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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Rescued by a Rescue Dog


Rescued by a Rescue Dog.



Kate a Scottish terrier came into my life during my sixteen years in Boston, by way of a good friend David who was traveling with his job left Kate to my care for two-three weeks at a time.


David had rescued Kate and travel from Texas to Boston her new home, where she lived me with me at our new home in Boston's Back Bay, our Marlborough Street Condo owned my me and a dear friend Edward Holle, who helped me.

It was Christmas just after my HIV and Bipolar diagnoses when things went gray, the story on my home page makes no reference of Kate , she arrived towards the end of but those those 54 days I withdrew from the outside World.

It was Christmas 1996, Rockport-Massachusetts, David his partner at that time had invited me to come up for Christmas and arranged to pick Kate and I up for the drive up, Kate still David's daddy.
The weekend was cold, no snow, we arrived and I took Kate for a walk along the beach, long walks is something we did together as it's during these walks that I was my calmest.  Long walks is why she took to me so well and I to her.


Later that evening, I was sitting by the tree and in walked Kate with a big red bow, a new leash and a gift card that said from me to you, Merry Christmas, it was then...that I was rescued by a rescue dog named Kate.

The weekend ended with our drive back to Boston, Kate on my lap, we arrived back to our home, unlocked the door, unpacked, settled in before I made way to the kitchen to find a new dog bed, dog food, dog toys, it was the gift that keeps on giving and even today although Kate who lived to be 17 years old did played a big role in my recovery from the trauma of both my serious illnesses.


Pets' make wonderful companions, for information on adopting pets please resources below.  Also, if you can't afford to own, consider becoming a dog walker and or house sitter, the part-time income is also welcome.



RESOURCES:

Pet Finder for Rescue Dogs

ASPCA

Become a dog walker

                                                                           

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ask the Doctor: Holiday Stress Strategies

`

EPRINT: Permission BP Hope Magazine


Enjoy the gift of peace and health through careful planning ahead, avoiding triggers, and monitoring your mood before, during, and after this year’s holiday season.

holiday-stress-management
By Melvin G. McInnis, MD

With the holidays approaching, there is a childlike anticipation of good times: the parties, the jingle in the malls, the shopping, the food, and—my favorite—snow. But challenges abound. Routines are out the window. Sleep is disturbed. Alcohol flows. The treats brought into the office are just so tempting … Living with bipolar during the holidays is often not easy.

What is it about the holidays that makes this such a difficult time?

There are two main challenges I see my patients struggling with around this time of year: One is impulsivity—the tendency to do things on the spur of the moment, often with limited regard for consequences; even when manic or depressive syndrome is not present, sometimes sub-syndromal or mild symptoms persist and drive actions. The second is reactivity—the tendency to respond with extreme intensity to external stimuli; good things take one “over the top” and bad things do the polar opposite.

What can I do to stay well yet still have some fun?

First and foremost: prioritize your health. Avoid changing your medications without talking to your health-care provider, and contact him or her right away if you feel a change in mood coming on.
Plan, prioritize, and avoid impulsive activity (this includes spending!). If there are things that can be done in advance, do them. Gifts? Create a shopping list and a budget and stick to it—don’t procrastinate and then panic and overspend at the last minute. A whole new outfit? Fine if you can afford it—but even an inexpensive new scarf, tie, or earrings may be enough of a treat to satisfy that “something new” urge.

Can you recommend some survival strategies?

Plan for minimizing a reactive response by using the following tips:
Plan for fun events. Look your best—it feels good! Think carefully about what you actually prefer to do, and whose company you truly desire. Identify the “required” duties and plan to seek common ground in the conversations, avoiding controversial topics that invariably lead to arguments. Compliment your host and family. Ask about the kids. Smile.
Don’t overdo it. Carve out personal time for yourself. If you need a break, say so: “I really need an hour or so on my own to recharge.” Have a rational reason handy for declining or leaving an event early; discuss your strategy for extricating yourself, if needed, with a trusted family member.
Have a “Go To” list of activities that relax you, such as movies, music, or a book. Find a new coffee shop in another neighborhood. It is often restful to sit and relax in a calm, neutral environment after a stimulating activity.
Tell your family and friends how much they mean to you. Find a new board game to play with a willing child, and play it over and over (and again) with him or her. You are making memories!

Once the holidays are over, now what?

