Posts tagged with "mental illness"

Eating disorder illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Eating Disorders × Covid-19

Eating Disorders and Covid-19

More than 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders

COVID-19 can be a nightmare for thembecause of the following triggers:

  • Empty grocery shelves
  • Feelings of uncertainty and loss of control
  • Social media messages about avoiding the “Quarantine 15” pound weight gain are especially harmful to those with existing eating disorders.

A recent study conducted by the International Journal for Eating Disorders found that symptoms worsened across the board for people with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorders nationwide since the lockdowns in March. Among respondents, 62% of people with anorexia have experienced more severe restriction and food fear during the pandemic, while 30% of those with bulimia and binge-eating disorder reported experiencing more binge-eating episodes, and a greater urge to binge.

Some of the facts about eating disorders are sobering:

  • 9% of the US population will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime
  • Almost 1% of us suffer from anorexia nervosa
  • Between 2-3% of us have bulimia nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder (BED) is experienced by between 2-3% of us
  • 10% of those with eating disorders lose their lives as a result
  • Eating disorders are second only to opioid overdose as the deadliest mental illnesses
  • About 26% of people with eating disorders attempt suicide

Eating Recovery Center is the nation’s largest eating disorder treatment center (with offices around the country, & virtual treatment options).  Eating Recovery Center provides comprehensive treatment for anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and other unspecified eating disorders.

Medical illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Mental Illness × Addiction Crisis

With Pandemic Worsening the Mental Illness and Addiction Crisis, Biden Administration to Provide Nearly $2.5 Billion to States, Territories for Treatment, Prevention Aid

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Funding to Support Comprehensive Community Prevention, Treatment, Recovery and Health Services

The Biden Administration will provide nearly $2.5 billion in funding to states and territories to address the nation’s mental illness and addiction crisis, which has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will direct $1.65 billion in Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funding and $825 million in Community Mental Health Services Block Grant funding to states and territories. The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program allows states and territories to provide comprehensive community mental health services and address needs and gaps in existing treatment services for those with severe mental health conditions. The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program allows states and territories to plan, implement and evaluate activities to prevent and treat substance use disorder. This funding will also allow recipients to maximize efficiency in existing treatment and recovery infrastructure, promote support for providers and address unique local needs to deliver substance use disorder prevention.

“We know multiple stressors during the pandemic – isolation, sickness, grief, job loss, food instability, and loss of routines – have devastated many Americans and presented unprecedented challenges for behavioral health providers across the nation,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Tom Coderre. “During this time of increased urgency, we want to assure them that funding is in place to help states and territories provide pathways to prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services, especially for underserved populations.”

Recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data confirming a rise in fatal overdoses during the pandemic. This year’s increases in calls to helplines across the country indicate growing anxiety, depression, and trauma in Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis have been especially devastating for Black and Latino communities, which are experiencing a disproportionate number of COVID-19 infections and deaths as well as higher-than-average unemployment rates.

“SAMHSA resources connect Americans to evidence-based treatment and services every day,” said Coderre. “Focusing on both mental and substance use disorders – challenges that pre-date the COVID-19 pandemic but that have worsened over the past year – will be a crucial part of SAMHSA’s approach to helping the nation move forward.”

In addition to the $2.5 billion awarded today, SAMHSA has awarded $686 million in Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) Expansion Grants; Emergency Grants to Address Mental and Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19 (Emergency Response COVID-19), and supplements to the fiscal year 2020 Emergency Response COVID-19 grant recipients.

Funding allocation tables can be viewed here:

FY 2021 Community Mental Health Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards

FY 2021 Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards

People searching for treatment for mental or substance use disorders can find treatment by visiting SAMHSA’s website or by calling SAMHSA’s National Helpline,
1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Food illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Eating Disorders in COVID-19

More than 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders, and these tendencies can be exacerbated due to the coronavirus. The difficulty of accessing specific foods and the discourse surrounding weight gain in quarantine can make those who struggle with eating disorders feel out of control and helpless. COVID-19 can be a nightmare for them because of the following triggers:

 

·      Empty grocery shelves

·      Feelings of uncertainty and loss of control

·      Social media messages about avoiding the “Quarantine 15” pound weight gain are especially harmful to those with existing eating disorders.

