Mental Health Care – the stigmatic sector

I can’t tell you how many times I have started this post and then deleted it. My backspace key is wearing out. WordPress is sending me emails like: Try the Publish button, you’ll like it! But, every time I do, I wonder what the feedback will be. I wonder if I’m saying it right, or saying too much. I want to get this right because the stigma already exists around it, and I don’t want to add more negativity to the topic of mental health.

Mental health is at epidemic proportions in this world, and the past few weeks of my family’s experience in this field of care is a true testament to why.

I’ve been on anxiety medication for years,” the medic smiled.

After five days, the patient will be released with two weeks worth of medication, so they can find a psychiatrist who can continue the treatment,” the in-patient nurse informed.

The psychiatrist has denied you to the practice because you did not complete the program as prescribed,” the intake therapist stated.

Anxiety and depression are two sides of the same coin“, the general practitioner said. “It can be treated in the family practice realm. Come back in a month.”

More than 50% of people who go to the E.R. for heart attack symptoms a

re actually experiencing a panic attack,” the therapist assured.

But, each of those people who end up in the E.R. have different experiences getting help with their condition following the emergency room visit.

The lack of care providers is astounding! And, it only gets worse as you try to get more specific with your search. Does this one take your insurance? Does this one have an office within a two hour travel range? Is this one even accepting new patients, and if they are, do they have any schedule availability within a day or two?

Mental Health Awareness 2016
Pine Rest Christian Health Services Blog

I couldn’t believe how many care providers (psychiatrists and therapists) I called that had at least a 48 hour call-back time then an even longer wait to actually be seen!

You break a bone; you are seen by a doctor immediately. You have a cold or some other physical ailment; you’re scheduled to be seen within a few days.

Your chest tightens. You have unbearable thoughts. You can’t imagine living any longer. We’ll see you in two weeks!

I am not attempting to downplay the care that should and needs to be provided to those with physical ailments. I am simply asking, why isn’t mental health held to the same caliber? Why aren’t those who have dark thoughts and physical symptoms in reaction to their mental state treated with the same expedience? How can a doctor (who is one of a very few in a certain geographical area and health care sector) deny a patient from care?

The stigma that surrounds mental health isn’t there because it is hard to understand how these patients feel. More people than not these days can relate to the list of mental health disorder symptoms. It’s there because the treatment these patients need isn’t. Imagine a world where a patient visited a doctor once and was cured of anxiety, depression, or any other mental ailment. Would there still be a stigma?

Mental health issues are not the problem. Access to care is.

New Car!

After weeks of dealing with the insurance company, I finally have a new car!

My poor Toyota Corolla was totaled a few weeks ago when a stake truck backed into me. My Corolla was twelve years old and in fair condition, at best, but I was hoping for another five years out of it. I kind of figured it was going to be totaled based on the damage, age of my vehicle, and milage.

Thus, comes in the reason for my new car! A totaled car has led to a totally new car for me!

Enter, a 2019 Toyota RAV4. The new car smells washes warmly over your senses. The sleek exterior reminds you of smooth gun metal. The interior glistens and shines the deepest blacks and grays you have ever seen. There’s more tech in the vehicle than you could have ever imagined for a car that just barely requires a driver!

It’s beautiful!

I feel so high up in my RAV4 compared to my gocart Corolla. I actually feel seen! Like I could win in a collision. Not that I want to test that theory. I feel safe and secure riding around in the insulated vehicle. The sound buffering is amazing!

Overall, I’d say I’m over the moon with my new car! Now I just gotta figure out how to use all the tech!

Car Totaled, Totally New Car

I have had the same vehicle since I turned 17 years old. My first car, a 2005 Toyota Corolla, came into my possession in 2007. It was a new to me car with about 42,000 miles on it. That thing was a tank! It didn’t have much as far as features, even for 2005 standards. It had manual windows and keyed entry, but it was mine, and it could go forever!

Fast forward through high school, college, road trips, marriage, and a baby, and that car was still going strong! Twelve years I ran that car on basic maintenance and fluid changes, all the way up to 160,000 miles, and I would’ve put money on it running for at least another five years. Well, I would have lost it all.

A few weeks ago, a stake body truck decided to back into the front of my geriatric vehicle. The driver was a wonderful person, very apologetic, pulled off to the side of be road and took responsibility for the accident. In the D.C. area, having the person at fault actually stick around and accept fault is huge! Anyway, his huge, landscaper type truck almost cut the front bumper in half, shattered the grille, and crumpled the front half of the hood. Luckily, this was all at a very low speed, so no one was injured, but man, my poor car!

Now, I’m driving a rental, and a salvage yard tow truck took my well driven, beyond paid for car away. They haven’t given the official word yet, but the adjuster is under the impression that it will be totaled. Twelve years of travel, of life in one vehicle, gone. Not to mention not having a car payment. Ugh!

Just waiting on the insurance check, so I can go car shopping, I guess, but my heart just isn’t in it. I don’t even know where to start!

