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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Wow!  Can I just tell you what a joy it was to read, Man Shoes-The Journey To Becoming A Better Man, Husband & Father?  It is my privilege to review this book; I believe that the author, Tom Watson, has some real valuable wisdom to offer his readers.   Tom  was born to parents ill prepared to raise a child in a healthy & life affirming way.  He was placed into 13 different foster homes…some of which were little more than a systemic form of a physical & psychological torture chamber. 

Tom was placed into foster care because his Aunt Donna & Uncle Roy found the courage to report the erratic parental care that infant Tom was experiencing.  His parents would drop him off here and there and neglect to pick him up at the times that they agreed to.  At one year of age, he became a foster child because his aunt and uncle found the strength of character to endure family censure by reporting the situation to the proper authorities.  Tom expresses his gratefulness to them for doing so…even though he suffered greatly in multiple foster homes until he came to the place where his body and soul were nurtured.  His life story actually proceeds with joy and gratefulness.  To read the rest of this review go to:  Book In Review

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        I have been observing alot of situations in the news and in the events that happen around me…I’ve come to the conclusion that the secret in overcoming any challenges or events in life has to be in deciding not to let any circumstances or event define the rest of your life.  I think a person’s attitude or determination is the key factor.

        Have you ever known someone who has gotten stuck in life?  You know…the the type of person who just can’t seem to be able to get past a certain event, challenge or obstacle?  It is a person who dwells on all of the lost opportunities in life; any negative situations they have encountered, the after-effects or consequences from a trauma or difficulty that they have faced; events that have been a cross road in their life.  We all have them; so what determines who overcomes and who seems to be buried under a load of defeat?  (more…)

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     Ok, I am going to rant a bit for a minute.  Twice this week the news has hit us with two terrible stories about families that self-destructed through murder-suicide.  Two families that were destroyed.  One family in particular left a suicide note allegedly saying that the reason they were dead was because both the husband and the wife lost their jobs…were in debt…and were rejected by their employers.  The other family’s reasons have not yet been announced.  The family members allegedly say that there was no clues to this tragedy.  What i want to know is…can we stop families from hurting the ones that they love?  Yes we can, encourage them to seek help:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  Each time something like this happens…those who were lost leave behind friends, family members, neighbors, acquaintances and community members who are hurt, confused and saddened.   We have to take care of each other and learn to be more in tune with those around us.  (more…)

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      Another chapter to the sad story of 2 year old Caylee Anthony’s death.  Early this morning, Friday January 23, 2009, Caylee’s grandfather, George Anthony, was picked up at a Florida hotel after he disappeared and allegedly sent family members text messages saying that no longer wanted to live.  George also left a five page suicide letter apparently; I wonder if it will reveal information that could lead to the unraveling of the mystery of  Caylee’s death?  He was involuntarily was taken by police to a local hospital for evaluation. 

     All of this pressure has built up in the last year since young Caylee was reported missing and her body was, recently, discovered.  His daughter Casey was arrested for Caylee’s murder and both he and his wife has had to deal with Caylee’s death, family drama, invasive media, and his daughter’s arrest.  I am sure that the death, and his family’s initial feelings of denial of Caylee’s death, as well as the realization that she is gone has led to depression and a general overall feeling of being  filled with overwhelming stress.

       These issues are often overlooked by many when people watch the news…the truth is, that the long arm of the law has consequences for more than just the suspect in a case of murder  or criminal behavior.  There is much to deal with, for the friends and family members of the victims and the suspects who are involved.

     The emotional effects of just not being able to grieve properly for the loss of his grandchild is devastating.  First thing, no one knew for sure that Caylee was in fact dead.  She was missing and her mother Casey was telling conflicting stories.  George had to give information to the police at one time that many speculated was not all positive…that had to be a horrible experience for him.  There were search parties out looking for Caylee…this went on for months with little results.  Then there were alledged reported sightings of Caylee which turned out to be false.  In the meantime, the media was invading the Anthony’s personal space.  Conflict was a daily thing.