 

A recent study conducted by the International Journal for Eating Disorders found that symptoms worsened across the board for people with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorders nationwide since the lockdowns in March. Among respondents, 62% of people with anorexia have experienced more severe restriction and food fear during the pandemic, while 30% of those with bulimia and binge-eating disorder reported experiencing more binge-eating episodes, and a greater urge to binge.

 

Some of the facts about eating disorders are sobering:

 

·       9% of the US population will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime

·       Almost 1% of us suffer from anorexia nervosa

·       Between 2-3% of us have bulimia nervosa

·       Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder. Unlike more widely known eating disorders which disproportionately effect women, 40% of those with BED are men.

·       10% of those with eating disorders lose their lives as a result

·       Eating disorders are second only to opioid overdose as the deadliest mental illnesses

·       About 26% of people with eating disorders attempt suicide

 

However, if you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, talking to a licensed professional and receiving treatment can help.

Kaelen Felix illustrates Veterans Day for 360 Magazine

“Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” By Eric Power

Veterans face incredible challenges after leaving the military. From coping with mental health issues like depression and PTSD to finding employment, re-establishing relationships, and more – readjusting to civilian life is not easy. After putting their lives on the line in service of our country, veterans deserve more support than what they are getting.

The pandemic has only made this issue worse over the last year with the surge of loneliness, unemployment, and an increase in mental health cases among all Americans. A survey done by the Wounded Warriors Project found that more than half of veterans said their mental health had worsened during the pandemic.

Fortunately, a new book from recent military veteran, Eric Power can help. “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” is a powerful story of self-discovery that shares the keys to overcoming some of life’s greatest challenges and the wisdom and insights in this book are more timely and relevant than ever before.

“This pandemic has set a shocking and much greater feat for veterans (and all Americans for that matter) to rise above thier mental health challenges. Yet, I am very optimistic about the future and hope to provide support, advice, and my personal experience to help save someone’s life…” said Power, whose mission is to provide a valuable resource and life-changing advice to veterans, their families, and all struggling Americans.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction, “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” is a powerful story that shines light on the unique challenges veterans face after leaving the military. As an active combat veteran, Eric Power knows the sacrifices and struggles of civilian veterans. As a mentor and a self-development student, he also knows the keys to overcoming some of the greatest challenges in business and in life.

Power shares his success principles as he takes you through the challenges of David Little, a veteran facing personal and career challenges. Follow along as David meets his mentor, Ralph Power, who helps him discover his self-worth and shows him how to build life-changing relationships.

The statistics on veteran mental health are horrific. According to a 2020 report, roughly 17 veterans die by suicide each day in the US. This means meaning more veterans die by suicide every two days than were killed in action last year! This staggering statistic is why “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” rings true to 24 million veterans around the world who have some type of personal struggle after returning home. As the Coronavirus surges forward, we have seen an increase in mental health conditions among all Americans. The wisdom and insights in this book are more timely and relevant than ever before.

Of course, this personal development is a must-read for military veterans, but it also appeals to non-veterans because it offers timeless and universal business and success principles applicable to all people. This book is a valuable resource for military families or anyone with loved ones in the service. It offers a glimpse into the reality of the veteran experience and readers can learn more about what their loved one is going through and how they can help.

Whether you are a veteran or not, “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” is an unforgettable story about life, relationships, and the power we all have to create a lasting imprint on the people we meet and know.

The book was released December 28th, 2020 by Waterside productions and starts at $16.95 for the paperback edition. “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” is available for purchase on Amazon HERE. 

