In A Time Of Mental Illness

Mental illness continues to be a hush topic even though time and time again it rears its tragic head and presents itself directly in our faces, for instance, yesterday’s shooting and killing of a TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, plus Vicki Gardner who survived.   1 in 5 adults experiences a mental health condition every year.  1 in 20 lives suffer with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to the person directly experiencing a mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected.  50% of mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24 and some even later in age.

With all this knowledge, the Mental Health System is still like a soaking wet sponge.  People continue to fall through the severely cracked system.  Over and over again we witness the damage done to individuals who are left behind by a system put in place by our government to help, whether it’s by shootings, homelessness, suicides or other destructive behaviors.  However, as soon as an incident arises, the media, the government and mental health officials cloud the air waves speaking on the issues of what, why, how and, but as soon as another topic become news worthy the issues of mental health are once again pushed to the side.

When will the talk become action?  When will we as concerned citizens get fed up enough to demand a change? When will we as family, friends and loved ones of the affected unite and fight together to better a situation our family member or friend didn’t choose, but was given.

Mental illness shouldn’t be a stigma.  It isn’t contagious.  It shouldn’t be on a wall of shame.  It should be a priority.  Those suffering from mental illness should be able to receive help with needed services, counseling, medicine, have access to outreach programs that will afford them a better quality of life.

Every time I hear someone ask, how did this happen or how did we not know, I want to scream.  I do scream at the television and say, “THE SYSTEM IS THE PROBLEM, TOO MUCH TALKING AND NOT ENOUGH ACTION, TOO MUCH RED TAPE AND DEVELOPING POLICIES, TOO MUCH JOCKING FOR AIR TIME ON A MAJOR NEWS STATION, TOO MANY EGOS FILLED WITH POLITICAL AMBITION AND NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE WITH FIGHT IN THEIR HEARTS, and THEIR SPEECH AND THEIR ACTIONS.  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

My family is affected by mental illness.  Every day brings new challenges.  I sometimes get tired, but I press on.  My armor is pierced, yet I continue to fight every day to be a voice for the one in my family without one.

Kayla’s heartbreak…… from Tears I Shed

BookCoverPreview -Tears I Shed(new cover)-1My first book Tears I Shed introduced Kayla, Kyra, Jahren, Felecia and Jenesis as a sisterhood of friends whose bond helps them endure through the shenanigans of life.

Kayla is one of the main characters.  She seems to have it all until tragedy strikes and she quickly learns that her relationship with her husband has been a total lie.  We’ve often heard the expression that nothing is as it appears.  Kayla’s discovery is prime example of how one person can be totally invested in a relationship whether it is a marriage or just a committed one while the partner is invested in something totally separate, yet playing the devoted husband or lover.

Our hearts goes out to Kayla in sympathy with the loss of her husband and young son, but emotions are quickly turned regarding her husband Thomas.  Thomas has a woman on the side and twin sons who look like they could be triplets to his and Kayla’s son.  On the morning of his death, which was their anniversary, Thomas did all the wonderful things one would expect from a doting husband of many years, yet his efforts were just an attempt to keep the illusion of a perfect marriage intact.  The perfect husband and man wasn’t able to face the music of his infidelity, yet I know many were hoping as life flashed before his eyes that his heart suffered conviction regarding his betrayal.  And as much as we would like to have killed Thomas again, we began to focus our attention on Kayla because she has suffered a loss that we would not wish upon our worst enemy.  Her heart is broken into a million pieces.  She, no doubt is overwhelmed by an array of emotions, but the heartbreak is no comparison to the anger she feels not being able to confront her lying, cheating deceased husband.

Kayla’s heartbreak forced her away from her friends and family.  She took a leave of absent from her job and became a recluse.  Although, we don’t get the full details of everything she did, but we can imagine that she clung to all things sentimental to her marriage and family.  We do know that she continued to go to the park on Saturdays just as they had before the tragedy, which is where she came in contact with the man who would become her Knight in shining armor.

That day in the park, Kayla’s pent up emotions betrayed her in the arms of a complete stranger by the name of Justice Morgan.  We learn that Justice’s encounter with Kayla left a lasting impression upon him in a good way.  As fate would have it, he turned out to be her friend Kyra husband’s best friend. Their star crossed encounter was just the beginning of Kayla’s healing process.  Justice proved to be the man she needed.

We were all rooting for Kayla because she deserved to find love and happiness again.  Tears I Shed is truly representative of the tears we release whether in good or bad times, yet in the end those very tears can be symbolic of a new beginning because the story does not end there.

