Mental Illness – Alzheimer

By Peter Holley
2004

“It really is the long, long goodbye,” she told Wallace of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

“When you come right down to it, you’re in it alone, and there’s nothing that anybody can do for you,” she added, her stoic eyes turning watery. “So it’s lonely.” – Nancy Reagan speaking about President Ronald Reagan.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Source: Alzheimer Society Canada

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that destroys brain cells, causing thinking ability and memory to deteriorate over time. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, and is irreversible.

Alzheimer is now the most common type of the disease, dementia. Like the dementia that I wrote about that was in Lillian, my best friend’s mother, it also changes the personality of the person. It’s target is the brain changing how the person thinks, acts, and feels. It is a slow acting disease that in the end leaves it’s target just an empty shell of once somebody that was vibrant with a twinkle in their eye.

The Alzheimer’s Society lists the different stages and the progression of the disease.

Early stage: Symptoms are mild. A person at this stage is fully aware of their condition and only needs minimal assistance, if requested.

Middle stage: Symptoms start becoming more noticeable. More assistance will be needed to help the person living with Alzheimer’s accomplish daily tasks.

Late stage: Once the person reaches this stage, they will eventually become unable to communicate verbally or look after themselves. Quality of care is important to ensure that the person has quality of life.

End-of-life: Cognitive decline has progressed to the point where the person needs 24-hour care. The focus shifts to palliative care and comfort to ensure quality of death.

Source: Alzheimer Society

Just recently my daughter wrote about her mother and how she is now living with her. It is my understanding that she is declining in her cognitive and physical.

I have not met a person who suffers from this form of dementia. Having watched Lillian decline over a couple of years was so difficult at the best of times. Alzheimer is no different, it robs it’s target and those who love them. It brings about a time of extreme stress giving the onlooker feeling helpless. If caught early, it is my understanding, that there are things to give the person a somewhat better quality of life.

So dear reader, again like I closed the previous post, I hope I live long enough to see some type of treatment to fight all the various forms of dementia mental illness!


© d. m. bourne

A Slow Decline

I met her shortly after becoming acquainted with my best friend. It was his mother, Lillian. She was a vibrant woman in her eighties who loved doing crossword puzzles, baking, and enjoyed a good laugh.

Every Christmas Eve I would have her and my best friend over for a small meal. I would sit and visit with them. One time my best friend was looking through some pictures of Lillian and myself when he noticed that in every picture his mother had a smile and others you could tell she was laughing.

I am not sure when things really began to change, but, I feel it was when she started losing her sight because of macular degeneration. She no longer could do her crosswords, bake, or even watch her favorite soap opera.

The time soon came that Lillian could no longer live on her own. The family had to place her in a long term care home. She really didn’t like it, of course I feel most don’t, but there were signs that something more was happening in Lilliam. She didn’t have the zip in her talk and she was having trouble recognizing people. I wasn’t long when she did not know her son, but, when I would go to see her, I would say, “hi mum”, she knew who I was.

There were days when after visiting Lillian that my best friend would come over and cry. His mother in her good days would never use expletives, but the Lillian in the care home would curse at the nurses, at her son. One time she bit a nurse who was trying to help her.

Dementia is a mental illness that many have never had to experience with, especially with someone they love. It seems that hollywood has no qualms about making fun of it, there is nothing funny about the disease. It slowly robs a person’s ability to be themselves, in their place it leaves a person hardly recognizable.

So dear reader, I hope that I am alive when they find an answer that can bring about some type of a cure for the mental illness.

Myths About Mental Illness

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” Glenn Close


According to the Canadian Mental Health Association they list ten common myths. I am going to some posts about each of those myths.

Here is the list:

Myth # 1 – Mental illnesses aren’t real illnesses

Myth # 2 – Mental Illnesses will never affect me.

Myth # 3 – Mental Illnesses are just excuses for poor behaviour.

Myth # 4 – Bad parenting causes mental illnesses.

Myth # 5 – People with mental illnesses are violent and dangerous.

Myth # 6 – People don’t recover from mental illnesses.

Myth # 7 – People who experience mental illnesses are weak and can’t handle stress.

Myth # 8 – People who experience mental illnesses can’t work.

Myth # 9 – Kids can’t have a mental illness like depression. Those are adult problems.

Myth # 10 – Everyone gets depressed as they grow older. It’s just part of the aging process.


Over the course of looking into the facts about each and every myth let’s have a conversation about mental illnesses and the myths that are floating around the subject.

So dear reader along with this series I am still looking into the Suicide Myths. I hope you will join the conversation!

Three Top Posts

For this post I have decided to share three posts that many have liked over time.

