Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Faith In Me

Hi Everyone, How are ya, I'm glad to be blogging again, Like a dum, dum I spilled water on my fios router. Three days without the Internet is like OMG!! LOL! Today I had to face some of the wreckage I put upon myself and others. And as I sit here tonight I can't help but wonder what happened to me, what made me do some of the things I did. Even though I did most of it under the influence, I still wonder why?? Was it the pain of losing 4 women I loved in a years time, and if so, why could I have not stayed stronger. I always thought I was so strong. Maybe my "sum totals" of loss and suffering in my life had already added up to one too many. Maybe it was just a a mid life crisis! But no matter what the reason I know for sure today that even though I lost myself for a little while, it's a great thing to know there are those around me that have faith in me when I don't in myself and had the courage to help save me from me when I could not. I hope all of you have those people around you too :)
Thanks for visiting my blog,
Love ya,
Janet :)


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Army Suicide Study Kicks into Gear

Hi Everyone, Hope your doing well today. I find it a little strange that today I receive this update from NAMI, a day after I made a tribute video to the troops. I guess as Oprah say's, she was chosen as a vessel by her higher power to do good for others. Maybe I am truly meant to be a vessel with my blogs? (Now if I could just get compensated like her LOL!) One thing I know for sure is when I work I am happiest when I do social work. I loved working at Head Start as a Family Social Worker, but it got to be more like D.S.S. and that is not what I signed up for. I love to help people out. So now I am working towards helping Seniors as a Profession. I saw they really need a voice in the end when I visited my mother in the nursing home. I think the need I have to help people came from watching my mother suffer for years and and all I can remember is wanting to help her. Help did come, but not of my doing, but I was grateful all the same. I learned deep compassion as well walking through the halls of those locked doors and especially gratitude for everyday life. I have always thought a day not in there was a day in Paradise. This is a critical project that the Army is conducting on Suicide Prevention and it will help civilians as well. Suicide prevention is also a passion of mine, as my followers know:) I will walk next year with Out of the Darkness, even if I have to fly somewhere. (At the rate of my fund raising so far it will take till next year!) I was so disappointed that I could not do it this year. The information in this article focuses too on signs to watch for if you have a young soldier, so "PLEASE" read if you have one in your family or you know of someone who does. The stresses for the younger soldiers are even greater. Thank you if you do read and share this information. Now this vessel is going to "ship off" until next time, I know bad one, huh LOL! I included the links below for the full report and for the website Army Starrs for more very important information.
Thank you for visiting my blog,
Love ya,
Janet :)


August 20, 2010
Thomas Insel

Recently the U.S. Army released an extraordinary report titled, Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, Suicide Prevention. The report, complete with a call to action from Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter Chiarelli, should have an impact beyond the Army, even beyond the military, to a nation that has not effectively addressed suicide as a public health crisis.

The background is important. Nationally, suicide mortality is nearly double the rate of homicide mortality. But rates of suicide in the Army have traditionally been lower than rates for civilians in the same age range. The rate in the Army began to increase in 2004, doubling by 2008, and reached 160 deaths in 2009, exceeding the comparable civilian rate and ranking as the third largest cause of death.

For the month of June 2010, the Army reported an astonishing 32 suspected suicides—a record high. Commenting on the high rates of 2009, the report notes, “If we include accidental death which is frequently the result of high risk behavior (drinking and driving, drug overdose, etc.), we find that less young men and women die in combat than die by their own hands. Simply stated, we are often more dangerous to ourselves than the enemy.”(p. 11)

While we do not yet have 2008 or 2009 suicide numbers for the civilian population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 34,598 suicides in 2007, a slight increase over previous years, and a conspicuous difference from the trends in numbers of homicides and motor vehicle deaths, which have dropped markedly in the past decade. It is possible that civilian suicides have increased during the recent recession – we will not have 2008 and 2009 data from CDC surveillance for another year. But we cannot wait to ask about the reasons for this dramatic increase in suicide in the Army, nor should we wait to intervene.

For that reason, the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service members (Army STARRS) was officially launched in late 2008 when NIMH and the U.S. Army partnered to address the increasing rate of suicide. Over the early months of this effort, both parties realized the need to focus on resilience as well as risk. We modeled the Army STARRS approach after the Framingham study of cardiac death to conduct a broad investigation of factors leading to adverse outcomes, including suicide, depression, PTSD, and high risk self-destructive behaviors. Accordingly, Army STARRS will have many components, from retrospective studies of completed suicides to prospective studies that will identify the most important predictors of risk and resilience.

