I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Both Broken and Whole

"Life is funny like that, when the dust settles at the end of the day - and we’ve said all we can, we’ll realize every part of us, even the loving ones, were a little broken.” 
I like that you're broken Broken like me Maybe that makes me a fool I like that you're lonely Lonely like me I could be lonely with you
~ Broken by lovelytheband
The song, "broken," by lovelytheband is on the radio a lot and it's my current favorite pop song.  It's catchy, musically very similar to Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People, which was the big song on the radio a few years ago.  Catchy melodies are nice, but the reason why I love this song so much is that its words speak to my soul.  It seems sort of funny to me that such a pop-y song can make me cry, but it sometimes does.

We are all broken and it is refreshing to hear a song that acknowledges that deep, spiritual wisdom in an accessible way.  Now when I say we are all broken I do not mean that we are bad or wrong.  I've heard the sentiment from many a troubled warmline caller, so let me be clear:

You are not broken because you have emotions or cry
You are not broken because you have a mental health challenge
You are not broken because you struggle with addiction
You are not broken because of the way you look
You are not broken because you take medication or go to therapy

You are perfect and whole just the way you are.

We are all human and humans feel complicated emotions.
Humans cry and struggle and face challenges.
Disability is natural.

Having a disability does not mean that one is broken or defective or bad or wrong; it simply means that one needs extra support in order to make money in our society. (Literally, this is how the American government defines disability-it's all about whether a person can keep a job.)  Money helps people live but it does not give a person moral value.  (Sorry, Trump.  #sorrynotsorry)

When I say we are all broken, I mean it in the way of Audre Lorde:
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
I am broken because our world is broken.

It's another dialectic:

I am a whole person who can declare her goodness to the world - I don't have to let the world convince me that I am bad.

Like the beginning intro to the music video, we are all a little broken due to the trauma of living in this world.

Immigrants and their children separated, mass incarceration of people of color, gun violence in our schools, emotional abuse in mental hospitals, women giving birth while in shackles for nonviolent crimes, hate crimes, rape culture, genocide, dead zones in oceans - There is no way a person can listen to the news and not acknowledge that something in our world is very wrong.

It is our ego.

When we think of ourselves only, we are living in brokenness - when we think of ourselves as inseparable from all, then we are closer to wholeness.

Being disabled is not a deficiency but a world that does not want to recognize and include the talents and gifts of those with disabilities is.

Do you understand the difference?

I like the song, Broken, because it speaks to my experience.  I am dating and I am looking for someone that is willing to admit that they are sometimes lonely and who recognizes the brokenness of this world.  But I also want someone who values themselves and is confident.

One can be vulnerable and confident at the same time.  One can admit their brokenness and still value themselves.  In fact, maybe those states of beings help each other out-perfectionism often comes from a person feeling so completely inadequate that they feel the need to go too far in the other direction.

I am a broken person and my heart aches.

I am a whole person and my heart sings.

I am both and that is good.

(a journal entry from a few weeks ago) 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Gratitude for 2018 - Excitement for 2019

A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. ~ The Message Bible
2018 was my year for healing and for accomplishing my goals - I completed my book challenge by reading thirty books in a year!

My Favorites:

Graphic Novels/Comics:

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel adapted by Pete Katz

Ms. Marvel Vol. 7: Damage Per Second

Ms. Marvel Vol. 8: Mecca

Supergirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki

Young Adult:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Self Help:

The Posttraumatic Growth Workbook: Coming through Trauma Wiser, Stronger, and More Resilient by Richard G Tedeschi

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero


Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit

More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Polyamory by Franklin Veaux

Women Who Run with Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola  Estes

The Complete Poetry of Anne Sexton

At the end of the year, I self-published my own book!

Hope Is Real: I Have A Purpose.  

You can now read the journey of my recovery after my last hospitalization, available on Amazon as a paperback or for your kindle.

In between, I started my own online mental health newsletter and I started my own business:

Hope Is Real Mental Health LLC

My business is the vehicle for my mental health presentations, art workshops, books, and art.

I led an LGBT Cultural Competency Workshop at the GMHCN St. Simons Conference to rave reviews.

