Tag Archives: mental illness

It’s Time to Break Britney Spear’s Conservatorship

There is no doubt that Britney Spears is an icon. She is one of those few performers whose name and work is instantly recognizable. It doesn’t take much to conjure up her image or one of her songs.

Since 2008, Spears has been under a conservatorship led by her father. At the time, it made sense. Given her the public mental health breakdown, it was obvious that someone needed to step in. To sit back and do nothing would have irresponsible. It was supposed to be temporary, until she was able to function as an adult. But somewhere along the way, it became more about using her a cash cow while treating her as a child incapable of taking care of herself.

In response, the #FreeBritney movement and the Hulu documentary, Framing Britney Spears, fans have been advocating for Spears to have at least some control over her life.

It’s time for the conservatorship to end. If not wholly, reduced down so that she has some say in her personal and professional life. I also have to wonder if she were a man, would the treatment been different? I think so. There have been a quite a few male celebrities who also live with mental illness and have been open about it. They were not legally and personally shackled down as Spears has been.

#FreeBritney

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Filed under Feminism, Hulu, Mental Health, Music

Rainbow Vision Journal YELLOW. How to take control of your personal well-being and happiness Book Review

If you were to enter the term “self-help book” into the search bar of any major online bookseller, the list of titles to choose from is nearly endless. It is head-spinning to consider the possibilities and perspectives that can help us overcome what is holding us back.

Sharon Dawn’s new book, Rainbow Vision Journal YELLOW: How to Take Control of Your Personal Well-Being and Happiness is the latest self-help book to hit the shelves. It would have been easy for the author to just preach to the reader about what they should or should not be doing. Instead, she asks questions and presents a variety of situations. It is then up to the individual to fill in the blanks and work through the emotional and psychological exercises. It feels like a therapy session that instead of being conducted in person or via telehealth, is a personal conversation the reader has with their inner selves. Allowing that person to work through their issues, it comes off as a natural and cathartic way to relieving ourselves of our burdens.

As someone who has been keeping a journal for twenty-ish years and has been in therapy on and off for nearly thirty years, I appreciate the insight that Ms. Dawn has. Therapy is great, but sometimes the therapist has an unwanted point of view that they inject into the session. A good therapist is an objective witness to our troubles. They listen to the patient and once in a while, provide examples from their own lives to help. But mostly, they are there is let the patient vent and provide guidance to help them achieve their goals.

I really enjoyed this book. Given the millions of people around the world who live with the various forms of mental illness, it is incumbent that we prove assistance in whatever way we can. By presenting Rainbow Vision Journal YELLOW: How to Take Control of Your Personal Well-Being and Happiness to the reading public, it becomes another tool in our collective arsenal to relieve those burdens.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The original review published on Discovery can be read here.

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A Radical Awakening: Turn Pain into Power Embrace, Your Truth, Live Free Book Review

There are two ways to deal with an emotionally painful past. We can either let it control us. Or, we can do what we need to do to no longer be tied to it.

A Radical Awakening: Turn Pain into Power, Embrace Your Truth, Live Free, by renowned psychiatrist Dr. Shefali was published last month. Speaking directly to her female readers, she examines all of the ways in which we are holding ourselves back. She talks not just about mental health issues, but the detrimental problems that are directly connected to the way that women are taught to behave and think.

Though it was not the complete literal gut punch the author promised, there were still parts of the book were emotionally difficult to read. What I appreciated was addressing the fact that many women these days are torn between the traditional idea of womanhood and living their own lives on their own terms.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge Book Review

A good biography does much more than provide the basic facts found on any general internet search. It introduces the reader to the real person that is sometimes hidden behind history and the PR machine.

In 2019, Sheila Weller published Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge. The biography tells the story of the late and beloved actress, writer, and mental health advocate. Born to Hollywood royalty Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, her early years were not all sunshine and roses. Her most famous role was that of Princess Leia in the Star Wars movie franchise. Like her off-screen counterpart, Leia was a bad-ass, smart mouthed woman who did not conform to the idea of what a woman (and a princess) should be. She also lived with bipolar disorder and addiction, demons that stayed with her until the very end.

