The Simple Things ARE the Things

A toasty bagel oozing cream cheese

A crinkly wrapper compressed solidly in your fist

Sun light streaming

Fears, panic, stress receding

From a simple soul baring followed by an authentic affirmation

Jennifer Butler Basile

Jennifer Butler Basile

The joy and light of crisp fall leaves all around me

Radiance enters my soul and sings

Dust Echoes

The universe has sent me a thing of beauty just when I needed it.

Searching for an image to accompany my previous post, I came across this logo:

dust echoes

Given my explanation of dust as a metaphor for all that piles up in one’s mind, I found it an apt illustration – but I was curious as to its creator’s views on the subject.  Clicking on the link, I found this amazing website.  A project of Tom E. Lewis, Dust Echoes offers animated shorts from then emerging Australian animators, depicting touchstone stories of Aboriginal culture.  The homepage itself is a story, drawing viewers right into the landscape.  Aimed at engaging young people in the rich traditions and history of the Aboriginal people, it is a visual and auditory treat for people of any age.

So, in answer to my question, the creators of this graphic had totally different views on the idea of dust echoing.  They helped me see that there is great value in hearing echoes of the past and transmitting them to future generations.

Stand Up For Mental Health: Crazy Good Comic Big Daddy Tazz | Crazy Good Parent

Big thanks to Crazy Good Parent for sharing this clip from Big Daddy Tazz – and the entire ‘Stand Up for Mental Health’ initiative. Get ready to laugh! (Beware – some language)

Stand Up For Mental Health: Crazy Good Comic Big Daddy Tazz | Crazy Good Parent.

I Pledge Awareness . . . to the Cause

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.” 

art by Piper Macenzie

It’s not everyday that I can proudly wear the badge of my illness, but the badge above — this badge I’d slap on my forehead and parade around town.

A Canvas of the Minds is an amazing website dedicated to an amazing cause: spreading awareness of and eradicating the stigma of mental illness.  A team of talented authors share knowledge, personal struggle and triumph, and, perhaps most importantly, a reflective surface to show us we’re not alone.  It is a team to which I am extremely proud to say I will soon be contributing!

When my water broke at the end of my third pregnancy, it released the flood waters of postpartum depression.  What I didn’t know was what else was dammed up behind that.  ‘Regular old’ depression, I suppose, and most definitely, anxiety.  In some ways, my life has never been better since this deluge; in others, it’s sucked eggs – big, nasty, rotten ones.

But awareness makes a huge difference in all lives – those struggling to achieve mental health and those alongside them.

So bravo, A Canvas of the Minds!  And bravo to all of you out there fighting the good fight.

To everyone: please consider taking the ‘Blog for Mental Health’ pledge yourself.  Do it for yourself or in support of those you love . . .


You Got Some ‘Splainin to Do


This morning my daughter sat down to some interesting breakfast reading.

Coming home late after an evening “med check” appointment with my physician, I had left the visit summary on the dining room table.  Yesterday’s visit went swimmingly well.  No problems to report.  Successful treatment measures.  A-ok – until the next six month visit.

The chart information on the second half of the sheet told a different story, though; that of my history.  The medication I’m on; my ‘problem list’.

Depressive Disorder Not Elsewhere Classified.

I’m hoping that eight years old is not old enough to know what that means.  Hell, I don’t really know what that means.  The first time I saw it, I stopped in my tracks.  I remember the NOS designation on IEPs from my teaching days.  I remember the frustration of parents and teachers who knew something was up, but no diagnosis could be made.  How would this individual get the help he or she needed without a direction to go in?

Now that was me!

My eight year old wouldn’t be able to recognize the name of the medication I’m on either, Sertraline sounding more like a foreign language than a medicine to help her mother get through life.

Thank God, in this case, for medical illiteracy.  I’m all for blowing apart the stigma, but haven’t quite figured out how to explain it to my young children yet.  How much information would help them see it’s perfectly acceptable to struggle and receive help and how much would open them to an overwhelming, suffocating side of this world they don’t need to know exists yet?

I didn’t know there was a family history of whatever the hell ails my family until I was an adult starting to suffer from similar problems myself.  As a child, there was an underlying tension at family gatherings, but having no explanation and no other frame of reference, I just thought that was how it was.  Do I let my kids live in ignorant ‘bliss’?  Do I give my oldest an age-appropriate mete-ing out of Momma’s struggles so she doesn’t think she’s responsible for Momma’s wrath?  Or will I be giving them the framework for their own self-fulfilling depressive prophecy?

All important questions.  All of whose answers will remain unspecified for now, just like my diagnosis.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around all this.

May is Mental Health Month

Is there a reason that any 31 (or 30 or 28) days of the year should be any more important than the 334 (or 335 or 337) others to celebrate and promote a certain cause?  No.

Does a catchy phrase, vibrant color, or ribbon bring more attention to said cause?  Yes.

There are certain causes that should be mainstream knowledge, part of the collective consciousness of our society, but are not.  That, I suppose, is where car magnets, PSAs on cereal boxes, and fundraisers come in.  And that is why I’m challenging myself this month to raise awareness about a silently insidious disease, disorder, condition.

Mental Health.

Just as autism’s umbrella has opened wide to shelter a great number of conditions, so has mental health become an amoeba wriggling its hulking mass into more and more areas.

And it’s the amoeba in the corner of the room that no one is talking about.

I came across the blog, A Canvas of the Minds, a few months ago.  They have many thought-provoking posts written by a talented cross-section of writers.  Their initiative, Blogging for Mental Health 2013, is a brilliant idea.  blogformentalhealth20131I so wanted to join in the challenge and proudly post their badge on my blog, but I felt I didn’t quite fit the mold.  Their network is of blogs dedicated to discussing mental health issues.  Mine is about chopping potatoes and motherhood.  The way I navigate daily life and motherhood is shaped by the state of my mental health, but that would not be the main focus of each and every entry.

But I want to salute them and their initiative.  And I encourage you to join them in their quest to make mental health something people are not afraid to talk about.  Worrying about how other people see us should not be one more challenge we need to face as we struggle to make life livable.



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