I performed with the R2ISE Theater at Emory - I wrote a piece called, "The Gift of Psychosis."

I led a few mental health workshops for my old youth group with lots of enthusiastic participation.

I sold some art.

 I helped my church qualify for the United Church of Christ mental health designation (Mental Health  Hope and Wellness).
Holy Shit!  I did a lot!!  
lol. That's not even everything!
Last year was for completing goals and new beginnings-this year is to see those new beginnings grow and blossom!  Out of my trauma grew many redemptions fed by the waters of hope, love, and support.

When I reflect on all I accomplished last year, I am filled with gratitude.  Surely, I could not have completed any part of it without the help and support from my family, my therapist, my peers, my friends, my church.  I would say, "my God," except that I feel like that name puts human limits on a force that is so much bigger than what we can comprehend.

I will leave this post with a gratitude poem I wrote last year:

Thank you for air conditioning.
Thank you for water.
Thank you for the ability to be happy with myself.
Thank you for coffee, half and half, and Nutella brownies.
Thank you for all the foods society says is “bad” and “guilty”-
We both know that there are more serious things to feel guilty about.
Thank you for laughing with me over the ridiculous seriousness
That people attach to things that could give a lot of joy.

May I always take joy in the simple things of life.
May I always be grateful to be myself, 
While never forgetting that I am not actually a single person,
But just a part of this astounding universe.

May I renounce my female pronouns and embrace they-
We are all a “one” and a “they” all at once -
Many parts make a whole.

God is everywhere, filling in the cracks.
There is gold in between my joints!
May my movements shine with joy-
I am the Georgia humidity and 

God is the air conditioning unit with no power bill.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Hashtags as Agents of Social Change

I post on Instagram almost every day to promote this blog, so of course, I experiment with hashtags.  Common hashtags I  use: #alifeworthliving #focusonthepositive #focusonthegood #bethechange #mindfulness #gratitude #gratefuleveryday #artheals #mentalhealth #mentalhealthrecovery #recovery

A lot of my posts are about recovery from mental illnesss/mental health challenges, and since I am privileged (*rolls eyes*) with so many of them, I will often times just go down a list of my disorders.  When doing this, I began to pay attention to how many other people use those same hashtags and I found it interesting:

Mental Health Recovery Hashtags by Instagram Popularity

#edrecovery 3,453,807
#edwarrior 1,361,899

#depressionrecovery 182,629
#depressionwarrior 24,095

#ptsdrecovery 167,424
#ptsdwarrior 28,879

#anxietyrecovery 131,513
#anxietywarrior 89,209

#bpdrecovery 79,089
#bpdwarrior 8,824

#ocdrecovery 15,999
#ocdwarrior 1,106

#bipolarrecovery 5,559
#bipolarwarrior 5,198

#schizophreniarecovery 362 
#schizophreniawarrior 1

#schizoaffectiverecovery 21
#schizoaffectivewarrior 0

Chronic illness is sort of its own category since it is the one where warrior is more popular.
#chronicillnesssrecovery 644
#chronicillnesswarrior 126,880

I think the results are fascinating. According to instagram, the most popular recovery hashtags are "#edrecovery" and "#edwarrior."  I have found that in the regular world, eating disorders are very rarely talked about, unless about a celebrity or model.  For the most part, they are seldom believed.  A   person doesn't have binge eating disorder - they are "uncontrolled;" a person doesn't have anorexia - they are "perfectionistic," "particular," etc. In our toxic culture, there is no such thing as too thin.

So why are those hashtags so popular?

1. Pretty food pictures!  A lot of eating disorder recovery (edrecovery) is naturally centered around food and food pictures are attractive.  There is a potential trap though - it can be easy to get caught up in the healthy eating world and substitute an eating disorder with an extreme "healthy" diet, with a millions wide audience cheering on.

2. Teenage demographics.  In my experience, the majority of people who get help for their eating disorders are teenage girls or young adults with supportive parents. Who uses instagram the most? Teenagers and young adults.  There is a potential trap though-in the eating disorder world, anorexics are popular and revered-to be so thin that one is sick means to have envied powers of control.  In fact,  there is a super dangerous online world where anorexia is promoted.  I am not going to say its name because of fear that my readers will go looking it up.  Don't. I looked it up once after reading a news article about it and I instantly regretted it.  I cried hard seeing an online world of pure evil.

