If you haven’t seen it mentioned on other blogs, today, Oct 10, 2014 is “World Mental Health Day”. The fine folks over at Psych Central are throwing a “blog party” to celebrate, getting bloggers to write a post about mental health and linking to it from that page.
One of the things you can see on that page, or looking at Twitter for the #wmhd14 hashtag, it becomes pretty obvious that there are a lot of people writing about mental health today.
I think that’s fantastic, for one very big reason. When I was in the midst of the worst of my depression, the one thing that I remember most clearly is the feeling of being utterly alone. That’s one of the lies depression tells you, that no one will understand, no one knows what it’s like, and no one can help you. Looking around today, I can see just how untruthful that is. There are resources, (Though we need more!!!) there are people who care and, most importantly, there are people who’ve been where you are, and survived.
Today is also a day that I saw an article about the 40,000 people we lose to suicide every year in the US. How many of those people would still be with us if they could have known how many others are out here dealing with the same thing they are, and offering support for one another. So do me a favor, ok? Share what we’re seeing online today with the people you care about. You never know how many of them might need to know.
If you’ve been getting posts here by email, never fear, I haven’t turned that off. You’ll still be getting those, but I have hidden away the signup form for new subscribers. Simply put, the default email subscription tool for WordPress just isn’t doing it for me. All it does is send out posts when they are published. I have been toying around with some new things I want to try, and wanted something a bit more flexible, so I’ve created a subscriber list using Mailchimp. Right now, if you sign up for that list, you’ll receive one newsletter per week, on Monday morning, with all of the week’s posts from this blog and the News and Reviews blog.
Eventually, I will be adding some new features, perhaps running some contests, surveys, or making some special content available to newsletter subscribers. I can’t really say for sure because so much depends on what kind of interest there is in the newsletter first! So, if you’d like to start getting weekly updates, and more surprises in the future, sign up now!
Over at the revamped No Longer Silence Movement website, they’ve put together a list titled “Treat Yourself“.
I am not pointing to it because I think there’s any new amazing revelation in this list of ways to take care of yourself. In fact, if you look at it, it’s mostly full of very common sense ways that adults should take of themselves on a day to day basis. On the other hand, that’s exactly the point. I’ve said many times that when you are surviving an abusive, horrific, childhood, you are too busy surviving what is happening to pick up the subtle lessons of life that you should be learning as you grow up. When we should have been learning about how to dress, good hygiene, ways to deal with stress, etc. we were learning how to hide, how to deflect attention, how to disconnect emotionally and all of the other defense mechanisms that we used to protect ourselves.
Healing for that, is learning how to move forward and live an adult life. This list is a nice place to start, and to understand that we are worthy of the care that we give ourselves.
Reposted from my Sports Blog.
As a survivor of child abuse, I’m just not sure where to start with this whole Adrian Peterson story. I’ve been thinking about it all weekend, and trying to figure out what to say about it, and I think finally I do have some thoughts.
First off, let me just get this out of the way. Yes, lots of us can look back and say “my parents did this”, or “my grandparents used a switch” what’s the big deal? As Cris Carter said on TV yesterday, it’s 2014, we know better now, and those people were wrong to do what they did. Going out and getting a switch and beating your kid with it to the point where you draw blood and leave some vicious marks on their legs is wrong. (I won’t link to the photos, but trust me, they’re not pretty.) Stop trying to defend it. If you were beaten with a switch, you were abused, whether you feel like it was abuse or not. Whether it’s been going on in your family for generation or not. This doesn’t represent the “weakening of America” this represents a step forward in preventing injury and later issues for children. I do think we can have a reasonable disagreement over light spanking in certain circumstances, but beating kids with a switch should not be a normal part of any child’s life!
The tougher question is what to do about Adrian Peterson. I think it’s fairly obvious that he is a victim of his own upbringing. When he needed to be disciplined, he got beaten with a switch. This is a textbook example of repeating the cycle of violence. Adrian now has a chance to learn better, and to stop the cycle, because he’s been reported for child abuse.
This past weekend, he was inactive for the Vikings. That makes sense to me. He was indicted on Friday and had to go to Houston to turn himself in and post bail. That all occurred, and he didn’t play.
Now it’s been announced that the Vikings are going to let him play while the legal process runs it’s course. For most of us, if we were charged with a crime, after posting bail, we’d probably go back to work and await the rest of the legal process to continue. But, being a professional athlete isn’t the same as a regular job. You’ve got the extra media attention, you get the public relations nightmare of having this guy go out and represent your team on Sunday and so on. That throws a lot of other things into the fire. (By the way, if you want to know why Ray Rice was released by the Ravens only after the video went public, think PR. They stood by him and his suspension when they judged that the issue would blow over and people would root for him again, then when the video was released, they re-thought that idea and released him.)
