Category Archives: Handicaps

CONSIDERATION TOWARD HANDICAPPED PEOPLE

disabled

Insufficient  consideration is given to people with handicaps. Car manufacturers advertise cars with large baggage compartments for wheelchairs, yet, very often folded wheelchairs do not fit in.

Airplane toilets are  notoriously tiny and uncomfortable; not only for a handicapped person, as they are very cramped. Every toilet should have a bar for the occupants to hold onto and the toilet paper rolls should be hung in a user-friendly spot.

Hotel showers need to be equipped with plastic chairs or wheelchairs that have been treated to withstand water, so that a handicapped person can sit while taking a shower.

Beaches also need to invest in specially designed wheelchairs that can run on rails into the ocean, enabling handicapped persons to get into the water for the first time in their lives. I witnessed the expression on a man’s face while he used one of them in Eilat, Israel. His expression was one of pure ecstasy.

There are supermarkets  that provide devices that magnify price tags for visually impaired people. Some doctor’s waiting rooms have chairs without backs or armrests that are not possible for a handicapped person to feel safe on and offices put official forms onto tables that are too high to allow easy access to the handicapped person.

I am friendly with a couple  who used the  concept or universal design when building their home with the needs of one of the occupant’s in mind at all times. Their kitchen was cleverly designed to cater to her needs, The doors aresufficiently wide to allow wheelchair access or ambulance stretcher access. Their shower is large and the toilet higher than the standard ones. Toilet paper rolls were hung in a sensible place. Even the flower beds in the garden have been raised and the outdoor space resembles ‘The Secret Garden’ by France’s Hodgson Burnett.

All the floors are covered with non-slip tiles. Light switches are at a comfortable height too. A great deal of thought was put into the construction of this house and they did a wonderful job. She was responsible for the charming decor.

This  blog ends with a four – letter – word

hope 1I have lived through a great deal of sadness, shock and grief and I managed to survive each time. My children did too. We all learned to move on and overcome adversity.

I even learned to dream a bit. Every single week I dream I’m going to win the lottery. I dream that cyclamens will bloom again in my lawn the way they did so mysteriously last year. I dreamed that my eight-year-old-car would pass the licensing test again this year – and it did!

More than anything else, I dream that my family will remain healthy. I also dream of a world without illness and senseless violence. I believe that  circumstances will change for the better in the future.

Nobody can live without hope. In fact, the four letter word I wrote about is    H    O    P    E.

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Christmas is here again …

christmas treeChristmas is here again. I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year but, I haven’t forgotten that the holidays can be lonely times. That doesn’t mean that you have to feel alone. Try and remain focused on acknowledging your needs and you’ll be surprised at how  good you can feel.

If your expectations are too high, reduce them. Call friends and ask to be included in their celebrations. Most people love having friends over so this can work. Remember that you are  not alone in feeling alone during Christmas or New Year. So, get together with others and have some fun. Create your own social group. See a movie or plan an outing with a friend. There are many people out there who are searching for a companion, you know. Or, treat yourself to a massage or do whatever you enjoy doing most. If  you can’t be with family or other lvoed ones during this time of the year, call or email them. Reach out to them and they are bound to respond. If the above don’t suit you, volunteer at a soup kitchen because there’s nothing like that place to make you realize how well off you really are. If you can afford it, take a vacation. But, if you are unable to do any of the above, buy some chocolate, get into bed with a good book or find a good movie on your computer and get through the day that way. It’s important to remember that Christmas only lasts for one day.

new year celebrations

 

 

Journalist, is your child different?

Journalists, have you ever wondered what it’s like to have a child that is different?

Have you ever wondered how that child’s parents feel when they discover that their child is unable to walk, to hear or to see?

Have you ever wondered how they feel if Autism or Asperger’s is the diagnosis?

Well, as parents of three wonderful, healthy children, neither my husband nor I thought that way. Then, our son became ill and we heard words like paranoid schizophrenia which we barely knew how to spell. We never dreamed that we would … that we could produce a defective child: not in our family: oh no! Well, our nightmare had begun. It was worse for our son than for us of course, but our whole family was involved.