In the end, I suspect there are so many eating disorder pictures because in the teenage girl world, anorexia is considered an  achievement and almost cool.  I don't know if I would have said that phrase out when I was a teen, but it surely was what I thought. The positive in the large ED recovery world is the feeling of a recovery sisterhood. I find it in a lot in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) posts too, as it is another disorder often given to young women.  I like that we cheer each other on the pathway to a better life.  There is a community of us.

You know what is not cool? Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.  It makes me sad that so little is said about these diagnoses and the things that are are usually stigmatizing.  Schizophrenia does not innately make a person more dangerous. The white male mass shooters are not all "schizo," but are examples of toxic masculinity.  I remember when I was first diagnosed with schizoaffective-I had never heard the term before and I felt weird and alone.  Because being in a different reality can seem "bizarre," people with schizophrenia are often made fun of and these hashtags confirm their low status.

It is not true.

I have many friends with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder who are doing well.  We probably all felt stuck at some time, but in time, we became unstuck.  I have schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, and I am a success anyway.  Seeing the unpopularity of the schizophrenic and schizoaffective hashtags makes me want to use them more often. When creating a positive image of people with schizophrenia, I am using hashtags as an agent for social change.

I'm still going to post eating disorder hashtags. Pretty food pictures and selfies are fun! But I am also going to post about the less popular mental health challenges too.  I want the conversation of recovery to represent all mental health challenges because we all can recover.  We can recover our identities, our goals, our enjoyment, our purpose as people, our place in society.  I will proclaim success with every mental health hashtag I can think of because my message of hope's reality is available to everyone, no matter what the stereotypes say.  But do not get caught up in the labels - in the end, these are the hashtags that I prefer to guide my life: #alifeworthliving #focusonthepositive #focusonthegood #bethechange #mindfulness #gratitude #gratefuleveryday #artheals #mentalhealth #mentalhealthrecovery #recovery.

My favorite hashtag: #foodporn !


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Jesus Didn't Have My Level of Anxiety

I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. (403, The Message Bible)
I am too hard on myself.  My anxiety causes me to second guess myself and assume I am doing worse than I often actually am.  I hold myself to impossible standards, to Jesus standards.  The phrase, "what would Jesus do," has haunted me since high school and I wish I had never heard it.  The other day I was holding myself up to this impossible standard when I had this epiphany:

Jesus did not have my level of anxiety!  

If Jesus' anxiety was to the level of mine then there would be some writing about the intensity in the Bible somewhere.  There is the normal amount of anxiety that most people feel and then there is a level that can disable a person from working.  This is the level that I have.  When I asked myself, "what would Jesus do?" I then realized that that is actually a very silly question.  I'm not Jesus and it is foolhardy to hold myself to his standard or really to any standard that is not my own.

Jesus did not have borderline personality disorder with severe anxiety.  There is no mention in the Bible of Jesus having panic attacks or questioning himself a million times a day.  Jesus did not fast because he was anxious but because he was religious.  Not one disciple recorded, "and after challenging the pharisees, Jesus asked Peter, "ohmygod, was I too harsh? I know I was!  ohmygod my  hair is out of place, I look terrible, no one believes me, or maybe they believe me too much, ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod"

While Jesus was definitely human, it seems he had a level of anxiety that was not totally debilitating.

I don't think it makes sense for us to compare ourselves to Jesus.  Jesus was his own self.  Yes, we are all a part of God, and we are all part of the same body, but we are also individual people.  I cannot tell myself to be like Jesus when I can only be myself with my own limitations, faults, and yes, blessings and gifts.  

What I get from thinking about Jesus is not some magical saying or formula but the fact that he was in relationship with God.  He thought of God as his father.  He prayed every day.  I imagine that he prayed to God so much that he was able to sense what God wanted him to do.  When I think of Jesus this way, as being subservient to the most high, then I can relax-when I think of Jesus as perfect then I get tense.

What would Jesus do?  He would get away and pray.  
What would Jesus say?  Love one another.

I think trying to get any more out of his being is trying to get out more meaning out than perhaps we can.

