My Interview with Lisa Sparrow and How Mental Illness Affects All of Us

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Lisa Sparrow is an inspirational woman. She sat with me for an hour on my blogtalk radio show, On Why Yet’s Watch, and was completely open about her daily battle with mental illness. That in itself is bravery in my book. Mental illness is such a touchy topic to speak on because growing up we (as a society) were taught to only speak of such things in the house – especially when it pertained to a relative or close loved one. Lisa shared her story with our listeners and I am truly grateful.

Depression is the most common form of mental illness that people are familiar with. There is NO one single cause of depression. There can be a combination of causes that can trigger depression:

  • Trauma – a serious trauma that occurs early in life can change our brain’s response mechanism.
  • Genetics – mood disorders and risk of suicide tend to run in families but anyone with a genetic tendency would be more likely to show signs of depression at an early age
  • Life Circumstances – marital status, financial standing, where you live could all influence or trigger depression
  • Brain Structure – depression is associated with changing how your brain responds to hormone stimulation
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse – 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have depression

16 million Americans had a least one major depressive episode last year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression. Young adults aged 18-25 are 60% more likely to experience depression than people aged 50 and over. Unfortunately, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be misdiagnosed.

There are many forms of treatment:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy
  • Brain Stimulation Therapies
  • Light Therapy
  • Exercise
  • Alternative Therapies
  • Self Management Strategies and Education
  • Mind/Body/Spirit approaches

Should you or someone you know suffer from depression or believe you do, seek help. There is strength in asking for help because we all need help at one time or another. For more information about depression and some of the causes of depression check out the following websites:

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Joyful Heart Foundation

To listen to the interview with Lisa Y Sparrow, listen to On Why Yets Watch with Author Lisa Y Sparrow

There is nothing to be ashamed of when dealing with ourselves or a loved one who battles mental illness.

Stay blessed.

My Baby Girl Turned 3!

Good morning. *Yawn, stretch, rubs tired eyes* Yesterday my baby girl turned three years old! Her nanna had bought her a pretty pink princess dress with matching princess shoes and she had been waiting patiently (or as patiently as a two year old can) for two months to wear them. “You have to wait until your birthday comes to wear your princess dress,” I had to remind her – at least once a week. Yesterday was the day. She woke up ready. Came downstairs, ate her breakfast and once she finished she dashed back upstairs to put on her princess dress. Princess Yehudi proceeded to enjoy the rest of her birthday in style…

Three years is a long time. And Yehudi has grown – a lot. I didn’t realize how fast she was beginning to develop her own personality so fast. I should have took notes when I was pregnant with her because she had her own mind, even then. In the womb she was bossy. Dictated what I would eat and when. Dominated my sleep patterns and positions. Physically assaulted my ribs from the inside, hahaha. I can laugh now but I wasn’t laughing then. We didn’t want to know her gender until she was born so everyone tried guessing based on the shape and positioning of my stomach. Even strangers waiting at red lights stopped to yell across the street and predict what gender baby I was carrying. She had fun tricking people. She even dictated my delivery.

When I went into labor it was normal for my fifth child. Contractions began speeding up in frequency and intensity while my body aches increased dramatically. By the time we arrived at the hospital I had enough strength to walk in and sit down in the first wheelchair that was within reach. Anticipating the cooling relief of an epidural my daughter played one her final jokes before arriving. While lying on the labor room bed and waiting for my epidural this little lady decides to karate kick my water bag AND dilate my cervix to the full 10 centimeters! Yup, no epidural for me. Then she practically delivered herself because she wasn’t waiting for anybody. Luckily the nurses were there to “catch” her as she, for her final joke before birth, showed me what the ring of fire really meant. Heh, Heh. Again, I can laugh now but I wasn’t laughing then.

She is definitely her own person. And that makes me smile sometimes. Other times it causes mounds of frustration because she doesn’t want to do what she has to do or what she is told to do. I see her laughing and blazing her own trails as a beautiful young woman and I pray I have the fortitude to allow her the flexibility to do so.

This Oppressive Heat!

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Okay, I know we are experiencing global warming and all but this is ridiculous! Sweating after stepping out of a cool shower?! Mother Nature we are extremely sorry that we tampered with your delicate system of balance but can we PLEASE get a slight break? I am asking on behalf of all humanity on the East Coast of the United States.

Okay. Now that I have voiced my plea I can get back to business. Or try to. Honestly, it has been so hot these last few days I was afraid to turn my laptop on for fear of a blackout. I am running two air conditioners in my house (one upstairs for the little ones and one downstairs for the general cooling of the house). I can hear my neighbor’s air conditioners running also. They have one in their basement (go figure that one) and one on their second floor.

During heat waves like this, blackouts are common in Philadelphia. Whole neighborhoods could be left to the mercy of the elements when the power company purposely shuts down certain grids (neighborhood hot spots). I used to know someone who worked for the energy company who gave me that inside tip years ago. Shh! Don’t tell anybody.

This heatwave is the reason why a home with shady trees, near a fresh body of water is on my must get list. Aside from that I really need more space. My children are getting bigger and will need their own rooms soon. I need office space so I can write during the day and stop hiding out in the kitchen at 5:00 in the morning. And I would love for the children to have access to their own grassy playground area in the backyard.