Finally, Tears I Shed, it implodes into a riveting sequel that dwells deeper into the lives of Kayla, Kyra, Felecia, Jahren and Jenesis.  Tears I Shed 2 is available as well on Amazon as an e-book or in paperback.

Journey to Here

Don’t ask about how my story began

Ask about my journey to here

The obstacles, the uncertain paths and the winding roads

The sleepless nights and the nights when tears hummed me a lullaby

At a young age, I swelled with life

Got talked about, ridiculed, told to never mind deferred

That my dreams would never manifest

And for N-O-T-H-I-N-G for the rest of my life I would qualify

Living, breathing, yet my heart severed

20% of what’s actually being said, yet my ears comprehended 100% of the negativity

However my mind played defense, shielded me from their daggered words

Like the potter’s clay I transformed

Ask me about my journey to here

And I will say

The road is never the straightway

Life comes like 90 mph curved balls, so be warned

Claws showing, reckless like a woman scorned

My journey

To the wayside lay the haters, the crabs, the frenemies and the naysayers

For them, in my black, I mourned

Ask me about my journey to here

And I will say

The seeds planted within

Sowed in pain

Watered with the flow of a single tear

Sprouted concrete leaves from my fear

With confidence they began to disappear

And just like that my life kicked in gear

The wind blowing the pages of my diary

It all became crystal clear

I am a formidable presence, a powerful spear

I have a purpose in this chaotic atmosphere

Ask me about my J-O-U-R-N-E-Y

And I will say

I have infinity of stories

Waiting to be set free

My journey is the complete never-ending diary of me.

Empire Addressing Mental Illness

After watching last night’s episode of Empire, I totally felt Cookie’s emotional response as a mother of a child suffering from mental illness.  Mental illness reaches beyond the affected and puts a strong grip on family members who are trying to come to terms and cope.  It’s a daily struggle with the unknown.  Mental illness is an emotional roller coaster with many highs and lows, but with help it is manageable.  It certainly helps you remain focused on the most important things in life and not take anything for granted.  However, the flip side is when I see people who don’t understand.  Don’t care to understand and are reckless with their behavior by bullying, poking fun and speaking negatively about someone with a mental illness is the quickest way to make my blood boil.  There has been several instances where my son has posted pictures, his poetry or just his thoughts on social media and some insensitive gnats have tagged others and made harsh comments trying to get a laugh.  My son maybe different from most, but he is a creative genius. One may not understand, but it’s still no reason to be insensitive and cruel.  Furthermore, let me offer a word of advice.  You make laugh, poke fun and call him and others suffering from mental illness derogatory names, but remember they are human too and have feelings.  You know where you’ve been and where you are now, but the road to the future is uncertain.  My son grew up a normal little boy who did all the things boys do.  He always loved music and wrote beautiful poetry.  He graduated from high school and went to college, but during his sophomore year his behavior became erratic and he would later be diagnosed as a Paranoid Schizophrenic.  Then came the struggle with the broken Mental Health system to get him the help he needed and will need for the rest of his life.  Finally, I love all four of my children unconditionally.  We may not always agree, but at the end of the day I am a mother, their mother and will always be there and fight for their well-being.

Tears I Shed Series

writerpoet

BookCoverPreview -Tears I Shed(new cover)-1My first book Tears I Shed introduced Kayla, Kyra, Jahren, Felecia and Jenesis as a sisterhood of friends whose bond helps them endure through the shenanigans of life.  It implodes into a riveting sequel that dwells deeper into the lives of Kayla, Kyra, Felecia, Jahren and Jenesis.

Tears I Shed explores the lives of five friends and their quest to live the american dream that includes love, happiness, family, friends, house, car and a successful career.  We all know that although we dream real life is far from the fairy tale.  When we open our hearts to love and friends, we’re often invite the alter ego of love…..heartbreak into our lives.

My hope for the reader is to identify with the characters, to feel their pain, revel in their joy, shed tears with them and to bask in their successes.  Furthermore, my hope is to tickle every emotion and leave…

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Tears I Shed Series

BookCoverPreview -Tears I Shed(new cover)-1My first book Tears I Shed introduced Kayla, Kyra, Jahren, Felecia and Jenesis as a sisterhood of friends whose bond helps them endure through the shenanigans of life.  It implodes into a riveting sequel that dwells deeper into the lives of Kayla, Kyra, Felecia, Jahren and Jenesis.

