Some Recovery & Mental Health Humor to Lighten Up Your Day. And Some News Around The Recovery Community. . .


Welcome Recovery Posse and Warriors,

WHO SAYS We Can’t Have Some Humor While Maintaining Recovery Being Dually Diagnosed?

Well, I have a share from my buddy and dear friend Tony Roberts! I had visited his website and just had to laugh a little when I seen him share this on his website of “Delight in Disorder”>>>> https://delightindisorder.org/ . . .




Health Doctor Medical - Free image on Pixabay



10 Reasons to Leave Your Psychiatrist

It’s time to leave your psychiatrist when s/he says…

     1)   Enough about your mother, let’s talk about mine.

     2)   Sure, the blue meds are working, but the pink pills are so much cuter.

     3)    In my professional opinion, you’re crazier than a loon.

     4)     Suicide, smooicide.

     5)     If you want a taste of E.C.T.  just stick your tongue to this car battery here.

     6)     What was that you said?  I was too busy picturing you in the nude.

     7)     Before we treat your O.C.D. I’d like you to clean out my garage.

     8)     You think you’ve got problems!  My Porsche has a flat tire.

     9)     I can see now why your wife wants to leave you.

     10)   You think, you’re fat because you are fat.

Shared By Pastor and Advocate Tony Roberts




Now Some Gambling Recovery News, Announcements, and Events Coming Soon.

September Web Letter 2021
News From FCCG


Please Visit Them At>>> https://gamblinghelp.org/about/history

***********************************************************************

NCPG Announces Dates for 2022 National Conference

09.15.21JOHN NORTON

Dual Model Maximizes Options for Attendees

Washington, DC – The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) today announced dates and format for the 2022 National Conference on Gambling Addiction and Responsible Gambling. It will utilize a dual format, with an online Digital Symposium June 8-9 and in-person sessions July 20-23, 2022, at the Westin Seaport in downtown Boston, MA. The conference will be hosted by the Massachusetts Council on Gaming & Health (MACGH), NCPG’s local state affiliate chapter.

“We know well from experience that virtual training makes it easy for people across the country to attend,” said NCPG Board President Maureen Greeley. “We also clearly understand that the value of coming together in-person has not been lost—it is still a hallmark of our National Conference. Coming together offers another level of engagement, connection, and positive energy. NCPG’s 2022 national conference offers the best of both worlds. We look forward to seeing you — virtually and in person in Boston next year.”

MACGH returns as conference host after the highly successful event in Boston.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome our friends and colleagues back to Boston for the first in-person conference in two years,” said Marlene Warner, Executive Director, MACGH.  “Massachusetts boasts some of the best and most innovative approaches to safer gaming and player health programs in the world.  Since we last hosted ten years ago, a new gaming industry has emerged, as well as evidence-based and award-winning approaches to research, community outreach, self-exclusion, technological interventions, and recovery support. We invite everyone to join us in one of America’s most beautiful and historical cities, perfect for a family vacation before or after the conference.  We look forward to sharing how the field of responsible gambling and problem gambling has grown and evolved.”

The event is the oldest and largest annual conference on gambling addiction and responsible gambling in the world. Now in its 36th year, the event brings together individuals and organizations working on prevention, education, treatment, responsible gambling, regulation, research, and recovery. With nationally and internationally known speakers, hundreds of diverse attendees will take part in a wide-ranging blend of sessions and topics that are unique to NCPG’s ‘special blend’ of curated content for this conference. More details about the program will be added as it becomes available to the conference web page at www.ncpgambling.org/conference. Sponsorship and registration information will be forthcoming later in the fall, as will the call for presentations.

About the National Council on Problem Gambling
Based in Washington DC, the National Council on Problem Gambling is the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to minimize the economic and social costs associated with gambling addiction by working with all stakeholders. NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling. If gambling becomes a problem, NCPG urges people who gamble, as well as their loved ones, to contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline, which offers hope and help without judgment or shame. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text 1-800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org/chat. Help is available 24/7 – it is free, anonymous and confidential.

About MAGCH: The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health (MACGH) is a statewide non-profit agency that promotes public health by mitigating the negative personal and community impacts of gambling and gaming. They accomplish their mission through training and education, federal and state advocacy, research and gaming play information, and prevention and recovery programs. They serve individuals who game and gamble and their loved ones. Since its inception in 1983, the MACGH has taken a neutral stance on legal gambling and gaming. MACGH works with key stakeholders such as gaming operators, vendors, regulators, clinicians, people in recovery, and other community-based agencies to help protect individuals from the potential public health impacts of gaming.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2021

CONTACT:
John Norton
johnn@ncpgambling.org
202-360-4560





Honoring My Dear Friend I Miss & She Has Left Us a Legacy of Recovery Self-Help Advice, Ms. Marilyn Fowler. . .

Three years ago I lost a very dear friend who was an avid advocate and a big support to me. She was an advocate of mental health, addiction, a fellow author, and had spent many years in the Jacksonville, FL., men and women’s jails & correctional system as a “Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist.” Her name was Marilyn Fowler. She was an amazing woman, strong, smart as a whip, and bursting with caring for others.

Marilyn and I worked together since 2014 as I helped her promote her books. I learned so much from her and she always would tell me; “when I leave earth, just know you will have a powerful angel in heaven watching over you, that’s me!” I loved her to pieces! I had started a new blog here on WordPress for her to share many self-help posts and has left us a beautiful legacy of life advice.

This post https://selfhelpbymarilyn.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/how-to-use-difficult-situations-to-enrich-your-life-journey/ I’ll be sharing is informative, and can help everyone maintaining recovery or may have mental health challenges like I do. I hope you will stop by her blog as we decided to leave it LIVE to continue to help others who happen to be lucky enough to stumble upon it.

I Miss You Marilyn, Mucho Mucho! ✨💝✝💖😇😇
*Cat*



About Marilyn Fowler Author & Advocate

Marilyn Fowler (Author of Silent Echoes)


I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating Mental Health Services in nursing homes, working on inpatient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life, I belong to Chat Noir Writers Circle, and I write a self-help blog posts to help others live a better well balanced life!

My memoir, Silent Echoes, was published in 2010. My stories have appeared in several magazines and a book entitled When God Spoke To Me. I’m active in my church, and I believe that a sense of humor is a blessing to be used often. Life should be”…



How To Use Difficult Situations To Enrich Your Life Journey ~ By Marilyn Fowler



Imagine that when you wake up each morning a familiar feeling of dread reaches your mind, and your stomach immediately tightens with stress. You fold your hands over your chest and calm yourself enough to get up and go to a job where you have to face the monster who supervises you with criticism, insults, and anything his sick mind conjures up. You would have left long ago, but you love your work, and you keep thinking things will change. But they don’t. What would you do in such a situation?

On our journey through life, we each experience painful situations that hold us hostage with no visible way out. These situations can involve health, work, financial issues, damaging relationships, losses, various addictions, whatever causes us pain. We bring some on ourselves, and others invade our orderly world without explanation.

And we usually view each one as our all-powerful enemy. We may fight back, or leave the situation. Then another one is sure to come. And we move through life never really free to be who we are. Maybe we need to take a closer look and see what’s really happening.

“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” ~Lee Iacocca


Obstacles in your life are not enemies. They’re opportunities to learn, overcome, and grow into more of the person you’re meant to be. Without these opportunities, you may never realize the depth of how wonderful you are.

At times, the road is painful, but if you meet each encounter with faith and determination, life can be rewarding and meaningful.

Years ago I worked as a Mental Health Therapist in a Psychiatrist’s office, and I suffered the same experience as in my opening example. I awoke each morning with dread about going to work. I went to my Minister for help, and she carefully listened, then said, “This man is probably one of the most important teachers you will ever have. Pay attention, learn and grow, and you will be guided to the next plateau in your life.” She was right. I saw myself and my situation with new vision, and I finally left for a new rewarding position, as a wiser and happier me.


“If you can learn from the worst times of your life, you’ll be ready to go into the best times of your life.”  ~Author Unknown


Methods For Change:

Meet each difficult situation as an opportunity with a willingness to learn and grow from it.

Analyze the situation and your response to it. You can learn a lot about yourself in the way you respond to a negative, even hurtful, situation in your life. The more you learn, the more powerful you become. And your situation’s power over you weakens.

“Keep asking yourself: What am I supposed to learn from this?” ~ Unknown


Go within and examine your attitude and feelings, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Do you feel stressed with worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, forsaken, etc.? How immersed are you in your feelings?
How clear is your mind?
Where is your focus…on the situation, your inner response, or both?
Do you view the situation as more than you can handle?
Can you call on your Higher Power for help? Question and learn.
You’re stronger than you think. 
Uncover your strengths, and let them shine.
Use denials and affirmations ie: “I deny that this situation has any power over me. I am strong and unbeatable.” This process will reinforce your power.

Create a plan to deal with your situation. Then choose techniques that would work best for you…confronting, accepting, or getting away from it. As you go along, monitor your situation and your response, and know you have a right to the life you want. And make it so. Each time you pass a hurdle, you can look back with a grateful heart to where you were, compared to where you are now.

And what you learn now will lift you to a higher place for future encounters.

I wish you happy discoveries on your journey.

Marilyn Fowler, Author, and Writer of   “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available on Amazon online…

Big Thank You To All My Recovery Visitors & Followers For Making This HAPPEN…BAM! A Thousand Followers and Counting!



1,000 Follows!
Bet Free Recovery Now Reached 1000 followers and my supporters!



Congratulations on getting 1,000 total followers on Bet Free Recovery Now Shares Hope, Support, & Resources From Problem Gambling & Recovery.!

Your current tally is 1,001.



This would never have happened without all my recovery friends, supporters, and the recovery COURIOUS! I hope I have been of help and a source of HOPE to those who visit that may have a Gambling Problem and looking for resources or just come to read some of my recovery experiences, strength, and hope!

I know recovery is not an easy road to travel, especially early recovery, but if I can help you in away, do not be afraid to reach out to me by email to lyonmedia@aol.com and I’ll be there for you!

Why is Gambling Addiction The Hardest Form of Addiction To Beat? Is It The Denial & Lying? Or Is It Really All Just Fun and Games?

There could be thousands of reasons why people adopt gambling, and even psychologists don’t know why people gamble? It started as fun for some persons, and for some, it was meant to escape their sorrows. But in the end, the result was always the same; Gambling Stops Being a Diversion and Becomes an Addiction. 


~Catherine Townsend-Lyon Author and Experienced Gambling Advocate of Recovery


Life is a gamble. | Casino quotes, Life is a gamble, Gambling
~Marc Alo


A while back I came across what looked like a new Gambling Addiction and Recovery blog that seemed to really never transpire. I happened to visit again and the same original first post was still up, but not much activity after. That is the “nature of the beast” when it comes to addicted gambling. It seems sometimes the addiction may win over just trying to “will it away” and it won’t work very well.

But then? EUREKA! More New Posts Began To Be Posted! And many of Uri’s posts are not only informative? They are very revealing to the facts that Gambling Addiction truly is the hardest addiction to KICK! So, my deepest hope for all who visit me will take some time and go visit Uri and read a few of his posts about his recovery journey.

He speaks very openly as he shares his gambling and his recovery hopes and challenges. One that is really difficult and will share a little of his post is about LYING to his partner. For me? That was all about being in DENIAL.

Denial is like lying to ourselves that we do have a gambling problem, and why true surrender is so hard to come to that place. So here is a little of Uri’s post about “LYING” to his partner, and then you can finish reading his new post… https://gambling-addictions.com/2021/06/05/why-i-cant-stop-lying/

~Catherine Lyon

A gambler is nothing but a man who makes his living out of hope | Picture  Quotes
~William Bolitho


“I am not upset that you lied to me; I am upset that from now on I can never believe you” ~Friedrich Nietzsche


After being more than 2 years free from gambling activities, I noticed that I still have a huge problem with lying to my partner. It became a habit and somehow I can’t stop lying to my partner. Someone once said to me that for as long as you lied to your partner, expect them not to believe you for the same time after you stop lying. It will hurt when they question you when you are telling the truth, you will be surprised because you never even thought to lie.

This advice helped me to think that did I achieve anything worthwhile by lying or cheating. I started thinking that what I am hiding from her? Why I am so insecure? Why my self-respect is at rock bottom? Why I am addicted to lying? Sooner I realized that lying is like a slippery dangerous slope with nothing good at the bottom but misery and empty life.

We all lie in different situations in our lives. We all have our reasons for lying, it may be to escape punishment in our childhood. When we grow up, we lie to get attention or sympathies and some even create stories to set friends against each other or get others in trouble. It is an expression of being afraid, what others will think, afraid of facing the reality. We want to show people that we are better than others and reflect the weakness of our character. This could be the result of low self-esteem, fear of rejection, desire to please, or any other nuanced reasons.


A liar justifies or makes stories to cover up something he has done wrong. To cover the first lie, another lie is required and this leads to an endless chain of lies. I had no idea about my case, why I was manipulating different situations to lie with my partner. Sooner I realized that I am a habitual liar, I tried to discover the root of my behavior, why I am doing and what I am avoiding. I thought that if I want to spend the rest of my life with my partner, I must avoid this habit of lying to restore the level of trust in our relationship. 

If you are constantly lying to your dear ones and you are not able to do anything about it, then you don’t want to change. You cannot change what has developed in you for years. If someone matters to you in your life then you have to be truthful or else you will end up losing not only that person but your importance, your respect and the likeness you were trying to create will go away in a moment and will never come back.

All the lies which are still covered can come crashing down on your head at any time. You will live in constant fear of the truth being discovered and expose you which creates a bad effect on your nerves. Stop living in dream world with a fake identity. Get out of your unreal world and start living in present rather than the past or future.

A person who often tells fibs will never have trustworthy friends and will not be loved by anyone. Life is not only judged by a rich lifestyle, fluent language ability, or branded clothes. It is measured by the number of faces who simile when they hear your name. Analyze your life and try to find how it has impacted your life and others around you. Somewhere or somehow it has broken a lot of innocent hearts or brought tears to the eyes of your loved ones.

Do you think you feel happy about it?

How To Stop Lying?

Start thinking, why you want to quit lying, think about the bad things associated with being a liar. I am not an expert by any means but you must ask yourself why you are lying? Why are you not comfortable with the truth? Learn to appreciate things you have in life and be satisfied with your family, friends, and your surroundings.

But what makes sense to me is that instead of trying “not to lie anymore” which is difficult to achieve in one day, try to focus on making little but sturdy progress. Think to yourself why you’re lying? Why are you not comfortable with the truth? Is it because you are not confident? Or on the other hand you fear reality?

You can’t change the past, the past is immutable. But as long as you understand that the time of yore was something that you’ve learned, and then it won’t haunt you as much.

Few imperative things to consider while struggling to come out of this habit:

  • Never give up! People have thrived in breaking the nastiest & most addictive habits, you can do the same!
  • Change is going on in little- often not noticeable steps. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t observe changes immediately, YOU ARE CHANGING!
  • There will be setbacks. There is no way to accomplish a goal without failing on the way. Remember: failing doesn’t mean to stop struggling and starting all over again; you rewired your brain by fighting your habit & it will become easier & easier until it will go away!

