Far be it from me –

The Surviving Spirit Newsletter – May 2013

 
 
      Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy 
 
           Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health
 
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.  – Kahlil Gibran
 
The Surviving Spirit Newsletter May 2013
 
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” Brian Tracy
 
Hi Folks,
 
Aahh…gratitude, and how to cultivate that when down and out from life’s troubles and our respective challenges with trauma, abuse and mental health. I know for myself it has helped me immensely when taking the time to acknowledge the good in my life despite whatever horrors, hurts and losses I have known – it is not an easy task for me at times. But the payoff is huge.
 
I always take time to reflect upon the good friends in my life who have stood by me no matter what…even when my post traumatic stress and depression issues were ravaging my mind, body and spirit – they didn’t waver in their support and I will never forget that and I am so grateful for their love and friendship. I think of all the wonderful people I have met since my ‘breakdown/breakthrough” back in 1993. So many of us have been hurt by life, but we found a common bond from our healing journey and shared experiences and now we have friendship that grew out of sorrow and suffering – not bad, so that too I am grateful for.
 
I am grateful to all of you in your advocacy endeavors and helping of others who struggle and who allow this newsletter to be sent to you…and thankful for the sharing that you do with it – Thank You!
 
So perhaps take a moment to think of what you are grateful for in your life….and let us be thankful for the wonderful shared resources in this newsletter.
 
I recognize that there are a lot of resources to look at and don’t expect anyone to be able to get to all of them – but in the age of “Tweeting”, instantmessaging and texting, etc…it is still nice to be able to take some time to read about others who are helping to make the world a better place. 
 
Speaking of resources, please do send them to us to share in future newsletters and from our website – and if I have forgotten to share your info, please ‘gently’ remind me…..
 
 
I was a guest on this show last night and we covered a lot of ground; music, creativity, martial arts, peer support – good and bad, trauma, abuse, mental health, meds, loss of children/alienation, hope, healing, and help and so much more – please check it out when you can. Here’s one response of many I received –
 
“Great job!!! I wish they would make all psychiatrists and treatment providers listen to the show”
 
Survivors World – Butterfly Dreams Talk Radio w/ Trish McKnight
 
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Michael Skinner devotes his speaking and his work to bring attention to that very cause. Helping to see past the diagnosis and medications to what lies underneath that might have caused the traumatic events which haunt us with PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, and for some Dissociation and various types of Personality Disorders.
 
“We rely upon the poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy or sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering, I rush to them. They give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.” Helen Hayes
 
1] Wellness Works Initiative – Art, Poetry, Song & Video 
 
What is the Wellness Works Initiative? Peerlink, the National Empowerment Center, and the other Consumer and Consumer Supporter Technical Assistance Centers—the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, NAMI Star Center, and the Family Cafe TA Center – are showcasing original creative work expressing what wellness means in our lives and for our communities.
 
We hope the Wellness Works Initiative will help raise public awareness about the importance of embracing a wellness-based perspective, in mental health services as well as our communities at large. We embrace a holistic approach and endorse the eight dimensions of wellness – Emotional, Financial, Social, Spiritual, Occupational, Physical, Intellectual, and Environmental – as proposed by Peggy Swarbrick and supported by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
 
I’m honored to be a part [“Walk With Me – music & lyrics and “Brush Away Your Tears”- live video performance] of the many creative artists, musicians and poets featured at this website – please do visit and be inspired
 
I’M NOT IMPRESSED WITH YOUR TITLE AND DEGREES
COMPASSION AND UNDERSTANDING DO MORE FOR ME
CAN YOU SHOW ME, SHOW ME YOUR HUMANITY
INSTEAD OF TALKING, TALKING DOWN TO ME
CAN YOU SIT WITH ME, CAN WE TALK A WHILE
AND THEN I KNOW YOU WOULD SEE ME SMILE
OH I KNOW, YOU WOULD SEE ME SMILE         Walk With Me © Michael Skinner Music
 
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”  Melody Beattie
 
2] Sound Therapy Radio “Be Kind to the Mind”
 
Sound Therapy delves into the intricate world of the creative mind, interweaving great music, lively guest interviews and insightful discussion.
 
Join host J Peachy, Lauren, June and Megan and guests as they share fresh, inspiring perspectives on creative expression, issues of mental wellness, health & disability, and offer alternatives in self-care and personal well being.
 
Join us every Tuesday at 7pm on CJSF 90.1 FM, and online at cjsf.ca. In addition, all episodes are archived. In addition, we broadcast video portions of our radio content on local community television, contact us if you want our program in your region.
 
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust
 
3] Where is the Self in Treatment of Mental Disorders? By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
 
The focus for most treatment professionals is on a patient’s symptoms and the alleviation of symptoms. Few professionals delve into how a disorder — likebipolar disorder or clinical depression — changes our identity. Everything we know about ourselves.  Everything we thought we knew about ourselves.
 
That’s why this recent piece in the NYT Magazine by Linda Logan exploring this issue is so interesting and timely. [Link posted below]
 
Our identities as unique individuals with well-worn and familiar roles in life – mother, confidante, partner, employee – are quickly stripped away when a new label takes over: patient. Inpatient. Psychiatric inpatient. In all of society, there is almost no worse label that could be applied.
Mental health professionals across all professions – psychiatry, psychology, social work, etc. – should be more aware that this loss of self identity is a very real component of some people’s mental illness and subsequent treatment. It should be addressed as a regular component of mental health treatment, especially when the loss is acutely felt.
 
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer
 
4] Linda Logan , New York Times article – The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder [Long read, but well worth it folks]
 
How much insult to the self is done by the symptoms of the disorder and how much by the drugs used to treat it? Paradoxically, psychotropic drugs can induce anxiety, nervousness, impaired judgment, mania, hypomania, hallucinations, feelings of depersonalization, psychosis and suicidal thoughts, while being used to treat the same symptoms. Before getting to the hospital, my daily moods ranged from bad to worse, each state accompanied by a profound depth of feeling. The first drug I was given was amitriptyline (Elavil), which, in the process of reducing my despair, blunted all my other emotions. I no longer felt anything. It was like going from satellite TV to one lousy channel.
 
Over the years, I’ve talked to clinicians about why the self is rarely mentioned in treating patients who suffer from mental illnesses that damage their sense of who they are. If anything, it seems that psychiatry is moving away from a model in which the self could be discussed. For many psychiatrists, mental disorders are medical problems to be treated with medications, and a patient’s crisis of self is not very likely to come up in a 15-minute session with a psycho-pharmacologist.
 
5] Suicide Survivors Volunteer To Lead Prevention Effort Through Multimedia Public Forum Project – Aims To End Stigma, Shame, Anonymity
By David Crary, AP National Writer
 
Suicide survivors are leading a nationwide effort to prevent suicide through conversation and an end to anonymity.
They look intently at the camera, some impassively, some with smiles, all of them aware that they’ve just shared with an online audience a most personal story:Why they tried to kill themselves.
 
By the dozens, survivors of attempted suicide across the United States are volunteering to be part of a project by a Brooklyn-based photographer, Dese’Rae L. Stage, called “Live Through This” – a collection of photographic portraits and personal accounts.
 
6] Live Through This:Life on the Other Side of a Suicide Attempt   I am still seeking attempt survivors to share their stories for Live Through This.
 
“PEACE:  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart.” Author unknown
 
7] American Association of Suicidology’s “What Happens Now?” blog: http://attemptsurvivors.com/
 
What happens now? | Exploring life after a suicide attempt or suicidal thinking by Craig A. Miller
 
This week’s post is by Craig A. Miller, who contributed a strong post earlier about the difference between not wanting to die and wanting to live. Here, he talks about moving forward. Visit Craig’s website at Thisishowitfeels.com.
 