ABOUT ERIC POWER:

Eric Louis Power is an author, speaker, entrepreneur, and social activist dedicated to helping military veterans and their families achieve a better quality of life. Power served honorably in the US Navy reaching the rank of Petty Officer First Class and serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Southern Watch. Power has a total of seven deployments, with 3.5 years in Active Combat zones. He is the founder of For Veterans By Veterans, a nonprofit that provides assistance to homeless vets, and he is the founder and CEO of Veterans Disability Help, LLC, a firm that manages VA disability claims and helps disabled veterans get the benefits they deserve. Since 2012, Power has been responsible for redirecting over 2.1 Million dollars a month recurring from the VA, back to the veterans in regard to their VA disability claims.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT https://veterandisabilityhelp.com

Mina Tocalini illustration for mental health article inside 360 magazine

How To Combat Loneliness, Especially Now

During the COVID-19 crisis, all of our lives have been disrupted. We’re not connecting with family, friends and colleagues like we used to, and it’s easy to feel lonely. To help some of the people I was coaching, I wrote down eight ways to combat this feeling and tested them on our business clients, executives, and even some friends. What they found was they could, indeed, address their own sense of being alone and fill their days with well-being and even happiness.

 I thought I would share those eight ways. 

  1. You can manage your mind. If you visualize each day as one filled with purpose and meaning, you will find that the act of being alone or distant from those you care about becomes less important. With a little practice, you really can train your mind to believe that it is happy without others. Seriously, collaborate with your mind. It will do exactly what it thinks you want it to do.
  2. Exercise is especially important. It’s an essential part of a healthy mind, body, spirit. Find a ritual every day that gets you up, walking, working out, biking…anything that is not sitting in a chair.
  3. Plan weekends where you are at public spaces. Visit a park, a hiking trail or a playground, and talk to other people. Wear your mask and introduce yourself. You will find that you and they will feel less lonely. I did a podcast once with a woman who was always on the airplane working in all kinds of places—much as I had been. She used to walk in the parks just to create the feeling that she was not alone. Neither of us were ever really alone, but we were often lonely. The walks always quieted our minds and engaged our spirits in healthy feelings.
  4. If you like to Zoom, set up a time with friends on a regular basis for tea or a cocktail hour. You will find that the week flies by as you look forward to the gathering, and the time spent together is priceless. Even with family, family Zoom time becomes remarkably sacred. It has in our home. But, our friends are also happily zooming in and we are all talking longer and deeper than we might ever in a restaurant.
  5. If you are a Facebook person, join some new groups. In these groups you  can share insights, things you have learned or want to know about, or possibly new career paths you want to explore. Our Rethink with Andi Simon group has been growing beautifully with professional women from across the globe who want to help other women become the “best they can be.” Sharing has become a gift for each of them.
  6. Book groups are terrific on Zoom.  Book clubs, where you can join others and discuss hot books together, are booming for good reason. If you have not joined one, find a theme that might reflect your own interests and see what you can do to get involved. Here is alink to some that are open for you to join.
  7. Tutor someone. Find ways to identify young people who would like a tutor for math or science or geology or anything that is your area of expertise. Sharing is an immensely powerful antidote for loneliness. The gift of giving will make your loneliness go away as acts of gratitude will make you feel purposeful and positive.
  8. Cook! Make something (for others or maybe just yourself) and sit and eat it slowly. Savor each bite and enjoy all the different flavors and tastes.

COVID-19 may be keeping people apart, but with a little ingenuity and effort, we can find ways to connect – with ourselves and with others.

About Andi Simon

Andi Simon, Ph.D. (www.andisimon.com), author of the upcoming book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants (www.simonassociates.net). A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy®, Simon has conducted several hundred workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.

Allison Christensen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery

10 Times Teen Movies and TV Shows Portrayed Mental Illness in a Helpful Light

By Shay Siegel

The importance of learning about mental health and debunking the stigmas that come along with it has been expressed more and more in recent years. Mental illness is a valid struggle in the everyday lives of people from all different backgrounds and circumstances—it does not discriminate. Representation of mental health is especially important for teenagers who already deal with issues of identity and belonging simply as part of growing up and all the external pressures they are exposed to. Art and entertainment forms that explore mental health and real societal issues are contributing to these discussions. 

