Category Archives: Mental Health

Running on Empty Book Review

At a certain point in our lives, we come to the realization that our parents are not perfect. If we are lucky, they are loving, supportive, and provide the foundation that allows us to become happy, healthy, and productive adults. But that does not mean that our emotional needs as children were met.

Running on Empty, written by Drs. Jonice Webb and Christine Musello was published back in 2012. This self book explores how the specter of childhood emotions that have not been dealt with can grow into a shadow that can hold us back as adults. Using a number of examples, worksheets and practical advice, the authors are guiding readers to move beyond the unseen scars of their past.

I really loved this book. The authors are able to explain how CEN (Childhood Emotional Neglect) does not end when we are no longer children. They also empower their readers to examine and understand their childhood emotions and ultimately, overcome what is holding them back.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Mental Health

Happy Birthday, Carrie Fisher

Today would have been Carrie Fisher‘s 64th birthday.

Instead of droning as to why she was and still is an inspiration to millions, I will let her work speak for itself.

We miss you, Carrie.

#Carrieonforever

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Filed under Feminism, Mental Health, Movies, Star Wars, Writing

Thoughts On Mental Health Day & the Lingering Effects of Covid-19

Living with mental illness of any kind is akin to living with a metaphorical and invisible weight on your shoulders.

I should know, depression has been my constant companion for many years. Adding Covid-19 to mix creates the perfect storm of a physical and mental health crisis.

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Like many of you, I have been home nearly 24/7 for the last seven months. Though I am grateful that my life has not been completely upended, it would be foolish to ignore the changes that the virus has brought on.

Before March, I had no problem with being busy. Going out and being social was the antidote to the daily battle with depression. Now it feels like the depression has won out. Other than taking care of my weekly errands, I don’t want to go anywhere. I just want to stay in and sleep.

If there any silver lining, it is that these last few months have finally forced us to examine how we treat mental illness and those who suffer. Perhaps when all is said and done, mental health will finally get the respect and treatment that it deserves.

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Filed under Mental Health, National News, Thoughts On....

Mental Health + Racism=The Daniel Prude Case

If nothing else, the summer of 2020 will be known for the murders of innocent African-American men and women. It is not a distinction to be proud of. Though this is nothing new for Americans of color, the difference is that the country is waking up and taking notice.

Back in March, Daniel Prude was found naked on the streets of Rochester in upstate New York. As the story usually goes, Mr. Prude was restrained by the police to the point of where he lost consciousness. He died a week later.

But there is more to this story that the standard accusation of police brutality. The issue of mental illness also comes into play. The police were initially called because Joe Prude, Daniel’s brother called 911, worried about his brother who had just walked out of the house.

As of earlier today, the police officers accused of his murder were suspended from their jobs.

I wish I could say that this will be the last incident of this kind. But we all know that until we deal with racism as a whole, Mr. Prude will be just another name on a long list of Americans of color killed by police.

RIP.

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Filed under Mental Health, National News

Mayor de Blasio Should be Taking From the Top, Not the Bottom

In the business world, when a company’s expenses exceeds its revenue, hard choices in regards to staffing are made. For those who remain employed, their job is made twice as difficult due to the extra workload.

In normal times and in a for profit company, to say that this situation is not easy is an understatement. If one were to change the company to the public sector and add in Covid-19, the result would be nothing short of a disaster.

When the virus hit New York City earlier this year, it was all hands on deck for those who are considered to be essential workers. Over the last few months, we have been told time and again to thank them for everything they did. But what does Mayor de Blasio say to some of these people? See you on the unemployment line, we can’t afford to pay you anymore.

Meanwhile, the tax payers are shelling out $2,000,000 a year for First Lady Chirlane McCray’s staff. If that was not enough, ThriveNYC is just another governmental program that lacks tangible results, but money is still being thrown at it.

I have an idea. Instead of laying off those who the city relies on, perhaps he might think of taking from the top. Does his wife really need a videographer making $70K a year? Or a speechwriter earning $117k a year, who was hired after it was announced that City Hall would not be adding new employees to their rolls?

Mayor de Blasio talks a good game about appreciating those who put their lives on the line. But at the end of the day, it’s nothing but lip service. If he truly appreciated them as he says he does, he would find a way to keep them on the payroll.

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Filed under Mental Health, New York City, Politics

Thoughts On the Ellen Show Controversy, Mental Illness, and Toxic Workplaces

Anyone who has been in the working world for enough time would easily be able to list the issues they have with their current job or had with previous jobs. But there is difference between the average complaint and a toxic workplace.

Actress and comedian Ellen DeGeneres has hosted her own talk show for the last 17 years. A mainstay of daytime TV, Ellen comes off as the best friend the audience wish they could have. But recently, the reputation of the show and it’s namesake has been tarred by complaints of mistreatment of behind the scenes staff.

As of Friday, three of the program’s producers were fired and Ellen has since apologized.

