Tag Archives: sexual abuse

What is True Love? Not This…

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Every form of abuse is about power and control. True love is about mutual respect and honor.

PLAYGROUND BULLY: I’ll punch you if you don’t give me your iPhone.

PHYSICAL ABUSER: I’ll punch you where no one will see the bruises, act the hero, and tell everyone you’re crazy if you try to talk about it. No need to give me the iPhone.

SEXUAL ABUSER: I’ll hurt you and have fun doing it, then you’ll know your worth is bound in how you satisfy me. I own you and your iPhone.

VERBAL ABUSER: You &%#$! Give me the iPhone you little piece of $%&! Oh, you can’t give me the phone because you’re a nobody. You’re worthless.

EMOTIONAL ABUSER: Give me your iPhone because if you do not I will not love you. If you want it back you have to give me what I want or I won’t love you.

FINANCIAL ABUSER:  Your money is mine. My money is mine. I will decide how much you can keep or spend.  iPhone? You don’t need an iPhone because I want a new set of golf clubs.

SPIRITUAL ABUSER: If you do not follow the religious guidelines I made for you, you will go to hell. Guideline one: give me your iPhone.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Corinthians 13: 4, 5

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered…”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

 

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

Flashbacks Triggered by Catholic Church Scandals: How to React with Compassion to PTSD

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

Emily* was ill. Mentally and physically exhausted, much of her time at Timberline Knolls Rehabilitation Treatment Center was spent asleep or curled up on a couch in the lounge. On those occasions she did rise, her efforts at connection and function were heroic.

One afternoon,  she and I were the first to arrive at a large group therapy room.  No one in a rehab is at their best, obviously. However, conversation was cordial and sedate.

Suddenly, Emily threw herself into a huge bear hug and buried her head. She began rocking back and forth. Soon, she had turned her back to the room, trying to hide from the danger, pain, terror, and false-guilt that accompanied her flashback.

No doubt in her thoughts she was a child again, feeling all the sensations of abuse. Her momentary reality was darkness, a hand reaching through the black, her survival threatened.

Sitting next to her I began to whisper. “Emily, it is ok now. You are safe. You are at Timberline Knolls. People care about you here. Your head is on a fireplace hearth, your body is on carpet. No one is hurting you. Girls who care about you are all around. You are not alone. You are safe here.”

Continuing along those lines for a few minutes, eventually Emily started to come out of it. When her horrible flashback ended, she was quiet, yet present.

What you can do 

With all the news in the last week about sexual abuse in the Catholic church,  PTSD is affecting many men, women, and children. Not only victims of that scandal are suffering.  Any previous victims of sexual or other kinds of abuse may find normal days interupted.  They see or hear the news, and Bam! Unwillingly, they are tossed back to a time and place they long to forget. 

You may witness this. Please do not tell a person experiencing a flashback to shake it off or just give it to God. Instead, express your care and love, and help them refocus on the here and now. One way to do that is to start describing the room you are both in and the people who are there.  Offer assurance they are safe.

Knee-jerk reactions like “get on with it'” or  “quit feeling sorry for yourself” dismiss what is happening. A tortured mind, often complete with body sensation memories,  is temporarily overwhelmed.  To treat this like an attitude problem undercuts healing.

Mention there is no danger. If their pet is nearby, bring it over. Draw attention to what his or her five senses are experiencing in the present. Disburse any hovering  crowd. Keep your words and tone gentle, calm, and positive.

Later, after this person feels more grounded and less fearful, offer to help him or her give it to God by briefly praying together.  Say, “You are not alone.”  Never suggest they are failing somehow.

Compassionate love meets people where they are in the moment.

Today’s Helpful Word

Romans 12: 15 

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

 

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*b/w butterfly by XYMONAU ;  yellow butterfly by CLIOVON, both on rgbstock.com

*not their real names

Closer Look At Domestic Abuse

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Donna Rogers, Guest Blogger

(Today’s infographic and article is from guest blogger Donna Rogers from CNAClassesFreeInfo.com)

Stop Domestic Abuse

When a partner in an intimate relationship physically or emotionally abuses the other person, the activity is classified as domestic violence. Contrary to the commonplace belief, this abuse is not merely physical, but can also take the form of emotional and/or sexual torture. In either case, you need to look out for the signs of an abusive relationship and end it immediately before the aggression takes a greater shape.