  • NOW I hope you’ll go and read “The Rest Of The Story” by Uri… https://gambling-addictions.com/2021/06/05/why-i-cant-stop-lying/


65 Recovery Humor Sobriety ideas | recovery humor, sobriety, sober life
Humor Soothes The Soul…



More Informative Articles and Posts:

https://www.beforeyoubet.org/10-common-lies-compulsive-gamblers-tell/

https://www.beforeyoubet.org/the-quiz/

https://gambling-addictions.com/2021/04/22/gamblings-impact-on-families/


A Message of Faith, Longing, and Healing. Special Guest Post By My Friend, Tony Roberts of “Delight In Disorder.” This, A Message We All Need Today. . .


Who was William Cowper? William was born 26 November 1731 (My Birthday Too) – and passed 25 April 1800) known as an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th-century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. William was also considered one of the best letter writers in English, and some of his hymns, such as “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” and “Oh! For a Closer Walk with God,” have become part of the folk heritage of Protestant England.


William Cowper by Lemuel Francis Abbott.jpg
A 1792 portrait by Lemuel Francis Abbott

GUEST POST BY Author Tony Roberts of Delight in Disorder Ministries

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)

The Longing of William Cowper in “Heal Us, Emmanuel”

“Heal Us, Emmanuel” by Will­iam Cow­per from Ol­ney Hymns


Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are
We wait to feel Thy touch;
Deep wounded souls to Thee repair,
And Savior, we are such.

Our faith is feeble, we confess
We faintly trust Thy Word;
But wilt Thou pity us the less?
Be that far from Thee, Lord!

Remember him who once applied
With trembling for relief
“Lord, I believe,” with tears he cried;
“O help my unbelief!”

She, too, who touched Thee in the press
And healing virtue stole,
Was answered, “Daughter, go in peace;
Thy faith has made thee whole.”

Concealed amid the gathering throng,
She would have shunned Thy view;
And if her faith was firm and strong,
Had strong misgivings too.

Like her, with hopes and fears we come
To touch Thee if we may;
O send us not despairing home;
Send none unhealed away.


Poet and hymn writer William Cowper (1731-1800) was a man of deep longing that greatly affected his mind as well as his spirit.  In his thirties, while battling some political factions in his work, he was afflicted with “madness” (as it was then called called) and admitted to Nathaniel Cotton’s Collegium Insanorum at St. Albans.  He recovered and moved to the town of Olney in 1768 where he co-authored a book of hymns with the well-respected pastor and hymn-writer John Newton (who wrote “Amazing Grace”).

But all was not well.  One biographic source tells it this way –

In 1773, Cowper became engaged to Mary Unwin, but he suffered another attack of madness. He had terrible nightmares, believing that God  [had] rejected him. Cowper would never again enter a church or say a prayer. When he recovered his health, he kept busy by gardening, carpentry, and keeping animals. In spite of periods of acute depression, Cowper’s twenty-six years in Olney and later at Weston Underwood were marked by great achievement as poet, hymn-writer, and letter-writer.

Certainly, Cowper continued to fight back despair and may well have stepped aside from public prayer and worship, but the depth of his prayer life and relationship to God in Christ is abundantly evident in hymns that live on through the ages.

Which brings me back to the theme of longing.  The longing expressed in this hymn, and also in Cowper’s life, is not evidence of a lack of faith.  In fact, faith prompts us to recognize that all is not right within us, among us, or around us.  Our faith, though feeble, keeps us crying out in prayer for our children who are hurting, for our bodies that need healing, for our world that is on the brink of collapse.

We come to God not only with “positive thoughts”, but with hopes and fears – hoping for the best, yet fearing the worst and humbly requesting that the Great Healer would touch us, would send not of us away unhealed.

(for an inspiring reflection on the life of William Cowper, link to “Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Soul of a Saint” by John Piper)

About the Author: tonyroberts

Author, Tony Roberts


“I am a man with an unquiet mind who delights in the One who delights in me.”

Tony Roberts is a graduate of Hanover College (Bachelor of Arts; English and theology), and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity). He served as pastor for churches in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York, while battling bipolar disorder. He is the author of Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission and is the founder and Chief Shepherd of Delight in Disorder Ministries. These ministries include A Way With Words publishing, Revealing Voices podcast, and Faithful Friends mental health support group.

Tony is available to virtually consult ministry leaders on issues of faith and mental illness. You may reach out to him on the contact page or by email: tony@delightindisorder.org

Finally, We Are Coming Out COVID & That’s Great For My Mental Health. A Re-share Article That Is More Important Today. My Mental Health Matters & Yours Does Too…

Finally, We Are Coming Out COVID & That’s Great For My Mental Health. A Re-share Article That Is More Important Today. My Mental Health Matters & Yours Does Too…

The Mind Can Be a Scary Place 

Ever wonder what happens in the mind of Stephen King, or Stanley Kubrick? Or the thoughts in the mind of a serial killer? These are areas that most people would never venture into. It’s too scary. It’s too dangerous. But danger is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a reflection of our life experience, individual biases and perception. But as we all remain indoors, the confines of our own minds can be the greatest danger.

As people, our outward actions toward the world reflect our own mindset, individual biases, and our outlook on the world. If that outlook is positive, we tend to see the world in a positive light and consequently treat people and situations with that positivity. The converse is also true. If, because of our life experience or chemical imbalance, we have a negative or pessimistic world view, we view the world through that lens. It’s how we think, act, and speak. It attracts or detracts others to or from us. How do mental disorders alter that world view?

~Gravitate Online (Dot Com)


The Different Mental Disorders

For individuals dealing with depression or bipolar disorder, the mind can be a very scary place. Many people are undiagnosed with depression or anxiety. In the U.S. two-thirds of all cases of depression are undiagnosed. That means that they are not getting the proper help or medication to help them see the world without a dark shroud. Through their prism, they see the world in a dark, negative and suspicious way when in reality may not be the case.

Unfortunately, this mental strife can sometimes lead to drug abuse and addiction. Teenagers and young adults are especially susceptible to this unfortunate reality which is why proper mental health resources in their in-person or online education are imperative.

There are more types of depression than most people realize. According to https://www.healthline.com/these are some of the different depressive disorders:

Persistent depressive disorder

This is chronic low-level depression less severe than major depression and lasts two years or longer. This is accompanied by constant feelings of deep and dark sadness and hopelessness, as well as symptoms like indecisiveness, low energy and fatigue.

At times, this depression is spurred by aging. When family is out of the house, and estate planning decisions are to be made, it can have an effect on an individual’s sense of longevity. This, of course, is all part of a mental disorder that can have quite an effect on an individual’s day-to-day.


Bipolar disorder

Another type of depression is bipolar disorder or manic-depressive disorder. It involves the episode of a manic, a heightened state of being or over-energized mood. These episodes may be followed by episodes of dark deep depression. Huge swings from high to low and sometimes back again. It is the very manic highs paired with the low depressive state that determines the type of bipolar disorder is diagnosed.


Postpartum depression

As much as 80% of new mothers experience the “baby blues” following delivery. Symptoms include sadness, mood swings, depression, withdrawal, lack of appetite, and negative thoughts. According to the American Psychological Association, about 10 to 15 percent of U.S. women have a depressive episode within three months of childbirth. and fatigue and typically pass within a week or two.

This is caused by the fluctuation of hormones following childbirth, combined with lack of sleep, and the stresses of caring for an infant. If these symptoms stay longer than a couple weeks and escalate in severity, it may be a hint of a deeper issue.

Mental Health, Mental, Health, Broken, Head, Depression



Seasonal depression

Many experience feelings of depression when seasons change. This is known as seasonal affective disorder. Up to 5% of the U.S. population (16,500,000) experience seasonal depression every year. Seasonal affective disorder is typically initiated at the beginning of autumn and lasts throughout the winter, during the dark and cold months of the year.

Psychotic depression

If any of these depressive situations are accompanied by paranoia, hallucinations or delusions, it is an indication of a major issue known as psychotic depression. This condition is rare. A quarter of patients admitted to a hospital due to depression actually have psychotic depression. The extreme cases are incapacitated and may need to be admitted to long-term hospitalization.


Natural treatments

Many depression diagnoses are tied to an actual chemical imbalance in the brain and must be managed with medication. Some less severe conditions may be managed, at least in part, through more natural means.


These include the following:
Physical exercise. The endorphins released in the brain during physical exercise can have long term positive benefits for depression.

Healthy diet. Eating fresh, clean, healthy food can boost positive vibes in the body and can be a helpful step in battling depression.

Good sleep. The power of good sleep is beneficial for all people, especially those with depression.
Supplements. Natural remedies like fish oils and folic acid have been known to help individuals with depression. However, when using natural supplements check with your physician.


Positive mental thoughts

Fighting depression can be hard work. A lot of the work is mental, challenging your negative self-talk and changing how you think. Individuals with depression leap to the worst possible conclusions in many scenarios. Challenging those conclusions and replacing them with positive ones can help make depression just a little brighter.

Positive self-thoughts maybe act as the light switch that transforms a person’s negative outlook from continuous darkness into a much brighter view of reality. This can lead to a happier and more rewarding life.


Anxiety, Word Cloud, Word, Chronic, Ability, Persistent



Medications
Many Americans that suffer some form of depression, live perfectly normal and healthy lives with the help from the advances in pharmaceuticals. Working with a doctor to find the proper medication and dosage can change the life of an individual with depression.

We all strive to make the world a better place. But for some, this is more difficult because of internal personal turmoil. For people to treat others in a way that makes the world a better place, they need to feel that way about themselves. Helping those with a chemical imbalance to see the world through a brighter prism has exponential benefits to society. So, never be afraid to explore all your options.

By small means, great things are possible.~Catherine Lyon, Advocate


Visit my friends of SAMHSA for help and options for treatment, information, and much more!


SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration



Who We Are

Learn more about the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
https://www.samhsa.gov/find-treatment


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation and to improve the lives of individuals living with mental and substance use disorders, and their families.

Vision

To provide leadership and resources – programs, policies, information and data, funding, and personnel – advance mental and substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services in order to improve individual, community, and public health.

Mission

SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Last Updated

Last Updated: 05/05/2021

******************************

Find Help and Treatment

The National Helpline provides 24-hour free and confidential referrals and information about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention, treatment, and recovery in English and Spanish.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline
800-662-HELP (4357)
TTY: 800-487-4889

For additional information on finding help and treatment options, visit www.samhsa.gov/find-treatment.

General Questions

For general questions about SAMHSA, including information about mental and substance use disorders:

SAMHSAInfo@samhsa.hhs.gov
877-SAMHSA-7 (726-4727)
TTY: 800-487-4889

Do You Know Your Roots To Why You Turned To Gambling Addiction? I found Mine. Trying To Cope & Escape Childhood Pain …

Do You Know Your Roots To Why You Turned To Gambling Addiction? I found Mine. Trying To Cope & Escape Childhood Pain …


A week or so ago, I had read a post about trauma. I even re-shared it and the link to the post because I found it to be profound. It got me thinking of my childhood and the pain I had to work through when I began my path to recovery from addicted gambling.

For me, the anger from all the resentments I had about what happened to me as a little girl and I was hanging onto was not only causing “Toxic Stress,” but it began to consume my life. Years ago, in therapy, I also learned that you could not leave this unprocessed either as it IS some of my roots as to why I turned to addiction. The post started with, “There are days you may have to revisit that place of trauma as soon as you walk through the front door of your apartment,” said my therapist years ago.

I began to ponder this for a while. I thought it could be some of the causes of my agoraphobia attacks and anger. (An anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety symptoms, as the person perceives their environment as unsafe and can include open spaces, public transit, shopping centers, or simply being outside their home.) And my anger was coming from holding in the unresolved resentment problems as I began treatment for my addicted gambling and no longer stuffing the pain away.

See, I thought I was using my addiction to “get back” at those who had hurt me deeply for many years … Even being in therapy for many years, my therapist informed me that my trauma and pain can still be triggered even though I have processed it and have forgiven. When I first came into recovery, I desired to stop gambling and live a life of freedom again. I had no idea or understanding how much work it was going take and all the areas that needed addressing, including my trauma.


I had been through childhood sexual trauma. Not once but twice as a young girl. Not only does this change you on the inside, but it strips you of trusting others and not just men. You are changed forever in all aspects of your life. You then carry it into your adult life while keeping this deep pain hidden and stuffed away deep down for years. It festers and bubbles with flashbacks and deep depression. You live, but you are not living.

I had worn a happy mask for many years to make me look like I was okay, satisfied, and content. At the same time, I was raging and dying inside. I began bouts of sadness and would isolate in my room, so my parents didn’t see how depressed I really was when I was a teen.

-Around 30 and after my brother-in-law passed, he was like a brother I never had. I began to have nightmares about my sexual trauma. It began haunting me, and I couldn’t stuff the pain away any longer. That was the first time I sought help. It was also the time I began gambling a little more than usual. See, I didn’t know I was using gambling to hide, escape, and just trying to cope in life. That led me to cross the line later and for over 14+yrs on and off in addicted gambling.


Slowly, we started losing most all we worked so hard for when I began addicted gambling over the years.

Why am I sharing this now?


Since the start of the pandemic and uncertain times we find ourselves it has made me reflect and acknowledge the hard work I have accomplished while maintaining my recovery. Especially the early years and those areas that I now know were the underlying roots as to why I had turned to gambling and became addicted. My resentments and anger had me hurting the people I loved the most. Even with relationships with friends and interactions with co-workers!

It was also the most challenging part of my recovery work to accept, work through, and finally let it go. I can not change what happened to me, nor control how my family and others had hurt me, but, in a way, I honor that detour in life because I would not be where I am or WHO I am today. It took the practice of being mindful of my character defects, behaviors, and therapy loads to make those changes.

But most importantly, I feel to be able to maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle while maintaining recovery? You need to dig deep at the start of early recovery and identify, process, forgive, make the changes, and then give it to God. It was all necessary to reach success and maintain long-term recovery and live in freedom happiness and again.
~Catherine

Family May Not Understand About Addiction nor Support You As You Change Maintaining Recovery. “The 2nd Chance Syndrome”…Some Don’t Get It!

Family May Not Understand About Addiction nor Support You As You Change Maintaining Recovery. “The 2nd Chance Syndrome”…Some Don’t Get It!

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“When You Start Seeing Your Worth, You’ll Find it Harder to Stay Around People Who Don’t, even if it’s your own FAMILY.”

The Bible teaches me to “Obey Thy Father and Mother” … 

That can be somewhat hard to do when you had been put down, left to feel your worth nothing for many years beginning as a little girl. No excuses, not a victim, just clear-sightedness of how I FELT and had perceived these actions each time they happened to me by family members growing up.

To learn dark secrets coming into adulthood that make you look at your parents much differently and it is an uncomfortable feeling. I am also sharing my feelings as it seems, even after almost fifteen years of estrangement from my dysfunctional side of the family, they keep leaving “ugly” comments on my book as reviews and anywhere else they think they can hurt me. I’m good today so I just ignore it.