I loved this book. As much as I knew about Ms. Fisher before I read it, I learned even more. She was intelligent, incredibly funny, smartass, loyal to those she loved, and vulnerable. What made this one special was that it showed her humanity. It is a complete picture of a woman who has inspired generations of fans, women, and those living with mental illness to not be afraid of being who they are.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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I Stand With Naomi Osaka

Mental health is not a joke. Millions around the world suffer and live with it every day. The problem is that it does not get the same respect or treatment that physical health does.

In recent sports news, tennis player Naomi Osaka had to bow out of the French Open due to ongoing mental health issues. Instead of receiving the peace and the privacy that she needs to face her demons, she was attacked in the press and fined by the French Tennis Federation for not doing the expected interviews with the media. Among those who felt that they had the right to put their .2 in is Piers Morgan.

Does anyone notice that his response to Osaka’s decision was similar to the way he reacted to the interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry a few months ago? I think it says something about this man that he feels that he can publicly and verbally attack two women of color without getting any blowback.

I am grateful to those who have stood up for Osaka. If she has twisted her ankle and was laid up on the couch for a week, there would be crickets. But because she has chosen to step back and deal with her mental illness, everyone has an opinion. I have spoken frequently of my own mental health battles over the years on this blog. From my perspective, she made the right decision. As important as work is, we cannot function if we are unable to deal with what is holding us back.

I applaud her for being honest with herself and acknowledging the need for self care. My hope is that she will inspire others in a similar situation to do the same.

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WTF is Happening to this Country? Adam Toledo and the Indianapolis Shooting

There is a Chinese curse which says, “May he live in interesting times.” Interesting times is one way to explain what is happening in the United States.

Last week, a 13 year old boy was shot and killed by police in Chicago. His name was Adam Toledo. He was murdered because the officers believed that he had a gun. Adding salt to the wound was the reference by Fox News host and all around asshole Sean Hannity that this child was a fully grown man. I see two issues with this story.

  1. The blood of this young man is not just on the hands of the police officers who killed him. It is on everyone who played their part to get this supposed weapon into young Mr. Toledo’s hands.
  2. Our local and national law enforcement department must be able to do their jobs. But they have to get it into their heads and their training materials that they are not avenging angels. The police are just one link in the chain of the justice system.

May the memory of this boy be a blessing and finally get us off our asses to stop police brutality against Americans of color.

On Friday morning, a former employee of a FedEx facility in Indianapolis killed eight people. According to his mother, the man who was responsible for the murders had mental health issues.

In response to the umpteenth mass shooting in the United States since March, President Biden referred to this new wave as a national embarrassment. I can’t think of a better description of this unnecessary slaughter of innocent civilians. We can fix this problem, it doesn’t take a genius to put together a national law to prevent future events of this nature. The problem is that some Republican lawmakers are blind to the idea that any national gun control legislation does not infringe on the rights of gun owners who are of sound mind and followed the laws. It is a measure that desperately needed (and has been needed for more than two decades) to save lives.

I don’t know what it will take to wake this country up, but something has to be done.

Happy Sunday.

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Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath Book Review

The plot line of a biography is as follows: the person was born on x date, accomplished a, b, and c, and died on y date. From there, it is up to the writer(s) to add the details and color to the story they are telling.

Heather Clark’s biography of Sylvia Plath, entitled Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath, was published last October. Delving into Plath’s life and work (including The Bell Jar, one of my personal favorites), Clark takes the reader on a journey from Plath’s early years in New England in the 1930’s to her death in 1962 from lingering mental health issues. Using information that was previously unknown, Clark pulls information from interviews, unpublished works, and other documents to create a complete image of one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

If there was ever a blue print on how to write a compelling biography, this is it. When I finished reading this book, I felt like I knew her. Not just as a poet and a writer, but as a human being. As a reader, it is one thing to connect to your favorite writer based on their work. But when you get to know them as an ordinary person, that is where magic happens.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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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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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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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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