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Showing posts from February, 2009

Embroider Me II

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My second bag looks pretty cool, I think, though I need to work on getting my stitches straighter. The picture is one I took of a cat I used to have named Cinnamon, climbing the Christmas tree. I printed the picture on this kind of cotton fabric that can be put though the printer. There is a pewter angel ornament sewn above. It's on the same kind of fabric that the first one was on-100% cotton-except in brown. I used a button for the white and gold ornament.

What You Need to Know about GLBTQI Mental Health

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Many queer folk have some kind of serious mental illness and need help. Unfortunately, many times these people do not get the help they need, because they are afraid to ask for it or because they do not know if anyone will listen to them without judging. I know this from personal experience. I am a bisexual, who is more interested in women. In fact, it is only recently that I have decided to embrace my bisexuality and not claim to be a lesbian. Proposition 8 really messed me up. I already had issues with feeling less than human, what with my school insurance hardly being willing to pay for my needs, so when the people of California decided that two people who love each other and who also simply happen to be of the same sex should be denied the right to marry, my humanity suffered. Fortunately, by this time in my recovery, I had learned enough coping skills, so that I did not relapse into my illness, but in 2005 that was not the case. In February 2005, my best friend informed me t

The Highly Sensitive Person

Recovery is all about knowing and honoring your boundaries. This can be very difficult and can involve sacrifice, but it is worth it. Today I did not attend the candlelight vigil for eating disorder awareness week. I really wanted to, because I want to show my support and because I think it is important, but because of my sensitive nature, I decided not to go. I’m doing really well with my eating disorder-I cook, I eat three meals a day, I don’t even feel incredibly guilty most of the time, which is great, but I do seem to get triggered pretty easily. Like in that instance I wrote about a week ago-all I did was see a woman getting weighed and I was so jealous! My counseling is at the same place as where I was hospitalized and that seems to get to me a little bit too lately. It’s also where the vigil was going to be. I hope next year I will be in an even better place in my recovery. Of course, it is reasonable that I would be sensitive to these things, but lately I have come to th

The NAMI Website: Check It Out!!!

The NAMI website really has everything you need to be a great advocate! I have the link on this site that will take you to its main page and from there you can find the legislators in your state and how to contact them. It also has discussion groups and the latest news on mental health reform. I got these numbers from the Gwinnett Nami site, which you can get to from the main website. These are the representatives in GA that help with NAMI. Give 'em a call! You can also find their addresses on the site. House Appropriations – Human Resources Subcommittee Representative District Phone NAMI Affiliate/Counties Mark Butler 18 404-463-2247 Statesboro Vice Chair Jeff May 111 404-656-5116 Walton County Secretary Earl Carter 159 404-656-0213 NAMI Savannah Keith Heard 114 404-656-0220 NAMI Athens J

Our Weakest Links

"A group is only as strong as its weakest link." ~ Anonymous I have heard the above statement many times and like many anonymous sayings that are now considered trite, it still holds true. "Knowledge is power"is another such statement and my personal favorite. It's time to stop speaking in vagueries-the "group" I'm thinking of is the United States and "its weakest link" are those with mental illness. Everyone with mental illness is considered weak in this country, for everyone has the potential to cost taxpayers tons, as there is a high percentage of mentally ill in state hospitals and jails. Many are homeless. There are many others who have mental illness and who lead successful lives (in whatever way you choose to define success), but no matter what way a person in this country who has mental illness stands in this country's social ladder, they are still considered one of this nation's "weakest links." I receiv

Tickle the Fickle Pickle!

