Monthly Archives: May 2014

Friendships count

The youtube link below is entitled Friendships Count.

If someone is diagnosed with a mental illness, friends become even more important than previously and this clip shows how having friends makes them feel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CMAeg8D52c

 

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The Ridges, the Ghosts of Athens …

                                   

ridges photograph NAMI, the American Mental Health Association in Athens, Ohio, got involved with other organizations in a major effort to restore, beautify and demystify three mental health graveyards located on the grounds of the old psychiatric hospital complex on the Ridges. Prior to the onset of the project, these cemeteries were in a poor state of repair, with many gravestones  abandoned to brush and woods and hundreds of stones uprooted and broken.

 

In the fall of 2000, Fox Family Radio Channel featured ‘The Ghosts of Athens,’ notably those in its Ridges cemeteries as the ‘World’s Scariest Place.’ In order to combat this nonsense and restore respect to the nearly 2000 former psychiatric patients buried in these three cemeteries, the Ridges Cemeteries Committee made up of people from the Ohio University, The Gathering Place, the Civilian Conservation Corps and NAMI, was created.

 

Their aim was to restore the cemeteries and to build a 1.3 mile Nature Walk among them. In addition, a bill was passed making public the names of all persons who had been buried with numbered stones only. As part of the walk, an old pond was rebuilt. The purpose of the Walk is to shine light, metaphorically speaking on these beautiful grounds with their remarkably abundant wildlife and to make them a place of healthy, respectful recreation.

 

Written by Tom Walker,

Chair of Ridges Cemeteries Committee.

June, 2006.

The Ridges Cemetery Project by Dr. Thomas Walker

I would like to thank Dr. Thomas Walker for providing me with the above information. 

 

1000 blogs posted to date

no more stigma 5I posted my 1,000th blog on May 23, 2014 and even I was amazed at the amount of material I have included on these pages.

I have written two books, my work has been included in two Anthologies and I have had many articles and stories published. So you might ask why I began blogging. Well, while my son was ill with schizophrenia, my husband and I belonged to a support group but if we’d had blogs to read in those days, we would have gained even more useful information that could have helped us enormously. So, I decided to blog about mental illness, other brain illnesses and Alzheimer’s disease and hoped that in these pages, by speaking out frankly, somehow, I would manage to give others some empathy and even hope sometimes, encourage people to join me, and together, we might be able to lessen the blame, shame, stigma and discrimination accorded the brain illnesses. What surprised me most was how many people in countries all over the world started following my blog. Probably due to the sensitivity of the subject of mental illness, few people actually left comments, but, what they did do, was send me emails. And, I replied to every single one of them even though it is time consuming.

When my blog was born in November 2011, I had no idea of how much work it would entail to write a blog and keep it going. and, I had to learn how to post a new blog, how to save a draft and worst of all, how to get an image not only onto the screen where my blog was, but, I had to learn how to make that image show up and remain where I wanted it to be on that particular page. The result was that instead of going to bed at a reasonable time at night, I found myself fighting with my laptop till the early hours of the morning; sometimes with good results, but very often, the computer won the battle and I gave up tearfully. After all who could a blogging grandma call at that hour? Believe me, I was often tempted to wake B., my computer guru, but I knew that he would not have been impressed.

I felt as if I were doing a fairly good job, but every time a journalist related yet another incident of violence committed by an unstable person – the latest occurred on May 24, 2014 when a young person suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome and living in the USA, went on a shooting spree.  In my humble opinion, unless the United States of America changes its gun laws, I cannot see a way out. I always thought that the safety of a country’s citizens was the priority of a government.   

 In America under the Brady Act, one cannot have a gun for personal or business use if a person:  

Has been convicted of a crime punishable by being in prison for more than one year.

Is a fugitive from justice;

Is addicted to, or illegally using any controlled substance;

Has been ruled mentally defective by a court or is committed to a psychiatric institution;

Is an illegal alien living in the United States;

Has received a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces;

Has renounced his/her U.S. citizenship.