What do we know right now? We know that one explanation will not suffice. As General Chiarelli said in Senate testimony, “Every suicide is as different and as unique as the people themselves. And, the reality is there is no one reason a person decides to commit suicide. That decision reflects a complex combination of factors and events ….”

While nothing is typical about suicide, the report notes the typical suicide victim within the Army would be a “23 year old Caucasian, junior-enlisted male Soldier. Whereas 86.6 percent of the Army population is male, 96.9 percent of the suicide deaths in 2009 were male. Although 62.7 percent of the Army population is Caucasian, 76.7 percent of the suicide deaths were Caucasian victims. Interestingly, marriage or one or more deployments appears to decrease risk. However, analysis of prior deployments can be confounded by higher attrition from service following deployment resulting in a self-selection process whereby those who remain in service after deployment tend to be a relatively healthy segment of the population. We have learned that suicide risk is highest for currently deployed soldiers, and lowest for those who have never deployed. In addition, suicide risk appears to be higher during the first year of service or deployment compared to other times, suggesting that Commanders may need to be extra vigilant about monitoring their soldiers during these times.”(p. 18)

There are many hypotheses: multiple deployments, lowered standards for recruiting, lowered discipline, etc. In fact, the report raises more questions than answers, leaving much of the work to the Army STARRS project. Some will, no doubt, ask about the role of stress in today’s Army. A footnote in the report mentions that “at 24 years of age, a Soldier, on average, has moved from home, family and friends and has resided in two other states; has traveled the world (deployed); been promoted four times; bought a car and wrecked it; married and had children; has had relationship and financial problems; seen death; is responsible for dozens of Soldiers; maintains millions of dollars worth of equipment; and gets paid less than $40,000 a year.”(p. 2) Army STARRS will explore stressors and individual differences in how soldiers respond to them.

In the next few weeks, researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Services, University of Michigan, Harvard University and Columbia University as well as the U.S. Army and NIMH will begin surveying soldiers (including Mobilized Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers) at several installations across the country. The team plans to work with soldiers who are deployed as well.

Army STARRS is about saving lives. By working with as many soldiers as possible—up to 400,000 over the course of the five-year study—NIMH and the rest of the research team hope to identify the risk and protective factors that affect a soldier’s psychological resilience, mental health, and potential for self-harm. Researchers are committed to reporting their findings to the Army as quickly as possible so that they may inform the Army’s ongoing efforts to protect soldiers’ well-being.

A new Army STARRS Web site has been created to describe and document the project as it progresses. I encourage everyone to visit the Army STARRS web site frequently to keep abreast of this unprecedented project. In the meantime, read this report. General Chiarelli and his team have taken an aggressive stance to reduce stigma and prevent suicide. In an earlier war, the Army helped the nation to overcome discrimination based on race. Today, the Army appears to be leading the way for our nation to reduce discrimination based on mental distress. And, we are hopeful that the lessons learned from Army STARRS will help our nation address the tragedy of suicide among civilians as well as soldiers.



Monday, August 23, 2010

Janet 2.0

Hi Everyone, How are you? I am doing great:) I can't get enough of this singer Simon Webbe that I stumbled upon on Youtube. It still amazes me how I get what I need when I need it. His music is sheer inspiration to me, it is as if he is singing how I am feeling at this point in my life. Grateful Tears stream down my face as I listen to Grace. Pete and I have given each other so much Grace and Forgiveness. The Grace is extended to me as well from the rest of my family and a few special friends. I wake up every morning feeling a new sense of happiness that I have never felt before for this chance to be "Coming Around Again". Even though I know I will continue to have days of fear and frustration with what lies ahead, I can make it through now, I am feeling that a little more each day, and a little more is all I have hoped for. Although my self love has grown over the past few years, it's at a new " All Time High"! "I've got someone waiting for me", it's Janet 2.0. I will never "Bottle" her. I'm looking forward to getting to know her. I hope you are too.
Thanks for visiting my blog,
Love ya,
Janet :)

Can you say Gorgeous, oh yes I can LOL!