For some of you these posts are new, for others you may remember them. If not, take time to read them.

As always take some time to visit the other blogger’s. You will find so much fine written posts. Posts covering a multitude of issues.

ENJOY!


The Interview With Mental @ Home

Excerpt:

  1.  Apart from your bio on your blog what is something that maybe others would love to learn about you? 

I’ve shown some of this in blog posts, but I did a lot of travelling in my 20s and 30s.  I’ve been to 4 continents besides my own, and I’ve been to 37 countries, if I recall correctly.

Read more at: The Interview With Mental @ Home

You can read Ashley L. Peterson’s Post at: Mental Health & Home


First Guest Post: Letter To Self #MILLENNIALLIFECRISIS

Excerpt:

Letter To A Depressed Self

Dear Self,

So, this is depression.

This is complete and utter, downright sadness day in and day out.

This is heartbreak and heartache and consistent anxiety about everything that happens.

So this is the new normal. This is what I get. This is who I am now. I’ve tried to hide from it for a long time, but the truth is, running has done me no favors.

Read more: First Guest Post: Letter To Self #MILLENNIALLIFECRISIS

You can read more of Vee’s posts at: Millennial Life Forces


Mental Health & Finances

Excerpt:

I feel everyone reading this will relate to parts of what I am about to write. Why, because money is the one area of our life that can either make life easy, or it can enslave us till our death.

Read more: Mental Health & Finances

You can read more of my posts at: rts-Facing the Challenges of Mental Health


The Interview- Overcoming OCD – Mark Wester

Excerpt:

Mark for the readers and myself tell us something about yourself that is not on your blog.

I have been telling a lot about myself on my blog so it’s actually pretty difficult to think of something that’s worth mentioning and that I have never talked about but let me try. I was raised in a very multicultural family – I am of Hungarian, Romanian, German and Jewish origin – and I think it’s because of my family background that I love learning foreign languages and I am addicted to traveling. I have been to most of European countries and my dream is to travel the whole world – obviously, only when the pandemic is over.

Read more: The Interview – Overcoming OCD – Mark Wester

You can read more of Mark’s posts at: Overcoming Ocd


I Can Handle This

 “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” — Joshua J. Marine”


In the late eighties I was a passenger on a motor bike going home from work. It was a bright August day in Ontario, Canada when the driver rear ended the car in front of us. The impact sent me flying causing me to land on my backside. I couldn’t move and I probably would have been hit by the cars passing by on the highway, but an ambulance stopped to help get me to the side of the road. Another one came placed me on a backboard to transport me to the hospital.

After the usual tests, x-rays and such I was admitted and taken to my room. I really do not remember much of the first night, but on the next morning a nurse was coming into the room with a tray of things. I moved to look at her, I shocked her and she dropped the tray. I asked her what was the matter. She said, “Mr. Bourne I just came from report and it says that you would be a quadra paraplegic”. When the physician came by he explained to me about my back, he told me that everything was ripped away from my spine. He also was amazed that I was moving around.

I told that to say this, it is a scary time again around here the positivity rate of Covid-19 is on the rise. Governments are trying to get a grip on things. I haven’t left my house lately not even for a doctor’s appointment.

I been thinking about an upcoming surgery for a hip replacement. At times I get concerned about it, questions coming to mind, like, “will I be able to walk afterwards?”. Things like that, things for the most part will never happen, so really there is no need to fuss about it.

Faced with a myriad of things sometimes it is difficult to find something positive to fixate on. Bad news seems to permeate from all corners of the world, not much good news out there. Oh, yes, sometimes there may be a story of human interest that makes me feel warm inside, but, they are few and far in between.

So dear reader, I remind myself I have been through some very tough times and lived to tell it about it. So, I will once again make it through to the other end of the tunnel.

I leave you with a final thought. Anne Murray sang a song some time back, “A Little Good News Today”. I have included it here. Hope you enjoy it! It is needed at this time!

Ode To Depression

Reader, I am trying something for the first time. I am not sure what to call it, so I will just call it a form of poetry.


It’s there peeking around every corner,

Waiting for an invite to be my buddy again

I remember the feeling,

Allowing me to wallow in self pity

With power to make it vanish,

Red pill, blue pill, yellow pill, thrown in my mouth

With water to chase them back

Like the wicked witch these pills scream,

“I’m drowning, I’m drowning…”

So with that said,

I will close with this,

Good bye my old friend, good bye!

© d. m. bourne

The Crippling Panic Attack

“No amount of me trying to explain myself was doing any good. I didn’t even know what was going on inside of me, so how could I have explained it to them?”
― Sierra D. Waters, Debbie.


