The Future of

As it is with life in general, all things must change and all things must come to an end. That being said, while my twitter account will remain active, will not be renewed by the January deadline. As it is obvious by looking at my last post date my availability to update this blog has been sparse, to say the least.

I appreciate my subscribers very much and look forward to re-launching the blog with a new format and purpose, which will be revealed at a later date.

Thank you for your continued support and comments. God Bless.  Let us all be advocates for Mental Health Awareness!


The Knot – Part 1 (An Allegory)

I’m trying to knit a sweater with the little experience I have in being able to create anything more than haphazard rows of straight lines. We’ll see how this goes. I found the perfect color of yarn and have just the right amount to make what will in no doubt be my masterpiece. People will surely compliment all the hard work I’ll put in to this. Perhaps others will request that I make a sweater for them. Won’t that be fun?

Here I go. I’m following the booklet and think I’ve got this down. This is looking great so far! Then I reach my first roadblock: a series of knotted strands that are feet long. It will take forever to get all those knots out. I don’t have time for this! I know, I’ll walk to the closest craft store and see if they have any more skeins I can buy.

Shoot. The color of yarn that I have is discontinued, no longer manufactured. I explain my problem to the cashier. All I get in return was blank stares.   But a lovely (sarcasm noted) yarn sales rep overhears my predicament and begins to describe the process of how the wool is gathered, spun and dyed in order to produce the yarn I wanted to buy but could not provide. Granted, what he is saying is interesting but of no help to me at all. I did learn a LOT about yarn that I didn’t know about yesterday.

So I visit my grandmother at the local nursing home to see if she could help. She is a comfort for sure, offering to stuff me full of cookies and listens very intently. Her presence is relaxing but she also doesn’t have the yarn I need, nor can her arthritic hands help me undo any of the knots. But I don’t regret the visit at all. I leave encouraged.

Upon my return home, I glance over at the ball of knots that I had previously hoped would have been turned into my glorious sweater. I sit down and slowly try to imagine a possible solution. How in the world did this yarn get so knotted anyway? After, all I haven’t attempted to knit in years! This yarn has just been sitting in my craft basket by the couch doing nothing. Wait, now I remember. My last attempt at knitting (years ago) ended in me throwing the skeins against the wall in frustration, kicking it around the room and then shoving everything back in the craft basket, knitting needles askew. Eventually I stacked magazines, remote controls and cat toys on top, leaving the yarn’s potential forgotten. WHY DID I DO THAT? Why didn’t I take better care of it?  

And so it is with our emotions and our lives. It is so easy to forget how to take care of you, to take the gift of our own life for granted. We occupy our time with distractions, forget how to progress and heal from trauma until its time for us to forge a new path in our lives, a new direction, a new landmark. But its too late to know how to successfully do it; we are vastly unprepared. So we venture into new life experience with the little knowledge we have. And we cope the best we know how. But roadblocks seem like brick walls and we often have to backtrack and relearn.

We reach out to others for help, others who mean well and can offer up all that they know (remember the yarn salesman and the grandmother?). They provide us with useful information and comfort, but they can’t solve the problem. We may even reach out to someone for help who has no idea of what to do (the cashier).   This isn’t to say that reaching out doesn’t provide us with help, only that they cannot solve the problem.

Just as the knots in the yarn didn’t appear out of the blue, your solution to the problem will not be instantaneous. Ultimately, you have to go back to the yarn. You can’t go the shortcut route and buy new yarn at this point. You’ve passed the point of no return.  You also can’t just cut up the yarn and give up; the sweater has to be made.

Carefully, slowly and intently, do your best to untie the knots. Your sweater may come out a little more frayed than you imagined, but nonetheless you’ll still have a work of art that you can call your own.

Don’t Forget the Asterisk!

I’ve heard the phrase, “People make plans and God laughs”. Never have I experienced and agreed with that sentiment more than during the last few months.   In February, almost every single dream I’ve wished for and worked towards attaining resulted in a dramatic answer of “no”.

I’ve learned much and cried a lot. I’m still finding broken pieces of my heart in unexpected places….in memories I’ve tried to push inside, in the looks on people’s faces and in the places that didn’t hold much personal significance before February 11th but now feel like a vice grip squeezing my soul.

