When you grow up surrounded by addiction you take notice. You see things in others and in yourself that some people might miss. You learn quickly that addiction is not always black and white. A lot…
TMI Project is a nonprofit offering memoir workshops and storytelling performances that breed compassion and dismantle barriers to human connection.
It is done. I keep reading all over the interwebs “How did this happen?” It’s pretty clear to me.
When changes happen too fast (for the “average” person), even if changes are good changes, the pendulum will ALWAYS swing back hard…with equal force.
Change breeds fear. Fear breeds hate.
1928 was the last time we saw Republican control of the Senate, the House, majority of Governors, Supreme Court pick, and presidency. This immediately shut down the super scary changes of the “roaring 20s” – but that pendulum swung really, REALLY hard… giving us the stock market crash in 1929, the Great Depression that followed and the 1929 Mexican Repatriation (1.5 million American CITIZENS of Mexican descent deported).
Pendulum back swing didn’t just impact America – it impacted the world…change-fear-hate created the atmosphere allowing for the rise of Hitler…who people followed willingly; gleefully. People united in their desire to return to some unnameable time “before the changes.” Unable to point to the exact cause of the changes, blame turned to anyone “different.” Jews, targeted both as a race and a religion mostly, but gays and mentally ill and others, too.
The past eight years have seen a lot of change. The iPad didn’t exist when Obama was elected. Things like Pinterest and Instagram hadn’t been invented yet. Add on big social change in the US [like new (controversial) healthcare and same-sex marriage] and in the world [like ISIS and refugees from Syria and Libya]. It would be an easy cheap shot to over-simplify a slogan to “Make America ‘white’ again,” because it’s not, at its core” purely about race or religion or any one thing. If it were, poll predictions would have been easier and more correct.
I believe this is more complicated–a pendulum swing…an attempt to take us back to before all this change that has overwhelmed half the nation. Just like in 1928.
In case you’re wondering, I am not a liberal. I have generally identified as moderate to conservative. I have deeply-held religious beliefs – Southern Baptist, born and raised – living on the buckle of the bible belt in the South for the larger part of my adult life. That being said, I have never been afraid of change.
Now I am afraid.
It’s not that I can’t believe this is happening. It’s that I can’t believe it’s happening AGAIN.
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Luke 23:34
Dear God in Heaven, please let me be wrong.
I haven’t been blogging much lately. Between entertaining relatives taking shelter with us through Hurricane Matthew, starting a new role at work, and getting hooked on Civilization V, I’ve really had to cut back my time spent on social media. I can’t say it has hurt me a bit. Of course I normally go offline a lot during an election season because the extremes on both sides drive me away, but this year seems even different – darker – meaner.
When I do get on the Internet and see the headlines, I find myself getting angry or sad – especially about the stories involving children. In just the past week or so, three horrific stories kept popping up. Each version and update to each story released more graphic, heart-wrenching details.
Sadly, so many of these stories can be traced back to untreated (or poorly treated) mental health issues.
- Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.1
- 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.2
- 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.3
I have people very close to me suffering from serious mental health issues. I see how they struggle to get the right help. I see how they have to “explain” themselves to people over and over again. I get frustrated and angry when people judge the people I love… and yet, just today I caught myself getting emotional and throwing around phrases like “crazy” and “wackos.” I know what hurt language like that can cause. It doesn’t help anyone, and I decided I needed to revisit my behavior and renew my pledge to be #StigmaFree!
Please join me. Take a moment to check out the video below and visit Nami.org to learn more.
1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH Series H-50, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4927. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Retrieved October 27, 2015 from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf
2. Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, fromhttp://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-anxiety-disorder-among-adults.shtml
3. National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. (2007). Blueprint for Change: A Comprehensive Model for the Identification and Treatment of Youth with Mental Health Needs in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System. Delmar, N.Y: Skowyra, K.R. & Cocozza, J.J. Retrieved January 16, 2015, fromhttp://www.ncmhjj.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2007_Blueprint-for-Change-Full-Report.pdf
As part of my blog I (MM) believe it’s important to share common and similar experiences. With over 22k Instagram followers and acting as an advocate for the equality of physical and mental health. I’m so inspired by the work she is doing. I’d like to introduce you to Louisa (LE).
MB: In 2013 you started training for your first marathon, which was London 2014, what advice would you give other people attempting their first marathon?