What are the signs of physical and/or sexual abuse?

Physical or sexual abuse includes a series of highly aggressive activities like beating, pushing, slapping, biting, kicking and choking. In this abuse, your abuser is likely throw or break objects, punch the wall or kick the door during heated arguments, ruin your personal property, recklessly drive to make you feel uncomfortable, compel you to have sex against your wishes, keep you trapped in your home, deny to provide you the basic resources, prevent you from leaving the home, threaten to hurt you, hurt your pets, withhold your essential medication and even prevent you from getting in touch with the police. If your partner exhibits such behavioral traits do not ignore them and seek help immediately.

What are the signs of emotional abuse?

Very often we tend to overlook emotional abuse and do not take it seriously enough. But emotional abuse too is an equally relevant abuse, which can take an ugly shape if ignored for long. If your partner controls your daily activities, humiliates you, makes you feel intimidated, worthless, or wrong, constantly criticizes you, gets jealous without any valid reason, stops you to spend quality time with someone else, checks your phone calls, tracks your whereabouts, harasses you in arguments, controls your money, compels you to ask for money, uses your personal history to humiliate you, threatens to commit suicide if you leave him- it is high time you seek proper help, as these are some of the most common signs of emotional abuse.

What is the domestic violence cycle?

Yes. Domestic violence has a complete cycle which comprises of three phases. Here’s everything that you need to know about it.

The tension building phase- This is the very first phase where tension will build over some really common domestic issues like your daily chores, your lifestyle, money or your children. This is followed by verbal abuse. The victim might initially get intimidated and then try to bring the situation under control by trying to please their partner. However, this will not put an end to the violence; rather, the tension will reach its highest point eventually taking the shape of physical abuse.

Physical abuse- Physical abuse takes place when the domestic tension is at its highest peak. This abuse is triggered either by an external event or the emotional state of the abuser. The victim’s behavior has no role to play in this abuse. The physical abuse is usually unpredictable and is entirely beyond the control of the concerned victim.

Honeymoon phase- This is the phase where the abuser will apparently be ashamed of his behavior. He will try to apologize, express his remorse, reduce the violence and might even blame the entire episode on the victim. He will take genuine attempts to convince the victim by stating that the abuse will never take place again. This behavior will seemingly strengthen the relationship with your partner and assure you that leaving your partner is not necessary. But owing to this cycle, an abuser is going to behave the same way when they are suffering from a tumultuous emotional phase or are triggered by an external event.

Why do men abuse women?

Although there are instances where men too have been abused by women, usually the situation is other way round. Women have been mercilessly abused and tortured by men since time immemorial. Although no cause can justify domestic abuse, some of the probable reasons of this social malady might be self-esteem issues, extreme levels of jealousy, psychological disorders, problems in controlling anger and inferiority complex. Other men tend to abuse and violate women as they are driven by the opinion that women are inferior to men, and can thus be controlled. In most cases, however, men tend to abuse women because the idea of abuse had been normalized by the families where they have been raised.

Where can you find help?

If your partner exhibits abusive behavioral traits, do not overlook it. Consult a domestic violence hotline immediately. The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 can provide you with resources, information and advice 24/7. The hotline is available in 200 languages and for the hearing impaired.

Another option, if it is not safe for you to call you can use their online live chat service: http://www.thehotline.org/help/

Furthermore, you read more about abusive relationships and how you can end them here.

The most important aspect here is to not suffer at the hands of a domestic abuser. There is help for you and your family, but you must take the first brave step!  —D.R.

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 4:14-17

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, do not go on it; turn from it and pass on.  For they cannot sleep unless they have caused trouble or vexation; their sleep is taken away unless they have caused someone to  fall.  For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

 

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

 

An Interview to Save a Life

CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   Always The Fight Ministries   (c)2017 Nancy Virden  

Play the chant backward and you might hear Jeanette’s tale: baby in the baby carriage, marriage, then unending love from a source she never expected.

