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Letter to the Editor: Mental Health

Article Link

This post is one that is very personal to me, in that I am posting a letter I wrote to the editor of the Warren Times-Observer in response to this linked article I had read on their site.

The letter is one that tries to shine a positive light on the mental health community, while also touching on a prominent myth about people with mental health issues. I also share a story about a personal encounter I had while shopping to help show how the myth impacts the mental health community.

Peace be with all who read my letter!

Jenn

“Federal suit says state provides inadequate mental health care”

Article Link

This December 1, 2015 article by Joe Smydo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette talks about a federal lawsuit being filed by the Disability Rights Network against the Pennsylvania Dept. of Human Services citing inadequate mental health care as the reason for the suit.  Warren State Hospital, Torrance State Hospital and Mifflin County Jail are where the 3 people the suit focuses on are located.

“‘Peer Support’ Local mental health consumers are helping each other”

Link to: WTO06122015C01 (pdf format)

The article on Peer Support available through the above link, appeared in the Warren Times Observer on June 12, 2015. The article talks about a variety of Peer programs found at Beacon Light Behavioral Health in Warren, PA.  I felt the article gave a really good representation of some of the changes being seen in Warren County with regards to mental health treatment.

The pdf file was provided to me by Diane Paddock who wrote the piece for the Warren Times Observer, and shared here with her permission. The Warren Times Observer website is located at http://timesobserver.com

“Warren County Community Mental Health Awareness Video”

Video Link

This May 12, 2015 video by the GlarnerGroup was produced in Warren County, PA and talks about mental illness statistics surrounding it, and explaining why mental health is important and why we need to support those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.  The message in this video is very recovery oriented.

“Lets Talk About It. Mental Illness”

Video Link

This May 12, 2015 video uploaded by the GlarnerGroup, talks about why words matter when not only discussing mental illnesses, but also when talking to or about those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

My personal goals for 2015

As 2014 comes to a close, my mind is moving into 2015 and thinking about the possibilities I have for goals for the coming year.  Here’s a list of some of the things I hope to continue working on and a couple of things I hope to try for the first time.

  • Kinda cliché but I plan to continue working on my weight loss goals.  At the time of this post I weigh 226 pounds, and am hoping that by this time next year I can say I weigh less than 200 pounds even getting to 199.9 pounds would impress me at this point.  I’ve lost 30 pounds already, but ultimately hope to get back down to 125 pounds, but that may take a couple of years.
  • To continue to post things here and maybe even add a few more items that are a bit more of my own original work, I’m thinking I will aim for a minimum of 3 posts in the coming year that aren’t simply relayed articles, but are something I create based on my own experiences.
  • Now that I have a fitbit Flex and can easily track how many steps I take each day I would like to work on increasing my number of steps per day to where I am able to easily reach a minimum of 8,000 steps per day my goal is to get to where I am doing over 10,000 per day on a fairly consistent basis.  My best since getting my Fitbit Flex is about 6,480 steps in a single day, but I only did it once so far, so I feel like striving for 8k steps is a reasonable goal.
  • I have done more knitting and been getting more looms that allow me to knit different things on them, but I hope to knit 6 scarves by Halloween so I can give them to the Hat and Mitten Ministry at my Church.
  • This one is a tad odd, but one goal I have for this year is that by this time next year to have spent $200 on new clothes they can either be brand new or new to me from secondhand stores, but I really need to get new clothes, because it’s been ages since I went clothes shopping and I’m reaching a point where I have more clothes that really need to be replaced then I have stuff that is in really good shape, I think in the past 10 years I’ve bought 2 t-shirts, 3 packs each of bras, underwear and socks, and a pair of winter boots.  Some of the clothes I’m wearing probably should have been re-purposed 10 years ago.
  • In conjunction with my clothing purchasing goal …. I am setting a goal to re-purpose as much as I can of my old clothes, even if it means turning them into cleaning rags or to wipe my hands off when I oil the chain on my bike, my goal is to find as many non-clothing uses for the clothes I am replacing as I can so they aren’t just being tossed into the landfill.  They are in bad enough shape I wouldn’t consider donating them to goodwill, so cleaning rags or maybe stuffing for craft projects might be the best I can do, but I want to use them until they can’t be used any more basically.
  • Continue the work I’ve done at better addressing my health issues both in my mental and physical health.  Like a lot of people I hate going to the doctor, but honestly I’m finding that if I address things when they first become a problem they are easier to treat, and I typically feel better sooner than I do if I wait.  I’m pretty much sick and tired of being sick and tired, so continuing to address and manage my heath care needs is a huge priority for the coming year.  I addressed a couple of things last year and learned that by simply having 2 infected toenails removed, I felt a lot better overall, not only did my toes stop hurting, but the rest of me felt better too.  I also started getting treated for Asthma this past year and it too was something that made a huge impact on my quality of life.  I have other stuff that I want to address, so basically I’m building on what I learned in 2014 when I had those pesky toenails surgically removed.
  • I want to ride my bike at least 10 miles per week once the weather is better for riding, further would be better, but my minimal goal is 10 miles per week.
  • I think my most challenging goal though is to find ways to better distribute items through a ministry I started in 2014.  Collection is going great, but distribution is slow so I want to try to balance that out during the coming year so that folks who need the items will benefit from what has been collected.
  • Read 2 books during 2015 (either e-book or physical bound books)
  • And finally do some more work on researching the history of Warren State Hospital, that got put on the back burner for the most part in 2014, and I would like to dust off that project and see if I can make some more progress on learning about its history, because I found that while researching the history of Warren State Hospital, I was also gaining insight into the history of the mental health system and how people with mental illnesses have been treated in the past and started to better understand why things are the way they are now. So, basically learning about the past is helping me better wrap my head around the present when it comes to the topic of “Mental Health” and all the subtopics found under that heading.

