The Priceless Gifts Of October!

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (Photo credit: U.S. Army Korea (Historical Image Archive))

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pink In Honor Of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink In Honor Of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello my WordPress friends and family. I have not posted in longer than I had planned, but felt compelled to write tonight. It’s October…..a month of great significance in my life. First, there are many campaigns for awareness this month that are near and dear to my heart. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This past July, I had my third breast surgery for an annoying, uncomfortable, and somewhat disfiguring form of cancer commonly called DCIS. As cancer goes… is one of the “best” cancers to get as it is considered by most experts to be stage 0 and non-metastasizing in most cases. But is still surgery…….to my breast……which tends to mess with my head a bit as I happen to like my “girls” and am saddened each time a bit more of them is cut away. Ladies….and all gentlemen who love ladies…..spread the word! Get a mammogram and do your self exams. And if something seems wrong…..if you are bleeding from your nipples…..get it checked out because ignorance in this case in NOT bliss.

Next, October is Mental Health Awareness month…..another subject I am intimately familiar with. Official diagnosis on my records from respected psychiatrists list Dissociative Identity Disorder, Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Acute Anxiety. Full disclosure here…..I have not seen a psychiatrist for an independent evaluation since the release of the new DSM-V……so there would probably be a few more items added to my laundry list of diagnoses if I had.

October is also National Domestic Violence Awareness month. This particular cause is the closest to my heart of all. I used to say I am a survivor of domestic violence…..not anymore. Dare I say so boldly, I now consider myself a thriver. Yep, i still have challenges that affect my daily life as a result of the abuse I endured, but now I am not only functioning…..I am giving back. i completed my Domestic Violence Counselor certification at the end of July and got connected with a local women’s group that advocates for abuse victims. And I have to tell you……it has been a life changer for me. So many brave women come to me and say thank you for my help…..and the directors and non-profit staff members thank me and my reply to them is always the same. Your welcome, but the truth is You are saving My life. The volunteer work I am doing as a legal advocate at the county courthouse for those filing for protection orders and the community events where I get to speak to people and let them know about the shocking statistics surrounding this issue…..educating them and opening their eyes…..well this work has given me a purpose. Purpose is priceless! Purpose helps heal your wounded soul, empowers you, improves your self-esteem, and forbids you to isolate yourself. I will say it once more…..purpose is priceless. Purpose is saving me everyday… me a reason to keep on going! So to those who thank me…..again all I can say is thank you! You are literally helping me save my life!

Finally, last month was Suicide Prevention Month. I have been down that dark, deep pit myself. I know the stigma and shame associated with it. I have felt the sting of being called selfish and attention seeking. I even admit that I still have dark days where the thought of ” i really wouldn’t mind if i went to sleep tonight and didn’t wake up” crosses my mind. But today…..I have better tools. Today….. I have better coping skills. Today…..I have a small bur growing support group of regular people who care in addition to the paid professionals that have been at my side for the past few years. Today…..I am doing okay. Today…..I can keep going

And on top of all that…..Monday is going to be my birthday. And this year…..this year I am going to celebrate it! Ah, the priceless gifts of October.

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake (Photo credit: Will Clayton)



Breaking News! This Just In…..

To all of us who are concerned with the state of mental health recovery in this world, what follows is important and amazing news. I just found this as reported at I am shocked and saddened that this is not international news being reported by every media station worldwide.  I want more people to know about this, so I am reporting it and hope that others will follow.

National Institute of Mental Health abandoning the DSM

In a potentially seismic move, the National Institute of Mental Health – the world’s biggest mental health research funder, has announced only two weeks before the launch of the DSM-5diagnostic manual that it will be “re-orienting its research away from DSM categories”.

In the announcement, NIMH Director Thomas Insel says the DSM lacks validity and that “patients with mental disorders deserve better”.

This is something that will make very uncomfortable reading for the American Psychiatric Association as they trumpet what they claim is the ‘future of psychiatric diagnosis’ only two weeks before it hits the shelves.

As a result the NIMH will now be preferentially funding research that does not stick to DSM categories:

Going forward, we will be supporting research projects that look across current categories – or sub-divide current categories – to begin to develop a better system. What does this mean for applicants? Clinical trials might study all patients in a mood clinic rather than those meeting strict major depressive disorder criteria. Studies of biomarkers for “depression” might begin by looking across many disorders with anhedonia or emotional appraisal bias or psychomotor retardation to understand the circuitry underlying these symptoms. What does this mean for patients? We are committed to new and better treatments, but we feel this will only happen by developing a more precise diagnostic system.

As an alternative approach, Insel suggests the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project, which aims to uncover what it sees as the ‘component parts’ of psychological dysregulation by understanding difficulties in terms of cognitive, neural and genetic differences.

For example, difficulties with regulating the arousal system might be equally as involved in generating anxiety in PTSD as generating manic states in bipolar disorder.

Of course, this ‘component part’ approach is already a large part of mental health research but the RDoC project aims to combine this into a system that allows these to be mapped out and integrated.

It’s worth saying that this won’t be changing how psychiatrists treat their patients any time soon. DSM-style disorders will still be the order of the day, not least because a great deal of the evidence for the effectiveness of medication is based on giving people standard diagnoses.

It is also true to say that RDoC is currently little more than a plan at the moment – a bit like the Mars mission: you can see how it would be feasible but actually getting there seems a long way off. In fact, until now, the RDoC project has largely been considered to be an experimental project in thinking up alternative approaches.

