National Recovery Month. There Is a Rise In Those Recovering From Addiction and Being Dual Diagnosed With Mental Illness.

National Recovery Month. There Is a Rise In Those Recovering From Addiction and Being Dual Diagnosed With Mental Illness.

“I am a woman maintaining recovery from addictions and I am dually diagnosed with mental and emotional health challenges. My gambling addiction is what finally brought out my mental health symptoms to the point of trying suicide…TWICE.”

And I have not talked about it much. That comes from stigma. I don’t really want a label attached to me even though stigma is still prevalent among those recovering from addiction, but mental illness still has a long way to go. Of course, we have to have a name for the many forms of mental illnesses, but many times those who suffer become targets and ridiculed. That comes from NO Understanding and Lack of Empathy.

Just my own feelings. It is why I advocate, I try to help educate and inform the public that we who have mental illness are no different from others. We may just have a few more challenges than those who don’t have mental health issues. There has been an alarming rise of those recovering from addictions being diagnosed with some form of mental and emotional problem.

According to this article by my helpful friends of The National Alliance on Mental Illness and The Recovery Village. I treat my mental health just as my medical health. I am well managed, take my meds properly, and don’t use alcohol. I always keep my appointments and live life. I don’t let my challenges hold me back from what I enjoy doing! I do however need to be open and comfortable doing so. Here is a new attempt…Lol. I do hope all who visit find this article informative.  ~Catherine

Mental Illness and Addiction: America’s Struggle to Accept the Connection
Article By Staff at The Recovery Village.


The United States is knee deep in a polarizing discussion on mental health and the best ways to help people struggling. Another topic Americans continue to wrestle with is how to address drug and alcohol addiction. But is there a relationship between the two issues?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, around 1 in 5 adults (43.8 million) in the United States suffer from mental illness each year. Additionally, 20.2 million people in the United States suffer from a substance use disorder and a little more than half of them also have a mental health disorder, known as a co-occurring disorder.

Despite the prevalence of both mental illness and substance use disorder, a cause-and-effect relationship between the two is not universally accepted by many people in the United States.

The Recovery Village, a leader in substance use disorder treatment and mental health, recently conducted a survey that uncovered an overlap between mental health and addiction among the respondents’ answers. This information could help more people accept that there is a link between the two, and acknowledge them as equally important illnesses, helping create a culture that promotes healing and treatment instead of criticism and blame.

What Is Mental Illness?

First, it’s important to define mental illness. Medical experts summarize the disease as any disorder or disorders that cause a person to experience an altered mood, thinking pattern or behavior. According to Medline Plus, mental health disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Mood disorders or personality disorders such as antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia

From the survey conducted by The Recovery Village, approximately 62 percent of people said they either currently suffer or have suffered from a mental illness in the past. The most common mental health disorder that survey respondents said they suffered from was depression (78.46 percent), with anxiety disorders (70.73 percent) a close second. Mood disorders (37 percent) followed, and multiple respondents included post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a write-in answer.

Respondents were allowed to submit multiple answers, as many people suffer from more than one mental illness. The number of respondents who suffer from a mental illness is not the only evidence of the issue’s significance. Nearly 63 percent of survey respondents said they know at least one family member who suffers from a mental health disorder and 54.25 percent said they know a friend who suffers from this disease. Few people surveyed — only 57 out of 400 — said they don’t know anyone who suffers from a mental health disorder, a reason to believe that this issue either directly or indirectly affects a large majority of Americans.

How to Help Depressed Loved One 2.

Connecting Mental Illness and Addiction

Many people suffering from a mental health disorder resort to drugs or alcohol as a dangerous form of self-medication. Additionally, many doctors prescribe over-the-counter or prescription medications to patients with a mental illness, and these drugs can be addictive. While some people misuse substances as a response to mental illness, others developmental health concerns after prolonged drug or alcohol addiction. For example, people who misuse cocaine or other stimulant drugs might experience long-term behavioral changes, including depression or anxiety, as the body functions alter permanently due to the substance’s effects.

How many people suffer from co-occurring disorders? A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that 7.9 million adults in 2016 suffered from substance use disorders and mental illnesses. Rates were highest among adults between the ages of 26 and 49. The Journal of the American Medical Association found information that links the two diseases:

  • Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental health disorders are also affected by substance misuse
  • Around 37 percent of people addicted to alcohol and 53 percent of people addicted to drugs suffer from at least one mental illness

America Still Behind on Accepting the Connection

The survey conducted by The Recovery Village shows an even stronger connection between co-occurring disorders. There is a large overlap between the number of people who have been affected by each disease. Of the 343 people who said they know someone who suffers from a mental health disorder, 303 people (88 percent) said they know at least one person who also has an addiction to drugs, alcohol or both. However, since some people could know multiple people, one with each illness, this information might be open to interpretation.

The survey respondents’ first-hand knowledge and experiences with these two illnesses provide even better evidence of the relationship between mental health disorders and addictions. Around 39 percent of the people surveyed said they have struggled or currently struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction, and nearly 35 percent said that they have struggled with both an addiction and mental health disorder.

Out of the 156 people who admitted to struggling with addiction, around 89 percent said they also suffered from, or still struggle with, a mental illness. Yet not as many drew a definitive connection between the two. Only 59 percent of respondents said they believe there is a relationship between mental health disorders and addiction. While that is a majority, the respondents’ beliefs about the potential connection are not reflective of their personal experiences.

Destigmatizing Mental Illness and Addiction

As the United States continues to discuss ways to make mental health treatment more accessible, the conversation of removing the negative stigma remains on the frontlines of discourse. However, a similar negative view of addiction continues to fester in the country, creating a more difficult landscape for people to accept and find treatment for their disorders.

Claire Rudy Foster, a contributor to Huffington Post who is in recovery from addiction, summarized the public’s perception toward substance use disorder: “Never mind that I’ve been sober and in recovery for more than 10 years. That doesn’t matter to the people who don’t know how this disease really works. They expect me to be ashamed of myself. To them, addiction is code for Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, grunge, needles, misery. They assume that I shot up. I must have stolen and lied to pay for my habit. I must be a criminal.

Maybe I am morally infirm as well.” The negative perception about addiction that exists in the United States can often become a roadblock toward lifelong recovery. If people suffering from substance use disorder do not have support from their peers, the healing process becomes more challenging.

Many medical professionals stress that a link exists between mental illness and substance use disorder. Additionally, the survey responses show that a majority of people who have suffered or are suffering from one of these disorders have also experienced the other. Yet only a little more than half of Americans are certain that a connection exists, potentially allowing the negative stigma surrounding addiction to fester within the country.

Increasing awareness and understanding can help create a more positive environment for people seeking recovery from substance use disorders. For those who have an addiction to a harmful substance and also suffer from a mental illness, there are many resources and hotlines available.

Seeking and receiving help from medical experts can make a big difference toward finding peace and living with either or both illnesses.
~The Recovery Village



September Is National Recovery Month

Mental illness is a growing epidemic in the United States. The disease has affected the mood, thinking, and behavior of millions of people across the country. However, many Americans remain unaware of the widespread existence of mental health problems, and some of those with psychological issues avoid lifesaving treatment.

To reduce mental illness, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created National Recovery Month. Every September, the organization helps people host events designed to educate the masses about mental illness… So Please Visit and be Educated addiction.



Sharing My Friend Tony Roberts and His Inspiring Blog and Website: “Delight In Disorder”…Org

Sharing My Friend Tony Roberts and His Inspiring Blog and Website: “Delight In Disorder”…Org

I always get “Delight” in having and sharing my dear friend, author, and advocate Tony Roberts and his informative blog at  “Delight In Disorder” all about Mental Health.

He shares just how he feels and experiences as he raises awareness about living with mental health challenges. Also, way more than I do. He has such a beautiful heart and is full of faith as well. So I happened to really enjoy a couple of his recent posts and I know many of you will too and benefit from. I am hoping you will take a little time to visit his blog and give both a “Finishing Read.” They both are excellent topics and we all know that reading is being “In The Know and Powerful.”


“Fresh Hope for Mental Health Interview” ~By Tony Roberts



A few weeks back, I received an unexpected message from Pastor Brad Hoefs from Fresh Hope for Mental Health. Fresh Hope is a mental health ministry that reaches out with an uplifting Gospel message for those who are often cast down. Their mission is to “empower individuals to live a full and rich faith-filled life in spite of a mental health diagnosis.” Toward this end, they have developed curriculum for support groups around the country, they are producing webinars on such topics as “What I Wish My Pastor Knew About Mental Health,” and distribute a podcast that is one of the best of its kind.

Pastor Brad reached out to me to be a guest on this podcast. Below is the link to the program and the show notes:

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad interviews Pastor Tony Roberts.

Pastor Tony Roberts was born and raised in the Hoosier heartland just south of Indianapolis. He grew up worshiping high school basketball and once had the honor of playing in a televised “game of the week.”

Tony went to Hanover College. After many detours into sex, drugs, and more folk rock than roll, he wound up at the seminary and became a pastor. It was then that symptoms of depression and mania culminated in a psychotic episode that became pivotal in his life, for better and for worse.

After graduating from Hanover, Tony obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. While there, he did ministry assignments at a state hospital for persons with developmental disabilities, as well as at a women’s prison, and inner-city hospital.

Tony served two decades as a solo pastor. He then shifted to writing, speaking, and leading small groups. In March of 2014, Tony published his spiritual memoir, Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission. Having served in pastoral ministry and gone mad, it’s now his mission to bridge the gap between faith communities and the mental health world.

Tony now live in Columbus, Indiana, with supportive family and faithful friends who keep me honest and encourage me to be who God created him to be. Tony’s greatest earthly delights are my four children and two grandchildren, with one more on the way.



In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; 

in the morning I lay my requests before you 

     and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3)



Why I Don’t Go to Church

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46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2.46-47)

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, early Christians were on fire. They worshiped daily, shared meals bountifully, praised God delightfully, and built a reputation for loving each other and others with precious passion and compassion. They were filled with a spiritual fervor that knew no end.

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I have had such spiritual fervor. What has happened to my faith?

I went to church this morning, the first time in a long while. For various reasons, I have been absent from the pews much of the year. I have many excellent explanations, but no good excuses. My faith family has been patient with me. More than this, they persistently care in spite of it.

People still stay in touch, frequently send texts or emails not to badger me about coming to church, but to ask how I am doing, let me know that they are praying for me, and offer to help in any way they can. No pressure. No guilt. Just checking in with a brother in Christ to express love and concern. As one sincerely expressed, “We are more concerned with how you are than where you are on Sunday morning.”

As I sat in the pew today, I thought of brothers in Christ who make a difference in my faith.

Some time ago. I asked a brother, Sam S., to serve as my prayer partner. We meet every two weeks to do a Bible study book. We share casual concerns, deep joys, and requests for discernment. I have shared with Sam specific spiritual concerns and he is intent to pray for me, particularly over the weekend, that I might be motivated to come to worship in the fellowship of saints.

Sam is the song leader at our church. His deep melodious sound rings out and surrounds the sanctuary with ancient Psalms, the songs Jesus sang, set to classic church tunes. When my soul is most troubled, I sometimes remain in my pew as people stand and, instead of singing along, streams of tears will flow down my cheeks as I hide my face in my Psalter.

Then there is Gary M, an elder. When I first visited Columbus Reformed Presbyterian (CRPC), Gary was quick to introduce himself and invite me to a weekly fellowship called the Grub-In. We would meet at Gary and his wife Cynthia’s home for food, study, song, and prayer. It meant so much to me when I was going through a separation and divorce to have another faith family I could depend on to pick me up when I was down and set me straight when I veered off course.

Pastor Andy M. is an unassuming man with an abiding faith and a gentle spirit. I have consulted him on a variety of issues, from marriage and divorce, finances, writing. I consistently find him to have an informed Biblical perspective which he shares humbly in the Spirit of truth and love.

Lately, I’ve come to know and appreciate Roger G. for his quiet support and kind encouragement. This morning he shared with me that he enjoyed my recent post on writing. It is such a blessing to know Roger and other men and women of faith are out there, reading things like this, smiling in recognition as if to say, “I get that.”

So, what has become of my faith?


I refuse to believe it is God’s fault. I am not angry at God for letting me down in some way. It is not the fault of the church. By and large, pastors and people in the pews are no more hypocritical than persons in the world who accuse them to be. I can’t blame it on the many distractions or worries; my illness is an inadequate explanation at best; I have no unresolved sin conflict in my life that would prevent me from presenting myself before God with a clear conscience.


What is it? Why have I lost my fervor for fellowship? My drive to worship? My passion for praise? What has become of my faith?
Well, I hope you will stop by Tony’s Blog and read WHY and the rest of this post!

Catherine Lyon, Author, and Advocate


Why I Don’t Go to Church


How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

Hello and Welcome Friends and New Visitors,

Many of my regular friends here know I am living with mental health challenges along with maintaining my recovery from addiction. Many suffer in a variety of ways and depression seems to be a popular disorder affecting more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

Persistent depressive disorder, as I have, or PDD, (formerly called dysthymia) is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years or longer according to “The Anxiety and Depression Association of America” Alek has written a great article for us to help those we know who suffer from depression. I hope it helps friends…

“How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed”

It is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love go through depression. Depression is a disease that doesn’t operate within the normal bounds of reason. The chemical imbalances in the brain of a person who suffers from depression put them into a different mode of existence, where little things might seem like the end of the world, or it might be difficult to get excited about the big things, at all. Indeed there’s a reason that depression can be so closely linked to substance abuse. According to some studies, as many as half of the people with depression may also struggle with a substance abuse or addiction disorder at some point in their lives.

