Calling All Minds!

“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.”
― Leo Babauta

I Need You To Put Your Mind In Gear!

I have now done several interviews. Just as those who participated are different, so it is with the type of questions I ask during the interview.

I have tried to gain an understanding of the person so that I can put together an interview that brings insight to those who are reading it.

Some questions are basically the same, but, then there are the ones that are drafted just for the specific person.

Here is what I am asking from the reader. I would like you to pose some questions that you would like to see incorporated into an interview. They can be of any subject, however, no “gotcha” or embarrassing questions. Your help would help spark creativity in my brain.

So dear reader give me some of your best questions! Leave your question/s in the comment section for me to gather together. Then watch for the interviews for your question just might be in the following interview/s!

Re-blog of My Code Of Honor

We should live, act, and say nothing to the injury of anyone. It is not only best as a matter of principle, but it is the path to peace and honor. Robert E. Lee
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/honor-quotes

***There have been many new readers since I first wrote this post. So, I decided to re-blog it.***


An article that Vee at https://millenniallifecrisis.org/2020/01/07/responding-to-weird-mean-comments-and-dms-and-emails/ gave me some inspiration for this blog post.

(clarification: It was the way people treated Vee that caused me to write this post)

My Code Of Honor

  • Treat everyone I interact with with Respect
  • When responding to a comment etc., treat them in a Dignified manner
  • Always try to Understand their point of view
  • When necessary use Sympathy and Empathy

I feel that the above list is a comprehensive way that I should act with all who visit, comment, follow, on this blog.

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!

Nominated For Outstanding Blogger Award Tag

Nominated by https://mentalhealth360.uk/

I would like to say thank you to Mental Health 360. I truly appreciate being nominated.

Questions:

When was the last time you had a really good belly laugh and who were you with?

It was with my best friend playing a game of Cribbage. He was joking around that he needed a certain card to turn up, it did, not once but three times in a row. Well we both busted a gut laughing about it.

If you could change one thing about people, what would it be?

If I could change this one thing about people it would be the torment that they are going through with their Mental Health challenges.

What and when was the last exciting thing that happened in your life?

Oh my, I guess that would be last Christmas while watching the grandchildren open the gifts I bought for them. It was a Fire 7 tablet.

Where would be your dream destination and why?

I think it would be to spend time in Ireland. When I was doing my family tree I learned that my paternal great grandfather was from there. I would like to try to find there area of where he lived growing up. Maybe find some relatives even if they are several times removed on the family tree.

Who would play you in a film, the story of your life, and why that person?

Good question. I am not quite sure. To be honest I cannot think of anyone. It may be to the fact I don’t follow television shows or movies that are in vogue at the moment.

What does the term mental health mean to you and is this something you talk about in general?

Mental health, I guess it would mean a stable mental condition. When I say stable I think I would mean without the help of medications.

Yes, I talk about my mental health when it is appropriate in a conversation. Talking about it helps dispel the myths that keep people from seeking help.

Why did you start blogging and what’s the main theme of your blog?

I first started my blog back in 2011 to speak about Scripture. What I believed back in time, then the journey I have taken and why I have changed my thoughts on certain issues.

Somewhere I began speaking about my challenges being manic depressive, bi-polar. It grew from there.

I now refer to it as my “Journey to Great Mental Health”.

Still Can Learn

“The way for a young man to rise is to improve himself in every way he can, never suspecting that anybody wishes to hinder him.” – Abraham Lincoln


Every once in awhile I need something to inspire me, to motivate me. It is easy to allow myself to enter into rut. It’s too easy just to sit in front of the television without any substance in the program. My body is on the couch or in bed but my mind is a total blank, something like one would see in the old television series, “Twilight Zone”.

I believe it was this past Thursday I either read or heard it that President Lincoln had no formal education, but was a lawyer before he was assassinated. That was like a punch to my forehead.

The other day while reading a post on Ashley’s blog Mental Health@Home she did a book review “Don’t Believe Everything You Feel“. So, I turned on my Fire 7 tablet, searched for the book, bought the e-book and now I am in the midst of reading it.

With the onslaught of winter approaching means it is time to read even more. I love reading the headlines in the papers, the blogs here on WordPress. My interests vary widely in what I read everything from biographies, crime, how to’s, all things Bible.

So dear reader, if President Lincoln can teach himself law to become a lawyer, I guess I can do my best to keep on learning!

Christian’s Interview

I believe I came upon Christian’s blog, “Translating Gender” back in June while looking for some posts about Pride Month.

