Category Archives: Mental Health

The Shooting in Buffalo is a Shit Storm of Everything That is Wrong With This Country

Saturday morning started as out as a normal day. For the residents of Buffalo in upstate NY, it became a day marked by grief and horror. A gunman walked into a grocery store and started shooting. By the time he was apprehended, ten people were dead, and three were injured.

The accused (whose name will not be mentioned on this blog) is an eighteen-year-old Caucasian boy. According to the police, his intention was to murder as many African-Americans as he could. Only two of the victims were not POC. Upon further digging, law enforcement officials discovered a manifesto in which he also believed the antisemitic bullshit.

To make matter worse, he had previous mental health issues and was able to evade the laws that prevented him from legally buying a firearm. If that was not enough, he lived streamed the massacre. As much as I appreciate the upsides of social media, the companies that run these platforms have some serious work and soul searching to do.

Everything that is wrong with this country is represented by the event on Saturday and the person accused of perpetrating it. There are many who would have no restrictions at all when it comes to firearms, but they will do everything in their power to control a woman’s/pregnant person’s body and their right to choose if/when they become a parent. They also turn a blind eye to the hate coming out of the right-wing press and the politicians who prefer power over respecting democracy, political norms, and the rule of law.

I don’t know what it is going to take to shake us out of this dream world that we live in. I fear that when we do, it will be too late.

May the memories of those killed on Saturday be a blessing. Z”L.

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Filed under Feminism, Mental Health, National News, Podcast, Politics, WNYC

Hello, Molly!: A Memoir Book Review

Whoever said women can’t be funny has never seen Molly Shannon perform. This actress, comedienne, and Saturday Night Live alum have been making audiences laugh for more than twenty years.

Her new autobiography, entitled Hello, Molly!: A Memoir, which was co-written with Sean Wilsey, was published last month. Her life was forever changed at the age of four when her mother, younger sister, and cousin were killed in a car crash. Her father was behind the wheel. Raising his surviving daughters as best he could, Molly had a unique childhood that opened the door to her future career as a performer. While becoming a celebrated actor/comedienne, she struggled with the loss of her mother and her complicated relationship with her father.

I loved this book. It is candid, it is funny, and it speaks to the power of belief and rising above tragedy. What hooked me was her ability to deal with grief in a way that was not overpowering or stopped her from living.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

P.S. I cannot end this post without talking about my favorite character of Molly’s, Mary Katherine Gallagher. Mary Katherine was the rare comedic combination of insecure, fearless, and not afraid to be herself. The comedy love child of Lucille Ball and Chris Farley, this character never failed to make me laugh.

Hello, Molly!: A Memoir is available wherever books are sold.

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Moon Knight Review

The ancient world has always been fascinating. The mixture of mythology, history, and curiosity about life back then has piqued the interest of modern people for centuries.

The new MCU/DisneyPlus series, Moon Knight, premiered last Wednesday. Steven Grant/Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) is a former member of the US Marines. Living in London and working at a museum gift shop, Steven/Marc has a figurative weight attached to his ankle via dissociative identity disorder. Blacking out and then having vivid dreams of another life, he encounters Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke). Arthur is an enemy from one of Steven/Marc’s other life. To say that he is dangerous is an understatement.

He soon finds out that he has the powers of an Egyptian Mood G-d. Though the powers appear to be a windfall, there is a downside that he quickly discovers.

I walked into this series completely blind. This is the first time I’ve heard of Moon Knight. Knowing nothing about what I was about to watch was a good thing. I had no expectations, therefore I cannot be disappointed by any changes that have been made from the original text.

I liked the inclusion of mental illness. It is one more step away from stigma and one step closer to acceptance. My problem is that I was confused. Maybe it’s the plot or maybe it’s because I am totally new to this world. Either way, the jumping back and forth was a bit confusing. What did make me want to at least watch the next episode was when he turned into his superhero alter-ego.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

Moon Knight is available streaming on DisneyPlus.

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Filed under DisneyPlus, Mental Health, Television, TV Review

Why We Argue and How to Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships Book Review

Relationships, whether they are romantic, parent/child, friendships, etc, are not always sunshine and roses. Arguments are bound to happen. What matters is the ability to come out of the disagreement with the connection intact.

Jerry Manney is a therapist with more than thirty years of experience. His new book, Why We Argue and How to Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships, was published this year. The author starts the book by explaining why disagreements occur. He then goes into how we can either put a stop to them or at the very least, turn down the temperature in the room. The chapters end with open-ended exercises, allowing the reader to digest and personalize the content.

There are a number of ways to approach this subject. The easy way to write a self-help book of this nature is to write in either therapy speak or clinical terms that the average person will not understand or relate to. The author writes in a way that the audience does not feel like they are being talked down to. It was as if he was my counselor and I was meeting with him for our usual appointment.

