Monthly Archives: February 2013

Bradley Cooper Speaks Out About Mental Illness

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Bradley Cooper Speaks Out in National Dialogue on Mental Illness

By Bob Carolla, NAMI Director of Media Relations

More than a mere entertainer!

More than a mere entertainer!

Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper, star of Silver Linings Playbook, didn’t know much about mental illness before he made the film.

Since then, the movie has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including every acting category, the first motion picture in over 30 years to earn that distinction. In the process, the movie has become a powerful vehicle for advancing a national dialogue on mental illness (Award winners will be revealed announced on Feb.24).

“I was ignorant,” Cooper said at a press conference on Feb.1, sponsored by the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., in which Andrew Sperling, NAMI’s director of federal advocacy participated.

In the movie, Cooper plays a young man living with bipolar disorder, who has lost his job, his house and his marriage. He is released from a state psychiatric hospital and returns home to live with his parents and begin to rebuild his life. His father, played by Robert DeNiro, lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The film reflects family dynamics to which many people can easily relate. Mental disorders seem secondary and gradually fade into the background. Just as one out of every four American adults lives with mental illness in real life, the movie presents symptoms as just one more part of a family’s experience. It does not trivialize them nor make them the butt of jokes in what is nonetheless an often hilarious comedy.

At the press conference, Cooper described the process through which he learned that mental illness is a common thread in many people’s lives.

Discussions about the movie’s plot and characters set the stage. Revelations of personal connections followed. Matthew Quick, the author of the novel on which the film is based, struggles with depression. The movie’s director, David O. Russell, has a son who lives with mental illness.

Cooper learned for the first time that one of his friends lives with bipolar disorder, a fact he had never known before. After ignorance came empathy, he said. The challenge then was to take action.

“The one thing I can do is raise awareness.”

“Don’t walk away from people with mental illness. Don’t be scared.”

U.S. Senator Debbie Stebenow (D-Mich.) who participated in the press conference told of her father’s struggle with bipolar disorder in the 1960s, before lithium was found to be a mood stabilizer. “We didn’t know,” she said. “We didn’t understand.”

“But today we’re at a moment of change.”

“Changing attitudes leads to social change,” said former U.S. Rep Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island), who lives with bipolar disorder. “It doesn’t have to come from government.”

One of the lessons of Silver Lining Playbook is that “the power of family” is a vital force for transformation—a fact that Sperling noted is reflected in NAMI’s Family-to-Family Education program.

Love, acceptance and being embraced by a community are key both to recovery and breaking down barriers of stigma. Looking ahead to the Academy Awards and beyond, let the national dialogue continue.

(source: http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?Section=Top_Story&template=%2FContentManagement%2FContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=150378&lstid=809)

Nostalgia and a Longing for Simpler Days…

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Dear Friends,

My oldest son, Jeremiah is having some intense emotional struggle right now that I am not even up for writing about.  If you wouldn’t mind, I sure would like to humbly ask that you pray for him; he is 16.

 

Tonight I was going to leave a video on the wall of his Facebook to cheer my boy up and inspire him.  This song always made me giggle and I simply love the message.  Add to that, I’ve been over the moon for Frank Sinatra for as long as I can remember.  I love his music.  Of course, I love old-school music in general.  My favorites include Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Nat King Cole, just to name a few.

 

I’d like you to view the following video and note how it somehow lifts your spirits, regardless of what kind of mood you’re in:

 

 

Now, riddle me this, Batman? How can one be in a depressed or anxious state of mind and hear this song without smiling and feeling just a little bit better than you did before you heard it? And how profound is the message of this song?

 

This snappy, upbeat tune was introduced in the movie, “A Hole in the Head” starring the late, great Frank Sinatra, circa 1959! We are talking about 54 years ago!  One must reflect on the simplicity of the world during those times; which were inarguably just not that long ago.

 

I grieve for my beloved America, as we seem to be given over to abundant chaos and such confusingly busy lifestyles that we, much more often times than not, miss out on the simple things in life; the most important and the most eternal things.

 

 Unmanageable stress is literally subtracting years from our lives.  MOST importantly, our children, many living in low-income, single-parent homes are confused and brokenhearted to say the very least.

 

Once upon a time we yearned for scientific progress, which to me, simply equated to us having access to more luxurious “things” and “things” that we thought would make our lives more convenient and somehow more valuable. Well, that certainly has worked out well for us, hasn’t it?

Oh, how I really do miss the old days.  I miss the old console TV sets that had rabbit ears and only a few channels; the ones you had to get out of your seat and turn the dial until you found a program you wanted to watch or could get reception on.  I miss my Disco 8-track tapes, and my cardboard box of a portable record player that played 45’s  and LP’s (33’s). 

 

 

 I miss playing outside, getting dirty, drinking from the water house, peeing on the side of the house so you didn’t have to go in your house and take a chance of getting hounded by your folks about something, and  I sure did enjoy catching crawdads in the creek behind my house.  I miss those things and so much more.

 

More than anything, I miss the family time we all shared day in and day out.  I miss those sit-down, delicious, gravy-invested dinners we shared as a family “at the kitchen table.”  I miss waking up early every Sunday morning to the smell of my grandmother’s cookin’, which literally made me jump right of bed; I was somehow seduced by the aroma of breakfast. 

 

We did the same things every Sunday.  We had our yummy, Southern breakfast, got dressed nicely, hopped in the car, and went to Sunday School “and” church.  I never tried to negotiate with my grandmother about going to church nor did I ever complain and tell her I was too tired to go.  It was part of our established routine.  It’s just what we did.  And after church my grandmother either “fixed” an extravagant lunch or we went to eat at Furr’s Cafeteria.  Mind you, retail stores and most businesses were closed on Sundays then.  Today, Chick-Fil-A is the only business that I can honestly think of that unapologetically closes on Sundays because of the corporations unshakable faith, values, and public desire to please God.

 

Yes, I miss those simpler days.  Praise God, I have so many memories to cherish.  I’m thankful for these beautiful memories and for my Godly upbringing! What about you? 

 

Do you think that as we move closer and closer to end times that the world is becoming increasing dark, chaotic, and depraved or is this all in my head?  I’d love to hear your feedback and opinions (that’s my polite way of telling you that you’d better chime in! lol!)

All my love,

Ava

drinking from the hose

kid peeing outside

tire swing

catching crawdaddies

dirty kids

mud pies

ice cream truck

sprinkler

family prayer

big wheel