For Pete, Scott, Christa, Dana, Briana & even little Christopher
Simon Webbe - New Grace

Vezi mai multe video din muzica

Now there's nothing I don't fear at all
You give me (grace)
When I'm on the edge just watch me fall

For more of his great music and info visit http://www.simonwebbe.net/uk.html
Grace was written for his Daughter Alanah, if you
listen at the end of the song you will hear a little
girls sweet laughter in the background :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Intoxicana (Yoga and Drinking)

Hi Everyone, Happy Friday, My friend Bing posted this on her blog
and I thought it was a riot. So I had to share it here with all of you. Even though I don't drink anymore, now I know it was actually benefiting me!! DAM, now if I can convince everyone else around me of that LMAO!! Just kidding. Visit Bing's blogs if you have a chance, they're great and she has always been a great support to me, such a Sweetheart. If we did not live a world away from each other I know we would be hanging out having a lot of good times together, maybe someday we will really get together:) Love you Bing! Now for those of you that can, being Friday and all, Go get your drink on!!
Thanks for visiting my blog,
Love ya,
Janet :)

Research confirms that drinking gives you the same benefits yoga does.

Position of total relaxation.

Position that brings the sensation of peace and calm.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This position calms the brain and heals tired legs.

Position stimulates the midriff area and the spinal column.

Excellent for back pain and insomnia.

Excellent for the shoulder area, thorax, legs, and arms.

Great exercise to stimulate the lumbar area, legs, and arms.

Ananda Balasana
This position is great for massaging the hip area.

This position, for ankles and back muscles.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Frostie The Cockatoo

Hi Everyone, I had to share this video with you. My friend posted it on fb. I thought it would be a good pick me up if your not having the greatest day. I want this bird solely for my entertainment LOL!!
Love ya,
Janet :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder May Go Undiagnosed

Hi Everyone, How are ya, I am doing great. I just received this update from NAMI today and feel it is a very important update concerning Manic Depression. There are many people who go undiagnosed until later in life. In the meantime they may be suffering while feeling something is not right, but not be able to put a finger on what's wrong. It can be a fine line determining a diagnosis. Even if you see a couple of symptoms in yourself or someone you love, don't worry, it is not a definite diagnosis, just be aware if more symptoms develop over time. If there was one thing I learned really young and really fast growing up with my mother is awareness, and that is one of my goals with this blog, along with ending the Stigma that still surrounds Mental Illness. And if I help out one life out there I will have done my mother's legacy proud. Her legacy to me is that she fought every day to be better in all aspects of her life, and that is within me more than ever now :)
Thanks for visiting my blog,
Love you,
Janet :)


Science Update • August 16, 2010
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder May Go Undiagnosed
in Some Adults with Major Depression

Nearly 40 percent of people with major depression may also have subthreshold hypomania, a form of mania that does not fully meet current diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder, according to a new NIMH-funded study. The study was published online ahead of print August 15, 2010, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Mania is a symptom of bipolar disorder. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), it is generally defined as a discrete period of increased energy, activity, euphoria or irritability that leads to marked impairment in one’s daily life. The DSM-IV states that a manic episode lasts for one week or more, and may sometimes require hospitalization. Hypomania is defined as a milder form of mania that lasts for four days at a time, but does not interfere with one’s daily activities. The majority of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience repeated episodes of hypomania rather than mania.

For this new study, Kathleen Merikangas, PhD., of NIMH, and colleagues aimed to characterize the full spectrum of mania by identifying hypomanic episodes that last less than four days among those diagnosed with major depression. They described this type of hypomania as subthreshold hypomania. Merikangas and colleagues used data from 5,692 respondents of the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), a nationally representative survey of American adults ages 18 and older.
Results of the Study

The researchers found that nearly 40 percent of those identified as having major depression also had symptoms of subthreshold hypomania. Compared to those with major depression alone, those with depression plus subthreshold hypomania tended to be younger at age of onset and to have had more coexisting health problems, more episodes of depression and more suicide attempts. They also found that among those with subthreshold hypomania, a family history of mania was just as common as it was among people with bipolar disorder.

According to the researchers, the findings indicate that many adults with major depression may in fact have mild but clinically significant symptoms of bipolar disorder. In addition, because many with subthreshold hypomania had a family history of mania, the researchers suggest that subthreshold hypomania may be predictive of future hypomania or mania. Previous research has indicated that young people with subthreshold hypomania symptoms are more likely to develop bipolar disorder over time, compared to those without subthreshold hypomania, said the authors.

