Addiction, bullying, coaching, Health, Healthcare, Homeless, Love, Mental Health, Motivation, parenting, Wellness

Why is mental health so taboo?

My mother was schizophrenic. I have been dealing with mental health illnesses my entire life. I can remember people asking me why my mother wasn’t around when I was little and I always told them. “Oh, she’s schizophrenic, she couldn’t take care of us so our father did. But she did the best she could for as long as she could.”. I would get all kinds of responses. I would get the shock and awkward, “oh… I’m sorry… I didn’t know” or the “oh wow, that must have been so hard for you” or just the blank stare of not knowing how to respond.

I always found this to be strange. I mean, they knew that my mother wasn’t around. They knew there must have been a reason for this. It’s like they would have been ok if I had said, “oh she died of cancer” or “she was in a car accident” or something along that line. My mother was mentally ill. This wasn’t her fault. This wasn’t something that could have been controlled any more than had she had cancer, but for some reason people treat it like it’s something to be ashamed or afraid of.

My son’s father was an addict. He was clean when we got together and we had many good years together before his demons caught up with him and he relapsed. His problem was also that he was mentally ill. He was almost 30 when he was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Generalized Anxiety. He had some serious issues. He could never get out of his own head. No matter how much people tried to help he couldn’t overcome his horrific thoughts.

I have spent most of my life studying and learning about how the brain works and how to help create a better life in your own mind by strengthening certain neuropathways. He had many therapists who tried to encourage the same behaviors, the problem was that by the time he was diagnosed his neuropaths were pretty damaged. He had been self medicating for so long he didn’t have a healthy arrangement left.

I am a believer in medication when needed, but I also believe that it’s a band-aid to help take the edge off so that you can do the real work with thoughts and actions. We are our brains. Our emotions come from chemicals released in our brains.. our thoughts activate those chemicals being released. He had an overwhelming amount of “stress” (cortisol) hormones and low amounts of “happy” (dopamine) chemicals in his brain. He would try to fix that with drugs, and for the short term they would help, but he had no one to help him through the rest of the process when he was younger and still forming.

Three weeks ago he took a drug to help him feel better. He never woke up from that. I had to explain to our 6 year old that Da “took a drug to make him feel better, but it was the wrong thing to do” and now he’s gone. I have since had to tell others, family, friends, co-workers, teachers at school…. and I’m always honest. My son’s father overdosed. Most people are very supportive. Some are shocked. They had no idea that he was struggling with addiction. He didn’t “seem the type”.

That’s the problem with mental illness. It’s so taboo that people assume that it’s only the homeless people living on the streets, eating out of trash cans, and yelling at the sky who are mentally ill. No one can accept that it’s the mothers, the fathers, the teachers, the comedians… and whomever else.. the everyday people that fight the good fight everyday to appear “normal”. No one wants to be labeled “crazy”. No one wants to admit their short comings.

My father had diabetes… his body was unable to produce a specific chemical needed to keep him alive. He went to a doctor. He got help. He could talk to people about it and there were therapies and a whole industry of products to help. My son’s father’s body didn’t produce the correct chemicals needed to keep his brain in balance and it was a shameful “problem”. We need to stop treating mental and physical illnesses as different things. We need to stop shaming the “crazy” and the “junkies”. My father had insurance and went to the diabetic clinic constantly for treatment. My son’s father had insurance that no one would take for his “rehab treatments”. Believe me.. I looked.

Maybe if people looked at my son’s father as a person instead of his disease he could have received the help that he deserved. Instead my son sat quietly at the service as everyone around him talked about what a “great guy” his Da was and what a “shame” it was that he died… but still.. no one wants to help the addict. They just want to SHAME.

 

 

bullying, coaching, Motivation, Politics, women

The Little Mermaid is Black

That’s it.. it’s a fact. Halle Baily (Not Halle Berry as some angry online opponents have thought) has been cast in the new “The Little Mermaid” movie. Apparently this is sacrilege. I had no idea that the fate of the world was to be determined by the color of a fictional mermaid’s skin.

Now for those of you who are not aware, The Little Mermaid is based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale in which a young mermaid falls in love with a handsome prince. She, as in the Disney tale, gives up her voice to the sea witch.. as well as her tongue, that’s left out, and given legs that can dance as no one has ever danced before. The catch, as there’s always a catch, is that she will feel piercing stabbing in her legs and her feet will bleed pretty much all the time. Not as adorable as the dinglehopper angle, but there it is.

