Understanding the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

Greetings and welcome to my little corner of the world. I thank you sincerely for visiting here and my hope is you can bring something away from your time away here to tuck away in your pocket. I call them Pearls. I am continually adding to my pearl necklace.

The subject being broached today is very near and dear to my heart, and for many reasons both personally and professionally. Mental Illness is everywhere. All around us. In those who we know are struggling and those who we don’t – as it is sometimes hidden so well. Mental Illness is a very broad subject with many pieces to it, all with their own symptoms, challenges, and specifics. But with all of these pieces, the struggle is real. It is relentless. It is sometimes non-ending.

It can also be deadly.

img_1676

The stigma that surrounds Mental Health Issues is world wide. What is stigma? Stigma in greek or latin, was a mark or brand, especially one that marked a person as inferior. When the word “Stigma” began to be used in English, it usually meant the kind of mark you cannot actually see. In our Current society, this stigma is everywhere. This silent “attitude” if you will held by those who have not either experienced anything like this themselves, or have not been close to someone that has. It is simply ignorance. A lack of information. A lack of knowledge. A fear of the unknown. A fear of asking or discovering. With some, it is just easy to ignore. After all, if you don’t acknowledge something, well then……it’s not real then, right?

img_1680

The above statistic should alarm anyone that reads it. One in FOUR. Do you have four friends? Do you work with four people? Do you ride the bus or train with four people? Do you have neighbors? Think about that above statistic. One in FOUR. Mental Illness does not discriminate. It can affect any gender or race or age group. A very alarming statistic is this:

From 2000-2016 the biggest increase in successful suicide incidence, related to Mental Illness, usually undiagnosed,  (by SIXTY PERCENT) is females between the ages of 45-64. Grandparents? Seriously?

For those that have never experienced, I have been told that the following description is close to what it could feel like:

img_1669

Also this:

img_1679

So what can we do? How can we as a caring society, help to curb this ignorance? How can we start to bridge this gap?

The first thing is NO MORE SILENCE. Start talking about it. Ask questions so that we might all know more about the struggle. Discover ways we can be of service, ways we can support those we love, those we know, and provide the kind of support that is NEEDED. Do not be afraid of the words. There is no harm in verbalizing “have you ever considered hurting yourself?” Don’t be afraid and be quiet. Be strong. Ask.

For someone struggling with the lengthy list of ailments, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Eating Disorders, Schizophrenia, PTSD, and a plethora of others, a simple day can be overwhelming. Sometimes an hour can be overwhelming.

Also, a word, a gesture, a genuine smile, a moment taken out of your busy day filled with clutter, and details and lists and chaos…..

Can make a difference. It takes small steps to conquer a big journey. Small steps.

The bottom line here is don’t wait. Reach out. Be kind. Send a card, Send a text. Be present. I think that is the most important piece. BE PRESENT. Don’t ask “how are you feeling today”, or “How are you doing today?”, how can one answer that when one doesn’t even know themselves?

How about, “I’m thinking of you and just wanted to remind you I’m here” or “You are enough” or a simple “I love you”.

 

img_1670-1I remember the horrible stigma and misinformation when HIV and AIDS became an issue. It took two decades for this to be adult conversation and erase a lot of the fear. This epidemic and the ensuing stigma surrounding Mental Illness reminds me of that time. Let us be a better generation. Let us speak up. Educate the ignorant. Embrace the afflicted. Let us be the people we are.

I am looking for those who are comfortable telling their stories. It is heavy on my heart to allow you to have a voice. We all need a voice. Any and all mental illness, therapists, parents, children, or interested people wanting to learn more, share more, learn more, educate more. I will be highlighting these stories every Friday. Please consider! My email is Lifeinasuitcase2014@gmail.com or DM me on twitter @Polley93

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

 

 

Advertisements

Why I Love Arizona

Greetings! And welcome to my little corner of the world. I have been asked over the years (by people of course who have never been here) why on EARTH would you love Arizona? Its “just” a desert. I was born and raised in England, I  have lived in New Mexico, Texas, California, North Dakota, Connecticut and have visited and experienced every state in this Union except for a dozen. So? Here are the top reasons why I absolutely love this beautiful state of Arizona and keep finding myself coming back here.

The World’s Greatest Wonder

I have heard some call this “just a big gaping hole in the ground. Well, if you consider a color filled, mile deep, 277 miles long, carved over millions of years by a single stream of River “just a hole”…..

Then you obviously haven’t been here. It takes your breath away.

The Majestic Desert

The desert is a unique environment. It appears rugged at times, but at the same time, very welcoming and beautiful. I think the one main vibe I get from Arizona is the feeling of strength. Of survival. It amazes me how gorgeous the views are and how much can grow here considering…….well…….it is a desert.