Kevin Hart: Irresponsible Tour

Note: I wrote this review the night I watched the show. Kevin Hart’s accident occured two nights later. I wish him a speedy recovery and that he gets back to doing what he loves soon!


I LOVED THIS SHOW! Kevin Hart is one of the funniest stand-up comedians I have ever watched. He is so animated and tells the best stories about his life. It is easy for me to connect with him and his family life, and feel his pain.

This show was no different! The sketch about his daughter starting her cycle for the first time had me laughing so hard I was crying, wheezing, coughing, and snorting. I don’t think I have ever laughed that hard, let alone at a stand-up show. He said he threw a maxi pad like a grenade at her! I can so imagine my husband doing this to our daughter one day. 😂

If you are looking for a hilarious show, you MUST watch this! Kevin Hart is hilarious in most movies he plays in, but for his creative freedom to run wild in his shows, his stand-up is comedy GOLD! Catch it on Netflix!

IAAP Summit: Inspiration Found

The entire list of topics and presenters were a big reason why I wanted to attend Summit. From the general administrative know-how to the more technical courses, I was so excited to learn what I could bring back to the office with me. I had no idea I was about to be bombed with two individuals that spoke directly to me!

Vonetta Watson and Julia Kristina have inspired me like no other!

Vonetta is a self-made technical trainer. She’s a wiz in all things Microsoft. I hadn’t heard of a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) before her, but now, it’s all I have been thinking about! I currently have multiple Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications, but to become a trainer! I’m thoroughly intrigued and already exploring the option!

Julia, on the other hand, spoke to me on a very personal level. One phrase she said is still ringing in my ears. “True power is not power over; it is power with.” Wow.. Just wow! This really hit home. Have you ever had a boss that was hell bent on making everyone else believe that they were the one supreme ruler of their domain, and whatever they said, went, regardless of anyone around them? I have, and what I have learned is that those people demand respect and think they are all powerful, but they aren’t. They have no idea what real power is.

Power isn’t being able to make someone jump and telling them how high because their livelyhood depends on it. Real power is asking someone to jump and standing beside them to do it, too. Real power is earning trust and making real connections with those that you work with out of mutual respect.

I’m telling you, Julia Kristina is amazing! She really got my gears turning. And Vonetta! I want to be just like her when I grow up! I am so happy these two women were at the Summit!

Spotify: Jazzy Romance

Taking old love songs and placing a jazzy whisper, an elegant piano, and a beautiful orchestra to give it the modern sound.

I love this playlist! It is getting me in all the feels! While walking around the Summit, or working at my desk, even folding laundry, I start to play this playlist, and immediately, my hips sway. I feel the sensuality of it in my bones. The slow words and beats warm my system. It just feels good!

They say people who feel music on another level, like goosebumps and emotional reactions, feel emotions more intensely than those who don’t experience a reaction. I guess I fall into that group!

Curious to hear it? Here’s the link for the Jazzy Romance playlist on Spotify!

Wonder Park – Movie Review

We were looking for a family movie the other night, and came across Wonder Park. We couldn’t really tell by the movie poster what exactly the movie was going to be about, but it’s a Nickelodeon movie, so we didn’t think we could go wrong.

IMDB: June, an optimistic, imaginative girl, discovers an incredible amusement park called Wonderland hidden in the woods. The park is full of fantastical rides and talking, funny animals – only the park is in disarray. June soon discovers the park came from her imagination and she’s the only one who can fix it, so she bands together with the animals to save this magical place and bring back the wonder in Wonderland.

Did you catch that last word there? The title of the movie is Wonder Park, but the name of the park is Wonderland. What?!

As if that wasn’t enough to get your goat, the movie starts off sad. And I’m not talking about Inside Out beginning of the movie sad. More like, Lion King beginning of the movie sad. Literally, my husband googled the end of the movie to ensure it wasn’t a total cry fest type of sad.

Besides the little hiccup in the beginning, the movie evolves into a really cute film. The young heroine has to fix the park she created with her mother after a tragic moment turns her away from the creative, carefree child she wanted to be. Her journey forces her to face her fears and embrace her imagination even in the darkest times. And I promise there is a happily ever after!

Overall, a solid 4 out of 5 for me! A safe, family friendly movie everyone will love.

IAAP Summit: National Harbor

The Gaylord National Harbor Resort is a maze!! I can’t believe how huge it is! With 95 different conference rooms and 2,000 guests rooms within the 19 story building, it is any wonder how I didn’t get lost! From the lobby bar and reception area, to the atrium with stores and restaurants. There was even an arcade and an indoor pool! There wasn’t much left to be desired! And that’s all just inside!

The restaurants were good within the hotel, but nothing could beat the lobby bar. It had a perfect view overlooking the river. You could see the bridge, the ferris wheel, and the water taxi all from your seat on the open platform with a drink in your hand. The atrium was a busy place, but the lobby with it’s small bites and amazing cocktails was the perfect place to unwind and watch the sunset.