Back in the early nineties I was working in a fast food chain as a morning manager. I was going through a rough time. I didn’t know what was happening within me at that time, but a sudden rush of complete panic would wash over me. It was like a was staring at the meanest guard dog and frozen in my tracks.

There was a walk -in clinic just around the corner from where I lived and went to see a doctor. I explained to him how I was feeling and he gave me a prescription for Prozac. They seemed to work but they left me feeling dazed all the time.

I quit the job and moved back into the Kitchener area into a bachelor apartment. A new grocery food chain had opened just down the block. Since I was having trouble coping in crowds I decided to have a friend take me there around midnight. I was doing fine with the shopping and was nearing finishing up. Then a horrible panic attack hit me, the worse I have had to that time. The “fight or flight” kicked in, I turned leaving the cart full of groceries and ran back to my apartment.

For those who have never suffered a panic attack would find it hard to understand. I am not sure I even have the words to describe it fully. They seem to come from out of nowhere, no rhyme or reason, they just hit you like a medicine ball taking the wind out of your body. They leave you frozen on the spot with nerves jumping at every movement around you.

Here is what Anxiety and Depression Association of America writes about Panic Disorder:

Panic Disorder Symptoms

A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself) Listen to this podcast.
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of dying

I have learned over the years on how to handle a panic attack should they hit while I am out doing shopping. I just stop wherever I am at, start concentrating on my breathing with deep breaths then exhale. I do this until I feel calm again. I do not stop to consider what others may be thinking about what I am doing.

Panic attacks though not seen, except from a person’s reactions, are so very real. They bring on a sense of danger, horror, even feeling like you might die of a heart attack.

So dear reader if you or someone you know suffers with Panic Disorder you have my sympathies! For those who do not suffer, but, know someone who does, please be patient with them, try using calming words to help them focus and bring themselves back to calm.

Suicide Myths – #2 – Talking About It

Myth – People Who Are Talking About Suicide Never Commit It

Fact:

Those who are talking about it may well be on their way of actually committing suicide.

In 2004 after my grandmother died I entered the darkest and deepest depression that I have ever known. I just couldn’t cope, I started fixating on suicide. After a month or so I started to give away the frozen foods in my freezer. Also, was thinking about who I could give some of my other household items, such as; television, stereo, computer, etc., It took awhile for my best friend to realize what was happening. I remember standing in my living room with both of us having tears streaming down our faces. I am not sure how long we stood there before I relented and admitted that I needed help. I found that help in the Mental Health Ward of the hospital.

I wonder how many people who were talking about it that didn’t have a friend to talk them out of committing the act of suicide. Did that friend shrug it off believing the myth that they wouldn’t follow through with it?

How did the family and friends feel as they walked by the casket of the person who talked about suicide and then followed through? Do they wish that they should have intervene to get them somewhere to receive help?

On the NV state suicide prevention has this list to help you if someone you know is talking about taking their own life.

  • Encourage him/her to talk further and help them to find appropriate counseling assistance.
  • Ask if the person are thinking about making a suicide attempt.
  • Ask if the person has a plan.
  • Think about the completeness of the plan and how dangerous it is. Do not trivialize plans that seem less complete or less dangerous. All suicidal intentions are serious and must be acknowledged as such.
  • Encourage the young person to develop a personal safety plan. This can include time spent with others, check-in points with significant adults/ plans for the future.

So dear reader never assume that a person who is talking about suicide won’t commit suicide! Encourage them to seek professional help!

A New Interview – Angie of Mama Coffee Chat

I am not sure when I first came across Angie’s blog, Mama Coffee Chat, a blog that I found worth following. I would encourage you to stop by and visit her blog. Say hello to her!

About a week ago I contacted her about interviewing her. Below is the interview.

1. On your site you have, “Life in between cold cups of coffee and figuring out who I am.” Can you tell us how much have you decided of who you are? 

First, I just want to say that I love that you used the phrase “Decided who I am”. That’s a powerful statement.   

I have decided that I am enough. It really doesn’t matter what others think or what they say…I am truly enough. I can have boundaries, and I am strong enough to keep those boundaries in place. I am an awesome friend, I am a great mother to all 3 of my kids, I am a caring and hardworking wife to my husband of 20+ years. I have also decided that I love adventures and meeting new people (although I still enjoy my alone time!) I love testing my fears (within limit) and I love to try new things! It’s part of the adventure! Oh yes, and I’ve also decided I really don’t like cold coffee 🙂 

2. Tell us some of what Angie was like growing up.

Wow. That’s a big question to answer. There’s many levels. I was quiet, loved to play on my own. I got along well others of all ages but once play time was over I would gladly (and quickly!) retreat to a corner for alone time again. I always enjoyed school. I was disappointed if I got anything lower than an A. I was a perfectionist. I was a rebellious teen but usually tried to stay out of trouble. Something I didn’t realize until just a couple of years ago is that I was also extremely brave and strong and more responsible than most my age. I was (and AM) a survivor. I lost myself while growing up through all the abuse, like many do. 