While reading some of his posts I could feel his emotion as he wrote about his journey. So several days ago I asked Christian if I could interview him.

Following is Christian’s Interview. I feel you will see a man who has had his battles, still is.


Christian’s Interview for RTS

Christian tell the readers and myself something about you that is not found on your About Page.

I am a life coach, writer, traveler.  I wander for the sake of wandering and wondering.  For the longest time I thought I wanted to figure out who I am but I realize that identity is a moving target, or maybe not even a target at all, rather; identity is somewhat of an illusion.  We all have everything inside of us and I have chosen exactly who I want to be although I’d rather enjoy the journey instead of living my life as a means to an end.  I believe that, what we focus on expands.  I want to make a difference in this world.  I love astrology and I feel most in tune with myself when traveling and in fact, I have a road trip planned in October.  Stay tuned!

Why did you start a blog? What is your goal or expectation for your blog in the future?

When I first started the blog, it was a personal challenge to share myself, be less private, and “put myself out there”.  I have always been extremely private and by hiding myself I was hiding an opportunity to have a positive impact on people.  I wanted to conquer my own fear of judgement in order to be seen.  By being vulnerable, I gift others the opportunity to allow themselves to be vulnerable. This promotes deeper connections and I thrive off of intense, deep, transformative periods of growth.  I wanted to transcend boundaries- the boundaries people impose on themselves and also between each other.  I wanted to get people thinking that we are all more alike than different.

Eventually, I want to compile all the posts into a book to get published.  My hope is that my story can help others feel a little less alone and bring all people together.

Initially, I was obsessed with reaching as many people as possible but now I realize that if I can positively influence the life of one person, I have achieved success by my own definition.

Can you tell the readers and myself Christian, what it means to be transgender and how does it differ from all others in the LGBTQ community?

Being transgender means that I did not (and do not) identify with the gender assigned to me at birth.  I was labeled as female at birth which they determined only by genitalia but I identify and feel like a man, not a woman.  Transgender is a spectrum not a binary meaning people can identify as a man, a woman, both or neither and fall somewhere on a diverse spectrum.  Being transgender relates to gender as opposed to gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. which relate to sexual orientation.  Sexual orientation and gender are two different things.

When did you realize that you were different and are transgender?

I actually did not realize it until 2013 around the age of 30.  I did not come out until the age of 36.  I had a happy childhood and had all the normal milestones and successes and did not really know what being transgender actually meant.  I did not have a concept or the language to understand or articulate that a person could identify as the opposite gender from the one they were socialized and raised as.  It took 5 years for me to fully understand my transgender identity so that helped me to have an immense amount of compassion now for those who do not understand me or people like me.

I guess I am “different” but everyone is different and that is what makes us alike and beautiful.  People are afraid of what they don’t understand but when you remove all the societal or self-imposed labels, it is clear that we are all connected by universal human emotions and energy.

How did you break the news to family, friends, and co-workers?

Coming out to family was hard; coming out to myself was harder.  As far as coming out to family, there is never a perfect time to do it.  It came down to biting the bullet and stepping into the unknown.  I actually emailed my parents and sent a written letter via mail to my grandmother.  I told some of my co-workers one-to-one and also had a team meeting. Most importantly, coming out was a process not a definitive moment in time.  I “came out” to my girlfriend over a period of years which entailed a process of “testing the waters” and ongoing conversations as my understanding and self-awareness developed.  It was difficult to articulate something that I didn’t fully understand myself.

What type of reactions did you hear? Which one those reactions shocked you?

Some people said “Oh you don’t seem like a boy.”  Others thought it could be a phase.  Fortunately, most people were supportive and were happy for me that I my authentic self was now on display and saw coming out as brave.  Nothing shocked me but I was pleasantly surprised by how supportive people were.  As humans, I guess we tend to worry about the worst-case scenario which can be paralyzing.  In reality, I felt like I gave loved ones the opportunity to expand their minds, their worldview, and their sense of compassion for those who are different from them.  I also felt like people were better able to see their own sense of bravery through me.

Do you have a robust support system in place? Can you explain where you draw support from?

In September 2017 I started seeing a therapist – Dr. April Owen who had a profound effect on my life.  She believed in me and affirmed my gender identity.  After 5 years of working through internalized transphobia and the feeling that I could be crazy, she made me feel normal.  With her support, I was able to transition and words cannot convey how grateful I am to her.  If I could change just one person’s life in the way that she changed mine, I would die a happy person.   This is one of the reasons I chose to go into life coaching.   I also feel so much gratitude for my partner as she has stood by me through everything and with her support, I was able to transition without feeling like I could loose her.  Our process was not an easy one but she is open-minded and loves me as a person so whether I looked like a man or woman did not matter to her. I am full of gratitude for her. Her support bolstered my confidence to trust my truth of self.  We have been happily together for nine years!  My parents love me unconditionally so that provided a foundation of support as well.