However, this doesn’t mean that a depressed person has to be resigned to living a life of sadness and repressed emotions. By using effective coping skills and learning to manage their mind, people all over the world live fulfilling lives, despite the effects of depression. Here are some key things that you can do to help a loved one who struggles with depression…

Don’t use shame to fight depression:

Shame is a tool that is too often utilized when it comes to our intercourse with mental illness. What makes this a real shame is that it doesn’t really work. You can’t shame someone into getting over the way that depression makes them feel. Phrases like “just be happy” don’t do anything to actually mitigate the effects of depression, which are caused by real and tangible chemical imbalances in the brain, and instead, work to make your loved one feel like they are understood, not more alienated. As you can imagine, this doesn’t work towards improving healthy habits that are able to help them cope with depression.

How to Help Depressed Loved One 3

Small acts of kindness go a long way:

We don’t need a big sweeping gesture that shows the people we love that we are willing to help in their struggle with depression. Instead, it’s important to remember that little acts of kindness can build up to make a person feel respected and appreciated. Don’t only offer these kind gestures towards your loved one, but encourage them to do the same for other people.
There are studies that show that small acts of kindness actually are able to increase the happiness of the person who carries them out.

Encourage professional help:

It can be hard for people to determine when depression requires the help of a professional. However, it’s important to realize that someone who is severely depressed will never seek the help of a professional themselves. That’s just the nature of the disease; when you’re in it, you can’t find hope that it will get better. Do whatever you can to urge your loved one to seek help, since you know that there are numerous ways today that we can help to manage the symptoms of depression.


Don’t undermine their experiences

Even though the overwhelming feelings of a person with depression may be caused by the actual chemical effects of depression, rather than external factors, it is still important to understand that those feelings are still real, whether they are rational or not. Depression can be a part of a person’s existence, and even though it is important to learn coping skills to deal with the weight that depression can be on a person’s shoulders, it is also important to not undermine these experiences. Instead, just listen or give them their space. You don’t need to fix everything at every moment.


Encourage healthy habits

Because depression has to do with brain chemistry, it is very beneficial for a person with depression to be engaging in healthy behavior that improves brain balance, such as dieting, exercising, or eliminating the toxins in their body. This can be difficult since depression, by its very nature, can get in the way of doing important life things, including just eating at all. What you can do, as a person who loves them is encourage the healthy habits that are going to make them feel better, in the long run. While depression can undermine the desire to do such things, be persistent and know that it will help them.

Don’t expect quick fixes

If you are looking for a quick fix to get rid of the effects of depression, then you should probably hang up the cape right now and save yourself the time. Combatting depression takes time and is a battle of a bunch of little things, rather than any one big thing that gets rid of the entire problem.

Just be there

Sometimes, you don’t have to actually do anything. Feeling like you have to constantly be “fixing” this person because of their depression is just going to have the opposite effect that you want. Sometimes, just being there and not doing anything counterproductive is going to mean the world to them.


“Presented by Recovery Starts Here!  ~ Author, Catherine Lyon” 

Gambling Addiction & Alcohol = FEAR “Kick Fear Out of Your Recovery. Especially If You Are “Dual Diagnosed.”

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends!



Flash Backs of My Past With Mental Health, Undiagnosed . . . .


“Sometimes we have to look back and remember what life was like before being finally diagnosed with a mental and emotional illness.  It is at times still difficult for me to talk about. I was first diagnosed in 2002 while in a behavioral and addictions crisis center via the hospital after my first failed suicide attempt, which included my severe gambling addiction.”

I happen to be reading a recent article I am about to share with you from the fine folks of “Psych Central” that hit home for me. It took me back years growing up before I was diagnosed with several mental health challenges, but looking back I remembered so many times I could pick out during my life that should have been possible warning signs for my parents, and “red flags” for me as I moved into adulthood.

I remember times when I was little, and would throw these awful tantrums from what my mother told me years ago, but I remember the aftermath when my mom would lock me in my bedroom and  I would be lying on my tummy watching the footsteps pass back and forth my bedroom door. Or, when I rode in the car I would rock forward and back, and it would drive my dad nuts, so  he would yell at me to stop! I always seemed to have to be moving and going all the time. Bipolar Anxiety I believe is what I was suffering. All of it had gotten worse after I had been sexually abused as a little girl. Hell, a lot came from PTSD I also was suffering but didn’t know or understand until I was diagnosed and when it came back to haunt me in my 30’s. It is some of why I turned to gambling.

In my teens, I would have times where I would be way up, happy, and chatty constantly and then? I would be very low, quite, and then isolate in my bedroom which now I know was depression, and kept right into adulthood. So, again, most of the article made me think back to those many memories and made them clear as to what was then, going on.
Many of us who were born in the early 60’s, and grew up in this period our parents had no clue about a mental illness. They just thought we were being fussy or just a bad kid. And yes, you can have anxiety and depression together. It is just a matter of which will be prevalent from day to day.

We know more today than ever with research, studies, and even with medications to treat the vast amount disorders. It is why we are seeing the explosion of many people coming out and talking about mental illness.  I hope this article will help others have “self-awareness” and not be afraid to get help if you suffer from any mental and emotional health problems.  .  .  .  .   As I watch the Democratic Convention today, right now, the first issues speakers are talking about? More Funding for Addiction and Treatment, and now Mental Illness. This is what we need. The people in our elected offices and government act and fund these issues.      *Author,Catherine Townsend-Lyon*


Explaining utter darkness to someone who has only lived in the sunlight would be a difficult task. They would have to believe you and trust in something they have never experienced. If you haven’t experienced the darkness, perhaps after reading this you can help someone out of it.


When my eyes open in the morning, my mind goes from slumber to 100 mph. “I don’t know why I haven’t thought that! I need a (brain singing the Three’s Company theme song) new car! If I sold my current car and (dang I need a burger) sold my Xbox and TV I could afford the down payment and if I sell those baseball cards in the attic I can still pay rent! Wow! I am so handsome today! I know that I flunked out of college, but I am smarter than 90 percent of people so does it really matter? I want donuts. What DVDs do I have that I can sell to afford them?”

Hours later:

“Why did I sell that stuff? My wife is going to be so upset and those donuts were not worth it. Maybe I can buy them back. I’ll just need to grab my wife’s card when she is napping. No, I can’t because that will cause (you will do it) problems (you will do it) and (you will do it) I don’t want….

Back at the store:
“Didn’t you sell us these today?” (They noticed! You are so stupid!)

“Yes… I didn’t really mean to (you know they think you are crazy, right?)

Drive home:
“How do I explain this? (Say you got her birthday gift and it was a surprise! Her birthday isn’t for months and you can make that money back to really buy something!)

At home:
“I am so sorry I took your card, sweetie. I know I said I wouldn’t. Well, no, I feel fine. It wasn’t mania. Whatever.”

At night:
“I can’t sleep.” (You need a new guitar.)
“I want to sleep.” (Your kids will never love you when they experience what you are)
“I have to try to sleep.” (Work in seven hours) (Work in six hours) (Work in five hours)

At work:
Exceed in everything and then some due to my insane level of energy.

At home again:
“Can’t sit still … need to go.” (You are a terrible father) I just need to run to the store (stay with your kids, they love you. Are you a bad person?)
Rinse and repeat for a few weeks, then…

The middle

I am me. The Caleb I was when most of my old friends met me. The Caleb that loves to write music and play basketball. The Caleb that knows this can’t last long and soaks up every moment he can. I love the middle.


As I wake up, I wish I hadn’t. Take a look at my work to-do list and experience a high level of anxiety. That mental voice is not so active, but neither is mine. I feel a cloud of doubt and dread follow me all day, turning into a thunderstorm when faced with human interaction or hard times. The cloud sucks the life and desire for anything out of me.

I feel the weight of all my bad choices compounded with the reality that I am a finite being who will likely be forgotten soon after I am gone. Nothing I have done makes a difference to anyone. Trying to match my manic or normal self while depressed is next to impossible. I do not want to be around anyone due to the anxiety that they realize how messed up I really am. I try not to leave the house for as long as I can and wear the same clothes for as many days as I can.



I sometimes plan to take my life, but when I see my children and imagine what their future looks like without a dad I change my mind. This time.I am not suggesting that mistakes someone makes while manic or depressed don’t count. But I am hoping you can see how choices made in the extremes haunt the individual.

If a friend ever comments they are contemplating suicide, get them immediate help however you can. 1-800-273-8255 is the suicide prevention hotline and dialing 911 is an acceptable option as well. If your friend was having a heart attack there would be no hesitation. If they mention killing themselves, then I promise they have thought about it seriously.


Even the best friend in the world is no substitute for therapy. There are medical professionals who dedicate their lives to helping the mentally ill and it will do much more than any amount of “being there” can.

Take off the logical glasses you see life through and put on your empathy lenses. We might try to take advantage of your kindness. We might seem like we don’t care that you care. We might make you think we don’t appreciate you. But we appreciate it more than you can imagine. .  .  .


Mental Health ~ A Look Back In History …

“Yes, I write and share about Mental Health on my blog as I am a “dual diagnosed” person living life in recovery with Mental Health daily challenges”


Four Heroes of Mental Health Treatment Reform” ~ Guest Author, Christine Hill”


Mental health treatment is a dark section of human history. Stories range from outright abandonment to institutionalized abuse.

Anciently, recorded evidence of mental treatment is sparse. We can tell from ancient skulls that trepanning (chipping a hole in the skull) was practiced in Neolithic times, perhaps as an attempt to lose evil spirits from someone’s head. Egyptian practices were more humane, (and surely more effective,) recommending calming time in the gardens, recreational activities, and care for the body in response to mental distress. Most ancient cultures, however, believed mental illness to be a result of unclean spirits, or punishment from God, and thus treated it with prayers, spells, charms, and incantations. This tendency persisted into the Middle Ages, despite Hippocrates’ revolutionary theories citing physical pathology as the cause of mental illness.

During the 1600’s, as civilization advanced in Europe, individuals with mental illness were increasingly incarcerated and institutionalized. Although this was often seen as a merciful approach to mental disease, separating patients for their own good, innocents were grouped without distinction with criminals and treated accordingly. Conditions were completely inhumane. Patients went completely uncared-for and were chained to walls, with the basic needs of life hardly seen to at all.

Fortunately, since that time, there have been amazing and significant changes in the mental health care system, thanks to the crusading efforts of a few individuals.

Phillipe Pinel & William Tuke

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(William Tuke)


Phillipe Pinel was a French physician who practiced in the late 1700’s. When he first came to Paris, hoping to advance and enact reforms, he was discouraged by the bureaucracy of the medical system already in place, which wouldn’t honor the credentials of a provincial doctor. However, after the French Revolution, a new regime was put in place, and Pinel was appointed the Physician-in-Chief of all public men’s and women’s asylums in Paris. He is well-known for his management of Bicêtre asylum, where he forbade the use of chains and shackles, removed patients from dungeons, and instead promoted the incorporation of gardens and sunshine in the treatment of patients. He believed that with gentle and humane care, mentally ill patients would naturally improve.

In England, another physician was of the same mind. William Tuke, of the York Retreat, sought to treat people with compassion and morality. Although it started as an organization built by Quakers, for Quaker patients, it was soon open to everyone. Facilities like the York Retreat and La Bicêtre soon set the standard for humane treatment of mental illness around the world, but unfortunately, it wasn’t as widespread as it should have been, due to underfunding and lack of awareness.

Dorothea Dix


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Dorothea Dix )

Dorothea Dix was an American activist, teacher, and writer who lobbied for social reform during the 1800’s. After teaching in women’s prisons, she was shocked to see the treatment of incarcerated individuals, especially those will mental illness. She started traveling the country, documenting the conditions in various institutions, and bringing them to the attention of state and federal legislature. During the next 40 years, she stubbornly petitioned for reform, causing the establishment of 32 mental health institutions during her lifetime. She also traveled to Europe and addressed problems there, famously drawing the focus of Pope Pius IX, who personally oversaw the construction of a new mental hospital in response to her reports.

Nellie Bly


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(Nellie Bly)

Nellie Bly was an advocate for the advancement of women, and a mover and a shaker in the journalistic world. She was a firecracker who repeatedly drew the public eye to issues she chose to highlight. One of her most famous forays into investigative journalism, perhaps, was her expose about mental health institutions. Although there had been a major shift in the placement of mentally ill patients in asylums instead of jails, thanks to Dorothea Dix, there was still widespread abuse and neglect in these asylums.

Nellie Bly posed as a patient and lived in New York’s Blackwell’s Island asylum for 10 days. From there, she wrote about the apathy and disregard from doctors, mistreatment from nurses, horrible food, and starvation. Her report, published originally in Pulitzer’s Newspaper, the New York World, and then later as a book, was a sensation and brought national attention to the plight of those in mental asylums.

Today’s View of Mental Health is Different


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Thanks to social reforms, as well as groundbreaking advances in the medical field, mental health treatment today is a very different story. Today we have various options available; inpatient, outpatient, counseling and therapy. We treat mental illness in all its forms and try to find solutions, instead of simply locking people away from society.

Admittedly, there is still a lot to learn about the treatment of mental illness, but we’re optimistic about the progress of treatment and care.

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Columnist for In Recovery Magazine

Gambling Addiction, Suicide, and Alcohol Just Don’t Mix.

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome New Ones!

One of my favorite newsletters and websites I enjoy is a helpful place to learn about mental health, addiction, and recovery. It is called;  Psypost … They do loads of research and share psychology and neuroscience news, reporting the latest research on human behavior, cognition, and society. Our mission is to spread information about social science and neuroscience research. By reporting on a wide variety of important, interesting, and overlooked studies, PsyPost hopes to provide the general public, mental health professionals, and academics with free updates on new research — providing everyone with a glimpse into the latest knowledge being uncovered by scientists and clinicians.