Working in a toxic environment is akin to psychological torture. Logically, you know that you need the paycheck and the benefits that come with the job. But, at a certain point, it becomes a question of whether or not it is worth your mental health to continue at a job in which you are seen as worthless and incapable.

Over the past few years, the subject of mental health has become a topic that has come to the forefront. I’ve spoken many times on this blog about the importance of being mentally healthy and physically healthy. Part of that is feeling respected and appreciated at work.

Unfortunately, this will not be the first company, nor will this be the last company to create a less than ideal working environment for their staff. I just hope that this is a lesson on how not to treat your staff.

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Filed under Mental Health, National News, Television, Thoughts On....

Thoughts On Kanye West’s Mental Health Issues

When a subject is taboo, the first step in removing the taboo is starting a conversation about that subject. Sometimes, that conversation starts with the headline of a known name tied to that issue.

As of late, rapper and entrepreneur Kanye West‘s behavior has become so erratic that his family has asked for compassion as he faces another brutal battle with Bipolar Disorder.

I normally loathe to discuss this particular family, but this topic hits too close to home.

Mental illness of any kind is not a joke, nor it is a drama king/queen’s way of getting attention. It is a real health condition that requires support and access to medical care. Until we realize that and put in the structure needed to help those who suffer, it will never be on par with physical illness.

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New Amsterdam Character Review: Ella

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New AmsterdamRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Human beings were not meant to be alone. The need to be around others is built into the DNA of our species. We need each other if we are going to not just survive, but thrive.

On New Amsterdam, Ella (Dierdre Friel) is in a jam.

After briefly dating Rohan Kapoor (Vandit Bhatt), Ella has discovered that she is pregnant, but the father of her child is nowhere to be found. What makes her situation more complicated is that Rohan’s father is Vijay Kapoor (Anupam Kher). Ella and Vijay almost did the will they/wont they dance, but that ended when Ella started seeing Rohan.

Unable to support herself, Ella is about to leave New York. Knowing that if this happens, he may never see his grandchild, Vijay proposes that Ella move in with him. Though it takes sometime for them to work out the kinks in their unorthodox relationship, Ella and Vijay eventually meet in the middle. Which comes in handy when Ella reveals that she has OCD and Vijay is the one to help her relax.

To sum it up: As much as we may pretend that we can do it alone, the truth is that we can’t. In Ella’s situation, it would be easy to put up a wall and pretend that she does not need help. In accepting Vijay’s offer, she is not only willing to bring her guard down, she recognizes that their need for support and connection is mutual.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Mental Health, New York City, Television

New Amsterdam Character Review: Lauren Bloom

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New AmsterdamRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Addiction and mental health issues weigh heavily on the lives of millions around the world. It is easy to pretend that these issues don’t exist. But the reality is that until one is able to see that they need help, they will never begin to move on.

On New Amsterdam, Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery) is the head of the Emergency Department. Smart and efficient, she has the ability to manage a very busy staff while ensuring that the patients are looked after. But underneath her professional abilities, Lauren is facing the two-headed demon of addiction to Adderall and the unhealed emotional wounds from a traumatic childhood.

She is forced into rehab when her colleague and friend, Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) notices that something is off with Lauren. Rehab forces her to confront her troubled past and deal with the addiction that has hindered her ability to emotionally recover. But life is not all sunshine and roses when Lauren returns to work.

After bringing Georgia Goodwin’s (Lisa O’Hare) daughter in the world, Lauren has a different recovery ahead of her when she survives a car wreck. Well aware of how easily she can slide back into addiction, she turns to Helen and Zach Ligon (JJ Feild), her physical therapist, and sometimes hookup partner for support.

In the end, Lauren is able to put her past behind her, but not without some serious soul searching and hard work.

To sum it up: There are two ways to deal with problems. The first is to pretend that nothing is wrong. The second is to admit that you need help. Though it is infinitely harder to admit that you need help, the payoff is worth the risk. In admitting that she has a problem, Lauren shows that she has the strength and courage to move beyond the demons that have plagued her for far too long.

That is why she is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Mental Health, New York City, Television

Mental Illness is Not an Excuse for Sexual Abuse

Mental illness and it’s various forms affect countless people around the world. But unlike physical illness and it’s many variations, mental illness does not get the respect it deserves.

Back in 2008, Malka Leifer was accused of sexually abusing several students at the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne, Australia, where she worked as a teacher. But before she could be brought into the courtroom to face her accusers, Ms. Leifer left Australia for Israel. Twelve years later, she faces extradition back to Australia. Her lawyers and supporters claim that she is mentally ill.

I have a huge problem with this claim. The problem is that her claim (if it is not true) is not only foolish, but it could also have life-shattering consequences. Millions of us wake up every day with mental illness. I wake every day with depression hanging around my neck. Does that mean I will commit such a heinous crime as sexual assault on a minor?

No.

It’s hard enough to admit that one is living with mental illness and needs help. The last thing those of us who live with this disease need is for someone to use it as an excuse for moral failings.

Mental illness is NOT an excuse for sexual assault and never will be.

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Filed under International News, Mental Health, World News