Name one myth, if you can correct it for the readers and myself?

Myth#1: Transgender people all live unhappy, abnormal lives devoid of healthy relationships.  False.  Many transgender people live successful, happy, fulfilling lives and enjoy good relationships, meaningful jobs and friendships just like everyone else.  Trans people are normal people. 

Myth#2:  You can spot a transgender person.  False.  Many times, you cannot tell the difference between a trans person and a non-trans person.  You have probably met a transgender person without even knowing it.

What type of support would you tell somebody that wants to take the step to live as transgender?

Get a gender-affirming therapist, counselor or life coach who specializes in transgender issues.  Meet other transgender people in your community or at least online, through Facebook groups for example.  Being around other transgender people is important in normalizing transgender and also feeling a sense of solidarity.  Become mindful and develop good boundaries.  Know that your transgender journey can be different from everyone else’s and there is no right or wrong way to be transgender.  Be cognizant of your negative self-talk; you are worthy, you are normal, you are good enough, and you have the bravery and confidence to live life as your authentic being despite what society thinks of you!

Where do you see your life going as a transgender in the future?

I feel like the possibilities are endless and this is the most exciting and empowering feeling.  If I have the courage to come out as transgender, I believe I have the courage to do anything. I believe that everyone has the courage to be who they want to be!  Right now, I am focusing on my life coaching business so that I can help other transgender people and parents of transgender children.  I eventually want to write and have books published and also partner with other transgender people in the community to make the biggest impact possible.  I have a passion for helping society to re-frame how we think about being transgender and normalizing the transgender experience.  Transgender people are ahead of the times and I with a compassionate mindset, I want to help the rest of society catch up.  Adopting a wider perspective on gender not only liberates trans people, it liberates all people from self-limiting definitions of existence.

If there is someone reading this wants to talk with you can they email you, or any other type of communication?

Yes, I can be reached by email at:

ChristianJCoach@gmail.com

translating-transgender.blog

chrisjcoach.com

Facebook: Out and Proud Life Coaching

IG:@ ChristianJCoach


I truly hope that you found Christian’s story enlightening. Now take a minute a read his posts at: Translating Transgender

Christian, thank you so much for this interview. You provided us insight concerning transgender!


I am looking for others to interview. If that is you send a message by using the Contact Page. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Mental Health & Access To Healthcare


***Let me state that I truly do not understand the healthcare system for my neighbors to the south of the border***


Yesterday I just happened to look at all my medications, on how much they would cost me if I did not have compassionate help from my province. That left me uneasy because I can see the top of the hill when I will turn sixty-five.

I read and hear in the news about the price of prescriptions keep going higher. There are those who must make a choice, medication or basic necessities.

Then there are the wait times for diagnostic scans. My last MRI I waited nine months. I am now waiting again for another one.

I realized yesterday that when I write about mental health I write it with a bit of a bubble. I forget that not everyone has basic healthcare for free.

I cannot imagine how many in America at this time, this place, are coping especially when it comes to health care. All I understand is that in the States you have to buy coverage through an insurance company. So I guess if you do not have that insurance you have no access to the healthcare system.

It is my understanding that the emergency departments are overwhelmed at the best of times, I hear that for some it is the only access they have to seek medical help. Then what, the Physician gives you a prescription but if you cannot afford it then basically you still do not have access to the system.

Now life has so many challenges, housing, food, school, taxes, and health. It can be smooth if you have a job to go to, that pay a living wage where you are not below the poverty line.

Now add to all of that a new challenge, mental health issues. It must be feel like hell if you are one of those who cannot access healthcare.

I am sure that there are horrendous stories right here in my own country of Canada. I can remember how my grandparents did not jump to go to see a doctor, they had remedies they would use instead. It came to my thought the reason for this. Canada at one time did not have the healthcare system that we have now. They would have had to pay for the doctor’s visit, pay for child birth. My generation and those that follow know nothing else but our current system.

So dear reader to have good mental health you need to have access to good healthcare! My heart goes out to those who are struggling at this time!

Dear Reader

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia


Dear Reader:

I wish I could sit down with you over coffee, listen to you about your life experiences, but that is not possible, so I decided to write instead.

I have gone through a transformation that started when I left the ministry. I could no longer with sincerity a gospelize a message that seemed to exclude rather than include.