       George’s wife was giving interviews that alledgedly seemed to conflict with statements she made to the police and to her co-workers about a smell in Casey’s car…that smelled like a dead person.  That must have added to interpersonal problems in their family.  Their son, Casey’s brother, also was drawn into the fray with statements that he made that was reported in the media.  This is a family was that under a microscope.  Then came the confirmation recently that young Caylee’s body was found thrown away in a trash bag.

         The details of that are heartbreaking.  She was put inside of a laundry bag with a winnie the pooh blanket, with some pullups and with a knife…her little mouth was covered with duct tape that had residue from a heart shaped sticker put on the tape over her mouth; that tape was attached to her hair.  Her bones were scattered in the area where she was found.  This is a devastating thing to have to live with the knowledge that someone…maybe the child’s mother…could be capable of such depraved actions.  I am sure it was much more than most people could handle.

        The text messages that George allegedly sent to his family was an emergency cry for help from someone who is struggling to survive in a tidal wave of trauma.  I pray that he will get the help and the support that he needs to be well and whole. 

         Many people have made hurtful comments about the family members…we don’t know the facts of what actually happened.  Judging them and their actions without the full information is unwise.  Who in their situation could be faulted for handling things with imperfection…they have lost their granddaughter, their daughter is in jail for the alledged murder of their grandchild, they have had their lives turned upside down…including their home and privacy invaded…their children have been under the media spotlight…and they could possibly be charged with charges if they were, in any way, responsible for covering up evidence against their daughter.   That doesn’t even take into consideration yet…the nightmare that will be the trial that is coming soon. 

        This case has had many ups and downs.  It is still in the investigative phase and the court process has begun to build it’s case against Casey Anthony.  I truly hope that the grandparents are not involved in anything that could be considered a cover up by the authorities.  It is horrible enough to think about loosing their granddaughter and possibly their daughter to the legal system.  Let’s not forget that a child died…someone did in fact kill her, the truth needs to come out…and they will be dealing with that issue alone for the rest of their lives.  These are not issues that anyone gets over….overnight!

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       Actor Willie Ames is famous for his roles on Eight Is Enough (1970’s) and in the show Charles in Charge (1980’s), he has had a large fan following over the years.   Willie also starred  in video’s from 1995-2004 as a superhero named Bibleman; winning a whole new generation of young fans.  He became a Christian and an ordained minister after struggling for years with drug/alcohol addictions.  He appeared to have things together in his life.

        Just this past November Willie, and his second wife Maylo McCaslin Ames, wrote a book together called Grace is Enough.  Shortly after this book was published, on Thanksgiving 2008, Willie Ames allgedly tried to take his own life.  This is why God tells us to keep our eyes on him and not on man ( or woman).  We are vulnerable to attacks by the enemy (Satan) and we can fail one another as role models from time to time.  It is unfair to put someone on a pedestal as an example to follow because they are; for all intents and purposes, human just like us.  Only Jesus is the perfect example to follow.

         It seems that Willie found himself in the position of having to declare bankruptsy, having his vehicle repossesed and having his wife of 22 years ask him for a divorce.  I am sure the fear of failure, rejection, the possibility of an upcoming divorce, slipping back to the pull of his addictions, and the financial difficulties all contributed to his suicide attempt.  When people are overloaded with difficulties that come all at once…that is when escape starts to sound good…it is an illusion that a Christian is tempted with by his spiritual adversary, Satan.  Suicide is not a solution…it is an really just another way to self-destruct; it an attack on that person’s physical and spiritual being.  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  It is important to seek help when depression and despair overwhelms a person. 

        Willie is a Christian yes, but he is a human being also.  One who has struggled with these issues of addiction and self-destruction.  He has tried to live in a place of leadership; which is admirable.  From reading excerpts of their book….it sounds as though both Willie and Maylo have allegedly come from previous places of dysfunction.  No one lives a perfect life…Christians are a work in progress; and, some of the same negative circumstances and forces that affect non-Christians, affect Christians as well. 

