About

a gift from the sea picI am an aspiring writer, a researcher, a nurse, and a mother of two grown daughters. I have a restless spirit and an open heart, and neither is easily broken. Because I don’t ever seem to be content sitting still for very long, I am pursuing my masters degree and hope to be finished by next fall. Some of my favorite things to do are running, swimming, reading, hiking, kayaking, and traveling, although there are still a lot of places on my bucket list that I’ve never made it to.

I divorced a couple of years ago, after spending 31 years in a marriage that shouldn’t have lasted more than a year. I tried really hard to make it work, spending countless hours in marriage counseling, weekend retreats etc, only to finally come to the realization that it was time to let go. I am so glad I had the courage to face my fears and end a relationship that caused me a lot of heartache over the years. The takeaway message from this experience – I can’t change anyone but myself.FullSizeRender-4For many years I have kept my family’s history of mental health issues hidden from everyone but my dearest friends. My childhood was tough and yet there were many happy moments as well. ย My mom had a life-long battle with paranoid schizophrenia, and her illness had a huge impact on our entire family.

I developed anxiety and an eating disorder during my teen years, partially in response to the stress in our home and probably partly due to genetics. Fortunately I was able to get help and recover from the eating disorder, but I have had anxiety on and off throughout my adult life.

Itย wasn’t until my youngest daughter developed an eating disorder and attempted suicide while away at college that I realized how important it is to speak out and become a mental health advocate. For too long people have been made to feel weak, ashamed, and less than human when faced with this type of illness.

I am blogging as a way to share my thoughts about mental health topics, to raise awareness and fight the stigma associated with mental illness, and to do what has always helped me through the tough times – write.SAM_0329Family has always been very important to me. The love for my daughters, grand-baby, sisters, friends, and family motivates me to stay healthy both mentally and physically.

Scott 10I lost my greatest confidant and cheerleader a few years ago, ย and I will always cherish the memories I had with my older brother, Scott, who passed away suddenly a few years ago.

 

I dedicate this blog to my mom, Shirley, even though I had a very tumultuous relationship with her because of her mental illness, I know she did the best she could. I hope that the near future holds better treatment options for people with mental illness.

116 thoughts on “About

  1. This is a wonderful blog and so necessary. Those who struggle with mental illness and their families need more than just medical opinions and professional advice. They need support of people around them and those who walk a similar path. They need to know that there are many in this world that do not view mental illness in the stigmatized way that it is often viewed. They need to understand that this view is changing and often what holds us back is not the world’s views but our fear of them. Thank you so much for starting this blog. I will share it with others who I know would benefit from your words. I hope to read more soon.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for your courage and commitment in writing about these topics. I applaud how you are taking care of yourself by taking control of the things that you can. It is hard to let go of a relationship. But, our well-being and those of the ones we love are worth the change. Wishing you well and sending you support. Lori

      Like

  2. I don’t think my last comment posted. I am not usually a blog reader, but this one I think is exceptionally important. I agree with Amy in all that she says above. It is so important that both those who struggle with mental illness and all those who surround them not stigmatize it. The fear of the stigma holds so many back from treatment and healing. It takes more than doctor and other professionals for healing to happen. It takes support and overcoming of the fear. This forum is a wonderful way to show support. Thanks Amy for sharing your story. I will share it with others.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for visiting my blog and your kind words. I hope that it will be helpful to anyone who has been impacted by a mental health issue, whether themselves or with a family member.

      Like

  3. Hi there, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog.

    I’m also apart of the Mental Health Writers Guild, and I have a new project coming up which I hope you’d be interested in working on.

    https://bylaurenhayley.wordpress.com/the-mental-health-art-auction/

    The Mental Health Art Auction needs YOU, to post about your experiences, raise awareness, and promote the auction that will happen in August.

    The auction will feature a piece of art put together by myself, which will reflect how each and every blogger taking part feels about mental health. What it means to them. This is an opportunity to get more people talking, and hopefully raising a lot of money for charity. Please check out the link and let me know if you’re interested ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey –

    You’ve previously signed up to be apart of The Mental Health Art Auction – thank you once again!

    Could you please quickly email me so that I have your email address.
    xlaurensowterx@hotmail.co.uk

    When it comes closer to the event I will be sending out emails with more information for you to get started so I need to gather everyone’s details!

    Thanks, speak to you soon,
    Lauren

    https://bylaurenhayley.wordpress.com/the-mental-health-art-auction/

    Like

  5. Pingback: We’ve reached 50! | By Lauren Hayley

  6. Your story is an inspiration. Wishing you all of the best for your future in nursing.
    As a practicing psych NP for 17 years and an RN for 11 yrs before that, I can only remind you always take care of yourself first or you won’t be any good to others. When you practice extreme self care, you will shine and then truly do wonders for others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for that timely advice. I am entering a phase in my life where I really want to be be able to focus on taking care of myself yet I still find it difficult to remember. I admire you for your dedication to psych nursing. I am sure you have a lot to offer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there, We do indeed have much in common. I love your perspective on how you coped and got through your divorce. It is quite inspirational. Thank you for visiting my site. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Amy,

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I love your blog and I look forward to spending days reading your wonderful posts and learning from your expereince. I have to say, Your Grand baby steals the light here.