I came across this article that I knew was important to share. Since I am dual diagnosed, I found it most interesting and quite helpful. I hope you who come visit and read it will too!

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“Gamblers who drink alcohol are more likely to entertain thoughts of suicide”

Accept Me . . . Is It To Much To Ask For? “Flash Back Recovery Post Day!” Happy Thanksgiving All :)

My Mental/Emotional Disorders, Recovery, or Childhood sex abuse & trauma survivor is not my label . . .

So please, don’t put me into a box labeled mental case or freak. And most definitely don’t treat me like I am different from others. Don’t set me into a category at all. I’m not a thing, I am human being. Don’t you see me? I am of flesh and blood like you.
I have feelings, a heart and a soul. I have a spirit no longer broken, not a victim of my disabilities. I am and will be a “work in progress” for a lifetime.

So don’t talk about my mental illness as if I’m not standing right in front of you. Learn to have more understanding, be educated about addictions, the cycle, recovery, and be informed not judge.

Don’t look through me, look at me. Have some compassion for those who battle with these issue’s, who have the courage to do so, and to take back their lives from addiction, and learning themselves to handle and face daily mental illness challenges, and overcome trauma and addictions.

“Kindness is a Choice”, . . . as it is written in our Gospel/Bible to love one another no matter the faults or sins. To help one another. That includes those of us who may have taken a wrong detour in life for part of our journey, of God’s plan for us. I am human just like you. Life is a lifetime of choices. Yes, some may not make the right ones at times, but who asks this if it’s right or wrong? Is it our world and society we live in who asks? Is it our creator who lets us know when our choices are not correct, not you or someone else need not judge me, as it is not your job to do so, it is God’s.

I want my voice be heard among the roof tops that I am here, I am real and not my faults or wrong choices. I will be loud. I am not a person to be stigmatized by words, your words, harsh and negative from your mouths. No, I have feelings, I can hurt just like you. I am not my disease, my disorders, my situation, tragic as it has been in the past. I am of love and kindness. Of caring and sharing hope.

Am I Perfect? No, nor will I ever be.

But I do know now the love and compassion I have for others is very real. You may not hear it, but you will feel it.
I am not my past, I am my future. I am and feel destined for great things, some of which have already come into my life. I live each day in this one moment in time.

Tomorrow will be here soon enough. Yes, I may live my life in recovery with mental disabilities and past trauma, but that is what I also have overcome.

No I may not be normal, hell normal is over rated, but at least I am happy about who I have become in recovery! No one person, place, or thing can steal my joy, my sparkle, nor my life that I have reconstructed from ash and devastation.

So please, accept me for WHO I AM TODAY, not my disease, my illness, wrong choices, or my past.

Is This To Much to ASK? . . . .

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Why Do I Write and Freelance Recovery Write?

Why do you write?

Since living my life in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse for more than 8 years now, and even as a young teenager, I always had a diary. I also learned to journal through treatment, therapy, and later in life, in addiction treatment. I have always had some sort of diary or journal with me most of the time. I enjoyed writing, made up poems with a wish that someday they would become some famous words in a song. Just having dreams. Maybe even being a writer someday or a published author. Then things began to happen in my life that I would ask God many, many times
Why Me?

As a little girl, I had many dark secrets being held inside me for many years. It’s when some of my rage slowly began, but you’d never know it. My secrets of years from heavy-handed discipline, hurtful verbal abuse by my parents as a teen, sexually abused from age 7 to 11 years old. And not by one, but by two men, so-called friends of the family. And certain things that happen in a dysfunctional family that linger with you, an awful secret my parents kept from my brother, my sisters. and me for years until we found out later in as adults. I seemed to hang on to all of that, and stuffed it way deep inside me. Then adulthood comes calling. Life begins to happen. The job, the responsibilities,  marriage, the bills, and the stress society puts on us. And you think your just another normal, average, everyday person like the rest of the people living in the world. Boy was I wrong.

One day, something happened. Something changed inside me A sort of shift. Not a particular event or anything, but just something inside you doesn’t quite feel right. Call it self-awareness? Oh no. When you bury hurt and pain for years? It builds and builds, and my storm was coming  . . .


Then, you lose a very special person in your life to cancer. This starts a chain reaction in life. He was only 36 at the time of his passing, and he was like my brother I never had.  And, . . he happened to be the only person I ever told what I went through as a little girl. Things no little girl should have to endure.

Now he was gone . . .

That set up that  “Perfect Storm” in my life at the ripe young age of 30. And for the next 11 years or so I lost myself. I lost myself to a deep dark monster called gambling addiction. Now your most likely asking yourself about now, “what does all that have to do with writing?”. . .  I’ll get to that shortly.

I was about 36 when it began around 1996. I started using gambling to “escape the old past haunts and pain knocking at my door.” I was also suffering undiagnosed mental and emotional health disorders. Went undiagnosed, as my psychiatrist says, since I was that little lost, hurt and isolated girl. Then the gambling addiction and alcohol abuse on top of all that pain years later?  Lets just say it didn’t end very well.  All of that story can be read in my current book titled, “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”

My writing was of my saving grace. Even after all the bad I went through with my addictions, and there was a lot of bad, and yes, due to my poor choices, but I was a very sick person at the time. No, no excuses, just insights into an another addict.  Another addict who has turned her life around for the better.  But 2011 and a news article got me write, I wrote like crazy to see it all.  All the bad, all the good, and even in my darkest of days, even after my 2 failed suicide attempts, the 2 hospital trips, and to the Mental/Addictions Crisis Center in 2002, and 2006.

WHY did I write?

Because I needed an outlet to purge all that old hurt, pain, shame, guilt, and so much more! Writing for me was like my bible. Yes, my 5 hand written notebooks were also my bible. Writing helped me to sort through it all, begin to heal, and to begin to start letting go, start to forgive, and begin long-term recovery and healing. Writing was my life line into my soul. It helped me to recover from this cunning addiction of gambling and alcohol abuse. Writing was again responsible for my 5 notebooks I hand wrote in for a year. Everything I went through with my addictions, which became a published book.

And the rest? GODS intervention, his doing and Miracle. He was the one who gave me a way to help others suffering from this and all addictions. He has given me my purpose in life, to help others. He was the one who gave me the gift to write. (And that doesn’t mean I’m a professional writer). . . It means I get to express my recovery, share my story and journey through the magic of written words. I can share what is in or in my heart at any given moment. That is what being a writer means to me and why.

Even today, it still brings tears to my eyes when I read those dark pages in my diary/journals after both suicide attempts. I was so angry the first time at God! I just wanted him to let me die already, so I wouldn’t hurt myself, and those around me any longer through my addiction. It wasn’t ME, it was the Sick Me! I didn’t have the strength to stop compulsively gambling, and was really tired of being sick and tired. The second suicide attempt? Well,  that was all me. I had stopped taking my bipolar, depression, and PTSD medications. And in just a few short weeks, I spiraled out of control to another suicide attempt and mental break down.  ~My world went Black for the second time~

To Be Continued . . . . *Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author/Writer*
“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~

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Do You Know About Compulsive Gambling Addiction? Just Some Facts . . .

Hello Recovery Friends and Welcome All,


So what is compulsive addicted gambling the disease? It IS:

Yes, gambling addiction is a real disease. I say it all the time, and I won’t stop saying it until we get this addiction known far and wide. WHY? Because the public has no idea that this addiction claims more lives from SUICIDE than any other addiction.
And currently the rise in mental/emotional disorders from the after effects of years of addicted gambling is now becoming more the norm sitting in meetings and recovery groups. We are seeing a huge rise in people who are addicted gamblers and now suffering from many mental/emotional under lying issues. It’s called being Dual Diagnosed. What is dual diagnosis?

About Dual Diagnosis of Addiction & Mental Illness:

In the field of addictions and mental health, dual diagnosis is a term that describes people who struggle with an addiction and a mental health disorder. It is actually quite common, as substance abuse can often play a large role in mental health.

For example, there may be a person who has a diagnosis of major depression and is also addicted to alcohol. Or someone who has borderline personality disorder may struggle with a gambling addiction. It only makes sense that addictions can affect mental health and the state of your mental health can affect your decisions to engage or abstain from substances like alcohol and drugs.

Dual diagnosis was introduced to the mental health field more than two decades ago, though there is still a misunderstanding among some professionals as to the exact nature of the diagnosis. Currently, the health care system treats the addiction first and then treats the psychiatric issue  .  .  .

“If I did not get tangled in gambling addiction, landed in a Crisis Center after my first suicide attempt, and was diagnosed with bipolar severe depression and mild mania, with PTSD in 2002, I feel I would still be undiagnosed today, and have had more added mental/emotional disorders since I am in long-term recovery which now include PTSD and Agoraphobia. But here are some facts that you may not know about gambling addiction & problem gambling.”

Just the Facts Man:
About Gambling Addiction & Problem Gambling:

Treatment for compulsive gambling starts with recognizing there is a problem. Denial is common among those who are addicted and the compulsive gambler is no different.

Problem gambling is defined as a progressive increase in gambling (both frequency and amount of money) over time and an inability to stop despite negative consequences. The term problem gambler is preferred, because it includes other types – pathological gambler and compulsive gambler. The harm doesn’t have to be entirely borne by the gambler, often it is visited upon loved ones and others.

Gambling addiction starts out as a solution to a problem. The problem may be as simple as boredom or as complex as a feeling of having failed at life. Unfortunately, the temporary escape gambling provides isn’t a very good solution. It creates another set of difficulties, often much worse than the problem it was meant to solve.

One of the symptoms of a gambling addiction is the unwillingness or inability to admit there is any wrong at all. Because of this, the following questions are meant to highlight the common symptoms that indicate addictive behavior.

Questions (Adapted from Gamblers Anonymous and Psychologist, Anywhere, Anytime)

  • Has gambling ever caused you to miss work (or school) or been the subject of an argument with a loved one?
  • Do you have a reputation as someone who gambles?
  • Does gambling occupy your thoughts when you aren’t actively playing?
  • Have you had the urge either to win more when you have won or recover from losses by winning back your money?
  • Have you ever gambled on credit or borrowed money to gamble?
  • Do you gamble to improve your mood or to help overcome problems at home or work?
  • Do you believe you can ‘strike it rich’ or change your lifestyle with gambling?
  • Do you have a close relative who is/was a problem gambler?
  • Are you most comfortable with friends who also gamble and is this the basis for the friendship?
  • Have you ever tried to stop gambling but returned?
  • Do you feel bad after a session of gambling is over?
  • When you gamble, do you keep at it until your money runs out?IF you answer YES to seven of these questions? You have a gambling problem, and addicted gambling is not to far behind. . .

    Definition of Problem Gambler

    A problem gambler is defined as someone who continues the behavior despite negative consequences in a progressive manner.

    How much of a problem gambling becomes depends on how long the addiction continues. Early intervention, before major harm (bankruptcy, divorce, arrest, suicide) occurs is the best choice, but many addicts continue until they can no longer manage the collateral damage and are forced to confront their addiction. It doesn’t have to be that way; there is help available no matter what stage of the addiction you are in.

    So if you feel you or someone you love has a gambling problem? Help them get their life back. It’s NOT who they are, it is the disease that is making them sick. No, not an excuse or denial. Compulsive gambling addiction is like all other addictions. Until we deal with the meat of this disease, learn how to break down and interrupt 3 area’s of any type of addiction, which is: the Cycle, the Bad Habits and Bad Behaviors we learn and use to stay within our addition. Those 3 and more need to be addressed in order to be successful in long-term recovery. There is help and it can be done!


    I hope this information is helpful to understand a little more about a very Powerful, Cunning, and Baffling Addiction.
    It will take work, but it is worth the FIGHT!

    How To Begin Recovery:

    Even though they can be shown how their habit has shaped and harmed their lives, they can often point to a “big win” as justification. Motivation is critical and many of those in treatment are only there because their spouse, or employer, or a court has insisted on it. Before treatment can help, the gambler has to believe there is a real addiction that requires treatment.


    Two Tracks

    Informal Support Groups

    There are two tracks available for treatment and both may be used simultaneously. The first is an informal support group, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. The twelve-step program in Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is free and gives the addict access to a large support group of peers who understand the problem. The atmosphere is non-judgmental and supportive.

    Cognitive-behavioral Therapy

    The second track is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy. It seeks to change the way the gambler sees his problem and his situation. Unhealthy beliefs and rationalizations are confronted. Patients are taught techniques to fight urges and deal with stressors (financial and emotional) that lead to compulsive acts. The goal is to change the way gambling is understood by the patient in order to alter behavior.

    An advantage of cognitive-behavioral therapy over group support is that it is individualized and can address other life issues that might be acting as triggers. The main disadvantage is cost and the unfortunate mis-labeling of therapy as something appropriate only for the weak or those who have a mental disorder.

    Treatment will also attempt to limit the material supports that allow gambling to occur: Money; Time; Venue – these are all required for the activity.


    Maintenance is important so that the gambling compulsion doesn’t reemerge. GA is an excellent resource and a way to give back to others. Beyond this, attention must be paid to avoid tempting situations and give up access to funds – at least in the short-term. Cultivating relationships that promote accountability and finding enjoyable interests that replace gambling are also important.

    One of the key triggers for this addiction is stress. Problem gamblers are able to get lost in their compulsion and the artificial, stress-and-relief cycle of gambling is a way to escape unmanaged stress in their lives. Stress will arise. Techniques to manage stress have to be learned and practiced . . .