         I hope that through this time of difficulty, that Willie and his family can receive proper spiritual counseling and emotional counseling to help them sort things out.  Certainly, we wish him well in his healing path.  As anyone who had had to struggle with these kinds of issues…it is important to know that support is very important from family, friends and, health care professionals; when it is needed.

          For those who would condemn or look askance at Willie’s actions and ask incrediously, how a Christian could do such a thing; I would counter that by asking that person to think compassionately.  When people are in despair and going through some of the worst situations that life has to offer …faith is a lifeline… but, faith is a fragile thing sometimes.  We are to encourage one another and lift each other up.  While Willie played a superhero….he is not superhuman…he is a man who has to find his way back to a place of prominence, by putting faith into action once again,. 

          Do you think Christians are immune from depression and confusion; or should they be?  Do you know any other Christian who has struggled with addictions and depression and then been able to build their life back up from that desperate place?  Have you yourself been there?  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National suicide prevention lifeline: Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, 132 crisis centers nationwide               1-800-273-TALK       .
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Update:  you may also want to read:  http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20268391,00.html

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       I remember back when i was in high school, back in the 80’s, we had a class on social issues.  In that class we discussed high profile situations in our society; which underscored how desensitized our society was becoming to people in pain and misery.

       There was a case of a woman who was stabbed over and over again in New York.  She was screaming and people heard it and yet they did nothing.  Later, when the police were investigating…people stated that they heard it; but, they did not want to “get involved”. 

         I remember thinking, during that discussion, that that was crazy; an isolated incident.  Not so, as i have grown up and matured, I find that people really are becoming desensitized to other people’s pain and misery.  It is crazy but think about it…how many movies have put murder and torture out there for entertainment value…such as those horror flicks or slasher movies?  It is not only sad…but, it is immoral.   Those things desensitize our fellow human beings to the value of life.

         How many television shows continue to shoot, rape, rob, torture and victimize others and draw in millions of viewers each and every day?  How do we expect people to have compassion towards one another?  We need to reconnect to those around us; this is something that affects us all.  Children are growing up today who have great difficulty seeing past their own wants and needs.  Adults who are willing to commit violence to get what they want…no matter who they hurt or kill.  Parents who kill children, children who kill parents, siblings, neighbors or friends.  It is as if they do not know how to “feel” appropriately towards anyone outside of themselves.

        Today, i am brought to a deeper sadness than I have felt in a long time regarding our nation and the lack of compassion that our citizens show towards one another. 

         A young man in Florida committed suicide online while others watched and egged him on.  He posted a suicide note…he live-streamed his suicide online; while people WATCHED and did nothing to HELP him.  Not only that, they allegedly ridiculed him and said things like…that isn’t enough medication to kill you!  What amazes me, is that this went on for hours and hours before someone had the good sense to contact the authorities to try to get help for him.   It was too late; he was already dead!

         There are reports that this person may have attempted to kill himself in the past.  So what; so what if it was a false alarm…who and what does it hurt to contact the authorities and have it checked out?  If that person was faking it…he would have been sent somewhere for a psychological exam to find out why he would do such a thing.  Maybe, just maybe he would still be alive today if someone had made an attempt to help him; when he FIRST stated his intention to kill himself.   

         Unfortunately, the young man was not faking the suicide attempt…he was actually crying out for help.  There were many people who had an opportunity to get involved, save a life, make a difference…and yet…they did not.  How can a human being watch another person suffer in front of their very eyes and pile more emotional damage upon that person?  Even if they thought it was a prank, even if they thought the person was not serious, even if they thought it was a waste of time…they failed to react with compassion.  How much more of an effort would it have taken to pick up the phone…or contact the online service that provided the streaming video and asked for someone to follow up on the person’s well-being?  Someone finally did contact help…but…it was much too late for saving his life; but, at least they made an attempt.

           I sure would not want my mind filled with the image of that young man lying on his bed with his back to the camera; filled with despair and depression…curled up in defeat…knowing that he died as I watched and took no action to save his life.  Every life has value and should be preserved.  My heart aches for him, for his family and for his friends…and yes, even for those who watched him die.  They will have to live with the knowledge of what they saw, what they said and did; and, did not do to help a fellow human being in distress.

