Warriors Invited To Raise Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Check out this post where stoneronarollercoaster is collecting information about those who blog about mental health issues. Great project!

I need help from all of you. Not for me only but for everyone who is dealing with a mental health problem.

Friends, in our part of world mental health problems are still something we feel too ashamed to talk about.

Either they are misunderstood as some sort of witchcraft or the person is conviniently labeled a psycho and abandoned, mostly emotionaly.

A loved one of mine is living with serious disorders.

I have no strenght and adequate knowlege (as i haven’t seen it myself yet) to write about it, i will hold back my own stream of words for a while until i know what i am talking about.

But i want to raise awareness on the subject as this is consuming our lives and pretty much this era.

People don’t even care about it until unless it doesn’t happen to a person very close or them and then…

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Dig a Little Deeper(Holisitc Medicine)

Okay, now I am on a tangent.  I read a blog piece where a pharmacy student writes that she is going to take classes from the Nutrition Therapy Association because she beleives we can heal oursleves more holistically.

I am a nurse.  Antidepressants have helped me.  If you have another way to fight your depression that doesn’t involve Western Medicine, fantastic.

Despite the fact that I do believe antidepressants are helpful for me and many others that doesn’t mean I support every drug or practice involved in Western Medicine.

I looked up the Nutrtional Therapy Association.  I saw that Tosca Reno was listed as one of their more famous graduates.

I knew that I wouldn’t have to dig very deep before I found the hypocrisy(and the supplement pushing, and the non-real food pushing).

Don’t know who Tosca Reno is?  I do.  She and her late husband, Robert Kennedy, were involved in the magazine business.   Their magazines were focused toward weightlifting. In the case of her late husband’s magazines, I’d guess some of his readers were males under 18 who were not given caveats to avoid these “products”.

I’m familiar with Tosca Reno from her magazine Oxygen, and Tosca Reno’s involvement with the so called clean eating movement.  I may have had the delusion for a couple of minutes that I was going to get into the bikini/fitness model game.  I could actually make pretty good progress developing my upper body in my younger days.  Okay, you can all stop laughing now.

If you are going to call out the antidepressant industry for the money they make, feel free to call out your side as well.

I’d bet Tosca Reno and her husband made millions upon millions giving space to shady advertisers of protein powders and all sorts of questionable supplements  that would “pump you up”.

Desperate people who don’t believe in Western Medicine can easily be coerced into buying hundreds of dollars of supplements in one trip for most anything, whether it be a cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s.

If the Nutritional Therapy Association was really serious about the product it wants us to believe it is selling, it would remove Tosca Reno from their page.

I realize that this post is not typical of my page.  I used to have a blog where this post was pretty typical of my content, about the hypocrisy that is rampant in anything connected with the nutrition industry.  One of my favorites was when a blogger used to constantly slobber over how Laurie David was such an advocate for family meal time and nutrition, even though Laurie herself had a cook.  A cook who added maple syrup to things like enchiladas.  Laurie David, you ask….you might know her  better as the environmental activist/hypocrite.

Okay, I plan to go back to my regularly scheduled programming very soon.

But not before I amend my post…if you are taking a few pennies to be a shill for a “natural” packaged food company on your blog/whatever ,  I also can’t take your message seriously.  If you are going to talk about real food, then talk about actual real food.

Now I Know What My Problem Is..

I am in a good place with my depression right now.  I still take antidepressants and don’t foresee that changing any time soon.  Sometimes I come across statements that are so incredibly ignorant about depression I become incredibly angry though.  This one comes from a so called holistic pharmacy student.  She writes:

“Accept Sadness: I wouldn’t suggest that clinical depression is the same thing as a bad mood. However, the availability of treatment for mental disorders supports our refusal to work through emotions. Emotions are part of the human experience: both good and bad ones. “

Golly gee, if I had simply accepted my sadness and not refused to work through my emotions I would be in such a great place.

I realize people are trying to (sometimes) be helpful with their commentary, but please please stop assuming you know what a person has been through or what they have tried.

As a person who lives and works in a community with a major teaching hospital/university and comes across health care students of every stripe,  I have never heard such an ignorant statement.  And this student claims that she is holistic.