During this process I sought to learn about others, those of different ethnicity. Those who love others of the same gender, to listen to the atheist to understand why they don’t believe in God. I found all I had to do was start the conversation then sit and just listen to their personal story.

I use to consider myself an evangelical, I no longer make that claim. To be honest I am somewhat baffled by the things they have placed their stamp of approval on. Things that they use to preach against.

Listening without prejudice I found is the biggest step, to cast aside all those things that we have allowed our sight to become clouded. Many of the things I have learned in my life just didn’t fit with how I was starting to feel on this road to transformation.

I have always cheered for the down and out. The one who has been bruised and scarred feeling like life has dealt them a bad hand.

When I first started this blog I had a vision, a vision that would give people a hand up, an open hand, never a clenched fist. I did not know how to go about what I had envisioned, but now I believe that I can bring forth what I saw.

The upcoming two Interviews come from totally different arenas. The first Interview was a trained clinician of whom I have come to respect.

So dear reader I hope you will listen to some of the voices that I am asking to share their life’s story through the series of Interviews.

F.Y.I. – Upcoming


As of this morning I now have two new interviews in the making.

These interviews are what I envisioned when I first created this blog, hence the word “Rethinking”.

It is my true belief that we could end many troubles in society just by talking with each other, but even greater importance, that we listen.

The first interview with Ashley of Mental Health @ Home was well received. It is the cornerstone of this series of interviews.

I am also excited at this achievement, three interviews, three different countries!

So dear reader place a virtual bookmark here and keep a lookout for these upcoming interviews! You will not want to miss them!

Looking – The Interview


I am so pleased on how the initial interview went with Mental Health @ Home by Ashley L. Peterson.

So I am looking for someone else to interview. Again, no gotcha questions, nothing embarrassing.

So dear reader if you would volunteer to be interview I would like to hear from you. Use the contact form and in the first sentence use the word “Interview”. Then I will contact you back.

Last Night I Cried – Commentary


Just when you think it that it cannot get any worse, it does!

Last night I sat down to watch our local news, something that I like to do in the evening, basically for the weather report.

While watching a news story hit me like a hammer. A man, Daniel Prude lost his life in Rochester, NY. He was having a mental episode, naked in the street. Police trying to contain him and while doing so were spat at. For that reason they placed over his head what is called a “Spit Hood”. Daniel began to show signs of stress, he vomited in that hood.

EMS were called to the scene and immediately told the officers to roll him back over on his back, then proceeded to start CPR, upon arrival Daniel was pronounced brain dead. Daniel Prude died seven days later, the medical examiner ruled it a homicide.

What I saw was the inhumane treatment of a human being by other humans. Reader, we treat our animals more humanely.

I keep thinking that someone will step up and say “enough is enough”, but no one does. How much more can a nation take before it starts to crumble, a house divided surely cannot stand.

So dear reader, last night I cried!

Mental Health & Hygiene

“Your mental health is a priority. Your happiness is an essential. Your self-care is a necessity.”


When I was in treatment there was one thing that was stressed, that was our hygiene. So here is the way things went basically every day.

Every day was basically the same. When you are first admitted, this was usually for someone who has never been a patient, a tour of the ward. Tour would be your room, the shower/bath, dining area, television, and where they keep your personal things like cigarettes, money, etc.,

They would walk you through how the day will progress, meals, group sessions, free time, breaks for smoking. The one thing the strongly stressed is that you have a shower/bath and get dressed. It wasn’t encouraged to stay in your pajamas.

On the floor there was a laundry room to wash and dry your clothes. They believed that this would basically be what you would do in your own home.

Meals were at eight, noon, five o’clock. You would be given a menu to fill out for the week. After you were done eating it was up to you to put your tray back in the cart.

There were basically two group sessions every day. I cannot recall the times that they were.

The rest of the time was basically yours to do whatever.

Again, the major stressed point was our hygiene, they would kindly remind you by asking if you have taken a shower yet.

So dear reader I realize that when you are in the depths of depression the easy way is just stay in bed, leave your pajamas on, and skip the shower/bath. Self-care is essential to keeping a good mental health state.

What Is Good Mental Health?

“I found that with depression, one of the most important things you can realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it, you’re not gonna be the last to go through it,” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson


While doing some research about Good Mental Health I came upon this brief article explaining just that, What Is Good Mental Health?


What Is Good Mental Health?

Good mental health is not simply the absence of diagnosable mental health problems, although good mental health is likely to help protect against development of many such problems.