As in the Disney version the mermaid’s only choice for remaining human and not dying is getting her beloved prince to marry her… ahhh.. happily ever after… only he doesn’t, and she dies. Yup.. that’s the story of the little mermaid.. or it was, until it was remade for film. Actually that particular story has been remade by different studios quite a few times.

In the original story the woman that the prince does end up marrying was being educated at “The Temple”. Given that there is no mention of specific area, there’s a probably chance that the Prince in question and the area involved was Hebrew.. and possibly the Middle East toward the Mediterranean Sea. In later adaptations she was blonde, which makes sense given Anderson was Danish and there is a heavy blonde population there.

Then Disney came out with their feisty red head. That was fun. I was a teenager at the time, but I remember being happy that it wasn’t another blonde, and to be quite honest the red was quite striking against the green and blue back drop of the ocean scenes. I read somewhere that’s why they chose to do it. Either way it worked, and people loved it.

Now there’s a new adaptation. This one is played by a young black girl and happens to be by the same studio who made the animated version that did so well.. and people are OUT OF THEIR MINDS! A lot of people are saying that it’s not a race thing but that the Little Mermaid just has to be a ginger.. because she was last time.. in that one other Disney movie. Funny.. I remember watching “Into the Woods”, another Disney adaptation of a collection of fairy tales and Anna Kendrick was cast as Cinderella… now I don’t know about you, but in my childhood Cinderella was ALWAYS blonde, and Miss Anna is definitely not blonde, nor does she play one on TV. There were no protests and bloggers and online rally cries to Made Cinderella Blonde Again. It was fine.. it was a remake, and the directors were free to cast whomever they chose. Even Disney.

What really surprises me is how many people want to blame children for the outrage. I have seen many people expressing that little ones will be confused by the change. That kids couldn’t possibly understand why they character looks so different this time. Well, I asked my 6 year old what he thought about a “brown” girl playing the part.. his response was, “ok”… that’s it. No clarification needed.. just ok.

Catwoman-KittNo one cared when Laurence Fishburne played Perry White in Man of Steel 2013, or when Eartha Kitt played Catwomen in Batman 1966, or Idris Elba played Heimdel in Thor 2011.. I mean maybe comic book geeks are just not that strict on continuity or cannon.. (sarcasm for those who don’t know any comic book geeks).. or maybe they understand that actors are to be judged not by the color of their skin.. but the content of their character. At any rate… it’s a movie people. Get over it.

bullying, coaching, Health, Motivation, Wellness, women

Nike wants to help everyone get healthy

For those who may have missed it. Nike is supporting getting people healthy. I know that seems like something that should be applauded. It also seems like the kind of thing that they’ve always done. “Just Do It” was not about binge watching your favorite show. But now they have expanded their advertising and work out wear to include plus sizes.. and apparently this is just going too far for some people.

I’m not going to discuss the negative comments surrounding this launch. There is enough negativity to go around. What I do want to talk about is the importance that people who are not healthy feel that it is also their right to get healthy. As someone who has jumped up and down the scale over my lifetime I know that it is not easy to get out there and “just exercise”. I know that when I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin it makes it very difficult to let others see it giggle at the gym.

I have seen other posts about people (usually women) who do their best to make a change to their bodies only to be mocked and insulted for actually trying. The world is extremely hypocritical in this respect. Everyone is supposed to be strong and healthy and beautiful, but they aren’t supposed to work for it. I spend a lot of time on social media and there is so much shame out there it’s amazing anyone leaves their houses anymore. I am very thankful to have a support system around me that doesn’t ridicule me at my attempts at gaining health, and also doesn’t ridicule me if I fail, but not everyone is so lucky.

What I find most interesting about the negative feedback from the new Nike wear is that it’s actually active wear. It’s actually designed for people who intend to work out. People who are fit prefer to wear such clothes because it’s more comfortable and therefore easier to keep up with an exercise routine if wearing, and yet, there are people out there who are talking about how obesity should be fought… but in the same breath say that obese people shouldn’t be encouraged to exercise. How exactly is the obesity battle supposed to be won? Diet pills?