I find little evidence that Jesus cared as much about people's opinions of him as I do.  He seemed pretty sure of himself and able to speak his mind, but maybe I'm reading the scriptures wrong.  I wish there was an account of Jesus' feelings and not just what he said and did filtered through others viewpoints.

I can only be myself and there is comfort in that.

What would Jesus do?  He would get away and pray.
What would Jesus say? Love one another.

Anything more is too much.

Fuck that shit.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

"Recovery" Does Not Equal "Appropriate"

"You look good today, Corey.  Appropriate!"  The peer at the computer laughed and then added, "People tell me to be appropriate all the time-do people ever tell that to you?"

I laughed, and said, "yes. When did recovery become synonymous with appropriate?" 

Yes, indeed-how?  I've been asking myself this question for several months now.  It started a few months ago when I broke down in tears during a theater rehearsal.  I called it a "meltdown" and "inappropriate."  I felt embarrassed and slightly ashamed.  "I should have managed my emotions better," I told myself.

It's true that through dialectical behavioral therapy, I have learned many skills to help me regulate my emotions and that's a good thing, but somehow learning skills changed in my mind to mean, "become perfectly appropriate."  However, 

1. Recovery is all about learning how to deal with the fact that we cannot be in total control.  We cannot be perfect ever and accepting that fact is a cornerstone of all types of recovery systems.  
2.  Crying IS often appropriate - it's our society that tells us that it is better to hide our emotions behind a stoic mask.  I was practicing a scene I wrote that triggered traumatic memories-crying is a normal, rational response to trauma!

What does the term, appropriate, even mean?  Appropriate to whom? Or what?  When we think of what is appropriate, usually it is part of a system created by someone else.  At the center where I work, acting appropriately means being trauma informed.  At school, appropriate means raising your hand when asking a question.  At many offices, appropriate means wearing a suit and tie.  These are other people's rules, not our own.  Sometimes there are good reasons behind following these types of guidelines, but we should never base our worth onto conforming to someone else's needs or desires.  Trauma informed environments are great for mental health, but are not ideal for a comedy club.  Raising your hand makes sense in a classroom, but is not needed when about to confront someone's misogynistic behavior. A suit and tie is needed to impress in the courtroom but would be ridiculous in athletics.

Women have always been told that telling our stories of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse are inappropriate-boys will be boys-but that is not true.  It is appropriate for a woman (or male) to speak out if we are going to make progress as a nation. Tears are appropriate and anger is definitely appropriate.

Here is a poem I wrote a few days ago based on a scripture from the Wisdom of Solomon.  I hope it keeps you angry.  I think I am going to stop telling myself to be appropriate from now on and just let myself be me. 

“God purified them like gold in a crucible and found them as acceptable.”
Wisdom of Solomon 3:6

Holy Purifier,
Purify me!
I long to be acceptable but not “appropriate.”
Following in your way is not a life dedicated to being nice and sweet.
Was Jesus being “nice” when when he overturned the tables in the temple?
All of life is a test-
To deny this fact is be naive and foolish indeed.
What shall I do?
I must move towards truth-
I must amplify the voices of women seldom believed.

I believe.
God knows.
No more will we be silent.
The God who is always with us can also say, “me too.”
Let us say it with the voice of divine thunder.
Let us overturn the tables of patriarchal tradition;
Let us purify our society until it passes God’s test.

God is testing Her people-
Are we passing?
Like Job, we are right to put our troubles before God.
Like Job, we can criticize those men who tell us we are at fault.
Like Job, we will pass the test by pressing on,
Day by day, step by step, we will hold the men who abused us responsible
God will put them in the kiln and we will hold then to the fire

Until all of God’s people can pass the test together.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Life Changing Art of Dialogue

"My goal is not to change anyone's mind or belief system.  My goal is to introduce you to different worldviews, so that we can support each other better.  As you know, being a certified peer specialist isn't about being right or wrong, but about connecting, learning, and supporting each other. This is what I love about being a CPS." Me, at the beginning of an LGBT Cultural Competency workshop.
Dialogue is part of my religion and I feel no shame in evangelizing.

