Christmas Is For Giving (Giving Back)

This blogger is a dear friend of mine. I was with through some of this and the strength and generosity that she and her family have is truly inspiring. Please share this posting and let’s make difference in the lives of these families.


I made a promise some time ago. This is the year I am able to make good on it. You see, Ronald McDonald House in Seattle was my home for awhile. Our family spent one Christmas there, as guests. I promised the people there, that one day, our family would give back. That promise was made over 5 years ago.

Christmas, 2008, at Ronaldd McDonald House in Seattle A Christmas at Ronald McDonald House in Seattle

At the time, I thought the charity was a kind gesture, that our family would be in and out of a medical crises in no time. It was not to be the case though we certainly had a shorter stint with hospitalization issues than many families that I met that had been at the Seattle Ronald McDonald House for over 4 years.

To be at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Seattle, requires that a family have an ill child at Seattle Children’s…

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It’s a Beautiful Day!

Today I went for coffee with a very dear friend.  It was just what I needed to get me out of this funk I’ve been in.  It reminded me that we need to make time for each other, no matter how far apart we are.  I’ve been having issues with some good friends that live far away from me…nothing they’ve done.  I’m sure it’s all in my bipolar brain.  I hope the friendship can survive.  They mean the world to me.

A few months ago, I had to cut ties with a friend for my mental health safety.  It was a very difficult decision to make.  It was one I did not make lightly.  I sometimes wonder if that is what is happening with my friends that live far away.  I had to cut ties with this certain person because I was beginning to spiral downward and that wasn’t good for me or my family.  I’m wondering if these friends of mine are doing the same thing?  I’m not upset with them at all.  In fact I would completely understand if that’s what is happening.  I’ve always said that you have to put your mental health first.

I ran into my old therapist while I was out today.  She asked if I still saw “x” (have to protect her identity).  When I told her that I had to let that friendship go, she completely understood.  Maybe because it’s Christmastime, I’ve been thinking  about “x” and wondering if I really did the right thing.  I know I did the right thing for me ,but what about her?  Well after my encounter today, I received the validation that I needed.  It was the right decision.  I still feel bad about it, but I had to put myself and my family first.  There was just too much at stake.

So, at Christmastime and any other time of the year, hold your friends and family close.  Friendship is truly a blessing.  You never know how long a person will remain in your life, so treasure each moment with them.  Don’t have any regrets.  Regrets only hold you back.  Instead, look upon everything as an experience that either you or someone close to you can learn from.  I’m not sure when I’ll be posting again as I’m super busy with family and making stained glass.  I will post when I can and when I feel that it is something you all want to hear about.

So, I wish everyone the very happiest holidays!

So I’ll leave you with one of my favorite U2 Christmas songs.  Yes, U2.  It’s always U2!  ;)\

Mental Illness, Are We Being Too Serious?

Here’s my dilemma.  On one hand, I am a Mental Health Advocate and on the other I also live with a mental illness.  I became so outraged at  the portrayal of the mentally ill in Modern Family’s Halloween episode that I immediately jumped on the band wagon to get ABC to apologize.  I hadn’t even seen the episode.  I was going off of another blogger’s take on it…a very well respected blogger.  I finally decided to watch this Halloween episode (today) and I realized something…I was wrong.  Yes, there were some not so nice stereotype portrayals of psych ward patients and yes some not so nice comments.  But, this is the reality we live in.  People have these preconceived notions of the mentally ill and that is something that is very difficult to change.  Now that doesn’t mean we should give up and not try to educate people, but when we immediately go up in arms over something like this I think it does more damage to our cause than good.

Let me explain.  I didn’t agree at all with what was done on Modern Family, but I know I’ve been guilty of using the words “looney bin” a time or two when referring to my hospitalizations.  So, are we saying that it’s okay for those of us with mental illness to use words like this and not others?  I think this is hypocritical.  Sometimes we have to make light of our situation.  It’s a coping mechanism.  If we are making light of it and others see this, they may feel it is okay to do the same.  And really why shouldn’t it be okay?  I think mental health advocates have reached a point where they take things too much to heart.  I include myself in this.  I think when this happens our message becomes lost.  We get so angry that someone said something that was insensitive or portrayed us in such a way that was not appropriate that our whole education platform goes out the window.  I do think ABC could have put something up at the end of the show saying that mental illness is a serious and put up the hotline numbers, but they didn’t.  It was a perfect opportunity for them to educate and they blew it, but the mental health community’s reaction to this was a missed opportunity as well.  We could have come from the approach of “Well, we don’t like what you did, but here’s some information on how to improve upon your portrayal of the mentally ill in the future.”  We did not do that.  We wrote letters saying how bad it was and we made those letters viral.  I’m not saying that was completely wrong of us.  It was just a missed opportunity to educate in a calm manner.

We need to lighten up a bit.  We need to be able to laugh at ourselves and our situation.  It can be so dark at times that a little laughter just might do us some good.  Life is so short and so precious.  We need to release the anger into the universe and approach these situations (irritating as they may be) from a higher ground.  We need to educate.  One way to educate is by sharing your story.  By doing so, someone just may begin to understand and a little understanding is better than no understanding.

Thank you for reading!