Tag Archive | Depression


Let’s Move! — First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation — just turned 4.

We’re celebrating all week, and we want you to join us.

The First Lady wants you to share how you’re moving by using the hashtag #LetsMove on social media to share a photo of your favorite activity or healthy snack. If enough people get involved, President Obama and Vice President Biden will share how they get moving, too.  Watch the video


Then Spread the word and get involved!


LOP Weekly Community News Update

The National Alliance on Mental Illnesses in Maryland prepares for ADVOCACY Day. What is ADVOCACY DAY? Do you participate in your state?

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It’s all inside because our Dreams Don’t Die, Labels do!

Twitter (LOP1936)

LOP’s Community Keeping Dreams Alive ~ 01/23/2014

LOP’s Community Keeping Dreams Alive ~ 01/23/2014


It is happiness to know that despite living with a mental illness in recovery, I can still pursue my dream of owning my own business.  I invite you to join my community of mental illness recovery success by e-mailing me at levineoliverpublisheer@gmail.com

I thank you for your support and as I prepare to release my new e-book next month, I hope you will join the e-mail contact list and stay connected.  Together we can do a lot to raise awareness about life with a mental illness and bring down the stigma, stereotypes in society that often prevent us from fulfilling our purpose!

My weekly videos are on Youtube so please check them out.

See, ya on Twitter, too!  (LOP1936)




Informal mingling is a great way to overcome anxiety and get back in the swing with social skills.  One of the benefits I learned from participating in a mental illness recovery program was getting away from feeling the need to isolate myself to avoid those labels.  I wonder how many of you feel that way now?  It’s scary, frustrating, and humiliating when other people are not compassionate or sensitive to the new you.  The new you has a mental illness to live with and they know it in most cases.  Be encouraged that your hope and dreams can still be realized.  You will find that perfect balance between socializing and having alone time.  Some tips that helped me were:

Participating in NAMI events (seriously) such as Tell-Your-Story classes and workshops;

NAMI Advocacy day (after meeting with Legislators)

Not being ashamed to go out with my peers (restaurant, crab feasts, bus trips, just hanging out) and inviting friends to my place for tea. 

When you meet with peers who have a mental illness, too, you find  yourself exchanging coping skills for those disturbances you cannot necessarily get over on your own, but do not need to make an appointment.



When we have setbacks that we cannot control, it is good to talk to a friend who understands the unique struggle of getting the negativities out of your head and finding your balance.  A lot of time a simple misunderstanding can be a monumental trigger. Your peers who know  you well are the ones to help you find that center again.

Finding that perfect peer group is part of the journey to mental wellness recovery.  We have to remember that and stay in a loving and caring mindset to help those coming behind us.  I am thinking today of a family member who was battling Depression badly.  All the symptoms were there including:  sadness, crying spells, loss of appetite, substance abuse, complaints of pain, and even threats of ending it all.  It was frightening and I ended up calling the local Crisis Prevention hotline.  I spent 45 minutes to an hour with a compassionate woman on the other end.  She told me everything I should look out for and do if the situation escalated and the person became combative.  She counseled me who by then was at my wits’ end because nothing I said or did was helping the person.  At the end of the call, I checked on the person and he was sound asleep.


In the morning, we both arose refreshed, but emotionally drained.  Tenderly, I tip-toed around the subject when it seemed appropriate and asked one more time about making an appointment.  I was asked a question that we sometimes lose sight of then and there.  “Who is going to pay for it?”


Well, I’ll jump ahead to say that a few years ago, I let it drop because it was a valid question that I had no answer to.  Now  change has come.  Today we have affordable and quality healthcare with access to mental healthcare services.  This is very important for young adults especially.  Mental illnesses are brain disorders that have no cure.  They can be treated.  Untreated mental illness such as Depression can lead to more serious mental illnesses or physical injury because when persons are depressed, they will make reckless decisions.  Depression also causes unexplained aches and pains.  These are just a few reasons why young adults, who are not invincible, need to have health insurance.  They need to understand that poor health stops dreams, not labels (stigmas, stereotypes, etc.).


The next deadline for applying, shopping, and buying affordable and quality health insurance is January 15, 2014.  This will mean insurance coverage on February 1, 2014.  The premiums must be paid in order for the application process to be complete.  Young adults should please GET COVERED at Healthcare.gov by January 15, 2014. 

Personal Dev.