Every other Monday I attend a writing group at Charis bookstore in Atlanta and we always begin the session by doing a quick writing exercise. A couple of weeks ago, we had to write a passage using certain words and this is what I came up with. It is a true story that I will make into a longer story one day. The words were radio, essential, pickle, orange scarf, motorcycle, freedom, lemon, celestial, greedy, man, dragon, and green. If you ever have the time, use those words to make up your own story-I'd love to see the result! ____________________________________________ It is essential when you are dealing with the man to remember: tickle the fickle pickle. My first year at Berry college, I served the greedy student mouths at the campus grill. These mouths, which claimed to hunger for freedom, when it came to satisfying this so-called obsession with the unknown were like the green cook who used lemon instead of a hot pepper for spice, who chose a motor home instead of a motorcycle

New Job Celebratory Recipes

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After my job interview Friday, I returned home to a wonderful dinner. It was a Greek-influenced sundried tomato chicken slow cooker dish that I made for the first time that turned out great! Here's the recipe: Sundried-Tomato Chicken (adapted from the book, "FIx-It and Forget-It Lightly" by Phyllis Pellman Good) Ingredients: 1TB Olive Oil 3lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 8 pieces 2 Garlic Cloves, minced 1/2 Cup White Wine 1 1/2 Cups Far-Free, Low-Sodium Chicken Stock 1 tsp. dried basil 1/2 Cup Chopped, Sun-dried Tomatoes 1/4 Cup Onion 1/2 Cup Feta Cheese 1. Heat oil in skillet. Add several pieces of chicken at a time, but make sure not to crowd the skillet so the chicken can brown evenly. 2. Transfer chicken to slow cooker as it finishes browning 3. Add garlic, wine, chicken stock, and basil to skillet. Bring to a boil. Scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. 4. Pour over chicken. 5. Put onions into pan and sautee for a couple of minutes.

Feb. 22-28, Eating Disorders Awareness Week

It's eating disorders awareness week, so I'm reposting my list of eating disorder events and groups in Atlanta. Sunday, Feb. 22 – Merrick’s Walk – Noon- 5K Run/Walk- Location: Galloway School - Honors all who have died and all who still struggle with an eating disorder - For more info: www. edin-ga.org Events at Ridgeview Institute – All Free Monday, Feb. 23 – F.E.D. Support Group - 6-7:30p (Friends and Family of People with Eating Disorders) - Location: Young Adult Unit, Cottage E-East, Room 4 - “F.E.D. group is an open community support group which provides education, support and strategies for coping with eating disorders in the home or within a social support network and offers guidance through difficult decision making.” It is held every Monday, usually until 7p. - “Alumni and their families will join to share their stories of strength and hope, and be available to answer questions.” I’ll be there! Wednesday, Feb. 25 – A.N.A.D. Support Group – 6-7p (Anorexia Nervosa

Condolences

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Yesterday's joy is now tempered after the email I received today informing me that Senator Renee S. Unterman's son, Zak, committed suicide. This is so sad. Senator Unterman was the first woman ever elected into Senate leadership and her causes include conservation, and rights for the elderly and for those living with mental illness. She also has a daughter named Rachel. I feel so strongly for her-I, myself, have had two friends kill themselves and it is always a tragedy. Having had friends do this and having thought of it, myself, I do have some things to say on the subject. Often, the first thing that people like to say about those who have committed suicide is that they were selfish-that they did not care enough about the people who love them. And that might be the case if the person was sane. What is hard to remember, but is so true, is that this person was sick-just like a person with a medical illness, this person was sick. They could not think rationally enough to reme

So Happy! I have a job!

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Well, I was going to do a clever post about Cosmo, but that's for another day... I'm too excited about my own current events right now! I have a job! It's a full-time job with health benefits! I'm so excited I want to go dancing and I want to paint and sing and laugh really loud all at once! I'll be working at Discovery Mall, which is just down the road, at an Outlet Sears selling clothes. $8.50 an hour! Full-time! With benefits! If I do really well, then I could move up to appliances, which would be on commission and it all would add up to approximately 10-12 dollars an hour! I get to work during the day and I'll still be able to go/play at church and attend NAMI. Really, really happy! Talking about NAMI-I got a message from one of the members about upcoming elections for board members and she said to call if I wanted to run and I'm thinking maybe?... Elections aren't until the first week of April, so I've got some time to think about it. I'

How can I claim to be a radical feminist and yet have an eating disorder?