Have you ever seen an advertisement for a credit card on television? On the last one-second screen grab before the commercial switches you will often see a long list of impossible-to-read qualifications and terms, enclosed in asterisks. Or you will see very small print at the bottom of the screen. This is intentional, meant by the advertising company to be able to legally say, “I told you so”, while at the same time distract you with the flashing images on screen.

Now picture a list of coping skills as your own advertisement for “optimal mental health”. Envision an attractive person reading them out loud on television. They are smiling, wearing professional attire or something intentionally provocative. But before you send the ad to the editing room you mustn’t forget the most important part– the legalities.

Mental health professionals often stress the importance of identifying and utilizing coping skills when going through trauma. But sometimes they forget the “terms and qualifications”…the most important part of the “offer” for better mental health! Your “terms and qualifications” must including the following statement:

*Coping Skills Will Not Make Life Easier. Coping Skills Will Only Make Your Ability to Deal with Life Easier*

More than I’ve ever done so before, I’ve used my coping skills to deal with this personal trauma. The pain hasn’t fully gone away. Neither has the shame, embarrassment or regret. I’m going to still experience much more but my bag of tricks, my coping skills, is my safeguard against mental illness relapse. And for that, I’m immeasurably grateful.

Notice the Fine Print

Notice the Fine Print – or can you? 


Bumps in the road. Setbacks. Detours. Call it what you like, but I prefer the term “hiccups”.

I absolutely hate getting hiccups. Usually it happens when I’m eating too quickly and pause to stop. Suddenly the hiccups arrive and its impossible to do anything but deal with the popping pain. Your tablemates provide countless well-meaning suggestions on how to make them stop…

“Drink some water and hold your nose.”

“Hold your breath for 10 seconds.”

“Here, I’ll jump out and scare you – pretend I’m not here!”

It doesn’t work. What’s interesting is that more often than not, the hiccups tend to go away naturally. There’s nothing I can really do to make them stop except to stop what I’m doing and slow down.

Similar parallels exist in coping with mental illness. We speed along with our progress, expecting that all will be well when, unexpectedly, a painful emotion surfaces with which we don’t know how to cope. Times like this can take you aback, and makes you wonder if all the work you did was actually worth it. And, like they do when hiccups appear, your well-intentioned friends and family may offer suggestions that do not work.

A piano teacher doesn’t give one of their introductory students the task to master “Fur Elise” by the following week. They work with their student slowly, intentionally and encouragingly. They repeat instructions such as, “don’t lift up the pedal too quickly”, “sit up straight”, and “remember to curl your fingers”. And with some time, student effort and repeated praise, the ability of the student to play “Fur Elise” eventually becomes a reality!

Similarly, once “Fur Elise” is mastered, this doesn’t mean that the student won’t play it ever again without a missed note. The brilliant pianist Arthur Rubenstein has professional recordings with missed notes, but his regality shines regardless. He is still considered one of most proficient musicians of all time.

Don’t expect to never get hiccups in your mental illness recovery. Hiccups are never to be considered failures, but opportunities to rest and learn how to cope with unexpected pain. Next time you get the hiccups, stop what you’re doing, slow down, reflect upon what’s happening and recognize what you’re doing so you most likely don’t get hiccups so soon again.

The Gratefulness Bug

As I reflect upon the last year since this blog began (and especially since the holiday season began), one word comes to mind again and again…


I look over to my dining room table to see only about half of the Christmas presents for my family that are wrapped in pretty blue and silver paper. More gifts will come in the mail this week; more to wrap and more to give. I look at these gifts and happiness swells inside. Not because of what I expect to receive in return, but instead knowing that I have so many people in my life to give presents to.

I’m grateful because I have a career in mental illness and that I have the knowledge to speak with authority to those who feel lost and need comfort. I’m grateful for the twitter followers, blog followers and colleagues who support and inadvertently advertise this blog through their “likes” and favorites”.   Although my online presence is pretty small, it’s growing in small steps.

I’m thankful and grateful for increasing awareness of mental health issues and although this year’s awareness peaked in August with the death of a tremendous talent, it hasn’t completed subsided. And I’m thankful for the mental illness with which I’ve struggled tremendously for decades and from which I’m now in remission.