After the holidays, many feel a sense of letdown. Credit card statements start appearing, the grim reality of winter sets in, life feels flat and stale, somehow a few extra pounds have found their way to your bathroom scale … It can be hard to know if one is headed for a full-blown depressive episode or just a few difficult days.
Develop a post-holiday strategy, and talk it through with a close friend or family member. Do they think you are getting depressed? Invite them to go with you to your health-care provider.
It is a good idea to have an appointment scheduled for soon after the holidays, simply to review how you are doing, identify needs for the current month and year, and set some new goals. If you did overdo it, forgive yourself and take the appropriate steps to move forward.


Printed as “Ask the doctor: Holiday strategies,” Fall 2016



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Has 12 Articles

Melvin G McInnisMelvin G. McInnis, MD, FRCPsych, is Thomas B. and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression and professor of psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan School of Medicine. He is also principal investigator of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund and associate director of the University of Michigan Depression Center.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Medicare Privatization, SSDI 19% Cuts and the Ripple Effects



Just off the Press




"Trump Signals Big Health Policy Changes are Coming" (see full story below)

Our elected officials, Democrats and hopefully a few of our Republicans who support social equality,  both in the House and Senate are going to need our help.  The Republicans to the left by way of getting those whom they represent just as active as I am today.

To mess with Medicare and possible SSDI, Social Security Disability Insurance, isn't the right thing to do, it will have ripple effects on those on disability, the aging and our mental health population and their over all mental health recovery and wellness.

Listed here:  Eight dimensions of Wellness (Adapted from Swarbrick, M. 2006.  A Wellness Approach. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal)




If any of you don't have your elected officials on your cell phones, look them up, www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.

Those of us who sit in traffic, on lines waiting for mass transit, all the down time to and from work, this is a perfect time to call our elected officials in Washington.  Thanks to a friend RH, for this idea, it's one way we keep up with one another.

"The incoming Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, said he's urging his Democratic colleagues to give Mr. Price a thorough vetting."

Senate Minority Leader Schumer, "Go Chuck," also adds that, " A lot of Republicans have been dancing on the head of a pin because they know the hard right of their party wants it but they know it's unpopular with the Public, he said."

The whole thing is a mess, Medicare Privatization, the Affordable Care Act and SSDI recipients are facing 19% cuts in benefits. ( Read Full Paper - NAMI below)

"SSDI provides monthly income to individuals who are limited in their ability to work because of physical or mental disability. Currently almost nine million individuals receive SSDI, and as of 2013, 35.2% of recipients qualify for disability based on a mental health condition." (For full story read NAMI's paper below).

Everyone needs to get involved in whats going on around them, to become proactive on these issues, so that all Americans are being taken cared of, not the Republican...survival of the fittest mentality.

We have two years to stall, slow down the attack on Medicare and Social Security, just long enough so that reinforcements can be deployed by way of the next mid-term election in November of 2018.

Until then start calling.


References & Resources:


"Trump Signals Big Health Policy Changes are Coming" (source: Wall Street Journal-Politics 11/29/16) by Louise Radnofsky

NAMI, Learn more Mental Health Public Policy / Social Security Income (SSI) and (SSDI)


NAMI-News- /President-Obama-Proposes-Plan-to-Ensure-the-Future

A Wellness Approach




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I love Hillary, But I would have Voted for a Stick Figure


By: Stephen Puibello  Award-winning Writer, Educator and Presenter
      on Mental Health, HIV and Recovery


Who doesn't have the election on their mind today, if you are HIV+, if you are a women, if you are Bipolar (Mental Illness), Can't afford health care, and scared that decades of civil unrest in our Nation can be reversed by who's appointed to the Supreme Court."

I love Hillary, voted Hillary, but would have voted for a stick figure as I voted issues, as I'm an activist on mental health and HIV+ and Recovery.  I also am dual diagnosed Bipolar and HIV+ now twenty years... And I've said to my Therapist, and many of my friends jokingly:

"I feel like the Six Million Dollar Man."

The costs of my therapies, my labs, my follow-ups, my psychiatrist, the medications alone, well over a million dollars.
                                           
In a way I'm fortunate that I'm bipolar, I wish I wasn't, but I'm disabled and it qualifies me for Medicare,  public housing, assistance with buses and subways and 80% of all the costs of keeping 1/6 of the Six Million Dollar Man working.   

Imagine the greed to charge $50 - $54 thousand dollars per year just for HIV medications, so yes I'm very afraid the outcome of this election.

I'm having to make choices as some medications aren't covered by Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage.  The thought of a hospitalization frightens me.  You see I don't have Health Care for the other 20%.  I'm 58 years old and too young to purchase it.  I also require specialist.  