What I related to was the mental health aspect of the subject. When something is left unsaid, it can fester and open the door to words and/or actions that we may come to regret. Opening the lines of communication allows us to not just heal, but to make difficult conversations easier to have.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Why We Argue and How to Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships is available to purchase via the publisher and wherever books are sold.

Thank you to the publisher for the ARC.

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More Republican Fuckery: FL’s “Don’t Say Gay” Law, TX’s Anti-Transgender, Cowardly Kevin McCarthy, and MI’s Banning Contraception For Married Couples

It says something about a nation when one political party is focused on the future and bringing people together while the other one is focused on the past and pulling people apart.

In both Texas and Florida, laws against the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ kids have created a dangerous precedent that puts lives at risk. As of Monday, the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida is one step closer to becoming law. The details of the bill are as follows:

Should the bill become law, Florida educators would be barred from speaking to primary school students about certain LGBTQ+ topics that are not considered “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

Under the bill, parents would also have greater authority to take legal action against school districts they believe to be in violation.

In Texas, parents of transgender children who seek out hormone therapy to help their offspring become their true selves could be characterized as child abusers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to foresee the potential mental health issues that may have a hugely detrimental effect on an entire generation. If we lose young lives due to these laws, the blood will be on the hands of those who wrote and supported these pieces of legislation.

Several weeks ago, Kevin McCarthy was asked by a member of the press about January 6th. Instead of answering her question, he ran away.

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Contrast this to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. When asked by the US if he wanted to get out of the line of fire, he said no and asked for ammunition. We should all be so lucky to have a President like him.

Finally, in Michigan, the three Republican candidates for State Attorney General were asked about the 1965 Supreme Court decision Griswold vs. Connecticut. The ruling states that married couples can buy contraception without the government stepping in. All three of them (who are all men, if it was not already obvious) state that they believed it was up to the state and not the federal government.

Who are they to make these decisions? When Roe V. Wade was ratified as the law of the land in 1972, it came down to privacy. That same concept applies to married couples. The choice to end a pregnancy and/or use contraception is one that belongs to those who are involved in that process and no one else.

Just another day of Republican fuckery.

P.S. I hope I was not the only was one who was offended and horrified by the outburst by Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene during last night’s State of the Union. It was akin to drunken idiots insulting the opposing team during a baseball or football game. What is worse is that they chose to do this when President Biden was speaking about his son who he lost to cancer. How much more disrespectful can they get?

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Filed under Feminism, History, International News, Mental Health, National News, Politics, World News

The Murder of Christina Lee Scares the Shit Out of Me

One of the rights that a woman should have is the ability to be outside after dark without fear of being attacked or killed. That right is still being fought for, even in 2022.

On Sunday, Christina Lee was heading home to her apartment in New York City‘s Chinatown. Unbeknownst to her, a man was following her. He is accused of killing her in her own home.

As of yesterday, the murder is not based on Ms. Lee’s Korean-American heritage. But that does not mean that the police will find evidence to prove otherwise.

What scares the shit out of me is that this is every woman’s worst nightmare. Ask any female and she will tell you the same story. Carry your keys in your hands, mace in your bag, be aware of your surroundings, walk-on brightly light streets with lots of other people, etc. We shouldn’t have to follow these rules, but they could mean the difference between life and death.

What is even scarier is that this is not the first time that the accused (who shall not be named here) has gone after a random stranger. Last September, he punched another man for no reason at all. According to reports, he has a history of mental illness and should not have been on the streets to begin with.

One of my concerns is that this one heinous act creates a perception of an entire community. Like millions of others around the world, I live with depression. The difference between this man and myself is that I have access to getting the help I need. I am lucky enough that I have health insurance via my job which allows me to see a therapist and take medication. Not everyone has the same opportunity. This creates a vacuum and opens the door for people like the accused to hurt and kill others.

My heart breaks for those who knew Ms. Lee. No one should know this type of grief. I can only hope that this unnecessary loss of life spurs those in power to do something (and not just throw someone in jail, which is another topic for another time).

May her memory be a blessing. Z”L.

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Filed under Feminism, Mental Health, New York City

Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy

The Alanis Morissette song, Ironic, has the following lyric:

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you/When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right…

At the end of 2020, Congressman Jamie Raskin went through what no parent should ever go through. His son, Tommy took his life. Less than a week later, his world again turned upside down when the Capitol building was invaded on January 6th. His new memoir, Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy, was published in January. The narrative is twofold: processing the untimely loss of his son and the Herculean task of impeaching you know who for starting the riot.

Told with raw emotional honesty and a will of iron that many in his position might not have had, this book shines a light on both mental illness and how close this nation came to losing it everything we hold dear. As both a father and a politician, Raskin leaves nothing out. His love for his family and his passion for upholding the values that built the United States radiates from the page.