Good mental health is characterized by a person’s ability to fulfil a number of key functions and activities, including:

  • the ability to learn
  • the ability to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions
  • the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others
  • the ability to cope with and manage change and uncertainty.

Source: Mental Health Org

Summer 2020 – What I Don’t Hear

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” – Kay Redfield Jamison

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain hitting my tin roof. It brought back a picture of a child sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor banging a pot with a wooden spoon.

It goes without saying that this year was one of total shutdown, no sports, no beaches, airlines grounded. Most summers here it is not unusual to hear children playing outdoors, maybe some with chalk drawing pictures on the pavement. Driving around the neighborhood the cooling station is empty, missing was the kids running around in the water with their laughter ringing out with a mixture of the odd squeal mixed in.

It brought back memories of my daughter when she was old enough to sit on the floor with her toys scattered about. Every once in awhile I would join her in her playtime. Sometimes I would place her on my lap while I sat at the organ playing, her tiny hands placed on the back of mine.

This year has grabbed out attention to what we know call “Covid-19”. You cannot help not hearing the term with it’s full coverage on every newscast, magazine, and newspaper.

For this writer it is not what we are hearing, but rather, it is what is not being heard. Like I have already mentioned, the sounds of children, also missing this year is the socializing that I loved when going from one garage sale to the next. Just the fun of looking at what others are selling.

What is not being heard is the sound of bands in our city park playing at the band shell with people listening while sitting in the grass soaking up some pure Vitamin D.

What is not being heard or seen is the famous “Snowbirds” flying in air shows across Canada and the United States. Tragedy grounded them during a time when Canadians were reeling at the fact of a mass shooting in the Province of Nova Scotia. They were taking and flying across the land to bring some cheer to counter balance a horrific event.

So dear reader let me ask you, what isn’t being heard around you?

Just Imagine

“We seek to escape the dark cave of a despondent mind by either dulling oneself mentally or through imaginative acts. One form of escapism is daydreaming.”
― Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls


***This is not about the John Lennon song, “Imagine”. It is my favorite song by far!***

This morning like every morning I get up, put the coffee maker on, sit down and take my morning pills. A boring routine!

Today was a bit different, I found myself daydreaming wondering what my mornings would be like if I didn’t have to take my meds.

I find myself daydreaming quit a lot. For example, I see on a show a nice grand piano and I wonder what it would be like to have it in my home.

Maybe my daydreaming is an escape mechanism, but when you are basically house bound it allows me to roam around different places, events.

However it can become quite more serious, when I start believing that my daydreams are reality. I am not a psychiatrist, I have a feeling that is when it becomes serious. The reason I am writing about this is because I have dealt with an aunt who is Schizophrenia. She is fine while she is on her routine of meds, but I have seen her and interacted with her when she has come off her meds.

So dear reader I find my daydreaming fun, fun to imagine driving a sports car, living in a log cabin. Well I think you get the point!

Dear America, My Letter to You

This post today is not related to issues about mental health. Rather it is a letter I have written because every time I watch the news I keep asking myself, “what happened”.

It is not about who to vote for, Republican, Democrat, or Independent. It is just myself putting my thoughts on paper.

I hope you will take a few minutes to read this, be assured I am not making a political statement.


Dear America:

I have been thinking about writing to you for quite some time.

I grew up with the skyline of a great American city, Detroit, Michigan.  As an adult I traveled through your great country. I found people were friendly, always had a kind word. There was a point in my life while in the state of California that I was thinking about moving into America.

It is now forty years since I was in your country, I keep thinking where did America go that now it is barely recognizable.  How did good Americans allow what is now happening from the Atlantic to the Pacific Shores.

Have you forgotten that great song penned by Woody Guthrie, “This land is your land, this land is mine land”. You have been through many terrible events since the inception of America. Civil War, Vietnam, 9/11, you were resilient working together to overcome all of those.

America you were not afraid of hard work, putting in place a rail system that stretch from East to West through the Rocky Mountains.

America let me ask you, when did it become us versus them, division of classes, and color of the skin.

Look out your windows, see what is happening in your streets, violence, shootings, places set on fire.  All these incidences are tearing apart the very fabric of your nation.

So America let me remind you of part of a speech given by former President Barak Obama at the 2004 DNC convention:

Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.

Sincerely,

A Canadian who is very concerned.

The Interview with Mental Health @ Home

I am not sure how I became aware of the blog Mental Health @ Home but it has become a must read daily.

You can be sure when you read a post from her blog that she has done her research, knows her material which lends to her credibility.

So I am happy that she agreed to be the first of I hope many more to come, The Interview.


