1 up on Stigma

stop stigmaI hate the Stigma towards those with mental illness!  While it is bad enough that others do it, when I find the mentally ill doing it to each other AND living under that shadow…well, I get upset.  It is akin to shooting yourself in the foot and hoping that somebody would stop pulling the trigger.

Let’s stop this madness because until we do, people like Robin Williams will continue to opt out of life.  Really! The pressures of putting on a happy face and insulating our true thoughts and feeling from whosover will continue, and continue to be UNBEARABLE.

Posted in Living Life Fully, My Own Journey, Scriptural Reflections and Disabilities | 4 Comments

How to find the Perfection in Disability

A sign that reads upside down:  "look at things differently"The words ‘disability’ and ‘perfection’ on the surface might seem like strange bedfellows, but consider this… 

Posted in My Own Journey | 1 Comment

Reflections on 911, Reflections on Heros

911 picOur nation commemorated 911 this past week, and in respect for those who lost their lives and the many  heros of that day, I want to dedicate this post.

Posted in My Own Journey | 2 Comments

Fish Don’t Play Basketball

fish…neither do they swing lasso’s, mow lawns, or will they babysit your children.  In fact, they would even be fairly poor runners.  Absurb?

Posted in My Own Journey | 4 Comments

An Effective Way to Combat Stigma

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage - pleasantly, smilingly, non apologetically - to say 'no' to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside. - Stephen CoveyI find it very ironic how some people voice their opinions.  Consider this:  Joe (not his real name) gave George (not his real name, either) a verbal thrashing that cut deep into who he was, because he was making fun of his friend who had disabilities.  (Wouldn’t it seem  that Joe’s respect for others is conditional?)  And, yet, this is what happens all too often. And the problem WILL NOT go away.  The only thing that will change are the people.  The disrespect -couched in conditional respect- will continue.

Posted in Developmental Disabilities in the News, My Own Journey | 3 Comments

Caring and Suicide Prevention

Sign:  Suicide doesn't take away the pain.  It gives it to someone elseMy dear reader, I am still thinking about Robin Williams, and still can not believe he is gone from our lives.  Not forgotten.  But gone.

This pic on the left might not be able to be fully comprehended by someone in the throws of suicidal thought, but for my readers who are thinking clearly, who have hope even in the midst of frustrations…this post is for you.

Posted in Broken People/Whole Lives, Mental Health in the News | 2 Comments

Hope in the Midst of Tragedy

Robin WilliamsSuicide has claimed another life, this time it is one of our most beloved comedians, Robin Williams. And, while I am saddened by his death, I am more saddened that he found no more hope for which to live.

At one point in his life, some say he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior but that he was still looking for more.   And his “looking for more” is what I want to address in this post.

Posted in Developmental Disabilities in the News, My Own Journey | 4 Comments

The Problem that Fear Creates

Fear Kills more Dreams than Failure ever will

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

1 John 4:18

As I continue my journey working and volunteering with those who have disabilities, I am continually noting that the biggest problem these folks face is acceptance for who they are.

Among the many disability statistics there are, in one poll only 25% of people with mental illness believed that others readily supported them, while 57% of all people echoed similar sentiments.

That is too low, and from my experience I think that, at least, part of the reason is FEAR.

Posted in My Own Journey | 2 Comments

It Takes a Village

David and Church LeaderTalk about exploding STIGMA of disabilities  out of the water!

This young man, David -and I get to call him my friend! (how cool is that)- is about to enter college this Fall.

As you can gather, David has disabilities.

But, let me tell you what else David has.

  1. Wonderfully supportive parents
  2. A community that has supported him AND HIS FAMILY throughout the years.
  3. Joni and Friends of New England who is bursting with pride for all that David has done
  4. a Lord and Savior who loves him incredibly much.

 

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Crimes against the Disabled

gash on the neck of son with autismToday, I want/need to highlight  an article stating, yet another, crime against one who is disabled.    The mother continues to look for her son’s attackers!

I have many friends who are disabled, and if this happened to anyone of them, I would be undone if not for the grace of God.