As a young adult I used to do a lot of walking, because I had no car.  I used to get plenty of Vitamin D and exercise.  I sometimes would walk over a bridge over a river with a swift current and think about jumping in. More than once.  Especially when I walked over the river when it was dark.  It was as if the river was inviting me in. The experience of walking over the bridge has never quite left me as one of the darkest points in my life. I wasn’t taking antidepressants.  I almost never never admit to having those feelings.

You can have your own opinions about antidepressants, but please please don’t think you know what a depressed person has tried or make assumptions that they refuse to work through emotions.  Just don’t.

And because I have to be snarky, I would think because my family probably ate plenty of sauerkraut back in the day, according to the author I would be practically immune from depression.  I ain’t never going to try any kombucha though, so I guess I am not trying hard enough.

Does anyone have a Greenland, or a Chile?

I’m stealing the idea for this post from World Blogger, at the blog The Other Stuff by Jeff Cann.  Jeff shows a world map of where he gets blog hits from and laments that he has yet to have a visitor from Greenland.  I have no visitors from Greenland either, and my blogging map has a lot more holes in it than Jeff’s does.

My top hits are usually English speaking countries, the vast majority being from my country, the USA.  I have one hit from Malta this year, I’d bet not every blogger has had a visitor from Malta.

In other blogging topics, have you ever accidentally followed a blog or liked a post, due to an accidental click with a touchscreen device.  I’ve done that a few times and sometimes have been mortified because simply reading a blog doesn’t mean you actually agree with the blogger or wish to follow them.

Thoughts on Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month in the USA.  I have no idea how long that has been a thing.  I found myself with many questions.

I saw a list of  “badass women in history” somewhere.  I saw lists of poets and scientists and politicians.  I saw women lament that we’d have more poets, scientists and politicians that were female if only women hadn’t been held back.  While that is a true statement, it infers that women only somehow had value if they were a published poet or had won an election.

Shouldn’t Women’s History be all encompassing, and include the stories of all women? History is all around us.  I’ve been researching my family tree.  I have ancestors who were recorded as not being able to read or write on Federal Census records.  I have ancestors that stayed at home, ancestors that worked as stenographers and servants.  My grandmother had an eighth grade education, started work in a factory at age 13, and worked on and off throughout her life.  She didn’t work to achieve a lofty career goal, just for economic survival.

If you look far back enough you have an ancestor that lost a child to illness.  A mother in my family tree lost a child very young to gastroenteritis.  Perhaps your grandmother or great-great grandmother had a child that was afflicted by polio, a disease that we successfully immunize against today.

You can go to a museum and find out what your ancestors wore.  What they fixed for supper.   Some of our ancestors killed the chicken themselves.  No tidy prebutchered packages of chicken in the old days.  For some having a gun was a necessity, you may even have a great great grandmother who resorted to shooting whatever she could find for supper.

My mother will never be a published poet or recognized artist.  She has more of an artistic streak than I ever will  though.  She taught herself to play famous pieces on the piano and sometimes the guitar.  She’s painted many watercolors, perhaps just too flowery and feminine to every gain recognition.  She’s attempted to master Viennese pastry and authentic Mexican cooking.  She’s embroidered.  She made dresses for my sister and I were little.  She could make a beautifully decorated birthday cake. Just because her works weren’t seen by the world doesn’t mean they don’t matter.

My mom is just a bit older than Hillary Clinton and grew up just miles away from her.  My mom had a less priveleged background, so even if she hand wanted to be world famous there were more barriers.  Women at my mother’s high school were discouraged from enrolling in certain classes so they woudn’t take spaces away from the boys.

I’m part Polish.  I know the challenges my family faced 100+ years ago coming from Poland to America.  More difficult though is determining what was going on before they came to America.  While the famous Pole Marie Slowdoska Curie was gaining recognition as a scientist what challenges did ordinary women face during that time?

History is about the ordinary women, not just the women who were badass or world famous.

Straight Arrow Hits Bottom

This post is spinoff of  Nostalgia.  I mention a straight arrow guy who now is in the marijuana business in Colorado, where pot is legal.

I called him Juan, not his real name.  When I first met him, I felt as if he was a male version of myself.  We were both a bit socially awkward and shy.  Of course back then in my college student days I would never labeled myself as socially awkward.  Our parents expected us to travel a narrow path.  No room for errors.  Juan had much to compete against.

