.1 million (3.3%)
• hearing impairment: 8 million (3.1%)
• difficulty walking or climbing stairs: 30.6 million (12.6%), including people who use wheelchairs (3.6 million) and canes, crutches, or walkers (11.6 million)
• difficulty lifting or grasping: 19.9 million (8.2%)
• cognitive, mental, or emotional impairments: 15.2 million (6.3%)

The Bureau’s report, “Americans with Disabilities: 2010,” also covers distribution by age and gender and provides estimates on various economic factors, including employment rate, income levels, program participation, and health insurance coverage. The report and related information are available on the Census Bureau’s website.

Additional telling stats relate to unemployment rates and income:

• unemployed: 59% of people aged 21 to 64 with a disability, of those with “severe” disabilities the unemployment rate rises to 72%
• median income: $23532 for people aged 21 to 64 with a disability, compared to $32688 for those with no disability
• poverty: 29% of people aged 15 to 64 with “severe” disabilities, 18% of people with non-severe disabilities

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Written by: Gabriel Merrell, OSU Office of Equity and Inclusion

Incight, a non-profit organization based out of Portland, OR is looking for job seekers with disabilities to participate in a Live Resume event on August 16.

What: Live Resume is an opportunity for job seekers to present their experiences and credentials in person to 10-15 employers. Selected participants will have three minutes to verbally present themselves to employers. After the presentations there is 45 minutes of networking.

Who: Job ready individuals who want to meet local businesses, work on their networking skills and practice their interviewing technique.

When: August16, 2012 – 7:30a.m. – 9:30a.m.

Where: Selected participants will be informed of the location

Why: To find gainful employment.

How? Please read this carefully – Participation in Live Resume is a competitive process, there are twenty spots for job seekers. Interested individuals with disabilities need to submit their resumes and what type of job you’re are looking for to Tiana Tozer at no later than July 20, 2012. Depending on the number of resumes, individuals may be asked to provide additional information. Resumes and additional information, if requested, will be reviewed and selected candidates will be asked to come in for a pre-interview at the Incight office in downtown Portland. Pre-screening interviews will take place July 23-25 and July 30–August 1. Candidates who are selected to participate in the actual event will be expected to attend a practice session also in downtown Portland on Monday August 13. The actual event will take place on Thursday, August 16 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Please contact Tiana Tozer with any questions at or (971) 244-0305.

Do you find yourself reading and re-reading your textbooks and notes but feel you still can’t remember the information? When it comes to studying the quality or technique you use can be more beneficial than the quantity of time you spend. One technique that many students find helpful is creating notecards, also known as concept cards, or summary cards.

Notecards can be very helpful for people who are kinesthetic learners because you can carry them on-the-go, pull them out before class or at the gym, and the creation of the notecards themselves can be helpful in learning and memorizing the information.

Here are some helpful notecard tips:

  1. Make notecards from your readings and your lecture notes. Don’t get in the habit of re-reading and re-reading information. Notecards help you “do something” with the information!
  2. Decide what to put on your notecards. What is the most important information from the reading? What did the instructor emphasize in lecture? Consider notecards for the following:
    • Vocabulary or terms
    • Important formulas
    • Dates/timelines you need to memorize
    • Processes (ex. photosynthesis, how to factor an equation, cell division)
    • Ideas your professor emphasizes
    • Bold headings in textbooks/readings
  3. Making the cards. Print one concept on the front of the card. It may be helpful to add the chapter or the lecture the concept was discussed for reference. Here is an example:Picture of a notecard that says: what is demographics? Week 8, Wednesday, Chapter 6
  4. Do something with  your cards! Don’t just read them once.
    • First, find the answer to the question/meaning of the concept.
    • Second, say out loud, in your own words the answer to the question/meaning of the concept.
    • Third, write the answer on the back of the card. Try using drawings or pictures (these can serve as memory aids). Here’s an example:Picture of a notecard that says of population statistics  and their change through time. The card as a drawing of a graph of average life span.
  5. Quiz yourself! Turn the cards over and quiz yourself. Be sure to say the answer out loud. Check to see if you answered the question correctly. Once you’ve mastered the card, be sure to periodically check back to make sure you still understand the concepts. Try studying cards throughout the term, rather than waiting until the end.

Other helpful tips: Color coding your cards by chapter, concept, or theme can help you recall the information. Using pictures, drawings, phrases, or rhymes can also be memory aids. Take your notecards with you everywhere. You can study them while you are waiting in line, in the car, while you are waiting for an appointment, or before class.

Have you ever struggled with anxiety? Are you shy but feel like you could get more out of your college experience? Want to build skills to be a more effective student? Sign up for a group from CAPS by calling 541-737-2131. Here are some examples of groups for Spring 2012:

DBT Skills
If you struggle with managing your emotions, have chaos in your relationships, or often find yourself engaging in impulsive behaviors, the Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills group is a place where you can learn new skills to build a life worth living. Members of the DBT skills group will learn and practice mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness skills.
Group 1: Monday 12-2 (Emotion Regulation Skills). Contact Diana or Ali
Group 2: Wednesday 3-5 (Distress Tolerance and Mindfulness skills). Contact Diana

Managing ADHD: Strategies and Support
Group for graduate and non-traditional students to process their experiences at OSU. Time and Day: TBD Contact Salaheddine

Mind Over Mood
Learn different ways to manage your anxiety and/or depression through cognitive behavioral strategies and mindfulness. Contact Lilia
Group 1: Wednesdays, 3:00pm to 4:30pm. Meets weeks 3, 4, 5, 6,
Group 2: Wednesdays , 3:00pm to 4:30pm. Meets weeks 7, 8, 9, 10

Student Life with Bipolar Challenges
Vania Manipod, DO is a Psychiatry resident physician at CAPS and SHS. Join Vania in this supportive/educational group to discuss the challenges and strategies of living with bipolar disorder during the university years. Time and Day: TBD. Contact Vania

Social Skills
Do you feel shy and inhibited in your interactions with peers? This group helps with building self-confidence and learning how to connect with peers. Mondays, 4pm to 5pm. Contact Emi