Sedona, Arizona – A Living Postcard

This place is…in a word….magical. Everything about it. To the quirky coffee shops to the endless hikes to the jeep excursions to the postcard views. This place really should be on your bucket list. (photo cred to bottom right picture to my son Joe)

The Saguaro Cactus

Arizona is the only place in the WORLD that these proud creatures stand, keeping watch over the land. They can grow to over 40 feet tall and live to over 150 years. It takes at least 75 years to grow one arm. It is illegal to harm these in any way, and they are home to several desert dwellers.

IMG_0427

You Just Can’t Beat Arizona Skies

I think this may be my second most favorite thing about Arizona – the sky. Talk about blue! With sunny days over 325 days out of the year, you can just look up and “Ahhhh”. The Monsoon season (rainy season, in the summer) turns the skies all kinds of purple and the lightening storms are something to behold.

It’s Got A Quirky Side

From Native American historical dwellings, to haunted hospitals, to old western preserved towns, to towns each with its own unique style, personality and flavor. There is something for everyone in this state. It is not only desert……you have forests, mountains and even snow in the north. This is the only state in the union that has every type of land and landscape short of a coastline,

Endless Adventures

If you love weekend road trips, or a grab your sandwich, your keys and go kind of personality (like me) then this is your place. There are so many things to explore. Slot Canyons, the Petrified Forest (yes a forest made of stone), three separate and definitely distinct main cities, professional or college sports of any kind, rivers to tube down, lakes to boat in, mountains to scale, A Grand Canyon to stop and take in, and many places to “find”. Arizona is………endless.

The Best Part of Arizona? FAMILY

The #1 best thing about this state is my family. My brother and parents are here in Tucson, my sister is in the Phoenix area as is my daughter, and the rest of us keep being pulled back here for one reason or another. No matter where I go, or where I end up working for a few months, one thing is for certain…..

I will always end up back here in Arizona!

Thank you so much for visiting today. My blog site will be changing in the next week or so. And here are the. changes:

Sundays will be like this, random trips, adventures and stories. Wednesdays will be lifestyle topics. and I will be starting coverage of Mental Health Issues on Fridays including a 12 week expose with guest bloggers and guests sharing their stories, experiences, and insight. I am hoping to do my part to end some of this stigma and open dialogue. If you are interested in taking part, please feel free to email me at any of the folowing:

Lifeinsuitcase2014@gmail.com or Twitter: @Polley93

Until next time…….be kind…….always,

Polley93

Living With Intention: Meal Prepping Ahead of Time

Greetings! Welcome to my new installment of Wednesday Lifestyle blog posts. I thought it may be helpful to my readers for me to share some things I have learned along the way on this journey we all call Life. Weekly posts every Wednesday,  starting today.

For those that know me, you know how much I value time. I truly value moments. All of the moments that connect together to create our days, weeks, months, etc. Moments are incredibly important. Once they are spent, they are gone. Invested in whatever you have chosen to spend them on. Time is fleeting, it can be very quick, and it is important that we all spend our moments wisely.

With that being said, I am incredibly busy! My weeks are borderline insanity with heavy patient loads and complicated people with various problems to solve. I am usually at my clinic at 7am and don’t get to go home until 7pm. It is the last thing I want to think about in the morning is making three meals for me to bring along with me to my job. The only thing I think about in the morning is COFFEE!!

So I started “meal prepping”, and have perfected it to get the whole thing done in 2-3 hours on my last day off before I start my workweek again. It has freed up so much time, I eat better and more healthy, and it actually has saved me money.

Are you ready to learn? Good! Here we go!

The first thing you need to do is pick out some recipes, that are cost effective, easy and/or quick to make, and that will last a few days in your fridge. I find the website “skinny taste.com” very helpful. I usually choose at least one new thing per week, and have a few “go to’s” that I love and that meet the requirements I am looking for. I make a grocery list, and buy exactly what’s on the list.

You will need storage containers. I don’t use anything special. You can get great containers on Amazon, and some you can freeze which is very helpful. Here is an example:

img_1627

You will need to get organized, chop all that needs to be chopped, boil what needs to be boiled etc, and then start creating and storing your meals.

PASTA SALAD

This is definitely one of my go to’s. To make it you will need:

Pasta – any kind, I like Mini Penne, it cooks well, and lasts nicely in the fridge.

You can add anything you like. I usually use cherry tomatoes, black olives, grated cheese, a little feta cheese and sometimes a protein like chicken or pepperoni or whatever you heart desires. You can add salad dressing on the day you will be eating it, Makes for a really nice lunch. Each serving about 3/4 cup. Approx 350 calories.

img_1634

TURKEY CHILI

Another favorite. You will need one pound of ground turkey or ground beef, whatever your preference, and the rest of the ingredients are pictured here:

img_1628Brown the ground meat of your choice, mix it and the above ingredients in either a crock pot or slow cooker (4 hours on low) or a big dutch oven or pot on the stove (low 4 hours on slow simmer) Each serving is about one cup, plenty of protein! And again, about 350 calories per serving.

