Tag Archives: Mental Health

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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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, Mental Health, Television

Just Getting Rid of the Homeless Camps in NYC is Not Enough

I think it is pretty safe to say that the homeless issue is a worldwide problem. Though the solutions seem simple enough to execute, the reality is that it comes down to deeds, not words.

Over the last couple of weeks, New York City Mayor Eric Adams decided that the way for the city to solve the problem in regard to homeless citizens was to purge the streets of encampments that have popped up in various locations.

While I understand that aggressive action is needed, this is nothing more than kicking the can down the road. The issues that contribute to someone living on the streets seem enormous: mental health, drug addiction, structural racism, lack of affordable housing, unsafe shelters, etc.

The truth is that while they are daunting, they are not impossible to solve. Now granted, I’m not an expert, but simple logic seems to be the cure for what ails us. If we (by we I mean both the government and the individual citizen) deal with the respective issues that contribute to the overall problem, then it goes away. But if continue to say we are going to do something and not follow through, then the outcome remains the same.

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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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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

The Matrix Resurrections Review

When The Matrix premiered in 1999, it was more than the standard science fiction good vs. evil movie with computer-generated effects and stunts. The narrative question was existential in nature. Both the special effects and the fight scenes were (and still are) awe-inspiring.

The 4th movie in the series, The Matrix Revolutions, premiered last week. Neo (Keanu Reeves) is torn between the world he sees and the world that is just beyond his consciousness. He is the creator of the best-selling video game of all time called The Matrix. He is also seeing a therapist, known as The Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris).

He begins to question his reality when Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, replacing Laurence Fishburne) comes back into his life. When he finally breaks from the world he has known, Neo can only save the day once more with the help of Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). But like Neo, she first has to see the truth.

I wanted to like this film, I really did. It tries to build on the legacy of its predecessors while adding new layers to the story. After nearly two decades. both Moss and Reeves still have the same chemistry. The addition of new cast members builds on this idea of fighting for our individuality instead of just going along with the rest of the crowd. Among the newbies, Harris stands out. I haven’t followed his career closely, but this character from what I know is not one that he normally plays.

The problem is that it just stretches on. It only perks up when Trinity wakes up, which is at about the 60% mark.

Do I recommend it? I would lean toward yes, but only if you have seen the three previous movies.

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Carrie Fisher, 5 Years Gone

Carrie Fisher died five years ago today. Known for her role as Princess/General Leia Organa in the Stars Wars film franchise (among other roles), she was a respected writer and a mental health warrior. Dogged by mental illness and drug addiction for most of her life, it would have been easy to let both diseases get the best of her.

Though her death was and still is tragic, the fact that she was able to find a way to survive both for as long as she did will forever be a huge inspiration to me.

I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.

May her memory forever be a blessing. Z”l.

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Floating in the Deep End: How Caregivers can See Beyond Alzheimer’s Book Review

Losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s disease is akin to a slow and painful torture. Watching this person deteriorate into a shell of their former selves is infinitely one of the most difficult experiences anyone could have.

Actress and writer Patti Davis knows about this all too well. Davis, the daughter of the late President Ronald Reagan, watched as her father wasted away to become someone who was physically recognizable, but emotionally different. Her new book, Floating in the Deep End: How Caregivers can See Beyond Alzheimer’s, was published in September. In addition to her writing and acting, Davis also runs a support group for family members of those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. Combining everything she has been through, Davis walks the reader through all of the stages of this disease and the effects it can have on both the person who has been diagnosed and those they care about.

This is a topic that is unfortunately, hitting a little too close to home for me. The thing that popped out was that she kept stressing how important mental health is for everyone involved. Not just for the person whose life is forever altered, but for the caregivers whose entire world has just been turned upside down. She encourages the reader to be compassionate and forgiving, not just of themselves, but any anger/resentment they may have against the person whose mind is being slowly destroyed.

Balancing the clinical aspects and the complicated emotions involved, Davis’s approach is gentle and understanding. She encourages the reader to take things day by day and not let everything that is happening overwhelm them. In doing so, it takes some of the weight off of everyone involved and allow them to take a deep breath before moving forward.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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