These ten shows and movies (some of which are based on wonderful books) have explored mental illness in one way or another and shed some much-needed light, helping teens realize they are not alone.

1. Degrassi 

This was my favorite show when I was in high school, and it has done a great job not only shifting to keep up with current times, but it has always confronted a variety of important issues that teens face. I usually think of Degrassi: The Next Generation, because that’s the segment of the show I grew up with, but the new version Degrassi: The Next Class with a different cast for a new generation is exactly what the show has always been about, while keeping up with the current atmosphere. Degrassi consists of a big cast, which is one of the things to love about it and shows a multitude of characters that struggle with different issues, both external and internal. Mental health has always been portrayed in Degrassi and manifested in many ways, from eating disorders, to self-harm and suicide, to anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, to identity issues, peer pressure, sexual assault, substance abuse, and so much more. The show is confronting, and it raises awareness and leads to deeper thinking and conversation-starting in a helpful and positive way. Degrassi is my number one pick for a series that shows all the raw and relatable issues teens face, especially mental illness.

2. 13 Reasons Why

I loved the book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, so naturally I was excited when it was made into a series. I know it has received a ton of backlash and been accused of glorifying suicide, and yes, the show may definitely be triggering and problematic in areas. There are many positives to be gleaned as well, though. The story confronts the very ugly side of suicide and the lasting effects of trauma like sexual assault and bullying on the psyche. It’s not meant to be comfortable because these issues are uncomfortable, and the show can help in processing tough topics. The story provides encouragement to think about how our actions affect others and how we can’t know what others are going through. And regardless of whether the show is hated or loved, it has absolutely started important conversations and raised suicide awareness.

3. All the Bright Places

I actually have not yet read the book by Jennifer Niven, but I watched the movie recently and thought it was a really realistic, while also heart-wrenching, take on depression. It’s helpful for teens to see two characters with different past traumas coping in different ways, and the idea expressed that some are able to heal while others still struggle. There is no one set of symptoms when an individual has depression and that was clearly portrayed in this film. The message of hope to find the bright places everywhere even when we might not feel like one of those places within ourselves is beautiful.

4. Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska is an adapted series based on John Green’s popular novel from 2005, which I also loved, but the series expands upon the book and incorporates updated ideas and messages that fit our current times and conversations, especially those that address mental health. The story unfolds as a mystery, and at times it’s lighter and a fun coming-of-age tale, but it’s so much deeper as it progresses, especially as the later episodes take on a more ominous tone and Alaska’s inner struggles become clearer. This is another instance of not truly knowing what another person is going through, especially when they don’t reach out for help in a direct way. This is unfortunately a reality of mental illness and one of the reasons is that those struggling don’t fully understand it themselves. The open-endedness of the story is realistic because that’s exactly how life is—nothing gets wrapped up neatly, but we learn about others and ourselves along the way.

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This is also one of my favorite books by Stephen Chbosky, and the movie is every bit as emotional. Charlie is an incredibly realistic character. His feelings of loneliness while continuing on day to day with hope are so accurate and relatable for any teen who has ever felt like an outcast. The deeper past issues that we find out he has repressed are heartbreaking, but I think the story does a great job in portraying that past trauma, while contributing to his current situation, might also not have necessarily created it because there are many layers to mental illness and there is no off button once a “reason” is realized.

6. It’s Kind of a Funny Story

This movie is based on the YA novel by Ned Vizzini. We get a look into many of the patients’ lives over the course of a few days in a psychiatric hospital, while Craig, the male lead, learns about himself and his circumstances, ultimately taking steps to heal. One of the most positive messages of the story is that Craig takes it upon himself to seek help, which many (or most) don’t feel acceptable doing. This is so important for teens to see. The idea that others can’t save us, and we have to build our own lives and not look to others to make it all better for us is also done well. The author of the book, Ned Vizzini, committed suicide, but he left a message of hope in allowing Craig to work through his struggles and show readers and viewers what goes on in the mind of someone struggling so deeply in hopes that those who need it may seek help.