PORK LOIN

You can find these on sale, and when you do, pick one up! 45 minutes in the oven with some veggies drizzled with a little Olive oil and Wha La! You have delicious ready make and healthy dinner!

Use the rest of the loin and chop up in small cubes, add a couple small tortillas and cheese and you have some delicious street tacos! (Pictured later)

GARBAGE SALAD

This is a great way of using everything in your fridge or cupboard that you are not really sure what you will do with. Lettuce of your choice in the center, and then about 2-3Tbsp of whatever you like surrounding the lettuce. I usually use chickpeas, corn, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and some kind of a protein. YUM!!

img_1632

PROTEIN PACKS

A quick go to for those busy days you just need something extra. Hard boiled eggs peanut butter crackers, single serving cheese, and I love Craisins! This is an excellent quick and healthy snack that boosts your energy and helps you feel full on those busy run around like crazy days!

img_1630

THE END RESULT

I mix a variety of fruits I find on sale and take them for breakfast along with a yogurt. I have my turkey chili, my pasta salad,  bunless cheeseburgers (super easy) protein packs, street tacos, and a garbage salad or two.

img_1635

This really is a time saver. It’s easy and what a treat to come home after a very long day and have so many choices to heat up and make for dinner! All of the above is plenty for two people, you can accommodate and tweak a little to meal prep for families.

I hope you found this helpful, and even more so, I hope you try this out for yourself. You will personalize it to your own lifestyle and needs, but I can promise you this, you will LOVE the time it frees up for you!

I would love to hear your ideas, recipes, and thoughts on the information I have shared with you. Please leave a comment, it is very appreciated! Subscribe to my site if you would like to share in my Wednesday Lifestyle posts, they are sure to either be interesting, informative and entertaining!

Until next time…….as always……..be kind.

Polley93

Prague – I Could Live Here!

Greetings! And as always, thank you for spending some of your moments with me. Moments are important, as once they are spent, they are gone. So I genuinely appreciate the moments you have chosen to spend here with me.

This is basically a part two of my “have to go somewhere” time where the first part was in Budapest (post on that earlier if you would care to check it out) I went with my sister, and from Budapest we ventured to Prague. Wow! I wasn’t expecting what we found!

The city is in a word WONDERFUL. Everything. Public transit, the food, the people, the architecture, the cobblestone side streets and the surrounding areas. The more Sis and I explored, the more we knew we just HAD to come back for a longer amount of time. I truly believe I could live here. I loved everything about it.

Every view was magnificent.

The St. Charles Bridge was like walking through history.

IMG_0562

We made a point of getting to the main town square to see the infamous Astronomical Clock. Amazing.

Clay colored rooftops everywhere.

We took a side trip and I wasn’t quite ready for what we were about to experience. Picturesque church looking building with adorned grave sites in the garden. Walked down a wooden staircase to this:

Yes, everything made with human bones. The church was to be built on a graveyard and instead of building over it, the graves were gently dug up and the remains adorn the inside of this building? Seriously? I found out that this is world famous and after I got home I actually saw a piece on this very thing on National Geographic. Honestly? My visit was brief……….

The colors were fantastic. Everywhere.

I felt like I was in the middle of a painting. The skies were perfect, the wind was crisp, the views were never ending. It literally took my breath away.

Quaint cobblestone streets were hidden but easily discovered and it was the perfect afternoon just meandering down them. Quaint shops, fantastic doorways, friendly people.

“The City of a Thousand Steeples” is a perfect name for this fabulous city.

I found not one thing I did not literally love about Prague. It is an expensive city to explore. A nice hub for traveling to other major cities by train if you so desire. An adventure awaiting literally around every corner. Pilsner beer galore. I could go on for days.

Prague. If you haven’t been there, put it on your list. You will definitely not be disappointed. Next time I go, I definitely want to go for more than a few days. t feels like a perfect city to write in, so spending a month there and finishing my book is something I want to seriously consider.

Even though I simply could not do this fantastic city justice with. simple blog post, I hope you enjoyed my snapshot of Prague, Czech Republic.

Until next time……….be kind……….always,

Polley93

Beauty in the Ordinary

Nothing new that I’m known to get into my vehicle with a debit card, journal and camera, without a plan and go. I find the simplest and yet, at times the most extraordinary places and things. The following is just a collection without rhyme nor reason. Some were taken in Europe. Some have meaning, some don’t. But all have their own little spark of beauty. There is no special reason for this blog post. Just a random post. Random, like me.