What’s Next
The researchers suggest that depression and mania may be defined as dimensions, rather than as discrete diagnostic categories. Clinicians should be aware that patients who report repeated episodes of subthreshold hypomania may have a risk of developing mania, the researcher concluded.

Angst J, Cui L, Swendsen J, Rothen S, Cravchik A, Kessler R, Merikangas K. Major depressive disorder with sub-threshold bipolarity in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. American Journal of Psychiatry. Online ahead of print August 15, 2010.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Journey Back To Sanity

Hi Everyone, How are you, I am great, I came across some inspirational stories on Mental Health. I felt this women's story was important to share. Often times in life people go untreated with their mental illness. The story may seem long to you, but it is very informative and inspirational. I hope it helps someone out there who is trying to figure out what they may be suffering from.
Thanks for visiting my blog,
Love ya,
Janet :)


She had gone to the best doctors about her symptoms, yet for years no one had recognized the signs of her illness. The story of one woman's triumphant struggle with manic depression. I had been married for two months when my husband committed me, his 27-year-old bride, to a locked psychiatric ward. In the 12 years since I was diagnosed as manic-depressive, I have never fully thanked or forgiven him. And I've never forgotten how frightened I was as I watched the man I love cast me off behind closed doors. Yet despite my fear and humiliation, I was relieved to think that at last someone might be able to help me. Being involuntarily committed was the defining moment of my life. Back then, in 1982, I didn't know that manic depression, also called bipolar disorder, is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain that can cause an individual to swing from states of manic excitement and energy to periods of overwhelming anguish and despair. I had no idea that this disorder affects more than three million Americans, that it can cause physical as well as mental symptoms or that it can be life threatening if left untreated. Looking back, it's a miracle that I survived long enough to get the help I needed. As a little girl, growing up in a loving and large extended Italian family in Chicago, I felt an emptiness, a sadness, I could never explain. The nuns at school didn't know what to make of me. I was either withdrawn or vivacious and I always had mysterious physical problems, such as unstoppable nosebleeds and blinding migraine headaches. I'd vomit. I'd have to lie in darkened rooms. If there was an ounce of light, I couldn't move. When I was 14 years old, my doctors began to suspect I had a "female" problem, because I'd stopped menstruating. There weren't any noninvasive diagnostic tests like CAT scans then, so I had one exploratory surgery after another.During my teens, I saw every type of physician except a psychiatrist. I was told I had neurological problems, endocrine problems, a blood disease, a brain tumor. I became a regular at the hospital's teen unit. I looked forward to Friday nights there because they served surf and turf - lobster and steak - for dinner. After every operation, my parents and I would feel such relief: It wasn't an ovarian cyst that was causing my menstrual problems, it wasn't a tumor causing my headaches. But recovery took weeks, even months. I remember thinking that the desolation would never end, that I wouldn't live to be older than 40, that the doctors eventually would find something terribly wrong with me. And I felt that somehow it had to be my fault. I kept wondering, "What did I do to cause all this?" As an only child, I didn't want to scare my parents with such thoughts. Anything that went wrong with me frightened them, because they loved me so much. My friends couldn't understand either. They were thinking about what they were going to wear on Saturday nights, where they were going to go on dates. So I eventually became more and more withdrawn. By the time I graduated from high school, my parents had become so protective that they were treating me like a Dresden-china doll. I'd been dating a boy who was a few years older. We got married shortly before my 19th birthday. He knew I'd been sick a lot, but neither of us really understood what was wrong. I thought marriage might be an escape from all I'd been through, but it wasn't. We split up after a year and a half. I continued to have headaches and menstrual problems, but at least I wasn't having operation after operation. I went to court-reporting school, specializing in aviation law. When I was 23 years old, I opened my own court-reporting business, which became very successful. On the surface, everything seemed wonderful. I lived in a beautiful high rise in Chicago. I vacationed anywhere I wanted. I got to "party hearty," something I'd never done before. What I didn't realize was that I was becoming manic. I started spending money outrageously. I hardly slept - a classic symptom of mania - but that suited me fine. I'd type up notes from depositions until 2 or 4 A.M., sleep a few hours and be back at work by 8:30 A.M. I was radiating energy. Despite migraines and menstrual problems, I felt better than I ever had before. But as I later discovered, mania makes you reckless and self-destructive. I overdrew my checking account, not realizing how deep into debt I was getting. I began to spend the corporate payroll. It was okay, I would tell myself, because tomorrow there would be more money. Not even Joanne, my business partner, knew. Yet despite how seemingly fabulous my life was, how invincible I felt, I realized something was not right. I was dating an attorney, named Dan. He couldn't understand why no one had ever found a reason for my medical problems. In 1981, the year before I ended up in the psych unit, I had $32,000 worth of diagnostic tests, because I was still having the same problems: migraines, menstrual troubles, difficulty sleeping. When the tests didn't show anything wrong, the doctors suggested I must be working too hard and needed a good vacation. On January 1, 1982, Dan and I decided to get married. The following week I saw a neurologist for my migraines. He gave me methadone and Elavil, a mood-elevating drug no patient with mania should ever take. It pushed me over the edge. I became psychotic and started hallucinating. I called Joanne and said, "I'm in the shower, and there are bugs everywhere. They're crawling up and down the ceiling." She called my parents, and when they arrived, I was nude, freezing cold, saying over and over, "Don't you see the cockroaches?" My father gave me red wine and bread to help me throw up, until the drugs were out of my system. At that point, I'd had it with doctors. I refused to see another one. Over the next five months, the mania kept building, feeding on itself. I spent tens of thousands of dollars on clothes. If I saw a sweater I liked, I'd buy it in nine different colors. I flew from Chicago to Los Angeles and back to see friends a couple of times a week. I stopped eating. My wedding dress had to be sewn on my body because by June 5, the day of my wedding, I'd lost so much weight you could practically see through me. I was getting concerned, and so were my parents and Dan. But at the same time, we were caught up in the momentum of the wedding. When Dan and I got back from our honeymoon, I left for a convention in New Orleans, where I did stupid, dangerous things like jogging along the river at four o'clock in the morning. I learned later that having no sense of fear can be a part of mania. Back in Chicago, I started to lose touch with reality. I showed up for a deposition wearing blue jeans, gym shoes, a Cubs T-shirt and no makeup. When the witness mentioned that his house had been bombed, I became paranoid about someone bombing our office. Dan was so alarmed that he called my mother. She came over and stayed up all night with me - just as she'd done when I was a kid and couldn't sleep. The next day a lawyer friend