7. Eighth Grade

This movie was cringe-worthy at times, which was effective because that’s exactly what this time of life is like. If you feel awkward watching someone, just imagine how elevated those feelings are for them on the inside. Kayla, the thirteen-year-old protagonist, is riddled with worry and anxiety about her every decision and encounter, and many of the times her fears are realized, which I think we all can agree escalates anxiety. It was an accurate and upsetting portrayal of what goes on both inside and outside during this impactful transition in life, maybe not for every single teen but certainly for the ones who feel that specific emotional turmoil.

8. To the Bone

This was an interesting take on how mental illness manifests in eating disorders. The idea of knowing how damaging your behavior is but also not knowing how to stop it or do anything different, or even just not wanting to, is relatable to anyone who struggles with mental illness whether it be an eating disorder or otherwise. This film has also been criticized for misrepresenting sensitive subject matter, but again, it has helped start conversations and it has definitely expressed an important message that recovery is not a straight line.

9. The Edge of Seventeen 

I loved this movie, and one of the best things about it is how “normal” Nadine’s mental health issues are treated. Her mental illness is not necessarily what the movie is about, but a driving force behind her as a character, and an accurate portrayal of depression for one unique person, since everyone experiences it differently. Although her struggles may be heightened by exterior circumstances and “being a teen” the way she views herself and the world are real and heartbreaking, and although she might not be in imminent danger she is suffering, nonetheless. The movie is also quite funny in parts! The balance of humor and despair work to provide light to all the darkness that exists.

10. Euphoria

This new series is extremely uncensored, raw, and even shocking, but it definitely captures the issues and pressures of being a teen in this current climate. A realistic and well-done takeaway from the series is how mental illness can completely take over and suffocate a person, even bringing on a terrible feeling of boredom and monotony. Rue, the main character, struggles with addiction, which first became an issue when she was looking for a way to combat her host of mental illnesses, and of course gives her yet another issue to struggle with when she is already in severe pain, if from nothing else then from being born into this world. The uncomfortable honesty in Euphoria is executed with precision and is a look at mental illness, while it has always existed, now in the new generation. 


Shay Siegel is a freelance writer, poet, and editor. Her debut YA novel, Fractured, is available now. For more information, visit shaysiegel.com, or connect with Siegel on Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads.

Justin Bieber illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Justin Bieber Tour Rescheduled

Justin Bieber reschedules his world tour dates and adds new shows

Grammy Award-winning Justin Bieber, announced his rescheduled world tour dates today.  The tour was to kick off in May but was postponed this Spring for the safety and health concerns of the fans and crew. The tour kicks off in San Diego at Pechanga Arena on June 2, 2021 and includes new arena stops in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago and more. Unfortunately, Kehlani and Jaden Smith will not be appearing on the new dates, but new acts will be released soon.

“I can’t wait to get out there and connect with my fans on this tour,” said Justin. “We’ve been through so much this year. More than ever, we’ve come to understand how much we need each other, and how meaningful these moments can really be.”

Tickets for new shows go on sale to the general public starting Thursday, August 6th and $1.00 from each ticket will be donated to the Bieber Foundation, which is committed to mental health wellness. Of course, all tickets will be honored for the rescheduled dates so Bieber fans resume their excitement in 2021. For more information, visit Ticketmaster.com or justinbiebermusic.com.

Tamar Braxton Attempted Suicide

By Eamonn Burke

American singer, actress, and TV personality Tamar Braxton was found by her boyfriend unconscious in her hotel room last Thursday. After an emergency call about a possible overdose she was transported to a local hospital. It’s reported that she had been drinking and using prescription pills that night, and the incident is believed to be an attempted suicide after this note was allegedly discovered:

“I am a slave. I do not own my life. My stories. My pictures. My thoughts or beliefs. I’ve asked my massa to free me. I’m threatened and punished for it. The only way I see out is death. I will choose that before I continue to love (sic) like this. Please help me.”