           Many people in our society are affected by mental illness, or by depression.  It is not a crime…however, it is a crime to fail to get someone help when they need it.  I don’t know if any of those who participated in this suicide by watching it will be held legally responsible or not…but, I do think that they had a moral obligation to get involved in a way that would have attempted to provide some emergency help for this individual.  Depression is a serious matter and so is a suicide attempt.   Please help to educate others on suicide prevention!  https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/suicide-prevention/ or on what happens to a suicide victim’s loved ones after the suicide:  http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=6311509

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       September 11th used to be just another day.  Then, it became my son’s brother’s birthday.  Nine years later…September 11th became something else.  September 11th, 2001 became the day of the destruction of American innocence.  It became a day controlled by terrorists and their plot of destruction.  It became a day of horror and fear.  It became a day of mourning.  Then, it became a day of rememberance. 

         Each year the day brings anxiety, fear, sadness and depression…but it also, becomes a measure of time.  It becomes, almost a before and after measure in our country and in our lives.  The military men and women, the everyday people who traveled on the jets, the business people who worked in the World Trade Center, the people on the street…every life that was lost was precious; and the grief never becomes anything less than what it should be!  The grieving process is different for everyone…but, it is the bridge from a place of denial to an acceptance of a life that has been changed, due to a loss of the life of a loved one.  At some point, you either become a person cocooned in pain and loss or you move towards a place of healing and acceptance.

        How much time has passed since that tragic day.  How many things have those people who’s names are called out in the roll-call missed.  How many sons and daughters have marked milestones in their lives without parents?  How many spouses have witnessed holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births & deaths without their partners by their side to support them?  How many parents, grandparents, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends have been forced to bear witness to life without those who were such a part of their lives?

          For those who have valiantly tried to heal from the deep wounds of September 11th; some have found some way of marching into the future…one difficult footstep at a time.  Others have been forever stuck in that moment of loss.  For those who have been able to move forward painfully…there is no lack of a sense of guilt, for surviving and beginning to enjoy the blessings in life again. 

          Each milestone of survival is marked by loss…that can’t be forgotten; and yet, to choose not to enjoy what’s left in life to enjoy; is a slap in the face to those who’s lives were lost.  Which of them, if given a choice would choose to live a life without thanksgiving, without joy, without celebration… of all the good things before them; if they were able to live again?  It does those who were lost no honor, to allow the terrorists to have more “dead” victims than they already stole from the world.

          So while we honor those who were lost…let’s not forget those who were left behind to survive.  Let’s honor the loved ones, of those who were lost in the attack.  At some point, peeling back the scab over and over again can only serve to prevent long-term healing.  When, might September 11th become just another day again?  Can it ever become just another day…probably not?  Should it ever become something else besides an acknowledgement of the terrorists deeds?  Or are we forever bound by loss and respect to the lives lost, to always carry the scar of history ?  Is it possible to take back some of the power that the terrorists stole from us by reclaiming that day as just another day?

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      Anyone who has lost someone to death realizes just how precious life is.  Anyone who has lost someone, due to suicide, realizes what a waste of precious life, suicide is.  No one wants to talk about the horror of suicide; there is no way, to make the subject easy to discuss.  When the media does a story on suicide…it seems that there is an increase in suicides attempts that take place.  It is a careful balance to bring awareness to a terrible tragedy that affects so very many people; and yet, not give it so much attention that it plants seeds in the minds of those who are most vulnerable.  Here is a site that can shed some light on the subject:  http://www.suicidology.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=2

         This week is National Suicide Prevention Week.  It is important to bring the message of hope and restoration.  Hurting people need to have a reason to live; they need to know that someone cares and is listening to them.  Those same people need human intervention to help them when they are vulnerable.   It is crucial to educate the public on ways to observe and interact with individuals who are struggling in their life and may be at risk for a suicide attempt.  People experiencing loss, loneliness, physical or mental health problems, financial problems, depression or isolation are at risk.   Every life has value and is worth saving!  Won’t you take a few minutes to learn more?