See, my book ‘Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat’  published in 2013, my family was upset due to the fact I wrote and disclosed some dark secrets I came across while doing my research and looking in public records and so on and they don’t have a grip on reality or any link to an understanding about addiction and recovery either.  My memoir is NOT ABOUT THEM.

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It was written to give insights about how my past issues and trauma growing up can had such a negative impact in my life growing into adulthood which all that added fuel to my addiction. When using addiction to try and cope, escape, or numb old hurt and pain we all may have gone through in life, many times it can or may have many like me turn to any addiction in the first place. By sharing my story, I hope to help others. It is not HOW TO RECOVER, it is the WHY I turned to gambling and became ADDICTED.

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But Let Me Start At The Beginning  . . .

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When I was 7-years-old and again at 13 years old, I had been sexually abused by my brother and an adult friend of my parents, the 17-year-old son of those friends of my parents who lived up the street from us.  He was a year younger than my brother. I still have trouble today describing in detail what had been done to me, but each time it happened, I’d get sick to my stomach and a little piece of my innocence stripped away leaving me feeling ashamed, dirty, and confused.

Even as I’d would say, NO, it would leave me feeling guilty and worthless as it was MY FAULT.  I kept thinking and tell my little self I must be bad or doing something wrong that this continues to happen to me. Feeling baffled and confused and not understanding the nature of “my sexual misconduct and being molested.”

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In turn, as I began to grow up and become an adult woman, those experiences began to seep into my thinking, become distorted in many areas of my life as you can imagine. The relationships I would sabotage not only with men, all because I felt NOT worthy of them. Becoming promiscuous at an earlier age as a woman and thinking that’s all men want is sex.
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I walked away from several serious relationships with a few men who treated me like a princess, then, again, not feeling I deserved or worth the special attention, I’d walk away. I was not worthy of being loved because I was tainted somehow. Besides, my family treated like I was not worth it, so should I accept anyone else to?

My parents always said as I was growing up that “I was a liar or a whore, a pot smoker or pill popper just because my dad would see me with my girlfriends out front of my Middle School or High School. Judging those girls by what they did or just because of the way they dressed or may have been smoking? And I never did any of those things except in high school smoked a cig or two back then like any normal teen did.

See, my father worked for the school district as a painter after he retired from 22-yrs of service in the air force. He wouldn’t tell me if he would be working/painting at MY school. All my family, as I got older, had still treated me poor at times as if I wasn’t at all important or part of the family. For example, and I know it seems dumb, we’d all be going out to dinner together and most of us were married by then. We’d all meet at my parents and ride together.

If I was even just a few minutes late, they would all just leave without me and I’d have to drive myself. Sounds like no big deal, but when it happens ALL the time? When you are already dealing with hidden trauma and suffering in silence, it begins to make you feel less and less cared for.

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I will admit looking back, I was very hypersensitive when my family did this because of what I went through as a little girl. None of them knew what happened to me as a child until I finally reached out for help the first time at age 31 and even then when I disclosed it all to my parents, my mom didn’t believe me! It was like being slapped in the face and felt like being abused all over again.

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I just could not stuff all those painful memories away any longer. Also looking back and connecting the dots through years of therapy, treatment counseling and after finally being properly diagnosed in 2002 with mental health disorders after my first suicide attempt and not the last. Knowing and feeling I had mental health problems since childhood like OCD, ADHD. I had many of the symptoms through childhood I remember like, daydreaming, forgetting things, fidgeting, talking too much, inattention, impulsivity, unnecessary risk-taking, and having trouble getting along with others.
I had all of these. Then in my early to late teen years with depression and isolating in my room for hours.

Of course, my parents or other parents didn’t know then what they know today about mental and emotional illness and disorders. And, I had an aunt on my mom’s side that passed away from a prescription drug overdose and she was on many mental health drugs as I learned later as an adult. So I always felt my mental health challenges came from my mom’s side of the family. Even my mom was put on antidepressants about the last 5 or 6 years of her life.

The other side of this is when my parents would discipline us kids and in a way that was unconventional. I remember the times that my mom went over the top.  Like one time, my brother took something or got caught stealing something for my sister. How my mom taught him not to ever do it again, she made him and my sister put out their hands and she pricked the top of their hands with a needle until they were bleeding and MADE ME WATCH so we all learned the lesson. It was sicking to watch!

There we many things like this through the years and these traumatizing memories lingered in my mind. When we all became adults, it seemed abuse of alcohol was the common factor at many family gatherings like camping trips, birthdays or the 4th of July BBQ and even just a baseball game! My father, brother, and older sister drank like fishes as we got older.

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And as they got drunk, something bad would always happen to ruin whatever family function or outing was going on when they were all drunk. It even happened after we all got together after my mother’s funeral at the memorial at my brother’s home in 2003. It caused my brother’s divorce, my oldest sister racked up 3 DUI’S in one year and more.

THAT is another blog post share for another day!

Through beginning and maintaining recovery, I shared all of this and my therapist and I agreed that my family was toxic and I needed to step away and not get involved even though I lived 980 miles away. I have tried to make amends where I could with my side of the family to no avail. I did, however, with my mom before she passed in August of 2003.
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Again, I lived about 980 miles away in Oregon when I was in the worst of my addiction. So no one from my family was impacted. But as I had always been dubbed “The Blacksheep” of the family early on, it seemed to make it OK for them to treat me like shit through the years. Even when they came to visit. I was and always felt very disconnected from my father. I still do and don’t today know why.

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After a while, you come to accept it and begin to ignore those times. As I got older, I began to set boundaries to avoid all the family drama and hurt except for when they would come up to visit us in Oregon. I just ignored the negative comments and stopped engaging with my mother that always turned into arguments when she’d make snide remarks that got worse the healthier I became. SHE did not like boundaries …I spent too many years starving for their validation and wasn’t going to do it any longer as I learned and accepted that they didn’t know how to give unconditional love.  These are the many things I began to learn while in treatment and beginning my road and path of recovery.

Learning the tools and skills to keep me safe when you deal with family who do not understand the concept of recovery or mental health. And through the years don’t care to either. If it is not in front of them, they don’t have to acknowledge or care about it is how my own father, sisters, and even my brother have treated me …We all have been estranged since my mother was laid to rest in 2003.  Through my almost 13-yrs maintaining recovery, I have processed this, forgive them and live my life for me and my husband. I do keep in touch with my nephews and that is good enough for me.

See, we don’t get to pick and choose who our family is. But I can choose not to continue to be treated poorly, seek their approval, or be abused by them any longer. I don’t have to continue and use poor behaviors like my mother used for years and most everyone let her even after we became adults and know better. Sadly, I needed to distance myself in order to keep my own sanity and recovery intact later in my life.

It is coming up on 15-years since I last talked to my father who just stopped calling me and still to this day I have no clue why …And almost the same with my older and younger sisters. My brother, I, and my husband spoke a few times and my brother did apologize to me for what he had done to me. He told me it happened to him as a little boy by our uncle Joe years ago when we still lived in New Jersey and before moving to So. CA., as kids.

One of my therapists had told me that when men molest 87% of the time they have been molested themselves. For me, I was just relieved my husband heard him admit what he did to me, but my brother wouldn’t to my parents. So my parents kept thinking I made it all up. What actually gives me comfort? Is knowing my husband, I, GOD and now my mom in heaven knows the truth. I know I am rambling but this has been laying on my heart the last few days. I know many of us maintaining long-term recovery have had to deal with learning the many underlying issues of why we had turned to addiction in the first place.

Some of what I share are many of the underlying issues and roots I had to overcome and let go. Instead of running or hiding within my gambling addiction, I did so because I was trying to “escape, numb, or cope” with all these ugly feelings and pain. Not being raised to know that it is OK to reach out for help when you are feeling mentally and emotionally weak and being tormented by old haunting memories you can’t run or stuff away any longer.

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It is also difficult to start becoming stronger and standing outside “The Family Bubble” you came from looking in and seeing a really dysfunctional, fucked-up, unloving and hurtful group of people who are YOUR FAMILY Members. No, I am not better than any of them, I am, however, so much happier and healthier than they are.

WHY? Because I have acknowledged all the old habits and behaviors which have torn my side of the family apart and I choose to NOT be or play a part in it anymore. Yes, it is sad and hurts to see or accept your family for who they really are. And, again, as I said earlier, I never hurt any of my family members when I was within my addiction, so I didn’t need to apologize for anything.

But I have no control over people, places, or things. I have tried making amends and sometimes it just doesn’t always work or have an outcome you’d hoped for. Even when it’s your family . . .

That’s ok, because today I am happy, healthy, loved and BET FREE!  🎉🎉💖💞
And that is always something to CELEBRATE in this New Year!
~Advocate/Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

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WELCOME Recovery Friends!

One of the best things I did for myself, my recovery, and mental and emotional health is having therapy kitties! Lol. I have three and I love them so much. They help give me focus and purpose in taking care of my Cats. But let’s learn the real difference between a Real Service Animal vs Therapy Animals.

My recovery guest Aurora explains what is a “Therapy Animal?” And be it in recovery, having mental or emotional challenges, and especially for those who have disabilities.

ALL ANIMALS DO bring us such JOY and can Save a Life … ~Cat

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(My Mr. Boots and his Box!)
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What Really is a Therapy Animal? 

 

In the past, up until a few years ago, the only types of services animals you regularly heard of, were actual service animals. Mainly dogs who would help their owners who had major physical disabilities.
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Over the past few years, the topic of service and therapy animals has increased at an alarming rate. An even more alarming thing is the number of people who were suddenly registering and claiming their pets to be service animals. It’s kind of a hot topic, so what really
is a therapy animal?


Service vs Therapy

A service animal has to go through intensive training before being certified as a service animal. One of the biggest distinguishable features between an actual service dog is they are actually trained for a specific purpose. The ADA website states that a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do certain work or specific tasks for their owner who has a disability that they are unable to do for themselves.

These tasks can include things such as pulling a wheelchair, retrieving an item that has been dropped, reminding them to take their medication, pushing the elevator button, or alerting a person to a sound. Without these service animals, these individuals would not be able to live with the same level of functionality.

 

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Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy animals are not service animals. This doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose, but they are not a service animal. In addition, animals that are not dogs are not considered to be service animals in almost all cases. If someone comes to you and claims that the iguana on their shoulder is their service animal, it is in fact, not a service animal. They may find comfort in their pet iguana, yes. A certified service animal, it is not.

Registration for a Therapy or Comfort Animal

The ADA recognizes that a therapy or comfort animal can indeed provide comfort and are often used as part of a medical treatment plan. But the ADA website very clearly states that any sort of therapy or emotional support animal is not a service animal.

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Strictly speaking concerning animals that are considered to be a therapy or comfort animal, there is a specific process that has to be followed in order for them to be considered a therapy or comfort animal. There are a lot of websites that will send you a service animal vest and a card stating that your pet is a service animal, but these services are actually illegal.

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In fact, receiving any sort of certification or registration completed online is not only illegal, but it makes it hard for actual service animals to be allowed in public places, due to the saturation of claimed emotional support animals being toted around in public as if they are trained to do anything aside from providing comfort.

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Often, someone will illegally register their pet as a therapy animal in hopes of them “legally” being able to have them in a rental unit that doesn’t allow pets.

 

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The only legal way to have a pet be considered a therapy or comfort animal is to have a psychiatrist prescribe them as such to you. Most psychiatrists won’t accept patients if this is their sole purpose for treatment, and will only prescribe dogs to previously existing patients.

These prescriptions also expire, as the purpose of an emotional support animal is to provide comfort during a healing period, and you will have to be evaluated on a yearly basis before your prescription to your therapy animal can be renewed.

“Therapy Animal” is a Loose Term

More simply put, a therapy animal doesn’t really have more rights than a regular pet does. And most importantly, if you bring your therapy animal into public and they misbehave, a business has every right to eject you without warning.

This rule is the same as real service animals. However, more and more businesses are likely to turn away a real service animal due to bad experiences with a therapy animal.

Let’s keep it simple for those with legal disabilities to have those “rights” with fewer problems or complications of their importantly needed “Legitimate Service Animals.” 

~Aurora M.
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I wanted to add …that my three cats are “Emotional Therapy animals and ae part of my overall mental and emotional managed care plan. We are currently getting ready to move into a new townhome and complex and they as a courtesy waving my pet deposit and the monthly pet fee as they got a letter from my doctor verifying that my pets are for my overall health and emotional well-being.

And our move will is also an important part of my feeling safe as it’s a gated community and will have a bigger place to live and that too will help my overall emotional and mental health as having challenges with Depression – Agoraphobia, and Anxiety … ~Cat

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I Enjoy Sharing Blog Friends Informative Posts. Meet “Oh My George”… ‘No Judgement’… Share Kindness.

rightmind


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Before I share some of my friend who is in the UK,  and George Boyle’s blog post here about “judging others,” we all know in the addiction/recovery arena and in the literary arena we see people being unkind or judging others’ recovery choices, advocacy or when we have published our books readers or reviewers can be unkind. It may be in a comment on our blog or, again, in leaving a book review. We need to share and speak out when others have No Understanding or Empathy for others Mental and Emotional Challenges …

My mom raised me to be “KIND” wth my “WORDS” as always said: “If you can’t say something “kind” or “corrective”? Then Don’t Say Anything at ALL.”

I think everyone should go back to this motherly advice. Doesn’t it take less energy to be positive or kind than it does to be hurtful or negative? I think so.

So my hope is everyone who reads this post will absorb some of the lessons and feelings in this post. Again, “Kindness is Golden”…OH, And? “Never Judge a Book By It’s Cover Alone.”

~Catherine Lyon

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#NoJudgment … Mental Health Awareness … By George T. Boyle.

What do I mean by this?

I realize that within my blogs and possibly my book there are typos, there are grammar errors, etc.

And yet does this put you off from reading the content and understanding its meanings?

In some instances, it is enough of a reason for some people to not even open the book when its cover displays this.

Have you ever thought that maybe it may be the reason an author has done this to grab your attention to it, or maybe that the author or writer is so overwhelmed by other things that they will love someone to come and give support to the amazing content and work they are trying to achieve and the message I am putting out there to the world within my words in conscious thought flow.

We as humans often react in fear and give excuses in the words with people to actually engage with them in positive ways.

We create words and content which can push people away in the words we use, then we only react to the words we use, and then we only get the outcome we create from the words and thoughts we use to each other.

I love my amazing friend for prompting me to write this because all I hear in words at times are excuses for interaction which follows a reaction of no interaction then an action of no interaction or communication.

And I become frustrated at this and asked them what they are doing to themselves or to what sort of outcome they are looking for from life when they are only creating blocks in thought which are then being communicated in words, creating that action and reaction from the person creating the disempowering thought-forms.

I was having a bad day, as I was awaiting a tooth pulled out and it’s been creating enough distraction in thoughts as well as weird anxiety or energy that day,  so I reached out to my friend. This friend didn’t focus on the words I was expressing or wasn’t compassionate in response to say “hey, how can I make your day better?”