Here is the interview:

Interview Questions

  1.       1.Apart from your bio on your blog what is something that maybe others would love to learn about you? 
  2. 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.
  3.       2.What is one value that you were taught as a child growing up?
  4. I’m sure there are things that were more profound, but one thing I really appreciate is the value of saving and living within one’s financial means.  That has served me extremely well in my adult life.
  5.       3.On the topic of values, which value would you like society to start using, and why?
  6. Society seem to be really short on empathy, and that fuels intolerance and the whole nine yards.  I’ve always thought that if more people traveled internationally and saw the different ways in which people live, they would understand that there’s more to humanity than just their narrow corner of it.
  7.       4.If you could, what advice would you tell a future version of yourself maybe ten years from now?
  8. To be honest, I don’t want to still be around in 10 years, so I don’t really have any words of wisdom or inspiration for my older self.  I know that sounds a bit morbid, but depression does not make for a cheery future.
  9.       5.What are the circumstances that led you to start a blog on WordPress?
  10. It was in fall 2017, and I wasn’t working much because of my depression.  I’d terminated my friendships with all but one person (I think; I don’t recall the exact timing).  Anyway, I had lots of time but not much to do, and somehow blogging popped into my head. I knew absolutely nothing about blogging at the time, so it was a matter of figuring it out as I went along.
  11.       6.Why did you choose your focus on “Mental Health”? Was it your profession, or from personal experience? 
  12. It was some of both, but probably more the personal element than the nurse element.  The combination worked well, though.  I also like to keep learning new things, and I have lots of practice looking things up from grad school, so it’s interesting for me to write posts about things that are new or only slightly familiar to me.
  13.       7.Where do you see your blog going in five to ten years from now?
  14. I have no idea.  I’ve stopped planning for the future, because my illness Is going to do its own thing regardless of what plans I may or may not have.  Instead, I just take things as they come along, and do what seems like a good fit at the time.  Right now, I’m content with my blog as it is, so I’ll just cruise along like this until something changes.
  15.       8.If you were told that you needed to choose some other choice to blog about it what topic would that be?
  16. I don’t have enough to say on a regular basis about any other topic.  But pseudoscience and social justice are probably the main side topics one my blog.
  17.       9.Some people write as a means of self-healing, others write because of their formal education, others just to write about their lives. Which category would your blog belong?
  18. I guess it would be self-healing.  I don’t generally write much about my day to day life.  Initially, that was a preference, I just don’t have enough happening in my life to write about it.  I’m not sure self-healing would be the right term either, because I’m not using the blog to work through stuff from the past.  Mostly, I think it gives me something meaningful to do to occupy my time, and it’s a way to connect with other people.
  19.       10.What is something that you find gratifying after you write a post on your blog?
  20. I always like when people interact with a post, whether that’s liking or commenting.  And it’s especially cool when people take away from a post something that’s relevant to them that they weren’t familiar with or hadn’t thought of before.
  21.       11.Last question.  What would you advise someone who is seriously thinking about starting a blog?
  22. I’d say learn from what other bloggers have to say, but make decisions based on what actually works for you.  Trying to blog based on what you think others expect from you is a quick way to burn out.

So dear reader I hope you will find a couple of minutes out of your busy day to visit Ashley’s blog: Mental Health @ Home

Busted Spirit On The Mend

“It is a better thing by far that the lad should break his neck, than that you should break his spirit.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson


It was in the late eighties just a year or two before I tried to commit suicide the issue I wanted to end was that my spirit was totally broken, crushed.

I left the ministry, a second marriage on the rocks, worried about my daughter who was coping diabetes. All those events felt like the four walls were closing in.

At times in the past twenty-five years I feel envious of this millennial generation because they have no barriers about issues like those of my generation didn’t speak about publicly. Subjects like marijuana, gay life style, living common law, from the surface they are more at ease with the those issues.

I recognize that they still have their issues, break ups, depression, body image shaming, low esteem. As I read many of the blogs in this WordPress community I admire how many feel totally free to bare their souls without fear.

In the sixties the young were seen as rebellious, named by the those looking inward “hippies”. Love ins, men with long hair, smoking pot, loud rock concerts. It was that generation who protested the war in Vietnam. Every night on the evening news footage showing them protesting everywhere including in front of the White House.

I have found that when someone has a broken spirit they turn to self-harm, alcohol, hard drugs, the list too long to put in one post.

A broken spirit is not so easy to heal, when it does the scars can be raw and easily ripped opened. There are still some scars that if I am not careful they get ripped opened. A drama who is portraying certain subjects brings about a tidal wave of negative emotions.