“Why?” As a suicide attempt survivor I can’t tell you how many times I have sat with people and tried to give them an answer to that question. When doctors would ask I would become frustrated, because they should be the ones with the answers. When family would ask I would feel guilty, because anything I said was misinterpreted as blame. And when friends would ask I would just become quiet, because no one could ever really understand what I was going through. For all the years I struggled with suicide and all the times I sat with family, friends, and doctors trying to understand why, I was never really able to come up with anything that truly explained it. It wasn’t until I sat alone and tried to find the answer for myself that I was finally able to do so.
 
“One person can make a difference and every person should try.” John F. Kennedy
 
8] Bristlecone Project  David Lisak, Phd Speaker/Trainer/Consultant
 
We will send a messageWe were wounded. Now we thrive. We are your neighbors, your fathers, and your sons.
 
The Vision:  A mosaic of photographs and words that portray the reality of men who were sexually abused as children…
 
The Focus:  The present, not the past.  Who each man is. What defines him. What is the focus of his life. Each man will be portrayed through a series of photographs, a brief written portrait, and his own voice.
 
The Purpose:  To portray this reality – who we are now, living meaningful and dignified lives – to the many men who feel isolated and stigmatized by what happened to them. And to portray this reality to whole communities through the Bristlecone website and public exhibitions.
 
Participate Each man will be portrayed through a series of photographs, a brief written portrait, and his own voice. If you or someone you know might be interested in participating in this project, or for more information: Write to David Lisak at: david@davidlisak.com
 
bris·tle·cone – A high-altitude pine of western North America that thrives despite high winds, cold temperatures and thin soils. Bristlecones can live thousands of years, and so can be used to correct radiocarbon dating. Also used as a metaphor to describe the unique strength and will of the 1in6 men who were sexually abused in childhood.
 
[David is the real deal; I am honored to know him as a friend and a fellow advocate and proud to be a part [along with my dear partner, Mary] of this healing endeavor to help others.]
 
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
9] Mad in America  Mission Statement – The site is designed to serve as a resource and a community for those interested in rethinking psychiatric care in the United States and abroad. We want to provide readers with news, stories of recovery, access to source documents, and the informed writings of bloggers that will further this enterprise.
 
The bloggers on this site include people with lived experience, peer specialists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, program managers, social activists, attorneys, and journalists. While their opinions naturally vary, they share a belief that our current system of psychiatric care needs to be vastly improved, and, many would argue, transformed.    http://www.madinamerica.com/writers/#bloggers
 
When “I” is replaced by “WE”, even illness becomes wellness.
 
10] The Key Update is the free monthly e-newsletter of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse  http://www.mhselfhelp.org
 
Here you’ll find the latest information on mental health and consumer/survivor issues. We include updates on important issues, linking you to news sources, funding opportunities and the most recent developments in the consumer/survivor movement. You’ll also find conference announcements and job postings from across the nation.
 
For content, reproduction or publication information, please contact Susan Rogers at 800-553-4539 x3812, 267-507-3812 (direct) or srogers@mhasp.org.
 
“To be ill adjusted to a deranged world is not a breakdown.” Jeanette Winterson
 
11] Words of Wellness
As part of our vision to foster wellness and recovery, the Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey [CSPNJ] Institute for Wellness and Recovery Initiatives offers this newsletter, Words of Wellness. This publication features information and resources to help people to achieve and maintain wellness. You can read related content, or access previous editions on our website, www.welltacc.org.  We are eager to share the information in Words of Wellness, and we’re very happy when you share copies of the newsletter with your friends and colleagues. Feel free to make photocopies. However, we put a lot of effort into this newsletter, and we would like to get credit.
 If you would like to photocopy the newsletter as is, or forward it to interested parties, we welcome that. You might also want to recommend that others subscribe directly or access the newsletter online.
12] Mental Health Humor Newsletter – Chato B. Stewart  http://blogs.psychcentral.com/humor/  
Chato Stewart is a husband, father and mental health advocate. He is an artist and the cartoonist behind the Mental Health Humor cartoons. He creates positive, provoking, and sometimes even funny cartoons! The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with Bipolar Disorder. Mr. Stewart strongly believes that there is power behind humor. His motto is humor gives help, hope and healing. His goal and mission is to tap into humor and use it as a positive tool to cope with the serious and debilitating effects of mental illness.
Chato B. Stewart is a Florida board Certified Recovery Peer Specialist – A (CRPS-A). Chato is also the 1st place winner of the DBSA 2009 Facing Us Video Contest. In his powerful public service announcement, he tells his personal story of living with a mental illness through a montage of his cartoons. Adding to his little list of accomplishments is being part of the 2010 DBSA Stand-Up for Mental Health comedy night and being invited back for the 2011 Conference to be a Stand-Up comic in the show.
May Is Mental Health Awareness Month and we are drawing 31 Heroes and posting them each week.  You will get a few extra emails in May.  Please help us by Tweeting and sharing the heroes with your friend.  www.mentalhealthcartoons.com
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brené Brown
 
13] Your Voice in Sheffield Mental Health – a Magazine and Website for Service Users, Carers and Professionals [ United Kingdom ]http://www.yourvoicesheffield.org/
 
Please do check out this helpful newsletter and their website and our good friend Judith Haire’s article on EMDR –
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy. It’s on page 11 via this link – No 67 Spring 2013 http://www.yourvoicesheffield.org/media/YV67final.pdf
14] And please note, we are also honored to share and sell Judith’s powerful book on her healing journey at our website/web store – “Don’t Mind Me” is the story of her dysfunctional childhood and teenage depression, her abusive first marriage and experience of rape and domestic violence, her terrifying descent into psychosis and her recovery.
15] Given it is Mental Health Awareness Month, we would like to share another one of our author’s book –
 
“Institutional Eyes by Denise Ranaghan
 
“Institutional Eyes” is an all-too-real account of a young woman’s struggle with mental illness and addiction. When author Denise Ranaghan was twenty-one and scarred from a lifetime of alcoholism and physical abuse, she fled her dysfunctional family for a hitch in the U.S. Army. Shortly after, she found herself deteriorating and unable to function in an adult world. Why was her sanity in jeopardy? And – WHY WASN’T ANYTHING HELPING?

At first Denise looks for quick and painless solutions; then, in rehab, she courageously begins to work her way through the problems of Borderline Personality Disorder, depression and substance abuse.

 
“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”  Friedrich Nietzche
 
16] MS – My Story  A Collection of Inspirational Voices Stories about Living with Multiple Sclerosis Edited by Liz Pearl PK Press 2012
 
“They never give up. They dream big and reach far. They think positively and believe faithfully. They love deeply. They demonstrate courage, determination and gratitude. They smile, laugh and sing. They rejoice and celebrate life. These are the inspirational voices of MS – My Story.”
 
Liz Pearl, M.Ed., is an educator and therapist specializing in psychogeriatrics and the expressive art therapies. She is the co-editor of Mourning Has Broken – A Collection of Creative Writing about Grief and Healing (KOPE Associates, 2004, 2007) and the editor of Brain Attack – The Journey Back – A Unique Collection of Creative Writing about Stroke Recovery (KOPE Associates, 2005), and Living Legacies – A Collection of Writing by Contemporary Canadian Jewish Women Volumes I,  II & III (PK Press, 2008, 2010, 2011).
 
To order a copy  http://at.yorku.ca/pk/ms-order.htm  Follow PK Press on Facebook   www.facebook.com/#!/PKPress
 
Link to PK Press http://at.yorku.ca/pk/ms.htm  Liz Pearl, M.Ed. Therapist /Editor Liz_pearl@sympatico.ca
 
“You can’t patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid.”
 