Mr/Mr. Journalist, before you write your next newspaper article or report on television, please think of me as well as the millions of people around the world like me, who are dealing with a mental illness and are simply trying to survive each day.

Your duty is to provide a fair and comprehensive account of events. You of all people recognize the power of words and the images used to define and characterize a subject. There are no definite guidelines when your report about someone with a mental illness so it can be problematic. If mental illness is important to a story, you may not assume that an illogical act of violence is the result of mental illness in general. The statement that a crime was committed by a person with a history of mental illness is often made on-scene by a first responder who might not even have direct knowledge of the person’s history. So, even if accurate, it may be irrelevant to the incident. Mental illness is not a defining characteristic of the ‘so-called criminal.’

 It’s advisable to avoid descriptions of an individual’s behavior that might contribute to the impression that all people with that particular illness exhibit similar behavior. A term like He was a schizophrenic in a rage, creates the impression that rages are common behavior for those experiencing schizophrenia AND, why use the term schizophrenic? Do you use the term cancerous? It takes away the person’s dignity and turns them into an illness.

But Mr. Journalist, how about giving the impression that mental illness is treatable and that people can recover – maybe not 100%, but sufficiently to join the workforce and lead lives like the rest of us? Now that would be a welcome change and would make a huge difference in the lives of those affected by this ravaging illness.

For every negative story about mental illness with violence, there are so many positive ones that can be written about people in recovery who serve valuable roles in their communities. Reporters could write compelling personal stories about people who have recovered, as there are many who have lived through and survived a mental illness and who might be prepared to be interviewed and serve as an example to the general population.

Please stop giving the public a distorted view of the facts. Stop to think how you would feel if you were unfortunate enough to have a son or a daughter with one of the mental illnesses that you describe this way.

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Discrimination vs. Stigma

sunnyvale gardenDiscrimination means doing something active against a person at work, or denying him access to education of any kind, accommodatiion, entry to particular premises or a membership to a certain club. This is unlawful. Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things especially on the grounds of sex, race or age. Here are some synonyms:-  bias, prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

Stigma on the other hand, means having an opinion or judgment held by individuals or society. Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance like the stigma of a mental illness.

Most of us think that being disabled means spending a great deal of time in a wheelchair, and that’s it. but, someone who cannot hear, is disabled. A person who is unable to see, is disabled, and of course, there are many hidden disabilities as well. Until I started researching this subject, I was far less aware of the needs of disabled people, particularly those with hidden disabilities or illnesses.

Why do so many people tell me that they hide mental disorders like Major Depression, PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or social phobias? Because, if they reveal the truth, it can possibly lead to :-

  • Rejection by family and friends
  • Harassment
  • Loss of jobs
  • Failure to be rehired
  • Loss of child custody
  • This kind of discrimination occurs because many of us still hold outdated, negative stereotypes of people who have a mental disorder. So far, attempts to challenge these stereotypes have only been led by a few individuals. every year, approximately 50 million American adults are diagnosed with a mental disorder. if only one of of every 50 are prepared to admit this without shame, others might learn that mental illness does not come from personal weakness nor does it make people behave in a violent or unpredictable way.
  • More people might feel more comfortable seeking treatment. Two thirds of those who need help do not ask for it, sometimes resulting in suicide.
  • Together, we can lessen the blame, shame, stigma and discrimination.

I REPEAT: 

Together, we can lessen the blame, shame, stigma and discimination. Parents CANNOT cause schizophrenia nor any other kind of mental illness.

PARENTS CANNOT CAUSE SCHIZOPHRENIA NOR ANY OTHER KIND OF MENTAL ILLNESS.

A Safe Haven 4 Mothers

This blog is dedicated to mothers in particular. it’s a place to share our problems when there is illness in the family – mental illness in particular. it is a place where we share our problems; where mothers reach out to one another, and for the first time they manage to speak out about mental illness in their families and how it has not only changed the lives of their ill child, but the lives of the whole family. By speaking out in person or via email about problems affecting their lives, they receive in turn honest advice and support from other parents who have been there and been through similar experiences. These parents often become as close as relatives.