I have at times have asked friends who without knowingly bring up a subject to please find something else to chat about.

So dear reader if you are one of those with a broken spirit there can be a light at the end of the tunnel. There is no shame in having one, if you have a friend who you can trust wholly reach out, start a conversation, unload to them for in so doing your broken spirit will start to mend.


Being Resolute!

It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things. Theodore Roosevelt
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/resolute-quotes


Resolute: Use the adjective resolute to describe a purposeful and determined person, someone who wants to do something very much, and won’t let anything get in the way.

From Source:https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/resolute

It was while reading an article of Chateau Cherie’s “The Importance of Confidence” is where I found the inspiration for the topic of this post. Thank you Cherie!

Anyone who as been around me for awhile will notice I can be stubborn at times. No I am not mean, or cannot be reasoned with. The area where my stubborn streak appears is when I am trying to accomplish a task.

I can point to the things that I have accomplished I can point to several things.

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  • Taught myself the piano
  • Then while travelling on the road learned to play the organ, a Hammond B3 with a Leslie speaker.
  • Learned my way around personal computers. I was working for a not for profit here as office manage. They had a computer which at that time was Windows 3.1. When I had quiet times I would tinker around the software learning the in’s the out’s of it. The lawyer for the organization gave me the push to move forward. He said “go ahead you can’t break it”. The office needed some type of fax machine, so I dig in and eventually add a fax feature to the computer. I set it up to receive faxes between midnight and eight int the morning. I began letting contacts know about it and it worked straight out of the gate.

There are many more things where my resolute brought about great accomplishments. My mother learned about how to use my stubbornness to get me to do things. All she would have to say to me is “you cannot do that”. Well that was like fighting words to me. I would set about showing her that I indeed could do that which she said I couldn’t.

I guess what I am trying to say is being stubborn is not a bad trait, it can actually be good in favor to us. Being resolute can move us forward, shakes off the fear that leaves us frozen in one place, one time, not looking to the past.

So dear reader if you are like me, stubborn, take it, use it to move you forward to accomplish great things. You will never know until you actually try!

Breaking The News

“The advice I’d give to somebody that’s silently struggling is, you don’t have to live that way. You don’t have to struggle in silence. You can be un-silent. You can live well with a mental health condition, as long as you open up to somebody about it, because it’s really important you share your experience with people so that you can get the help that you need.” Demi Lovato


The other night I was talking with my daughter somewhere during the conversation it turned to mental health. She already knew I was bi-polar but what I was about to tell her was that I tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills, Amitriptyline. I also told what led up to the mental health condition I was in.

I still know the city where I was living, Cambridge, Ontario, the street I lived on, Cedar Str. Down one block was a Tim Horton’s Donut store, going in the opposite direction was a Sobey’s Grocery Store.

I can remember vividly about my first night in the Mental Health Ward there. The reason being is that during a group session they had us watch the movie “Groundhog Day”. To me it made no sense of why we were watching. It was still back then that you could smoke in the hospital. They had a dedicated room for the smokers, it usually was filled with blue smoke, the smell of nicotine heavily filled the room.

After I was discharged I just couldn’t stay in Ontario for one simple reason I didn’t want my family to see me in the mental state I was in. It was probably more like I was ashamed of myself. Growing up going to church hearing all your life that suicide was sin.

Why did I wait so long to tell my daughter? Here is some reasons for that:

  • I wasn’t sure how she would react, I just wouldn’t be able to handle that she may rejected me.
  • I needed to create a safe place first. Through my best friend, then I started to tell my story here on WordPress.

Having those safe places allowed me to feel that I would not be shamed. What I found was support, people who understood exactly how I was feeling for they were there themselves.

The other safe place was on the Mental Health Ward in this city. There was no pressure to talk about your feelings, yet you could, that nobody would think less of you. Among that safe place was the nurses, the aids, and of course my psychiatrist. I also knew when I was discharged that if I hit a low spot I could return to that place.

I would hope that anyone who is struggling with mental health issues has a safe place. Someone they can talk with, a shoulder to cry on. Maybe a place they can go and feel safe to talk with others in a group setting.

So dear reader breaking the news the other night lifted the heavy weight off my shoulder. For the response that came back to me was, “do not beat yourself up for it”!

The Progression Of Civil Liberties


 “It is impossible to struggle for civil rights, equal rights for blacks, without including whites. Because equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: we all have it, or none of us has it. That is the truth of it.” Maya Angelou


*** I started writing this post yesterday. I had to set it aside to deal with a family issue.***

Most of the liberties we enjoy were not always available in many democracies. They came into being after much protests, outcries.