17] Dr. Gabor Maté on the Stress-Disease Connection, Addiction and the Destruction of American Childhood – Democracy Now! – A daily independent global news hour with Amy Goodman & Juan González [article/transcript & video]
 
From disease to addiction, parenting to attention deficit disorder, Maté’s work focuses on the centrality of early childhood experiences to the development of the brain, and how those experiences can impact everything from behavioral patterns to physical and mental illness. While the relationship between emotional stress and disease, and mental and physical health more broadly, is often considered controversial within medical orthodoxy, Maté argues too many doctors seem to have forgotten what was once a commonplace assumption, that emotions are deeply implicated in both the development of illness, addictions and disorders, and in their healing.
 
Dr. Maté is the bestselling author of four books: When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection; Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do about It; and, with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers; his latest is called In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.
 
“I’ve always thought of wholeness and integration as necessary myths. We’re fragmented beings who cement ourselves together, but there are always cracks. Living with the cracks is part of being, well, reasonably healthy” Siri Hustvedt
 
18] Bring Your Life Into Balance: A free self-guided program for becoming a healthier, happier you
 
Stress or mood swings rock everyone’s balance from time to time. However, when too much stress, anxiety, depression, or worry interferes with your health, career or personal relationships, it’s time to make a change. No matter how difficult things seem, by learning how to harness overwhelming stress and manage your emotions, you can become healthier and happier, and have a more positive effect on those around you.
 
Daily life can seem like a never-ending ride, leaving you feeling frustrated, anxious, depressed, and unfulfilled. But it doesn’t have to be this way; you can get off the emotional rollercoaster. You can bring your life into balance by learning more about:
 
  • Stress and how to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  • Why your emotions matter to you and to others.
  • What you can do to harness the energy of your emotions and make them work for you.
  • How you can become calm, energized, focused and more aware of yourself and others.
 
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer 
 
19] Dealing with Depression: Self-Help & Coping Tips to Overcome Depression
 
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better. But while overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far from impossible. You can’t beat it through sheer willpower, but you do have some control—even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day.
 
Recovering from depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed is hard. In fact, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting. It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery: The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There’s a difference, however, between something that’s difficult and something that’s impossible.
 
“If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman.” Socrates

A ‘gentle’ reminder that the Surviving Spirit is nonprofit 501C3 and your gift of time, talent or treasure is greatly appreciated.
 
Take care, Mike, Mary, Zsuzsi, Rachel, Cynthia Lynn & Mary Ann
 
 
ps. Please share this with your friends & if you have received this in error, please let me know.
 
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
                                               A diagnosis is not a destiny  
 
The Surviving Spirit  – Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy – Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health
 
The Surviving Spirit Speakers’ Bureau
 
 
mike.skinner@survivingspirit.com   603-625-2136  38 River Ledge Drive, Goffstown, NH 03045 
 
@SurvivinSpirit Twitter  
 
“BE the change you want to see in the world.” Mohandas Gandhi
 

 

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The Surviving Spirit Newsletter – February 2013

 Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy 

 Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Kahlil Gibran

Hi Folks,

Before we dive into all of the wonderful resources to share from some truly amazing people, I thought I would take this time to ‘gently’ let you know of the Surviving Spirit’s presence on Facebook. We have two sections, first is our Surviving Spirit Facebook Page – where we hope you “Like Us”, but more importantly, a place to visit and learn from some of the great postings shared there – recent examples include:

Jeanne McElvaney – Recognizing the difference between ordinary memories, trauma memories, and dissociated memories can empower us ~

Rachel Grant – Today’s Blog: Embracing Yourself in Love

Misa Leonessa Garavaglia – Spiritual abuse is the misuse of a position of power and the misrepresentation of information.

And then there is our Surviving Spirit Facebook Group which is a place to visit and share what’s going on in your life, find peer support and share your creative expressions. It is a closed group, so log in and ask to join. Thanks!

Once again we are honored to share with you some helpful insight and information…and as the saying goes, “take what you like and leave the rest.”

1] Joining Forces: Empowering Male Survivors to Thrive Dr. Howard Fradkin Foreword by Tyler Perry

Joining Forces: Empowering Male Survivors to Thrive is an inspirational new book written to empower male survivors of sexual abuse and assault at any age to develop skills they can use to overcome the effects of their trauma and learn to thrive in their lives.  Visit the pages on this website to learn more about my book.

The book is organized to reflect the critical steps I believe are necessary to heal and fully recover from sexual victimization of any form.  The first part focuses on essential skills needed to begin the healing process; while the second part focuses on additional skills needed to move toward thriving. Throughout the book, I have incorporated the stories and the wisdom of a group of alumni of our weekends program, who I call the “Silence Breakers”.

Dr. Howard Fradkin – Words and Wisdom – Welcome to my website! I hope you will find inspiration, hope and healing here! I have devoted my career and my life to helping others, and I hope in the words, articles, interviews and links provided here, you will find help for yourself too. What I know to be true is that healing from sexual victimization, no matter what age it started or ended, is absolutely possible and achievable!

I have the pleasure and honor of knowing Howard for many years, dating back to when Male Survivor was first formed, back then they had a really long name, not so now, Male Survivor says it all!

Howard is the real deal….he gets it and his caring and love of helping others shines throughout this powerful book that is a testimony to hope, healing and help. His insight, knowledge and compassion speaks right to you – and that is what I felt while reading this book. I truly felt as if he was in the room talking to me directly, in a gentle and thoughtful manner – that is a wonderful gift of love that he shares, and that is not a word I throw out frivolously. His allies and friends in healing, the “Silence Breakers” also give wonderful insight and testimony on healing throughout the book.

My only ‘disagreement’ with the book pertains to the chapter on Forgiveness. I share his belief that we must learn to forgive ourselves for what was done to us…but I take exception to forgiving those who hurt us – some of us have been able to heal and thrive without having to forgive…and that is okay. That should be a personal choice and belief…

What is Male Survivor? We are committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love & belonging & joy— the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brené Brown

2] Thursdays @ 10am pst Svava Books answers questions in the OneHealth chat room about childhood sexual abuse.

Register free – http://sexualabusesupport.onehealth.com/   & 2:12 minute audio clip

A safe place to heal – OneHealth is a private and confidential community where you can feel safe and secure when sharing with others and managing your health goals. 

A 24/7 source of community and support – Feel instant fellowship with our online community of people who share your health goals. 

A set of clinical tools that work – Set and keep track of your goals, and share your experience and progress. Find online community meetings when and where you need them. Share your story and life journey with others.

“If I am overwhelmed, I may be trying to do too much. Today I will try to “Keep it simple.” Courage To Change

3] Kids At Risk Action (KARA) – Advocating for the Rights of Invisible Children

KARA is a non-profit advocacy network focusing on issues related to neglected and abused children. Founded by Mike Tikkanen, a businessman turned socially-concerned citizen, KARA works to educate individuals and communities about the need to protect the rights of children.

OUR MISSION is to advocate for the welfare of at-risk children and youth through the identification and promotion of people, programs, and policies that work.

OUR INITIATIVES include raising awareness of at-risk children by:

  • sponsoring KARA Community Forums
  • organizing children’s rights Community Action Networks
  • offering free audiobook downloads of  Invisible Children
  • Contact KARA for information about public speaking engagements & workshops

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hans Hofmann 

4] In mental illness, is ‘stigma’ the wrong word? How about ‘discrimination?’  Arielle Levin Becker  The Connecticut Mirror

“When I had cancer, I got cards and flowers,” Karen Kangas’ sign reads. “When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I got no cards and a pink slip.”

A picture of Kangas holding the sign hangs in the state Capitol complex, part of an exhibit called “Discrimination: A Roadblock to Recovery.”

