I know what will wipe out mental health stigma

More people are speaking out–Suicide survivors, suicide loss survivors, overdose survivors, those who suffer with mental illness.

Parents are motivated to seek help and are risking the fallout of reaching out because the risk of losing their child outweighs their fear of living with shame.

Then there is the awareness, rising suicide rates, media coverage and the opiate epidemic which has cut across all racial and socioeconomic groups including politicians.

All of this works in tandem together to raise awareness and educate millions.

But that’s just part of it. It’s not the secret sauce

The one thing that has been … Read more... “I know what will wipe out mental health stigma”

Dear Heroin, I F-ing HATE you!

You are the sorriest, most vicious, demonic son of a bitch in the world.

You took over my child at his most vulnerable and you lured him into your lair of deceit. Then wrapped your evil talons around him, leaked into his brain and never let go until he was dead.

You told him that he was the greatest human being in the world–and then the most worthless. You ostracized him from his family and his friends and made him do things he would not ever have done without your influence.

You made him lie, cheat and steal for you. … Read more... “Dear Heroin, I F-ing HATE you!”

Drug addiction is like a diet. Sort of

I know recovery from addiction is far more difficult with a much higher price tag than a diet. But there are similarities from my point of view.

Think about it. You go on a diet and you cut things out that you identify as the culprits to being overweight.

You might deny yourself chocolate, for example.

But at some point, your resolve starts to wear away and you crave chocolate. It’s ALL you can think about. You dream chocolate.

After several weeks of denying yourself this treat, you have a little

A week later, you lose it, break down and binge on chocolate.… Read more... “Drug addiction is like a diet. Sort of”

Addiction: The broken reward system

I went to the COBE event at VCU, Virginia Commonwealth University and saw Dr. Kevin McCauley speak (the dude seriously needs a decent online bio).

For many years, Charles and I had a discussion about his “thrill seeking” which I never felt was quite the right phrase since he wasn’t skiing backwards down black diamond ski slopes.

At one point Charles and I had a discussion that perhaps his brain didn’t make endorphins and made too much adrenalin (since he suffered from anxiety).

When Dr. McCauley said “broken reward system” in his presentation, I thought I hit the … Read more... “Addiction: The broken reward system”

Impromptu Recovery Speech for JHW Foundation

I went to a donor reception for JHW Foundation and heard from three success stories. I am sorry I didn’t get the young ladies on video. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as they told their stories about how JHW Foundation provided the resources that saved their lives. Their pictures are below.

I caught Chris’ impromptu speech here

IMG_1823 IMG_1827 IMG_1831 IMG_1840.

 

Addiction: What is rock bottom?

Everyone tells you that tough love is the way to go with those with substance abuse disorder (aka addiction).  What no one tells you is when to help your addict.

Rock

No one defines “rock bottom” or when it might be time to actually help your addict.

Everyone’s bottom is different. But everyone concentrates so much on the boundaries, which you need to do, few consider when they might reach in and help their addict get into recovery.

What might that cry for help sound like?

What would make a cry for help different than the multiple calls you’ve gotten before? How do … Read more... “Addiction: What is rock bottom?”

Grief, suicide, addiction, depression: Top 10 Posts

David Letterman did it, why can’t I?to 10 taboo posts
I was just curious regarding which posts were the most popular. So I thought I’d share the results. These were chosen by you guys, by the number of visitors to the page.

I am not surprised by what ranked #1.

1. Why did he kill himself? Answering the why

2. The long arm of the law reaches down Charles’ pants

3. Did Charles show warning signs for teen suicide?

4. What did Charles say prior to suicide to indicate his intentions?

5. Please do not avoid the subject of my son who died

Read more... “Grief, suicide, addiction, depression: Top 10 Posts”

Addiction and Recovery: A fateful friendship

aaI am at an AA/NA meeting at The Healing Place in Richmond, VA. One eloquent speaker says, “By the grace of God, those of us here are not wearing toe tags.” Just hearing him talk is worth my time.

I start to cry because my son was one of those that did not make it. His addiction and depression having moved him to suicide.

The young man sitting next to me looks at me. I see his tears, too. He feels the loss and the pain. He and Charles’ paths have been so similar.

He was with Charles those … Read more... “Addiction and Recovery: A fateful friendship”

The #imnotashamed how to

Starting Thursday, April 7, 2016, support mental health with the hashtag #imnotashamed. You can post a picture or post a message and a quote you found. But say WHY you are not ashamed. It doesn’t work if you just post the hashtag and don’t say why.

The purpose is to say something. The purpose is to talk so we can get rid of stigma. And that has to start with all of us. Examples below.

Share it!

Share it with @BeaconTreeFoundation on Facebook or @Beacon_Tree on Twitter, beacontreeorg on Pinterest. Or share with whatever organization you want to … Read more... “The #imnotashamed how to”

To those still struggling with a child’s mental illness

This is probably a familiar scenario. You are with a group of friends who know you’ve been struggling with a child’s mental illness or drug abuse–and absolutely no one asks about your child.

You’ve been through hell and back. You are emotionally spent and wrung out trying to maintain some level of functioning.

You hope someone will ask. But they don’t

asking-for-help-is-the-human-thing-to-doIt hurts. It hurts so much, you want to cry. You want to break down. You feel so isolated and alone like no one in the world cares.

Then you feel very very small all of a sudden. It’s … Read more... “To those still struggling with a child’s mental illness”