  • The freedom of slaves happened after the civil war
  • In 1920 women finally had the right to vote in America after the nineteenth amendment was passed in congress
  • In 1964 President Lyndon signed the civil rights act
  • In 2015 gay marriage was made final in the Supreme Court held in a 5–4 decision that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all states to grant same-sex marriages.

So dear reader most civil liberties only came to be only after much protest, petitions, court battles.

Mental Time Out!

You shouldn’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Every so often, everyone needs to give themselves a big ol’ bear hug and treat themselves to some TLC. Sean Covey
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/taking-time-quotes


I was mi.a.(missing in action) on purpose. I just needed to shut down, turn off, from all the heaviness happening around the world, especially what is happening in America.

The event that broke the camel’s back was the shooting of Jacob Blake. I couldn’t believe how it happened, shot twelve times, in front of three children. I am sorry, I just cannot fathom how anyone could be that cruel. The cop had his hand on the Jacob’s t-shirt.

Then I also just had to turn off all the politics, it was just tearing apart my mental fabric. I could never be a politician. It seems like you have to lie without blinking an eye.

I even shut down watching my favorite crime show dramas. I could not watch them for it took my focus back to the shooting of Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, just too many to name them all on this post. If you would like to know their names, their bio, etc., you can visit “Know Their Names“.

All I did these past few days was to watch nothing the caused my brain to hurt. I just watched history style programs, like exploring Egypt, one of my favorite feel good shows is “Little People” on the TLC network.

I feel that I need to take a time out moment to refresh, regenerate my mind from, images, words, news, sounds, basically anything that required my mind to analyse something.

So dear reader I do not feel guilty about taking time out. As I am writing this post I am noticing that my thoughts are flowing freely. Once again I can focus with a laser style precision. If you are feeling mentally full of toxins try taking a time out!

Connections

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
― Herman Melville


Throughout my life I have watched people, what I have noticed that those who are connected through family, friends, pen-pals, email seem to stay vibrant. I have also noticed with senior couples if the wife dies first usually the husband does not last long.

I have a neighbor who is probably in her seventies, she works at a grocery store as a clerk, she gets up every morning and goes for a walk with a group of people inside the local mall. If it wasn’t for the white hair you would not think that she is as old.

I am not as connected as I use to be, my circle has shrunk down. However, I keep connected through reading or watching about world events. I have been reading, not e-book either, an actual pen and paper. I have read two, in the middle of a third one. The topic, Donald J. Trump. These are not conspiracy writings, one was written by a family member.

I have also read a book about style of writing, “Elements of Style“, author William Strunk Jr. It was penned near the beginning of the twentieth century. It has given me much lessons on writing, it’s structure, format, much more.

My most favorite place that I have made connections with others is the WordPress community. I truly enjoy reading all the posts that I follow, plus many more. Also the enjoyment in conversing with other bloggers through the comment section at the end of each post. All of this gives me some depth about the world I live in. I no longer feel like a lost, stranded on a desert island. A place that allows me to know that there are other humans experiencing some of the same afflictions that I face in my life.

So dear reader there is much more that I could write, I feel that I have expressed all my thoughts about the word “connections!

Purpose, The True Sense

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

“Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.” ―W. Clement Stone


Every on in awhile I have at times asked the ultimate question, “what is my purpose for living”. Just the other day was one of those times.

For the whole population of planet earth the question would be as unique as is the number of those living on the big blue marble.

I have a vivid memory of telling my mother that I was going to be a preacher, I was not much more the eight years old. Then circumstance brought me to a fork in the road. My home church was needing a musician, it had been filled by my grandfather with his guitar. So, I added learning to play the piano to my purpose.

I worked hard learning the piano, studying the Bible with the same vigor. It wasn’t long before my purpose became reality. I would travel with an evangelist as the organist, then at certain days I was able to preach.

I have learned over my lifetime that purpose will fluctuate due to varying circumstances, such as marriage, children, career change, etc.,

I truly feel that some of my depression came when I lost the sense of purpose. When I stepped down as a pastor, it was shortly after that event that I tried to commit suicide. There have been other times of depression where I can pin point the event where I lost my sense of purpose.

I have asked that question, I feel at this time, this place, that I have purpose. Found in events, people that I would have never thought of. Having a sense of purpose brings about a calmness to my mind, a feeling of peace, tranquility.

So dear reader do not think that you are alone in this world when you find yourself asking the all important question, “what is my purpose in life”?