Category Archives: Awareness

An Honest Inventory, A Worrisome Result

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Although I have a degree in Psychology and love the field immensely, I am not such a fan of labels.  First of all, I don’t think we all fit inside the parameters of any one box.  Our personalities and experiences differ greatly so there is no way that one size fits all.  Plus, I believe that when we label ourselves and/or allow ourselves to be labeled by others we fall into the pit of self-fulfilling prophesies which often times cause us to unconsciously begin to live in accordance with whatever label(s) we impose upon ourselves and/or accept from others.

Lately though, I have found myself often asking the question, “What’s wrong with me?”  And, as somethings have been brought to my attention and as I’ve taken some steps back to examine certain life pattens, I have learned that there may be a name for a particular set of  some maladaptive, repetitive behaviors that I struggle with.  I think this is significant because I need to uncover the “what” so I can deal with the “why”…which will help me deal with the “how to”, (hopefully) overcome and find healing and freedom.

So I recently read some information for this organization called Sex and Loves Addicts Anonymous that describes itself as “a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition oriented Fellowship based on the model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous. S.L.A.A. is open to anyone who knows or thinks they have a problem with sex addiction, love addiction, romantic obsession, co-dependent relationships, fantasy addiction and/or sexual, social and emotional anorexia.”

I have never been a fan of 12-step programs as I don’t feel as though that particular method is right for me, but I was looking at their website for information and came across a self-diagnostic tool that I thought I would explore.

Below is a self-diagnostic type of  inventory that I took; I answered each question as honestly as I possibly could.  Here’s what I came up with.  It’s bitterly shameful (I may soon delete this post) but I wonder if anyone can relate to this or has opinions about this particular topic.

I don’t know if this is something that I need to do work on or not.  As a Christian, I genuinely feel that God is my ultimate Healer and that I just need to keep trying to give it all to Him.  However, some of the questions on this inventory hit frightfully close to home.  I don’t know what to think…
The fact of the matter is, I’m not a ho!  In the past, when I have been with men that I believed that I truly loved my sexual experiences were nothing short of cosmic.  When I think that I love a man and we have sex, I feel like it’s often this out-of-body, mystical experience and that our souls are completely intertwined in a way that’s hard to express with mere words.  And when I think I love a man I love him with my whole being…. The thought of being with anyone else makes me sick.
Unfortunately, I’m beginning to see that what I thought was love in my past relationships wasn’t love at all.  As a matter of fact, I question whether I’ve ever experienced true love.  Wild, unbridled passion and addiction to toxic people is not love.  I know that now.  I just don’t know which way to go now.
I'm just a few steps away...

I’m just a few steps away…

I don’t want to cut myself off from love and be one of those cynical ol’ man haters.  I don’t think that’s God’s will for me because I know that to be a true man hater I’d have to truly hate men.  I don’t.   Plus, I don’t think I’d be a very good, stereotypical cat lady because I do not like cats at all.

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Refuting the Lie: How I Fought Depression and Kicked its Ass for Good!

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Dear Friends,

Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of legendary writer, is one of the most fascinating people on the planet, in my humble opinion.  My life has been extraordinarily impacted by my mother’s suicide.  It rocked my world to the core.  However, I have had to carry the burden of just one suicide.  One is certainly enough, but Mariel has experienced at least 7, that she is aware of.  I simply cannot imagine how one could bear so much.

The most frightful thing about suicide in my immediately family for me was the terror and the gut-wrenching, incessant feeling of impending doom that suicide was my fate.  I saw it as this sort of tangible darkness that was just waiting in the rafters to eat me alive.  I thought I couldn’t get away from it…ever  And, do you know how many health professionals  told me that my risk of suicide was dramatically increased because of my mother’s suicide?  Why?  Why did so many people tell me this?  I mean, had any of them ever heard of the term self-fulfilling prophecy?

I don’t mind going on record to tell you that the majority of this blog has been dedicated to gloom and doom.  I’m sincerely sorry for that and thankful for the support that you all so beautifully and unselfishly gave me. I honestly don’t even know how long it’s been since my last post.  Do you know why?  It’s entirely because I am blissfully well and happy for the first time in my entire life.   I experienced true healing: body, mind, and soul.  I have truly been delivered and set free from the bondage of unspeakable fear.

My depression had been present since March of 2010 when a remarkably tough and insanely unfair even happened in my life.  However, from October 2012-March 2013, I was in the grips of a severe and seemingly unyielding clinical depression.  I was literally at the precipice of death.  I could barely get out of bed to use the restroom.  My hygiene even suffered.  Bar none, it was the bottom of the bottom for me.  I could barely make a fist at times.  And I was so scared.  I have never been more afraid, particularly for my children.

I fought like hell to get well.  I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my entire life.  A immeasurable part of the healing process came from the work I did at Onsite Workshops, in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee.  You can bet that I will write much more about this remarkably amazing, cathartic, mystical place… Right now, however, I just want you to know that I am no longer afraid.  I no longer live in constant, crippling fear and anxiety.  I know that I am NOT  now nor will I ever be a statistic.

I am no longer depressed.  I keep ahead of depression spiritually by praying, meditating, simplifying, expressing abundant gratitude, and not allowing myself to cultivate negative thoughts.  I work overtime to think positive, life-giving thoughts.  I keep ahead of depression emotionally by truly loving and honoring myself, avoiding toxic people who are psychic vampires, not allowing anyone to abuse me in any fashion, setting and keeping healthy boundaries, and by focusing on the people who have eternal significance in my life (as opposed to those who seek to harm me).  And I keep ahead of depression physically by putting healthy, non-processed foods in my body (particularly fresh fruits and vegetables), taking my Juice Plus+ (which I never intend to live without again), and exercising regularly in a way that I love and enjoy.

NO ONE, AND I MEAN ABSOLUTELY NO ONE “HAS” TO ALLOW ANY SORT OF MENTAL ILLNESS TO DEFINE THEM.

I think that each and every one of you should watch this short video. It would sincerely mean so much to me if you did.  We all need to become advocates for those suffering in silence with mental illnesses and/or addiction.  It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kov2ZHrA04w

All my love,

Ava Elizabeth Wisdom 

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)