The title is no accident.

People often talk about the stigma of mental illness. But some, including Patricia Rehmer, prefer the term “discrimination.” It’s stronger. It makes people uncomfortable.

And it more accurately describes what people with mental illness face when looking for jobs and housing, in social situations, and even in some legislation that’s been proposed in recent years, said Rehmer, the state’s commissioner of mental health and addiction services.

“I always say it’s the last bastion of discrimination,” she said. “I can’t really think of another group that’s still so discriminated against.”

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” Carl Bard

5] Ark of Hope for Children brings awareness of and provides emotional care for victims of child abuse, child sex trafficking and bullying (peer abuse). Ark of Hope focuses on care, habilitation and life transformation to help victims become empowered survivors.

When loving people stand in the gap with sacrificial and unconditional love, the trajectory of shattered lives can change forever. Through Ark of Hope programs we encourage local, church, state and international mobilization on behalf of abused, trafficked and bullied children.

 Ark of Hope programs:

“Love is a great beautifier.” Louisa May Alcott

Ruth Jacobs is another great example of a Surviving Spirit who has taken her own pain and suffering and turned that into a force of greater good for helping others – please do visit her website. And her Facebook pages [ https://www.facebook.com/rujacobs & https://www.facebook.com/SoulDestructionSeries ] where there are all kinds of great sharing, resources, hope and healing.

6] Ruth Jacobs – author   http://ruthjacobs.co.uk/

I write a series of novels entitled Soul Destruction, which dispel the ‘happy hooker’ myth and expose the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. My debut novel, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, will be published in 2013 by Caffeine Nights. I studied prostitution in the late 1990s, which sparked my interest in the subject. I draw on my research and the women I interviewed for inspiration. I also have firsthand experience of many of the topics I write about such as posttraumatic stress disorder, and drug and alcohol addiction. My short charity publication, In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl, is available on Amazon.

To view the series of interviews for Human Trafficking Awareness Month, January 2013, click here.

In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl is available to download from Amazon. All royalties will be donated to Beyond the Streets, a charity helping women exit prostitution. The publication is 77p from Amazon UK here & 99c from Amazon US here. It is also available worldwide.

“Today I will make use of the precious gift of imagination. Thus I will turn away from negativity, self-doubt, and fear, and celebrate life instead.” Courage To Change

Some great news to share from my friend and fellow advocate and member of Males 4 Trauma Recovery, William Kellibrew of the William Kellibrew Foundation [WKF] 

7] WKF Stories of Surviving and Thriving

As the national conversation about violence prevention continues it is important that the voices of those who have been affected are heard.  

Each month we will share at least one story in order to build awareness, educate policy makers and help shape the public policy conversation. 

1. Send an email to – info@TheWKFoundation.org  

Include: Name, Age, Location, Your Story 

2. Be prepared to record a 3-minute video sharing your story.  

– What happened? 

– How did you feel then and now?

– How are you coping?

– What do you hope will be done to prevent this type of violence in the future?

– What do you think is an important message for others to take away from your story?

We start with a courageous woman from Kansas, Linda Oktach, whose husband was murdered in 1968 on Thanksgiving Day. In response to Newtown, Linda tells her story of survival; raising her 22 month old son who survived the day she lost her husband.  It is stories like Linda’s that give us hope. Thank you for your courage Linda. Linda now lives in Kenya. 

WKF Stories Restoring Lives: Linda Oktach – YouTube   4:54 minutes

“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.” Hubert Humphrey

8] The Road To Resilience  

How do people deal with difficult events that change their lives? The death of a loved one, loss of a job, serious illness, terrorist attacks and other traumatic events: these are all examples of very challenging life experiences. Many people react to such circumstances with a flood of strong emotions and a sense of uncertainty.

Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions. What enables them to do so? It involves resilience, an ongoing process that requires time and effort and engages people in taking a number of steps.

This article is intended to help readers with taking their own road to resilience. The information within describes resilience and some factors that affect how people deal with hardship. Much of the article focuses on developing and using a personal strategy for enhancing resilience.

“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” Shakti Gawain

9] 10 Journaling Tips to Help You Heal, Grow and Thrive – Loran Hills @ Tiny Buddha

Keeping a journal has many positive benefits. Journaling can help with personal growth and development. By regularly recording your thoughts you will gain insight into your behaviors and moods.

Journaling can be used for problem-solving and stress reduction. It’s been proven to improve mental and physical health. It can lead to increased self-esteem.

10] You Can Be Your Own Hero – You Tube

Here’s a forum where you can share your own video of speaking out regarding sexual abuse as these courageous folks have done.

“To improve the golden moment of opportunity, and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life.” Samuel Johnson 

11] Rethinking mental health: Local practitioners, groups reject mainstream treatment – Tracy Rose, Mountain Xpress Asheville, NC

Asheville psychiatrist Daniel Johnson didn’t set out to transform his profession. But he’s now part of a growing movement, both locally and nationally, that’s challenging the most fundamental assumptions about mental illness.

Dr. Johnson launched a private practice here in 2010 and, like most psychiatrists, he prescribed medications for his patients. But a controversial article he read nearly a year and a half ago got him thinking and eventually led to a profound shift in the nature of his work (see sidebar, “By the Book(s)”).

“Unfortunately, and sadly, more often than not, medications do more harm than good,” Johnson now maintains. “And of course I had contributed to all that in my own practice. I had a lot of soul searching and reckoning to do on a personal level.”

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Oscar Wilde

12] The Voice from the Spectrum: My First News Appearance on Autism Awareness

Ryan Comins is a graduate of Oakland University. In December 2012 Ryan received his Bachelor of Science and Business Administration with a major in marketing and a minor in English. While attending school, he was a member of the marketing honor society Alpha Mu Alpha. Ryan was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder (otherwise not specified autism) at age 12. Through use social media and internet radio, Ryan uses his eloquent way with words to help raise autism awareness.

“If I can see pain in your eyes then share with me your tears. If I can see joy in your eyes then share with me your smile.” Santosh Kalwar

13] How Child Abuse Primes the Brain for Future Mental Illness – By Maia Szalavitz TIME Magazine – Health & Family

Child maltreatment has been called the tobacco industry of mental health. Much the way smoking directly causes or triggers predispositions for physical disease, early abuse may contribute to virtually all types of mental illness.

Now, in the largest study yet to use brain scans to show the effects of child abuse, researchers have found specific changes in key regions in and around the hippocampus in the brains of young adults who were maltreated or neglected in childhood. These changes may leave victims more vulnerable to depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the study suggests.

& Study: How Chronic Stress Can Lead to Depression Maia Szalavitz

“They do not want to hear what their children suffer. They’ve made the telling of the suffering itself taboo.” From Possessing the Secret of Joy, by Alice Walker

14] America Has an Incest Problem – Mia Fontaine The Atlantic

Mia Fontaine is the author of Come Back and Have Mother, Will Travel, and a speaker on the subject of incest and child sexual abuse. She has written for the New York Times and Ms. magazine.

People are rightly horrified by abuse scandals at Penn State and in the Catholic church. But what about children who are molested by their own family members?

Last year offered plenty of moments to have a sustained national conversation about child sexual abuse: the Jerry Sandusky verdict, the BBC’s Jimmy Savile, Horace Mann’s faculty members, and a slew of slightly less publicized incidents. President Obama missed the opportunity to put this issue on his second-term agenda in his inaugural speech.

Child sexual abuse impacts more Americans annually than cancer, AIDS, gun violence, LGBT inequality, and the mortgage crisis combined—subjects that Obama did cover.

Had he mentioned this issue, he would have been the first president to acknowledge the abuse that occurs in the institution that predates all others: the family. Incest was the first form of institutional abuse, and it remains by far the most widespread.