I agree our health care needs fixing, it needs to encompass all HIV/AIDS consumers, you see we are susceptible to cancers, strokes, dementia, all the co-morbities and for myself and others whom are dual diagnosed HIV+ and with major depression, chronic mental illness.

Recovery as a Mental Health consumer,  using the eight dimensions of Wellness, I've picked myself off the ground to where I am today.  To lose the ability to pay for med's,  the anxiety of a hospitalization, the loss of my part-time job as the debt collectors will place a lean on my wages...all of that eradicates my work and could cause:

                                    "This Humpty Dumpty to have another great fall."



RESOURCES:


The 8 Dimensions of Wellness


Bipolar, watch the video


www.bipolarbear.us
For a comprehensive list of Resources for both HIV/AIDS and Mental Health Services.













Saturday, November 5, 2016

Story telling, It's how I Connect and Grow



I'm a story teller, I skip through life telling stories about the people I meet, the places I go, and for the past twenty years of my life, these stories are connected around mental illness, you see I'm bipolar.

For more on bipolar disorder and other related links that I learned from today's story telling, sharing my story, with my friends and neighbors please check out the resources at the end.

This morning over coffee with friends and neighbors we started talking about stigma, the question I was asked was "how does it feel when you hear someone say you are crazy?"  My response, as an educated consumer living with bipolar, and as an advocate, was that it rolls over my me.  But it can open me up, depending on the situation, prompting me to educate the person who said that to me...To explain the harm it can do, I also talk about the stigma of mental illness.

In sharing today, I learned about Fragile X Syndrome.  I learned about it from one of my friends whom I heard talk about their grandson before, but who never discussed to the same degree what it was.  Their full story came about today when we were talking about "crazy", about being different, and about early childhood development.  I shared more about my own situation today.

Like anyone learning something new, I have a learning curve, so I asked if she could write it down by the name of the condition for me, as it's one of the ways I connect and grow as a person. I got home, Googled Fragile X, Cliffside Park, Charlie Evert and started reading the story.

"Charlie Everett started life with the odds working against him.  Born with Fragile X Syndrome, which causes significant intellectual disability, Charlie has an IQ of 70, well below the average of 100.  His parents had their own major problems, and at the age of 8, he and his younger sister were adopted by their grandmother."

Afterwards, I caught up with my friend and neighbor.  I asked are you Charlie's Grandmother. When she said she was, I asked if I could give her a kiss. She said "yes" and that's how today I grew from sharing.



Meet Charlie Evert and his mentor Bob Relay, an inspirational story.
by Lisa Ung, Staff Writer, the Record (source: Northjersey.com)







Sunday, October 9, 2016

World Mental Health Day


IN THE NEWS
for
World Mental Health Day 2016 and other links


World Mental Health Day, What is It and why is it so important
"Every October 10 is World Mental Health Day – a time to educate and raise awareness of mental Illness and its major effects on people’s lives worldwide."

World Health Organization - Mental Health Day 2016
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, observed on 10 October, covers “psychological first aid”. Efforts in support of the day will focus on basic pragmatic psychological support by people who find themselves in a helping role whether they be health staff, teachers, firemen, community workers, or police officers."

Time Date: World Mental Health Day 2016
"Mental disorders affect nearly 12 percent of the world’s population – about 450 million or one out of every four people around the world – will experience a mental illness that would benefit from diagnosis and treatment. WHO statistics for 2002 showed that 154 million people globally suffered from depression, which is a form of mental illness. According to WHO, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which people realize their own potential, can cope with normal life stresses, can work productively, and can contribute to their community."

"Mental health services lack human and financial resources in many countries, particularly low and middle income countries. More funding is needed to promote mental health to increase people’s awareness of the issue. In response to making mental health a global priority, World Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 as an initiative of the WFMH, which has members and contacts in more than 150 countries. Each year the UN, through WHO, actively participates in promoting this event."

World Mental Health Day 2016
 Here at Home, Local
In the News and Other Links
"World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 every year, raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.  In honor of World Mental Health Day 2016, the campus community is asked to work together in taking a step toward decreasing mental health stigma at Montclair State University."






Monday, September 19, 2016

10 Common Warning Signs if Mental Illness

10 Common Warning Signs if Mental Illness
Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness





1.   Excessive worrying or fear.

2.   Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable "highs" or feelings of euphoria.

3.   Avoiding friends and social activities

4.   Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired or low energy.

5.   Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite.

6.   Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs.

7.   Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes such as headaches, stomach aches or
      vague ongoing "aches and pains."

8.   An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance.

9.   Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger.

10. Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning.