Category Archives: Mental Health

Brittany Runs a Marathon Movie Review

At some point in our adult lives, we have to take responsibility for our actions.

Brittany Runs a Marathon is the directorial debut of writer/director Paul Downs Colaizzo. Based on the story of a friend of his, Brittany Forgler (Jillian Bell) is in her late 20’s and living in New York City. She has a job, but it is neither professionally or financially fruitful. She drinks too much, sleeps too much and is overweight. Her life, in short, is a hot mess.

Hoping to score a prescription of adderall, Brittany visits a doctor. Instead of receiving the prescription, the doctor recommends that she lose weight. She initially balks, but follows through and starts running. She is encouraged by her neighbor Catherine (Michaela Watkins) and Seth (Micah Stock), whom she met in her running group.

The running opens the door to other goals, including running a marathon. But doubt and insecurity gets in the way. Can Brittany succeed?

This movie has it’s pluses and it’s minuses. On the plus side, the characters and the narrative are realistic. Brittany speaks for many people, regardless of size, who are hindered by unseen emotional scars. We live in a world which is dominated by social media. The image that many of us put on our profiles may not reflect reality and may cause those who look at our profiles to compare their lives to ours.

On the minus side, the film is a little longer than I think it should be and is a little predictable story wise.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

Brittany Runs a Marathon is presently in theaters.

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Filed under Life, Mental Health, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Robin Williams: Five Years Later and it Still Hurts

Mental health, like any disease does not discriminate between rich and poor, black and white, celebrity and non-celebrity.

Five years ago today, mental health took the life of one of our most beloved performers: Robin Williams.

He was more than a comic who could do impressions. He could play drama, he could play comedy and everything in between. Underneath all of his performances was a huge heart that was evident to anyone in the audience.

This past week, his eldest son, Zak, spoke to CNN about his father.

When it comes to those who are no longer with us because of suicide, there are always questions that start with what if. While the question is certainly valid, at a certain point, we need to ask other questions. I firmly believe that we need to not only accept mental health issues as a valid disease, but treat it as a valid disease.

When confronting a problem, the first and hardest step is to ask for help. The issue with mental health is that many are afraid to ask for help because of the backlash they may receive.

Mental health and the diseases that fall under the categories of mental illness are real. The sooner we accept that, stop stigmatizing mental illness and open the doors to treatment, the better our country and our world will be.

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Filed under Mental Health, Movies

Jeffrey Epstein is a Coward

One of the topics I frequently talk about on this blog is mental health and the unfortunate by product of suicide that comes from mental health issues.

Normally, when someone dies of suicide, we mourn and remember because this person left this life too soon.

According to news reports, accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein took his own life today while awaiting trial.

Jeffrey Epstein is a coward. He knew what he did was wrong. He knew that when he went to trial, he would have to look at the women who he took advantage of as young girls. He knew that he would pay for his crimes.

Instead, he took the easy way out. In taking his own life, he took away the opportunity from his victims to obtain justice for what he did to them. Though he will not be sitting in a jail cell for the rest of his days, I hope that judgement comes on the other side.

May he rot in Hades for what he did to those women.

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Filed under Mental Health, National News

I Have a Mental Illness, I Didn’t Shoot Anyone Yesterday

This past weekend, as we all know, was one of the bloodiest in American history. Two mass shootings killed 31 people (as of Tuesday) and injured many more. One of the first questions that many ask is why this happened.

Some may state that the accused shooter was mentally ill.

I, like millions of others around the world am mentally ill. It has been my unwanted companion for far too long. I have yet to (and it is unlikely that I ever will) purchase a gun for the sole purpose of killing innocent people.

I wish our leaders would stop pointing fingers and ask the hard questions. At this point, as a nation, experienced too many mass shootings to point fingers at outside influences. That is taking the easy way out.

Video games are not the cause of mass shootings. Neither are the Internet or mental illness. It is our lax gun laws that cause mass shootings. It is the NRA and the gun lobby who have some of our politicians in their back pocket.

We need the red flag law and the universal background checks installed and enforced as national law now. We needed to tighten up our gun laws yesterday.

I feel like right now, this nation is at a turning point. We can continue on the same path that we have been going on and lose more innocent lives. Or, we can finally take a stand and ensure that this generation does not become the generation that is killed by mass shootings.

Only then will this madness finally stop.

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Filed under Mental Health, National News

Same Hypocrite, Different Day

One of the jobs of the President of the United States is to be the “consoler in chief” when a national tragedy strikes.

As we all are aware, there were two mass shootings on Saturday. Yesterday, you know who spoke to the country.

He sounded Presidential, but in reality, he was the same hypocrite on a different day.

He talked about ending racism, white supremacy and unifying the country. But his words are sound and fury signifying nothing.

He talked about the mental health of the accused gunmen, which personally offended me. To say that the accused in both shootings are mentally ill, without knowing all of the facts is derogatory to all of us who have the unwanted friend that is mental illness.

He also talked about how violent video games contributed to real life violence. This has been proven wrong time and again. And yet, politicians will use that an excuse for the lack of real reform of gun laws.

Just after the Columbine massacre, some were saying that the music of Marilyn Manson was to blame for the shooting. I wish those in the leadership positions, whether in a religious role or a political role, would put on their big boy/big pants and take a real look at what caused the accused to kill innocent people.

Those of us who are of a certain age and older remember the dark days after 9/11. Then President George W. Bush stood on top of the rubble with his arm around a first responder and addressed the nation. Putting aside partisan politics, he also spoke of unity and coming together. That speech felt authentic. Yesterday’s speech was not.

May the memory of those murdered be a blessing and may we finally enact sensible gun legislation so we never have another weekend like we just had.

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

RIP Saoirse Kennedy Hill

Depression kills. Like any disease, it has the potential to destroy life. But unlike other diseases, it does not receive the recognition that it should.

Last week, depression took another life. It’s victim was twenty two year old Saoirse Kennedy Hill, whose grandfather was the late Robert F. Kennedy. According reports, depression had been her unwanted friend for years. While in high school, she wrote a column in her school newspaper about her battle with depression.

One of the hardest things about depression is sometimes the simple act of getting up in the morning. It may seem trivial, but getting up in the morning is a sign of life. Depression does not want us to live, it wants us to stay in it’s cold and dark cocoon and eventually die.

I am glad that I woke up this morning. It took a good amount of energy, but I did.

Saoirse Kennedy Hill was young, only twenty two with what was hopefully a full life ahead of her. Unfortunately, depression took that life away before she had the chance to truly live.

Z”L. May her memory be a blessing.

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Filed under Mental Health, National News

The Phrase “Crazy Person With a Gun” is at Best Unhelpful and at Worst Distracting

This past week has been one of the deadliest week in the United States. Five mass shootings have resulted in the multiple murders of innocent civilians. The most recent shootings were yesterday in Ohio and Texas.

This morning, you know who’s Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney made the rounds on the Sunday morning political talk shows, discussing the latest shootings and defending you know who.

Instead of owing up to that you know who has had a direct effect on encouraging the accused shooters, Mr. Mulvaney stated the following:

“This was a sick person, the person in Dayton was a sick person. No politician is to blame for that. The person who was responsible here are the people who pulled the trigger. We need to figure out how to kind of create less of those kinds of people as a society and not trying to figure out who gets blamed going into the next election.”

In other words, the shooter was a crazy person with a gun. His actions were his own and are wholly unconnected to what you know who has been saying lately.

I have an issue when it comes to the phrase “crazy person with a gun”. At best, it is unhelpful and derogatory towards those who are dealing with mental health issues. I am not an expert on every disease that falls under the label of “mental health”, but I do know those of us suffer are trying to live as best we can. If there are those who are a danger to themselves and others, I would hope that there is intervention before someone is hurt or killed.

