Tag Archive | Levine-Oliver Publisher

#LetsMove CELEBRATES 4 YEARS ENDING CHILDHOOD OBESITY CAMPAIGN!

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

http://youtu.be/KICLApm_ANE

Then Spread the word and get involved!

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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!

Agnes
Twitter (LOP1936)
levineoliverpublisher@gmail.com

DREAMS DON’T DIE, LABELS DO! (Part 7)

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.

Arts/Crafts

 

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.

DREAMS DON’T DIE, LABELS DO! (6)

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.

DREAMS DON’T DIE, LABELS DO! (Part 4)

One of the biggest challenges I faced since being diagnosed with a mental illness was the death of my youngest son.  It had me worried for a long time because I knew because of his disabilities he would not live forever.  That I accepted, but it worried me still about the how I would respond since I have a mental illness — Bipolar Disorder/Depression.
 
Well, he passed away in 2010 and I knew those who loved me had the same concerns.  I also knew I had a dream I still wanted to accomplish.  I had a plan for quite some time about how to survive life-altering events.  This was how I could keep a plan to stay in recovery and I had help, too.
 
 
 
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Doing this 500-piece puzzle and listening to Juanita Bynum`s ‘Soul Cry” helped me to mourn and grieve my youngest son`s death. It helped me to focus and cope and avoid going to the hospital. I notified my Dr. that my son passed and he checked on me twice. With my other 2 children, family, and our Lord, I was fine. When I miss my son, I have the puzzle to remind me of the many ways he brought me joy.  The funny thing is that my daughter`s dog took a piece. So my puzzle reflects a part of me that is gone forever and to never forget all the reasons I worked hard to stay well. … My other children need me.  And God is always there.  Amen!

 
I give God the glory because I survived a mighty test and shook off negative labels.  I am still in recovery and my dream is alive and well!  There is hope for anyone with a mental illness to achieve mental wellness recovery.  It begins with access to healthcare.  The Affordable Care Act is the access to healthcare essential benefits that can lead you to your dreams. 

The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, provides mental healthcare essential benefits and you cannot be denied due to pre-existing conditions.  Only a doctor can make the diagnosis of a mental illness.  This is important for young adults to know and understand because they are high-risk for developing Depression.  Untreated Depression leads to a more serious mental illness.

 
The days are winding down for APPLYING, SHOPPING, and BUYING affordable healthcare.  Visiting Healthcare.gov will allow the young adults in your life to GET COVERED by January 1, 2014. 

There are many, many health insurance plans on the website.  Uninsured Young Adults can shop for the best affordable health coverage, make the premium payment to the provider he/she selects and begin the new year covered for health and mental health insurance. 

 
Why is this important?  When uninsured young adults purchase health insurance, they have access to health services.  When they become sick, they will go to the doctor’s office, get any necessary medications, lab work, etc.  They receive treatment.  This keeps them healthier.  They can learn better when healthy.  They can work when they are healthy.  They become more responsible as young adults.  They take the burden off of citizens who pay the difference in costs when uninsured young adults use emergency rooms as doctor visits.  They contribute to this wonderful country economically!!
 

This weekend is the perfect time before the December 23, 2013, deadline to GET COVERED!  Healthcare coverage is a great gift idea, too, to get uninsured young adults started with health coverage.  Spread that message TODAY!

 
 
 
 
 

DREAMS DON’T DIE, LABELS DO (Part 2)

What is the Ticket-to-Work (TTW) Program?  This is a program by the Social Security Disability Administration (SSDI) that allows persons diagnosed with a mental illness and who receive monthly benefits to re-enter or enter the workforce when he/she achieves recovery.  The program is designed for the person to work and supplement his/her income.  It is a wonderful and necessary Program.  If a disabled person can completely leave the SSDI/TTW program, they can become eligible for disability within 5 years should they become ill again with the same illness.  (Talk to a SSDI Representative and the TTW Rep.).

What is little known about this TTW Program, is that it can be used to start a business or become a business owner.  This is the movement that is opposite of the system’s point of view.  A person with a mental health diagnosis who achieves recovery success can pursue owning a business, rather than work in a market where income potential is restricted by the Program.  For example, a person receiving SSDI can only earn $X,XXX through outside employment.  What happens is that even if the person gets stronger, and a recession hits!, the rules of the SSDI Program keep the person from increasing earnings beyond what it gives as a cost-of-living increase. This is fine, but what about if mentally ill persons actually paying more in taxes? That seems a better idea to me.  What happens now, though, is that they stay in poverty on the SSDI/TTW Program largely due to the fear that if they leaves the SSDI Program and get sick again, they will not be able to receive benefits again.  This is similar to the mindset of welfare recipients. The “Program” becomes too comfortable. It becomes the ‘couch.’ It imprisons and holds persons in bondage. What then occurs is the person will put off dreams and purpose that will lead to earning more income, etc. and the consequence is living  in poverty. 
 