said, "Everybody's worried about you. Let's go to the hospital and see what's wrong." I said, "Okay, I'll go, but I know the doctors aren't going to find anything." When I got to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, I was talking 285 words a minute and slurring my speech - typical signs of mania. The psychiatrist who interviewed me knew, just from the way I was talking and acting, what was wrong. He told me, Dan and my parents that I had a classic case of manic depression and that I should be treated with antipsychotic medication and lithium (a mood-stabilizing drug). Before I knew it, I was being escorted to the hospital's locked psychiatric unit. I freaked out. I said to Dan, "If you leave me here, it's over. We'll never have a marriage." He said, "Susan, I'm not taking you home." I handed him my wedding band. My parents were devastated because they had no say about my being locked up. They wanted to take me home, but as my husband, Dan was in charge. I was so angry and so frightened. I remember sitting at the foot of my bed, wondering whether I would ever recover the full faculties of my mind. I refused to take medication. I'd had so many wrong diagnoses; I wanted to know what made them think they were right this time. Finally the head nurse in the psych unit called me into his office and said, "You're doing yourself a disservice. They've come up with the answer for what's been wrong with you for years." He talked to me about manic depression for three-and-a-half hours and gave me material to read. I thought, "This is it. This is truly it." The symptoms - euphoria, racing thoughts, sleeplessness, grandiose ideas - described exactly what I'd been going through. For me, mania was the primary problem, though for many others it can be depression. Once I accepted the diagnosis, I felt a sense of hope. I knew it would change things: that my marriage could end, that I might lose my business, but though all of this was scary, I couldn't help smiling to myself. We'd hit it at last. Two days after I started taking the medication, I got my period - after three years without one - and I haven't missed a period since. I also haven't had a migraine headache. Most people don't realize that mental illnesses can cause physical symptoms. But as I learned, the abnormalities in my brain chemistry may have been causing my headaches and menstrual irregularities all along. I was hospitalized for 28 days, and it was demeaning, degrading, worse than all the things I'd been through. to have your rights taken away. To receive flowers from your friends and have them put in a paper carton because you're not allowed to have glass on a psych unit. To be threatened with being put in a "quiet room" in restraints. I don't think I'll ever get over that. It's one of the reasons I work so hard to stay well. The hardest thing for my family was learning that manic depression can be hereditary. In my case the genetic predisposition comes from my mother's family, though it had not been recognized. My mother has felt a lot of pain and guilt, which I've tried to ease. While I was hospitalized, Joanne went through the books of our court-reporting business. They were a disaster. I didn't think I'd ever be able to face the staff again. But as I got better, my psychiatrist decided I had to do it. He said, "I want you to face your staff while we're here to support you." Dan brought me a suit, panty hose, a purse, my makeup - all the things that had been taken away from me when I was admitted. I couldn't stop crying. Finally I took the cab fare the hospital gave me - seven dollars, just enough to get to my office and back. I had the cabdriver let me off a block away. I started to cry again. I thought, "How am I going to face them?" I walked into the office, and it wasn't easy. People were understandably angry because I had put their jobs, the whole business, in jeopardy. I'll relive that day in my mind a million times. After my discharge, a lawyer advised me to file for bankruptcy and start the business under a new name. I said, "I am going to pay back every cent, no matter how long it takes." Within three years, I'd paid every bill. The firm is still in business, although I've sold my interest and stopped court reporting. By the time I left the hospital, I was really angry. I'd been cheated out of so many years. I'd had classic symptoms of manic depression, yet the best doctors in Chicago had focused only on my physical problems. I found out about what is now the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association (DMDA), at the time just a local support group, and two days after I got out of the hospital I went to a meeting. Each sentence I started, someone in the group could finish. It felt wonderful to be among people who understood what I'd been through. I'll be 39 years old next month, and I know I am going to have to take care of this illness for the rest of my life. Every day I take a total of 16 pills, including some for asthma. In 12 years I have never missed a dose. These drugs are not mind altering but mood altering. I keep a mood chart so my doctor and I can spot changes that may require an adjustment in treatment. I truly believe my illness is controlled day by day, dose by dose. Psychotherapy has helped me tremendously, but had the therapy preceded the medication, I'd have been on the couch for the rest of my life. It wasn't until I was on medication that I could start dealing with the emotional issues. Therapy helped me pick up the pieces of my marriage. Dan and I had four years of marriage counseling. We went over some real rocky road. I compare what happened to my being trapped in a burning building, with Dan as the firefighter who rescued me. I would have died if he hadn't thrown me out the window, but I got burned by the flames, and there was a lot of scarring. At times I still get angry at Dan for locking me up. But there's a real bond between us. I would be lying if I said l have 365 good days a year. I don't. When I'm going through a particularly bad time, the pain feels interminable. And I know that the ultimate threat with manic depression is suicide. More than 15 percent of those who are seriously depressed and do not receive adequate treatment take their own life. What helps me most to get through the dark days is the support of the DMDA and my work as a mental-health advocate. I didn't set out to become an advocate. But ever since I first spoke publicly about my diagnosis, I've been asked to address mental-health groups and to talk at different hospitals. During my own recovery, I learned how important and effective self-help groups are for people coping with mental illness. The DMDA, which became a national organization in 1986, now has 275 chapters. I became its first executive director in 1989. We are the only organization in health care run by patients. My life today is made up of a lot of travel, a lot of speechmaking and a lot of fund-raising for research; of working with Congress, the media and advocacy groups around the world. It's very fulfilling. I've worked with wonderful people, like Tipper Gore, who has been a staunch mental-health advocate for years. Last year the American Psychiatric Association presented me with a public-service award in recognition of my contributions to the cause of the mentally ill. That was very gratifying. But what matters most to me are the people I've helped get treatment. It's wonderful to see how well they're doing. The journey back to sanity and health isn't an easy one. I know. But in all my years of struggling with manic depression and being involved in the National DMDA, I have never felt so hopeful. The shame that once went with mental illness no longer exists. And I firmly believe that in my lifetime more effective treatments will be developed. Those of us leading the fight in public for more research, more recognition and more acceptance are not going to give up. A lot of days we wake up smiling. We know there's going to be a brighter tomorrow - for us and millions of others.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Operation Beautiful