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.” Herbert Ward

Kudos to Mia Fontaine for writing this…I would take this a step further and add in child abuse in all of its forms – the silent epidemic that is causing so much suffering throughout our world…someday this silence will end, till then, we all continue to do what we do in our respective advocacy endeavors…and thank you for that.

Take care, Mike, Mary, Zsuzsi, Rachel, Cynthia & Mary Ann

ps. Please share this with your friends & if you have received this in error, please let me know. 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 
                                               A diagnosis is not a destiny  

The Surviving Spirit – Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy – Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health 

The Surviving Spirit Speakers’ Bureau

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mike.skinner@survivingspirit.com   603-625-2136  38 River Ledge Drive, Goffstown, NH 03045 

@SurvivinSpirit Twitter

“BE the change you want to see in the world.” Mohandas Gandhi

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From Michael Skinner – The Surviving Spirit Newsletter January 2013

 

Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy

 

Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health

 

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Kahlil Gibran

 

“The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possibly can.” Mike Dooley

 

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” Alan Cohen

 

Hi Folks,

 

Wow, 2013…another New Year and wishing all of you the joys, hopes and dreams that the New Year may offer and bring to you as you work on new ideas, resolutions, opportunities, self examination, trying new things…and old things, new goals, plans, dreams and ambitions. Whatever they may be, wishing everyone all the best in your pursuit of these endeavors.

 

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Saint Francis of Assisi

 

Our hopes and plans for The Surviving Spirit are to be expanding and improving our Website Resources and the newsletter – some of which is being worked on now. Slowly but surely we are getting there…a work in progress. All of our Board members are also quite busy with their undertakings of work and creative projects.

 

For myself, I will be starting the recording process soon for my fourth album, “Truth, Love & Light”…very excited to be doing this. It has taken me a bit longer to get to this stage due to the surgery I had a few years ago that involved the removal of my left thumb joint – it has taken a while for my fretting hand to get back in shape to do this. This has been another teaching lesson for me in the art of learning patience…sometimes I can be a slow learner, but with time, I eventually get there.

 

Once again we have compiled some helpful and insightful resources to share with you and very excited to open up with some ‘new’ things for the New Year from Rachel, Beth & Debbie. Despite some of the pain and turmoil going on in the world, there are still so many others doing what they can to help make the world a better place – the resources we are sharing in this newsletter are some great examples of that…

 

1] Fellow board member Rachel Grant is pleased to offer her newly published guidebook, Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse

Rachel Grant Trauma Recovery & Relationship Coach
In the world of recovery, there has been a shift from using the word “victim” to “survivor” when describing those who have been abused. This new label conveys strength-to empower and to embolden you as you begin the journey of recovery. While moving from victim to survivor is an important step in the healing process, it does not go far enough in framing an identity that leads to a thriving and powerful life.

In Beyond Surviving, author Rachel Grant, provides an understanding of the three stages of recovery-victim, survivor, and beyond surviving-and offers survivors guidance and tools for reaching the third stage of recovery. Based on cognitive behavioral techniques, neurological science, the power of language to heal, and Grant’s personal journey, Beyond Surviving teaches you how to actively challenge and break the patterns of thought and behavior that result from sexual abuse. It explores how different areas of life are impacted by abuse and communicates valuable skills for gaining a new perspective that inspires action and change. It provides an opportunity to reflect and practice these new skills through exercises and assignments.

 

Available for purchase in paperback or Kindle on Amazon or download a free excerpt.

 

2] A rooted mind….Reflections on saying yes to beauty, wellness and deeply rooted mental health – Beth Gager, singer, writer, advocate, peer and a gentle spirit

 

These past few years I have been working really hard on getting what I need in my life. I have been pushing myself to be what I need be in the world. I had covered myself up and held myself down for a long time because I had experienced so much pain and disillusionment with my experiences when I was in and out of the hospital and I needed to work at getting my life back together. I forgot who I was for a while and I needed to find my center again. I needed to uncover my roots and feel my feet on the earth. I needed to stretch my arms toward the sun. I needed to let the breeze be my gentle friend. But now, step-by-step, I have done that. My roots are strong. My fingertips know how to touch the sky. I have uncovered myself bit by bit and now I can see who I am again when I look in the mirror. And now, I am ready to be in a different place. I don’t have to be covered up but I also don’t have to push anymore.

 

It’s about letting the quiet that is inside me also surround me. It’s about beauty. And I say yes.

 

3] Deborah Louise Trueheart – Living Into Wholeness

 

I have many passions, which include the evolution of consciousness and spirituality, complimentary holistic health and a non-disease approach to mental health, and creativity.  These passions culminate in the development of a curriculum called, “Living Into Wholeness.”

 

 

Since we are all connected, I believe we see ourselves in each other. We gain and give strength, hope, courage and inspiration to each other by sharing ourselves. The Native Americans say that our story is medicine. My desire is to hold a mirror up to you of your own beauty, your own magnificence, your own wholeness and your own Divinity. May you find medicine in my story.

 

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

4] Increasing Self-Compassion in PTSD – Countering Negative Beliefs and Thoughts about the Self by Matthew Tull, PhD  @ About.com Post Traumatic Stress

 

Many people with a diagnosis of PTSD struggle with self-compassion. The symptoms of PTSD can be very intense and can disrupt many areas of a person’s life. As a result, people with PTSD may start to experience feelings of guilt or shame, have negative thoughts about themselves, or feel worthless or like a failure.

 

A lack of self-compassion can have a huge impact on recovery from PTSD. A lack of self-compassion may decrease motivation to continue through those difficult moments in treatment. It may increase feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

[Folks, we all need and deserve self-compassion, whatever your struggles may be]

 

5] ‘Homeless Yoga’ And ‘The Art Of Panhandling’ by Kevin Sullivan – producer/WBUR Staff – Here & Now  [Please note, this link allows you to hear the audio clip for the radio show {16:09 minutes long} and a full story on The Pilgrim Magazine – worth listening to and reading…powerful and insightful]

 

Thumbing through Wednesday’s Boston Globe, back in the Metro section, there’s a story about a man found dead Tuesday on a park bench in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood.

Police suspect he was homeless, and won’t be able to identify him for a few days.

His story may never be told. But the stories of other homeless people, written in their own words, are being told.

 

James Parker, a columnist with the Atlantic, last year began publishing “The Pilgrim” with help from Boston’s historic Cathedral Church of Saint Paul. Each issue contains stories, essays, poems, even comics, written by the homeless. It started when Parker began a writers’ group for the homeless at the church. “As soon as these guys started writing, I became aware instantly that I had some amazing material,” Parker said.

The stories are stark and serious, ironic and funny.

 

Read the December 2012 issue of The Pilgrim  Pilgrim Magazine PDF

 

The Pilgrim is a journal produced by members of Boston’s homeless community, published by the Cathedral Church of St Paul, and dedicated to the proposition that homelessness is a state of acute pilgrimage. It features poetry, memoir, prayer, reportage, jubilation and despair. To quote one of our regular writers: “This paper is real. It don’t get realer than this.”

 

“It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” Nelson Mandela

 

6] The Irish Times – Slow progress in mental health service as tide goes out on Victorian-era hospitals

 

Many patients say an understaffed community mental health service has left them isolated and disempowered. Miriam O’Shea was looking for help. She had spent several months in a psychiatric hospital, where she was treated for bipolar disorder. But after she was discharged and looked for support in the community, she felt she couldn’t find any.

 

“Drugs work for some people but for me they just numb my emotions,” said O’Shea, who left hospital last February. “I needed the kind of peer support in the community and the kind of therapy that treats you as someone with emotional and spiritual needs. I couldn’t find any of that . . . All I was being offered was medication and more medication.”

