Three Cheers – Inspirational People/Books

After two days of some pretty intense posts, I thought I’d launch my first “Three Cheers” post.  Periodically I would like to post items that offer hope and inspiration.

First, I’d like to highlight two inspiring people that were in the news recently:

  Betty Ford, former First Lady, died on July 8, 2011 at the age of 93.  We mourn the death of one of the first people to speak publicly about her addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs.  Shortly after receiving treatment, she made it her mission to provide better treatment facilities for those struggling with addictions and founded the Betty Ford Center in 1982.   She was committed to this cause until her death, and her recovery and perseverance for this serious problem have offered hope to many people over the years.

Catherine Zeta-Jones shared her experience with Bipolar II when she sought treatment in April, 2011.  She was forthcoming in her description of her symptoms and the stressors that had precipitated her recent hospitalization.   Certain stressful life events such as loss or change of circumstances can play a significant role in triggering the symptoms of depression and hypomania (short periods of mild manias) that characterize this illness.  In openly speaking out about her illness, Catherine was an excellent role model for others who may feel too ashamed or afraid to seek treatment.

Next I would like to highlight two of my favorite books:

Breaking Night, written by Liz Murray, is an excellent book for anyone who has a parent with a severe mental illness.  I wish this book would have been around when I was younger.  This young new author was compassionate yet extremely honest in her portrayal of what it was like to grow up with a mother who had schizophrenia and addiction and a father who had addictions as well.  She did not downplay her own struggles which makes her eventual rise to success even more inspiring.

 Loving What Is, by Byron Katie, is my all time favorite book right now.  I stumbled upon it about 3 years ago after the death of my brother, and I still refer to it on a regular basis.  This book describes a simple method called the Work, that is very similar to CBT, for examining one’s thoughts in order to find greater acceptance and clarity about anything one encounters in life.  It is a gentle way of taking a second glance at our beliefs and does not require any pre-conceived answers, only the willingness to ask the questions.  It is an excellent tool to include in one’s recovery process and can enhance any plan of treatment.

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