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I am hesitant to write about this, but I feel I must, so here goes: A couple of weeks ago, I was standing in the hall near my therapist’s office writing out her check and I see her out of the corner of my eye help her next client step onto a scale. All at once, I am consumed with envy! And then shame. How can I claim to be a radical feminist and yet want to be sick? And it’s true. The woman on the scale was crying and I was and am still insanely jealous. My therapist last week also asked me why I wanted to be sick. That evening, right before my writing group, as I was convincing myself to eat a turkey and cheese sub at Savage Pizza, I wrote out my thoughts on the pad of paper that I carry with me wherever I go. This is what I wrote: “I feel the need to accomplish something great and that is how I, a radical feminist, can fall victim to an eating disorder-somehow-and I do credit society with this-I have internalized the message that to be superskinny-to be thin to the point of death

Embroider Me

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Right now, like many other people right now, I do not have a paying job. Sometimes it’s a tough blow to my self-esteem, though the worst part is that my time is not structured enough. Sure, I could set my alarm clock and get used to a set schedule, which would probably be a wonderful thing, but making me follow a schedule is incredibly hard and I just can’t seem to do it. Though if I’m honest, I guess it’s because I don’t really want to-I mean, I don’t like waking up at noon, but I also don’t like feeling groggy all day, which is what usually happens when I set my alarm. Fortunately, I don’t need a paying gig to make me feel useful and I don’t need money to define me. Fortunately, I am very creative. My latest creative venture is embroidery and I love it! Here is my first attempt: The picture is sewn on a green, soft, 100% cotton canvas tote and I’m now working on tote #2. I’ve always wanted a job as an artist, although for most of my life, the art was music. I’m thinking that perha

Two Recovery Poems

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What Do I Want? Do I want to lose or want to win? If I should lose the weight, Will I win my own self-worth? If I should lose my body Will I regain my soul? No!-my soul is a part of my body And my body is a temple. I must take care of it Or I will not live. And what is living? Is it a skeleton zombie OR Is it curves of strength and wisdom? Perhaps to lose is to win Maybe it’s more like surrender. If I give up what I want, Then perhaps I will get what I need. (I wrote this poem the last time I was in the hospital using only magnetic poetry.) Life's Rhythm Rhythm in us Ecstatic voice Sing red and orange Our time is full. When you slather Sea, dirt, and air Leave your lounge Wait for this storm. Imagine popsicles Orange and red Leave lunch Taste life!

Burned Woman's Family Asks, "WHY?!" (from AJC.com)

Gold Pak, husband of the victim and father of the suspect, is questioning why Georgia Regional Hospital in Decatur had released his daughter, whom they believed was not ready to leave the facility after a seven-week stay. “My daughter should stay in regional hospital a couple more months, but they say ‘that’s OK, take her home,’” said Gold Pak, adding with a mournful wail “nooo… that’s not right!” When Gold Pak and his adult son went to pick up his daughter Jan. 29, he said they pleaded with the hospital staff to keep her longer. Yong Pak had refused to sign the discharge form and told a nurse she wouldn’t take her medication, the family said. The hospital sent her home anyway. Dena Smith, spokeswoman for state Department of Human Resource, said she could not confirm whether the hospital treated Yong Pak due to federal patient privacy laws, but she warned against dismissing a patient’s personal responsibility for managing their mental illness. “I’m sure there is a lot of confusion and

NAMI-The Time for Cute Signs is Over!!!

Yesterday, I went to the "Have a Heart, Save a Mind Rally & Press Conference" at the GA capitol and unfortunately, it was quite disappointing. Did we get in the news? No. Did anyone really pay attention? No. We were a quiet, small gathering on the steps of the capitol-a nice speech was given, as were some awards, and that was about it. We had some small, cute signs in the shape of hearts that read, "Have a heart, Save a mind!" I don't think it worked. The reasons why were staring us right in the face, as across the street a group, who did not even have an official permit, promoting the rights of poor people were able to earn a spot on the nightly news. They were enthusiastic. They were loud. They had signs that clearly stated their purpose. "Have a heart, save a mind" is cute and catchy, but if no one besides a select few know what it means, then it is useless, whereas a sign reading "Human rights for ALL" is easily understood by anyone