As the mental health field improves, it is possible for persons with dignoses such as Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, etc. to achieve recovery and become employable in remarkable ways.  These persons can increase the income potential and contribute more to the national econmy by way of taxes.  It is not knowing or believing that prevents this from happening on a greater scale. In our generation, we can do this.

 

Many persons who are living on restricted income and are in the Ticket-To-Work Program are not aware that he or she can go beyond the system’s point of view about mentally ill persons and become very successful business owners.  If there was a dream before the mental illness diagnosis of owning a business or being such-and-such, the dream can still be accomplished after the diagnosis, but mentally ill persons must change our mindsets. Today’s society must become more accepting and supportive, too.  We must not allow the labels of society or systems ‘cripple’ us or otherwise disable us from becoming our dreams.  We can use SSDI and TTW as stepping stones along the journey and not as the end of our journey.

 

After having a stream of doctors and therapists, I remember the very day that I sat down with my newest doctor.  He did not rush me and we had a casual conversation.  I told him all about my life as one would a doctor.  After the exam, etc., he said to me, if you trust me, let’s see if we can pick up where you left off before you became ill.  There is no reason why you cannot.  The first thing I want you to do.. (he wrote a note on a prescription pad and tore it off, handed it to me).  Go to the library and browse … see people who have a mental illness and are famous, etc.  Now, his point was not that I could be famous, but that accomplishing my dream was still possible based on the fact that I shared with him that my life ended as far as career, etc. when I got ‘sick.’  That was the source of my anger that contributed to my rebellion to take my meds as prescribed.

 

Long story short, I was so excited and encouraged to know that I was not alone in the world with a mental illness and I could still do something with my life.  I made a promise to take my medications like I was suppose to and trust my new doctor.  I knew I was not going to be Albert Einstein or Patty Duke, but I did want my own dream to come true.  This is what I reported back to my doctor.  He remained my doctor for nearly a decade and we began setting goals. 

 
If persons can leave the “welfare’ mindset of poverty by being confined to TTW, he/she can not only earn more income, he/she can pay higher taxes into the American economy to strengthen it and him or herself even more.  This will do wonders for self-esteem which will do wonders for sustaining self-worth as a valuable member in society. This is a key factor in staying well. How important are you to self? How important are you to others? Of course, there is still healthcare and mental healthcare with either Medicare or Obamacare. 

The ‘fear’ that chains people to poverty can be conquered.  Fear stops people from fulfilling dreams and purposes.  I am not afraid anymore to pursue my dream.  If I sit back and accept what the system limits me to, I cannot ever fulfill my purpose.  That was the transformation of the mind that kept me in the race for me, my children, and the greater mentally ill community.  We can all do this for ourselves, loved ones, family, community, and the nation by encouraging persons with to transform his or her mindset about the possibility of recovery from a mental illness.  It has to start with honesty, though. It is NOT the end of the world for persons struggling from Depression, Chronic Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, PTSD, Diabetes, Hypertension Alcoholism, etc., but it takes hard work, commitment, focus, discipline, our heroes, and obedience to God!

Each person with a mental illness is different and responds differently to treatment.  The key word is ‘treatment.’  Do NOT fear treatment because it is the pathway to purpose or dreams!  For example, if you have mood swings and you say things to hurt others, then you are remorse (regretful) later and this is an every-day situation, you are PUSHING people away and YOU hurt yourself.  Then you become lonely and do not understand why nobody really wants you around over the holidays because they want to have ‘fun’ and not argue.  This is not alright.  You know it in your heart, but you be may ‘fearful’ that you are out of control of your emotions, afraid of the holiday season, being around people, afraid to admit something is wrong with you, etc., etc..

  

Commit to humbling yourself in the New Year with a goal of making an appointment to see a mental health therapist.  Talk therapy is beneficial to letting go of things that hurt but you cannot talk about it with friends or family — but it eats at you night and day.  If someone reminds you  of what is eating at you, your mood is negatively affected.   However, you must swallow your pride and begin the journey to mental wellness.  You may have a TREATABLE mental health condition!  If you do, get the treatment recommended by the doctor because it will be affordable and you can still work on your dreams!This is the true meaning of ‘GET COVERED” as far I see it. Get the mental health services with Obamacare and use it!