    God Bless All,
    Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate

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Can My Past Childhood Trauma Cause Mental Health Problems? Or is it, “Tag Your It!”

Hello Recovery Friends, and Welcome New Friends,



I was wondering over the weekend if my mental health issue’s could be caused by a genetic predisposition, or was my childhood trauma and abuse the main cause? The trauma of being sexually abused as a little girl. So I started doing some research, and of course some crazy thinking of my own, and started journaling more about what I could remember, as far back as I could of my childhood.

Thought I would write a little about what I came up with. Being therapy again for problems with PTSD again, I have uncovered a few things of my own. Some are memories of my past, and some is information I came across to get a few more answers as to why, because out of all of my siblings, I’m the only one that suffers from mental illness and disorders. And how confusing it is at times when my psychiatrist says that many conditions I suffer are “just labels.”


Now that just confuses the hell out me! She tells me that doctors use labels to help explain what my mental conditions, but I tell her, “what about the symptoms?” When I “get labeled,” I go look up what the disorder or condition they tell me I am suffering from, and BINGO! They description fits exactly to my symptoms. So what am I to call them?
I get very frustrated at this. So here is a little piece I came across from a medial journal that explains if mental health is generic.

“Scientists have long recognized that many psychiatric disorders tend to run in families, suggesting potential genetic roots. Such disorders include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia. Symptoms can overlap and so distinguishing among these 5 major psychiatric syndromes can be difficult. Their shared symptoms suggest they may also share similarities at the biological level. In fact, recent studies have turned up limited evidence of shared genetic risk factors, such as for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, autism and schizophrenia, and depression and bipolar disorder.”

Now later in life, I found out my mother was having trouble with depression. So I wonder if I just happened to be the lucky one to have it passed on to me. I don’t know if either of my two sisters, or my one brother has any mental health problems because we all have not spoken to one another since my mothers passing in summer of 2003.
Yes, it is very sad to write that. Even my father has not spoken to me since 2004. Have no clue why, but I have forgiven and moved on in my life. Like we say in recovery, “we have no control over people, places, and things.”

So back to memories. I’m not saying that my childhood was all bad. There were many wonderful family memories, but some would get over looked due to alcohol abuse, or family drama of sort. Maybe I was more hyper sensitive to words my parents used to describe me at times. But after going through sex abuse, I do feel that made me more prone to look at everyone around me differently as I got older. In JR. High School my dad would see me hanging with my girlfriends outside the school, and he would call me a hooker or pill popper just because a few of my friends smoked. Or he didn’t like the way they were dressed, so he said they dress like hookers, and so did I. He had no idea how hurtful that was.

To judge your daughter by the clothes I was wearing? So I did anything I could to be out of the house. I hated being home. I would isolate in my bedroom a lot. Feeling sad and depressed a lot. But then my parents would turn around and let me go on a date at 14? OK, now I’m confused. My mom would constantly tell me I never tell her the truth about anything. That I would never amount to nothing when she got mad at me. When we were a bit younger, she would tell us kids that if we didn’t do what we were told, she would have my father drop us off at juvenile hall and leave us there.
Who threatens their kids that way? For me? I took the things she said to heart I suppose.

I never felt like I could talk to my parents about anything going on in my life due to the nasty verbal abuse, which continued into my late teens and 20’s. And this did follow me into adulthood with my father. We have always had a strained relationship.  I feel my mother caused this, as she made us kids afraid of my father. That he would be the one to beat us with a belt, buckle and all if she could not get through to us kids. We where not ‘hellish’ kids either. Well, in the last year of high school my brother did give them a little run for their money until he went into the Army. LOL.
This is one area I tell many parents about, to please talk to your kids. They only want to be heard. They want validation and unconditional love from their parents. They want to know they have a voice. You can still tell them, ‘no,’  of what ever they are asking for, but at least they feel they have been heard.

I do feel from being sexually abused, had a lot of bearing on the way I viewed things and others in life. Other people, men, relationships. And not getting that unconditional love from my parents, I spent years trying to prove my worth to them, and trying to find that love in many bad relationships. So my conclusion is NO, I don’t think mental health problems are directly genetic, or passed down from your parents. I feel the environment you grow up in can play a large roll. I remember from a young age, I had to be on the go, or moving all the time. I guess they call it high anxiety, or mild mania. Even just riding in the car, I would have to rock back and forth in my seat. I felt nervous and anxious all the time. Even to this day I have to shake my foot to fall asleep. So later in life when I was first diagnosed with bipolar ll disorder with severe depression & anxiety, I thought, how can you be depressed and have anxiety at the same time?

Well you can. I would find this out later in live when I got tangled into a severe gambling addiction with alcohol abuse at times. The gambling was the ‘excitement and movement’ I was using to feel ‘pleasure and reward’ in my life. I also was feeling entitlement to do the destructive things I was doing with gambling. Even today, one of my med’s I take is because I depleted this from my brain chemicals is what I was told from my psychiatrist. Being in a constant state of  impulsiveness and obsession, and on edge all the time with my gambling addiction. But I also used it as a form of escape and running from my past pain of my abuse and childhood haunts. As far as my treatment, I needed more than just cognitive behavior therapy and treatment. I had to get through all the crap I was stuffing away for years from my past as well.

And that is now where I am today. I have been in recovery now from gambling addiction 8 1/2 years. And yes, I did have many relapse’s along the way until I got a foot hold on long-term recovery. What I deal with most today is my mental/emotional health. It still is not where I did like it to be. I have and have challenges with depression with pain, agoraphobia with panic disorder, PTSD has reared its ugly head again, and adult attention deficit disorder. I’m still working through a behavioral center, and with a psychiatrist, and therapist. Two of my medications have just been increased. I take each day as it comes. And I try my best to not let all of this stop me from doing the things I love. The agoraphobia is the hardest to deal with right now. It makes me feel so isolated. Like watching life go past your window without YOU in it. But I’m working it.  I refuse to give up. I know there are many who have it even worse than I.

So I share what I am going through, so those who may not have ever had to deal with mental illness can see what it is like for those who do suffer. We need to change the Stigma and how people view others who do have mental and emotional illness. We need to continue to talk about it. I plan I doing so for a long time. . . .

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author and Advocate

Sharing my past Addiction, Recovery, Living With Mental Illness, and Childhood Trauma to Help others is INTEGRITY.

Hello Recovery Friends, Supporters, and Welcome New Visitors,

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Learning to live a life of Integrity in Recovery.  .  .  .

Many times, we as bloggers and advocates wonder if there is anyone reading what we have to share about of our lives. Not because we want to be popular or be noticed, we want to share our lives as an open book to the world, just wanting others out there may will find some comfort or happiness in our words. Many people blog for many different reasons. You don’t have to blog because of the negative things in your life, many blog to share their life journey for many positive reasons. Hell, some people blog just to learn to write better, share their bucket list, and the list goes on.

Blogging about ones past character defects, maybe poor choices, addiction, recovery, childhood trauma and abuse, and living with mental and emotional health issues can be a challenge. Yes, all that is a mouth full, but it was given to me in my life to learn from it, and I also see it as an opportunity to share it all, share what I have learned along my recovery journey to help others. It’s why I started this blog to begin with. My blog has helped me move from just writing about my recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, into a safe area where I can share what I went through with childhood sex trauma and abuse, and writing about living with mental illness.

Blogging has built my self-worth, and has helped me learn to embrace what I have been through in my past, in order for me to live a life of freedom from all of it. And even though I am still going through therapy for my mental health problems, I can share this with others too so they know there is no SHAME to do so, and that there is no shame of getting help. I want to let others know who may be going through what I am that it will, and it does get better, and let them have a voice here on my blog. A place where they can feel safe to share what they want. To me?
That is part of what Integrity means to me.

I want to share a perfect example of this fact. An example of exactly why I started this blog.
I want to share a resent comment made by a friend/follower that I met on LinkedIn about a year ago, and we have learned we have a lot in common. We visit each others sites, and connect a lot on LinkedIn. Now, like I told her, I’m not one who is comfortable tooting my horn, so I would share her comment her as she honored me with an award, but that part of my recovery, I’m still “a work in progress.” LOL.  I’m still learning acceptance of compliments and praise.
I know, . . . crazy, but it’s true. Addiction sucks the self-worth and confidence right out of a person, so we have to learn “we are worth more, not less.”. . . Funny right?

So here is the beautiful comment that was made here on my blog, and how I also responded back to the commenter:

So, we’ve been doing this discovery and recovery thing together for what seems to be a year now. S/o to the anniversary of a blessed friendship between you & I, Catherine! It’s kind of wild how that all boils down to me coming across another one of your brave, powerful and healing posts. I find myself in many ways, compelled, to testify to you on this powerful platform you’ve created here. I was touched as a very, very small child. By my mother’s boyfriend. The memories were so deeply locked away, I didn’t come to terms with their existence being real, not fake, until last year (in deep midst of my spiritual journey). I have only since, told my mother. Who, though believing of my trauma, was almost too believing, if that makes sense. As if, she already knew. In her heart. And was waiting for the moment when she’d have to be fully honest with that truth.

As a child, my mother always made a really big deal about telling her if someone touched me. As big a deal, as adults made about not talking to strangers back then (early 90’s, when child abductions and kidnappings were rampant). I never understood why she made such a big fuss. Never. Until I had to come to terms with one of my most haunting and buried truths. It all made sense. Her intuition knew better. But her heart and ego wouldn’t allow her to see. So as her spirit begged me to force her eyes to see, what her mind and heart had blinded, her physical ignored all signs. All signs.

I haven’t told anyone else this, outside of my mom, until now. Until you. Until this post. I haven’t even dared to pretend to write about it on my blog. What will I say? That I have memories from a time in my childhood that are so deep and buried, any “logical” person would question its validity? That’s why this piece your wrote is so powerful for me. It allows me to accept that even though I’m grown now, and powerful in my own might, I still dare to be afraid that they won’t believe me. That he’ll continue to win. As he has for the past 20 something years. Then there’s the fact that he is also the father of my younger brother. There is this guilt in me, that tells me to remain quiet for the sake of my brother. But Lord knows, I know better by now. I AM better by now. That’s why I chose to take up your offer here, and share my recovery. I am ready to heal this part of my broken childhood. Thank you Catherine.

Actually, I came on your blog here today, to honor and recognize you, in all you’re doing with this blog and book promotion company. And then I found myself in midst of it again. The Catherine Lyon Experience of Recovery and Healing! Ha ha! You’re magical woman! I’ve already made it loud and clear how much your blog, mission and bravery mean to me! So, I’ll save the words, and simply parade the symbol. I hereby, nominate you Catherine, and this amazing Recovery Blog for the “Real Neat Blogger Award.”  Not sure how many accolades you already have, but it is my honor to be able to add to them in appreciation of all you do. If you choose to accept, you can find the deets here –>
Peace & Blessings beautiful Catherine! And salute to many more years of a growing and beautiful friendship!

Now Here Is My Reply:

“I am speechless and read this with tears in my eyes Ms. Shaquana.
Many times I think to myself as I write and share my life experiences here if anyone really reads and FEEL what I try to share of myself. Your comments here proves that you never know when we share our God Given Journey, who it may touch, if anyone at all? I try to empower others to be in touch with their inner self as to not hold all the negative we may have been through in our childhoods hold us back any longer.”

You have touched my heart today with sharing your thoughts and feelings here with No Shame or Judgment. I want others like yourself to know this will ALWAYS be a safe place for all to share, and to have your voice heard and validated.

And yes, since we first met on LinkedIn, I know we were “kindred spirits” and that God had brought us together in this moment in time. Thank You for trusting in me to share your inner most pain. I bless you that you that you finally find that inner peace you SO deserve my dear friend.

I also appreciate the Honor of the award nom. I will put a special blog post to share your beautiful thoughts and share in the award. I don’t have a specific page for those, as I don’t like to “toot my own horn”. . LOL. But this one I will share.

May God Bless you abundantly,
Catherine XOXO
I guess this answers my question, if people really read and can feel what I write and share here.
I truly did have tears when I read her comments. And it validates exactly what I try to do here on my recovery blog. I know it is a lot to share, recovery from addicted gambling, living with mental and emotional disorders, and moving through all the fear, hurt and pain of a traumatic past childhood. Writing about it, and sharing with others seems to me the only way to raise awareness, help others understand, and educate others on how these issues affect many personally. That is also what Integrity means to me.

INTEGRITY is being of recovery service to others. It IS what has helped me stay in recovery for the past 8 years and 3 months.  .  .  .

About This Beautiful Woman ~ Shaquana Gardner
Her Blog: which I hope you’ll visit!

Shaquana S. Gardner
Current: Founder/ Adaptive Creative Specialist at Gardner Creative Consulting.


Shaquana Gardner

Shaquana Gardner

I believe we were born to dream and dreams are born to live. Founder of Gardner Creative Consulting. Founder of Human. Writer. Blogger. Educator. Activist. Jack of all trades extraordinaire. .  .  .


Real Neat Blogger Award Nomination Noms!

Please take some time and go visit these wonderful Honored Bloggers!
*Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

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LIFE With Mental Health Issues ~ “It’s Not Because I Don’t Want To, It Is Because My Agoraphobia Won’t Let Me”!!!

Hello Recovery Friends, Readers, and Welcome All Visitors,


Today I wanted to share a little of my own mental/emotional health challenges thanks to seeing this image on a blog. But not just any blog. It’s a friend and new author, Rhonda Johnson’s blog. And her new book is now out.




So her new book just released titled; Memoirs of an Addict, Fact or Fiction . . . Now available on Amazon Books. . .