Article Link

This February 27, 2014 Warren Times Observer article talks about Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed Medicaid alternative.  The article includes comments from Representative Kathy Rapp – R of the 65th district

“A heavy heart”

Blog Post Link

This is a post I placed on another blog of mine on February 12, 2014, about something I had posted on Facebook on February 11, 2014.  I was deep in thought that morning and feeling both hopeful and hopeless at the same time.  It was an odd place to say the least, but I will let my words from that day speak for themselves.

My hopes and goals for 2014

Tippy

Tippy (Photo credit: Wolves68450)

 

A lot happened in my life in 2013, I retired my long time Service Dog “Tippy” and started training her replacement, “Orca” the same day.   There have been some health issues nothing too serious, but definitely disruptive.  I got off track with my weight loss goals and have actually gained back some of the weight I had lost (I’m at 236 pounds up from my lowest weight of 226 pounds).  2013 was definitely not one of my better years in more ways then I care to delve into.

 

So, what do I want to aim for in 2014?

 

  • I’ve been working on learning how to write raw code for websites, specifically HTML, XHTML and CSS, so I’m thinking I want to continue to work on those skills (I’m still a noob in many ways)
  • Getting back on track with my weight loss goals is something I want to do.  My specific goals include sticking closer to my 1200 calorie limit and get back to doing an hour of exercise each day as instructed by my doctor.   I would like to get my weight down to 220 pounds or less by this time next year.
  • Read at least 3 books this year (any topic that looks interesting to me when I look for a book to read)
  • Once the snow melts and the roads aren’t icy in the spring, go for regular bike rides, of at least 1 mile per day (I have a steep hill to contend with so a minimum of 1 mile per day is a good starting point)
  • Buy some new clothes (It’s been years since I bought anything new and my clothes are starting to develop holes in bad places so a few new things would be a good idea)
  • Start and finish the website I said I would do for someone else once I finish the book I’m learning raw code from.
  • Aim for at least 365 posts in 2014 (I just missed it this year)
  • Continue to work on my mental health recovery

 

While I prepare to start working on my goals for 2014, my hope for my readers is that it will be a safe and healthy year for all my current and future readers as you go about your day to day lives.

 

 

 

 

 

My present situation

Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

On Saturday, November 16, 2013, I had my last Mountain Dew, and as a result I’ve been experiencing LOTS of headaches and other withdrawal symptoms over the past week.  As a result of these withdrawal symptoms, my posts got very random as far as the consistency of my posts.  I am happy to say that as of today, November 22, 2013 I am still dew free and the headaches are easing up to where I’m able to think, so pending nothing else out of the ordinary occurs, I should be able to get back on track with posting more consistently.  I am also working on several other projects all of which I got behind on or in some cases wasn’t able to get started with, as a result of my withdrawal symptoms after deciding to stop drinking mountain dew.  I am also planning on writing something up about my personal experience of stopping drinking Mountain Dew after over a decade of drinking large quantities of it every day.  Once I get that completed and hopefully published, I will share the link here and other places so maybe others may benefit from my experiences.

 

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