Hi, there. Thanks for visiting. I'm starting this blog as an advocate for mental and physical health. I'm a freelance writer and also own a home based medical transcription business. I was diagnosed in 1978 with paranoid schizophrenia and started to become acutely ill three years prior to that, unmedicated, frightened, confused, and in trouble with the law. I graduated from university with distinction the year I became ill. I've never regretted learning how to think at university. I struggled with my illness for 35 years and have reached the top of the mountain now, I think, or the other side, where the grass is greener and the path easier. There's hope for all of us, the whole human race, and never think there isn't hope or joy no matter your circumstances. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with mental illness in all its forms: depression, brain injury, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety disorders, etc. and your positive experiences as well as those lies and half truths society and even therapists would have us believe about ourselves.

We are different folks, and we are beautiful. The whole human race is beautiful. Let's celebrate life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Jive Hive

I wrote a book that was accepted for publication in both ebook and trade paperback by Imajin Books, a small publishing company. It's probably coming out in summer 2012. I'm going to be quite busy with it as I'll be doing a lot of promotion. Right now I'm working on three novellas for an anthology, something my publisher suggested. I'll submit them when they're all together and polished. The first one's finished and just going through a final edit.

The Jive Hive is a Young Adult science fiction novel. Was a lot of fun to write.

I like to write horror and/or fantasy because I can write about anything I like. Of course, there are rules, like length, which I follow.

I note there are many people who self-publish now but that involves a lot of expense and a great deal of time promoting and marketing it. Many seem to go with Smashwords or Amazon with ebooks. I wonder how many of those books are truly well written? 

Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Faery Story

Once upon a time there was a very sad little girl named Haunted Ella. Nobody loved Haunted Ella. Haunted Ella grew up repressed, bitter, confused, lonely and alone. Haunted Ella hurt people who tried to love her.

One day a beautiful woman came into Haunted Ella's life. The beautiful woman was loved by a handsome prince. The beautiful woman would not let Haunted Ella go. She arranged for help for Haunted Ella. She could not help her directly. The beautiful woman was very sad and frightened for herself and for Haunted Ella.

Many years went by. Haunted Ella was not able to let go of the beautiful woman. She hated and feared the beautiful woman, and loved her in a twisted fashion. And it was not only Haunted Ella who hurt the beautiful woman. The beautiful woman had a thorn in her side that God had given her, like Paul in the Bible. It was a mental and emotional thorn, and the beautiful woman suffered for many years. She also had physical pain.

Then Haunted Ella became better. She was able to love. The beautiful woman still waited. The beautiful woman was still afraid.

One day Haunted Ella did something loving for the beautiful woman which made the beautiful woman very happy. It almost made up for the anguish the beautiful woman had suffered all those years. Haunted Ella awoke from her long insanity and rewarded the beautiful woman by letting her go.

The handsome prince was happy, too.

Wolves go after public figures

As the media reports on Cain and Paterno time after time,  not just reporting but regurgitating the sordid details day after night after day, it concerns me that "copycat" whistleblowers might pop up like mealy bugs and accuse celebrities with impunity and no cause. Creating a chasm of distress in any man or woman who has been in a position of trust, no matter how long ago, for there is no statute of limitations in these matters. Guilt must be proven and if guilt is proven the repercussions on the victims have already been documented as immense and not amenable to treatment or recourse other than imprisonment or large sums of money. If guilt is not proven irreparable damage has been done to the accused which no amount of whitewash can ever repair.

There are some segments of society who are particularly vulnerable to unfounded accusations. These include celebrities, those who are in the public spotlight for whatever reason, and the mentally ill. The media and public unfairly portray and view the mentally ill, in particular the (paranoid) schizophrenic, as violent and dangerous although statistics prove the schizophrenic is more likely than not to be the victim, and at risk of taking his/her own life rather than harming the public. Celebrities know the risks yet sometimes behave like imperfect humans who don't have the notoriety or wealth to make the evening news. The celebrities: politicians, evangelists, sports figures, actors/actresses, musicians, teachers and so on are held to a different standard because they are viewed as influential in society and in a position of trust.
To some respect I agree. But there is another vulnerable segment of the population, the mentally ill.
I'll give an example from my own past, 22 years ago in 1989 when I stopped taking my medication for the treatment of paranoid schizophrenia and began a quick decline into legal difficulties and incarceration in a mental institution for many months. A "not guilty" verdict in court and a new psychotropic medication left the door open for me to pursue a healthier lifestyle, gain employment once more, make new friends, find a church body and start the upward climb to my present good fortune and well-being, free of delusions and obsessions and well for the past few years. No one would suspect my diagnosis but I who was raised to be a very private person have become a public advocate for schizophrenia and its stigma which persists into the 21st century; its often concomitant abuse of alcohol and other mind altering drugs; its destruction of relationships, employment and thus financial difficulties; schizophrenia's physical, emotional, spiritual and mental toll.