3. Why did you start blogging?

I originally started so I could share recipes and I hoped it would help me with my mental health. I needed to try and “find” myself again. Re-learn who I am and what I kinds of things I like, not what I’m expected to like.

4. Have you reached your goal from blogging?

Far from it! If I could set a goal and stick to it, it would help. I have many goals and I keep adding to the list, but I have a hard time actually finishing. My mind is always all over the place.

5. Where do you see Angie ten years from now?

Ten years from now things are going to look much different. My youngest will be getting his drivers permit, my oldest will be 20! I hope to be spending more time at the lake in nature. I see myself sitting on the sand by the water reading or drawing (how I miss drawing!) I see myself in a place of better mental health. 

6. Which is your favorite genre of reading and why?

My favorite genres by far are Crime-Fiction, Thriller and Psychological Thriller.  I have read some great books of all genres, but few are as satisfying as a good crime fiction novel!

7. Which is your favorite genre of music and why?

The answer to this depends on the mood I’m in. I really love classic rock from the 60’s and 70’s. I also listen to Tchaikovsky and Garth Brooks. Barbara Streisand and Pretty Reckless. My favorite bands are Metallica and ACDC but regardless of the mood I’m in, I’m always up for some good ol’ Rock and Roll.

8. Do you have any heroes living or dead?

I don’t have anyone that I would consider a “hero”. Not in the sense of someone to rely on if the world was in chaos or a giant clown spider was taking over the city. In that case, I turn to God. I do have people I look up to and highly respect. There are three people that I can think of off the top of my head that would belong in this category.

9. Why are they your heroes?

My cousin: She keeps me on the right track with my mental health, always a positive “You can do it” attitude. She’s a wonderful mother who almost always manages to guide her children with love and kindness.

Oprah: Despite all she had against her, she came out on top and better in spite of it all. 

Princess Diana: An example of a true Princess. She gave her time, her heart and her soul to many people. There are too many reasons to name as to why I look up to her.

10. Why did you choose recipes to blog about?

I chose recipes mainly because I love to bake! I never really learned to bake until after I was married, and my cooking wasn’t anything to write home about either. My meals are always pretty basic because I find I don’t always have the focus to try something elaborate. Maybe once the kids are a bit older. Baking is my creative outlet. Yet it still has to be pretty simple! I share the recipes for those (like me) who don’t have much knowledge in the area and may be a bit scared to try new things. Easy recipes have a higher success rate and therefore will boost your confidence to try something bigger!

11. Do you have a favorite recipe and what is it?

This is a hard one. I’m going to have to say my favorites would be cinnamon buns and whipped shortbread.

I wish to say thank you Dwain, for the opportunity to hear my voice and learn a little about myself as well. For some, these might seem like easy questions, but it has helped me remember why I started my blog and where I was when I began. A couple of the questions made me really have to think about how I wanted to answer. My heroes, my favorite music or books…These are things that were answered FOR me previously and so I needed to really focus on hearing MY voice. It’s hard to see yourself shine through all the tarnish when you come from a childhood of abuse. 


Thank you Angie for a wonderful interview!

Mental Fatigue

“One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.”- John Lennon

Mental Fatigue

Definition: Mental fatigue is a condition triggered by prolonged cognitive activity. Basically, it sends your brain into overdrive, leaving you exhausted, hampering your productivity and overall cognitive function.

Symptoms: Constantly feeling tired, overwhelmed, or unable to focus are signs of mental fatigue — a condition that affects many of us at some point in life. Sep 28, 2018 –Global News


Over the past week I have been feeling tired, not able to put words into sensible sentences. My thoughts seem muddled, confused, and out of sync from the rest of my physical and emotional state.

I do not carry a medical degree, yet, what I have described probably fits with many other maladies that people experience. So, always speak to your Medical Advisor when seeking treatment. Self-diagnosis is never a good thing, and not recommended.

I have noticed in my most recent history that I have gone to post fourteen days in a row, then a total bomb -out. I agree with the definition of mental fatigue. That could be why I have not been able to put together a post to publish. Like the body, the mind also needs periods of rest. First part of the remedy tune out the political mayhem that is happening south of the Canadian border. Also, stay away from any heavy drama, like my favorite, Law & Order SVU.