If there are people out there who are looking to get healthy, but don’t know where to start, or feel like they’ll be shamed, I hope that they see the mannequins of people who look like them and realize that they are not alone. There’s an entire market of people just like you wanting the same thing.

All I have to add is good on you Nike! And if you’re a person who feels like you may be “too big” to exercise or “too fat” to get healthy.. Just Do It!

 

bullying, coaching, Health, Law of Attraction, Love, Motivation, parenting, Wellness, women

Sometimes those closest to us are not always the best support.

I know people can get a little turned off when I mention the word “church”, but I was in church last week and we had a visiting priest from Africa. The Central African Republic to be precise.. anyway, he said that he was very interested to do the homily that week, because it was about Jesus’s (trigger word… bare with you) speech about being judged by those you know.

There is a part of the Bible in which Jesus speaks and everyone questions his authority, as he was just the son of a carpenter… and they knew of his humble beginnings.. and how could HE possibly be important. The Father went on to say how he knows how it feels. He came to this new church on the other side of the world and he was welcomed and respected, and though he loved his home there were always those that would never take him seriously because he was the kid that did…. what have you, 20 years ago.

When starting something new in life this is often a problem that people have. We are already set in our ways and it is difficult enough to start a new course and reprogram our own minds, but it is all the more difficult with the naysayers in our ears. I can remember when I was starting my health journey and I was cutting bad foods and trying to exercise more, and the hardest people to be around were the ones that were closest to me. The ones who were like, “oh… another diet” or “yeah, we can go out next week when you’re over your kick” or “it’s just a piece of cake” .. or pizza or what have you.. “It’s not a big deal. You’ve always eaten it before.”

There is something about human nature that people almost take it as a personal insult if you decide to change.. as if you’re trying to be better than the other person or that your change means that they should change as well.

As I have mentioned before people are very determined to stay the image that they have assigned for themselves. They like their habits. They know their identity. Anything outside of that makes them very uncomfortable. So if identity is permanent than you shouldn’t be able to change yours either. This is an extremely hard battle to wage when  you’re already fighting your own mind.

A lot of people will tell you not to share your process or your plans with others. I’m not sure that I agree with that or not. I think it depends on your own resilience at that time (which can change from day to day and minute to minute), and also your opinion of the other person.. as well as a million other things. I do think that it is important to have a support system.. and that there are always those in your life that you KNOW you can’t depend on for support. Them, you avoid like the plague.

I believe this is why support groups like AA and weight watchers and the like are so important. Humans are, at our core, social beings. We need to connect with others. We need support, whether we like to admit it or not, but we can’t always get that at home with the people who are happy in the status quo or feel more comfortable holding our pasts against us. When it’s time for a change.. sometimes we have to make bold sweeping changes. We need to turn away from getting comfort in what’s familiar and move on to a new tribe if you like. The most important thing is not letting other’s define your identity.

bullying, coaching, Law of Attraction, Motivation

Passive-Aggressive “friends” are not friends

We all know those people in our lives that deal out passive aggression like a Vegas shark. The people who make comments and then say that they’re “just kidding” or back handed compliments that leave your head spinning. These people are always the ones that leave you confused about your interaction and second guessing your emotions.. these people are assholes.

thI know.. that’s a tough word, but it’s accurate. These people are cowards. They don’t want to say what they are really thinking or they want to make you feel like what you’re doing is wrong, because they don’t have the courage to do things themselves. These are the same people who compliment your dress while saying something like, “Oh, you’re wearing that? I’d never think to wear that myself, but if you think it looks good.”.

Repeat after Megan Trainor.. No.. my name is no.. my sign is.. NO. These are not the people that you need in your life. When you ask them if they can do you a favor and they “kid” with you about how much you’re willing to pay them, or how you’re going to return the favor and it leaves you not sure if they are even willing to help you in the first place? Find your help somewhere else.

Ambiguity is way more toxic than a full on assault. These “friends” are supposed to be your safe space, and instead they leave you feeling more defeated than those who attack you straight on. If someone walks up to you and says, “You are an idiot, I can’t believe how badly you messed up that report” you have something to defend. You have a clear and present danger in your sights. If someone walks up to you and says, “I saw your report… are you done with it? Is that really the work you want to hand in? I mean, if it is, great… well done.. but if you want to work on it more.. that’d be fine too”… ummm. what? Is there something wrong, did I miss something? You have no idea where you stand.