Tamar’s team has thanked fans and friends for the “outpouring of support that Tamar has received”, which is “a testament to the light that she brings to people.” Her family, meanwhile, asks fans to “pray 4 our family.”

It’s no secret that Tamar was having a tough time leading up to the incident. She sent an email the the bosses of WeTV, her network, shaming them for destroying her family and making her suicidal. She claimed that the show Braxton Family Values distorted the image of her family and caused “disarray” among them, even likening it to “cruel white slave masters who once chained our forefathers.”

Reports say Tamar is now awake and fully conscious, and is being moved to another hospital where she can receive more specific treatment for her apparent mental illness. She will remain there until further action is determined.

Lute Discusses Mental Health Struggle

While in quarantine, many people have been given the time to face obstacles they’ve chosen to ignore or push aside in the past. The reason for the delay may vary from person to person but it’s never easy to finally confront that issue. For Lute (Dreamville/Interscope Records), he’s now comfortable enough to share with the world his anxiety and his turbulent relationship with it. “Quarantine gave me time to reflect and really take a look at myself in the mirror, so I did,” he said in an exclusive quote. He continued, “Now I want to show y’all what I’ve seen.” In the sixth episode of Gold Mouf Chronicles, he sits with director Alexander Hall and his manager Dho over the phone, to talk through his extended trip to Los Angeles earlier this year from North Carolina and how not being able to record music in a studio for his album due to Covid-19 has aggravated his anxiety. Watch the episode HERE.

In the two very personally revealing conversations, Lute discusses how multiple family members also have anxiety and that when he was young he had open heart surgery, leaving his future up to fate. While the procedure was successful, he constantly felt like he needed to prove something of himself as he made frequent trips to get tests done on his heart until he was 17. His anxiety still affects him today, before shows, daily interactions with his family and team, and even while at home. His anxiety attacks have also occurred in very public moments, most notably during his Dreamville Fest set in and halftime performance during the Hornets vs. Rockets game March 2020. After a particularly bad attack last year, he started taking medication as well as attending meditation and breathing sessions at a dojo to help cope with his anxiety.  The episode ends with an explanation for the Gold Mouf Chronicles—an honest, fun look behind the usually reserved person known as Lute—and some daily affirmations we can all live by each day.

The series features Lute’s latest single “GED (Gettin Every Dolla)” as its opening theme. The single, which debuted in early 2020 following a cryptic social media campaign, has become a fan favorite. The Neal Farmer-directed video, has now amassed over 1.6 MM views on YouTube. Following its release, Lute stunned fans with a halftime performance during the Hornets vs. Rockets showdown at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2019, the Charlotte rapper teamed up with label head J. Cole, and hip hop phenom DaBaby for the track, “Under the Sun,” which was featured on the Grammy-nominated RIAA certified Platinum Dreamville album Revenge of the Dreamers III. Fans can catch the latest episodes of Gold Mouf Chronicles by visiting www.gettineverydolla.com.

Watch Lute’s “Gold Mouf Chronicles” Special Edition Episode Video HERE.

View Lute’s “GED (Gettin Every Dolla)” eSingle Retail HERE.

Follow Lute: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Wikipedia

Coronavirus, Weather, WHO, AccuWeather, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine

Mental Illness Battle

In The Apple and the Shady Tree, a memoir by Lisa Novick Goldberg, she explores her family’s generational battle with mental illness, which was worsened by her father’s role as the money man for the Genovese crime family. Here’s what Goldberg learned from her traumatic childhood in the shadow of the Mafia.

I have suffered from crippling anxiety and bouts of depression since childhood. The genetic component of these diseases was exacerbated by a series of unhealthy familial behaviors known as codependency. Years in therapy gave definition to the behaviors between my parents and me that had served up a bitter cocktail of fear, shame, guilt, anger and helplessness.