        There is a team of committed people who are working very hard to educate and bring awareness to the public about the issue of suicide prevention.  The team is called Ken McArthur’s Impact Action Team; and they are trying to communicate the importance of teen suicide prevention.  Here is a glimpse into the combined efforts of the Impact Action Team : http://speakupsavelives.org/general/speak-up-save-lives-message-to-be-broadcast-live-to-15-million-people-wednesday-morning-at-730-am-on-comcast-cn8  Check out their message and their goals…witness the impact that individuals can have by joining together with like-minded people.  Have you been affected by suicide during your lifetime?  If you could do ONE thing to help prevent a suicide, what would it be?  Speak up…someone who needs to know could be listening! 

       

       

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          Suicide is not a pleasant subject.  It is a word that makes most people cringe.  People who have lost a loved one to suicide cringe too; they have more of a reason to be disturbed by the word.  Most of us don’t stop to think about suicide death on a daily basis…but maybe we should.  For those directly affected by a suicide…it is an especially difficult thing, to grieve…because there are so many added things to work through. 

          Loss is one thing; that is bad enough…but, add to that… justifiable feelings of abandonment, anger, denial, financial distress, shame, isolation, shock and even rage for being rejected by the loved one; for something as unknown and final as death, many times without any warning that suicide was being considered. 

           It is a hard subject to talk about because studies often have shown a correlation to discussions about suicide and the rates of suicides that have increased after say a media interview or article that is published in a large viewership.  So how do you address such a terrible thing as suicide without taking the risk of an outbreak of suicides?  I am not sure…but i do know…that listing some of the signs or risk factors is important…because it is possible to at least become aware of some signals that may alert friends or family to a person who is contemplating taking their own life. 

            Some of the obvious signs are:  sudden changes in personality or behaviors, drug or alcohol use, life changes such as loss of job or marriage, verbal comments such as life isn’t worth living…, depression, neglecting personal well-being or appearance, loss of interest in things the person previously enjoyed, extreme mood swings, sleeping excessively, giving away precious things, avoiding close friends or family, isolating themselves, gaining or loosing noticeable weight without trying, lack of effort at school or job, listless, a feeling of hopelessness or failure, lots of negative or sad comments, focussing on negative circumstances and obsessing about them.

             There are times when people are more at risk than others, for some it is during their teenaged years if they struggle with acceptance and sometimes depression, for others it is in middle age when possible sudden life changes are perceived as failures or loss such as divorce or forclosure, the elderly are often at risk of suicide because of health issues, isolation from friends and family and many times because of financial issues.   It is important to remember that some medications carry the risk of increased thoughts of suicide…so talk to your doctor about these issues if there is any concern at all.

            All ages and sexes are at risk of a potential suicide.  People must get better at listening to each other; and, they need to stay connected by communication on a regular basis.  No one wants to think of friends or family doing the unthinkable; but, it can happen to anyone. 

            Many people try to respect people’s privacy and back off when in fact, it is at these times that they are needed more than ever.  Fear of not knowing what to say or do is common.  When in doubt…it is always best to contact a professional.    Here is a national hotline to contact if you or someone you know is dealing with the idea or fear of suicide:   1-800-273-TALK.
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

                The impact of suicide is long lasting on those survivors who are left behind.  Every life that can be saved is a gift…every person has value.  We must begin to find ways to open the opportunities to share with one another the hurts and disappointments in life and find ways of overcoming the effects of those things in our lives and in the lives of people that we care about.  Do you know someone who was able to turn the corner and avoid the tempation of suicide?  How did they do it?  Do they share with others about their experience?  Many people in schools, nursing homes, and professionals in your local communities could benefit from that knowledge so that they can help others.  How can those experiences benefit others?