Tears I Shed explores the lives of five friends and their quest to live the american dream that includes love, happiness, family, friends, house, car and a successful career.  We all know that although we dream real life is far from the fairy tale.  When we open our hearts to love and friends, we’re often invite the alter ego of love…..heartbreak into our lives.

My hope for the reader is to identify with the characters, to feel their pain, revel in their joy, shed tears with them and to bask in their successes.  Furthermore, my hope is to tickle every emotion and leave readers wanting more.

I welcome contact from readers, so by all means feel free to contact me via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at my website.

Over 40, Fabulous and Dating

Dating over 40, I’ve come to realize is quite comical and that some free meals aren’t worth it and sometimes are not free.  Getting back on the dating scene, well I’ve never really been on the dating scene because I was married for many many years, however after deciding to date again after my divorce I came up with numerous reasons why I should not.  Seriously, I had more excuses than a man about to go to jail, but after some soul searching, hair pulling and becoming a serial battery purchaser, I decided why not.  What could I lose?  Well, let me tell you the pool of available men in my town is the size of a kiddie pool.  I read about placing an ad, but also read somewhere that I had more chances of meeting a serial killer than finding love.  So, I decided to try online dating.  I created a profile, took a sexy picture at least sexy by my standards, then scrolled through this particular site viewing and reading profile after profile.  The interest in my profile began immediately after I posted my first picture.  When I saw my inbox had 15 messages I was excited.  As I started reading my messages, I discovered that the universal first messages was “you’re pretty”, in which I replied “thanks” 13 times.  Only two of the messages began with a hello. One of the messengers and I messaged each other continuously, quickly developing an online acquaintance. He soon asked if we could meet some where in public over coffee.  I agreed, then I went into panic mode.  What should I wear? How should I style my hair?  What if he’s a serial killer?  What if I got this new thing going around called cat fished?  Up until now, I just assumed cat fish was what us southerners loved deep fried and covered with Louisiana Hot sauce.  Yeah I was flipping channels and caught and episode of that show.  Thanks for the added vote of confidence.  Whoo-hoo!  I looked through magazines to see what was the latest fashion trends, thinking it would help, oh boy.  So I looked through this one particular magazine at star fashion and let’s just say really, No, Nada.  Sheer with major cleavage was trending, but so was the fact that I would look like I was corner ready.  Never mind that a 32A cup does not live up to the word cleavage.  My bed was covered with clothing.  I had a maybe pile, a yes pile and an absolutely not pile, then I thought about what Oprah said some years ago, “every woman needs a little black dress” and you and I know that what Oprah says.  OK, so I put on a cute little black dress, accented it with silver accessories and shoes along with a black and silver clutch.  After several final turns in the cheval mirror, I was first date ready, then I remembered we were meeting at a coffee shop. Back to the clothing pile I went.  I decided on a knee length chevron dress and sandals. To say the least, I was looking good.  On my way out of the door, I inflated my chest with confidence.  Too bad I can’t do that with my minor boobs.  I tossed my hair, well fluffed my twist-outs since I’m a natural girl, then smiled my best pageant girl’s smile.  I make it to the coffee shop in record time.  Feeling confident and excited, I entered the coffee shop where he was already seated and waiting.  I slowly walked my sexiest walk over to the table where he sat smiling.  I greeted him with a high pitched hello.  My nerves were in high gear.  He stood.  I extended my hand and he shook it firmly.  Very firmly.  I winced.  He was handsome, about 6’3 with an athletic build.  His profile stated he had a master’s degree and was an educator, however the next words out of his mouth was, “You have skinny legs.”  I immediately tugged at my right ear, because I must not have, surely I heard him wrong.

“Excuse me,” I replied.

Confidently he added, “You should wear pant suits and not dresses to hide those skinny legs.”

Well damn, my ears did not deceive me after all, so I smiled and politely replied, “Well maybe you should wear a helmet because it has become very clear to me that you are severely challenged and have the tact of an extinct cave man.”  I turned, lifted my head high and sashayed out of that coffee shop being careful to put and extra swing in my hips.  So much for the excitement of a first date.  I went home, logged into my lap to and to the dating site.  there you see, I did say in my statistics that my body type is skinny and petite.  Definitely, not my problem that he has a master’s degree and can’t read.  It is fundamental, right?  I may have skinny legs, but I am also fabulous and over 40 with many A-list qualities. His loss.

Low and behold, I had an inbox from mister 6’3 apologizing.  I happily, excitedly and with a quickness pressed delete without a reply.  Now back to the kiddie pool I go.  This fabulous and over 40 diva with A-list qualities is on a mission to find love no matter how challenging the process.

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