I just got back last night from the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network's annual recovery conference, where I facilitated a workshop on LGBTQ Cultural Competency.  I am so proud of myself, so proud to be a CPS, so proud of my peers, and so proud of the company I work for.

Certified peer specialists are people in mental health recovery who have been trained in how to use our own lived experiences to support others in their own recovery journey. We believe everyone is their own expert. We do not give advice.  We do not try to change others' opinions to mimic our own.

We are hope-based, instead of fear-based.

The United States is ruled by fear today.  When we live by fear, hatred, anger and judgment result in violence, mental illness, oppression, bigotry, and fascism.

What working at the Decatur Peer Support and Wellness Center has taught me is that moving towards connection is what should rule the United States, for it leads to wellness, growth and empathy.
Desperation. Fear. Impulsive. Violence. Anger. Hurting people shouting.
Love.  Connection. Faith. Curiosity.  Sharing.  Growth.  Compassion.  Empathy.
Not one person said one thing judgmental to me.  No one preached.  No one argued.

Later I overheard two people sharing their religious views and beliefs about LGBT people together.  Their opinions were not my opinions, but I was pleased that they were discussing their beliefs in a calm, respectful manner.  

We believe in dialogue.

I believe in dialogue.

Whatever happened to,
"We have nothing to fear except for fear itself?"
I am sad for my country that we have forgotten who we are.  I am sad that Christians have forgotten who we are.  While at the conference, I helped the R2ISE Theater interact with people through art.
Passion. Connection.  Joy. Love. Togetherness. Music.  Dance.  High energy.  Good vibrations.
When we see and hear horrible things happen and reported, shouting and screaming are not actually going to do any good or change many people's minds.

We keep doing the same things and expecting different results.
"You are bad! You are wrong! Listen to me as I yell at you!"
Shouting matches appease and satisfy our own egos, but I do not believe they actually help very much.
"Who do you love? Why? What is your passion? What is your life like? What connects us together?"
Open ended questions opens people's hearts. Art, creativity, imagination, music, writing, and music bring people together.

Jesus was a storyteller.  He was a carpenter.  He made things with his hands and with his words. He was an artist creatively bringing people together.  Artists of hope may often be killed by the disturbed state but their legacies live far past the reign of a single dictator.

I read an article this week that stated that right now in our polarized world, people have a choice-to follow the low, harmful vibrations of fear or generate the high, bright, lovely vibrations of love and connections.  I experienced powerful vibrations Wednesday night, vibrations similar to ones I felt in the last hospital stay.  Deep connections came easily; I felt high on nothing but positivity.

I know I probably sound horribly cheesy and new age-y,  but if this way of being and thinking brings me and the others around me joy, then I see no problem.

Are we going to let the world fade into a cloud of fear or are we going to let our light transform the darkness?

I think it is time for me to reread Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Freire and dedicate myself again to the art of dialogue:
“It is necessary that the weakness of the powerless is transformed into a force capable of announcing justice. For this to happen, a total denouncement of fatalism is necessary. We are transformative beings and not beings for accommodation.” 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Hospital Prevention Poems

A lot of what I do both for myself and for my peers is hospital prevention.  I would not feel such a pressing need to prevent hospitalizations if they were more ethical, therapeutic experiences AND if they were not so expensive.  Even with insurance, expect to pay a few thousand dollars. 

"What is it that you get from the hospital that makes you want to go?" I asked someone a few days ago.  The answer was, "attention."  


I go to the hospital because I want mental health attention too.  With hospital prevention, it is important to realize the benefits of a hospital to see if you can get those same needs met in another way.  One may or may not get adequate mental health attention in a hospital.  One may or may not need more mental health attention AFTER the hospitalization because of post-hospital PTSD.  

So, what can a person do?  

First, realize that needing attention is not bad.  People with  physical health challenges need attention all the time and rarely get shamed for it.  Figure out what kind of attention you need, and then go after it, unashamed.  This is much easier to do with someone else's help.  

Make a WRAP plan!  WRAP stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan and is where you make a plan of how you will stay well, and also how you will handle every bump in your recovery journey.  You detail what a crisis looks like for you and then you write down what YOU want to happen, so that a crisis will not be worse than it needs to be.  "Take me here, not there... Give me this, not that..." I am currently rewriting my own. A certified peer specialist can help you make one (we have a WRAP activity where I work every Thursday) or you can create it yourself or with your therapist.