Okay, okay. Enough of my wish list. I need to do the ice bucket challenge before I melt and get back to working on Ego Trippin’. I didn’t forget about Lydia. My brain has been turned a little jello jiggly with the heat but it is supposed to cool down with a thunderstorm later on today. in the meantime I will keep reading what you guys are writing because you guys rock!

Ego Trippin’ Part 3

Thunder rumbled, rattling the kitchen windows as Lydia sat on her knees frantically scrubbing blood off of the vinyl flooring. With each crack of thunder Lydia’s hand gripped the sponge tighter until her knuckles began to turn white. The rhythmic tink, tink of the raindrops hitting the awning over top of the kitchen window was comforting. Lydia began thinking about what the nurses said to her when Nathan went to the cafeteria for a sandwich.

“Mrs. Williams, do you remember what happened to you?”
“Not really. I came into the kitchen and a strange man was there. Before I could call out for help I was knocked to the floor. I hit something on the way down and blacked out.”
Scribbling on a clip board the nurse looked Lydia in the eye. “You’re lucky to be alive. The trauma to your head could have been more severe. There was a 4 inch gash on the side of your head. We stitched you up but a vessel in your right eye ruptured and the force of the blow to your stomach ruptured your uterus which is why you miscarried. I am sorry to tell you this Mrs. Williams but we were unable to repair the damage. You will not be able to have any more children…”

“Wait… my uterus… no more children?” Lydia’s vision blurred as the tears absorbed into the patch on her eye. Instinctively her right hand went to her belly to massage her baby and she flinched in pain.

“We had to perform an emergency hysterectomy. You have 13 staples in your abdomen. In about two weeks you can come back in and have them removed. In the meantime you rest. No lifting more than 5 pounds. No standing for long periods of time. No strenuous activities. No sexual intercourse for eight weeks because of the trauma to your abdomen. You may…” Lydia zoned out as the nurse rattled off her discharge instructions. A soft knock, knock at the kitchen door jolted Lydia out of her thoughts. It was Nathan’s friend Mark. Favoring her right side, Lydia grabbed the handle on the cabinet door and pulled herself up onto her feet and opened the door.

“Damn. Nathan told me what happened. I’m sorry about the baby.” Mark said as he inched into the kitchen. He handed Lydia a bouquet of daisies to cheer her up. “If you recall anything about the cat who did this to you let Nathan know and we’ll go handle that right now.” Lydia averted her eyes as she felt her cheeks flush. Mark had always been nice to her. He didn’t know how Nathan treated her. Nobody did.
“Thank you Mark. The flowers are lovely. Let me put them in water and tell Nathan you’re here.” Walking gingerly to avoid the poking of the staples in her stomach, Lydia half-slid, half-tiptoed to the kitchen sink to grab a vase for the flowers. That’s when she saw the blood on the edge of the counter.

Nathan walked into the kitchen just then and stopped in his tracks when he saw Mark standing in his house. He looked from Lydia to Mark, sizing up the situation. He noticed the flowers Lydia had placed in the vase. Um, hm. Looking at Mark, he smiled but the smile didn’t touch the rest of his face.

Ego Trippin’ Part 1

Ego Trippin’ Part 2

Ego Trippin’ Part 2

“Oh baby, come on baby. Don’t leave me. You can’t leave me. I love you. I don’t know what I would do without you babe, come on, please.” Nathan pleaded, his head on Lydia’s chest, listening to the slow rhythm of her heart. Wiping tears from his face, he turned to the nurse. “I feel responsible for this. I should have never left her in that house unprotected. I just ran to my car in the garage for my cell phone. I didn’t even notice the window was ajar until it was too late.” Sniffling, he wiped away some more tears with the bottom of his t-shirt.

The nurse was heartbroken. “Mr. Williams, we’re doing everything we can for Lydia. I am so sorry about the baby. There was nothing we could do. Lydia was hemorrhaging from the force of the blow to her stomach.” Nathan released a fresh stream of tears and threw himself across Lydia’s body. “I’m so sorry baby. I should have been there to protect you and our little girl. Now she’s gone. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” The nurse, fighting back tears herself, quietly left the room and closed the door.

Hearing the soft hiss of the door closing, Nathan leaned towards Lydia’s ear. “Bitch, when you wake up you do what the FUCK I tell you to do. You fuck around again and it’ll be you down in the motherfucking morgue! Now wake the fuck up so we can go home. You got some shit to clean up.” Nathan hissed at Lydia’s unresponsive body. As to acknowledge his request the blood pressure monitor began to beep.

Several nurses came into the room and began checking Lydia’s pupils for dilation and checking her pulse. Nathan stepped away from the hospital bed and looked out of the window, trying to appear hopeful. Just as one nurse was changing out Lydia’s IV bag she felt a hand touch her. Lydia opened her eyes just a little bit and the nurse sighed. “Oh, Mrs. Williams. Oh I am so glad to see you awake. You gave us such a scare. No, no, no. Don’t move. Just lay still. Your husband is here. He never left your side.” The nurse smiled as she stated that last part. Lydia followed the nurse’s gaze over to her ’husband’ and felt a chill course through her.