Is subject to a restraining court order that involves his/her ‘intimate partner,’ that partner’s child, or children; has been convicted of domestic violence in any court.

 In spite of the above, I shall continue to blog about accepting a person with a mental illness the way we accept people with other illnesses. Maybe I am naive, but I firmly believe that even one voice can make a small difference. Please join me.

Time for change 1

Where has all the color gone?

yes white crayons

brown crayon

WHERE HAS ALL THE COLOR GONE ?

The writer, Walter Dean Myers was born in Harlem and loved reading. “To an extent, I found who I was in the books I read. In the dark times, when my uncle was murdered, when my family became dysfunctional with alcohol and grief, or when I realized that our economics would not allow me to attend college, I began to despair. Instead of attending school, I spent days in Central Park reading. I saw that the lives of the characters in my books were my life. What I needed, was to become an integral and valued part of the mosaic that I saw around me. I stopped reading. I stopped going to school and at the age of 17, I joined the Army. Much later, I read a story by Janes Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues, and it wasn’t the story that I loved. I felt uplifted by it for it took place in Harlem and it concerned black people and brown people like those I knew. Baldwin humanized people like me. Yes, Baldwin’s story humanized me. His story gave me permission to write about my own landscape, my own map.”

 Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when children of color are not represented in those books? Where are the future white personnel managers going to get their ideas about people of color? Where are the future white loan officers and future white politicians going to get their knowledge of people of color? Where are black children going to get a sense of who they are and what they can be?

Movies portray black people as victims. These characters are usually struggling to overcome either slavery or racism. Book publishing is a little better but here too, black history is often depicted as folklore about slavery and they fast forward to the civil rights movements. Of course many people say that black children don’t read. Small wonder, isn’t it?

In the thousands of books that were published during this last year, black kids didn’t feature in them. There are books about animals. There are others about superpowers. There are books about the olden days when people dressed differently. A black child asked his father; “Are there books about me and people like me?” “No, son. There aren’t many. Only because your skin is not white.” So, there is a kind of Apartheid in literature where characters of color are limited to the townships of occasional historical books.

 

 

How often is a pilot’s mental health tested?

Malaysian airliner 370A thought that flitted though my mind. How often is a pilot’s mental health tested by a registered psychiatrist with infinite experience?

Is a pilot tested when he/she applies for this most responsible of positions? Is he/she tested every four years, every two years thereafter, or only after he/she’s been flying for ten years?

Mental illness strikes suddenly as it can be triggered by various occurrences like a death in the family, the breakup of a relationship or by other stressful situations.

Another thought that has been occupying me is ‘the black box’ found on every aircraft. Surely in today’s age of high-technology, we should have a far more sophisticated way of tracking a plane that has disappeared?

 

 

If your life is a song …

 

For seniors and anybody with any kind of problem

If your life is a song, sing it.

If your life is a game, play it.

If your life is a challenge, meet it.

If your life is a dream, realize it.

If your life is a sacrifice, offer it.

And, if your life is about love, enjoy it.

 

lovebirds 2By Sai Baba

 

 

 

 

I meant what I said and I said what I meant …

a white dogThanks to Dr. Seuss for writing the delightful children’s book: Horton the Elephant, full of catchy jingles. Well, I have made up my own silly one about a dog which is based on one of his … to suit my blog today.

‘I meant what I said and I said what I meant – dogs are faithful one hundred percent’.

I’ve read about psychiatric service dogs but only recently met someone who has one. A service dog is trained to assist its owner who has a psychiatric disability. How can one of these dogs help? If his master becomes dizzy due to his medication, the dog is trained to call for help or even to pick up any dropped item.  If a psychiatric patient becomes disorientated when he/she dissociates and wanders off, the dog is trained to stop that person from getting lost as he has been trained to guide him/her home.

The love, warmth and faithfulness provided by one of these dogs is irreplaceable.