My number one blog that I like to turn to about all things in Mental Health is mental health & home with editor Ashley L. Peterson. So, maybe she would have a better way to explain this condition. I would welcome her input. Of course, I have not warned her about this post ahead of time, sorry Ashley.

Well, there you have it, a short post about the issue I have been experiencing over the last week.

So dear reader, I would like to hear about your remedies on defeating mental fatigue!

Here We Go Again, aaarrrggghhh!

“The challenge is, the end isn’t coming soon. But it’s coming, and what we need to do is try to have as few [COVID-19] cases as possible between now and the time a vaccine arrives.” CBC, Oct 24, 2020


I started to write this post several days ago, well, at least in my mind. Yet, when I thought I had it together I would sit down at my laptop and the words didn’t seem as great as what was in my thoughts. So, scrub them and hit the trash.

Earlier this week the news started looking grim. I thought to myself, “here we go again”. The number of positive cases of covid-19 started ticking upwards across Canada, America, and around the world.

Once again like earlier this year shutdowns began to take place. In and around Saskatoon, Saskatchewan the Health Minister began ordering the shutdown of bars and clubs.

My mind then turned towards south of the Canadian border. People losing more jobs, rents/mortgages coming due, and no relief coming from big brother. I think about the children once again as schools have been forced to close once more. Schools for many children is the only source to a hot meal.


In America alone the number of deaths are climbing towards five hundred thousands. I thought about the Spanish flu pandemic, about the number of dead reaching 50,000,000 (Source: CDC).

In just one decade later the world would experience the greatest depression lasting four years until 1933. It began in 1929 after the crash on Wall Street. People lost their jobs, their homes, businessmen committing suicide, and long lines outside soup kitchens.

Psychological Impact Of The Great Depression

Historian Harvey Green argues that domestic violence and child abuse increased during the Depression. Family disputes over finances, food, and other basic necessities caused tensions to increase. Men and boys often simply fled the home out of embarrassment, frustration, or the inability to cope with the new economic reality. Thousands of people, young and old, became traveling hobos, riding the rails in search of work or some form of relief.


This is a great challenge for everyone’s mental health. If history is our teacher, this writer believes it is, the number will rise in police calls of heated arguments, abuse spousal and child. I know here in my own city there is already one soup kitchen. With the onset of winter there is a greater demand for homeless shelters. The Salvation Army will probably see an increase of requests for a Christmas hamper. In previous years churches would put together a Christmas dinner for all those who were alone. This year may see a challenge how they can serve the people in the city.

I normally do not write such a long post, but, these thoughts having been weighing on my mind.

So dear reader, it looks like “here we go again”!

Choices, Which Way Turn Right?


“Every test in our life makes us bitter or better, every problem comes to break us or make us. The choice is ours whether we become victim or victor.” Anonymous


For as long as I can remember I have always made choices in haste. The results on the better part of the percentage was that it was the choice. Those wrong choices caused me to spend unnecessary time and effort working to correct them.

Try as I might I have leaned towards the pessimistic side of every equation. I could blame it on my upbringing, maybe low self-esteem, but it was a matter that being a pessimist looked to be easier, the safest bet to make. The other side being a optimist looked like it would need hard work if I chose going in that direction. I can look back and say was I wanted the easy way out.

I have been asking the question lately, could it be a part of fighting as a bi-polar mindset. Here is some of the research I found:


Pessimism

When to be concerned: With depressive pessimism, the negativity a person experiences is exaggerated compared to the reality of the situation. In fact, pessimistic thinking often precedes any specific event. A person may simply think: It’s going to be another bad day.

The negative viewpoint may not be limited to a person’s external perception of the world; it can also be turned inward onto themselves. Someone who is depressed might think thoughts like, No one likes me.

This negativity may also pervade a person’s self-concept or sense of their abilities. For instance, they may look at a Help Wanted ad and think: There’s no point in applying for that job—I would never get it.

When someone is depressed their perspective on how the world is, as well as who they are, is impaired by negative, often critical, patterns of thought. They may not be able to see (let alone feel) that they have good things in life to look forward to, that people who know them like and care about them, and that they are a capable person who has much to offer.”

https://www.verywellmind.com/difficult-moods-in-bipolar-depression-379838

It looks like I am not alone in my thinking about pessimism and bipolar are linked together. Now, not everyone who is pessimistic is bipolar. That diagnosis is for a clinician to decide.

I am writing this post for it was a subject I wanted to explore. I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, I will leave it at this.

So dear reader what are your thoughts about this issue?

