Tag Archives: mental health issues

Bradley Cooper Speaks Out About Mental Illness

Standard

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)

The Sky Is Falling…

Standard

It’s been well over 70 days since I’ve written.  I know this because I’ve been counting the days…one day at a time.  I’ve wanted…no, I’ve needed to write but my fingers have just been paralyzed.  I guess things really got hard back on October 21st.  I tried to write about that day but to date, what I did write is unfinished and is just looming in my drafts folder.

I have loved writing on this darn blog.  I have come to believe that no one truly cares about anyone nowadays, but somehow you all….strangers to my world…have managed to make me feel so significant, so valued, and so loved.  I will never be able to thank you enough for that.

I don’t even know what to say…and I don’t even know if anything that I say really matters.  But I hope that somehow I can touch your heart and let you know that you are loved… I love you.  Even though most of us have never met, we are all brothers in sisters in the Body of Christ… We are family and we will someday get to spend eternity together.  So you matter to me…  You matter so much.

I am NOT looking for pity or attention and I want you to know that I am NOT a victim.  I just want to put that disclaimer out there before I write anymore.  However, I want you to know that, for me, the sky IS falling.  My life has been a house of cards and somehow I have always managed to hold everything together and give the illusion that I was happy and complete.  I wore that mask so well for so long.  The house of cards is falling down.  I’m afraid I’ve run out of tricks.  My charade is up and at this point, it seems everyone knows that I am a joke.

I was a Psychology major and I minored in Counseling.  I know the DSM-IV-TR quite well.  I was on a research team with graduate students and have devoted my life, and my studies to studying human behavior, especially since my Mother’s suicide.  In my studies I gravitated more toward abnormal psychology, and have always had a deep interest and passion for the ugly part of psyc….the pathology, I guess you could say.  Also, I’ve spent years studying the human brain and have become very knowledgeable in the neuro-psyc part of things…  I wholeheartedly believe that the human brain is the last, great, uncharted frontier in the realm of Science.  There is SO much that we don’t yet know… And I pray that Science will progress in a direction that takes a more physical approach to human behavior and issues of mental health. 

I have pondered the Nature vs. Nurture debate deeply.  I have researched it well… and have personally arrived at the conclusion that it’s both.  However, I would tend to say that the “nurture” part of things has the greatest impact.  In essence, I subscribe quite a bit to John Locke’s theory of Tabula Rasa, which as you probably know means that we are born a blank slate.  I know that this isn’t entirely true, but I think it’s mostly true.

I think babies are the closest thing to Heaven… Really, I think this about ALL children in general.  There is nothing more pure and precious than a childNothing.  And I know that Jesus Himself feels the exact same way. 

I can‘t make sense of the world we’re living in these days.  What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary has greatly affected me.  But the reality is that children are abused in a myriad of fashions all over the globe… constantly.  What’s more, most of the time they are abused, neglected, and/or abandoned by the people who were supposed to love them the most… and to protect them with every fiber of their being. 

The world is a nasty, depraved place and honestly, I don‘t know why we continue to have children knowing full well that we are living in End Times.  I compare my generation to my kid’s…and to my Mother’s…and for GOD sakes, my precious Grandparent’s.  It unraveling and changing so fast that I can hardly process it.  Our country, which WAS founded on GOD has, I’m afraid, become an abomination to Him as I KNOW it has become an abomination to the rest of the world.  I fear that God’s blessing is vanishing from our land…  He flooded the world once and I have to wonder, “Was it even half as depraved now as it was then?”  I ponder Bible stories that my grandmother used to tell me about Sodom and Gomorrah… but see, I know NOW that those weren’t just “stories“.  Do we as a nation think that we are invincible from God Himself?  Jonah tried to outrun God and he wound up in the belly of a whale.  How much longer is God going to tolerate the depravity of our culture?  I just really wonder.

I am not well right now.  I fear that I may be losing my mind somehow.  I am absolutely terrified beyond words, but I am finding that I have not been able to escape this perpetual downward spiral that I am wildly riding.  My depression is beyond anything I could explain…and probably beyond anything anyone would be able to understand.  I feel powerless and I feel utterly paralyzed.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but for me, hope is just not on the horizon.  I’m trying to fight but I’m very weak and I’m very tired.  My whole life has been a fight.  I will be 40 in January and NEVER in my wildest dreams could I have EVER imagine that I would be here.  I’m embarrassed, I’m morbidly humiliated, and shame and guilt are just killing me.

I have somehow managed to isolate myself from the world and the outcome has not been good.  The ONLY hope that I have is in Jesus,  but for the LIFE of me I cannot feel Him right now.  I am reduced to an absolute shell of the vibrant, charismatic woman I once was…  I don’t have much left.  So with every ounce of my soul I humbly beg that you pray for me and my boys.  Please intercede in my weakness.  Please beg God to help me survive and see my way out of all this.  I want you to know that I love my children more than anything on this Earth.  They are the reason I draw breath…  They are my whole entire world and I am so afraid that I am somehow failing them.  GOD HELP ME!