The communication went to crap because my friend wasn’t focusing on how to create a positive open communication with me and they then made a decision to close communication because they reacted with the excuse of judgment and words which were creating more stress and anxiety within me which created a conversation flow off of nothing and a ZERO outcome.

Why did this happen?

Because that person didn’t react towards the other person with compassion any empathy, and love, only with a thought flow and reaction and in words of blaming the other person for reaching out to them, and used words to close down the conversation and making ME the blame for having a bad mental health day.

So what can we do to ensure when someone says: “they’re having a bad day we can react in a way toward them with words that are focused on helping them get through that.

Rather than judging them for them contacting you, for someone trying to reach out to them because they were having a bad day, they weren’t coping well with there mental health that day and then making the conversation about you and how the person who had reached out for support was wrong for doing so at that moment. Just looking to ease the anxiety of the other person and open conversation to create love in the form of communication.

“The more we release the fear and judgment around our lives we end mental health because we react to each other with unconditional love and compassion.”

We don’t read a book by its cover alone …

We read of the content within it.

Yet if you are only looking for an excuse to judge a book my book by its cover? Then you are not really taking the time to read it, nor making the effort or focus to find out what is within it. Your only making an excuse in your own thoughts because that book created a negative thought about it as to open it up or delve inside and lose your fear in loving the book.

How can we reframe the way we think and react towards other people?

THE ANSWER Can be Found by going over to Visit George’s Blog and finishing reading how this Story Ends Right Here:   By George T. Boyle.

For many of us who have mental health challenges, we look to other avenues and platforms to share our experiences and day to day challenges with our mental health.  Some ways I and George accomplish this are through our books our writings and blog posts. Advocacy and sharing one’s story and experiences does help shatter stigma, and it lets others know who suffer that they are not alone. 

In a New Year … No More Suffering In Silence. Stats of Problem Gambling, Suicide, and Mental Health.

In a New Year … No More Suffering In Silence. Stats of Problem Gambling, Suicide, and Mental Health.

Welcome Recovery Friends …

Our Guest Article Today is courtesy of the fine folks of Southern Region Problem Gambling Conference and The National Council on Problem Gambling … They both put on conferences about Problem Gambling that are informative for many State Councils like Georgia, North Carolina, and all over the US to spread information and awareness about the negative impacts problem gambling has in all our States and Communities …

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Suffering in Silence: Suicide and Problem Gambling

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“With high profile deaths such as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the issue of suicide and the stigma surrounding mental health have remained the center of many conversations throughout the United States and abroad. A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that from 1999-2016, suicide rates have steadily increased throughout the United States.

In the states like Florida, suicide rates have risen approximately six to eighteen percent (6-18%).

How does this affect the field of problem gambling?”

 


Prevalence of Suicide Among Problem Gamblers

Problem gambling, known as the “Hidden Addiction,” gets its nickname due to the fact that many symptoms do not present themselves physically as is the case in substance addictions. This means that many individuals suffering from Gambling Disorder often do so alone, potentially increasing feelings of isolation and depleting self-worth.

According to the FCCG’s Annual HelpLine report, twenty-six percent (26%) of 888-ADMIT-IT callers reported having suicidal ideation. Additionally, sixty-six percent (66%) of callers reported having depression, and seventy-two percent (72%) revealed they are struggling with anxiety. It is important to continue to recognize this population of problem gamblers and increase efforts of prevention and treatment.

Although we are unable to pinpoint the exact reason for such a strong connection between suicidal ideation and Gambling Disorder, it is possible that finances play a role. Research indicates that historically, suicide rates have been higher during economic downturns.

What Can We Do?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of suicide victims are not diagnosed with some form of mental illness or disorder until after their death. It is believed that approximately ninety percent (90%) of individuals who take their own lives were living with an undiagnosed mental illness, illustrating the need to destigmatize mental health in the United States. Continuing to have conversations with friends and family regarding mental health is the first step to ensure fewer people suffer in silence but don’t stop there.

( To interject here, this happened to me after my first failed suicide attempt in 2002. While in the addiction and mental health crisis center, and once I became stable, both my primary doctor and the centers’ psychiatrist and after a full evaluation, I was suffering from severe depression, high mania, and anxiety, and PTSD and went undiagnosed until my gambling addiction brought the symptoms to the surface through my addiction. I was using gambling to escape the trauma and sexual abuse I went through as a little girl and had tried to stuff it away for years.)

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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (2)

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“Currently and just had a rise from 1% and now 2.6% of our population are problem gamblers.”

Gambling can be found everywhere from physical casinos to a multitude of online websites and apps. It is easier than ever to gamble in the privacy of home or on the go with a smartphone. It’s easy to place bets with PayPal, credit cards, bitcoin, or money-transfer apps. All of this ease has led to an increase in gambling addiction across the world.

Problem gambling can become a compulsive behavior and gambling can be emotionally addictive. Addictions to behaviors (as opposed to addictive substances) are known as “process addictions,” and, just like substance addictions, they require supportive treatment. Specialty rehab programs and support groups are available for people who struggle with gambling addiction. If you or someone you love struggles with gambling behavior, you are not alone. One look at the statistics behind gambling addiction reveals that this problem is prevalent…

The North American Foundation for Gambling Addiction Help and The National Council on Problem Gambling reports that approximately 2.6% of the U.S. population has some type of gambling issue. That adds up to nearly 10 million people in the United States who struggle with a gambling habit. This issue adds up to approximately 6 billion dollars each year, which impacts the U.S. economy and citizens.

Gambling costs American taxpayers. Public funding for problem gambling went up to $73 million in 2016, but despite those costs, gambling remains regulated by each state and is not federally regulated. Ten states (and the District of Columbia) do not offer any publicly funded gambling assistance. These funding discrepancies mean that public treatment services can vary widely from state-to-state, and the level of care in publicly funded programs also varies greatly.

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The U.S. federal government has largely left gambling regulations up to each state, which means that gambling may be illegal where you live, or it may be advertised on every street corner, as it is in places like Las Vegas, Nevada. The result is a patchwork of awareness campaigns and treatment programs that vary widely in their responsiveness.

States that discourage or prohibit gambling tend to not offer awareness campaigns, and as a result, people who gamble through their phones or computers may be missing information about the dangers of gambling. Awareness of the problem is key to making changes for the better.

Gambling doesn’t only devastate individuals; it is a family issue. Because this particular problem directly impacts family and personal finances, family members who have gambling problems often hide their issue and feel a great deal of shame and secrecy. In severe cases, the problem may go undetected until finances become a major issue. Gambling can destroy relationships, but it is possible to rebuild trust and rebuild finances. No gambling problem has to be permanent.

Integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders offers specialized treatment for problem gamblers. A co-occurring disorder happens when someone suffers from more than one problem, such as gambling and anxiety, or gambling and depression … Help is available.

Please Visit or Call Today …

NATIONAL PROBLEM GAMBLING HELPLINE

1-800-522-4700

The National Council on Problem Gambling operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network (1-800-522-4700). The network is a single national access point to local resources for those seeking help for a gambling problem. The network consists of 28 call centers which provide resources and referrals for all 50 states, Canada and the US Virgin Islands.  Help is available 24/7 and is 100% confidential.

The National Problem Gambling Helpline Network also includes text and chat services. These features enable those who are gambling online or on their mobile phone to access help the same way they play. One call, text or chat will get you to problem gambling help anywhere in the U.S. 24/7/365.

Help is also available via an online peer support forum at www.gamtalk.org.


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Do You Advocate About Mental Health and Want To on a Bigger Scale? Join Tony Roberts as a Patron and He’ll Help You Do So …

Do You Advocate About Mental Health and Want To on a Bigger Scale? Join Tony Roberts as a Patron and He’ll Help You Do So …

 

Growing Delight in Disorder

“One thing I have learned in my spiritual life is not only is it more blessed to give than to receive, but it is more rewarding.”

 

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As a pastor, I observed many who came to church sporadically, made no effort to participate in service and gave only a few small bills whenever the mood struck them. One common feature I consistently noticed in these folks is that their spiritual growth was stunted.  I saw first hand that those who withhold their time, talent, and money from kingdom work, isolated themselves from God’s abundant grace experienced in a generous community.

I am no longer in pastoral ministry, but I see the same principle apply to my mission here at Delight in Disorder. Over the course of the last five years, I am reaching a growing number of persons impacted by mental illness. These folks need encouragement, support, and spiritual counsel. I have been blessed to be one of God’s instruments of healing, through my book, this blog, phone and video consults, speaking engagements and my podcast. My ministry has grown from a manuscript in a junk drawer to a message spreading across the globe.

My mission here at Delight in Disorder is to foster hope in the lives of those with troubled minds and cultivate compassion within the faith community for those with mental illness. To carry out this mission, I need your help. Your prayers. Your stories. Your encouragement. Your financial support.

 

Why Do You Need Financial Support?

I want to be clear your financial gifts are to grow this mission, not increase my personal lifestyle. God has blessed me with income streams to put food on the table, have a roof over my head, and meet my daily needs. Monies contributed will go to expand the outreach of Delight in Disorder.

Build community among those engaged in advocacy and mental health ministry. Produce and distribute more written content to nourish the spiritual lives of wounded souls. Promote faith and mental wellness online and through other avenues. Provide for direct outreach through workshops and conferences on healing and wholeness. These are just some of the needs I envision to grow this ministry God has laid on my heart and, I hope, yours.

How Much Will It Cost?

To become a patron, you can contribute as little as $1/month or as much as God leads you to give. Again, I want to stress this should not come at the expense of your own needs, your family’s needs, or the needs of your local faith community. Instead, prayerfully consider how much you value this mission and give out of desire, not of obligation.

What Do I Get Out of It?

While it is true there are spiritual rewards whenever we give for kingdom work, I also want my patrons to receive practical benefits. These range depending on giving tiers (with each successive tier including perks of lower tiers):

  1. $1 or more a month — Covenental Clinician: Join private FB community to discuss issues of faith and mental health.
  2. $15 or more a month — Biblical Behavioralist: Receive personally inscribed Delight in Disorder for self or as a gift.
  3. $40 or more a month — Theological Therapist: Participate in a quarterly webinar on mental health ministry.
  4. $50 or more a month — Freudian for Faith: Receive monthly devotional journal (via snail mail!).
  5. $100 or more a month — Apostle for Affirmation: Video dialogue with me about a mental health matter.
  6. $200 or more a month — Manic Depressive Missionary — I will speak at a venue near you.

 

What Is My Best First Step?

The best way to get a taste of this new mission incentive is by becoming a mission partner at the $1/month Covenental Clinician tier. My private Facebook page will launch on November 1. It will be a place where you will find a wide variety of resources. Things like — personal stories from persons like me with mental health diagnoses; news about legislation impacting those with mental illness; discussions about the best way to offer Christ-like compassion for those with troubled minds.

My goal is to have 50 Covenental Clinicians by the launch date of November 1.  As a faithful reader of my blog, I hope you will become one of my founding partners.

I hope you are as excited as I am about this new mission venture. For more information and to pledge your support, go to MY SUPPORT PAGE.

Become a Patron Today and Help Tony Grow Through Faith His Mission at “Delight in Disorder Today.”

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37.4)

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Who Is Tony Robers?

 

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From Ministry to Madness

In 1995, I was a young, ambitious pastor serving a church in Northeast PA. One Sunday, I delivered a sermon in which I shared these words:

Our ailments may be blessings in disguise. As we listen to our bodies and minds and seek out care, we gain insight more abundant lives.

The next day, I was in the seclusion room of a psychiatric hospital. I was told I had bipolar disorder, that I would never work as a pastor again, that my marriage would end, and that I would spend the rest of my life in and out of psychiatric hospitals.

By the grace of God and with much help from many others, I served another dozen years of fruitful ministry, was married for twenty-three years and have progressed in treatment to enjoy “maintenance remission.”

From Madness to Mission

As one who has benefited from both faith and mental health treatment, I have Good News to share. And it is this — with Christ’s saving grace, the hellish impact of mental illness will be bearable.

God is with us even in the darkest valleys of despair. We have an essential purpose, to extend fellowship with others who struggle, and to fight the stigma that often leads to dangerous silence.

Many people with mental illness are angry at God, at believers, and at faith communities. People within churches struggle to reconcile medical advances about brain chemistry with Biblical truth.

I have lived in both worlds. I wrestle daily with my dual identity as a Christian who has a serious mental illness and have a hopeful word to say to both.

My mission at Delight in Disorder is to bridge the vast gap between faith and mental illness — fostering faith among those with disorders and diagnoses and promoting compassion within the faith community.

Can we partner together?

Won’t you join me on this mission? There are several ways you can help:

  1. Financially give at any level.
  2. Share this page with someone you know.
  3. Respond with your stories of faith / mental illness.

And lastly: pray for those impacted by mental illness. When we do these things, we reclaim our godly mission in the madness of the world.

 

Maintaining Recovery With Mental Health Makes Us Look At Things a Wee Bit Different Than Others. A Story By Tony.

“My Grandpa George died when I was in a psych hospital. So I wrote him this story. Sometimes the truth needs a little myth mixed in to swallow it down.”

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“He Was in Heaven Before He Died”

“The following is not a story based solely on facts. I did have a Grandpa George and this was pretty much how he lived and died. But I didn’t make it to the funeral. Instead, I was in a hellish heaven of my own in the psych unit of Columbia Presbyterian.”


I got the call late at night that Grandpa George had died. He had lived a hard life.  He didn’t have the opportunity to get a good education. He never learned to read or write because his demanding father made him quit school to help in the fields. He worked hard to get by and managed to scrape together a living. He met a woman – Maize – at the tomato factory where he worked. She says he was throwing tomatoes at her, so she knew he liked her. They were married in less than 3 months. They stayed together “until death did they part” almost 60 years later.

*  *  *

I drove alongside the cemetery in a rented Ford Focus, admiring the tombstones in the early morning sun. My mind wandered to Grandpa’s last days. He was able to die at home, thanks to Hospice and the care of family, especially his son Geoff (since Grandma was limited in what she could do). Geoff fed him when he was hungry, bathed him to keep him clean, and sought to bring comfort to this man who had hardly ever comforted him.

Grandpa George had not lived a perfect life, perhaps not even a good one. He was quick to become angry and had been accused by some of being abusive. He was known to challenge his supervisors to fights. He bullied Grandma and Geoff, who could never seem to please him. He certainly had skills – building his house from the ground up. He could be generous with his time, helping neighbors with necessary fix-up projects. Yet he had a temper that could flare up at the least misunderstanding.

Still, he could also be playful and gentle with children, rocking them on his knees or playing “Peep-Eye” (his version of “peek-a-boo”). He had pet names for all the grandchildren which were both endearing and practical. I’m not sure he could remember what our real names were.

I thought of his faith.  He went to church regularly for most of his married life. He drove the church bus and took great pride in rounding up children from homes where the parents were just happy to have them off their hands for a few hours. He had a simple faith: child-like even. I wondered if it brought him peace and comfort especially in his last days.