Sometimes You Just Have To…

“Nothing is more exhausting than the task that’s never started.”
― Gretchen Rubin, Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to Make More Room for Happiness


While growing up my mother expected us, myself and four siblings, to do chores. The first chore that was assigned to us was to make our bed before leaving for school. As we grew older there were other things for us to do. I was responsible for the yard, cutting, raking, and shoveling. My sister when they were old enough to handle the stove were to start dinner so that our mother would finish up when she arrived home from work. When I entered high school I learned how to wash my clothes.

There were many times that I would grumble, out of the range of my parents hearing, why isn’t someone else helping with these things. I look back on those times and to be truthful, I am thankful for learning those tasks. I know how to keep a house, washing clothes, cooking, and yes, baking. I learned to bake from my grandmother.

Striving to achieve great mental health there are things that I have learned that sometimes I just have to do them.

Here is a list:

  • eat properly
  • keep a hygiene regiment
  • limit the intake of negativity. This includes, television, some negative people, family and friends.
  • take time to enjoy a hobby, reading, writing, or a craft
  • make sure to take all medications at the proper time

For the last several moths I have been returning to reading, not e-books, but, actual hard cover. I forgot the joy there is in reading printed on paper, joy of turning the page manually.

So, dear reader, sometimes you just have to do it!

I Think I Can…Repeat…Repeat

“Want a reliable road to emotional and spiritual suicide? Spend your life trying to fit in.”
― Brandon Mull

For all my life I really felt that I didn’t fit in. I couldn’t hang out with the jocks, my body was too thin, no muscular definition. I really felt uncomfortable around the egg heads. Don’t get me wrong, I was smart enough, had good grades in most subjects, but somehow I just didn’t think I was brainy.

My grade eight teacher didn’t help how I looked at myself when he showed up at the door while we were eating dinner. He wanted my mother to hold me back a year for he thought I was too small to enter high school. My mother declined the idea so come fall I registered for grade nine at the school of my choosing.

During high school I basically kept to myself, well not really, during lunch breaks you could find me sitting at a table with other guys playing cards, Euchre was the favorite game. When it came time in the day for gym I was very self-conscience in the change room, I just wanted to melt into the walls, change my clothes and make an exit as fast as possible.

After the school day I would make my way home, drop my books, change clothes, then head out the door, either to baby sit my cousins, or dropping of a paper called “Penny Saver”. If it was summer I would have some type of part time work. Also, I had around the neighborhood where I would take care of their lawns.

Even to this day I have bouts where I feel inferior. I don’t socialize much with anybody, basically a home body. It’s not that I don’t like being with people, but, I find myself struggling to think of something to talk about other than the niceties of, “how are you”, that small talk.

It’s has been that all this week, feeling awkward searching for words, with my thoughts being disjointed leaving me feeling frustrated.

So dear reader my motto for this upcoming week is, “I think I can, I think I can…repeat”!

A Re-blog: Anxiety: Stop Negative Thoughts — Readers choices

I found this post written by Dr Kalpana Mishra. Give it a read, I hope you will click the “like” on her post.


Anxiety: Stop Negative Thoughts Anxiety is having too much fear and worry. Some people have what’s called generalized anxiety disorder. They feel worried and stressed about many things. Often they worry about even small things. Some people also may have panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden feeling of extreme anxiety. People who have social anxiety […]

Anxiety: Stop Negative Thoughts — Readers choices

S.A.D.

 “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” –Robert Louis Stevenson


I am going to be honest in that I am not familiar with S.A.D.{Seasonal Affective Disorder}. However, it is my understanding that it usually will show it’s head in seasons like winter. With the onset of winter coming I thought about this when I woke up this morning.


Here is how The Mayo Clinic speaks about S.A.D.:

Overview

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.

Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications and psychotherapy.

Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.


So dear reader I truly hope that this helps your understanding about S.A.D.{Seasonal Affective Disorder. There are plenty of sites that can give you a deeper understanding of this disorder.

A Re-Blog: Mental Illness in the Third World – More Refutation of Anti-Psychiatry — Mind You

The images in this post will shock you! I couldn’t believe the horrific way people with mental illness were treated!


By Marvin Ross A recent BBC report describes the horrific conditions for those living with serious mental illness in Nigeria. The article begins with “Some adults, said to be mentally ill, were found with iron chains around their ankles, and forced to eat, sleep and defecate within the same confined place. In one case, a […]

Mental Illness in the Third World – More Refutation of Anti-Psychiatry — Mind You

A Re-Blog: Why Excessive Hand Washing Is Not My Main “OCD Problem” During The Pandemic — Overcoming OCD

What is it like to live with OCD in times of a pandemic? Well, every person has their own answer to this question and I think it is time to share mine. The other day, I was reading through articles about OCD in the age of COVID-19 and one thing I noticed was that the […]

Why Excessive Hand Washing Is Not My Main “OCD Problem” During The Pandemic — Overcoming OCD