Call a warmline for peer support - attend a support group - schedule outings with understanding friends - go to respite at a peer center - schedule more frequent appointments with doctors and/or therapists and/or nutritionists - learn how to self soothe yourself - create art - journal - have a PLAN 

I had a conversation with someone else who kept saying that they would rather sleep outside than in a shelter-a sentiment I've heard before.  People long for peace and safe spaces, especially in early recovery, especially after just getting discharged from a chaotic hospital.  I know a fair amount of people who have opted to sleep in an alleyway rather than the triggers of a shelter.  It's funny-in a sad way-how hospitals and shelters are not peaceful places-people would get better so much faster if deescalation and validation techniques were used instead of yelling and slamming doors.

I was filled with so much emotion when I got home that I wrote several poems. The end of the first poem spells LOVE, which is what we follow on the warmline - Listen, ask Open ended questions, Validate, and Empathize. The poems are a little cheesy, but they're a good representation of what I do and how I feel about my work. 

Attention Seeking Is Not Inherently Bad

It is natural to want and need attention.
Attention seeking is not inherently bad.
But beware of the hospital lure-
(More trauma, less cure)

Call a friend - call a peer - call a warmline -
Say, “Hey! I need a hug, I feel bad.” 
The hospital offers no warm embrace.

Ride the emotion wave with me, 
Let us be each other’s grace.

“I feel hopeless and lonely.”
“I’ve felt that way too but it passes.”
I can Listen, be Open, Validate, Empathize
Together, we are wise

I'd Rather Sleep Outside

“I’d rather sleep outside than in a shelter-
All I want is peace.”
No chaos for me-
No doctor, no bed
No pill, no med      
Replace the "I" with "we"

I am more kin with night owls and butterflies
With prowling cats and homeless sighs
Than those wearing the savior mask in disguise.
You call it a shelter, but at night my heart cries.

Emotional abuse is still abuse
Triggers, needles and weapons
I must run away from here
I need peace for my soul
I won't dig my own hole
I follow peer love, not fear.

(Note: I'm not against medication - the poem is just a reflection of some of the conversations I've had with peers lately.)

I also recently completed a NAMI "End The Silence" program, which is a presentation for teens, parents, and teachers about mental health awareness and suicide prevention.  I thought I'd share a few bits from the application.  
What is it about your (or your family member’s) experience that you think the students, teachers, and/or families will be able to relate to? 
I struggled as a teen and young adult with my mental health challenges. (eating disorder, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression) I still remember what that was like.  I had to live with my parents for a while and thought life was passing me by.  Learning DBT and getting the right support changed my life.  Now I am a certified peer specialist working at the Decatur Peer Support and Wellness Center and I have a good life.   Also, I go to DragonCon and cosplay every year and everyone gets a kick out of seeing my pictures-you can have a mental health challenge and still enjoy life and have fun.
What does recovery mean to you?
Recovery is being able to live a life filled with hope and promise even with a mental health or addictive disease challenge.  It is focused on strengths and wellness; it is self determined; it promotes hope and continued opportunities in life no matter what.
What are your views on treatment for mental health conditions?
Treatment works as long as the person has access to it and is open to working hard.  It needs to be recovery, hope, and strength based.  It should acknowledge the impact of trauma, be holistic and self directed.  Currently, evidence based treatment can be very hard to afford and find.  Mental hospitals are essentially mental health prisons and do not promote recovery.  There is chronic underfunding, understaffing and under training in hospital and general mental health settings.  Fortunately, Georgia is number one in the nation for peer support.  The free opportunities available for peer support (NAMI, GMHCN, Wellness Centers, RCOs) should be more widely promoted.  Peer support should be recognized as an essential adjunct to standard medical model treatment.  Treatment should always be hope and strength based, so it can be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

July 2018 Hope Is Real Mental Health Newsletter

Contact me to schedule an End The Silence presentation to let teens, families, and youth workers know that hope is real for a better life, no matter how young a person may be or how dire the situation seems in the present moment.