*  *  *

The sun was full in the sky as I pulled onto the gravel road that led to a family plot. I looked at the simple white crosses to the side – the graves of soldiers who died before they could marry, have children, and raise a family. I saw the graves of infants, who escaped suffering as well as joy in their lives.

I said a prayer of thanksgiving for the life my Grandpa George got to live, the good and the bad, and prayed that he might be received into a new and better life to come. Later that day, driving the rental Ford Focus back to the airport, I looked out on the Wabash River and I smiled.

They say when you die you go “home to God”.  I have this hope for Grandpa.  
At least, I am glad that he was home when he died.  
I’m glad he got a little taste of heaven before he died.
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Delight in Disorder

Ministry, Madness, Mission

 

My name is Tony Roberts. I am a Christian and I have a serious mental illness.

Many of my friends who also have troubled minds wonder how it is I would hold onto faith after such an agonizing spiritual struggle with insanity.

Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ wonder how my mind can be so disturbed if I am a believer.

I believe faith and medicine, prayer and pills, worship and therapy are God’s essential graces to promote healing.

So, I’m telling my story in the hope of sharing Good News with those who have unquiet minds and shattering stigma about mental illness within and beyond the faith community.

I hope you’ll join the conversation by visiting my site.


Tony Roberts, Author

Delight in Disorder:  Ministry, Madness, Mission

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Order Today on Amazon & Amazon Kindle!

Guest Article That “Touched My Memory” of My Mental Health As A Child.

Guest Article That “Touched My Memory” of My Mental Health As A Child.

Most of my recovery friends, readers, and regular visitors know I enjoy finding many amazing websites about recovery from addiction and mental health. I vowed this year to write and share more openly about my mental health challenges. So when I recently visited one of my resource websites on mental health, my friends of National Alliance on Mental Health  ~NAMI …I read a new article I wanted to share.

Because when I got to reading the part of the guests” experiences with panic attacks, anxiety and such, it brought up those old feelings I got when I was in therapy and looking back to then and connecting the dots to my own problems as a child and early teens with symptoms, especially after my abuse and sexual trauma that happened. I was able to see that I had many mental health issues even back then but was never diagnosed until my gambling addiction took hold of me in adulthood.

The gambling I used to ‘escape and numb out’ those old hauntings which brought out the symptoms I was suffering again now. When I attempted my first suicide and placed in a crisis center for several weeks was when I was finally diagnosed. I went years without knowing what “that” was, and why I felt severely depressed on and off and PTSD, mild mania and anxiety. I was a mess!

Thanks to therapy and medications I am manged and have learned to treat my mental health just like any other disease like diabetes or heart disease. And that rings true for maintaining my recovery from addictions.

And why it is important to heal all areas of Emotional, Body, Spirit and our Mental Well-being … Catherine

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You Can’t Plan For Mental Illness ~ Courtesy of Allie Quinn | May. 23, 2018 

 
My 5-year plan after finishing high school was simple: graduate from college in four years, then begin graduate school directly following graduation. It was easy for me to imagine a 5-year plan at 18 years old when my toughest challenge at that point had been taming my frizzy hair.

My first two years of college were very successful. I made close friends, was hired by my college as a writing tutor and connected with teachers and administrators in the school district I wanted to eventually work in. I was right on track with my 5-year plan.

During my third year of college, however, the mass shooting occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I felt a very deep connection to the event and in the following months, I noticed that I was on high-alert in public areas. I worried for my safety.

A few months later, I learned about the Boston Marathon bombing when I was in my college’s library. I immediately looked at the entrance to the library and wondered where I would hide if a shooter came through the door. A habit of making “escape plans” in my head became uncontrollable. I created them for any public place, and I avoided walking in open spaces and going out at night. Each night, I dreamt that I was trying to escape from a mass shooting; even in my sleep, I couldn’t shake this overwhelming fear.

Looking back, I can see the warning signs that I needed help. I didn’t tell anyone about the thoughts and feelings I was having because I didn’t want people to think I was “unstable.” Admitting to myself or to others that something was wrong could jeopardize my 5-year plan. I told myself that all college students felt this kind of stress and that I’d feel better when the semester ended.

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My junior year ended, but instead of feeling better, I felt significantly worse. I experienced severe panic attacks, paranoia, and anxiety that made it impossible for me to drive, work or stay home alone. After I sought treatment with a therapist and psychiatrist, they recommended I check myself into a psychiatric hospital, so doctors could balance my medication, and I could learn skills to help manage my anxiety. I would be hospitalized five times, spending nearly three months in the hospital. My worst day was when I had to withdraw from my senior year. It felt like years of hard work just slipped away.

I questioned: Why didn’t I seek help sooner?


After my last hospitalization, I immediately re-enrolled in classes. I didn’t give myself the chance to heal because I wanted so badly to get back on track with my 5-year plan. Because I wasn’t working on my mental health, I struggled through two classes, and I wasn’t enjoying school like I did before.

One day, I finally accepted that if I kept putting my education before my mental health, I could risk having another breakdown. I decided to take medical leave from school; I needed to focus on my mental health and regain my strength and confidence. For the next two years, I attended therapy, worked with my psychiatrist, adopted a psychiatric service dog, discovered skills to help me cope and practiced self-care. Eventually, I felt like myself again.

So, I began college again last year. This time, I felt ready. I will be graduating this December with a B.S. in Community and Human Services. The deadline for my 5-year plan has long passed, and my life has not gone as I planned, but I am happy, healthy and have a mission to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Battling mental illness and maintaining mental health is an ongoing part of my life, but the struggles I faced have put me on the path I’m meant to be on.

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Nami National Alliance on Mental Illness
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For example, I recently became a young adult speaker for NAMI Ending the Silence. I travel to high schools to share my journey with mental illness and talk to students about mental health and stigma.

The experience has been life-changing. For years, my goal has been to help people, and through NAMI Ending the Silence and blogging, I am making a difference. I believe that talking openly about mental health issues will end stigma and lead to more effective treatment for mental illness.

Please, if you’re experiencing symptoms or warning signs of a mental illness, seek help as soon as possible. Your mental health is farmore important than your 5-year plan. I’ve learned that college can wait—treating mental illness cannot.
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Allie Quinn is a mental health blogger, public speaker, and young adult presenter with NAMI’s Ending the Silence. She works to educate people about the realities of living with a mental illness and raises awareness about the use of psychiatric service dogs. Allie’s mental health blog is Redefine Mental Health

Sad Example Why Depression is Serious and Mental Health is so Important. R.I.P. Actor, Verne Troyer. AKA Mini-Me

Sad Example Why Depression is Serious and Mental Health is so Important.          R.I.P. Actor, Verne Troyer. AKA Mini-Me

“One of my favorite comedies are the “Austin Powers” series and of course Actor Verne Troyer who played the character, Mini-Me in the movies. Sad news today that he has passed away at the age of only 49 from a battle with depression.” With his favorite line being, “You Complete Me,” it is quite the shock that he has passed on.”

I now hope that many who read about it through the media and internet will now understand just how serious depression can be when others like me and now Verne passing away from undisclosed issues from depression. It needs to be a wake-up call for all us to know and treat mental and emotional disorders and illness very seriously.

I know first hand as both my suicide attempts were not just from my addiction, but also from undiagnosed severe depression and other disorders. It had become so bad along with my gambling that I just wanted to die because I had no idea what was wrong with me! Here is what we know for now about Verne …

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From His INSTAGRAM:

It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today.

Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message every day.

He inspired people around the world with his drive, determination, and attitude. On film & television sets, commercial shoots, at comic-cons & personal appearances, to his own YouTube videos, he was there to show everyone what he was capable of doing. Even though his stature was small and his parents often wondered if he’d be able to reach up and open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined. He also touched more peoples hearts than he will ever know.

Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately, this time was too much. During this recent time of adversity, he was baptized while surrounded by his family. The family appreciates that they have this time to grieve privately.

“Depression and Suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help.”

In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation in Verne’s name to either of his two favorite charities; The Starkey Hearing Foundation
https://www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org/
Best=Buddies: https://www.bestbuddies.org 

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Article Courtesy of YAHOO NEWS Carla Herreria 2 hours 24 minutes ago

Verne Troyer was 49 years old, who rose to fame after playing Mini-Me in the blockbuster “Austin Powers” films, died on Saturday, the actor’s representatives confirmed to HuffPost.

 

“Verne was an extremely caring individual,” an official statement shared with HuffPost read. “He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible.”

 

Troyer’s representatives did not disclose a cause of death but said that that the actor “was a fighter when it came to his own battles. “over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much,” the statement read.

 

“Depression and Suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help.”

 

Troyer was born with a form of dwarfism in Centreville, Michigan. He, his older brother and younger sister grew up in an Amish community, although his parents had left the religion when he was young.

“My parents taught me to be optimistic and independent,” Verne said in a 2015 interview with the Guardian. They made me feel that I could do anything I set my mind to, which has really helped me,” he added. “They didn’t make allowances for me because of my height.”


Troyer said his parents were
 his role models“They never treated me any different than my other average sized siblings,” he wrote. “I used to have to carry wood, feed the cows and pigs and farm animals” …

“Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him,” his “Austin Powers” co-star Mike Myers said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed.”

In recent years, the actor had launched his own YouTube series where he shared his recipes, interviewed people, reviewed products and answered questions from fans.

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My thoughts as I close this Tribute to a little-statured man who had a very BIG HEART… depression, even by itself a battle some of us just don’t win. If you or someone you know or care about is battling from depression or any Mental Health issues, please reach out to them and get help. There now are many places we have to get loved ones and friends help and there is NO SHAME in doing so.

Suicide National Hotline & Mental Health Help: 

Nami National Alliance on Mental Illness

https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Living-with-a-Mental-Health-Condition/What-to-Do-In-a-Crisis

CALL THE NAMI HELPLINE

800-950-NAM

Iinfo@nami.org

M-F, 10 AM – 6 PM ET

FIND HELP IN A CRISIS OR TEXT “NAMI” TO 741741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

I told myself at midnight new years’ eve, I was going to write, share, and be more open and transparent about my mental health issues this year. So when I came upon this article and gave it a read, I knew I had to share it today as many of us who maintain recovery from addictions are dually diagnosed with mental health challenges like myself. And those who don’t understand what it is like to battle agoraphobia along with depression and a few other disorders I have been working through, many seem to cling to “The Stigma” around all of the ABOVE.

Now, yes, I do understand that those who have not been touched by mental or emotional problems or disorders or know or have a family or friend who does, not all people are sorry to ‘ignorant’ about these topics. However, there some who don’t think mental health problems, like Tom Cruise, even exist. HA!

I’m here to say they do and about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and more.

That is 1 in every 5 people suffer in just the United States alone. So, sorry Tom Cruise and L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology, YOUR WRONG. Here is an article that helps us have insights on how paralyzing “FEAR” can make us feel TRAPPED…By 

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How Fear Traps You into Being Someone You Are Not…

“The fear response is triggered when facing danger.”

The “danger” could be not measuring up to a desired or imposed standard, not getting done what you set out to do, not fulfilling expectations (your own or someone else’s), being seen as less than perfect or failing at something. There is also the “danger” of not fitting in and being noticeably different from the norm. All these fears and anxieties stem from questioning your ability to cope with life’s challenges and people’s responses to your actions.

External messages from the media and authorities are also powerful triggers of anxiety and fear. Believing the world to be a dangerous place creates a pervading sense of powerlessness that undermines your personal power and inner strength in many different ways. 

  • Fear manipulates you into forgetting how strong and competent you really are.

  • Fear negates your resilience. Feelings of helplessness trick you into believing that you do not have what it takes to tolerate hardship and bounce back from adversity.

  • Fear narrows your focus to mainly notice problems, damage, hurt or harm.

  • Fear impairs realistic thinking so the scale and likelihood of potential danger are often overestimated. Unless you live in a war zone, a dangerous neighborhood, an abusive relationship or have just experienced a significant natural disaster, most commonly assumed dangers are less prevalent or disastrous than imagined.

  • Avoidance is one of the responses to fear. Self-imposed restrictions on where you go or what you do limit your options and shrink your world.

  • Fear can sabotage creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.

  • Fear prevents you from living in the here and now. Worrying what might happen and anticipating dangers and calamities in the future removes your attention from the present, the only place where you can function to the best of your ability. Dwelling on past events instead of focusing on the present also clouds your perception to the realities and opportunities of the now.

  • Survival emotions such as anger (fight); worry, panic and anxiety (flight); depression and hopelessness (freeze) limit your emotional expression and narrow your emotional range. Negative feelings drag you down and deplete vital life force while positive emotions such as trust in yourself, courage and hope strengthen and nurture you.

  • Fear cuts you off from the flow of life and universal benevolence you could tap into.

  • Destabilized by fear you lose your firm grounding in your own power. This diminishes your ability to recognize potential agendas by external sources of fear. As a consequence, you become an easier target for manipulation and abuse.

Fear is the result of a physical mechanism involving the adrenals and various other body systems. In cases of real and acute danger, this is useful as it alerts you to the need for action.

However, the same kind of responses are also triggered by imagined danger. With the lines between real and imagined danger often blurred in modern life, fear in all its forms can become chronic. Like with ‘Agoraphobia’ or other panic type disorders.

“Tricking you into believing that you are weak and without inner resources or that a catastrophe is imminent, fear and its allies are some of the most damaging emotions to allow into your life. You have a choice what you do with your fear: stay in its thrall or make the decision not to be pulled into it and question it is associated — and usually automatic — thoughts.”

 
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There are many different ways to defuse fears. All of them involve feeling it without trying to suppress the feeling or run away from it. Like other emotions, fear follows a bell curve where it rises, peaks and eventually subsides if you stay with it as a witness rather than disappearing into it. When you have weathered the emotional storm and feel calmer, take a good look at your thoughts and the reality of the situation.

Examine your triggers and the beliefs associated with them. What is their origin, do they reflect the truth? What is your fear about? How you see yourself, how other people might think of you, what you are told about the world? What keeps you in a state of fear?

Depending on your situation, devise your own path to freedom. You may decide on “gradual exposure”, i.e. approaching a feared situation not at once but in several small increments over a number of days or weeks.

You could also draw a “fear ladder” with your “little” fears at the bottom rungs and the “big” ones on top. Begin addressing the less difficult ones and gradually work your way up. It will show you that you do not have to give in to fear and let it define your life and how you see yourself.

Enlist help and support if you need it, but ultimately no one can do this work for you. Remember, you are much stronger and more resilient than fear will allow you to know.

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About Christiana Star

Christiana is a counseling psychologist and writer with a strong focus on self-help, personal growth, and empowerment. Combining professional experience with a spiritual outlook on life, her work offers new perspectives, insights, practical tips and easy strategies that can be applied straightaway. When she is not writing, Christiana can be found in nature: tending her fruit and vegetable garden with various degrees of success or exploring Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches with her very quirky little dog.

Download the free ebook “10 Keys for Moving Forward when Life Has Changed”, receive the monthly newsletter or access her weekly blog at www.christianastar.com.


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This part of her article HIT ME, “Fear can sabotage creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.”