These are some of the questions asked:

How do I help my child who is no longer sleeping well? How do I persuade her to revert to her group activities with good friends?

A distraught mother admitted that she and her husband’s sex life was suffering due to their child’s mental health state, They spent most of the night agonizing over ways to help their child instead of sleeping. A father said; ‘ I am so busy agonizing about the past that it is preventing me from having a future. I used to think that I was a good parent but I now doubt my parenting techniques.’

Discussing these problems can be very therapeutic. i know that because our son was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia so I knew where these parents were  coming from. I receive few comments on my blog but receive many emails from people who need to be heard or need some questions answered and I do my best to reply to them all. This is not instead of seeking a qualified therapist. It is ‘ as well as. ‘

What we all need to remember is that NOONE CAN CAUSE A MENTAL ILLNESS. NOBODY IS TO BLAME. No more blame, No more shame, No more stigma

Self Stigma

People with a mental illness put up with a lot more than their illness. Stigma contributes a major stress that they can do without. My late son often said; “Stigma and prejudice  are as distressing as my schizophrenia.” Stigma involves inaccurate and hurtful representations portraying  them as comical, violent, or incompetent, dehumanizing them and making them an object of ridicule.

When stigma is used in the media, it can refer to inaccurate stereotypes particularly when sensationalizing issues through unwarranted  references to mental illness, the misuse of terminology or the use of hostile language. Because the media plays such a critical role in shaping and reinforcing community attitudes as well as influencing the way we think, this is particularly harmful.

BUT, the  most harmful effects of stigma occur when it alters the way people view themselves – this is known as self stigma.  SELF STIGMA is the acceptance of prejudiced perceptions  held by others which can lead to a reluctance to seek treatment, excessive reliance on others , social withdrawal as well as poor self-worth.

PLEASE LET’S HAVE NO MORE STIGMA OF ANY KIND

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.

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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

 

 

 

 

What life has taught me

juggling five balls 2I imagined juggling five balls in the air at the same time and to name each ball, and this is what I came up with:

WORK       FAMILY        FRIENDS        HEALTH       SPIRIT

What I was trying to do with my life was to keep all of them up in the air at the same time and it took a while until I understood that my WORK was like a rubber ball and if I dropped it, it would bounce back. But the other four balls;  FAMILY, HEALTH, FRIENDS and SPIRIT were crafted from glass, and if I dropped one of them, it would be irrevocably marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. I knew that it would never be the same again. That applied to the last four on my list, I simply had to learn the importance of striving for a modicum of balance in my life, something I am still learning to do. The following points are what my experiences in life have taught me:- Although I have come a long way, I have yet to learn not to undermine my own worth by comparing myself to others. At last I have learned that it is precisely because of these differences that each of us is special. Having discovered what is best for me, I try not to set my goals by what others deem important. At a practical philosophy class I learned not to live in the past nor to agonize about the future. I understand now that It is far better to live out my days one day at a time for the rest of my life. Although it took time, I have learned not to take the things closest to my heart for granted, I cling to them, as without them, my life would be meaningless. A difficult lesson to learn was not to use words nor time carelessly as neither can be retrieved. Of course there are times when I mess up on this point, but being aware of it has helped. My life is no longer a race; rather a journey to be savored. I learned not to give up when I felt I had something to give, because nothing is really over until the moment I stop trying. I try to remember at all times that every person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated and I would far rather be on the giving end. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure easily carried. Once, I was afraid to learn in case I would not succeed but I am afraid no longer. It wasn’t so long ago that I had neither the time nor the courage to do so. So  many of us strive to be perfect. I know that I am far from perfect and am the first to admit it. Taking risks no longer bothers me. By taking chances, I have learned to be brave and how to put on a brave front. I am convinced that it is not a good idea to shut love out of my life simply by using the lame excuse that I had no time for it. The fastest way to receive love, is to give it; the quickest way to lose love is to hold onto it too tightly. Last but not least, I know that it’s a good idea not to run so fast that I forget not only where I’ve been, but where I am going. I can truthfully say that I have succeeded in learning some, but not all of the above points. work, friends, health, family, spirit