 

“Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose – not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.” Anne Sullivan

 

7] Dark Side of the Brain – The National CBC Television Video clip 8:12 minutes

 

New research suggests that when the brain is in a resting state, it isn’t as dormant as previously thought, CBC’s Kelly Crowe reports on new research to help heal “mental trauma”…

 

CBC interviews a woman who experienced multiple gang rapes between 11 – 14 and all of the different diagnoses she was given – bipolar, schizo-affective disorder, depressive disorder, borderline, etc, etc.

 

This is a fascinating and informative report that is well worth watching to help understand how trauma severs the connections in our brains for so many of us impacted by trauma and abuse and some new thoughts and ideas on healing. The brain scans of a ‘normal’ brain versus a traumatized one helps put it into perspective.

 

8] Childhood Trauma Leaves Its Mark On the Brain – Science Daily

 

It is well known that violent adults often have a history of childhood psychological trauma. Some of these individuals exhibit very real, physical alterations in a part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex. Yet a direct link between such early trauma and neurological changes has been difficult to find, until now.

 

“This research shows that people exposed to trauma in childhood don’t only suffer psychologically, but their brain also gets altered,” explains Sandi, Head of EPFL’s Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics, Director of the Brain Mind Institute, and a member of the National Centers for Competence in Research SYNAPSY. “This adds an additional dimension to the consequences of abuse, and obviously has scientific, therapeutic and social implications.”

 

“We heal the past by living in the present.” Marianne Williamson

 

9] ‘Sliver Of Sky,’ Barry Lopez Confronts Childhood Sexual Abuse:NPR audio clip 44:18 minutes

 

Barry Lopez is known for writing about the natural world. His books include Arctic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men, where he explores the relationship between the physical landscape and human culture. But in a new essay in the January issue of Harper’s Magazine, Lopez writes that he was sexually molested by a family friend when he was a boy, and says the man was never brought to justice.

 

The abuse began when Lopez was 7 years old. The man, named Harry Shier, oversaw the alcoholism treatment for a relative of Lopez’s mother at the sanatorium Shier supervised in North Hollywood, Calif. He presented himself as a doctor. Lopez writes that Shier said there was something wrong with Lopez, and that the rape was treatment for that problem.

Lopez, who lives in Oregon, says this piece is the hardest he’s ever written.

Sliver of Sky – Confronting the trauma of sexual abuse  Harper’s Magazine

“The advantage that I had,” he says, “is that I’ve been a writer all my life, and I had somebody at Harper’s – Chris Cox – who was an exceptional editor, who could do what I could not do, which is I could not find and hold the emotional distance that I needed from this material in order to write about it in the way that I thought I had to, which is, in the end it’s not about me, it’s about us.”

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher

10] Showcase your art. Create your own free website – an online Art Portfolio

Your Website. Your Way.​ Change colors, text, backgrounds, pics and more to create your own unique site

11] Etsy – Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supplies

12] ReverbNation – The best tools for musicians and the best music for everyone else.

Home to Over 2.72 Million MusiciansVenuesLabels, and Industry Professionals

 

13] Webs – Make a free website & get free hosting Create a Free Website:

 

  • Easy Website Building Tools
  • Professional Website Templates
  • Powerful Business Applications

 

14] Hayden Kian – book publishing – Donna Kshir & Sandra Potter also with Dreamcatchers for Abused Children

 

As accomplished authors who have been published both professionally and self-published, we know firsthand there are many routes you can take to complete the publishing process.

You can spend months and sometimes years submitting your manuscript to agents and publishers, and a majority of the time your manuscript is deleted, unread. As an alternative you choose to self-publish, but the process is a long and complicated process that tends to feel like you are trapped in a nightmare.

We at Hayden Kian want to change all that. We want to make the process as easy and convenient as possible.

 

“No human relation gives one possession in another – every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.” Kahlil Gibran

 

15] Survey from the Office of Victims of Crime – Adult Survivors of Child Pornography Production

 

Are you an adult survivor of child sexual abuse that involved sexually explicit images taken of you when you were age 17 or younger? If so, please consider helping others by taking this survey, which aims to find ways to help meet the complex needs of victims of this crime.

 

The survey is funded by the Department of Justice, Office of Victims of Crime. It asks about help you received, barriers to getting help, and suggestions for improving how victims of these crimes are treated by police, prosecutors, courts, and counselors. It also includes a few general questions about the crimes that you experienced.  You are free to skip any questions you do not want to answer and you will not be asked for any information that could identify you.

 

Click here to find out more information and take the survey.

 

I was sent this Survey due to my affiliation with the RAINN Speakers Bureau….I’m hopeful that my responses can help others, but it certainly took the wind out of my sails for a few day due to what it dredged up. I think my first act of defiant advocacy was when I was eight or nine years old and scooped up a pile of magazines containing child pornography that were in my parents basement – full of fear, I took them over to the woods across from my home and buried them….

 

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt

 

Finally, some words of wisdom and compassion from Deb Trueheart along with a few articles addressing the horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT.

 

“This has also been a time of deep contemplation for me after the latest school shooting in Connecticut.  I seek within myself to find the soul-level response to these events.  When I go to my deepest wisdom and seek the highest guidance, I continue to be called into Oneness Consciousness, which reminds me that we are all interconnected and interdependent and that violence evolves out of a place of alienation; that real solutions require a change in social attitudes and practices that alienate whatever/whoever we don’t like, don’t agree with, or are afraid of and call it “other.”

 

“My sense is that the more we develop awareness and practices that reach out, in goodwill and loving kindness and help create communities where difference is honored, where we truly act on the notion that we are all one, then we create a place of belonging for all.  This is the world I want to live in; the one I choose to help create.  We all long to know we belong.  When we have that, I believe there is a supreme sense of safety.”

 

“The world is changing because we are changing it. And that makes me understand at least what kind of person I’d like to be…to seek ways, big or small to heal the world. That to me is spirituality and one’s soul.” Carl Safina

 

16] It Shouldn’t Take a Tragedy to Improve Treatment New York Times  By Harvey Rosenthal – Executive director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services 

 

The recent tragedies in Newtown and elsewhere are especially abhorrent to those of us in the mental health community, particularly since studies have shown that people with mental illness are 12 times more likely to be victims of violence, and no more likely to be violent, if they are not substance abusers.

 

Nonetheless, horrific acts of violence are inevitably associated with mental illnesses, often because the motivations for them seem unfathomable, and they end upgetting sensationalized front page coverage.

 

This has led to a wholesale vilification of conditions that 1 in 5 Americans share. That’s the sort of profiling that has been the fate of some racial or religious groups.

 

17] Mass Murder: Is There a Mental Health Issue? Huffington Post

By Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W.  Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia University Schools of Social Work and Public Health

 

From time to time, a person with a severe mental illness (or assumed to have a mental illness) commits a murder that makes headlines. As the tragic slaughter of children and teachers in Newtown, Conn. illustrates, the reactive call to address “the mental health issue” is entirely predictable. Sometimes the call to improve mental health policy and practice comes from people trying to distract us from issues such as gun control. But often it comes from politicians, journalists, and social advocates (even mental health advocates) who sincerely believe that addressing the so-called mental health issue could reduce mass murders in the United States. Are they right? Are there interventions that would reduce the incidence of mass murders?

 

Those who call for addressing the mental health issue in criminal violence have disparate and often unclear views of what can be done to help. But, despite their differences, they appear to share three highly questionable assumptions.

 

18] Let’s Stop Blaming The Mentally Ill  Arizona Daily Star  By Lollie Butler – director of the program Heart to Heart, through the National Alliance for Mental Illness of Southern Arizona.

 

There is a bloody war being waged in America; gun advocates versus those who would ban guns. This “civil” war may go on for a long time.