That is me! I feel safe in my places within my “Comfort Zone.” It truly is debilitating and then I get depressed as it feels like looking out a window as LIFE is passing by WITHOUT ME In It…

So, what role does fear play in your life? What have you found useful in overcoming fears? If you are struggling, what is your difficulty?  Please share your feelings and comments with me.  Maybe together we can help one another…


Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

A Special “Uplifting” For Those Like Me and Many Who Struggle With Depression By My Dear Friend Author, Tony Roberts of “Delight In Disorder”…

How Does God Feel About Mental Illness?

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last week, Tony began a subscriber survey that has thus far proven very fruitful. He learned more about who his readers are and what they are looking for when they visit Delight In Disorder… 

“Some of the most revealing content came from the comments provided in the “other” category. When asked what sort of posts would be most helpful, one reader replied: ”

“… how God feels about mental illness and why He allows it. I know cancer patients, for example, feel the same way, but you won’t hear anyone abandoning them. Instead they receive love, prayers, and casseroles. Living alone with a debilitating illness is so hard.”

This thoughtful response raises many profound questions. I want to carefully and prayerfully respond. Yet, please understand that I am not an expert theologian or a mental health professional. Instead, I am a believer in Christ who has lived with a mental illness for over 30 years. This doesn’t give me all the answers but helps me better understand the questions.

How does God feel about mental illness? Why does He allow it?

I feel much more confident answering the former question than the latter. The depth of God’s love for us surpasses any love we could have for each other. When we look to Jesus Christ and his feelings for us, God’s emotions are revealed. Jesus became furious at religious leaders who were excluding “imperfect” (sinners) from full participation in worship. Jesus went to outer regions to reach out to those dismissed as “demon possessed” and freed them from the captivity that caused them to be separated from the faith community. Like the Samaritan lifting the bleeding man out of the ditch and caring for him, Jesus cares for those who are hurting, both physically and emotionally.

So, why? I want to approach this more as a prayer than an accusation. Like when the prophets called on God, “How long, Lord. Will you forget me forever?” In my prayer life, I have come to understand God’s mysterious role in human suffering as something beyond my ability to understand, yet something I can fully trust. I believe God has a plan for me much greater than my mental illness in this life. As the Apostle Paul says, “for this slight momentary affliction is not worth comparing to the greater glory to come.” ( 2 Corinthians 4.17). Like a woman in the midst of agonizing labor, it is next to impossible to believe this in the moment, but when her child is born…. AMAZING!

Why don’t people respond to mental illness with love, prayers, and casseroles?

Image result for copyfree image quote about mental illness and faith

I hear this from many both within the church and beyond. Mental illness can be a life-threatening illness, given the number of deaths by suicide. It is, however, viewed by many as an annoying condition that could be overcome with self-willed faith, maybe a few extra push-ups, and good old-fashioned elbow grease. I have heard people comment that they grow weary of caring for family members and friends with chronic mental illness. It never goes away.

It doesn’t have to be this way. When I was first diagnosed, I was serving as a pastor of a small congregation in Northeast PA. I spent over six weeks in the hospital, while my wife cared for our children at home, ages 3 & 1. The church rallied to provide child care, meals, rides. It was wonderful. I was given leave for recovery time and welcomed back when I was ready. Churches can be havens of refuge, but too often we are not.

Living alone with a debilitating illness is so hard.

Amen! Damn, right it is! And, one of the debilitating factors is that our mental illness coerces us to do the very things that do us the most harm and fail to do the things that could most help. It does us no good to lie in bed for hours on end, but there are days the thought of getting up seems to us like running a 3-minute mile. It would be helpful to go out and spend some time with other people, but there are days where the fear of doing something inappropriate is just too strong.

This past year, for various reasons, I tried to live alone in an attic apartment in an unfamiliar city. On Saturdays, I visited my children. Sundays I went to church. The rest of the week I was on my own. I was not able to make new friends. I tried support groups, meet-ups, readings, dating sites. People scared me or I scared them. In this climate, I had 7 episodes that required intervention. In just 18 months.

Thanks be to God and the loving support of my family, I now have an apartment in my sister’s basement. It provides me a wonderful living space of my own yet I am not alone.

I know such spaces are hard to come by for persons with mental illness.

I pray you find yours.

Tony R.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

My name is Tony Roberts. I am a Christian and I have a serious mental illness. Many of my friends who also have troubled minds wonder how it is I would hold onto faith after such an agonizing spiritual struggle with insanity.

Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ wonder how my mind can be so disturbed if I am a believer. I believe faith and medicine, prayer and pills, worship and therapy are God’s essential graces to promote healing.

So, I’m telling my story in the hope of sharing Good News with those who have unquiet minds and shattering stigma about mental illness within and beyond the faith community.

I hope you’ll join the conversation.

Tony Roberts, Author
Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission is on Amazon & Amazon Kindle


Guest Article By PsychCentral That Hits Home For Me…

Guest Article By PsychCentral That Hits Home For Me…

Helping Others Can Heal the Brain.
By World of Psychology & By

The greatest show in Las Vegas history must be the recent outpouring of the best of humanity. The courage shown by professional rescuers and regular citizens reaching out to help, and even risking their lives to do so, leaves many of us wondering what would we do and what can we do to help others.

Making a positive difference in someone’s life doesn’t take a life-threatening effort. Simple kindnesses can go a long way for someone struggling. I was lucky enough to receive such help this summer.

I blew out my ankle. Really blew it out. As I enjoyed a walk with my husband, on slightly uneven pavement my foot slid off the side of my two-inch platform sandal. Three bones broke and the ankle dislocated.

A 30-something couple immediately rushed to help as I sat crying and cursing on the ground, ankle deformed. The woman shielded me with her bike from any traffic in the alley close to where I crumpled. Her husband ran to get ice. My husband ran to get the car several blocks away.

This caring couple stayed with me while he was gone. I asked the woman if she was in the medical field, as she seemed so calm talking with me in my panicked state. She was not. The iceman cometh and brought immediate relief. They reassuringly talked with me about the time a car hit him and noted how he was OK now.

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Another young stranger warmly put his hand on my back, asking if there was anything he could do. I thanked him but declined. His smile and thoughtfulness remain etched in my mind, even though he may have thought he did nothing of importance. But as a psychotherapist, I know neuroscience tells us that looking into someone’s eyes in an attuned way or a gentle touch from a safe person actually helps regulate and calm the nervous system.

My husband arrived and he and the Iceman helped me up from the concrete to hop to the car. In the ER doctors expertly popped my ankle back into place. A subsequent surgery left me cocooning at home for seven weeks unable to bear weight on the foot.

I cannot thank those strangers enough for their concern. I don’t know how I could have made it alone sitting on the curb, ankle protruding waiting for my husband to fetch the car. I also don’t know what I would have done had I not had my loving husband to care for me in the moment and ensuing months of recovery.

When we have a traumatic event, something positive in that experience, such as the demonstrated concern of another human being, aids healing. The positive helps eclipse the negative. When I think back to that scary, life-changing fall, I also think of the kindness shown and feel gratitude. How many of us walk around shielded, not reaching out to others due to whatever fears or hesitancies hold us back?

Helping My Partner Understand Bipolar Disorder

Yet our brains are wired for connection. Having someone help us at a time of distress with as little as a kind word or caring facial expression, helps our brains heal from trauma. Our brains seek safety and we neurologically change for the better in its presence. When I watched Las Vegas video, I knew that although the helpers couldn’t cure the trauma, they were definitely aiding the healing.

The ultimate calming presence, Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers fame said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” How important this lesson is as we watch the aftermath of mass shootings, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and hate rallies. I know the helpers in these scenes are providing greatly needed brain healing mental health services, whether they know it or not.

In these days of daily distressing news, we can ask ourselves how can we each set an intention to help others every day even in small ways. Such acts of kindness toward others have been clinically shown to improve one’s own level of happiness and I believe help our whole world.

What better time than now for such intentions?

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September is also National Suicide Prevention Month…

September is also National Suicide Prevention Month…

IT IS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE & CRISIS IN THIS COUNTRY! So Let’s Have The Conversation…

BUT PLEASE:

“Don’t refer to suicide as “successful,” “unsuccessful,” or a “failed attempt.” Use “died by suicide,” “completed suicide,” or “killed him/herself.”

“Most people who die by suicide exhibit warning signs. Refrain from describing a suicide as “inexplicable” or “without warning.”

“Don’t quote the suicide note or describe the method used and Report on suicide as a public health issue, not a crime.”

“The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number, 1-800-273-TALK(8255) connects the caller to a certified crisis center near where the call is placed.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.

NSPL_Logo

Especially Our Vets! They Need Us Now More Than Ever!  https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/BeThere.aspx

Veteran Crisis Line & Military Crisis Line logo

Dial 1-800-273-8255, press 1        Text to 838255

You are not alone.  Help is available.

If you are a Veteran in crisis or know one who is, call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to confidentially speak with a trained, caring VA responder and get connected to services that can make a difference. Chat online or text with a VA responder to receive anonymous support now. Deaf or hard of hearing individuals using TTY can call 1-800-799-4889.

Why I am I Sharing This? I am a Suicide Survivor and Someone Was There For Me. I am Here For You!

#BeThe1To

#BeThe1To is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month and beyond, which helps spread the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide. The Lifeline network and its partners are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help and give hope… I AM!

Author. Catherine Townsend-Lyon

I Welcome Tony Roberts. A Man of Faith, An Author, and more. My Weekend Spotlighted Recovery Guest Blog.

I Welcome Tony Roberts. A Man of Faith, An Author, and more. My Weekend Spotlighted Recovery Guest Blog.

“I have known Tony Roberts for quite some time. We first met here on WordPress where he first had his blog. He has a new website that is AMAZING and I started receiving his new email newsletter. I was so thrilled to see his new site and asked him if I could “Spotlight” his site here on my blog. He has been a great friend, recovery and mental health support to me.

He IS a man that stands in grace in his faith in the Lord, and I have been blessed by our friendship! So, meet Author, Tony Roberts and his book and website; “Delight in Disorder”…

 

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About Tony Roberts:

This is me with Grandma McPeak. She died less than a month after making this quilt for my grandson. She was the first Bible I ever read. Her life overflowed with Christ’s love, in all she said and did.

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I  first sensed a calling to be a writer at the age of nine when I composed my first poem, “Ode to My Pet Rock.”

I was born and raised in the Hoosier heartland just south of Indianapolis. I grew up worshiping high school basketball and once had the honor of playing in a televised “game of the week.”

I went to Hanover College (alma mater of both Mike Pence and Woody Harrelson – go figure). After many detours into sex, drugs, and more folk rock than roll, I wound up at a seminary and became a pastor. It was then that symptoms of depression and mania culminated in a psychotic episode that became pivotal in my life, for better and for worse.

After graduating from Hanover, I obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. While there, I did ministry assignments at a state hospital for persons with developmental disabilities, as well as at a women’s prison, and an inner-city hospital.

I served two decades as a solo pastor. I then shifted to writing, speaking, and leading small groups. In March of 2014, I published my spiritual memoir, Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission. Having served in pastoral ministry and gone mad, it’s now my mission to bridge the gap between faith communities and the mental health world.

I now live to write and write to live in Rochester, New York. I also have a “delightful domain” on Lake Caroga, the gateway to the Adirondacks.  My greatest earthly delights are my four children and two grandchildren.

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“What makes Tony’s devotional so compelling is that bipolar disorder continues to periodically beat the crap out of him, and he still believes.”

– David Zucker, Mental Health Advocate, University Presbyterian in Seattle.

 

Product Details

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About Tony’s Book:

Delight in Disorder is the story of one pastor’s battle with bipolar disorder. This spiritual memoir is a house of meditations where faith and mental illness co-exist, at times fueling each other to dangerous distortion, at times feeding each other to fruitful gain. It offers hope for those often neglected and shunned. It also fosters compassion for believers towards those with troubled minds.

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One of My Favorite Blog Posts From His Site:

Enemies Sprouting Like Mushrooms

In The MessageEugene Peterson calls Psalm 3 – “A David Psalm, when he escaped for his life from Absalom, his Son.” The words that follow reveal a haunted poet king, surrounded and scared.

God! Look! Enemies past counting!

Enemies sprouting like mushrooms,

Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery:

“Hah! No help for him from God!”(vv. 1-2)

David sees no escape from sure defeat, certain death. This does not keep him from crying out to God – in fact, it motivates him all the more to do so. He lifts up to God the torturing taunts of his enemies and then reminds himself just Who it is he’s talking to –

But you, God, shield me on all sides;

You ground my feet, you lift my head high;

With all my might I shout up to God;

His answers thunder from the holy mountain. (vv. 3-4)

No matter how insurmountable the odds, David believes and asserts that God’s defense is greater than human offense. God is able and willing to act mightily to answer the prayers of His children, like thunder from a mountain. This brings David tremendous peace of mind.

I stretch myself out. I sleep.

Then I’m up again – rested, tall and steady,

Fearless before the enemy mobs

Coming at me from all sides.  (vv. 5-6)

God’s answer to David’s plea for protection in battle is not to fight the battle for him, but to give him rest and courage to fight with confidence.

Some years back, on a youth mission trip to Washington D.C., we were “attacked by enemies” from all sides. One girl was displaying symptoms of an eating disorder. Another was on her hands and knees, compulsively cleaning the floor while others laughed at her. The boys were vying for attention from the girls and a few were “coupling off” – dangerously close to crossing sexual boundaries.

That night (actually early morning) when I finally went to bed, I couldn’t sleep. I decided to take a walk. As I strolled the streets of the nation’s capital, I prayed to God out loud. Had someone seen me, they would have rightly assumed I was a stranger with a mental illness wandering the streets – but I don’t think they would have known I was praying.

When I got back to my room, I noticed my body relaxed, and my mind was at ease. I was able to sleep soundly for several hours and woke up feeling refreshed. The next day we had a team meeting for prayer and Bible study. It was the start of the best day of the trip – a day where we clearly saw God at work in the world within and around us.

God doesn’t often fight our battles for us. Instead, God gives us the strength and courage to face our battles with confidence and claim the victory for Christ.
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So please visit my friend Tony Roberts new website for some “Spiritual Up Lifting” as he shares his life, his recovery, mental health challenges and LOVE and Encouragement with all who visit there. You can buy his book here on Amazon!
Connect with Tony on Social Media:

Facebook
Twitter

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Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

Does Your Spouse Have A Gambling Problem? Guest Post By Elements Behavioral Health Center.

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,


Today I have a special guest post by the fine folks of “Elements Behavioral Health Centers” with many center locations. They offer unique programs in different settings and offer programs in addiction and mental health. Why is this important? Like myself, we are seeing more people coming into recovery that also have mental health challenges.

And sometimes, these challenges can be part of the root to our addiction. They also have a gambling addiction treatment program as well. So if you know someone who needs help and they may be dually diagnosed? Please visit Elements Health as you will be in good hands. You can call for locations at 1-888-350-2457…

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How to Help Depressed Loved One 2

Confirming Your Suspicions: How to Know For Sure if Your Spouse Has a Gambling Problem

You’ve known for some time now that something is wrong, but you just can’t seem to find the courage to confront your spouse on the issue. What you do know is that he or she has been distant lately, and that, along with a few other signs, means that there’s a problem that needs dealing with. Sure, it could be anything. And you probably want to dismiss what you’re feeling, that gnawing suspicion that your spouse just might have a gambling problem.