In 1989 I was working at a well known educational institute in Edmonton. My children were adults but still young adults. Both children were working almost full-time and had student loans to repay eventually. My son was living at home, my daughter on her own. At that time I met a woman who identified herself as a Lesbian. She had a history of fraud. This woman was raising her 11-year-old granddaughter. She was later to also take in her grandson. The granddaughter had been diagnosed at birth with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and possibly ADHD. She had been expelled from numerous schools and had difficulty finding a school which would accept her behavior. At the time I met this woman her granddaughter was in Foster Care and the woman seemed reasonable. We didn't have a relationship although briefly that was to occur much later. Throughout the year or two I knew this woman I acted as a surrogate mother to the granddaughter, taking her to a ball game and movies and other venues. This woman drank heavily. I took her to restaurants and spent my own money to the extent of buying her a used car. I was unmedicated at this time and convinced I was God's special agent. My own daughter and son were neglected as a result.
I felt manipulated and abused by this woman but could not seem to break away until my money was gone and she broke off the relationship herself. I didn't see her or the grandchildren again.
I say this because by becoming emotionally and financially involved with this family and the minor granddaughter of a confused and dysfunctional woman, I am presently at risk of completely unfounded accusations. And it scares me. Because I have a history of mental illness and my credibility is not there, and I know it; it's been proven to me time after time. As a minority member of society, no matter how successful I've proven myself in the past 20 years, I have no credibility.
Some people believe in the aphorism, "Innocent until proven guilty" but that's simply not reality. The accuser knows it; the media is anxious to jump on the accused before the facts have been demonstrated or proven in court, and that seems to be the norm now rather than the exception.
Let's be very sure--Quaecumque Vera. Because a life can be destroyed. It could happen to me. It could happen to you.

Celebrating Christmas Low Key

The blessed Advent season is here and we light the second candle for the second week this Sunday in church. My gifts have been bought, wrapped and some of them mailed. I saw this on-line, about homemade gifts. I made homemade gifts one year and it was so much work I vowed never again. But it's a good idea not to support foreign countries and cheap bought gifts. My gifts aren't cheap but some of them come from countries whose human rights history is poor and I think I'd like to support Canadian made gifts next year. I'll certainly try to come up with something more creative next year, starting in the Advent season and paying attention to what's important this time of year, which certainly isn't material goods. I think homemade cookies in a tin or box decorated nicely would be a good idea. I'm thinking of a dear male friend (not romantic) who would enjoy homemade cookies although he's watching his weight. Perhaps something homemade but more diet friendly? These kinds of gifts come from the heart.

I myself got an gift card from my son for my birthday and enjoyed that very much. I think Amazon is an American company but is the Canadian branch so that's the best we can do. A lovely idea. My daughter sent me flowers and fruit from a Canadian florist for my birthday, and they shopped here in Edmonton for the fruit. That's what I mean.

Any ideas like the attached link are gratefully received. They require more thought than standing in line at a large American chain store. But more meaningful and this Christmas my decorations are minimal. I'm not playing Christmas music yet. My nativity scene is up and I put up a crucifix on my blog upper right.

Do any of you have traditions you want to start this year? Or meaningful traditions from other years? Christmas Morning Wifesaver is one of those traditions for Christmas morning breakfasts we have here in our house. Used to be an orange in the toe of the stocking until one year I put the oranges in a month before Christmas, when I stuffed the stockings early, thinking I was so efficient, and when the children took their oranges out of the toe they were little shriveled hard things that couldn't be eaten. Ever since then I've bought a box of oranges and put them in a bowl.

Another tradition is Turtles and Toffeefay but this Christmas might be different because my middle son, who lives in Edmonton, has to work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and my daughter in Vancouver can't make it for Christmas this year. My elder son is 500 miles away and will be spending Christmas in southern Alberta with family there, I expect. My middle son will come over Christmas morning for a couple of hours and that will be very special. I don't mind spending most of the day alone. We'll celebrate on Tuesday the 27th of December, and for all we know, Christ was born on that day and not the 25th. In fact, I'm almost certain He wasn't born on December 25th.