    Blessed be and Keep up your Good work.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Pingback: Another Liebster Nomination! | Petal & Mortar

  9. Hi just found your blog via the photo 101 treasure assignment. Whilst on the surface our themes don’t seem to have a huge amount in common, mental health is actually quite a big issue for expat partners and I’ve already written posts about depression amongst expats and relationship problems. On a personal note, I lost my eldest brother very suddenly and unexpectedly last year so we also have that in common (sadly). Anyway I’ll be following your blog to find out more about this important subject.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I just visited your page and think it is great that you acknowledge the mental health issues that can be a part of your travels. It must be quite a balancing act and it is refreshing to see you write about it. I am sorry to hear about your brother – it is a devastating loss. I will be following your blog as well. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s quite a touching story. Thank you for being willing to share your struggles openly and for reaching out to help others. Communication is a key that can unlock many blessings.

    Thanks for following my blog! I hope if you can find the time that you will stop by my page called โ€œReasons to Smileโ€ and leave a comment. Itโ€™s a list of things people are thankful for, just to encourage each other. Iโ€™d love to hear your thoughts!

    Like

  11. Thanks for following me first of all. I love your blog and the honesty of mental illness. So many rather keep their secret and remain suffering while others like you open the door of vulnerability and yet find freedom in sharing their hurt, pain, fear, and life in general. Because of this, it helps others not feel so alone and gives them the bravery to speak up and speak out for the voiceless or too ashamed to say anything. Blessings to you in this journey. May you find your own peace and freedom as you blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Great platform for a blog, Amy. Mental health issues are part of everyone’s life, probably. I didn’t think that would be so, but then I had teenagers who went through eating disorders and suicide attempts and drug use while my husband was dying. That was a kind of cosmic two-by-four, but it taught me a LOT about my perceptions and my Christian suburban community. I’ve journeyed past that community now with my eyes more widely opened. I think it’s a service to help people see things that have been swept out of the scene for so long. Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: the discouraging blunder reward | blahpolar diaries

  14. You have a fascinating, candid and familiar “About” here. I won’t list all the ways I relate to your story, but I’m glad to have found your blog. Thanks for visiting and following mine. โ˜บ Van

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It is so sweet of you to dedicate your blog to your mother. I share similar thoughts and wishes for better treatment and as well society acceptation for people with mental illness. In my home country, they do not get health care priority ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for reading my posts. I think it is really sad that so many countries, including mine, don’t provide the proper care to people with mental illnesses. I hope that I can raise awareness by writing this blog and really appreciate the support you give by visiting my site :). Have a wonderful day.

      Like

  16. Hi, Amy – thank you for visiting and following my blog.
    I appreciate the support. It’s nice and a pleasure to have discovered you blog.
    I love your ‘About’ page and your inspiring story and journey.
    Keep writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Good to read about you and your mom’s illness. Recently I had been going through bad face in my own life. When I discovered that my wife is schizophrenic. This was just after 2 Months of our marriage. I did not know anything about this illness, after i came to know that she is suffering from this. I read a lot about it. She was not Paranoid Schizophrenic, but Schizophrenic with -ve Symptoms. She always be depressed, did not watch any television or talk to anyone. She would for hours sit and pray. For Hours I mean on a daily basics 8 Hours!!! She did not look at me, no eye to eye contact. She never brushed her teeth or washed her cloths, she became angry when we confronted her. She also had been cutting her hand with blade. I tried to take her to Doctor but she was not interested in treatment. She did not like going to Doctor at all. Finally I gave up and now filed for Divorce. Just wanted to know how did you cope up with your mom’s illness? Was my decision valid?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am very sorry to hear about what you and your wife have been going through. It is not uncommon for someone who has schizophrenia to not understand they are sick. I cannot tell you what is the right thing to do. It is a very difficult situation for everyone and I hope that one day there will be better treatment options for those who have this kind of illness. I wish you all the best. Thank you for visiting my site.

      Like

  18. I think you have done a wonderful job here, Amy. The only way to get respect for mental illness is to speak out. I do wish that more people would follow in your footsteps. You have overcome challenging obstacles. I am proud of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I know what you’re saying about your knees and running. Mine have never been the same–and I wasn’t what you’d call a serious runner. These days I walk more, and I enjoy it more.

    Like

  20. Thank you Amy for stopping by my blog and following. You are a brave, brave person. Few people would want to talk about this. It’s really great that you have decided to address mental health issues on your blog as people do need to know and be open about it. The issues maybe different, but I am sure people can learn a lot from your experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you for sharing your family story with us. I really feel for you. I am very much a family person too, I’m very close to my two teenage daughters. Mental health issues are all to often hidden in a veil of secrecy that only makes things worse. Well done for creating a blog that will address this in a personal way.