People have friends for support. They lean on them when things are hard. They ask their advice when things are confusing. They depend on them when they are unsure of themselves. Passive aggressive “friends” prey on this. They look for the weak moments and they mess with your head. They aren’t looking out for your best interest, they are looking for a way to make you feel bad so they can feel good.. and then call it a joke so they don’t look like the bad guy.

These people are not worth the energy that you put into your decoder ring. You have enough of your own garbage floating around in your head, you don’t need theirs. Next time you feel like you’re being manipulated by “jokes” or the back hand.. ask the person straight out what they mean.. or just call them out on their “return favor” slight. Tell them, “Clearly you are not interested in… I’ll be more than happy to look elsewhere”. Or “Yes, I am finished with my project, if there is something specific you find issue with I’d more than welcome the feedback, otherwise I’ll assume you agree with more whole-heartedly.”. Don’t let their obscurity control your world. It’s all their problem.

bullying, coaching, Law of Attraction, Love, Motivation, Politics, Prayer, religion, Wellness

If this world was created, who’s watching, and what drives the ratings?

I was watching an interesting video on YouTube today about whether or not we live in a simulated universe. These were real scientists, like Neil Degrass Tyson who was moderating it, and they had plausible arguments supporting the idea. I have seen the video a few times and always found it both fascinating and ridiculous at the same time.

thDo we live in the Matrix and if so what does that mean to us? Today though, I noticed something that I had not before. One of them commented that if we were made as a game to entertain others that “You’d better go out and do something interesting as to not get deleted” and NDT joked that was what death was, it’s just someone getting bored with the character. I didn’t really think much of that analogy, as most of the world is full of very boring people… but what sparked in my mind is the idea of religion and the “creator” who has somehow spread the word that he/she is the best and that it is the people’s job to get other’s to follow that word.

Now for those who know about religions around the world, most aren’t that different in their content. It’s about worshiping a specific deity and loving each other and the best way to love one another is to get your neighbors to worship the same God. This message supposedly comes down from the creator of this world.

Now, anyone that knows anything about good TV and ratings knows that the more the drama the better the ratings. I, personally, am a big fan of the soap opera General Hospital. Recently one of the social media posts asked if a couple was basically deemed irrelevant once they were happily married.. if the drama ended? Everyone, even those who don’t watch traditional Soaps know that love triangles and evil twins are common place in that world. Anything that can create conflict, and there has been nothing on this planet that has created more conflict than religion.

So, if this is somehow a simulated reality in which a creator, in which ever form you choose decided to design a universe for their own entertainment purposes the first thing this creator would do is give the “people” something to fight about. Make them look different. Make them speak differently, so it’s more complicated to communicate. Make them all believe that they were chosen by the ultimate creator to be the chosen group.

Now, I don’t know if there’s a God, or a 15 year old computer geek who created an entire universe just to watch porn, but I know that in either case, hate and violence has a much higher rating than peace and tranquility. Just ask Dick Wolf (the creator of Law and Order). That one show lasted 20 years and had multiple spin offs, with very little main character development… it was all about the murder and mayhem.

The United States is a classic example of hate for the sake of hate. The whole country was created on the basis that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. We pride ourselves on being a melting pot and being of Christian values of loving and helping thy neighbor. We are the land of opportunity. We have a plaque that says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”. We have proud American’s talking about how we need to respect what other’s have given their lives for.. all while saying that we should keep out anyone that doesn’t look like, talk like, and think like us.

The United States of America was supposed to be a beacon of what it meant to be free. Freedom of speech, Freedom of Religion, free to love, free to live, free to be all that we can be, and yet.. somehow, some way, a large group of people have been programmed that unless you use that freedom to be a white, male, English speaking, Christian.. you have chosen wrong.

I’m not sure what can be done to undo the programming of hate, whether by an all powerful creator or just generations of all powerful fools.. but I think we need to look at what we all hold dear in those religious and philosophical texts. Love, peace, and kindness only wins out when we start acting that way towards everyone and respect the differences. Not when we keep expecting everyone to choose us as right.