Now when I saw this chart above, it hit home for me of what I use to be, what I used to do myself due to my undiagnosed mental/emotional health issues besides just my gambling addiction. AND WHY?
Because I happen to be sent an email from one of my book promoting clients about a wonderful WordPress Event for those who are on, or who  use WP as their web or blog hosting site.
As far as I’m concerned, WordPress is the BEST hosting site to have a blog or website on.

So I read this email from my client, and it’s an all day Seminar/Workshop being help by WordPress, and top bloggers on WP currently, who will teaching all you need to know about WP. Everything about their services, dashboard, themes, and more! So I took a look at the email flyer and thought, this sure would be an awesome opportunity to learn all the in’s and outs of my hosting site. Then my bubble burst when I started thinking about how many people would be there, and it’s an all day event of workshops, a mixer one evening, and more.

Just thinking about all the people, I could feel an episode of fear of my disorder start to build, just like when I have an attack come on out of the blue from my Agoraphobia disorder I suffer from, and that I’m still in behavioral therapy for. And NO it’s not that I’m lazy and don’t want to go, but the huge fear and shame I have when an attack comes on while I’m out in public, and around many people I don’t know. It is SO debilitating, and makes me angry all at the same time. Yes, I’m working with a therapist to learn more tools and life skills, counseling , and take meds, but I’m not quite all there yet. Here is what and how Agoraphobia is bit different from  just regular panic disorder.

What Is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is an intense fear and anxiety of being in places where it is hard to escape, or where help might not be available. Agoraphobia usually involves fear of crowds, bridges, or of being outside alone.

The exact cause agoraphobia is unknown. Agoraphobia sometimes occurs when a person has had a panic attack and begins to fear situations that might lead to another panic attack.

With agoraphobia, you avoid places or situations because you do not feel safe in public places. The fear is worse when the place is crowded.

Symptoms of agoraphobia include:

  • Being afraid of spending time alone
  • Being afraid of places where escape might be hard
  • Being afraid of losing control in a public place
  • Depending on others
  • Feeling detached or separated from others
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling that the body is not real
  • Feeling that the environment is not real
  • Having an unusual temper or agitation
  • Staying in the house for long periods of time

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Choking
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Nausea or other stomach distress
  • Racing heart
  • Short of breath
  • Sweating


The goal of treatment is to help you feel and function better. The success of treatment usually depends in part on how severe the agoraphobia is.

Treatment approach combines cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with an antidepressant medication, which may include any of the following:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are usually the first choice of antidepressant.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another choice. Other antidepressants and some anti-seizure drugs may be used for more severe cases.
  • Other anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed. For example, your health care provider may recommend benzodiazepines when antidepressants do not help or before they take effect.

CBT involves 10 to 20 visits with a mental health professional over a number of weeks. CBT helps you change the thoughts that cause your condition. It may involve:

  • Understanding and controlling distorted feelings or views of stressful events or situations
  • Learning stress management and relaxation techniques
  • Relaxing, than imagining the things that cause the anxiety, working from the least fearful to the most fearful (called systematic desensitization and exposure therapy)

You may also be slowly exposed to the real-life situation that causes the fear to help you overcome it.  A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, enough rest, and good nutrition can also help be helpful.

Some persons with agoraphobia may:

  • Use alcohol or other drugs while trying to self-medicate
  • Be unable to function at work or in social situations
  • Feel isolated, lonely, depressed, or suicidal

Now I have had many,  but not all of the physical symptoms  when my disorder started in 2011. But, I went undiagnosed for years, just as I did the bipolar depression and PTSD. Yes, there are a lot of labels, but I can tell you that having these disorders can really disrupt many area’s of your life.  I remember one attack I had in early 2012 put me in the ER.

I woke up and felt this strange feelings come over me, and the pain and shortness of breath along with the trembling, I thought I was having a heart attack! My neighbor drove me to the ER and was there all day. They told my husband when he finally got to the hospital later that afternoon, that I had so much fear and pain? They had to give me 3 separate shots of morphine to get me calm and pain-free.

And yes, they did all sorts of tests, EKG, blood work and NOTHING. When my husband told the ER doctor some other symptoms and mental health issues, the doctor told him I may have had a severe panic attack. I feel that it could have come from a lot of the work, feelings, and overcoming fears in therapy, since I sought seeing a psychiatrist 6 months before this attack. And it is what my psychiatrist thought as well, so he added 2 more meds to what I was already on. Today, my attacks are not that severe, but I do still have them. So something must be working. And yes, I do not go out of my house sometimes for weeks at a time. But currently working on this very heavy with my new psychiatrist here in Arizona.

So, back to the Seminar by WordPress. I wish I could go, but I’m not quite there yet in treatment to chance it.  But I can tell you that I fight each day like hell to claim my life back from this awful mental health challenge! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. What I just want others to know about mental/emotional health problems, and those of us who suffer? Just because we may look alright, or look normal on the outer appearance? Doesn’t mean we are fully healthy in mind, body and spirit  . . . . “Lets Shatter Stigma Together”

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author, Advocate and Book Promoter

An Important Blog Share From My Good Friends At NAMI, Helping Others With Mental Health & Suicide Prevention. . .

Hello Recovery Friends, Blog Friends, and Welcome New Visitors,

SuicidePrevention Pictures
I happen to receive the monthly newsletter from my helpful friends at The National Alliance on Mental Illness. And as many of my friends here know, I battle several mental and emotional disorders myself. And for me the topic of Suicide is a hard subject for me because of my own 2 failed suicides. Yes, I’m blessed and have a heart filled of Gratitude to still be here, but the flip side to this is being able to feel others pain when I read about others and suicide.

To me it is such a senseless loss of precious life. We are all born with such great abilities to soar in life, but sadly the society we live in today can make that an everyday challenge. Even the high stress levels of many jobs can bare to much for some of us. That’s why it’s important to me to start sharing my own mental illness, to be share that part of my life, and to share with others so they don’t feel so alone. And NAMI does a wonderful job at sharing information about how to prevent suicide, as it can be a difficult subject to also talk to your teens about. So I wanted to share this blog article they have on their website. It just may help save lives. . . .

Suicide Prevention: Can We Talk?
By Jacqueline Feldman, M.D., NAMI Associate Medical Director


Of all the topics in mental health, one of the most difficult to consider is suicide. People contemplating it often do not speak directly of it. Families are surprised, stunned, mortified, angry, and devastated in the face of it. Non-mental health professionals may feel uncomfortable asking about anything related to it.  And mental health professionals feel helpless, as we are terrible at discretely predicting and preventing it. There are tragedies, and there is fear; suicide is at the crossroads when these two meet. . .

As I review scientific articles, and program after program, the despair continues. In spite of more folks talking about it, more people training to identify it, and more programs put in place to prevent it, suicide continues.So what do we know? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24. More than 800,000 around the globe die each year; many more attempt it. The figures boggle the mind, and challenge us all: how can we possibly intervene?

Many of us know to watch for warning signs—a history of loss (social support, job, resources, health), prior attempts, family history, recent violence; changing appearance or behavior like plummeting grades or productivity, tearfulness, negativism, social isolation, drugs and alcohol); we’re not so good at communicating our concern or finding help.

Programs like Typical or Troubled from the American Psychiatric Foundation and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) to name just two of the many that have been developed, frequently focus on training sentinels—folks in a position to observe people at risk—to heighten awareness of those with potential for suicide, and help find relief and support for the person in need. And yet, still we struggle.

On January 9, an article was published in Lancet looking at the results of 3 different kinds of suicide prevention training on over 11,000 students in Europe: QPR, where teachers act as sentinels; ProfScreen, where mental health professionals provide screening, and the Youth Aware of Mental Health Program, which trains the students themselves. This program used “lectures, role-playing, and education about mental health and suicide risk” with students. At 12 months, there was a significant reduction of suicide attempts, and of severe suicidal ideation, compared to the other control groups. It has been suggested that perhaps this program was more effective because it offers interventions “before there are outward signs of risk, and doesn’t stigmatize individual students.” It’s an interesting idea: going to the at-risk population itself, giving them the education, and empowering them to make different choices.

The CDC suggests the key to reducing suicides is to reduce risk and increase resilience. We cannot begin to reduce risk or abolish stigma or enhance resilience if we cannot even talk about the topic. We need a structured national conversation, an engaged public, an engaged media, engaged policy makers, and engaged legislators.

How about a president who starts by mentioning the “dignity and worth of every citizen… (including) Americans with mental illness” in his State of the Union speech? (He did, last week!) How about asking every pediatrician and every primary care doc and every pastor and preacher (heck, place signs in every bus stop, subway, and grocery store for that matter) to educate each family to store firearms locked and unloaded, with ammunition locked separately, if a household member is at high risk for suicide? How about widespread movements to have the public certified in suicide prevention like so many of us are certified in CPR? How about offering NAMI Ending the Silence to every 9th grader to let them know about the warning signs of a mental health condition and what they can do? The list is endless.

“I know we all care. I’m ready to start talking, and doing; how about you?”

If you know someone who may need help? Please share this phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-8255  24/7 . . .
No Shame. . .  No Labels. . . Not Alone Anymore. . .  God Bless All!

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author

“More of my Recovery Ramblings & Mental Health Journey~Is Fear still lingering”?

Hello Recovery Friends & New Visitors!


Don't let the fear of failure stop you from doing what you were called to do! Kick FEAR to the curb and move on!

It has been awhile since my last rambling life session, and there has been a few things bothering me the last couple of days.

I have thought of my mom recently of her passing in 2003, and the legacy of bad behaviors she left behind. Now I’m not ‘mom or dad bashing at all, I’m sharing because I also been thinking of my dad as well. His 80th birthday is coming up at the end of this month, and it’s coming on almost 9 1/2 years since we have had any communication. I have been thinking of the FEAR around not making some form of effort or amends with him before he pass’s away. I have shared a little in the past about this subject, but it’s the FEAR that seems to be driving my thoughts about this.

Been thinking of my own life a lot to, and fear around how short of time I may have myself before I move on to the next realm. Which I hope is Heaven, but not one of us can say for sure if we will. Thanks to one of the Mental/Emotional disorders I battle,  Agoraphobia with Panic, my ‘fears” can be a little extraordinary Some of my fears are, “did I do enough in my lifetime to help others?  or did I even put a dent in, or leave a recovery foot print & some goodness here on this earth”? After all the devastation I caused to a lot of people within my addiction, the dependency on my husband due to my mental health disorders, and the daily challenges that comes with it, have I been working enough on the inside of myself personally, and within my recovery?

Embedded image permalink
I wonder this sometimes. My main mission in life was God-given, as I try to ‘walk by Faith not by Sight’ …
But even with having a strong faith in a power greater than myself,  my mind can trick me into feeling at times, Less Then”, which can be a litter ‘left overs’ of the disease of addiction. When I feel like I’m entering a danger zone?
I unpack that big box of tools I use in my recovery, and my box of life skills I’m still learning in my therapy. Yes, I’m back in therapy for a bit, as my psychiatrist thinks that damn PTSD from the  trauma I endured from my childhood has been back and bothering me again with the bad dreams.

So I ask myself, “when will this ever end”?  If I was to be able to look in the future, say 20 years ago, and someone said that this is where I’d be at 51? I’d have said there CRAZY! See, we just never know what is prepared for us in gods path.
So I have to believe, and to look at all I have been through, even to current, is a learning experience. It’s up to me to figure out what all this means. But when “FEAR” comes knocking, my mind is off and running again with doubt.
Why is that? I guess that is a question I’ll need to explore. Is it just me or can our life journey be that complicated?

I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that I need to reel this all in a bit. WHY?

Because it robs me of my peace, serenity, and makes me feel at times, unstable. That’s what fear can do. It makes us second guess ourselves. Now, maybe normal people can not think twice about it. But for a person who has mental/emotional distress, it’s challenging to ignore at times.
I do know that a little of those ‘uncomfortable feelings’ remind me of the worst part of my life, the past two suicide attempts I had. I’m sure that’s where some of the fear comes from as well …

Alice 105.9's photo.
So it’s why I come and write how I’m feeling. I have so many of you who come support me, and accept for me!
That means so much to me. It makes me know and feel that I’m not alone. I always get good feed back anytime I seem to have a little “bump in the road”! Have I told you all thank you for that lately?  Well, THANK YOU!
When we use our blogs to share about Mental Health, Addiction Problems and Recovery, or even speak about how Childhood Trauma has affected us in the now,  it is the only way I know of to be able to shed light on these issues that touch millions of us everyday. Back to my dad. See my family don’t understand at all any of these important issues.
They treat me ‘different’. Hard to explain how, but they do. Don’t let others treat you different …

It’s easier said then done. But if we speak up and speak out, it’s the only way to help SHATTER STIGMA, Raise Awareness, Inform, and help Educate others about these important issues. Yes, my mouth can get me in hot water at times, but when it comes to speaking out, Well, I do because IT’S WORTH IT!

Much Happiness & Blessings All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author

Important Recovery After Thoughts From Actor, Robin Williams In His Own Past Haunting Words…

“Robin Williams, Actor & Comedian describes his lifelong struggle with addiction that today is a ‘Haunting Awareness’ he had about recovery from addictions.
It’s a recovery legacy, an addiction awareness that he left for those of us who live life in recovery. Even though he lost HIS battles yesterday of addiction, recovery, and battle with mental health issues, he left this message, these past quotes for all of us to know, understand, and take to heart.
When will this trend of suicides due to ‘Dual Diagnosis’ of addiction relapse & mental illness? It’s time to STOP the government CUTS to proper Mental/Emotional Health & Recovery Services from Addictions! There are thousands of us out here who are not famous, or have the money for these almost always very expensive recovery and mental health services and treatment centers. But even when you have the $$$$, like Mr. Williams, guess it really didn’t help him now did it?