Her boyfriend-turned-husband cheated, convinced her to submit to sexual abuse in the name of religion, and nearly took her life. This marriage from hell almost destroyed her. Her confusion was compounded by wrong and ineffective advice from people in and outside of her church. She was not believed.  She was blamed, and expected to change her ways to make this dangerous union work.

Hear Jeanette’s story and more on the CompassionateLove Radio page of this website. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 32:22

Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.”

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

Your Mental Illness, Your Responsibility (Part Two): Did Something Bring It On?

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Little girl in car is going to miss her friends.

I read an article written in 1960 supposing that mental illness is not illness at all. A simplified version of the author’s reasoning was, in part, that the mind is not the brain. Personality and emotions (mind) cannot have a biological source because they are not tangible.

What is fascinating is just how tangible in a way, these invisible aspects of who we are have become. While we cannot literally touch emotions, brain scans allow us to “see” them as our brain works. The biology of mental illness is now evident.

Part one of this series takes a brief look at some of the science surrounding the topic of mental illness. Beyond what we know of the biology of mental illness and physical environments that may increase our risk, social experiences are tougher to define. Scientists call environmental factors the “second hit.”

We like to make comparisons because the more something is measured and  understood, the safer we feel.  If Johnny experiences the blues and is over it in a week, and if he never left his stressful job or withdrew from his friends and family, then all Susie has to do is quit feeling sorry for herself and grow up, right? Susie says she cannot handle work now, and stays in bed all day. We are tempted to say, “C’mon, Susie, be like Johnny already!”

Embracing the idea that Susie’s inner experience is different from Johnny’s might lead us to uncertainty. It helps to both look beyond the surface and to admit our limitations. Johnny may not have mental illness, or he might. Mental illnesses take various forms, and symptoms differ from one person to the next. There are criteria for diagnoses, and a professional’s assessment is superior to our guessing.

Some parents do well in teaching their children to cope after a death in the family or some other difficulty. As love and acceptance are freely offered in one home, the house next door may be unsafe. One family member may disrupt peace in a house. Many of us attended safe schools, while some students had to look over their shoulder every day. Religious training, friendships, television, video games, apps, books, and current events in the world all affect our beliefs, and how we think and cope.

While it is not precisely fair to say our families or one person brought on our mental illness, there are some connections from childhood maltreatment and trauma to adult mental illness that I believe even the most doubtful have to consider.

Trauma changes the brain. Whether lived or observed, people are traumatized by hard life experiences. Consider a boy who grows up in a violent atmosphere. He lives in survival mode during childhood while his brain is developing. He is flooded with stress hormones in a fairly constant state of threat. In a crisis, some regions of this child’s brain shut down while others fire up. There are “teams” (multiple parts of the brain working together) formed temporarily to handle fearful situations. All of these normal responses are overactive. It does not take a medical degree to see how this can affect the boy into adulthood.

Maia Szalovitz, neuroscience editor for Time .com, reported,  “Even among the most resilient survivors, the aftereffects of abuse may linger. Not only are such children at later risk for mental illness, but because of the way trauma affects the stress system, they are also more vulnerable to developing chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.” Scans uncover changes in particular parts of the brain in young adults who were victimized in childhood.

80% of adult patients in psychiatric hospitals were physically or sexually abused.** The lifetime number of suicide attempts significantly increases in cases of sexual abuse. Stress hormones early in life can damage us permanently. Our brain’s ability to bounce back, or flex with future stress may be injured. We may struggle to cope. Mental illness as an adult is itself a traumatic event, and with each episode the brain can be further damaged, raising the risk of more episodes.

What is True Love? Not This…

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2015  Nancy Virden

photo-24737764-a-man-holding-the-globeEvery form of abuse is about power and control. True love is about mutual respect and honor.

PLAYGROUND BULLY: I’ll punch you if you don’t give me your iPhone

PHYSICAL ABUSER: I’ll punch you where no one will see the bruises, act the hero, and tell everyone you’re crazy if you try to talk about it. No need to give me the iPhone.

SEXUAL ABUSER: I’ll hurt you and have fun doing it, then you’ll know who is boss and that I own you and your iPhone.

VERBAL ABUSER: You &%#$! Give me the iPhone you little piece of $%&! Oh, you can’t give me the phone because you’re a nobody. You’re worthless.