I loved this book. It’s not an easy read, by any stretch of the imagination. Losing his son was an emotional trauma that by itself is a monster to deal with. Adding on the pressure of saving the American democracy is a burden that might have broken someone else. But Raskin was somehow able to have the strength, courage, and the ability to move forward through difficult times.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Mental Health, Music, Politics

Michelle Go Should Be Alive

If there is one thing New York City is known for, it is our subway system. It is the lifeblood of not just the city itself, but of the region. Without it, NYC would not be what it is.

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Last weekend, Michelle Go was shoved toward a subway car by a homeless man as it barreled into the Times Square station. She did not survive. The accused, who will not be named on this blog, has a history of previous arrests and emotionally disturbing encounters with riders.

There are two theories as to why Ms. Go was targeted. The first is that the accused has severe mental health problems and should not have been on the streets. The problem with this accusation is that it casts a shadow on everyone who lives with a mental illness. The truth is that most of us who live with it are just trying to get by. If such an act happens, we are more likely to be the victim, not the perpetrator.

The second theory is that she was targeted because of her ethnicity. It is sadly not the first time this has happened and will not be the last time. Back in November, Bew Jirajariyawetch was chocked one station south of where Ms. Go was killed. Ms. Jirajariyawetch is a model originally from Thailand.

My feeling is that both played a role in Ms. Go’s death. Which as a rider of the NYC transit system scares the shit out of me. I should not be afraid to get on the bus or train. But until the city does what they need to do to protect straphangers, I am forced to be more vigilant than I have been before.

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Best Movies of 2021

  1. Quo Vadis, Aida?: This harrowing tale of one woman’s choice to save her family or save as many people as she can during the Bosnian War is as powerful as a film can get.
  2. Mass: Two sets of parents meet after one of their sons has killed the other in a school shooting to figure what happened. Along the way, they are forced to answer questions that are painful and difficult.
  3. Spencer: This fictional take on Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) and what might have occured during Christmas in the early 1990’s is a unique take on the myth of the late royal.
  4. Belfast: A young boy is growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the late 1960’s. As he starts to transition from a child to a young adult, he begins to realize that nothing is ever a simple as it seems to be.
  5. Black Widow: After ten years, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) finally gets the movie she should have gotten. Trying to atone for her past while living in the present, she must face reality and make up for mistakes.
  6. Framing Britney Spears: This Hulu documentary took viewers in the life and career of Britney Spears and how it has changed since her father took control over both.
  7. West Side Story: Steven Spielberg’s adapation of this beloved musical takes it into the 21st century while retaing its message about prejudice and lack of opportunity.
  8. The Eyes of Tammy Faye: Jessica Chastain not only brings Tammy Faye Bakker back to life, she reveals the real person behind the punchline.
  9. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: This latest addition to the MCU is more than just the first all Asian cast. It is the story of a complicated father/son relationship and a young man who cannot run from his fate.
  10. Moxie: A shy teenage girl stands up to the sexist bullshit at school and empowers her fellow female students in the process.
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This will be my last post of 2021. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing tonight, have a safe and happy New Year. See you in 2022.

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Feminism, History, Hulu, International News, Mental Health, Movie Review, Movies, Music, Netflix, World News

Best Books of 2021

  1. The Four Winds: Kristen Hannah has done it again. Her Cinderella-esque tale of a woman who resecues herself from a live of drugery, poverty, and low self esteem is one to be read again and again.
  2. Jewish Pride: Rebuilding a People: Ben M. Freeman‘s treatise on Jews, and Jewish history is a must read for anyone who for once and for all wants to defeat antisemitism and all forms of hate.
  3. Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol: Mallory O’Meara‘s non fiction book explores how inspite of a certain image, women have been creating and drinking all forms of alcohol for centuries.
  4. I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J Trumps Catastrophic Final Year: The subject of you know who will be on the lips of writers and political historians for years to come. Authors Carol Leonning and Philip Rucker examine how the former President believed that he did not need help in running the country.
  5. Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood: Writer and podcaster Mark Oppenheimer tells the story of how a single neighborhood was affected by the murders of eleven Jewish residents in 2018.
  6. Peril: Bob Woodward and Robert Costa take a deep dive into how close the American democracy got close to destruction.
  7. The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh: This JAFF by Molly Greeley gives the spotlight to Anne de Bourgh, a minor Pride and Prejudice character who has yet to be fully seen or appreciated.
  8. Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Become Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assasins-and WWII Heroes: This fascinating and powerful tale of three young ladies who led an underground war against the Nazis during World War II.
  9. Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers: Written by the Bonnet at Dawn podcast hosts, this book examines the life and works of the women writers we have loved and respected for generations.
  10. The Matzah Ball: A Novel: Jean Meltzer’s Chanukah themed rom-com about two people who are secretly in love, but cannot speak the words due to the current and past trauma.

Here’s to the books we loved in 2021 and the books we will love in 2022.

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