At worst, the phrase is distracting from the real issue. Racism, like every ism, does not occur in a bubble. It comes from someone or something. In this case, it is you know who. Granted, his racism did not occur in a bubble either. However, given his platform and his willingness to dog whistle and openly knock individuals or entire groups because of their race, I would not be surprised if there was a connection.

I wish I could say that this weekend is ending on a happy note. But it is not. May the memories of those killed be a blessing and may we once and for all, see one another as human beings.

Happy Sunday.

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Filed under Mental Health, National News, Television

The Apology Book Review

Sexual and physical abuse, especially against children, is a scourge on our world. The scars of this kind of abuse can stay with the formerly abused child long after they have grown into adulthood.

Eve Ensler is just one of the millions who grew up with a physically and sexually abusive parent. Her new book, The Apology, is the story of the abuse she received at the hands of her late father. Told from his perspective via a letter written to his daughter, Ms. Ensler tells the painful story of her abusive childhood.

A couple of things struck me as I was reading this book. The first thing is that Ms. Ensler must have a will of iron. Many who have gone through what she has gone through have ended up as addicts, in jail or in an early grave. The fact that she is 66 and thriving speaks to an inner strength that I frankly admire.

The second thing is that there is a mental health component to this issue that must be spoken of. The child survivors of physical and sexual assault should not only be believed, but given the support and the therapy needed to become healthy and productive adults.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Mental Health

This Is Why You’re Not Happy is Not the Perfect Solution to Mental Health Issues, But It Comes Pretty Close

From the eyes of the general public, when one is a celebrity, life is nothing short of perfection. Everything (and everyone) that we ever wanted or needed just appears in our lives. Our problems melt away like ice off a cold beverage that has just been removed from an ice filled cooler.

The truth is that celebrities are human beings just like the rest of u, who by some twist of fate, became famous and earn more money in a year than most of us earn in our entire lifetimes.

Back at the end of May, the YouTube channel Absolute Motivation released a video entitled “Matthew McConaughey – This Is Why You’re Not Happy | One Of The Most Eye Opening Speeches“.

What I love about this video is that Mr. McConaughey speaks to all of us. He challenges the viewer to consider their definition of happiness and joy. It’s not the perfect solution to making our mental health issues disappear. But it’s practical and given the complicated world that we live in, it might be the answer we are looking for.

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Filed under Mental Health, Movies

The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty Book Review

When I was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, the late former First Lady Barbara Bush looked like a grandmother straight out of Hollywood central casting. Her white hair was cut short, she was known for her pearls and matronly clothing and she was the matriarch of a large family. But there is so much more to her than the image.

Susan Page’s new biography, The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, tells the story of Mrs. Bush from her perspective. Born in 1925 to a wealthy family whose roots went back to the founding of America, she was the third of four children. Equally belittled and ignored by her mother about her weight, the future First Lady never got over the comments she received as a child.

In her late teens, she married the future President George H.W. Bush. Married for seven decades, she brought six children into the world. Her oldest son, George W. Bush, followed in his father’s footsteps. Her oldest daughter, Robin, died of Leukemia at age three, leaving her mother with an emotional scar that never healed. Later as an adult, she battled depression and aided both her husband and son during their time in the White House.

Containing interviews with Mrs. Bush, President Bush, her family, political aides, press clippings, diary entries and other details, this books is the complete story of one of America’s most respected First Ladies.

One of the things that I was surprised about was how emotionally strong and outspoken Mrs. Bush was. Like many women of her generation, her adult life focused on her home and her family. But unlike the Donna Reed-like ideal of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Mrs. Bush was not the yes-woman to her husband nor was she the picture of motherly perfection. She was bold, she was outspoken and not above providing unsolicited advice. She may not have been a traditional feminist, but she is the definition of a strong, intelligent and capable woman.

This book is a must read, especially if one is a political junkie. It sheds light not just on the public side of Mrs. Bush, but also the private that only a few were privileged to see.

I recommend it.

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