Grandiose Blues:  in a nutshell, Depression/Bipolar Disorder can cause one to go into extreme debt.  This is caused by the belief that you have lots of money if you have Bipolar Disorder.  You may believe you are rich, famous, wealthy, etc.  Based on that false belief, you spend like crazy on stuff, trips, luxuries, gadgets, gifts, etc. and you cannot realistically bail yourself out.  You may have to keep borrowing and/or file bankruptcy.

Depression can cause you to buy ‘feel good items’ or comfort stuff much the same way.  In both scenarios, your spending is or will become reckless.

In both cases, it is time for professional help.  A change in medications.  Therapy.  The situation is beyond being able to stop on your own.  If you see this pattern in a loved one, it will cause you to be frustrated and angry.  You vent, fuss, argue, etc.

The problem does not go away using those tactics.  The problem, issue, side effect, if you will, can be solved with professional intervention with mental healthcare services and a plan.  When a person with mental illness is stabilized, then the behavior can be discussed with a bona fide plan to prevent it from happening again. 

It ends those monthly fights over social security benefit checks, too! (barring drugs, gambling, extreme circumstances requiring intense intervention strategies and NEVER violence).

For example:  BUDGET

taking bank cards, credit cards, check book,

making a list before shopping, using coupons, sale items only, etc.

cash only,

delay going to store or online shopping until mood swings have passed, stabled. 

BEFORE spending money, discuss why a persons wants to shop or feel the need to shop without judging. 

Participate in the shopping trip to avoid a spree!  Can you have popcorn and a home movie instead?  Will a trip to the theater work?  How about an afternoon window shopping trip!  One of the ways I learned to not spend money I didn’t have (w.i.p.) was to window shop with the idea/commitment that if it is there when I return, it is meant for me.  What about lay-a-ways…they are still en vogue in my book.  My favorite store was/is Burlington Factory.  I could lay-away items and pay in increments when I worked outside my home. 

Recognize when YOU are influencing a vulnerable person to spend money he/she doesn’t have;

Do not bail him/her out every time and know the cut-off point;

Know when to contact the person’s doctor/pastor/therapist respectfully and ask for help.  This should not mean calling social services and demanding checks be placed in your name, etc. which leads to all sorts of hatred, resentment, hurt, harm, disrespect, accusations, allegations, profanity, bullying, oppression, low self-esteem, serious/Chronic depression, fear, anxiety, panic, etc. and does very little, if anything at all, to help a person achieve mental wellness recovery success. 

Mental wellness recovery success is unique to each individual and it will not happen overnight because you say so like with any other illness or behavior modification.  I am suggesting meeting with the person and his/her doctor/pastor, etc. together and working as a team understanding stabilization must happen before persons can see, understand, accept the problem and work to solve it.  This is moving towards recovery success with a goal.

Enforce responsible spending with compassion;

Do not make continuous loans to a vulnerable person causing debt he/she cannot repay you;

Have something old, but good as new? — bless him/her with it from pots, pans to shoes to earrings, etc.  You will be amazed how that cures reckless spending and quenches that urging desire to spend. 

Did you know ‘Monday-morning-quarter-backing’ includes spending, gift-giving, etc.  the same way ‘normal’ people agonize when those Christmas bills start rolling in? 

Do we want to sacrifice after-Christmas sales/bargains and purchase health insurance?  YES we must!

Affordable healthcare is the goal for every person by the end of the year.  Persons who receive monthly benefits, may have dependents who do not.  Access to affordable healthcare IS access to mental heal services.  Preventing mental illness in your family means one more healthy person in the community to build it up. 

There is nothing embarrassing about applying for Medicaid for all members of the family in MDHealthConnection.gov or going into a local social services office.  There are Navigators (health ambassadors) available to help persons apply for and/or purchase affordable healthcare.  There is nothing wrong with receiving mental health services, too! This is the best way to break the cycle of mental illness in families and not continue the cycle of mental illness and poverty. 

In 2014, NO name-calling is allowed!!!

amen, Amen?

Personal Dev.



     The following is a repost blog to encourage everyone to stay ignited to vote [in future elections] even if you have a mental illness and to keep living in your community to achieve mental health recovery and fulfill your Dreams!  We will unite to DEFEAT Murphy Bill H.R. 3717 or anything that evens resembles it and make this country stronger with our contributions. 

This blog is from the election day of President Obama in 2008….. stay encouraged!

With the tremendous progress he has made, we should be burning up  the voting booths  in November!  amen, Amen?  AMEN!