Juan was the youngest of five.  There was maybe 15 years between Juan and his older siblings. They’d graduated college. One was a dentist, another a doctor.  So starting college, he knew he’d better aim high.  In addition to getting a degree, he was in ROTC while in college, and after graduating became an officer in the military.

People can hit bottom at any time in their lives.  Just like many of my friends, Juan successfully transitioned from college life to adult life.  While my friends seemed to be having the time of their lives I was spinning my wheels, struggling to stay afloat.  I’d dropped out of college, was officially diagnosed with depression.  My parents would disown me for this or that.  It seems surreal now to think about it.  I would crawl myself out of the black hole and rebuild my life.

As I saw my friends, Juan, and my sister successfully navigate their lives, it didn’t occur to me that they would have their own versions of hitting bottom later.  I knew I wasn’t the only person to hit a speedbump in their young adult lives.

Hitting bottom….people often think of alcoholism when they hear that term.  My sister and other people I knew would blow up their lives in that way in their thirties and forties.

I never would have expected Juan to hit bottom.  He would have been the last person on the list of one thousand to mess up his life. Juan and I went on a few dates.  There was a spark there but it was never there at the same time.  Plus we were socially awkward and new in the world of dating.  Except for the fact that he was Presbyterian and not Catholic, he was as close to the perfect boy to my parents as I could possibly get.

Juan married a beautiful, smart woman.  I didn’t think much about him until years later.  I’d heard that he blew up his life, gotten kicked out of the military and was divorced.  Later I heard he was in the marijuana industry and remarried.  I saw some pics of him with his wife online.  He looks happy and appears to have rebuilt his life again.  It is a different path from where he started, I’m sure.

He’d be the last person I’d expect to be involved with marijuana, who knew.  Marijuana is not for me, in that regard I am a nerdy straight arrow.  If it works for him though, great.

As I’ve written about before, my sister has battled alcoholism for a long time.  What makes some people struggle at the bottom, and others rebuild their lives .  I wish I knew the answer.pexels-photo-726478.jpeg

Puzzle Pieces

IMG_0936It is mid February.  It is still cold but the sunlight stays just a little bit longer each day.  I can feel the darkness of winter losing its grip on Mother Nature.  I bundle up and head outside into the sunshine.  Of course the sunshine always deceives you when you are indoors that it warmer until you open the door.  Once I am outside I feel the sun penetrating right through me to bust through the ancient cobwebs in my brain.

That inner urge to hibernate through the cold months is starting to leave.  There is a hopefulness, a joie de vivre, that I have not felt for a while.

There is a question, a missing puzzle piece calling my name.  I’m not sure what it is but I must find it.

The quest for the missing puzzle piece comes to me in a dream.  I am walking up a path in the forest.  Something beckons me to keep climbing.  Something elusive like a delicate butterfly or a mighty hawk.  I’m not sure what the answer will be but I know I must continue climbing up the path to find it.  I hope it is joyful, like a waterfall or a patch of delicate wildflowers.

I try to translate the dream into something more tangible.  I’m not quite there, but I know I must keep searching.bamboo-damyang-sunshine-54601.jpeg

Nostalgia

Nostalgia strikes me once in a blue moon.  The last time it happened I saw that an old friend’s mom had passed away.  Thinking about my friend brings a cascade of memories, a yearning for the good old days.

In my mind I think my memories are securely packed away.  Until I can remember how the pizza parlor was decorated, how we would argue about what sort of pizza we would order.  Our friend who would always have some rationale for not paying her share of the bill.  Always wanting a strawberry sundae later.

Going to basketball and football games to socialize, not to watch or even attempt to understand what was going on, well sometimes.  If it wasn’t pizza after it was enchiladas or cheese fries.  Lots of chit chat.  Going out perhaps to see a glimpse of the mysterious public school boys, tired of the boys at our Catholic school.  They ignored us and we ignored them.

Heartbreak.  Talk about the future.  Lots of gossip.  Our group sometimes changing but you and I are always a constant.  Missing those days of long phone conversations.  Phone conversations tethered to the cord of an old fashioned phone.  My house never had a completely private place to converse.

Baking Christmas cookies, trying new recipes.   Going shopping together.  Riding our bikes to get McDonalds.  Many miles walked down tree lined streets in older neighborhoods.