All photos are original and taken by me. Some with an iphone, some with an older camera and some with my Canon. They are unedited and raw for the most part as I’m a work in progress. But then again, aren’t we all?

Doors. I’ve always been a little obsessed with doors.

Doors are openings, they are closings. They can welcome you, they can shut you out. They can can be a beacon of light, a place of safety, comfort and warmth, or they can be cold and foreboding with an invisible “Keep Out” sign. Every door has a story. Oh gosh, another idea for a collection of short stories……. The list is long and I would have to live two lifetimes, without a “real” job to get them all written.

Seems like everywhere I go, I am drawn toward doors. Each with its own personality and story. Some ornate and pristine, some are worn by time…..and years……and experience.

Inanimate but interesting objects are another obsession. Every since I started learning photography, things take on a new perspective. I don’t see things the same way anymore. I notice lighting, and where things are placed, shapes I never took notice of before. Every walk I take, every drive I take, I see things differently. Things have become much more interesting. And much more beautiful. Things I  never would have even stopped to look at before, take on a personality of their own these days.

Sometimes I wish these things could speak. I’m sure they would all have a story to tell. Sometimes I think if you are still enough…..quiet enough……you can feel the stories hidden within the simple things that are in front of you.

Nature has a beauty of it’s own. Mother Nature is truly remarkable. She’s beautiful. She’s powerful. But she is an amazing artist who paints amazing views with a stroke of who she is.

So I guess this blog wasn’t about anything huge to learn, no big opinions or fancy artistic prose. Just a collection of random thoughts coupled with random photos. Call it a ‘brain vacay’. We all need one once in awhile. And next time you venture out? Find the beauty in everything……and everyone you see.

Because it’s there.

Until next time……. be kind…….always.

Polley93

Solvang, California

Greetings and welcome to my Wednesday morning share session. Noteworthy is that I will start posting on Sundays so yes, there will be a double this week! I welcome your input and ideas for subjects to include as I will be adding lifestyle topics to my collection of randomness.

As I pondered what to write about this week, I ran across a photo and the memories came flooding back. This side trip was 100% spontaneous as I traveled north to a work assignment on the 101 in California. I was in Santa Barbara and I caught a conversation about some town called “Solvang” and all I needed to hear was “Gosh it was just like being in Europe”. I googled. I went. Simple.

“Solvang” translates into  “Sunny Field” and taking the beautiful drive there it was quite clear that the town was named appropriately. It is about 35 miles through hills and fields from Santa Barbara on the CA 154 highway. This picturesque town was basically founded  and created in 1911 by a group of Danes that headed west to get away from the harsh midwestern winters. It is small, about 2.5 square miles and about 5000 or so people reside there. And the group that started this whole thing did it with the intention of keeping it 100% Danish and Dutch, or as close as possible.  A taste of home I suppose. I must say after experiencing this place, they were successful at doing just that.

The first thing that truly catches your eye, is of course. The working Windmill. It is huge and greets you as you approach this amazing place.

img_1109

You immediately have that European feel, as the streets are lined with merchants, restaurants, bakeries, sweet shoppes and small businesses just like you will find in any European city. You won’t find a Walmart, a Target, a grocery chain or anything commercial here. Just privately owned businesses owned by friendly people eager to share with you stories of their town.

This town is quite small. I parked my car and truly took my time. I walked the entire main road and back again. Talked to people, ate some lunch, meandered in the local bookstores (Hans Christian Andersen is Dutch and very visible in the bookstores), and was back to my car in four hours.

Bet you can’t guess what I chose to eat for lunch here at this adorable pub. Put your guesses in the comments……

IMG_7739 (1)

This is truly a hidden gem. It feels very popular when you arrive, cars lining every road and the sidewalks sprinkled with people, but it didn’t have that “crowded” feel and the pace was slow. If you happen to be in mid Cali, on the coast, it certainly is worth the 35 miles out of the way to experience a little taste of Europe right here in the USA! It is truly authentic, spotless, well manicured, quaint, and was worth every minute.

A true taste of Europe on a side highway in mid California! Who knew?

Short and sweet this time as I share with you one of the surprises I have found on my many impromptu adventures. I have always maintained that you don’t have to have a bottomless bank account and huge time away from work to have an adventure. We are all capable of creating our own adventures, and getting out there and finding our pretty. I have made this a lifestyle, as adventure can be as close as your back garden. Just get out and GO!

As always, I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your moments with me here today. Please leave a “like” if you liked what you read, and if you would be so kind to leave a comment so I can know you visited my little corner and to leave a suggestion on future content.

As I mentioned before, I will be including lifestyle topics that are near and dear to my heart. By all means feel free to add to my ever growing list. I will go ahead and thank you in advance for doing just that.

See you Sunday!

As always……….be kind.

Polley93