 

Meanwhile, those suffering from mental illnesses unfairly shoulder the blame for atrocities committed against the innocent. This is an unreasonable situation. Armed persons firing into crowds, whether at schools or shopping malls, defies reason and causes all of us to feel vulnerable. It also takes its toll on those with mental illnesses. Words like “crazy” and “deranged” fly across the front pages, and the mentally ill in treatment, saddled with severe funding cuts and ongoing social stigma, take it on the chin.

 

A 2009 study in the Archives of General Psychiatry states, “If a person has severe mental illness without substance abuse and a history of violence, he or she has the same chance of being violent during the next three years as any other person in the general population.” “It’s unproductive to besmirch a whole group of people recovering from (mental) illnesses as if they are all dangerous – when in fact, they’re not,” says Duke University medical sociologist Jeffery Swanson.

 

“Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized, in the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.” Arthur Schopenhauer

 

Take care, Mike, Mary, Zsuzsi, Rachel, Cynthia & Mary Ann

 

ps. Please share this with your friends & if you have received this in error, please let me know.

 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 
                 A diagnosis is not a destiny

 

The Surviving Spirit – Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy – Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health

 

The Surviving Spirit Speakers’ Bureau

 

The Surviving Spirit Facebook Page

 

mike.skinner@survivingspirit.com   603-625-2136  38 River Ledge Drive, Goffstown, NH 03045

 

@SurvivinSpirit Twitter

 

“BE the change you want to see in the world.” Mohandas Gandhi

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Surviving Spirit Newsletter, November 2012

 

 

Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy

 

Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health

 

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.– Kahlil Gibran

 

 

Hi Folks,

 

I hope all is well in your corner of the world, things are okay here…doing my level best to practice gratitude and being thankful for what I do have in my life, it can be so easy to forget or lose sight of what we do have that is good, despite the obstacles and challenges we face in the day to day.

 

Hopefully we will soon be sending the newsletter from our website, this will make the task of putting this together and all that entails a little bit easier to do – we are also in the process of tweaking the website and adding things, fixing ‘stuff’ and adding more resources and making them easier to access. Do take a look at a few of the things we have done so far when time permits – www.survivingspirit.com Please note that when the newsletter is sent from the website, it will come from one of these addresses – Mike.Skinner@SurvivingSpirit.com or contact-us@SurvivingSpirit.com

 
“Let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.” Marc Hack

 

1] This could help those who struggle with love, especially if impacted by trauma and abuse and you didn’t receive love as a child and all you know is shame of self because of what was done to you. We all deserve love, compassion, kindness and caring….

 

Lovingkindness meditationhttp://www.wildmind.org/metta

 

The Metta Bhavana, or Development of Lovingkindness, practice is one of the most ancient forms of Buddhist practice, one that has been passed down in an unbroken line for over 2,500 years.

 

We’re often taught as children that we should love others. Religious teachings say, for example, that we should “love others as ourselves.” But how do we learn to love others? And what happens if we don’t particularly like, never mind love, ourselves? The development of lovingkindness meditation practice is the practical means by which we learn to cultivate love for ourselves and others. The practice helps us to actively cultivate positive emotional states towards ourselves and others, so that we become more patient, kind, accepting, and compassionate.

 

Until and unless you know that you are enough just the way you are, you will continue to look for more. Until you wholeheartedly believe in your own value, worth, and worthiness, in spite of your accomplishments and possessions, or lack thereof, there will always be a void in your spirit.” Author unknown

2] National Counsel on Disability [NCD] Issues Groundbreaking Report “Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children” http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/09272012

Key findings:

  • Estimates indicate 6.1 million children in the U.S. have parents with disabilities – Nearly 1 in 10, almost 10% of the population.
  • Parents with disabilities are the only community of Americans who must struggle to retain custody of their children.
    • Removal rates of parents with psychiatric disabilities is as high as 70 – 80 %
    • Removal rates of parents with intellectual disabilities is as high as 80%
    • Extremely high removal rates and loss of parental rights for parents with sensory or physical disabilities. 
    • Parents with disabilities are more likely to lose custody of their children after divorce.
  • Prospective parents with disabilities have more difficulty when it comes to accessing reproductive health care such as assisted reproductive technologies.
  • Prospective parents with disabilities face significant barriers to adopting children.

NCD thanks Through the Looking Glass, the NIDRR-funded National Center for Parents with Disabilities and Their Families, for their valuable assistance in writing sections of this report. Their insight and guidance during the research and drafting of “Rocking the Cradle” was instrumental in its development and completion.

Full report is available on NCD’s website at:
http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2012/Sep272012/

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel

 

3] Disabled Parents Face Bias, Loss of Kids: Report: National Public Radio [NPR]

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=165890611

 

Stand up for what is right even if you are standing alone” author unknown

 

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” Maria Montessori

 

4] “Rocking the Cradle” from a personal perspective – http://badcripple.blogspot.com/2012/10/rocking-cradle-on-parenting-and.html

 

Bad Cripple – William Peace http://badcripple.blogspot.com/

 

“Paralyzed since I was 18 years old, I have spent much of the last 30 years thinking about the reasons why the social life of crippled people is so different from those who ambulate on two feet. After reading about the so called Ashley Treatment I decided it was time to write a book about my life as a crippled man. My book, Bad Cripple: A Protest from an Invisible Man, will be published by Counter Punch. I hope my book will completed soon.

I am a cultural anthropologist and writer interested in disability studies, body art and modification, and the history of anthropology. I am divorced and have a son, Tom, who is an undergraduate at Hofstra University.”

 

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow; don’t walk behind me, I may not lead; walk beside me, and just be my friend.” Albert Camus

 

5] Trauma Survivors Share Tips for Therapists Dealing with Trauma [from our good friends at Gift From Within – PTSD Resources for Survivors and Caregivers] http://giftfromwithin.org/html/Survivor-Tips-for-Therapists-Dealing-with-Trauma.html

 

Here are some tips and suggestions for helping trauma survivors from the survivors themselves. They’ve been reviewed by a seasoned therapist and she believes they would be very useful for other therapists and especially for student interns.

 

“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” Denis Waitley

 

6] Support for Partners is here to help provide some support for partners of those who have been sexually abused as children, provide resources to develop skills that help partners in their relationships, and provide information about abuse and its effects.

The complexities and challenges of relationships are magnified with survivors of sexual abuse. Those who are in a partner-relationship with survivors often need some support and understanding to help them through the recovery process. Our online forum is a place where partners can both get and provide support. Here is one partner’s feedback on their participation in the forum:

 

I was shocked to hear of my partner’s past and am sympathetic to his feelings and beliefs, but the discovery left me lost and confused about my own ideas of our relationship. Being a part of the Support For Partners forum – sharing my experiences and reading other peoples’ concerns – helped me realize that I am not alone and that through time, care, and love – my partner and I can prevail.”

 

http://www.supportforpartners.org/

 

The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.” Hubert H. Humphrey

 

7] For Parents & Friends of Rape & Sexual Abuse Survivors Pandora’s Project http://www.pandys.org/secondarysurvivors.html

 

Knowing that someone you care about has been hurt may leave you feeling overwhelmed. Oftentimes both survivors and their supporters struggle with feeling helpless in the aftermath, and it can take some time to learn how to respond.

For many survivors, support is a crucial part of the healing process, and receiving compassionate and validating responses from friends and family can make a real difference.

You may have difficulty in knowing what to say or do to help your loved one. It’s okay to not have all the answers; non-judgmental listening and simply being there can be a wonderful support for the survivor. Let your loved one know that you care, that you don’t blame them, and that you believe in them. Unfortunately, there are no quick or easy fixes for healing from sexual violence, so it’s important to be patient when the process seems to be taking what some consider to be a long time.