A Re-Blog: 2020 World Mental Health Day — Women & Well Being

World Mental Health Day is celebrated every year on October 10th. It was established October 10, 1992 by Richard Hunter. Hunter was the Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health. The top 5 warning signs: Long term sadness or irritability Extreme high and low mood swings Excessive fear, worry or anxiety Social […]

2020 World Mental Health Day — Women & Well Being

The Hauntings of My Mind

“What is the present if not the graveyard of the past where, for each of our deeds we dig a grave. Everything we do today will be buried there. The good deeds rest in peace, while the bad ones rise from the graves to haunt us.”
― Mladen Đorđević, Svetioničar – Pomračenje


During an extended stay in the hospital years ago from having pneumonia I developed pressure sores. After arriving home I had home care workers come in to care for the bed sores. It was a long time before they were able to say that I was well enough not to need any more care. I still have scars where those sores were. Every time I see them I am reminded of that time of illness.

So it is with my memories in my mind, they are they ever ready to roar to life haunting me.

The Queensland Brain Institute says this about how memories are formed:

Memories occur when specific groups of neurons are reactivated. In the brain, any stimulus results in a particular pattern of neuronal activity—certain neurons become active in more or less a particular sequence. … Memories are stored by changing the connections between neurons.Jul 23, 2018


The good memories are the ones that holds back the ones that howl, moan, and haunt my mind. It’s those latter ones that I keep looking for a way to short circuit them, to cleanse them from my head, but, try as I might they are there. There when I sleep, constantly there during my wakening hours.

vintage-1418613_1280

I remember a song in a stage play South Pacific, a musical. There are these women who start singing, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair”. So it is with these crazy thoughts of mine, I wanna wash them outa my head.

I am not a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, and definitely have no clue what Sigmund Freud would say about them. I am sure I probably could go for therapy all of the remaining days of my life.

The hauntings of ‘could’ve, would’ve, should’ve” are there to remind me of my shortcomings. Those times where my words could have been chosen better so that wouldn’t have caused someone to be hurt. The times when I didn’t do that thing which I knew was the correct thing to do, I chose to do nothing, the complete opposite.

Here is what I have learned, that I know. These are just that, memories, they really have no power of their own. The only way they can negatively affect me is if I give them the power to do so. I now consider them like a bad digital picture, if they are a bad one I have the power to right click on them and hit the delete button. I also can, and have learned when they come around ignore them, replace them with a positive memory or thought.

So dear reader I have learned to be my own ghost buster of the hauntings in my mind!

The Journey

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” Glenn Close

One thing that I have learned about living with mental health challenges is that every day is a new test, sometimes a stress test. The only choice it leaves me is to put one foot in front of the other.

There was only so much that group therapy could equip with you. It was great for I learned so many must tools for the challenges of being bi-polar. I consider this WordPress community as one big virtual group session. It has done for me many great things. The ability to be able to talk about my journey to great mental health. Everyone has something to share, an experience that brought them some joy, one who has to vent their feelings over a challenge that they are facing at a particular moment.

This journey leads up mountains, valleys, deserts, across rivers. There are times that the path is blocked by fallen trees, overgrown vegetation, yet still I have to keep moving focusing on reaching my great mental health.

There may be times when I am going to have to ask someone to help along the path, to help keep me upright when the road gets rocky.

When the nights get cold and loneliness tries to creep up on me, I remind myself that if I just hold fast the sun will rise again in the east to warm my spirit. It is also during those nights that I must remember I have passed through others and was successful, that I can do it again.

So dear reader let me take a few moments to say, Thank you! Thank you for being patience and kind during the past few posts where I shared some of my battles, my life, the journey I have been on trying to obtain great mental health!

Silent Screams

***Caution, I may write about some issues that might be a trigger to some.***


“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”
― Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine


Where were they when I would wake up from nightmares containing my family in a care crossing a river, terrified I was thinking that my father was going to drive us over the guard rails and into the river. It is funny that I am finally letting this issue out for I have never spoken about it.

Did they know I was lying when they asked me how did I get a bruise on my cheek, fearing if I said something it would cause another session of rage? If they did know why didn’t they speak up, tell the authorities, just why did they hear no evil?

I would go to school in the dark, go home in the dark praying that he was already in bed. I kept this silent because of the fear of confrontation. Fear keeping me from speaking out to someone who would hear some evil, afraid they wouldn’t believe me. I am sure there were some that could sense the air filled with tension, but they acted like they didn’t hear any evil.

I was screaming for help and finding little, everyone turned a deaf hear so that they wouldn’t hear those screams. I have finally left all that behind, I no longer have to scream in silence.