Snippets Of Mental Illness, Addiction & Recovery After Thoughts In His Own Words…

It’s not easy, and it’s a very POWERFUL example of the daily battles we can have, and even long-term recovery people can have a life threatening RELAPSE at anytime.
“It waits,” he told “Good Morning America” in 2006. “It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.”

Williams, the comic whirlwind known for his hilarious stream-of-consciousness ramblings, was found dead Monday after the 63-year-old hung himself in his San Francisco Bay Area home in perhaps his final attempt to silence the demons that relentlessly targeted him.
”Cocaine for me was a place to hide. Most people get hyper on coke. It slowed me down,” he told People in 1988.
“The Belushi tragedy was frightening,” Williams told People. “His death scared a whole group of show-business people. It caused a big exodus from drugs. And for me, there was the baby coming. I knew I couldn’t be a father and live that sort of life.”
“I was in a small town where it’s not the edge of the world, but you can see it from there, and then I thought: drinking. I just thought, ‘Hey, maybe drinking will help.’ Because I felt alone and afraid,” he told the newspaper. “And you think, oh, this will ease the fear. And it doesn’t.”
“One day I walked into a store and saw a little bottle of Jack Daniel’s. And then that voice —I call it the ‘lower power’ — goes, ‘Hey. Just a taste. Just one.’ I drank it, and there was that brief moment of ‘Oh, I’m OK!’ But it escalated so quickly. Within a week I was buying so many bottles I sounded like a wind chime walking down the street.”
“You know, I was shameful, and you do stuff that causes disgust, and that’s hard to recover from. You can say, ‘I forgive you’ and all that stuff, but it’s not the same as recovering FROM it.”
“Just as the gay rights movement only gained momentum when individual men and women summoned the courage to “come out,” I believe it is time for those of us who have struggled with depression to stand up and be counted.To understand depression and to reduce its stigma, we need to pull back the veil to show its familiar face”. 
“So I am officially coming out of the closet”.



*My own after thoughts? Robins Williams death makes me feel some FEAR if I’m open and honest here. Is this what I have to look forward to because I live my life in recovery and battle mental illness? I can’t help but wonder, and makes me a bit edgy.
We can still learn a lot from a man who truly put into words his past battles with addiction, recovery, and severe depression. The answer to my question from my earlier post of the non-famous that passed away yesterday? The other nameless people who were NOT in the headlines, or made national news? HOW many nameless people die from mental/emotional illness’s & addictions by SUICIDE EVERYDAY? … Here is our ANSWER.
Suicide (Latin suicidium, from sui caedere, “to kill oneself”) is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair, the cause of which is frequently attributed to a mental disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder,[1] alcoholism, or drug abuse.[2] Stress factors such as financial difficulties or troubles with interpersonal relationships often play a role. Efforts to prevent suicide include limiting access to firearms, treating mental illness and drug misuse, and improving economic development. Although crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.
  • Older age is associated with increased risk of suicide; people above the age of 65 are at the greatest risk for death by suicide.
    Approximately one million people commit suicide each year worldwide, that is about one death every 40 seconds or 3,000 per day. For each individual who takes his/her own life, at least 20 attempt to do so. Suicide has a global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000 people.



“Just Recovery with a side of Mental and Emotional Illness Please”…

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Visitors,

I wanted to talk a little about “Dual Diagnosis,” and living life in recovery, and suffer with Mental/Emotional illness and disorders, which I am a person affected with these issues…

Two things happened yesterday to bring this topic to light for me. The first was this very topic was talked about last night on my Twitter Tweet-Chat, as was yesterday morning I got a call from my husband’s sister. She said she had bad news about my husband’s nephew Ricky. She had to talk him into checking himself into a mental crisis center via the ER. I guess he has battled severe depression for weeks and started to have thoughts of SUICIDE! So he did check himself in. See, he and his brother has had a really rough patch for the past 2 years. And, I’m now convinced my husband’s side of the family has problems with mental & emotional issues. Ricky and his brother only just lost their mom to “Intentional Suicide” drug overdose a year ago. She to was suffering mental illness, and started miss using her psych meds which then took all her meds and committed suicide.
So both boys have tried to process all that, AND, they lost their father the year before that suddenly of a massive heart attack. So the family has battled, and were trying to process it all. All three have had past problems with Bipolar and Severe Depression problems for some time now before all of this tragedy. We as a family did all we could to help the boys mom, but it’s hard watching a grown person 24/7 when you also are working full-time. So as far as Ricky having these issues now, really it doesn’t surprise me. He has so much going for him too! He just got out of the Air Force, after serving 8 years, and got on with Boeing Corp., which he was so happy about.
So it makes me sad to hear that now he is struggling. Many times we get so wrapped up in Life, that we lose our awareness of HOW we are feeling, especially if you have mental illness. I know I have done this myself from time to time. I to struggled with my mental and emotional disorders in early recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse when I gambled. After my crisis center stay in 2002, which is when I was first diagnosed with Bipolar II with depression, and slight mania. And it’s really difficult working with behavioral professionals and doctors to get the proper meds for me, you at times feel like an experiment. Then, in 2006, I was back in a mental crisis center for the 2nd time, and not anything of gambling addiction. I had a total break down as 2 of my meds stopped working.

But I also made it worse by getting hooked on the thoughts of JUST WANTING TO BE NORMAL! So I stopped all my meds. Bad thing to do. I learned that lesson the HARD WAY. I attempted suicide for the 2nd time, and Thank the Lord I failed, or I wouldn’t be here right now sharing the importance of never screwing with your Psych Meds! I just had to come to acceptance that I have to treat my mental and emotional illness as if I was a diabetic, or have some other illness. I just kept asking GOD, “WHY ME? isn’t it bad enough that I have to live life in recovery, because I have no control over my obsessive nature & behavioral problems”? What the HELL is normal anyway? So I had to just accept what IS, and not get hung up on the Why’s? And I sure as HELL don’t let my mental & emotional limitations get in the way of what I love doing, and help others in recovery too.
So Ricky is in the care of professionals, and is safe. He knows he has the families support. But I still worry. The whole family is still worried. And for myself, it is at times a battle when I feel I’m stuck in a bipolar cycle, and if your aware of how your feeling, you can detect a rough patch so we use our life skills we learn to help get us through those rough patch’s. For the person going through it like myself, we have to be diligent with taking our meds properly, eating healthy, read and learn about your specific illness and disorders. And never feel like you CAN’T ASK FOR HELP if your just not feeling right.
I’m now going through a new phase of my own treatment of mental illness. Some of the psych meds we take can have other medical problems, and the one I’m having trouble with is my elevated blood pressure & cholesterol. So I’m going to have to change my meds again. But I will be doing so with the help of my primary doctor, and my psychiatrist. I have had blood work done, and a new brain MRI, and it’s amazing that they can show the colors of the scan, and places where you maybe having less, more, or none of depleted chemicals and area’s of the brain your having trouble with.
Now my psychiatrist says, besides the Agoraphobia I have, which came as a side effect from my years of addicted gambling, I’ve had problems now with PTSD & bad dreams from my childhood trauma & sex abuse. So it’s that experiment phase again! And I’m not looking forward to it. BUT,….. I will do what I need to do to stay balanced and healthy, because I know what can happen when I DON’T! My faith & hope gets me through a lot.
So when I saw these quotes, I wanted to share them here with this blog post, as they have much truth to them.
I know my higher power is always on my side. It was HE who told me NO to  my suicide attempts. He has worked Miracles in my life! And he can work them in yours to if you only listen and feel them.

Christian Today's photo.
Helping Others is what helps keep me in Recovery!

We Are Humanity's photo.Narcotics Anonymous's photo.
And yes, until you have experienced addiction, mental or emotional issues, many people don’t understand what we go through, what we face as daily challenges. It’s really time to speak-up and to speak-out about all these important issues. It’s why I write, blog, and share my own, so others who also suffer can know they are not alone, and that it is OK to talk about them. No one should feel shame because they suffer from mental/emotional illness or disorders. There is help available. Don’t wait until it’s to late, as suicide is NEVER an option. Not even to stop addiction. No matter where you have been, how far down that rabbit hole you may have fallen in, death is not the answer! It never should be! …


USA (& Canada) National Council on Problem Gambling Helpline
24 hours, 7 days a week, confidential Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-800-522-4700

National Suicide Prevention Hotline  1-800-273-8255  (24/7)
National Alliance On Mental Illness   1-800-950-6264 (M-F)
National Mental Hotline  1-800-662-4357 (24/7)
Disaster Distress Hotline  1-800-985-5990 (24/7)
Veterans Crisis Hotline  1-800-273-8255 (24/7)
National Domestic Violence Hotline  1-800-799-7233 (24/7)
National Child Abuse Hotline  1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
National Elder Abuse Hotline  1-800-677-1116 (9am/8pm)
God Bless All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon


What Happens When You Finally Get A Well Balanced Recovery? Your Humor Back!

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Welcome New Friends,



I happen to see this cute image on a blog and thought,  “that’s how I feel today.”….LOL.
I’ve been feeling a wee bit up, when usually I’m even or low with some depression. Being in recovery from addicted gambling, and having to deal with mental illness can be a Big Ole CRAP SHOOT on some days…LOL. Between having a cycle coming on of my bipolar, and the medication side effects, and keeping my feelings and triggers of my recovery in check, sometimes I feel I need a little HUMOR to get me outside of my head. CRAZY RIGHT? But humor, laughter, and smiling are good for the soul don’t you think?

Right now I’m laughing as I write this post, as we got a new addiction to our family. A 3 month old black & gray, with gold eyes, a little kitten named “Princess,” but as she gets into everything, and everything is a potential PLAY TOY, we should call her Monster!…LOL. But my point is, I need humor to stay sane and balanced in my life. I know many do. So a good recovery pal Dave is always trying to get me to laugh, and he sends me emails with funny stuff all the time, so I thought I share with you in pic’s what he had sent me for this week!

So hold on to your wigs because some of these are pretty funny! Thanks Dave for always giving me Good Humor to share with my blog recovery friends and visitors….


Bud ,Thought you might like these…. Dave…









My Favorite!! No Opinions Please…..LOL

.This ones for ROAD RAGE!!


Right Ladies?


Yeah, OK…..This one is kinda bad….LOL


. Now That’s A Scary Thought? OH!!…LOL

Well, at least I do AIM TO PLEASE with giving you a few moments of laughter & giggles!
Well,….I hope I did! Please have an awesome week in recovery friends, and in Life!
If we can’t laugh about ourselves a little, then what’s the point of LIFE? Life can be hard, and with Health a bit complicated at times, so let go and lighten up about it….

Hugs& Blessings,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
*Just A Reminder Below*


LEAF LEAFcouncil

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Some Recovery Ramblings About Labels In Recovery and Mental Illness…

Why do people put “Labels” on others?


It seems in today’s society and everywhere you turn, people are slapping labels of who they think other people are? As we live in an age of “Reality Stars and TV Shows,” everyone wants to have a LABEL….
They look for labels like, Diva, Famous, Rich, Star, Rock Star, even Important,” on and on. But all I see when people put labels on you per say, it can be like a virus! Now when a doctor or psychiatrist label you, it can make a person feel uncomfortable. But when other people give you a label, it may cause them to NOT seek help they made need from maybe a health or mental health issues, or wanting help from an addiction, along with other area’s.
So when others out there put a  label on us, I feel like it’s just another way for “STIGMA” to run rampant. I think and feel it leaves way to many doors open to judge others, possible discrimination, and put others in departmental boxes. Now, of course for medical purpose’s, labeling is a way for our medical professionals to give a patient a description of their aliments. But in our society, labels have been used for multitudes of reasons, some OK and many in not so positive ways.



I think you know what I mean. labels have become almost a cruel way to describe others as a sect, or group if you will. And yes, we can’t forget that there are many “Positive Labeling” as well, “Mentors, Roll Models, Sponsors, Donors, and Advocates, and so many more. Many of us  have a positive message we share to help others. It’s in our nature and in our blood! Even Actor’s and Actress’s can be positive role models, which is a far cry from “Reality Stars” because actors learn and go to school and work hard on their craft. I had an interesting “Comments” conversation here on my blog of a really nice follower who came and shared her thoughts about one of my earlier blog posts about, Mental illness and the Fort Shooting that happened a week or so ago.

Interesting enough, that is where I got to thinking about labels. She had mentioned about mental illness, and that she was not comfortable with a therapist or psychiatrist putting a “Label” on her, or of what she may or may not have. So I’ve been thinking about her feelings. ( You can see her “Thoughts” in my comment section of that earlier post )
We had a great conversation about it, and there were no hard feelings, as we did disagree a little about gun control for those who suffer from mental illness. But the point was that we were able to share how we both felt, and isn’t that what having a blog and conversation all about? Talking about important issues? Engaging with others to so we can help break down “STIGMA” around issues that need it? That is why I started BOTH my blogs.
To be able to engage with others on a wide range of issues. To help others seeking help from gambling addiction through my resources pages, talk about mental illness and childhood abuse issues, past or present. That’s what I am all about. I was recently cyber harassed as I did blog my feelings about it.
WHY? Why wouldn’t why?
It’s because this person was trying to out “Cruel Labels” upon me. Labels like, Fat, Lonely, Obsessive, fraud, mental and that I’m not who I present myself to be.