NAMI, Mommy

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"I'm one of the class clowns here at NAMI," she laughingly said to me. "NAMI, mommy, I say, because come here and NAMI will take care of you." This last Tuesday was my second time at NAMI and these words were spoken by one of the group leaders of the consumers support group and I can now say with certainty that I will be a regular member. At a NAMI meeting, there are support groups for consumers and for family members. We talk about coping skills and support, which I needed Tuesday, because I felt really down. I was allowed to talk about what I was going through and people shared their own coping skills with me and by the end of the hour, I felt much better. I had been listened to without judgement and my feelings had been validated, which is what I had needed all along. Afterwards, I felt more stable than I had all day and finally ready to interact with the people at home. I will always be eternally grateful for this. I have a link to NAMI on this site-tak

Super-bowl Dip Recipes

7-Layer Greek Dip (from betterrecipes.com) Ingredients 8 oz hummus 8 oz sour cream 1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained and chopped 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese or to taste 1/4 cup minced red onion 12 kalamata olives, chopped 1/4 cup lightly packed coarsely chopped fresh parsely and fresh mint combined or to taste Optional: Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning or salt and pepper1 box baked wheat crackers, bread wedges or pita chips Method Layer dip ingredients into an 8 inch round or 6 X 6 square dish. Season, if desired, with the Greek seasoning or salt and pepper to taste. ___________________________________________ Yummy Lentil Dip Ingredients 1 can of lentil soup 2% Mexican blend shredded cheese Reduced fat Sour Cream 3/4 can of diced tomatoes 1/2 cup of salsa (Newman's tequila salsa works well) 1/2 cup roasted red pepper hummus Method Dump all ingredients into a pot on medium heat. Measurements are approximate-I just dumped in the whole can of soup and then pu

Crackers

Memory by memory, I am writing a memoir about my life and dealing with mental illness. The story below is the first story that I have written and I will post other stories as they are written. The names have been changed. I hope that people enjoy them and will give me feedback, as I would like to publish them someday. __________________________________ I was afraid to eat the crackers. I had been sick all day, but I was afraid to eat the crackers. Now before you go thinking that this is about some lame girl with an eating disorder, let me tell you that I was far more sickly than just that. Why was I afraid of the crackers? Because of the relationship between me and my codependent roommate. This was the scene I remembered – This was the scene that made me wince even as my stomach made me wince with the stark physical pain. Why I was afraid of eating the crackers. I had been sitting alone curled up on the coach, watching an awful movie – a British retelling of Emily Bronte’s Jane Eyre

Superbowl-Super Dip!

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I've always had a love-hate relationship with Superbowl Sunday. Mostly hate. And there are many reasons for this: 1) I think football is stupid and I’m pretty sure that it produces stupid people as I’m absolutely sure that football players bang out their brains with each fumble and tumble and tackle 2) because of the first reason, I think watching football is pretty stupid too 3) superbowl parties have really scary (to me), fattening, high-caloric food 4) until about eight years ago, X-Files was on and I had to call my parents to make sure that it was being taped or ALL HELL would BREAK LOOSE!!! Really. My life for a long time was spent being concerned about my fat/caloric intake and the lives of some really awesome FBI agents. The only two things good about superbowl Sunday were: 1) a party and 2) commercials, with the commercials being the best part. Until Superbowl XLIII. My church, Circle of Grace, which has its services at 5pm decided to make sure its service was done n t

Don't Shame Me, Woman!

I’m going to talk about recovery in a broader way right now. All women’s recovery! We, women, cannot ever hope to gain equality if we keep tearing each other down. I think, sometimes, that we are our own worst enemy in keeping alive the harmful patriarchy. I feel the need to write this after following a friend’s note on facebook. It started with him writing about an incident where a girl asked him a very racially ignorant question and he simply asked for our opinions. Mostly women responded and what began as good dialogue eventually turned into a rant by one woman about how a certain celebrity is a slut. What?! Slut, to me, is one of the worst words out there. It’s a derogatory term for a woman who sleeps around. It pisses me off, because if a man sleeps around, well, he’s just a man-while we are sluts. Oh, sure, you could call him a bastard, but most people don’t. And a bastard is just another shot at a woman, as a bastard is someone who was born to