How do you know for sure if it’s gambling? Here’s how to get a handle on the issue and confirm your suspicions.

Step Back and Try to Remain Objective

Before we go into the signs that experts say indicate an existing or growing problem with gambling, it’s important that you approach the situation with some sense of objectivity. This will no doubt be quite difficult to do. You’re caught up in what’s going on since you and your spouse live together. It would be unrealistic to think that you wouldn’t be affected by the type of behavior and negative consequences that come from problem gambling.

Still, you have to maintain impartiality if you’re going to be able to look at the situation and recognize the common signs. Otherwise, you’ll be falling into the trap of denial and dismissing what are to others obvious red flags. In any case, even though it’s tough to do, you really need to step back and try to remain objective.

What is Problem Gambling?

In order to look at what may be going on with your spouse relative to problem gambling, it’s necessary to define what problem gambling is. Problem gambling, compulsive or pathological gambling, are terms that are used to describe a behavior disorder that has a tendency to become progressively worse over time – unless it is treated.

There are specific diagnostic criteria for assessing problem gambling as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. For the purpose of this article, we will be concentrating on the terms problem gambling and problem gambler. Their terms are meant to describe an individual whose gambling causes emotional, financial, psychological, marital, legal, or other difficulties for themselves and for those who live with and care about them.

It is important to make this distinction here because most experts generally view problem gambling as somewhat less serious than either compulsive or pathological gambling. But that doesn’t mean that problem gambling isn’t cause for worry. Problem gambling may lead to compulsive and then pathological gambling.

And, since problem gambling doesn’t exist in a vacuum, other addictive behaviors are commonly seen in a problem gambler. These may be a contributing factor or could arise out of the gambling behavior and include problems with drug abuse, alcohol, and/or addictive sex.

Types of Problem Gamblers

You may have not have heard the terms action gambler and escape gambler before but these are the two broad types of problem gamblers.

Action gamblers are typically men. They may have begun gambling when they were teenagers. Skill games are their preferred form of gambling, so they gravitate toward sports betting, poker, craps, dog racing and horse racing. What drives them is the belief that they are smarter than the system, and that they can consistently beat the odds and win.

Escape gamblers, on the other hand, generally drift into gambling a bit later in life. As the name implies, these gamblers get into the habit as a way of escaping their problems. Loneliness, depression, bad marriage, too much stress are some of the problems they’re trying to escape. Escape gamblers are typically women, but men can become escape gamblers as well. In any case, escape gamblers prefer a form of gambling that induces a hypnotic state of mind. These games include lottery, bingo, video poker and the slots.

Right off the bat, you may have some idea of whether or not your spouse falls into one of these categories of a problem gambler. If your spouse has always bet on football, frequently goes to the track, and has done so for most of his life, you’re already in the right ballpark to suspect that there may be a problem with gambling.

There is some research that suggests that people who grew up in families where gambling was prevalent tend to be more likely to gamble themselves. If the gambler in the family considered gambling as a way to solve problems, financial or otherwise, this attitude may be passed on to the children. In addition, people with a history of depression, hyperactivity, and mood swings may be more likely to gamble.

While there still needs to be much more research done in another area, children raised in families where the father is absent, whose parents are workaholics, are abusive, or where money is used to show either love or anger, may be more likely to develop into problem gamblers.

Problem Gambling Stages

Problem gambling progresses in stages. Some addiction experts separate it into three, four, five or more stages. We’ll simplify it into three stages.

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First, there is the winning stage. This is the period during which an individual discovers gambling, finds it exciting, intoxicating, a highly social and entertaining activity, and begins to see it as an escape from worry, stress, family or loneliness. The gambler may experience a few wins and begins to shower loved ones with gifts. He or she still has control over gambling at this point, meaning there is still money and the gambler isn’t resorting to extraordinary means to fund gambling. Life is good for the gambler in the winning stage. It will likely be the last time that this will exist.

The losing stage comes next. How quickly winning turns to losing varies – it could be extremely fast. No longer experiencing the consistent wins, the gambler becomes more preoccupied with gambling. They experience a need to make bigger bets, to bet more often. Money becomes an issue. All this begins to take an emotional toll on the gambler. Then, as losing continues, the gambler begins to “chase” the losses by making progressively bigger and more frequent bets even as he feels mounting guilt and shame over his actions.

It’s during the losing stage that credit cards get maxed out, insurance policies cashed in, items pawned or personal property sold, savings robbed, and retirement funds exhausted. Heavy borrowing becomes commonplace. The gambler starts missing work and lies to his or her family about gambling. A string of phony stories and lame excuses are offered to family and friends when the gambler gets jammed up and needs cash. What they’re looking for is a bailout in the vain attempt to recoup their losses.

The family begins to suspect – here’s where you come in – that there’s something really wrong. Creditors may start harassing the family demanding payment for past-due bills. Your mortgage may be past-due or perhaps one of the family cars is repossessed. The utility companies may even shut off services due to non-payment of bills.

Addiction experts say that it’s during the losing stage that many problem gamblers start calling gambling hotlines. If they recognize that their problem has reached a critical stage, they may be amenable to getting help. Unfortunately, many don’t stop gambling and progress to the next stage.

The final stage of problem gambling is called the desperation stage. As debts mount, his or her health shows signs that the stress is eating away. Insomnia is a frequent occurrence. Relationships deteriorate with the spouse, loved ones, close friends, and even co-workers or even worse they lose their job. Financial problems reach critical proportions. Eviction, foreclosure, and bankruptcy may occur.

The problem gambler has reached the end of the line. Feeling hopeless, powerless, depressed, filled with guilt, shame, and remorse, the problem gambler in the desperation stage may switch to escape gambler games for the purely hypnotic effect – anything to escape the intolerable reality his life has become. Some problem gamblers leave their family at this point, preferring to run away rather than face what they’ve done. Others attempt suicide. Still, others make the decision to finally get help.

What happens if the problem gambler continues in this desperate stage? Here’s where a fourth stage comes in. It’s known as the hopeless stage. Depression is common and suicide is often the only option the problem gambler sees at this point.

But let’s not think about the desperation stage right now. At this point, let’s look at some specific signs to confirm your suspicions and know for sure if your spouse has a problem with gambling.

Warning Signs of Problem Gambling

Since you live with your spouse or partner whom you believe to be gambling, be on the lookout for these warning signs.

  • Looking over the monthly statements for checking and savings accounts, you see withdrawals that you had no knowledge of.
  • Checks start bouncing and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees add up.
  • Credit denial letters start arriving in the mail.
  • Items around the house start to disappear.
  • A flurry of collection notices arrive in the mail and creditors start calling demanding payment for past-due bills.
  • The bill for your spouse’s cell phone for calls and/or texts starts ratcheting up.
  • Your spouse is always secretive about money.
  • Despite having a job, your spouse always seems to be short of cash.
  • Your spouse may have taken over the bill paying, but you notice that only the minimum amount is being paid on bills.
  • Your loved one may become involved in very high-risk investing or starts frequently trading.
  • Despite the bills going unpaid, you discover your spouse has an unexpected and large amount of cash.
  • You notice that your wallet or purse is depleted of cash that you know was there, or your child says that money disappeared from his piggy bank.
  • Friends start asking when your spouse will pay back loans, or you find that there’s an increasing amount of payday or other unexpected loans that your spouse has taken out.

Problem gamblers also start experiencing difficulties at work that you may become aware of.

  • Missing work, arriving at work late and leaving early are typical signs of mounting problems with gambling.
  • Using sick days to get off work to gamble is another telltale sign.
  • Your spouse starts taking extended lunch periods or long breaks.
  • Your spouse’s boss comes down on him or her for failure to finish projects or tasks at all or on time.
  • Your spouse uses the company telephones for non-work related calls.
  • Co-workers report that your spouse is making calls related to gambling while at work.
  • Co-workers also may tell you that your spouse has asked to borrow money from them and takes an extreme interest in office pools, particularly sports pools.
  • Your spouse gets a reprimand for using office computers to gamble.
  • Cash advances on the company credit card used for gambling purposes, stealing or embezzling funds at work, and asking for frequent advances on a paycheck are other warning signs.

What You Can Do

Adding up all the warning signs, do you have your suspicions confirmed that your spouse has a problem with gambling? If the answer is yes, you have enough evidence to confront your spouse and ask that he or she get help for the problem. But is that a good move on your part at this point? What should you do, and in what sequence?

As the other partner in the marriage, you have a vested interest in keeping the union together. What happens to the family is very much dependent on the healthy relationship that the two of you share. When your spouse develops a problem with gambling, unless it’s treated, it could spiral from its current stage into an ever-increasing downward plunge.

Gambling addiction experts caution that encouraging your loved one to get treatment for a gambling problem may meet with a number of different reactions. First is denial. Your spouse will tell you anything he or she thinks you will believe in order to get you off the subject of gambling. There’s no problem. I’m not gambling. I can handle it. Stay out of my business. Everything will work out fine. These are just some of the statements you may hear. Of course, they’re probably lies. So you need to be diligent and persistent about trying to encourage your spouse to get treatment.

It won’t be easy. But you definitely don’t want the situation to get any worse than it already is. What you can do to help ease your own mind is learn all you can about how to deal with a spouse or loved one with a gambling problem. Look into a possible intervention with the help of professionals like Elements.

Consider joining Gam-Anon, the 12-step organization affiliated with Gamblers Anonymous. Gam-Anon is for the family and close friends of a gambler. Its sole purpose is to help assist you with the problems you face in your life due to your spouse’s gambling problem. It’s that simple, and that complex.

Maybe you don’t feel comfortable yet in actually going to a Gam-Anon meeting. Or, perhaps you’re afraid that your spouse will not take kindly to your attending. But you can go online and get answers to a great many questions you have, as well as find online and telephone support groups that can help you come to some reasonable way of dealing with your situation. No, it isn’t counseling, but it is support from others who are in the same position as you. These people know what it’s like to have a loved one consumed by gambling problems or addiction. They’ve learned how to cope, continue to encourage their spouse or loved ones to get help to overcome their addiction and, failing that, to mutually support each other so that life can go on.

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Gam-Anon meetings are safe places to bring up your current situation. No one will judge you. It is anonymous, so you don’t have to worry about others knowing who you are. You can laugh with others, cry, talk about what’s bothering you, ask for suggestions, and listen to the stories of others. This is a community of support – and it’s something that you need very much in learning how to cope with living with a problem gambler.

For now, just go online and check out the website. Look at the questions and answers. Download and print out or keep on a flash drive some of the Gam-Anon resources and publications. Check into some rehab facilities that treat gambling addiction or your States Lottery as they also have set aside money for treatment services and programs when others become addicted. 

Talk with a trusted friend, another family member, your minister or doctor. But do definitely seek some help for yourself. If you’ve confirmed your suspicions and are sure your spouse has a gambling problem, you can’t force him or her to do anything. But you can help yourself and be in a position to encourage your spouse to get treatment.

Bottom line: Reach out and get help for you. This may be the most important thing that you can do right now.
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“Presented by Gambling Recovery Starts Here!  ~  Catherine Townsend-Lyon”

Now That The Election Hoop-La is Over! Americans and Those in Recovery Unite.

Clinton, In Concession Speech:U.S.
“More Deeply Divided Than We Thought”

 

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WELL, that clearly didn’t happen last night while I was asleep snug in my bed! I woke up this morning thinking I must had a very BAD DREAM as I woke to the new’s of Donald Trump as America’s new President!! OH SHIT was NOT a DREAM!

So I grab the nearest brown paper back and started a full on FEAR Attack!! No, really!! This isn’t a joke on my part. I am truly in fear of what is going to happen now that our next President-Elect is Donald Trump. And as a person with mental health issues, and reading of what Americans were saying, tweeting and posting all over social media? Didn’t see this coming at all. Ok, yes, maybe I am a “nut” but my fears are real. 

So as I woke up and seeing all the news and media stories, over on NetWorkedBlogs, I happen to see a fantastic post that helped a little to put my mind and nerves on OK Status for awhile on PsychCentral Website that I felt was worth a UGE SHARE to others who may be like me and have FEAR based mental health issues too. I do hope it helps others 🙂  *CAT*

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Healing After the Election

Healing after an election may not be easy for everyone, and it may be especially difficult this election year. But we must heal in order to move forward and continue to grow our great nation.

Historically, Americans have always been fairly good at letting bygones be bygones and moving on. Americans forgave British sympathizers (their neighbors) after the Revolutionary War, and we forgave again (our brothers) after the terrible devastation wrought by the Civil War. A presidential election, all things considered, should be much easier.

Ordinary Americans find the election process — and government in general — frustrating, opaque, and uncaring of their needs and challenges. Elections give us a time to vent about our frustration with the economy and government’s seeming inability to “get things done.” No matter who’s in power and who’s nominated, Americans pretty much complain about the same things in every election cycle: taxes, lack of jobs, the economy, government interference in my life, and perceived strength of our country.

Smart Americans know that government is there to perform the basic functions that help guarantee your access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s not there to make sure you don’t do dumb things, make bad choices, or are actually happy.

These same neighbors and citizens also know that the ability to effect real change in America lies not with a President (who has specific, limited powers), but with the legislative body — Congress. If Americans really wanted the change they seem to clamor for every election cycle, they’d spend more time voting out the Congressional incumbents who failed to bring about the change desired.

Healing Begins at Home

If you’ve been on a different page than your spouse, partner, or kids with this election, it’s best to make amends and heal these personal wounds first. Sometimes we say things we don’t really mean in the heat of an argument. Such things may be said instead out of frustration or anger. Now is the time to apologize for such remarks and acknowledge that some elections can be more acrimonious and frustrating than others. But it is no excuse not to treat others with the same respect we all want and deserve.

Do you really want to sink a whole friendship — based upon years or even decades of shared experiences — over a single election? For most people, the answer is no. Reach out to friends who were on the other side and make amends there too.

Healing Continues at Work & with Neighbors

Maybe you’ve had one of those yard signs out on your front lawn that stood out among a sea of your opponent’s signs. Maybe you’re the one person in your office or on the job site who seemed to be for your candidate. It’s time to say, “Hey, that was some election, but I’m glad it’s over and can all get on with our lives,” and hope others hear your conciliatory tone.

Unless you went way over the top, there’s no need to apologize for your choice in candidates or your passion in arguing for your candidate (as long as you were respectful when doing so). If you did go over the top or cross a line, you should try to find a quiet, private place to make your apologies to those you may have offended. They’ll go a long way to healing any hurt feelings at your workplace.

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Healing Must Occur in Government, Too

Americans didn’t elect politicians to sit in their chairs and make speeches that nobody listens to. They elected them to do their job of running this nation’s business and getting the job done. Any politician who refuses to do their job — which includes rational discussion, negotiation, and compromise (as has always been the case) — needs to resign or face not being re-elected come next election. Citizens have said time and time again that they want a government that does their job — not one that just obstructs work from being accomplished.