    Like

  22. You’re doing a great service in bringing attention to this devastating problem, Shirley. And it sounds like despite the problems you have faced in your own childhood, you didn’t let it slow you down in living your own life, and there is a lesson in that too. As for following my blog; I’d send you a check, but it would likely have so much rubber in it you’d never catch it in time to put it in the bank. Probably just as well, I suspect your not the type to take a bribe. So thank you for taking the chance and following me without the bribe. I hope I always put a smile on your face and leave you laughing, its great medicine they say, even if it is me trying to prescribe the laughs. Hope you have a wonderful weekend Shirley. :O)

    Like

  23. I loved to read your “about”. An amazing woman with an amazing life forming story! Thank you for following me. I finally made it to check your blog out ๐Ÿ™‚ and I am happily following you back, Amy!

    Like

  24. Hi there. It’s bipolar brainiac. the Adderall withdrawal chick. I also have an eating disorder and when, due to my antipsychotic helping me gain weight up to 220lb…and 30% chance of diabetes, and ADHD, that’s when we started Adderall and it helped a great deal for a while. But then it backfired and I backed down. Now, interestingly, Abbie/Shire pharmaceuticals is marketing the same FDA approved chemical in Vyvanse for Binge eating disorder. (It metabolizes the very same as methamphetamine once it is swallowed and digested.) My eating disorder is exercise bulimia, as I have a college/pro beach volleyball and distance running background. At other periods of time I have been a distance swimmer, as I live on the ocean in South Florida. I’m now ‘following’ you. I went to treatment for ED twice. Once inpatient and once 1 year outpatient three times a week. Allison

    Like

    • Hi Allison, thank you for following my blog. Eating disorders are very common in athletes who are striving for perfection. I have been in recovery for many years now, and I admire you for your recovery efforts. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  25. Thank you for speaking out about mental health issues! It takes courage to open up to people about things like mental illness and we may occasionally receive negative attention and rejection but it’s worth it to help empower others who are also struggling or have struggled. I never want anyone to have mental health problems but we are never alone in our pain even when it seems like it, and I know they are out there in the world and it’s good to find each other, connect, and share our stories. It’s good to know someone understands and to reach out to others. ย 
    Mental illness (depression, schizophrenia, anxiety…) runs in my family on my dad’s side on both of his parents’ sides of the family. I have struggled with psychosis, severe depression, and suicidal tendencies for many years. It’s not as frequent now but I still have bad flare ups. I learned to cope better and to still see beauty in the world.ย 
    I’m happy to read that you are doing better and reaching out to others and am so happy your daughter survived her tragic attempt.ย 
    I know what it’s like to be in that dark place of despair. My sister has an eating disorder and I see that they are very hard to cope with.
    I think our stories can help empower, inspire, and bring a sense of consolation for others and I hope to do that, that’s why I share so much.
    โค
    ~ Kim

    Like

    • Kim, I truly appreciate hearing from you about this. We often feel so alone, and unless we take the time to reach out to others and share our stories, we will continue to feel isolated. I am so happy that you are able to move forward from some painful experiences and still see the beauty in the world. I look forward to hearing more of your story. Thank you so much for reaching out. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  26. So lovely to find your blog (thank you for visiting mine) – and to find another fellow nurse! You write so eloquently – and I’m sure your tremendous honesty will have such wonderful results for mental health x

    Like

  27. Yea! I’m glad to have found you! Thank you for such a thoughtful and courageously honest blog. If only we knew all the people that we “respect” that have struggled, perhaps we would struggle less with our own (or least not alone). Thanks again, and very nice to meet you!

    Like

  28. Hi Amy! Sounds like our lives have a lot of parallels. I was diagnosed with panic attacks and agoraphobia. My daughter started having panic attacks when she was ten. Now she’s twenty, and I’m happy to say we’re both nearly panic free. My blog is for inspiration and awareness, and to let people know they aren’t alone. Glad to have come across your blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Pingback: blogger recognition award | blahpolar diaries

  30. Hi, it is nice to meet you! It is so amazing that you are speaking out! I think these things are hidden and we all suffer because of it! Bringing it out in the open and shedding light on it does help! I am glad you have found a way to bring about change in your life and help others! thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Lovely inspiring blog! I am also in the beginning of speaking out. It is not easy but important. Thank you for sharing…Hugs Anne Kaarina

    Like

  32. Wow Amy, your blog resonates. I am a mother of two girls, just separated, studying nursing and have depression, BUT what really counts is that while I finally came out and got help for it about a decade ago, it was not until my father was 77 that he broached the topic with his Dr. He is now on meds and doing brilliantly. It runs in the family, and is so manageable but we are all so rubbish at facing it!
    I will be checking in again. Have a happy New Year.

    Like

Leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s