I have honestly never felt this way in my entire life and again, I’m just overtaken with complete terror.  There is a neuro doc whose primary practice is in San Francisco.  His name is Dr. Daniel Amen.  I have followed his work for years and know some incredibly reputable people who deeply believe in his work.  His clinic does brain scans that give CONCRETE answers to what is going on with a patient’s mental health.  That‘s what I want…of course I could never afford it.  But still,  I want CONCRETE answers.  Something is totally NOT right with my freaking brain.  I adore my counselor and my doctors too but diagnosing  neurological problems are really just a hit or miss….or a trial and error kind of thing.  I’m SICK of that. 

What happened to my mother HAUNTS me each and every day.  Her depression was real, but no one, INCLUDING AND ESPECIALLY  ME ever took her seriously until she was dead.  She lay in her bed for THREE whole days before anyone even found her.  I will NEVER forget what she looked like.  She has the SADDEST look on her face.  My mother was an incredible, beautiful woman but something happened and when she began to deteriorate it  seemed, to me, to happened really fast.  I take this shit seriously and I wish to GOD that the rest of society would too!!  This isn’t something we can just sweep under the damn rug people.  Look, the Sandy Hook incident would more than likely have never happened if someone would have reached out to that young man and taken his issues seriously.

I thank you for giving me a venue to express my heart…  And I thank you in advance for your prayers.  Jesus is not just MY only answer… He is YOUR only answer as well.  Keep your eyes FIXED on Him.  Recognize that He does NOT make rules so that He can be a buzz-kill or because He is just very bossy.  God gives us rules to protect us from our stupid selves!!!  When we disobey Him and veer out in our own direction we are blindly veering out from underneath His Almighty protection.  We just cannot afford to do that anymore, can we?

All my love,

Ava

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
 My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?

 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
    save me because of your unfailing love.
 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
    Who praises you from the grave?

 I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping
    and drench my couch with tears.
 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
    they fail because of all my foes.

 Away from me, all you who do evil,
    for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
    the Lord accepts my prayer.
 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
    they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

-Psalm 6

WHY?

WHY?

Really?  WHY???

Really? WHY???

I Detest Being Lied To!

Standard

So I haven’t felt like writing much lately.  I’ve been basking in some sort of funk that borders on psychosis.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

I’ve spent a year of my life loving a man who played me like a fiddle.  The truth is coming out.  And as it turns out there was “no” truth.

I don’t miss him nor do I ever want to see him again.  I just want to punch him in the balls really hard and cause him to suffer.

You think you know someone…..  I feel like a damned fool.  I’m so angry at myself lately that I can hardly see straight.

Aside

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. –Genesis 50:20

I received a message from a long, lost friend via Facebook.  My friend is someone who I have known since 1998.  God bless her soul, she has struggled with severe mental health issues for as long as I’ve known her.  Her suicide attempts have been far too great in number as have her hospitalizations.  When my precious mother, who is pictured above, took her own life in August of 2001, my dear friend was constantly and unselfishly by my side.  She was even by my side when others had gone.  As a matter of fact, I remember my friend being in the house alone with me after my mom had passed there; we were cleaning things out and preparing for an estate sale.  I know she was traumatized by the event, but still–she remained by my side.  Of course, she was at the viewing and the funeral.  It was a simply tragic and devastating time for us all.  And to boot, my mother loved my friend very much and always expressed to me how she was so incredibly worried about her.

 

So last night, out of the blue, my friend contacts me and wrote the following:

 

“Just wanted to let you know, in case you ever wonder what the purpose of your mother’s death was, her committing suicide saved my life. Once I saw what it does to those left behind, I knew I couldn’t do that to people I cared about. This is something I’ve been wanting to tell you, but I wasn’t sure that you would want to hear it.”

 

When I received the message I had been quite depressed and was not in a healthy place emotionally due to other life circumstances.  However, receiving this message made me feel like the Hand of God had just come down and touched me.  What’s more, I can testify that my mother saved my life as well.  

 

I had been a stripper, addicted to cocaine but had just started back to school full-time, as a single parent.  After the death of my mother, I told myself that I could go one of two ways.  I could have tried to mask the pain with drugs and alcohol and  risked losing my soul completely.  Or, I could honor her in her death.  

 

I was an incredibly at risk teen, therefore I don’t know how I even managed to graduate high school.  However, after she passed I was enrolled in college a week and a half later.  I became President of my Honor’s Society that semester and began writing for my school’s newspaper publication.  I was a National Science Foundation Scholar and studied with the Honor’s college abroad in Greece.  I could have never accomplished such things without the inspiration of my darling mother.  

 

So the point is, that what Satan wills for harm and disaster, God wills for good.  He was glorified even in the depths of my own personal hell.  I will praise Him all the days of my life.  

 

My mother served and inspired so many while she was living, and it warms my heart to know that the ripple effect continues on.  She died believing she was a failure, but in reality she left a legacy of people who are better today just for having known her.  God only knows where her beautiful influence will stop.  I’m proud of my mother.  I dream about her incessantly.  Sometimes God doesn’t allow us to know why we have to experience such agonizing pain in life; but sometimes He does.  He did in this case.  Love never dies…it just grows stronger.  Those who have gone before us become interwoven into the tapestries of our souls.  Keep praising the Lord.  Praise Him through the rain.

 

All my love,

Ava

God Uses EVERYTHING For His Glory–Even Suicide.