Politicians must reach across the aisle and find the shared commonalities they have with one another — their pride in being American, their belief in the American work ethic, and the knowledge that together they can accomplish great things for our great country.

Here’s to the next four years of coming together again as one people, standing behind our President and elected officials, and moving forward. Because it is only together that we can make simple work of hard, complicated issues.

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“MOVING AMERICA FORWARD”

My Story In Heroes In Recovery Being ‘Dual Diagnosed’ Come Share Your Story Too!

“We Are Heroes In Recovery!”

 

YOU SHARE.  WE SHARE.

In honor of National Recovery Month,Heroes in Recovery is running a September storytelling campaign to help break the stigma of seeking treatment for addiction and mental health issues. When you share your story, we’ll post it to our social media channels as soon as the story appears on our site. All of our stories deserve to reach as many people as possible. When you share, we share!

 

Now that it is ‘National Addiction and Recovery Month, I thought I would share a little place I love and have shared my Story of “Dual Diagnosis.”  Meaning I live life in recovery with mental health challenges. Sitting in the rooms of AA and GA I am hearing more people in recovery are also dual diagnosed. Is this becoming a new trend with addiction?

Well, I think so as I was also invited by Patricia Rosen of  ” The Sober World Magazine ” to write an article for her about this very topic for her November issue. Of, course I said YES!
But I thought I would share my own Article and Story the kind folks at Heroes In Recovery had asked me done last year. Hope you enjoy reading mine. Then go share your story with them. Our experiences, strength, and HOPE does inspire and help others!!

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.CatherineL

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My recovery journey started in 2006. I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.

I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had worked through all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess! Of course, they pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today.

My point? You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. I chose to not do all the work necessary for a well-rounded recovery. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my troubles occurred, I worked with a specialist for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our recovery stories and words are powerful tools to help others.

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1 in 5 Problem Gamblers Attempts Suicide!Still Think Your Lucky_(2)

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After this second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a well-balanced recovery and had a lot more work to do, and I also learned that God, my higher power, has bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery from the cunning illness of compulsive gambling addiction. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery. Those of us who suffer from a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. The nasty habits, behaviors, and diseased thinking needed more correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I was given a fantastic relapse prevention workbook as well. Although I didn’t relapse into gambling, this workbook has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. Those journals were used for help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me. I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By writing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter stigma around gambling addiction, recovery and mental and emotional health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen to not be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how easily one can become addicted. It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has in our communities and in families’ lives.

The expansion of casinos and state lotteries is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 1% of our population are problem gamblers. Through my own recovery and by writing my book, I have learned a lot. The best advice I can give? When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the cycle and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it. Work a well-balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. I learned this the hard way.

Now that I have reached nine and a half years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned that we can weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I share as much as I can with others. I do this in many ways. My second book is almost finished, and I hope to release it early 2017. It will be more of “how-to” for reaching that elusive first year of recovery. And through my Recovery Blog below:

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With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted, and my readers asked me, to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share my recovery journal in blog form. All I can urge others to do is never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover. Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen to and learn from. My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent in your recovery journey   . . . .

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author

Can We Talk Stigma? Article Share From “The Fix”

What can be worse than addiction with undiagnosed mental health challenges?

STIGMA & SHAME …

 

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Stigma can be a beast. It has put fear in many addicts who want to reach out for help from addiction but are afraid. It has stopped many suffering from mental health issues but afraid to seek help because they don’t want to be labeled. 


“I know that I felt this way before I reached out for help as I am “Dual Diagnosed.”

I have lived with stigma from own side of the family. People seem to be afraid of what they don’t understand. So let’s education the public and help those who want help know there is nothing wrong with asking for help without being labeled or endure STIGMA  ….

“People, Stop Shaming, Labeling, and Making Us Feel Ashamed. No More Shaming Others!”      *Catherine Lyon*

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Better Off Alive—Is the Stigma More Dangerous Than the Condition?

By Regina Walker 05/26/16

 

“MANY still perceive someone with mental illness as evil, dangerous, and in some cases, better off dead.”

 


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Over the past decade, the rate of suicides in the U.S. has increased to 12.1 per 100,000 people. Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. Many studies believe that number is higher. There is one death by suicide in the U.S. every 12.3 minutes.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the USA.
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year, and a large number of people are debilitated by their psychiatric illness and symptoms.

So those are some basic facts. And they are startling and concerning. We have what many may consider a mental health crisis in the U.S. And, we are doing very little about it.


WHY?

Another, more insidious, crisis proliferates around this one: the stigma associated with mental illness. Those living with a mental illness must fear how they will be perceived by a society that offers little, if any, empathy.


“I have worked in the mental health and addiction fields for many years, but this topic is far beyond professional for me. In fact, my career choice was probably formed when I was 16 years old and my 19-year-old sister committed suicide.”

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Recently, a popular website published an alarming essay by a blogger who determined that her once upon a time friend was better off dead (the friend had recently died by what could have been suicide) because she suffered from a mental illness (schizoaffective disorder).

The writer went on to say her friend (who was in her early 20s at the time of her death) had “nothing to live for” and had appeared to have been taken over by a “demon.” The piece went on to describe her former friend as “hopeless” and the writer expressed her relief at hearing of the death of this woman (though they had not been in actual touch in quite some time).

I am not writing this to bash that author (many have and will continue to). In some ways, she has inadvertently heightened awareness around the subject of mental illness and how we perceive it as a society. My greatest concern (and belief) is that the thoughts she verbalized in her article are shared by many—possibly most. The stigma associated with mental illness and those who suffer from it is deep, dangerous, and contributes to the pain of those who experience it. It also inhibits the possibility for healing.

Chicago-based actor/artist Elizabeth Hipwell knows this too well. “All I can think of is how alone I have felt in the journey of dealing with my bipolar depression,” she told me by email. “Mental illness is like no other illness. People disappeared from my life; family members judged and told me to ‘Buck up, and pull yourself out if it’ and ‘If you weren’t so fat you wouldn’t be so depressed.’“

She contrasted the experience of physical illness, and how those around her viewed it, with mental illness. “When I was physically ill I was visited in the hospital and driven home by loved ones; when I was in the mental hospital after having slit my wrists I didn’t have any visitors, I was berated on the phone for being selfish, and I had to get home by myself by bus. I felt abandoned. I ended up back in the hospital for the same reason a few more times after. I came to a point where I had to stop expecting support from those who just weren’t going to give it.”

Elizabeth concluded, “I decided to focus that energy on myself to heal. Maybe I did need to be ‘selfish’ as the naysayers put it and make myself a priority. I decided to reject the shame that they placed on me and be gentle with myself, forgive myself for being sick. I am by no means a victim and I hold no grudges. In hindsight, I understand that the reaction people had stemmed from fear and lack of knowledge.”

I was moved by Elizabeth’s comment: I decided to forgive myself for being sick. How many people with physical illnesses need to go through a process of self-forgiveness because of their condition?

Fear of those with mental illnesses can be traced very far back. Even to this day, many cultures and religions still believe that behavior symptomatic of mental health problems is caused by demonic or spiritual possession.

If one perceives someone with a mental illness as “evil,” “dangerous,” or “frightening,” how can compassion and support possibly arise?

Madeline Sharples is the author of Leaving the Hall Light On, which chronicles her son Paul’s mental illness and subsequent suicide.

She shared with me, “When my cousin came to our house to review and discuss the family history my husband had written, he made one request—leave out the part about his father’s bipolar disorder. In fact, he didn’t want to see a discussion of any of the mental illness that permeates my side of our family.” Sharples continued, “That was proof enough for me that the stigma of mental illness still exists.”

In Leaving the Hall Light On, Ms. Sharples spoke of the many ways in which she attempted to help her son Paul accept help and treatment for his bipolar disorder. She is more than aware of the deadly nature of shame and silence. “I know what a problem it (admitting a mental illness) was for my son. He worked for almost two years for an internet service provider, and when they heard of the reason for his death his co-workers were shocked to know he had any illness whatsoever. He was a master at hiding his bipolar symptoms. He didn’t want to take his medication, he didn’t accept needed hospitalizations, he just tried to act as ‘normal’ as he could.”

She concluded: “And that is probably what killed him. If he had taken the Mayo Clinic’s advice geared to erasing stigma—admit something is wrong, don’t feel ashamed, seek and follow treatment and support, accept help from family and friends—he might still be alive today.”

I have worked in the mental health and addiction fields for many years, but this topic is far beyond professional for me. In fact, my career choice was probably formed when I was 16 years old and my 19-year-old sister committed suicide.

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Dolores suffered many years with a brutal pain that will forever elude identification. Her attempts, at the time, to self-medicate left her branded as a “bad” kid. I was raised in a very conservative, Roman Catholic family where seeking help for my sister’s suffering was frowned upon. Acknowledging that she had any issues at all would have been shameful. So, at 19 years old, my sister ended her suffering the only way she knew how.

And, for a moment, I was relieved. I was relieved because my sister scared me. Her pain and attempts to soothe it were ugly.

Back during the time of my sister’s death, people did not come over with casseroles and shoulders to cry on. In fact, no one came over at all. Had my sister died of cancer, a car crash, or a freak accident, I imagine support would have flowed. But, instead, no one said anything. No one came over. I remember vividly going with my mom to see a nun she sought solace from soon after my sister’s death.

“Suicide is a mortal sin,” she told my crying, grieving mother. “She can’t escape hell. She killed someone. She killed herself.”

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So my mother was left to grieve the death of her child in solitude with the knowledge that, because she ended her own suffering, she would burn in hell. And, sadly, we haven’t come that far since that day.

But she wasn’t hopeless. And she wasn’t truly scary. But she was definitely scared.

For many years, I either lied or never spoke of my sister to new people I met. I felt covered in that darkness—a shared, silent shame. And I learned (because of the reactions of those around me at the time of my sister’s death) that others would see me as tainted by her illness—her weakness—her sins. The stigma spread to me as well.

My sister has been gone for longer than she lived and too little has changed in the public perception of mental health issues since then, but hope emerges.

Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Stigma Fighters work to empower individuals living with mental illness by removing the veil of shame and giving a public voice to an issue once too deeply hidden. The highly regarded Mayo Clinic has acknowledged the danger of stigma and has committed to providing education. Support for those who suffer and education for us all is vital if meaningful change is to occur.

On June 4th, I, amongst thousands of others, will be participating in the Out of the Darkness Walk in New York City. The walk is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise funds for suicide prevention and awareness.

This 16-mile walk offers a visual representation both of bringing suicide and mental illness out of the darkness and the belief that each suffering individual can make it through to the light. Though my sister did not emerge from her dark night of the soul, it is imperative that the added burden of shame be lifted so that more of those who suffer can get through their darkest moments to a more hopeful dawn.


Regina Walker has been a regular contributor to The Fix since 2014 ….
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Regina Walker, LCSW-R, BCD, CASAC

 

 


Welcome Featured Guest~Marc Azoulay MA, LPCC, LAC

Hello Recovery Friends and New Ones,

 

“I am happy and honored to welcome Marc Azoulay to my recovery blog. He has written an article about recovery and healing. We happened to meet over on Twitter and seemed we both have a lot in common as helping others. He was nice enough to offer this blog share article for me to share with all you! I will share a wee bit more about Marc, but first let’s read this fantastic post.”

 

What is Recovery: Healing an Invisible Wound ~

Marc Azoulay  

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Free Happy Woman Enjoying Nature. Beauty Girl Outdoor.
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One of the questions I ask during my intakes with new clients is “when will you know that therapy is complete? When will you have been healed?” I do this to get a sense of their goals and the changes that they’d like to make; I ask them to imagine a future where they don’t need me and can support themselves. Most clients answer with something along the lines of “when I’m no longer using drugs,” or “when I can be happy again.” Noble goals for sure, and usually much more complicated than they sound.

I find myself asking the question now: What does it mean to heal?


And, you know, I’m not so sure I know the answer to that. Personally, I’ve been in therapy for eight years, I’ve gotten sober, worked out many of my harmful behaviors, delved deeply into my past, and build a stronger relationship with the ones that I love. But I don’t know if I’ve “recovered,” I still have hard days, and I still act out and hurt others.

I wonder if recovery is an attainable goal. Perhaps recovery is just a model for an ideal way of living, a goal to work towards. But, as they say in Eastern Philosophy, it’s not the goal that’s important, it’s the journey. The journey towards recovery illuminates every part of oneself. It burns us in the places that we guarded the most; it roots out the insecurities and shame that we hold and presents them to the world unabashedly. Recovery challenges us to confront our fears and to have difficult conversations; it inspires us to dive into uncomfortable feelings and memories.

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One of the most challenging parts of this process is that it is mostly invisible. Others rarely see the struggle that we go through. They are unaware of the daily battle that goes on in our heads. They don’t see the long nights and lonely moments when we dip a toe into hopelessness. This is a deeply personal quest. It behooves us to surround ourselves with allies and healers, but we have to take every single step ourselves. This can get so exhausting.

We want to heal, but it can be challenging to recognize when we’ve gotten there. Those in the recovery community know the term dry drunk, a person who is so committed to sobriety that their life, in a way, is still about alcohol. These people cling onto their sobriety like a badge of honor and build their whole reality around it. Of course, for many this has been life saving, but I wonder: have they truly recovered? Have they moved on from their past? It’s hard for me to believe.

Many of use create our identities out of our pain. We use our wounds as shields that separate us from others. We push others away,  but we feel as though they can never understand us. This is an illusion. We are just not that special. Perhaps the last step in recovery is letting go of the idea that we have a problem.

Perhaps recovery means embracing our humility. Realizing perhaps we are just like everyone else. That’s a hard one to swallow: being ordinary. Learning to enjoy the little moments in life: a sunset, a cup of tea, or sitting in traffic.


Maybe, recovery lays in the mundane?

 

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About Marc Azoulay MA, LPCC, LAC

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Marc Azoulay

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I believe that substance abuse is not a problem, but a symptom. In treatment, I aim to work with my clients to discover the underlying root of their patterns of use. I’ve noticed that once the core need gets addressed problematic use just falls away. I provide a mindfulness-based approach to psychotherapy. With my clients, I focus on developing emotional literacy and body-mind awareness. I encourage my clients to tap into their moment-to-moment experience as we cannot begin to work with ourselves if we do not know what we have to work with.I specialize in working with addictions, grief, and social anxiety.

Prior to entering private practice, I worked at Rangeview Counseling Center, a substance abuse treatment center that focuses on clients with legal troubles. I was blown away by the dedication and passion that my clients had for the work. I witnessed countless acts of compassion and healing. Prior to that, I worked at Halcyon Hospice and the Wild Plum Center, a therapeutic preschool. Spending time with the children and the dying opened my eyes to the breadth of human experience.

My goal is to help clients recognize how to care for themselves in mind, body, and spirit and to develop a playful curiosity towards their internal experience.

You deserve It.

Please visit Marc’s website and Follow him on Twitter  @MokshaMarc
Website: www.marc-azoulay.com

 

 

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