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     Nine years is a relatively short amount of time to change lives, community, and environment.  Luckily, Franklin D. Roosevelt didn’t let that thought stop him when he created the Civilian Conservation Corps through his impactful New Deal which created over 59 agencies that worked to help America get out of the Depression Era.

      The Great Depression was a devastating period of time in America that impacted every facet of family life.  Food was in short supply, jobs were scarce, families were large and hope was wanning. 

       The year 1933 began to change that…the Depression had already dumped four years of hardship on families and the country.  Franklin D. Roosevelt became the President and promised the country a New Deal.  He created many agencies that would ultimately turn the country around…but those things took time. 

         When he created the Civilian Conservation Corps it was intended to take young men out of the city who were on the “help” line or what would today be called welfare.  The CCC did in fact help many young city men to leave the city life and got plenty of young men out of an environment of trouble.   When some of the young men/boys didn’t want to leave the city…boys from the country also went.  If the young men couldn’t work during this time, they were a drain on the family food supply; the CCC provided a solution to that by sending the young men to the camps…not only didn’t their families have to feed them…they could in turn, send home money helping to support their family at home. The requirements were such that the young men were supposed to be 18 years of age, collecting help or welfare benefits, and were willing to leave their families to go to the CCC camps.

         The work was hard.  The environment was sometimes empty lands that the “boys” had to clear and build their own shelters that would eventually become the camp barracks.  The discipline was tough because it had to be.  The camps often were blending boys from city life with boys from country life.  The times were tough…and many men and boys came without much clothing.  The camps provided uniforms to wear, food to eat, a place to stay, and a purpose for the young men and boys during a time when left to their own devices, many were prone to get into trouble.  The uniforms helped to instill pride in the work that they performed…for their families, their communities, and their country.

         The work that the CCC did was varied around the country…but, basically, they built roads, dams, installed telephone lines, paved roads, built state and national parks, built dams, constructed fire breaks to help control fire damage, planted forests and so much more.

          In return for the priviledge of being clothed in uniform and taking pride in the work that they were able to accomplish, the young men had to agree to the payment plan.  That payment included three meals a day, housing, clothing, and $30 dollars a month…the men were allowed to keep $5 dollars of that money and the rest was sent home to help their parents; or, if they were married with dependents, then they sent home the $25 to their spouse to help take care of their responsibilities.  Many of the young men had to not only leave their homes but some even had to go to camps out of their home states.

          This program, the CCC was wonderful at rebuilding a sense of pride in young men who did not want to take help from the government…it allowed them to feel as though they were once again restoring their families by the manual labor that they did.  At the same time, the CCC used the young men to construct projects that impacted the country in ways that; to this day, we are able to reap the rewards from.  The work ethic that the men exibited during this time was to set a standard for generations to learn from.  It was run with a military type environment…not quite a boot camp…but strong discipline and lots of physical labor.  Often, the men went on to join the armed forces and used the skills they learned through the CCC to help the military in other areas around the world. 

          Many of the parks and dams still exist and are enjoyed.  The CCC camps lasted 9 years; this year honored the celebration of its 75 anniversity.  The CCC put over 2.5 million young men and boys to work.  They planted over 200 million trees…my own grandfather was a part of that.  In the area where he worked…they planted pine trees that still stand to this day.  In the area where he worked…those trees were instrumental to helping to stop the progression of a 10 acre parcel of desert which turned into over 1000 acres before the trees were able to do their job.  That gave farming families a chance to regain their farm land which provided their families a place to live and plant their food supply.  

          All of the men who joined the CCC did work to be proud of.  They worked hard, they sacrificed time away from their families and they provided for other members of their families by doing so.  Many formed long lasting friendships with their co-workers and all had stories to tell when their time was done.   It is a legacy that should not be forgotten.  All of the work was important and should be honored. Many of the workers are gone now…some are living still and to them all…we owe a big thank you!   Do you know anyone who worked for the CCC?  How did it impact their life?  How does it affect the environment where you live today?  Should we organize something similar today to help our economy, our youth, and our country?  https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/impact-action-team-makes-a-difference-in-the-world-through-boot-camp-training/

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