Hi Everyone, Happy Friday, Hope you have a great weekend planned for yourself. Pete surprised me with a trip to Martha's Vineyard tomorrow. The weather is going to be perfect!! I have lived here in the Southeast of Ma all my life and this will be my first time there, Pete has worked on the Island before, but I had to stay with the kids then. I really like this starting over stuff, he is just sweeping me off my feet :) I came across this book and website thanks to my friend Angela on facebook. Thanks for sharing this Angela, I think this is a great inspiration for all of us. We are consumed with images everyday and ideals of what we "should" be and look like as women and men too. Being consumed with these stresses has led many women and men to severe disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia, depression. It is a Mental Health issue I feel and we all need to work at it in some way to fight the stigma of being different or just being us and not the ideal's of society. Two days before I left WATC the Yoga instructor did something different for class. She played some songs for us and then asked us how we related to them. She played Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. I was the only one in the group that spoke out about what this song meant to me. I said I can relate to it, I do feel beautiful about myself, no matter what anyone says, especially now. I was already at the point of feeling good about myself before I was in there despite my shortcomings. My husband especially makes me feel beautiful through his actions and he tells me I am just about everyday. I have been told and thought of otherwise by some people who do not like me, but for the first time in my life, I was not upset by their view of me, I laughed at one of their comments about me. That is how good I have been feeling about myself for the first time in my whole life. I use to get upset and believe their words, that is how much I have grown as a person. I have been walking and losing the weight I wanted, I am no size 4 but I like where I am at. I am choosing healthier ways to live my life, so I feel that comes from self love. I think most of all I am a beautiful person on the inside. No one can take that from me, I will not allow them too. We all come with faults, no one gets through life without them, as much as they may try to prove otherwise to you and to themselves. So I am inspired by Caitlin and I am going to get myself some post it's and hope I spread the confidence I am feeling today onto another women who needs it that day. I hope you do too. I have included the links that will bring you to the site for more information.
Have a Beautiful day,
Love ya,
Janet :)