At 6:45 a.m. I left my home to travel about six blocks to the voting polls. I had taken my medications and I was feeling very excited about voting. My mind was calm and I was thinking over the day’s schedule.  At about 7:00 a.m. I turned into the block of the voting polls and noticed the cars immediately. Then I remembered school was closed in my district so many parents were probably home with their kids.  Another block closer to the voting poll place, I quickly took my eyes off the road and turned up the dial of the radio. The song playing was, “Halleluia, He’s the Great Jehova.” (I love that song). I looked back up and it took about a split second to hit me. Beyond my windshield was a sea of people standing on line and wrapping around the polling place. Instantly, my mouth dropped open and tears began flowing. “Oh, my God!”  As I creeped along, people were walking from their cars to stand on line to vote. Some cars were blasting music and the people were just emotional and showing neighborly love. It was a moment I had never experienced before and those feelings will probably never surface like that again.


I continued to creep through a maze of people and cars as I had no idea so many people lived in my community (’cause I’m always on the pc…teehee).  By the time I found a parking place, I was a bubbling mess and I walked about another six blocks back to the polling place to get on line. The line had grew even longer. I began standing on line and chatting with folks and laughing and talking and nobody was worried. Nobody was worried. Everybody was patient with the process of standing and elated to be voting in such a historic time. Oh, the stories that were shared…and one person’s declaration, “Pancakes at my house, y’all!” Aaah, it was going to be good day.


An hour into the wait, it hit me that I had a doctor’s appointment in another hour. Quickly, I decided…whatever, I’m not budging.  Another hour into the wait, I reached the building of the voting booths. It was welcoming to feel the heat escaping. Smile. Fifteen minutes later, I was inside the building and much to my surprise, the line was wrapping around the red-bricked interior deceitfully. Smile. A half hour later, I was checked in by the pollster and about seven minutes later, I was voting!  Obama/Biden, No for slots, Yes for various expansions to the roadways, parks, etc., yes, those three judges should stay in office, and then those magical words that would carve out history for us all, “CAST YOUR VOTE.” Click!:)  Then I raced back to my car and worked my way to the doctor’s office. I did not care if I had to reschedule because I was on a different mission.


I wanted more than anything to closely observe my fellow citizens with various mental health issues. What I noticed was remarkable.  YES, indeed, everyone waiting to be seen knew the significance of the election. They knew the issues and promises of Obama! They knew he was black! They knew America must change! There were countless complaints about costly medications and housing. Some had voted already and others were on their way to vote after their appointments. Some were taking cabs to voting places, some had rides with family or friends. A few were traveling by bus. 


In between discussions about politics, there were stories such as one woman’s cat who had delivered 4 kittens in the midnight hour. Hilariously, she talked about getting her prescription for refills because she knew she was manic and she also knew she was evicting the cat in two “dang” weeks whether the “little kitties were still ‘suckling’ or not!”


Then another revealed her anger over purchasing food with cash because her “Food Stamp” card was not enough.  There was a patient having family issues with an offspring and crying over the details. A nearby gentleman began praying for her aloud.  Another individual spread out his breakfast on the table in the waiting room while two other individuals fussed about it.


In between that, Psychiatrists walked back and forth with medical files and the receptionist appeared periodically to call an individual to be seen.   Eventually, my doctor walked out and noticed me and asked, “What are you doing here? Where’s your notebook?” We laughed and I responded asking him to please see me because I did not want to reschedule.


“Sure. Why not? Are you checked in?” (Whew)  


After seeing the doctor, I walked out into the waiting area and many of the people were gone. There were some folks still engaged in political discussions and the man praying was now on his knees. Of course, I wanted to ask, “Who or what are you praying for now since the lady with the family issue was gone?” (Could it be for us?) I did not, however, I walked through the glass doors and onto the street. I inhaled deeply and thought to myself, “Thank you, God, for the sanity to be a part of that day and my “extended” family. Amen? Amen!”  

Ps. 100 KJV/NIV


Follow Me LOP1936

Subscribe to the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law [http://www.bazelon.org/What-You-Can-Do/] and stay informed about this and other important news and  information affecting the Mental Health Community.


Personal Dev.


The fight to live in the community:  I wanted to share with you about another part to the Bazelon article and I will probably make a blog series for everyone to hopefully keep up with.  As I explained a week or so ago, one of the main reasons persons do not seek mental healthcare is the fear of admitting a mental health problem and then being carted off to a mental institution and forgotten about.