Later on, pairing off.  Moving.  An occasional misadventure.  You marrying first and settling into family life.

Old friend, I wish you were closer.  We would do the things we did before, only the slightly grown up version.

We’d chat about people we knew.  The straightest of arrows who now lives in Colorado and is somehow involved in the marijuana business.  Classmates that have left this world. Classmates that are already grandparents(EEK!).  Classmates living on other continents.

After my trip down memory lane though, coming home to my husband, snuggling up on the couch together and watching TV, this is so much more than any trip to the past.

Forgotten Americans

I read a post recently talking about  The Forgotten American .  I wasn’t sure that I fully understood what was being conveyed.  The author, Dina Honour talks about pundits wearing glasses spouting off about a certain brand of forgotten American .  I’m not sure how glasses play into anything, but they must.  Maybe because I’ve had my head under a rock lately.  To me though “forgotten Americans” is just another political talking point like “deplorables” and “guns and religion”.  Most politicians, especially Trump, are out of touch with how any of us might struggle.

There are many forgotten Americans.  Homeless vets who have never received enough mental health care.  Poor elderly.  Children of the poor travelling through our educational system.  All of the above from every state, color, religion and sexual orientation.  I’m sure it wouldn’t take you long to think of someone who has been forgotten.

I live in the midwest.  You might call it flyover country, or perhaps more flatteringly “the heartland”.  I’ve lived in a few different cities, all in the midwest.  My hometown doesn’t really conform to some glorious stereotype of the heartland.  You can find a little bit of everything in my hometown from gang activity to cultural events.  The place I was born, not the place I consider my hometown, had ties to the mafia.

The place I live now is university town.  Some of our residents would describe it as a progressive mecca where Republicans not need even attempt to run for local office.  We are all crunchy environmental types.  Except when you dig a little deeper you see there is a lot of under the surface classism and racism which our school board likes to ignore.  I’ve written before about my observations regarding the school system here.

I’ve spent twenty plus years as nurse.  I’ve had one child graduate through the public school system and have one more soon to do so.  Both my kids attended a minority-majority elementary school.  The poor elderly are still in the same boat as they were twenty years ago.  The kids from disadvantaged backgrounds in our school systems, well not much has changed for them through several presidential administrations.  Our school district has many strong points….acknowledging the families from disadvantaged backgrounds isn’t one of them.  While forgotten Americans could include many groups the young and the elderly are present no matter what part of America you live in.

As someone who takes antidepressants I wonder what I will do if I can no longer afford them.  Sure our insurance pays some of the cost, but not all.  If I received Medicaid would I get to stay on the medications that work best for me, or would I be placed on something else that is cheaper.  The poor with mental health issues..one more group of forgotten Americans.

Most days, coming home from work, I’ll see a couple of homeless men, begging at a street corner hoping a passing car will help them out.  Most of us don’t care who they are or what their story is, we’d just prefer to forget about them while we sit in our warm cars while they endure the cold.

I’m a cynic.  I don’t see that much has changed for the less fortunate whether it was Clinton in power twenty years ago or Trump now.  The midwest is known for pig production..surprisingly neither Clinton or Trump were raised here.

Burden

In my internet travels I came across a couple women sharing just how incredibly burdensome it was to take care of their husbands with depression.

I just know what I read but something seemed off about their words.  They painted their husbands as a standalone source of dysfunction in the house.  But if you poked a little bit further you could see there were other problems.  One of the women was a recovered alcoholic.  Both put too much of the family’s dirty laundry out there.

I’ve been down that journey with my parents and even my sister in my younger years.  This was before my sister started drinking and was still the oh so perfect child.  But as I deduced later I just represented one portion of our family’s dysfunction which manifested itself in depression in my early twenties. During that period I was the one who needed to fix herself, not anyone else.  My family didn’t like me fixed though because I began to speak up and assert myself more often.

I wondered if I am burdensome to my family.  I try to be the best parent I can be, but I’ve had failures. This month was terrible workwise, but I generally miss very few days of work.  I shower, do the laundry, make home cooked meals try to attend to all that is needed of a wife and mother.  I cracked wide open this month, but then went back to trudging through everyday life, with the new challenge of attempting to help my aging mother.

I have no doubt that having a depressed spouse can be challenging.  Describing your depressed spouse as a burden helps no one though