Its been shown through clinical research that having an “attitude of gratitude” positively affects your mental illness symptoms for the better and also has the ability to improve your physical health! Employers who show regular thankfulness to their employees see improved work ethic and high motivation in return. Gratefulness also has the ability to multiply and persist – its proven to be contagious! Gratefulness has the ability to go “viral”.

What are you grateful for? It is my hope that the person on the top of your own list is YOU! I encourage you this holiday season to do the following (and completing both parts is imperative!):

  1. Write a one-page letter of gratefulness to someone special in your life. The person can be alive right now or have passed on. You can decide to give the letter to them or not. If you do give it to them, encourage them to do the same and “pay it forward”.
  2. Write a one-page letter of gratefulness to yourself! After all, you are the most important person in your life! You owe it to YOU to be a compliment, inspiration and encouragement to yourself. And ultimately, you deserve it!

Be a beacon of gratefulness and the rewards you reap will be plenty!

**If you would like to post on here your own letters of gratefulness, please do so via a comment. I will copy and paste the letters in a new post.**

Fight or Flight

The video above is a short and humorous explanation of the “fight or flight” mechanism. 

Fight or flight – which would you rather do?

This adrenaline-pumped phenomena can make all the difference to a person with mental illness.  We perceive threats all around us, some legitimate and some not.  How the MI individual responds makes all the difference.  It is the difference between taking a healthy vs. unhealthy risk.  The difference between deciding that your pills are working vs. “I could do without them”.  The difference between sticking with your inpatient treatment or making a run for the hills.  The difference between, “I can make it” vs. “I can’t live anymore”.

Every time a person makes a decision two parts of the brain are utilized; the emotional and the rational.  The MI individual often overlooks one in preference of the other.  Either a quick emotionally-based choice is followed or the rational choice will force overthink.  More often than not, the emotional decision is made as an avenue to avoid pain, real or perceived.  After all, why would someone who’s already been through so much pain want to make a decision that could result in even more discomfort?

The key is mindfulness and adaptation. Sit through the moment(s), acknowledge your emotions.  Balance both the emotional and rational components of your choice.  Don’t be afraid of pain and don’t automatically assume that all pain is bad.  Healing in and from mental illness requires gut-wrenching exposure of your emotional insides. And it takes a lot of time to heal. But the beauty of healing is met at the end, by knowing that you have made it.  Realizing the strength it took to achieve your own happiness.  Acknowledging the inspiration that you can now provide to others through your story.

And, finally, recognizing that your diagnosis didn’t win out. Your mental illness story is a work of art, and you were the painter.

After all, none of the most beautiful paintings in the world would have been made without darkness and light.

“The best way out is always through” – Robert Frost

Good Times, Bad Times

Since this blog began, I’ve been writing from a desire to inform and educate. Clinically, statistically, and at times coldly. Distant.

Or maybe not. Perhaps, cold and distant just aptly describes my emotional state today. But I’m O.K. Really.

Maybe it hasn’t been made perfectly known to you, but the author of this blog (me!), was at one time diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.   To provide you with emotional education and inspiration (Something I couldn’t grasp until I was in the middle of a crisis. Or two…or three. Honestly, it’s only been three times!) has been an honor. It is my hope that this blog has helped at least one person understand mental illness a little better than they did 15 minutes prior. I mention the words, “at one time diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder” because it is accurate; I no longer fit the criteria for the disorder.

That great news doesn’t mean I still don’t have bad days once in a while. And it doesn’t mean I don’t experience a symptom or two periodically. There are times when I’m genuinely frightened about a potential relapse occurring but then I refer to my coping skills, distraction and talk to someone…and peace returns.

Perhaps the idea of appearing more emotionally vulnerable to my readers is somewhat repelling because my remnants of BPD can confuse and misinform me of how exactly I should feel and behave. Is it right to be brutally honest and wear my heart on my sleeve or should I remain the distant educator who writes with experience but is the equivalent of long-distance friend who conveniently texts, “I’m here for you”?

Such is my dilemma. Tomorrow will be a better day. I look forward to providing you with future blog posts and reading all your wonderful comments. Friday was World Mental Health Day, designated by someone or some entity. In reality, every day should be a cause to take care of your mental health and to be a support for those who fight while doing it.

Thank you and take care of yourself! Because tomorrow will be a better day.