The project was partly thought to be radical because it has many similarities to the approach taken by scientific critics of mainstream psychiatry who have argued for a symptom-based approach to understanding mental health difficulties that has often been rejected by the ‘diagnoses represent distinct diseases’ camp.

The NIMH has often been one of the most staunch supporters of the latter view, so the fact that it has put the RDoC front and centre is not only a slap in the face for the American Psychiatric Association and the DSM, it also heralds a massive change in how we might think of mental disorders in decades to come.
Link to NIMH announcement ‘Transforming Diagnosis’.

Let’s Get This Party Started!

party timeMy days and nights have been extremely busy as of late. As you may remember, I recently started an internship with a wonderful foundation that’s mission is to promote research of drug free, noninvasive treatments for brain disorders and trauma using neuro-therapy. I have been at this for four weeks and am still adjusting to the change in my schedule and the new demands that are placed on my time. I feel a twinge of guilt for not posting on this blog as often as I would like to. I feel very passionate about having this platform to share my journey and my thoughts with all of you. Although I am a relative newbie in the blogosphere, I can say this experience has been life altering for me in a very positive way. It has allowed me to expand my support system, practice expressing myself in a healthy way, and given me an enhanced sense of purpose. And being the semi neurotic character that I am, I worry that if I don’t post often enough I will be forgotten. With this swirling around in my mind, I received a bit of affirmation that you are still out there following along with me on this adventure.

Two of my fellow bloggers sent me a bit of love and affirmation! Reflections On Life Thus Far has nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. I consider her a friend and kindred spirit, even though we have never met in person. She blogs from her soul, speaking openly about the bullying and abuse she endured as well as her personal transformation and search for spirituality, enlightenment, and healing. Every post is uplifting, insightful, or thought provoking…..and well worth reading.

These are the rules:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog,
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you,
  3. State seven things about yourself,
  4. Nominate fifteen other bloggers for this award and link to them,
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

So, here are 7 things about me:)

1. I finally realize that I have a very strong mind-body connection. Because of this, I intentionally set aside an hour or two everyday to sit quietly and just BE.

2. I am madly in love with my gorgeous one year old grandson. Anytime I am feeling down, a visit with him turns my mood right around.

3. I enrolled in school again with the goal of receiving a Ph. D in Natural Medicine. It might take me the rest of my life here on earth to do this, but I am determined to keep on going.

4. I am the only person in my entire family that is not a dyed in the wool animal lover. Somehow I missed that gene. But I adore children and wish I had ten more.

5. Some of my best insights and problem solutions come at night in my dreams.

6. My favorite color is purple

7. I love to play with food and often improvise crazy recipes in my kitchen.

My WordPress reader has over 250 blogs that I follow, so choosing 15 to pass this award onto is a challenge. With that said, here are some of my newer discoveries

  1. My Life Disconnected
  2. Mental Health Cop
  3. Spread Information
  4. Who Needs Normal
  5. Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane
  6. Inspired 2 Ignite
  7. One Thousand Single Days
  8. Vwoop Vwoop
  9. A Gripping Life
  10. Lead Learn Live
  11. Life Revelation
  12. A Leaf In Springtime
  13. Prison Photography
  14. Free Your Mind
  15. The Bridge

The second award comes from a new friend of mine, Otrazhenie. As the name of this blog states, this blog is all about reflection and can only be labeled by the reader as it defies being categorized. Check out the “Thoughts” page for pearls of wisdom.very-inspirational-blogger11

the Rules

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Here goes another 7 things about me…..

  1. I am vainly attached to my long blond hair. Even though it is no longer naturally blond, and even though I recently cut and donated 10 inches of it, it is still long and blond.
  2. I am nervously excited about entering my second adulthood, with all the “if I knew then what I know now” feelings and yet the chance to start all over and define what an authentic life truly looks like to me.
  3. I am entering my 9th month of self-imposed date free/ intimate relationship free journey of self exploration
  4. As a heavy consumer of the medical and mental health systems, I have learned many tricks to successfully navigating these fields and am willing to act as an advocate to anyone asking free of charge. Systems are often difficult to wade through on your own, so I offer a helping hand to all that ask.
  5. Learning is as important as breathing to me.
  6. Music is one of my greatest pleasures and I like every genre…..except country.
  7. The surest way to kick the blues and appreciate your blessings is to go give to others.

These 15 blogs that follow are representative of many truly inspiring writers. Otrazhenie has introduced me to many fabulous blogs through links on his blog, so I hope I can introduce you to a few more.

  1. The Practical Psychosomaticist
  2. The Fortress Of Potential
  3. Ec.cen.tric
  4. Make Something Mondays
  5. Forcing Myself Happy
  6. Empowered Results
  7. Morven’s Blog
  8. Cherish Freedom
  9. Deliberate Donkey
  10. In My Opinion
  11. Vodka Was My Muse
  12. This Time This Space
  13. Roots To Blossom
  14. The ABC’s of Spirit Talk
  15. The Aura Reader
  16. Mindfulness 4 Now

There are sooooo many more fabulous blogs. I apologize to any that I have nominated that do not take part in awards, I mean no disrespect and hope you take it as a token of my affection for what you do. To those I did not get to mention, I think you are wonderful and valuable and that is why you are in my email everyday.

Take care friends, and keep on going.