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.

 

 

coaching, Healthcare, Homeless, Motivation, parenting, Politics, Uncategorized, Veterans, Women's movement

We need to stop fighting against and start fighting for!

When I look at my news feed all that I see are stories about the horrible things that the GOP and especially Trump are doing, and it’s not that I disagree, but it has been over a year and his true supporters are not wavering. Maybe they’re racists, maybe they’re elites, maybe they’re just supportive of his causes… who knows? The point is no one is changing anyone’s minds by complaining.

Mueller is doing his thing, and that’s great. I hope he finds all kinds of evidence and puts everyone away, but complaining one-way or another on social media is not going to change that outcome. The fact that we all sign a petition to impeach him won’t matter until there is enough evidence to do so.

download (8)We are all spinning our wheels. The US Presidency primary is 2 years away, and Trump knows this. Trump knows that if we spend all of our time talking about him and fighting about Hilary then there will be no one to run against him. There will be no one to rally around to take him down. That’s what happened last time. It’s not that Trump won. It’s not that the country chose him.. the country chose “not Hillary”.

The republicans, and racists, and anti-women brigade chose Trump.. and many liberals either bowed out, went with a 3rd party, or voted for Trump out of spite. Unless we want to see this happen again we have to banned together. It’s not enough to hate the same person.. we have to support each other. We have to find people that we can put forward. We have to concentrate on who is doing good. We have to demonstrate a difference.

Right now all that we are showing is that we are just as hateful as the other side. I don’t think that’s the message that we want to put forward. No one wants to be told that they’re stupid, that they’re wrong, or that they made a crappy choice. People are going to defend their choice till their last breath to save face. Instead of pointing out all the reasons we hate Trump. Instead of pointing out all the reasons that his supporters are evil and stupid, let’s concentrate on finding people who represent the things that we want. Let’s show ourselves and Trump supporters another way.

Three years from now Trump will more than likely be on that ticket… who do you want opposite him? If we all faction off.. if we all fight among ourselves then he will win. If we just keep him as the enemy, if we keep his supporters our enemy no one will even be open to listening to another side.

I don’t want another 4 years of Trump. I don’t want more slashes to medicare, more cuts1oo9rw to food programs that hurt children and the elderly. I don’t want more cuts to public schools.. even if my son is in private. I don’t want healthcare to be a thing for only the wealthy and the healthy. He talks about how great countries like Norway and Australia are… use that. Talk about people who support the same policies as they do. Use his words against him. Talk about the DACA kids making a difference. Talk about the soldiers fighting for our rights to be healthy, safe, and educated. Talk about the inner city programs that are working. Talk about your grandma with meals on wheels. Talk about how well the free college programs help the next generation of doctors and engineers. Talk about the good things happening in this country and around the world. He talks enough about the bad.

coaching, Giving, Health, Healthcare, Homeless, Love, Motivation, parenting, Politics, religion, Uncategorized, Veterans, Wellness, Women's movement

The season of giving

The season of giving is over. Thanksgiving is long forgotten, except by our pants. Christmas is a lovely memory. We are all in the process of throwing dead trees and left over wrapping away. We are ready for our New Year/New Me. We are planning all of the things that we want to do to make our lives better.

We’re going to lose weight, quit smoking, go back to school, get a new job, get a better relationship… we are going to make our lives perfect!

thBut what about all of those who are just hoping to get through the bitterly cold nights? The food pantries and soup kitchens don’t just have “guests for the holiday”. We all talk about the things we want to get and achieve, but what about the things that we want to give.

At the time of Holy Days we all talk about how “it’s better to give than to receive” and how “giving is its own reward”, then the new year starts and we suddenly forget that there are poor people. We have battles online with strangers about all of the people leaching off the system.. as if anyone is choosing to be poor and/or starving and homeless.

I understand more than most that people make their own reality… but this doesn’t mean that they do it by choice. Some aren’t strong enough to make better choices. Some have mental illnesses that prevent them… not everyone has a well-built support system in place to deal with things like childcare, or even a place to shower and get mail so they may apply for a job.

Most of all I think of the children. In the past I have volunteered for a program called “Horizon’s for Homeless Children” a program in which adults volunteer to hang out with children in homeless shelters. This gives parents a chance to work, and children a larger support system in which to depend. I have also been a Big Sister through the Big Brother/Big Sister program, and have given many a present to a giving tree or tows for tots. This past winter I found myself taking tags for boys my son’s age because the thought of him waking up on Christmas with nothing was heart breaking.

I’m amazed when I read comments online about how poor people shouldn’t have children… yet, those are the same people opposed to birth control being covered by insurance… or insurance being covered at all. I’m amazed when I read that everyone who’s on food stamps are just lazy. I’m amazed when I read from the same people about “Pro-Life!”… it seems to me that you’re just pro-rich-life.

Now this is not an abortion debate. I, myself, have issues with abortion and it has nothing to do with my religion and more to do with the science that has come about and the understanding of when babies can feel and think and so on..  This is a humanity rant (for lack of a better word). I am completely PRO LIVING. I am pro helping those who need help. I am Pro feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, healing and hopefully preventing sickness. I am not only for this depending on which job you have had in the past, or what color or country that you are born. I am for LIFE.

The season for giving is every season.