After I began mental illness treatment, I participated in NAMI’s program known as Peer-to-Peer that helped me to accept my diagnosis and then develop coping strategies in dark situations. By the way, I am not an official spokesperson for NAMI; however, I recognize how they contributed to my journey to wellness and how NAMI can help persons with a mental illness.  These are my opinions based on my experience.  I encourage persons and families to participate in a NAMI program. 

 
It is important that when we walk this new path to mental wellness, we understand that there will be setbacks or trials and tribulations, too.  We do not allow them to defeat us.  The progress I was seeing with the new doctor and my NAMI participation, encouraged me to push daily and then another major setback  occurred. 

I had to have emergency surgery and that threw me into a Bipolar Disorder episode!  I experienced feelings of grandiose and planned this grand party explaining that I had one the million dollar lottery to friends and family.  I went shopping for an expensive car.  Well, it was more embarrassing then physically harmful and I took all measures to avoid that from happening again.  My medications were adjusted and the lesson well learned so that when I needed to have oral surgery, my doctor and I came up with a plan and we stuck to it!  I took a medical holiday a few days before and after the oral surgery under close supervision of the doctor.  This enabled me to be free from any side effects from anesthesia, etc.  Remember Bipolar Disorder is a chemical imbalance of the brain. With the plan, I was fine before, during, and after the surgery on my mouth with no episodes.  I was living on my own at the time so it was really important to me to show myself and my family that I could manage my life and mental wellness!

 
This also allowed me to see that my dream was obtainable as well because I saw fear face-to-face and conquered it.  The fear of having surgery and having a mental illness. With the grandiose episode I had to go into the a psychiatric hospital to stabilize the episode. On the contrary, with a plan with the oral surgery, I recovered at home and remained mental stable! Even the pain was tolerable because I could only have very minimal pain meds. (Look at God!).

Do you feel afraid you will fail in life with a mental illness?  Did you put your dreams away when you were diagnosed?  Do you pretend living in poverty is alright because you have Medicare if you get ‘sick?’  Google successful people with a mental illness and create a vision board!  This is what my first home assignment was from my doctor and I never let go of the vision.

 

Are you believing you can publish a book about your journey with a mental illness?  DO IT!  Your story will encourage others.  Join the movement with me.

 
agnes
 
 

Look for the new book release in 2014 by Agnes titled: “

    I Saw You In His Eyes

Personal Dev.

.”

OBAMACARE AT THE STATE LEVEL DOES THE MIND GOOD!

 

Essential health benefits are the only ways to maintain good health and have access to healthcare and mental healthcare services.

Obamacare will provide that and the latest reports on Healthcare.gov continue to improve with enrollment as uninsured persons APPLY, SHOP, and BUY affordable health insurance for self and families.

It is just as important at the state level to get enrollment up and uninsured persons covered. These state programs have deadlines just like the federal Obamacare programs. I want to share that when I first was diagnosed with a mental illness, I did not have insurance. In short, as my application for coverage was being processed for disability health insurance, I was ‘bumped’ around to several different hospitals. Each experience leaves a lasting effect and contributes to delaying mental wellness. That was about 20 years ago. The absence of health insurance interrupts being able to be strong and mentally healthy. This prevents people from not only having a quality of life and fulfilling their purpose in life, but it adversely affects the economy. The talents and gifts we have builds and sustains America, states, and cities. The bottom line is that the tax dollars we also contribute is vital to the national, state, and city’s economy.

Tis the season to be jolly should include making sure you and your family are covered with health insurance FIRST. You can enroll in your state program such as Maryland Health Connection or apply for Medicaid which has expanded healthcare benefits. This is particularly possible for those eligible persons who are poor. Poverty causes the pride of a person to hurt especially during this season and he/she may choose to buy gifts for children, etc. and not purchase health insurance. It is also the peak season for Depression. Sadness. Grieving. Faced with harsh times with food prices high, utilities going up, etc. and when people are not used to having health insurance (uninsured young adults), it will be at the bottom of the list of things to do. Together we can help them put health insurance investment at the top of their list. We trust that the technical difficulties will indeed continue to be removed at the state levels, too, so if you have time TODAY – GET COVERED!

How is enrollment in your state progressing? Do you have family members who are still not covered? Are you teaching your children the true meaning of Christmas?

Prevent mental illness and do your mind good!