There are so many things that people refuse to hear:

  • The woman who has been raped
  • A battered spouse who thinks she is in a box, she/he is told that they cannot survive on their own.
  • The mother who stays in a abusive marriage because of the children.
  • The young girl who starts bed wetting again because of sexual abuse
  • All those young males who were sexually abused by the very ones who were suppose to protect them from the predators. The hierarchy develops a tin ear refusing to take action with the abusive clergy man.

There are many who like me are screaming for help but nobody wants to hear the screams.

So dear reader if you have someone coming to you screaming about their abuse, mental health issues give them your ears for them to tell their story. Have them sit down, bring them a coffee, tea, water, just listen, make no pre-judgments about their situation.

What You Don’t See

“I’d never known that I could feel this broken and whole at once.”
― Rachel L. Schade, Silent Kingdom


For this post and the following two I will be working around the above image, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

If I did not reveal that I had these you would never know, yes physical challenges are noticeable, sometimes a person’s age, gender. The parts of me that you don’t see are those emotional scars.

All of the diagnostic tests cannot reveal these traces of past hurts, some a long time ago, others distant memories, and even some which seem they are fresh. These scars reminds me of all the times I have been lied about, used, abused, some can even be reopened like ripping the scab of a fresh wound.

They can at times cloud my judgement screaming at me, “watch out they will turn on you”, “careful they only want something then disappear” “have you forgotten all the names they have called you”. Yes, if I am not diligent there will be decisions made with a hand on the scale of judgment.

Then there are those now when I look at them that only brings a smile. Remembering the good times I spent with my grandfather singing, or the times I would just call my mother just to hear her voice. Yes, they are gone, the scar remains, but for me they are still here somewhere within my being.

One positive note about those unseen scars, they have taught me not to make snap judgments about my fellow human being. To treat them they way I want to be treated. Be understanding when they seem to stand afar off, it just might be that they have scars of their own, more than likely they do. When it comes to my speech is to try my best to keep it civil.

So dear reader I recognize that life brings scars, scars do not heal quickly, they can be like the ghosts that spoke to Scrooge in Charles Dickens writings.

A Re-blog: The Depression Diaries — Beth McIntyre

Today I took some time to catch up on some tags that I follow. Below is one that caught my heart. Beth has a story to tell one that may help others. I have a feeling she is new to the WordPress community. After reading this post drop her a line in the comment section.


Entry 1. 15 September 2020. Bucharest, Romania. Hi. I’m Beth. I’ve struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. Well okay, not as long as I can remember, but for a long time. I was first diagnosed with depression at 13 (maybe 14?) years old. I turn 30 next month. I […]

The Depression Diaries — Beth McIntyre

What’s Your Value

Real success requires respect for and faithfulness to the highest human values-honesty, integrity, self-discipline, dignity, compassion, humility, courage, personal responsibility, courtesy, and human service. Michael E. DeBakey

Definition Human values are the virtues that guide us to take into account the human element when we interact with other human beingsHuman values are, for example, respect, acceptance, consideration, appreciation, listening, openness, affection, empathy and love towards other human beings.


Let me start with this statement: If you are breathing, you have value!

I have tried to recall if when growing up did I ever hear or read about self-esteem, knowing your value, sadly I cannot think of any one time that I did.

For most of my life I consider myself as a failure. All my heroes were comic super heroes. I did have one person that I looked up to, that made me feel great, that was my maternal grandfather. He wasn’t one to give hugs, or say ‘I love you’, but when you were with him you felt that he would protect you, that you were worth saving. I do have one picture of him holding his granddaughters, he had a huge smile sitting there in a pink wicker rocker.

I knew my mother loved me, that she supported me, but I cannot for the life of me ever verbally feelings like I was valued.

Before President Lyndon B Johnson signed the “Civil Rights Act’ in 1964 black people were considered less than a human being. Other words they did not have the same value attached to them like those who were white in skin color.

All people have value, they deserve to be treated as such, not like something we stepped on while walking. It makes no difference about skin color, culture, ethnicity.

When people are stripped of their value they loose respect for themselves, some begin to spiral into addiction. I said that remembering how I learned what was happening in Canada among our First Nation Community. Inadequate education, unsafe drinking water, uninhabitable housing, place on reservations. Oh yes, there has been some progress, but from my observation, it is almost moving in reverse.

When people fill they have value you can start to see their life gradually change. Their self-esteem starts to go up, they begin to take pride in their housing, and all other aspects of living.

People with value their interactions with others are what is stated above; “respect, acceptance, consideration, appreciation, listening, openness, affection, empathy and love towards other human beings.”

So dear reader every living human being has value and should be treated as such!