Hello! I am the editor of the Operation Beautiful site. I am 26 years old and live in Charlotte, North Carolina with my Husband and two dogs. When you send a note to the Operation Beautiful site (via my email, OperationBeautiful@gmail.com, you will hear back from me! I really love to talk to everyone involved in the site, so please drop me a line to say hello and tell me about your Operation Beautiful experiences. I blog about my healthy lifestyle at Healthy Tipping Point, and Operation Beautiful was launched on my blog in June 2009. I began Operation Beautiful because I am dedicated to ending negative self-talk in girls, woman, and men. Through Operation Beautiful, I hope we can all encourage a positive body image in ourselves and others. I truly believe that your beauty comes from the inside, and your unique qualities that make you YOU should be valued and celebrated.

Tired of watching women pick themselves apart in front of the mirror, blogger Caitlin Boyle scribbled a note on a Post-it: "YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!" and slapped it on the mirror of a public bathroom. With one small act, she kick-started a movement. In a matter of days, women were undertaking their own feats of resistance, posting uplifting notes on gym lockers, diet shakes in supermarkets, weight-loss guides in bookstores, and anywhere else a nagging voice of self-criticism might lurk. Emboldening and contagious, the "operation" has attracted widespread attention from the media, including the Oprah Winfrey Network, the New York Daily News and Salon.com.

Operation Beautiful showcases the notes women have posted around the world and the stories behind them, along with interviews, interesting research findings, and tips for improving one’s outlook on life. Blending a confessional tone with gutsy observations about redefining beauty, the chapters address key issues for women of all ages, including Fighting Fat Talk, Family and Friends, Food, Fitness, Faith, and Going Forward. In the scrapbook tradition of PostSecret and Davy Rothbart’s Found, Operation Beautiful is filled with black-and-white photos and a two-color design, making it the perfect gift for any friend, sister, daughter, or niece.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fun and Crazy

Hi Everyone, How are ya? I'm doing good. I was just poking around on Youtube for some laughs and some classic Madonna. I didn't feel like posting anything too serious today, just fun stuff. I love this guy's take on how society treats the mentally ill, I think you will too. I use to love this song by Madonna when it first came out and I get a kick out of how the video plays out, a little crazy at times LOL!! I hope you enjoy them and have a great hump day,
Thanks for visiting my blog,
Love ya,
Janet :)