Stories like this stir us to action, and I am hoping/praying that sound judgment will accompany any action towards justice.   While not knowing ‘why’ this happened, we may surmise it to be a hate crime, and the irony of hate crimes is that they can easily breed more hate towards the perpetrators of the crime.

Posted in Disabilities in the News, My Own Journey | 2 Comments

Thriving in the fast-paced world of Mental Health

DNAFlat affect…Unengaged mood…Monotone speech…Socially dysfunctional…Tangential comments.

Defining People or Listing Symptoms

If you read through such manuals as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders you will find phrases like this to describe how an individual might be presenting himself before a mental health professional.

Yet… to one too many people, that individual is lost.  That individual’s personality, that individual’s dreams, that individual’s hurts, and his desires can so e a s i l y become lost in our rat race of doing our jobs.

Posted in My Own Journey | 1 Comment

Lessons from One who has Schizophrenia

…feed by lambs.

Jesus (John 21:15 New Century Version)

 

schizophreniaAbout 5 years ago, in the midst of a very busy Christmas Season, I decided to veer off my schedule for the afternoon and talk with Georgette.  She had a Bible in her hands, which intrigued me.

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Quitting can be rewarding

stop signsSome days I want to quit.

The lessons I daily teach, at times, seem to be so quickly dismissed.

And, I leave the group while wondering if what I taught was in anyway understood.

Like the lesson on the social skill of developing empathy:  “Why”, I asked myself, “don’t they treat their peers more kindly?”

Posted in My Own Journey | 5 Comments

Stories about Communicating with the Cognitively Impaired

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit;

for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

 

the Holy SpiritI had some wonderful talks with people who have disabilities at camp, yet too often I leave a conversation with a person who has cognitive difficulties feeling incomplete.  It is not that I did not pour my self into the discussion or the brief encounter, but the fact is that the person showed to me that he had difficulty processing what we had talked about.

Posted in Joni and Friends Family Retreats, My Own Journey | 4 Comments

Caregiving Tip #53 – Reality Based Life

'phoney' written on T-shirtI hope that you have been taking something away from my camp posts

Today, I want to talk about how we can -and, I believe, should- learn from others, specifically, those for whom we care.

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An Undervalued Tool for Caregivers

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Support can be Icky

disablity signsThis is post number 2 from Camp.

Icky is a word that I don’t use much, but it pretty much accurately describes what I want to share today.

Posted in Joni and Friends Family Retreats, My Own Journey | Tagged | 4 Comments

Confessions of a Camp-a-holic

Lessons for Caregivers

true confessionsAs promised in  my previous post, I wanted to share my thoughts on my camp experience of working with individuals who are disabled in hopes that these stories can help you to be a better care giver.

So, one lesson that I learned is this…

Posted in Joni and Friends Family Retreats, My Own Journey | Tagged | 7 Comments

Reflections of A Wounded Healer

two hands ready to touch one anotherToday, I am getting ready to meet our campers here at Joni and Friends Family Retreat.

Never in my life would I have imagined that I would be here or doing what I am doing.  Let me reword that:  “Never in my life would I had imagined that I GET TO DO what I am now doing”

I know that other caregivers look upon their work as something that they GET TO DO, also.  But, I also realize that there are days when caregivers  do all they can do to just get by.

Posted in Joni and Friends Family Retreats, My Own Journey | 4 Comments

1 Step to Motivate Others

a stick figure listening to a soundOne of the biggest stereotypes that I have encountered as I have been working with individuals who have disabilities is that ‘they are all the same':  they are broken, and if they get lucky, someone can fix em.

This type of pidgeon-holeing is a slap in the face to them and the rest of humanity as it continues to foster short-sightedness in the eye of the observer by way of their assuming that that person is a cog in the system that when rotated enough times in a certain direction will  produce predictable results. And thus, we have one counseling session after another, one doctor’s appointment after another, one set of medications after another…

Posted in Joni and Friends Family Retreats, My Own Journey | 1 Comment

Getting Camp Ready

Family Camp Joni and FriendsOver the last couple of months the New England team for the Joni and Friends Family Retreats have been working at a feverish pitch to get our first camp of the season ready to go for it June 9 opening.

Posted in Joni and Friends Family Retreats, My Own Journey | 2 Comments