EMOTIONAL ABUSER: Give me your iPhone because if you do not I will not love you. If you want it back you have to give me what I want or I won’t love you.

FINANCIAL ABUSER: I will tell you how much of our money you can have and I will withdraw our money from you when I do not like how you are using it. iPhone? You don’t need an iPhone because I want a new bike instead.

SPIRITUAL ABUSER: If you do not follow the spiritual guidelines I set out for you, you will go to hell. Guideline one: Give me your iPhone.

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

 

The “Sleepwalker” Statue and a “Lively Conversation”

Compassionate Love:Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

Art is art, so they say, and freedom of speech is, well, free. We Americans like these premises most of the time. 

Years ago, in Cleveland, Ohio there was a KKK rally held downtown.  Close to that time a Cleveland-area suburban black family woke to a burning cross on their front yard. What do you think the reactions of the children from that home, now grown, might be to a statue of a KKK member placed near where they live?

At Wellesley College, an all women school in Massachusetts, an artist designed and built a life-like statue of a man wearing only his underwear, stumbling across the lawn with his arms outstretched. Sleepwalker.

Students are protesting and asking for its removal because it is frightening and a reminder of the threat of assault.  Wellesley’s President likes the ensuing controversy because it has caused “lively conversation.”

In both cases, I believe we are talking about something more damaging than political incorrectness.  

Due to a variety of flaws in our data collecting process, and the fact most victims of sexual abuse do not report it,  statistics on these crimes are incomplete. With the more consistent statistics we do have, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has concluded that 1 in 4 girls are victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18:

“In addition to low self-esteem; sense of worthlessness; abnormal view of sex; mistrust; anxiety and depression that many of these girls may carry into adulthood, young people who were raped or endured an attempted rape as adolescents are over 10% more likely to experience the same in their first year of college.” **

Is it possible that a quarter of Wellesley’s students have been sexually abused as minors? Absolutely. It is not just victims of prior assaults who are reminded of very real fears by Sleepwalker. 

I believe Sleepwalker is significantly offensive and makes light of the power of image to incite fear and traumatization. 

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline     1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

picture from Kozzi.com

*Sexual Violence on College Campuses, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center website, Resources section, retrieved from http://www.clevelandrapecrisis.org/resources/statistics/sexual-violence-on-college-campuses on February 9, 2014

*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2011). Child Maltreatment 2010. Available from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/research-data-technology/statisti…
*Statistics About Child Sexual Abuse, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Resources section, retrieved from http://www.clevelandrapecrisis.org/resources/statistics/about-child-sexual-abuse on February 9, 2014
 

Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse?

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   Nancy Virden (c)2013

Sometimes I see that a certain search landed someone on this site. The title of this blog is a question asked on Google or another search engine. Hopefully, the one who asked will find this post.caught!

Is watching porn emotional abuse?

YES   How so? Emotional abuse is taking advantage of another person’s emotional vulnerability. It can be crazy-making for the abused because wounds are not visible, and the abuse is often masked by lies and a pretence all is well. Those involved may be steeped in denial, and outside supports have trouble believing what they do not see or understand.

There are five groups of people who are emotionally and/or sexually abused by the one who engages in watching porn.

1) The spouse or partner disturbed by this activity. If no means no, then taking advantage of who is hurt by our actions is abuse. Likely, a wife (it can go both ways, but most often porn use is by men) will feel embarrassed. Why am I not enough? Does he love me for me? Does he wish I were someone else? What’s wrong with me? 

As the wife grows older and the models remain young, she may doubt she is still wanted. Spiritually, she might have trouble understanding where God is in all this. Perhaps she feels used and degraded as her core needs go unmet. She may withdraw in emotional self-defense. Her husband can try to use her reaction as rationalization for porn use, but whether she accepts blame, the problem lies with the abuser. He is not protecting her heart, the one he promised to cherish forever.

Watching porn is also adultery.  I heard a pastor say, “It is not adultery, it is an addiction.” Seriously??  With all due respect, if becoming addicted to a sin makes it ultimately OK, then let’s party!  He went on to say, “It just feels like adultery to the wife.” Notice there is no acceptance of female wisdom in his patronizing comments. My translation of this pastor’s words is this: Silly women get upset over this not-so-bad habit guys have. 