Based on my experiences, there are red flags indicative of any relationship mired in codependency, including:

  • A preoccupation and dedication to another person’s wants and needs at the expense of your own.
  • An inability to establish appropriate boundaries in the roles that each supports in the relationship.
  • An enablement of unhealthy behaviors in all parties involved. 
  • An unwillingness or impotence to stop the actions that limit and destroy each of the participants’ chances for a healthier life.

Codependency has nothing to do with love, though it often hides behind a mask of concern, selflessness, loyalty, obligation or commitment. These excuses have little to do with the interactions that characterize a co-dependent relationship. The “co” part of this destructive connection means that both sides are responsible for maintaining a strangling hold. Both sides get some sort of payoff for their exhaustive efforts, so breaking free from the “dance of codependency can be challenging.

My relationship with my parents was a study in codependency. My mother struggled with  severe depression and anxiety that was mostly left untreated. My father, though he lived at home with us, was largely absent from the family’s daily activities and he compensated for this by playing the “good parent” to my mother’s “bad parent.” My sister and I suffered greatly as pawns in their battles.

Early in my childhood, my parents’ often reckless behavior forced me to assume the position of adult in the family. My mother’s drastic and unexpected mood swings resulted in her spending an unhealthy amount of her life in the perceived protection of her bed, in her darkened bedroom, with the drone of the television as her only companion. She tried her best to be the idealized 1960s suburban mom, but she clearly struggled with the role. I became obsessed, in varying degrees throughout my life, with the impossible task of wanting to make my mother whole and to alleviate her suffering. Until just years ago, prior to therapy, we might talk on the phone as much as 10 times a day, with frequent disturbing conversations that rendered me too anxious to function. Our seemingly tight, supportive mother-daughter relationship was anything but: We enabled each other; I was clinging to the illusion of motherly love and she was struggling to maintain control of me. Both of us were operating under the cover of familial love.

My co-dependent relationship with my father was less obvious, but equally stifling. As I describe in my book, his role as the money man for the Genovese crime family involved long hours away from our home; a requirement that didn’t seem to bother him. As a child I could never get enough time with him, an issue of which I made him well-aware, but to no avail. 

During adolescence, I became obsessed with the fear of losing my parents to an untimely death. As my father’s job was mostly street-centered, I could not picture him in an office and my mind filled the void with visions of him out in the evil streets of New York City. There was nothing about my father that even hinted at vulnerability, but to me, he was out in the big, bad world with no one to protect him. I begged him to help ease my anxiety by phoning me everyday at the same time so that I would know he was alive and well. He insisted that this was neither possible nor reasonable (it was the pre-cellphone era, though I’m not sure that it would have mattered). 

In adulthood, my interactions with my father took on a more complex codependency. To compensate for his parental inadequacies, he tried to buy my love with cars, apartments, an expensive education, trips—material hole-fillers. If I couldn’t get his attention, I could at least get something.

I was smart enough to parlay my advantages into a better life for myself. My dad had strong opinions on how I should live my life and my fears and insecurities were a weak match against his strong personality. I willingly fed right into his need to control. It was far easier to have my father make important life decisions for me rather than to accept the responsibility of taking my own risks. You didn’t have to be a therapist to see the “co” in this codependent relationship.

We were “dancing” fast and furiously until, in my late 20s, I wound up in front of a grand jury investigation of the Mafia’s involvement in lucrative city development projects. Nothing was ever the same after that. My anxiety and depression escalated and our intermesh became even more intensified. I was desperate to break the cycle but didn’t know how. In the past, therapy and medicine had been administered on a crisis management basis, but not as a long-term solution. 

Unfortunately, it took the death of my father to help release me from the suffocating relationships with both my parents. I was determined to seek the help that I needed to change. In my 50s, unable to thrive with the behaviors that had fueled my codependency, I began psychoanalysis. I am 61 years old and continue the hard work of exploring the roots of toxic relationships and how to spot and run from their trappings. The lessons learned have gone a long way to foster and enrich my interactions with my elderly mother, my husband, my daughter and even my friends.