Well, there you go!! People putting labels on another person. This can be very hurtful and a very good example of  demeaning labeling someone. All I can say is “GOD” and myself truly know what I stand for, and the “Goodness in my HEART,” and that’s all that matters to me!
I have endured far worse than this all my life,……even from my own family, and I’m still here! Not labeling can possibly boil down to just “Being Kind To Others.”
Were we not born as human beings and pure of heart?
Many of us deal with labels, discrimination, and much more everyday. In our family, work life, people we meet and many other area’s. Were judged by Color, Sex, Creed, Religion, Sexual preference, Gay, Straight, Rep. or Dem., and so much more. How is it that others find the mean spirit of purposely hurting others by slapping a label on them? I guess I’ll never know. But labeling in Recovery from addiction, also those who suffer from any mental or emotional illness. Labels and stigma sure is still alive and well.

And to the person it’s directed to, is really like a Poison. Here are some types of labeling and the harm in that;…

What Is Labeling People?


Labeling people refers to the attachment assumed qualities to particular people. For instance, the British are stuck ups. It simply means trying to define the position or class someone occupies in society. As such, it works as a grading system for humans to see whether another is ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ than the speaker in the hierarchical order. Labels determine a lot how a person is treated in society.

Labeling Drug Users Certain Ways Can Inhibit Their Recovery

For those recovering from an addiction, word choices can make a big difference and either help or hurt their chance of recovery.

As kids, we oftentimes hear the idiom “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well, for those suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, gambling, and more, the choice of words can make a big difference and even hurt their chances of recovery. A recent survey conducted among health care professionals reveals that labeling someone a “substance abuser” may prevent them from seeking the help they need.

<3 The Sobriety Spot

The act of labeling people with mental illness

Human begins have been labeling people since the beginning of time. It is human nature to put labels on people in an attempt to better understand someone. People us labeling for example when they see a group of people wearing the same clothing and listening to the same music, and this is roughly the same concept used to help psychologist know what is happening to a patient. (Lain). “Psychologist is most likely to able to help individuals who are suffering from mental disorders when they can make an accurate pyschodiagnosis, an attempt to describe, asses, and systematically draw inferences about an individual’s psychological disorder.”
Over the years, the meaning behind labeling has changed. In the nineteen forties, labeling a person moron and idiot was used to describe someone with mental illness. “And the history of slavery indicates that African-Americans who tried to escape their white masters were often labeled as suffering from drapetomania, defined as a sickness that makes the person desire freedom.” (Sue, David). Now, Psychologists use terms out of the DSM-IV to describe people with mental illness. (Autonomous). Using this method of labeling people who have a mental illness has its pros and cons.  Cons of labeling people: making a diagnosis is simply the act of labeling the person, once labeled he or she may have difficulty overcoming the label, having a hard time identifying themselves without the disease (having the disease define who they are, instead of the disease just being the disease), and may lose hope of recovery.(Lain). Pros of labeling people: provides patients with a means of communicating about what is going on with their body to other people, helps identify and to find support, some people are relieved when they learn that the symptoms they are experiencing have a name, and offers a sense of hope and personal control over the illness.(Lain).

Labeling a person who has a mental illness may do more harm than good. Words have a powerful meaning, though we are taught to say “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Words have more of an impact on us then we would like to admit. Words can be used to hurt other people. (Jack Bragen). “Hitler once branded the Jews as abnormal.” (Sue, David). People, once labeled or have a diagnosis, forget who they once were as people, and start to let the diagnosis define who they are as people. This can be bad for the patient, because they not lose themselves, but they start to lose hope with the treatment itself. This also will occur when people try and diagnosis themselves. Thomas Szasz, a health professional, has stated that “. . . mental illness is a myth, a fictional creation by society used to control and change people.”

Read more:
So please, lets stop labeling others in a NEGATIVE way,…..It is be very hurtful.

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
“Addicted To Dimes”


*Mental Health Awareness Week* ~~ How You Can Help

Hello Recovery Friends, Readers, & New Pals,

Mental Health Awareness RibbonMental Health Awareness WEEK……*JOIN ME*

Here is a HOW I’M helping and celebrating *Mental Health Awareness Week* along side a Fantastic Research Program for the *Re-Development Guidelines of Early Intervention of Suicide Prevention* within the Mental Health Community Globally.

For myself, I’m just a regular woman, who became addicted to Compulsive Gambling, which brought out my Bipolar 2 illness to the fore front, as I’d been suffering many years undiagnosed. I always knew there was a little something wrong & different about me from others, but never could put my finger on it. And felt this way as a young girl. But then I had some traumatic events happen, as I was abused, and I am a sexual abuse survivor from the age of 9 to 12 years old.

It wasn’t until adulthood that I used gambling to hide all my feelings that resurfaced from my past, my emotional disorders, and more. That is how I ended up in a Mental/Addiction Crisis Center TWICE, Via the hospital. My first failed suicide attempt was from a very bad  Gambling Relapse and cutting on myself to get stress relief, but cut to far in my wrists in 2002. That’s when I got the diagnosed Bipolar 2 disorder with manic depression and anxiety…

I started on medications, and my life with mental illness began. My second attempt of suicide was in 2006, from stopping my medications for mental illness, as I was hung up on JUST WANTING to be NORMAL like the rest of the people in world! What ever the HELL NORMAL WAS. I got tired of people treating me differently because I had mental illness, even my own family. SO I Stopped taking my meds, then after a few weeks I got hopeless again in life and in recovery from my addiction, and took ALL my pills at ONCE,…..Needless to say, back in the Hospital I went, and almost didn’t make it. Then back into the Mental/addictions Crisis Center for another long stay. I detoxed, and started on all new Medications as the others stop working. I felt so low, helpless, and lost…

I share all of this, and about gambling addiction in my book, Addicted To Dimes,(Confessions of a liar and a Cheat)……
I started my book from a little girl, all the way through 2011 when I started writing my story down in notebooks, along with research and the many journals I’d been writing in since entering Long Term Recovery. I wanted others to understand, and give insight to a lot of ugly things about addiction, and Mental illness. NO, I don’t spell perfect,  or use correct punctuation, nor do I always form proper sentences,……that is what an Editor is for!….LOL

But I DO write from the *Heart and Soul,*  from my feelings and thoughts. My experience, of living in Recovery and having Mental illness, I feel make me qualified to be on this Panel of people who are helping the Website I’m about to *SHARE* with you.

The University Of Melbourne, Australia is doing Research and working on New Global Guidelines for Early Intervention on Suicide Prevention. It’s another way I can help those who have been taken from Loved Ones by Suicide, and to help PREVENT future loss of Life. Just like I try to educate others about Addicted Compulsive Gambling here on my Recovery Blog. In recovery, I have had to have Cognitive Behavior Therapy due to the Over use of my brain in my addiction. I know that my addiction also played a part of some other disorders I have that directly are tied to my years of gambling addiction.

Picture borrowed from: Copyright remains that of the original owner.


Here is a little more on what I’m involved in, THANKS to Anna Ross for inviting me to be a PANELIST, & part of this wonderful project! If you feel you’d like to help, Anna’s contact info will be listed within this Website I’m going to share. I’m sure she’d be happy to have your insight & Input.

“Click on this Link for Details”

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

Population Mental Health Group

Calling for suicide and non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) experts and consumer advocates

Re-development of mental health first aid guidelines for suicidal thoughts and behaviours, and NSSI

Suicide and NSSI are mental health problems of considerable public concern as 4% of the Western population are estimated to engage in self-harming behaviours, and suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide. In an attempt to prevent both suicide and NSSI, the Population Mental Health Group are re-developing guidelines for members of the public providing first aid for people who are having suicidal thoughts or displaying suicidal behaviour, or engaging in NSSI. We want to ensure the guidelines remain consistent with the current recommendations and contain the most recent and appropriate helping actions.

We are calling for people to join our expert panel for who are considered to have an expert level of knowledge about suicide and/or NSSI through their experience as a mental health professional or as a mental health consumer advocate. If you have experienced suicidal thoughts, displayed suicidal behaviour or engaged in NSSI in the past, we would really appreciate your help with what we believe to be an extremely important and worth-while project…

The total time commitment for this project is estimated to be approximately 2-3 hours, with all contact made via the internet. Once developed, the guidelines will be freely available to download from the Mental Health First Aid website: More information about the project can be found by clicking this link.

If you would like to express interest in participating or have any questions about this project, please let us know by contacting Anna Ross (

Population Mental Health Group           › About us   › Group profile

Group profile

The aims of the Group are to:

  1. Conduct research on what actions members of the community can take to prevent and intervene early with mental disorders;
  2. Translate the findings from this research into practical interventions that empower the whole community to take action; and
  3. To train researchers in this area.

The Group has a close link with Mental Health First Aid International which is a not-for-profit agency translating research findings into practical action..




©AP/ Lee Thompson Young

© AP/ Lee Thompson Young
Lee Thompson Young suffered from bipolar disorder
Oct. 9, 2013, 8:58 AM EST


Former Disney star Lee Thompson Young was suffering from  bipolar disorder when he committed suicide in August, according to a coroner’s  report.

The body of “The Famous Jett Jackson” star was discovered at his Los Angeles  apartment. He was 29. Officials ruled he had taken his own life by shooting  himself in the head with a handgun, and now a report from the Los Angeles County  Coroner claims the actor had a history of mental health issues.

In the report, one witness statement reveals Young had “a history of bipolar  disorder.” The documents add, “He was known to take his medications as  prescribed. He is a social drinker and denies any narcotic abuse. [Witness] last  spoke with him Wednesday, 08/14/2013, and he appeared to be okay. She is not  aware of any financial problems and denies suicidal threats or attempts.”

*Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon* *LETS HELP SAVE LIVES*

Dear Diary…..Today I said WTF?…..(Page 6 Entry) *Life Change at 50*

OK….SO, I had this Awesome Topic of seriousness and You Tube Video Link I wanted to share with all of you, And I will,……but as I signed on to the Web, a Story Headline popped up on my screen of a CAT,…..NOT just ANY CAT, this Cat is a *MAYOR* in Alaska!!! I KID YOU NOT….LOL….and you ALL KNOW I have a HEART & SOUL for CATS, So I could NOT HELP MY SELF, and thought I really need to SHARE THIS……THEN I’ll get to the Serious Stuff!

*BESIDES, My Humor is still in TACT even through all the moving CRAZINESS!*….

Feline mayor survives attack by dog assassin ~~REALLY? LOL…

Image: 'Stubbs,' honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska (Courtesy of NBC News)
Honorary Alaska mayor clawing his way back to health after vicious dog attack…

By M. Alex Johnson, Staff Writer, NBC News

The mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, was out of surgery Wednesday and is expected to survive after being attacked by a large dog over the weekend and suffering serious internal injuries.

Mayor Stubbs, 16 — whose title is honorary and who, by the way, is a cat — was heavily sedated after three hours of surgery for a punctured lung and a crushed sternum.

“Right now, they really have him very heavily sedated, because he’s in so much pain,” his owner, Lauri Stec, told NBC station KTUU of Anchorage.

Stec told The Anchorage Daily News that she hopes to visit Stubbs at Big Lake-Susitna Veterinary Hospital, about 70 miles away near Wasilla, on Thursday.

The mayor, whose honorary title was bestowed as a joke shortly after his birth in 1997, was walking around town when an irate canine constituent charged him about 11 p.m. Saturday (3 a.m. Sunday ET).

The suspect was still at large on Wednesday, described only as a “mean” and “large” local dog.

Stec told the Anchorage paper that Stubbs limped away to safety, setting off a search for him across the town of about 850 people in Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

“People were looking around with headlights and flashlights. Everybody was pretty upset,” Stec told the paper. “All I could think was ‘I can’t let him die out here in the rain.'”

Stec was accepting donations to defray the mayor’s medical expenses at Nagley’s General Store, where she’s the manager.


Now, to the more serious and interesting things. My good friend DeBorah Palmer happened to post this link to on LinkedIn and said it was a real good informational YouTube video. I just didn’t know what it was about until I watched it, and I
have to tell you I was SHOCKED!!

Now I Advocate for us who suffer from all types of Mental and Emotional illness & disorders, so when I seen this video, I said right away this HAS TO BE SHARED!…
WHY I was shocked, as I was hearing some of the Facts, Stats, and info that I had no Idea JUST HOW BAD, and HOW MUCH Farther we have to go for EARLY INTERVENTION so that many SUICIDES Don’t have to Happen…..

SO Please, even if you don’t know anyone with any type of Mental illness, this video WILL EDUCATE THE PUBLIC…The Link to the Video:
and is by: Thomas Insel….
It will change the way your look at others who HAVE Mental & Emotional illness and Disorders.

This next Link I hope you’ll watch is from our Military Sisters & Brothers who have come back from years of war with the Highest Ever Brain Injuries,  PTSD, and TO MANY Mental & Emotional illness SUICIDES are Happening! Here is the Link for this Video:

I know it has not been a secret about our Fine Military who fought for our country, and come back Stateside to there Homes being auctioned off, divorce, lack of proper Mental Health processing coming back home, which has made the Suicide Rate with Military Vets  and still Active Duty personnel Sky Rocket.

So the reason I wanted this to be my last Diary Entry before hitting the road on our Relocating Travels & Adventure, is to leave the post up for a while in HOPE that My
Recovery blogging community & Followers will SHARE these links with others.

Maybe with a little PRAYER it will help others, make a Tiny Dent in *The Stigma* around others with Mental Health and Emotional Disorders, and Educate the Public on the Challenges WE WHO SUFFER, have each day….

*Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

Addiction or Mental Health issue?….Here we go again! Actress Drowning….