“My baby. Girl. Is my Baby girl alright?” Lydia asked weakly. Before the nurses could respond, Nathan swiftly moved next to her bed. “We lost her. Our baby girl is gone. I’m so sorry. I should have been there to protect you both. Please forgive me.” He cried onto Lydia’s shoulder ensuring the nurses would hear his plea for forgiveness. The nurses, feeling saddened by the loss of the unborn baby, finished checking Lydia and left the room.

“Are the nurses gone?” Nathan hissed. “Yes”, Lydia responded. “Good. Now if the cops come asking you better tell them exactly what I say. A man broke into the house when I went to the garage to get my cell phone out of the car. When he saw you in the kitchen he punched and kicked you until you blacked out. You understand me?” “Yes”, Lydia whispered as she nodded her head slowly. “You know I love you. I don’t know why you always want to do things to piss me off. I promise that when I get you home things are going to be different. I love you and I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost you. Don’t ever leave me baby, okay?” Lydia heard these lies before so she just nodded her head to assure him of her cooperation.

A tear slid down her cheek as she silently said a prayer for her baby girl. This was the third miscarriage in four years.

Ego Trippin’ Part 1

Ego Trippin’ Part 1

Lydia laid in bed staring outside, at nothing in particular, listening to the birds chirping. Pulling the sheets tighter over her nude body she wondered why she kept finding herself here – like this. A tear slid down her face as the memory from the previous night surfaced. She squeezed her eyes shut to block out the memory then slowly climbed out of her bed and walked towards the bathroom until she heard him in there. Quietly she grabbed her jeans and a t-shirt from a nearby chair. Spotting her keys and cell phone on the night stand she picked those up and tiptoed out of the room. Grabbing her sneakers from the bottom of the stairs, Lydia Left the house through the back door so Nathan wouldn’t hear her.

A cool, spring-like breeze caressed Lydia’s face, uplifting her spirits. “I have to leave him”, she thought to herself. “I know he’s no good for me. But how can I leave now?” She whispered the last while rubbing her swollen belly. Just then she felt her daughter kick. Smiling, she massaged the imprint of her baby’s foot. “It’s okay Natasha. We’re going to be okay. Mommy’s going to take care of us.”

Turning the water off and pulling back the shower curtain, Nathan flexed his pecs as he admired himself in the bathroom mirror. “Not bad, not bad. Ba-by! Lydia! Wake your ass up! I’m hungry!” Wondering why she didn’t come when he called her the first time, Nathan snatched open the bathroom door and stormed into the bedroom. “Lydi… Now where the fuck did she go?! See this is the shit that I be talking about.” Nathan had just slid his boxers on when he heard the house phone ring downstairs. “Aye Lydia, pick up the goddamn phone! What are you letting it ring like that for?! You know I hate that shit! And tell that dike ass friend of yours to stop calling my house so motherfucking early! Aye! Lydia! You IGNORING me now?!!!” Zipping his slacks, Nathan snatched his shirt off of the bed and stormed down the stairs. When he reached the doorway to the kitchen Lydia was coming in from her walk.

“Oh, shit”, Lydia thought as soon as she saw his face, “he must have finished his shower early and saw I wasn’t in the room. Damn.”

“Bitch where the fuck were you! Who did you go see?! HUH!?” he screamed at her as he stepped dangerously close. Grabbing her shoulders he screamed in her face, “WHO THE FUCK DID YOU SNEAK OFF TO SEE?!” Lydia lowered her eyes and stared at her belly, terrified to say anything. Shoving her into the kitchen cabinet Nathan followed her eyes to her stomach.

“OH! YOU DIRTY BITCH! YOU DIRTY TRICK ASS HOE! I KNEW YOU WAS FUCKING SOMEBODY ELSE! YOU TRIED TO PLAY ME BITCH! ME!!! I TOLD MARK AND THEM THAT WASN’T MY MOTHERFUCKING BABY, I KNEW IT WASN’T MINE AND YOU GONNA LIE AND TRY TO TRAP ME BITCH!”

As he was saying it Lydia knew what was coming and she knew saying anything was pointless. All she could do was protect her baby. Just as the first blow spun her around Lydia wrapped her left hand around her belly to cradle her baby girl. When the second punch knocked her into the refrigerator she hit the side of her face on the door handle and slid to the floor. Blood spewing from her mouth, she silently prayed for someone, anyone to help her. That’s when she felt Nathan’s boot connect hard with her stomach. And she blacked out.

I’m Psyched To Interview Eliza David!

I got to interview Eliza David last night on blogtalk radio. She is the author of the Cougarette series in which a forty-something CeeCee dates a twenty-something Jay.

We have seen various scenarios of cougars, Courtney Cox even starred in a show titled Cougartown. But this series has me wondering what next? The best part about the interview (aside from the cool conversation) was the FREE download of The Cougarette that is available through smashwords.com, amazon.com and Barnes and Noble (if you have a nook).

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