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is one of the well-respected organizations that fought for persons to live in the community.  NAMI is an advocacy organization that also fought for persons with a mental health condition to live in the community as a constitutional right to do so with being discriminated against.

When I first began advocating for persons with a mental  health diagnosis, I learned that a landmark case in New York opened the door for institutions to close and persons with mental illness to be able to live in communities.  There are a couple of things that stigma and stereotype hasvbeen used to create certain myths:  (1) Persons with mental illnesses are dangerous and cannot live in the community like a normal person and (2) persons with a mental illness cannot vote! 

For example, untreated mental illnesses can be caused by untreated Depression which can lead to suicide.  Untreated mental illnesses can cause a person to not be able to function with daily life skills.  TREATED mental illnesses help persons with a mental illness live a normal, quality life meaning he/she can function with daily life skills.

When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I lost all motor skills.  After beginning a medicine regime, I had to re-learn those motor skills (reading, writing, bathing, cooking, yelling at my kids who were taking clear advantage of me on the sofa all day eating Oreo cookies!).  Anyhow- the stronger I became, the more I learned how society will not want you to become well.  You see all sort of negative labels blocking you from getting back in society successfully even within the family. As with all experiences we have, we learn and grow from them and we should want to help others coming behind us. This is progression.  We should never settle for regression. I never wanted to go out in the community and start shooting at persons and in my mind, I wanted family and friends to know that persons with mental illnesses have normal thoughts, too.  Thoughts of continuing in life with purpose.  Wanting to be respected.  wanting be considered a valuable member in  society. 

When Healthcare Reform came along, it was absolutely necessary for me to get involved for many reasons.  I often believed it was because God heard my pleas in that Vanilla Room and favored me alone.  God loves us all, we know.  Now, the other thing I discovered about mental illnesses is that … how should we say, the opposition does not mean for us to know we are still valuable.  This is saying in other words that persons with a mental illness also have a right to vote!  This is discussed in the Bazelon newsletter which is a part of the Affordable Care Act!  Once, I actually blogged about persons in nursing homes even having the right to vote, too.  I had read an article stating that persons in nursing homes read the newspapers and watch the news ALL day long.  They have opinions that make them worthy to cast his/her vote on and the same thing for persons in the community at-large. 

As family and friends of persons with a mental illness, we need to engage him/her about politics and see what we learn.  We need to listen to his/her dreams and goals and see what we learn.  This is how we begin to defeat stigma and stereotypes in the family.  When it starts in the family it spreads into the community.  This will lead to increased voting opportunities! 

We have to read information from organizations who work hard to help us and our families, ministries, and congregations, too.  This is because of the positive affect it will have in improving our communities and saving lives before there is a tragedy and everybody wonders, how did this happen?

So, persons with a mental illness can live in the community


have a right to vote.  I want to encourage everyone to not talk around, above, or under persons who have a mental illness.  Break that mindset that they have nothing worthwhile to contribute.  That is a goal of labeling persons. Instead, engage them in conversation and you will discover they have a passion waiting to be released that is valuable to building a stronger family, community, nation.  This increases esteem, self-determination, responsibility, hopes and reinforces dreams.  The youth and young adults in your family, circle, etc. will see positive changes and participate, too.  This teaches respect for all persons which is a moral issue.  Youth will take this into adulthood!!


Of course, having access to healthcare is a real beginning to mental wellness in many ways.  A person may feel more confident and trusting of a healthcare professional without judgment over time.  That could very well lead to accepting mental healthcare to complete the puzzle.  As the days wind down for the deadline to buy healthcare, commit to doing just that by visiting Healthcare.gov.  If a person is eligible for Medicaid, there is no deadline because enrollment is open ALL year, but encourage enrolling in it to gain access to healthcare and mental healthcare.  Set a family goal with encouragement, support, and love for the community you want to live in by ending stigma, stereotypes, and myths in the family.  GET Covered!

Lastly, now, what do you think of the Bazelon article and H.R. 3717?  This is an ACTION ALERT which means to do something so please spread the word in your circle and tweet “NO!” to U.S. Representative T. Murphy, too!!!!!  If he were to have it his way, people will be institutionalized and votes will be taken out of the community.  Persons will be unfairly and unjustly “put away….!” Putting labels on people indicating they are valueless and should be hidden and their voice (vote) silenced is








Personal Dev.DREAMS DON’T DIE, LABELS DO! (Part 5)