LE: Yes it was London 2014. My main advice would be to set reasonable goals. I gave myself a year to change which I felt was beneficial as I didn’t put to much pressure on myself and was able to go at my own pace. At the beginning I could only run three/four miles non-stop so I definitely had my work cut out. But I set small goals, I made sure I started covering…
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(ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE) — Pope Francis says he won’t describe Islam as “terrorist” since that’s “not fair and not true.” Francis was asked Sunday why he never uses the word “Islam” when denouncing extremists’ killings like that of an elderly French priest during Mass in France last week. He was speaking to reporters aboard…
I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I last posted. With everything going on in the world right now, I’ve been a bit hesitant to blog for fear of being too emotional or political – and publishing something on grammar rules or UX design felt a bit shallow. Every day… every single freaking day… I see news of monsters driving trucks into crowds, knife attacks, mass shootings, suicide bombers. All over the world. Sick, twisted monsters who are so obviously sick and twisted that no one could conceive of questioning their guilt or innocence. Sure, they might be not guilty by reason of insanity, but there’s no question in anyone’s mind that they committed the foul act.
In the face of all that, I happened to see an article that has stayed in my mind nonstop.
— Erika Burrows (@ErikaForPres) July 26, 2016
I would like to say the story is unusual, but it’s really not. It struck me how many people we have in America right now sitting in prison for crimes they didn’t commit, while the world is full of horrible monsters doing undeniable actual harm to people. Thank God for The Innocence Project, an organization I think deserves everyone’s attention, support, and respect.
I first learned about The Innocence Project in grad school. During a seminar studying playwriting, I took a theater trip to New York. I believe we saw around 10 plays that trip and while I enjoyed most of them (let’s be honest, I could have lived a full life without ever having seen Waiting for Godot), one play in particular actually had the power to enlighten and even change me.
The Exonerated, premiered at Culture Project in October 2002, dramatized six real-life stories of people sentenced to death and later freed amidst overwhelming evidence of their innocence. Part of the power of this play was its simplicity. The six actors sat on metal folding chairs, intimately just a few feet away from the audience in matching metal folding chairs, in the tiny 45 Bleecker Theater. This was not some production – this was a story that needed telling.
As a writer, I took note of the power of these stories and of these words. In January of 2003, after seeing a special presentation of The Exonerated, then-governor George Ryan commuted the sentences of every single person on death row. That’s some seriously powerful stuff. I started following the work of The Innocence Project and went from half-hearted support of the death penalty to vocal anti-death penalty.
Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe everyone in prison is innocent, by any stretch. What I do believe is humans are fallible, like “eyewitnesses” believing perception over reality, and some can be downright wicked, like crooked cops and DAs stacking evidence to improve their close records.
I’d hope in taking a look at The Innocence Project people will better understand the true nature of our judicial system and lend their support. For my writer friends, consider also reading The Exonerated and its pure simplicity.
The third annual Midlands Gives is Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 from midnight to 11:59 pm.
Hosted by Central Carolina Community Foundation, Midlands Gives is a 24-hour online giving event that brings the region together as one community, raising money an awareness for local nonprofits in 11 Midlands counties in South Carolina.
Girls on the Run is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.
Meeting twice a week in small teams, Girls on the Run teaches life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The curriculum is taught by certified Girls on the Run coaches and includes three parts: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large.
Running is used to inspire and motivate girls, encourage lifelong health and fitness, and build confidence through accomplishment. Important social, psychological, and physical skills and abilities are developed and reinforced throughout the program. At each season’s conclusion, the girls and their running buddies complete a 5k running event which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. The result—making the seemingly impossible, possible, and teaching girls that they can.
Unleash her Superpower during Midlands Gives
Today is the day to be a hero to a Columbia, SC area girl.
Growing up as a girl can be tough. At every turn, there is pressure to fit in. Pressure that can lead girls to make decisions that contradict their values or damage their health.
This is why Girls on the Run Columbia exists. By contributing to GOTR Columbia during Midlands Gives, you can help Columbia, South Carolina area girls develop the confidence to celebrate themselves, just as they are. To build the skills they need to become healthier – physically, socially and emotionally.
You know that every girl has power. And you can make a gift today to help her unlock that power and reach her limitless potential.
DON’T FORGET!! Your gift can be doubled (or even tripled!) thanks to the Midlands Gives incentives listed below.
- Spirit Communications Match – The first $2,500 donated will be doubled!
- 50 States Challenge – A GOTR supporter will donate an additional $1,000 if GOTR receives one donation from every state.
- Match Minutes – Give exactly $100 at exactly 6:00 a.m., Noon, or 5:00 p.m. and your gift will be doubled!
- Volunteer Takeover – We know that GOTR volunteers are some of the most dedicated people in the Midlands. Now show the world!! Donate between 7:00-7:59 p.m. to help us win an extra $1,000 for the most donors during that hour.
The Arabic word “rawiya” translates to “she who tells a story,” which also happens to be the name of a new exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, opening April 8 and running through July 31. She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World…