 

8] Study on Recovering from Mental Health Issues Without Medication Seeks Participants

 

Resilience: Factors and processes related to natural recovery of people who were given a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, or major depression

 

Ohio State University researchers are inviting individuals in recovery who have a psychiatric diagnosis and who have not used psychotropic medication in the past year to complete a 30-minute online survey. “It is hoped that the findings from this research will assist helping professionals to further understand the natural recovery process….Such knowledge will be of immense value to the design of complementary, [empowering and cost-effective] behavioral [health] treatments and programs for people who were given a mental health diagnosis.” For more information or to participate –

 https://survey.csw.ohio-state.edu/limesurvey/index.php?sid=36192&lang=en 

 

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Carl G. Jung

 

9] Trauma-informed care is as much about social justice as it is about healing.

 

The newest brochure from the National Center for Trauma Informed Care [NCTIC] is now available [lots of good info and insight]

 

http://www.nasmhpd.org/docs/NCTIC/NCTIC%20Marketing%20Brochure%20FINAL.pdf

 

To learn more about NCTIC, please visit: http://www.samhsa.gov/nctic/default.asp

 

10] Meditation appears to produce enduring changes in emotional processing in the brain Imaging study finds different forms of meditation may have varying effects on key brain structure – http://www.massgeneral.org/about/pressrelease.aspx?id=1520

 

A new study has found that participating in an 8-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating.  In their report in the November issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston University (BU), and several other research centers also found differences in those effects based on the specific type of meditation practiced.

“The two different types of meditation training our study participants completed yielded some differences in the response of the amygdala – a part of the brain known for decades to be important for emotion – to images with emotional content,” says Gaëlle Desbordes, PhD, a research fellow at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH and at the BU Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology, corresponding author of the report.  “This is the first time that meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state.”

 

Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life.” Grenville Kleiser

 

11] “Mindful Healing” The effectiveness in meditation to treat an array of illnesses has led to studies of how meditation can change the brain – Health & wellness – Jan Brogan The Boston Globe “More and more studies show meditations effectiveness.”

 

http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2012/11/26/the-effectiveness-meditation-treat-array-illnesses-has-led-studies-how-meditation-can-change-brain/E8bvB57PLkIuIQmsLumDXL/story.html

 

12] Wildmind – Buddhist Meditation -There are several articles posted at this site on meditation and mindfulness in helping insomnia, pain, heart attacks and lots more, some good stuff folks.

 

http://www.wildmind.org/tag/science

 

13] Tuning in to the love that fills and surrounds you – Rick Hanson PhD http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practice/tuning-in-to-the-love-that-fills-and-surrounds-you

 

Take a breath right now, and notice how abundant the air is, full of life-giving oxygen offered freely by trees and other green growing things. You can’t see air, but it’s always available for you.

 

Love is a lot like the air. It may be hard to see – but it’s in you and all around you. Love is woven into your day because it’s woven into your DNA: as our ancestors evolved over the last several million years, many scientists believe that love, broadly defined, has been the primary driving force behind the evolution of the brain. Bands of early humans that were particularly good at understanding and caring for each other out-competed less cooperative and loving bands, and thereby passed on the genes of empathy, bonding, friendship, altruism, romance, compassion, and kindness – the genes, in a word, of love.

 

Love is not consolation, it is light.” Simon Weil

 

14] How Gender Stereotypes Warp Our View of DepressionBy Amanda Gardner l Health.com

Stereotypes about male and female roles may influence the way we perceive depressed people.

It’s a well-known fact that men and women who behave the same way in the exact same situation – whether it’s a job interview, a cocktail party, or a traffic stop – are sometimes perceived and treated differently based on their gender.

Something similar, it seems, may happen when men and women start to show signs of depression. A new study, published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, suggests that people of both sexes are less likely to view men as being depressed and in need of professional help—even if a man’s symptoms are identical to a woman’s.

http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/15/how-gender-stereotypes-warp-our-view-of-depression/

 

15] The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare has released its new trauma infographic How to Manage Trauma in printable format:

 

http://www.thenationalcouncil.org/galleries/default-file/Trauma%20Infographic%20Print.pdf

 

Mission – The mission of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is to champion opportunities that advance our members’ ability to deliver proactive and holistic healthcare services. http://www.thenationalcouncil.org/cs/about_us

 

16] “Stigma scares off employers” Clay Lucas Workplace Editor for The Age
Having a mental illness is a bigger barrier to employment in Australia than a physical disability, according to a new study.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/health/stigma-scares-off-employers-study-20121007-277o1.html

 

Research commissioned as part of Mental Health Week, revealed a stigma around hiring people with a mental illness – half the respondents said they could be unreliable and disruptive at work.

 

At the last census, one in five people said they had been affected by a mental illness in the previous year.

 

The research highlighted a widespread negative view of mental illness that did not match reality, said Matthew Lambelle from the not-for-profit employment services provider WISE, which commissioned the report. He said a lack of understanding caused some people to avoid hiring people with a mental illness.

The study found an assumption that mental illness inhibited job performance. ”In fact the two are not linked,” Mr Lambelle said.

 

All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.” Albert Einstein

17] WISE – Empowerment Through Employment http://www.wiseemployment.com.au/en/about-us/wise-story/

 

Mission: Guiding and inspiring people to realize their potential and achieve fulfilling vocational goals.

 

WISE Employment is a not-for-profit organization. We empower jobseekers to find meaningful work and become self-sufficient and we help employers to find the right staff by understanding their needs and providing them with workers from diverse backgrounds.

Each year, our passionate and skilled staff assist over 10,000 people into jobs. Our services are cost-free to eligible jobseekers and employers.

Since 2001, we have invested $3.5 million of our funds into innovative projects to support the most disadvantaged in our community including people with disability, mental illness, youth, ex-offenders, refugees and Indigenous communities. WISE Employment also operates four socially-inclusive social enterprises, employing 200 people. Since 1992, we have been empowering jobseekers and employers. We believe the entire community is enriched when everyone is supported to achieve their potential.

 

“The circumstances of your life have uniquely qualified you to make a contribution. And if you don’t make that contribution, nobody else can make it.” – Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

 

18] Here’s a great book that helps to break down the barriers of stigma, discrimination and stereotypes – “Firewalkers – Madness, Beauty & Mystery

 

http://store.survivingspirit.com/webstore/books/firewalkers-madness-beauty-mystery-featuring-seven-authors.html

 

Winner of a Brimstone Award from the National Storytellers Network.

“Radically Rethinking Mental Illness” – The authors of Firewalkers, Myra Anderson, Carla Beck, Debra Knighton, Joni Michelle, Lauren Spiro, Michelle Sese-Khalid and Tracy D. Stuart chronicle the profound, turbulent, spiritual experience of living through a mental health crisis. What our society labels as “mental illness” can be a sacred quest that has the power to enrich us, reveal unknown strengths, and transform our lives.

 

Thanks & take care, Mike, Zsuzsi, Mary, Rachel, Lynn & Cynthia

 

ps. Please share this with your friends & if you have received this in error, please let me know.

 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

 


                                               A diagnosis is not a destiny  

 

The Surviving Spirit Healing the Heart Through the Creative Arts, Education & Advocacy – Hope, Healing & Help for Trauma, Abuse & Mental Health

 

The Surviving Spirit Speakers’ Bureau

 

The Surviving Spirit Facebook Page

 

mike.skinner@survivingspirit.com603-625-2136  38 River Ledge Drive, Goffstown, NH 03045 

 

@SurvivinSpirit Twitter https://twitter.com/SurvivinSpirit

 

“BE the change you want to see in the world.” Mohandas Gandhi

 

 

 

 

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