SO…….Here we go again….Another famous person drowning in Fame and Fortune.
Is *Amanda Bynes* going to be the next famous actress we see weeks or months from now be the victim of drugs, mental/emotional illness, or booze fatality???  Or is it just a person Behaving Badly?? 

Amanda BynesA Happy Healthy Looking Girl……(below) Not Happy, Lost Girl….Bynes parents say their daughter smokes pot, has a substance abuse problem and is hyper-paranoid to the point that she used to cover the smoke alarms in their Thousand Oaks, Calif., house saying she thought cameras were spying on her. Here is just some snippets from various Media Reports about what others *THINK* is going on with the young woman…………

Amanda Bynes’ parents hope type of  court order that rescued Britney Spears will help their troubled daughter — but  experts say chances are slim

Rick and Lynn Bynes  sat  in a Ventura County, Calif. courtroom Friday asking for the same type of  strict, court-ordered conservatorship that pulled Britney back from the edge  five years ago.

Amanda Bynes’ parents said in their petition that they are “deeply concerned”  for Amanda’s safety based on the bizarre gasoline fire and their belief she has  blown through $1.2 million of her $4 million life savings in a “very short”  window that includes time living in New York.

THE SHOCKING and sad downward spiral of Amanda Bynes has been compared to  Britney  Spears  meltdown — and now the parents of the troubled Nickelodeon actress  are hoping for the same outcome.

Rick and Lynn Bynes sat quietly in a Ventura County, Calif., courtroom  Friday asking for the same type of strict, court-ordered conservatorship that  pulled Britney back from the edge five years ago.

The judge delayed any decision on the Bynes’s’ request for two weeks —  saying he wanted to have a “dialogue” with Amanda after she completes a forced  psychiatric hold stemming from a fire that she started in a stranger’s driveway  Monday night.

Bynes’ parents said in their petition that they are “deeply concerned” for Amanda’s safety based on the bizarre gasoline fire and their belief she has  blown through $1.2 million of her $4 million life savings in a “very short”  window that includes time living in New York.

They say their daughter smokes pot, has a substance abuse problem and is  hyper-paranoid to the point that she used to cover the smoke alarms in their  Thousand Oaks, Calif., house saying she thought cameras were spying on her.


Their claims were bolstered Saturday when posted photos of a smoke  alarm that Amanda allegedly ripped from the ceiling of a messy Ritz-Carlton  hotel room in Manhattan. Sources told TMZ she was booted from the luxury lodging  for smoking weed and acting rude.

“It appears she is exhibiting a consistent behavior pattern (with smoke  alarms), and the fact that the family was available to provide a history of  these behaviors is very useful,” said Steven Horen, founder of Manhattan-based  Koved Care, which provides private psychiatric care management.

The parents’ declaration also drew from a Daily News report that Bynes  stripped off her burning pants during the Monday night mayhem.

The bizarre series of events culminating in the fire and emergency courtroom  hearing harkened back to the public unraveling of Britney Spears in 2007 and  2008

Unidentified sources told that the actress has shown signs of  schizophrenia, but a source close to the family said Thursday that doctors  needed more time for a diagnosis.

Another expert said the root of her issues is key.

“If she really is dealing with a schizophrenic condition, studies show that  once doctors get patients on the right medication, they get back in line,” Cristian Arrieta, a lawyer who has handled similar cases in Ventura County,  said.

“But even if she might seem fine when she’s released, the question will be,  ‘Will she stop (taking her meds)?’ ” he said.

Stern said he expects that the judge on the conservatorship case will  consider the pattern of her behavior and whether she can recognize her problems  and poor impulse control.

“What a judge will consider is, ‘What is the likelihood of this occurring  again? And has (Amanda) gained insight and judgment and control over her  actions?’” he said. “If there’s no self-insight, that significantly increases  the chances there will be a conservatorship.” ………………………………..

**I’m very HAPPY that her parents are trying to help their Daughter, that the are involved…..many are not. With going to the courts for help……I have had some recent Experience with this…..My husbands oldest sister had lost he husband suddenly of a massive heart attack, Nov. 2011…….we were all shocked!

After that…..she just seemed to spiral down a dark path into deep depression, we all tried like hell to help, as she was misusing her medications, pain killers and pysc meds…..the family went to a lawyer to see if we could get her into a limited conservatorship, to no avail……she died right before Thanksgiving, Nov. 2012 of *Intentional Overdose* of prescribed drugs!!!

My husband took it especially hard, he had just spent a week with her trying to help, as all his family is in Arizona, and we live in Oregon. So you guilt for living far apart.
It’s harder when the afflicted person is an adult to get the laws & the courts to help, so I really think ALL states need to Re-Look at their Laws around this issue or we are going to keep having LOSS OF LIFE……….

SO, I pray for Amanda and her family in HOPES they can SAVE their daughter….Before it’s TOO LATE**……………

*Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

Mental Health Treatment & Addiction….Finally, Were Getting Somewhere…..

July 21, 2013

~Courtesy of My Addiction website

***I wanted to “Share” this Article because this will be a “HUGE” break through for the Addiction, Mental Health, and Recovery community!! I can not tell you how many times I hear in 12-Step meetings, and talking to others in treatment or in recovery how they are left and afflicted by many Mental & Emotional disorders and illness’s, including MYSELF!!!……..
I suffer now from depression, Bi-polar2 and Agoraphobia disorders. The Bi-polar had gone undiagnosed for years until my gambling addiction brought out the Symptoms to the fore front. The other 2 disorders are directly left over from my addiction as per my doctor and therapist. It will mean much better Treatment and Therapy Options for many who SUFFER!….***


There’s a movement afoot in Psychiatry and Psychology that has the potential to remake diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and addiction. Called, “Research Domain Criteria” (RDoC), the idea is straightforward, but difficult to implement.

The practice of medicine is described as both an art and a science. The blend seems necessary because broad statistical measures have to be applied to specific patients, and this patient, the one sitting right here, is a complex mix of too many interrelated categories to capture completely by some rote recipe. Even clear, demonstrated-in-the-lab conditions like diabetes will present differently in different patients – based on genetics and lifestyle. But in psychotherapy, perhaps the pendulum has swung too far into the ‘art’ and, as scientific understanding improves, we ought to look more toward the science side of the ledger. RDoC is an attempt to “scientize” the practice of psychological therapy and move it into the realm of biology. More science, less art.
With this in mind, the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) has been promoting RDoC for some time.

Criticism of DSM-5

An example of why RDoC changes the landscape should clarify matters. In the DSM-5 (the diagnostic “bible” for mental health), schizophrenia is separate from unipolar and bipolar mood disorders. The diagnoses are based on how the patient presents and the symptoms they exhibit. The treatments (and the billing for those treatments) are also different, depending on symptoms. Lessening of symptoms is also the best we can do to evaluate how effective treatments are.

However, there is evidence that schizophrenia and the polar mood disorders actually have the same genetic basis. From a biological point of view, the disorders may have the same cause. RDoC highlights this model with the idea that we should treat the underlying causes instead of focusing on symptoms.

Using the diabetes analogy, the current state of affairs would be treating the symptoms of diabetes (excessive thirst, hunger, excessive urination and so on) and labeling an improvement in symptoms a valid treatment, instead of giving insulin to address the root cause.
Currently, DSM-5 contains lists of addiction disorders and labels them by severity of symptoms: if you match the criteria for an “alcohol use disorder” in this edition of the manual, you will be ranked by severity and all the rest flows from that ranking – treatment recommendations, insurance billing, statistical reporting and others. It says nothing about a lab test for a biological marker indicating the cause of alcoholism and cannot differentiate someone who drinks because their peers pressure them from someone who drinks because they have an “alcoholic brain” or a genetic predisposition. No DNA tests are run; no metabolic studies are done.

This is made clear between editions of the Diagnostic Services Manual. DSM IV classified alcoholism one way, DSM-5 another. Printing a book with a new definition had the potential to increase the number of treatable cases by as much as 60 percent.

Is It Really that Bad?

Psychiatry and psychology aren’t going to disappear by revamping diagnostic criteria and making them fit clearer biological models. In fact, most professionals welcome this change. If lab values or standardized testing can make the situation clear and offer real comparisons between patients with divergent symptoms, they are all for it. The counter-challenge is to show the details.

It’s one thing to criticize therapy for mental illness on the basis of a lack of clarity and too much guesswork, but it’s another to replace it with something better. The chorus seems to be, “Give us the tools and we’ll use them.”
According to the NIMH director, Tom Insel, RDoC is more of a philosophical change than an immediate revamping of psychology and psychiatry:

It became immediately clear that we cannot design a system based on biomarkers or cognitive performance because we lack the data. In this sense, RDoC is a framework for collecting the data needed for a new nosology. But it is critical to realize that we cannot succeed if we use DSM categories as the “gold standard.” The diagnostic system has to be based on the emerging research data, not on the current symptom-based categories… That is why NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories. Going forward, we will be supporting research projects that look across current categories – or sub-divide current categories – to begin to develop a better system.

The real advantage in finding diagnostic criteria that meet high quality scientific standards is being able to test outcomes accurately. Dividing up patient populations by underlying causative factors means research studies more accurately compare apples to apples, so that treatments can meet an objective standard. This alone would help us say, with confidence: given diagnosis X, treatment Y will work better than treatment Z. That’s a big step forward!!!

 **NEVER GIVE UP ON LIFE….** ~AUTHOR, Catherine Townsend-Lyon~

*My “Silver Linings Playbook” Of The Stigma In this Country*


WOW!…..Was that really what I looked like before I was diagnosed with Bi-polar 2 symptoms and Panic & Anxiety disorders?  So my hubby and I watched the movie “Silver Linings Playbook” with Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, and Jennifer Lawrence last night. Now for those of you who have not seen this film, I won’t reveal much, but it is about a guy who was undiagnosed with Bi-polar with high mania.

He has a blow up regarding his wife, and takes a plea of 8 months in a mental institution, instead of jail. He lost his wife, his job, home, and while in the mental institute he finds he has full bi-polar. That’s where the movie starts at. His father also suffers from it, and OCD. He decides to “Skip” the meds he spits out, and begins a journey of finding the *Positive Silver Lining* in al he does, as he starts to rebuild his life.   SEE,  I don’t like really sharing this part of my life, because of “THE STIGMA” in this Country about *Mental/Emotional illness & Addiction* And I do BELIEVE it is high time this CHANGES!

So, the reason why I made the statement about, “is that what I looked like”  is because in a couple of  area’s in the movie, I could relate to the way he was acting, I to had done the same things before I started on medications. It was an uncomfortable experience watching it. I though, don’t have High Mania, I have more manic-depressive symptoms. After the movie was done, my hubby and I talked a little about the movie, and how it related to me before I got diagnosed. I to had a bad incident that landed me in the hospital with cuts on my arms and wrists, then was sent to an Addiction. Mental Crisis Center for 15 days, with the first 4 on suicide watch. My mind just went “BLACK”…….

I don’t remember being taken to the hospital by ambulance, until I woke in the crisis center. See, I had also had a very BAD RELAPSE of gambling addiction. I’d just lost 2 of my best friends to cancer, and I was to go that to her Memorial service, instead, I went and gambled at a casino for HOURS. Then got home and I just Snapped! I was on the phone with addictions councilor, which I don’t even remember calling her, and she called the police to come check on me because she said I was talking about killing myself. I’m still ashamed of that day, and all that followed, but……it’s my REALITY……and I only talk about it because I don’t want this to happen to anyone ELSE.

So, while in the crisis center, that is when I was first diagnosed with Bi-polar 2 disorder, sever depression, and Panic & Anxiety disorder. I was started on medications and therapy. It was a very “Dark” period of my life. I was using my gambling addiction to “Escape” from not feeling anything! Using it to cope, because I didn’t know what was wrong with me.  Then, I made the mistake of taking my meds in front of my family one morning while I was down for a visit.

See, I live in Oregon, they all live in So. Cal.  After that day, they started treating me “different”… there was something wrong with me, or I was some mental freak or something. This was in 2002. Then in August 2003, my mom passed. Same thing happened again when my husband and I went down for my mom’s funeral. They treated me different, like I was going to go “Postal” or something. And, my husband noticed it as well.  After coming home from our visit and mom’s funeral, my father was going to come up to Oregon in a few months for a visit with me & my husband. Well, I guess he changed his mind, went on a cruise instead with my sisters instead, and I have not had any contact with my father since then. I called many times, no returns call. My 2 sisters didn’t call or talk to me either.

I thought, “what the HELL……what did I do to them???……So, after months of no calls or contact, I wrote my father a long letter to explain how all this made me feel,……NOTHING!  Didn’t hear a word back.
It’s been 9 years now………so I ask? What Father Does this to his Daughter?  SO…..NOW you know why I say that the “STIGMA” around Mental illness and Addiction needs to change. How???  I don’t have the answer to that question……Maybe it needs to be talked about openly with family, friends, everyone.

We don’t live in a generation where if someone has mental and emotional illness that we lock then away in an INSTITUTION any longer because they are *Different* and ignore them as if they don’t MATTER.  We live in a generation that “EMBRACES” all people, with any disability, and treat them like the *Human Beings* they are, who have *FEELINGS* and just want to be *EXCEPTED* like everyone else. All we ask is to be treated Normally. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask for now is it??

My intentions are not to hurt anyone’s feelings, I’m just VERY Passionate about these 2 subjects, and feel deeply that it’s time to Change people’s attitudes around these issues.  “As DR. Seuss once quoted, “WE WERE NOT BORN TO JUST FIT IN, No, WE WERE BORN TO STAND OUT!”  *A Good Man with Positive Advice* *TELL YOUR KIDS YOU LOVE THEM…TODAY**

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