The definition of adultery by Webster’s and the Bible, is seeking sexual pleasure outside of marriage even if from lust alone. I might add, if it feels like adultery to the wife, it is emotionally abusive.

2) Women.  I’ve heard men say they do not see the insult to women in most of our media. Perhaps they do not see it because it is no longer offensive to them. The repeated downgrading of women to the shape of their bodies is obvious on TV, in magazines, in songs, movies, and on social media.

Here’s a challenge to scoffers. The next time you watch a “harmless” TV show or movie, be mindful of nudity or semi-nudity which will most likely be the female actors. Look out for violence perpetrated against beautiful and often barely clad women. Listen for comments about a woman’s looks; hear a rating system of girls’ value. Notice fantasies male characters joke about, and harsh judgments. Consider that the less-than-perfect looking actors are most likely men. Just observe. That next song you hear on the radio – what are the lyrics?

Do you see the parallel decline in our society’s treatment of women? Degradation of women has always been with us. Due to its modern-day availability, porn viewing entices  more bosses, husbands, teachers, therapists, pastors, government leaders, law enforcement officers, sons, students, employees, dads, and many others a woman or girl would like to believe respect her and have her best interests at heart.

Do we actually want to believe our society is not affected by this? Even if this man is outwardly respectful, inwardly his ability to control his thoughts as he relates to women is compromised.

Perhaps you are not sure you agree. When we value a point of view, we tend to defend it, yes? This is true in our thought patterns as well. If a man values women as sex objects (and he does if porn is enticing to him, even if he is not limiting women to that) he will mentally “defend” that position in situations where he finds himself tested. Will it show up in his treatment of women? I say, ultimately it will.  

3) Children.  People too young to process what is going on around them are exposed to pornography. ALL pornography. They see orgies, human on animal sex, rape, violence, incest, and every sexual possibility. When children stumble on these things on the internet, they do not forget what they saw.  It affects them. Boys and girls see and learn their supposed roles in sexual relationships.

This has a name – covert sexual abuse. It may not seem so obvious, but is harmful. Sexualized children include, and are not limited to, little girls whose moms bought them padded bras, daddies telling their daughters they look sexy, children stumbling across grandpa’s porn magazine collection, little boys copying their dad as he follows women with his eyes, and adults talking  about sexual exploits in the presence of children. Each of these actions and more, sexualize and damage children. 

4) The models/actors.  This may surprise you, but not all of them want in the business. There are those actors, desperate for work, who hear porn will kick off a career. Some came to believe early in life that this is all they are worth. Children and young adults are sold into the sex trade against their will. Why is there such a world that will steal a life to momentarily please another?

We have this world because it is a thriving business. The nature of porn is dehumanization, so why not destroy a person for money? Customers decide if a trade is bustling or not. We are responsible for what we promote with our money. As a collective, porn users emotionally and sexually abuse the models and actors.

5) The viewer.  Porn warps reality for the ones who lean on it for a sexual high or release of stress. They cannot have healthy relationships to the extent possible because their brains  adjust to a make-believe world. They become wired over time to react to pretend, not relationships. Why do we have the stereotype of the man hiding out in his house alone, watching porn movies in the dark? Because porn takes the viewer out of real life.

A person lost in a fantasy world where other people exist to satisfy the viewer’s sexual desires, will have trouble relating to reality. Dissatisfaction with life grows as his or her behavior becomes more demanding, distant, or secretive. Porn viewing is progressive, too. One has to dive deeper into fetishes, and search for more variety and experiences, to feel satisfied. 

Porn is emotionally abusive to an entire world of people. Am I saying porn watchers are victims? No, I’m saying porn’s existence has hurt us all.

Just as the wind is invisible but we know it is there, pornography is stealthily setting spouses, women, children, models, and viewers up for a terrifying fall. As internet generations grow up, we will see more results of childhood exposure to uninhibited and public sexual activity via porn.

As self-respect becomes more of an illusion for our girls, and masculine power and control tempts our boys,  we will no longer be able to deny how much this emotional abuse has damaged our world.

More on ‘Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse?’

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NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*picture from Qualitystockphotos.com