As far as I see it, the Vikings are perfectly within their rights to play Peterson while they await the legal process. They would also be within their rights to release him outright and never let him play again. That’s their choice, and it’s your choice to make up your own mind about whether what they are doing is right or not. You can choose to protest the Vikings decision to let him play next week, boycott the team and the NFL, or any other option available to you. If enough people think it’s wrong to play him, and that response hurts the Vikings bottom line, it might just get them to change their mind. That’s how free markets work. As a survivor, I’d like to think that anyone convicted of child or domestic abuse would not be allowed to play any more, but what to do until they are actually convicted? I don’t know.
What I hope, more than anything, is that this situation and all of the publicity will help us understand the damage done to children by outdated, barbaric practices. Perhaps enough people who still view getting a switch as normal will begin to question these beliefs and end the cycle within their own families. I think we can all agree on that!
So yes, I did make it to our new home in Oregon last week. I am still catching up on the photos I took during the drive over on my photo blog, but I realized today that I’ve neglected to post any updates over here!
I’m still getting used to being on a three hour time difference and living in a new place, but it’s coming along. I keep reminding myself that the frustrations I’m feeling are actually normal for anyone moving to a new place; finding things, not really feeling comfortable and let’s face it, after that drive, just feeling a bit run down! Those are not signs of “survivor issues”, they’re normal. Isn’t it weird that any struggle we have has to first go through that lens of figuring out if this is a survivor struggle, or a plain old regular struggle, as if survivor struggles are somehow different? They’re all struggles and obstacles to overcome, that can be overcome! Eventually, I’ll figure out how to get around Corvallis, what places I like, which I don’t, how to get an Oregon driver’s license, and so on. People move to new states, I did it myself just three years ago. It’s not without stress, but it’s hardly impossible.
I will say this though, even though I know I’ve said it before many times. Going through the trip here and all of these changes is only possible because I have spent the last few years embracing small, and large, changes and seeking out new adventures, building the confidence to deal with change. Driving across the US is not without it’s perils. I worried every day about the car breaking down, for example, but I also knew that if it did, I could figure out how to deal with it and get to where I needed to be. Luckily, no such thing happened, the trip went off pretty well and I was able to have a new adventure and see some new things.
I look forward to not only settling in and getting comfortable in our new surroundings, but to new adventures in Oregon as well. From what I’ve seen so far, I do believe there is plenty to explore here, and I know that I can explore it without fear!
Thanks to everyone who submitted something to share with other survivors for this month’s carnival!
This month, I decided to repeat a theme that the carnival has had before, change, for my own personal reasons. As it turns out, the very day that this edition goes “live” on my site, happens to also be the last day that I will live in South Carolina. My wife is pursuing an opportunity in Oregon, and I will be leaving and driving out there to join her. Since my work involves both travel and working from home when I am not traveling, I do get to keep that the same, but obviously, we are undertaking some pretty big changes!
As a survivor, and as someone who interacts with survivors, I see how difficult change can be. It presents us with things that are uncomfortable, unknowable, and beyond our control. For survivors, that can be scary, but change is part of life, and learning to deal with it is an important part of healing.
So, along with that theme, we have a few posts that speak specifically about change:
Charlotte Issyvoo, from her Sublime Mercies blog, shared When Home was Hell – Love After Slavery.
Meanwhile, April Phelps Downey asks an important question, “Is it Possible that Change Isn’t a Bad Thing?”
I also decided to weigh in, with my post about this move, and how making small changes helps us learn how and feel confident about making bigger ones, Dealing with Change and Challenges.
We also have some posts shared for the regular categories as well!
Advocacy and Awareness:
Tracie was keeping an eye on recent news and wrote about Grooming, Mel Hall, and Disclosures of Abuse; What Parents Need to Know.
Steve Head shared a collage along with these words, “This is a new art piece I felt compelled to do. I have been carrying the story in my heart and in my head for over 50 years, and it feels great to finally put it on canvas to share with others:
“Visiting Uncle Oscar” by Steve Head Digital Collage by Head2art”
Dave from Together We Heal shared He Would Tell Me.
Healing and Therapy:
Dave Pittman also suggested this post under the healing and therapy category, One Thing Leads to Another, which I enjoyed not just for the reminder of the 80’s song title, but also because it points out how starting down the healing path can lead to all sorts of changes and opportunities to give back to other survivors following on that path.
Along those same lines, I want to add Another Good Reason to Talk About Child Abuse.
Patricia Grace submitted a post that actually is the first few chapters of her book, Shattered.
The ever prolific this month, Dave Pittman, sent along a survivors stories piece, The Invisible Hand on Your Mouth! (Trigger Warning)
Thanks to everyone for the submissions! For those of you submitting for the first time, I hope to continue to see your work in future carnivals, and for those of you who’ve been around this scene for awhile, thank you for keeping this going through the years. I think it’s important to have this regular reminder that there is a large community of survivors out there, that we are not alone. For those of you just reading this and seeing that, indeed, you are not alone, please be sure to share this with your circles and get that same message out as far and wide as we can!
Oh and last, but certainly not least, thank you Tracie for allowing me to host this month, and for keeping this ball rolling!