I could have thought of a better location for the IAAP Summit! Wait, did you say next year will be in Lake Buena Vista, Florida? Umm, I may need to rethink this.

IAAP Summit: Series & Logistics

Welcome to the IAAP Summit Series! The next few posts will be all about the Summit experience and how I managed to get the most out of my attendance. If you don’t know what IAAP is, hop over to their site with this link. For those of you who are familiar, let me explain why I found the Summit valuable!

PROS:

The entire conference was in one place. My lodging, food options, other entertainment, and the conference/ training classes were all on the Gaylord Hotel. It was so convenient and easy to attend, and I felt at ease not having to worry about finding a place to eat or what I was going to do when I wasn’t in class.

Huge classrooms! I mean, most of the conference rooms were referred to as ballrooms, so let’s just out that into perspective. A total of 1,300 people showed up to the Summit, so it was paramount to have these large rooms. There was never a time I felt crowded or a room overpopulated.

Standing desks are a huge deal in my office right now. The flexibility to go from standing to siting every couple of hours is not only good for your health, but it is also a smart commodity to keep you audience awake and engaged. Creates more room for people as well!

There were so many great presenters/topics! My favorite two were Vonetta and Julia. Vonetta Watson provided many technical topics that I loved! Her courses were amazing overviews on the latest office software, tips and tricks! Julia Kristina spoke about difficult people, but with a twist. Her words are still ringing in my ears: “There aren’t difficult people; only difficult situations in which you have a choice to react to.” Overall, the sessions were impactful!

As I mentioned, there were about 1,300 attendees at the Summit. That’s a lot of people! During the opening ceremony, there was a presentation of flags for all the attending participants countries. Such diversity! It was amazing to see and meet so many different people!

CONS:

I found it interesting that there wasn’t a lot of complimentary items for attendees. Even water that was provided was scarce. Sitting in a class all day without water is like sleeping with your mouth open. Your mouth gets dry, and you become distracted by your basic physical need. I’m sure the point was to make people buy their water, but what a waste of plastic!

Even thought some of the classrooms had standing desks, they were fee and far between. They were advertised as if every room had it, but that was not the case.

While most topics were amazing, and I was dedicated to ensure I found at least one useful bit in every session, there were a very few topics that were dry. One in particular was about document retention. I don’t believe it was the speakers fault as the course matter is dry, so it was one that I think should be scratched for the next go around.

Overall, the Summit receives a solid 9.5 out of 10 for me! This experience was amazing from a networking view, an educational opportunity, and an overall wonderful conference! I truly hope that I am able to continue to attend in the years to come.

Hootie & The Blowfish, Group Therapy Tour

For my fifteenth birthday, I asked my parents for concert tickets to see Hootie & The Blowfish. They were playing at the 9:30 Club in D.C., and I wanted to so badly to see them perform. At the time, I had no clue the club was a 21+ only venue, so my parents had actually gotten the tickets, but I wasn’t able to attend. They ended up selling them and buying tickets to another concert for my birthday.

The other concert was for Green Day, the American Idiot Tour. The concert was great, one that I will always remember, but there was a very specific reason I wanted to see Hootie & The Blowfish.

As a teen, we all go through emotional times as our hormones run rampant. We are finding out who we are during that age, and sometimes, life just felt hard. Whenever I would go through a drama filled, high school day, I would go home and blast my music. It would help me release the mixed up emotions in my mind and heart, and find peace to sleep soundly at night. So long as I had my music, I was able to release the stressors of the day and just feel better.

One song in particular always felt cathartic.

Let Her Cry by Hootie & The Blowfish

I’d play this four minute, twelve second song on repeat for the really tough days I felt twisted within myself. Darius Rucker would sing those beautiful lyrics over and over again until I was able to digest the events of the day and erase their negative impact on me. This one song helped me through my toughest teenage years, reminding me that it’s ok not to be ok before it was a common saying.

Now, fifteen years later, I finally got to go to the concert of my teenage dreams!

Barenaked Ladies opened the show. They were entertaining with all their greatest hits, clever quips, and party atmosphere. They were a great preshow! I don’t think I have ever laughed that hard at a concert before! Nice and “lubed up”, as they band said they wanted the crowd to be for the headliners.

Finally, Hootie & The Blowfish came out! They started with their hottest hits, even threw in a few of Darius’s country hits, but when they got to Let Her Cry, I was brought back to being 15 again. I swayed and sang at the top of my lungs the lyrics I know so well. It was an emotional moment as Darius sang the words directly to my soul!

As the final notes were played on that beautiful song, I felt renewed. The power of great music, and specifically that song for me, smoothed out my emotions and allowed me to feel free! It was an amazing experience!

Fifteen years in the making, and I finally made it to see and hear Hootie & The Blowfish sing Let Her Cry. What a night! What a memory!