Sunday, May 24, 2015

Is mental health the only remaining stigma? My mental health heroes (and a free book!)

May is coming to a close, but before it does, I wanted to share some information for Mental Health Month. May is Mental Health Month, designed to promote education and awareness of  mental health issues. Recently, John Nash, the schizophrenic mathematics genius featured in the movie, "A Beautiful Mind," was killed in a car accident, along with his wife, Alicia.

Mental Health is an issue near to my heart. My first novel, "Saint Jude," dealt with a teenager with bipolar disorder, and I have had dear friends struggle with this disorder. I have been amazed and dismayed that, at a time when it seems like nothing is taboo, that mental health still seems to be one of the few, remaining conditions for which it is "acceptable" to stigmatize. Angelina Jolie takes a preventative mastectomy, and she is on the cover of Time. Catherine Zeta-Jones takes a preventative hospital stay to deal with her bipolar disorder, and the response is something more like what you would see in a gossip tabloid.  (Before someone makes a statement that breast cancer is fatal and bipolar disorder is not, please remember that suicide is one of the leading causes of death among young adults and teens. I mean no disrespect toward either woman.)

I wanted to share some of my mental health heroes. Some folks who inspire me, and some pieces of information. Read down to the end of the article where you can get a FREE coupon for my novel, "Saint Jude."

In no particular order:

1-- Kay Redfield Jamison
Not only is Dr. Jamison one of the leading experts on manic-depressive illness, but she also has the disorder. Her book "An Unquiet Mind" is a brilliant perspective as a clinician and a  patient.  Here's a clip from a UVA interview... 


2-Vincent Van Gogh
While his artistic temperament seems to be synonymous with the troubled artist stereotype, the bottom line is that he was a troubled, talented man during a time when there were few, if any resources available to help him.

I'm a huge sci-fi (and Dr. Who fan) . One of my all time favorite Dr. Who episodes was "Vincent and the Doctor," where he goes back in time and meets Van Gogh . It does a good job of showing the struggle with mental illness. Even if you're not a sci-fi fan, you'd love this episode. It's all over Netflix and several areas for free viewing I believe. Here's the full episode on You Tube.




3-- George Handel
Handel wrote one of my all time favorite pieces of music, the "Messiah." (which , btw, is actually supposed to be performed at Easter instead of Christmas, which is when many places present it. ) Handel wrote this is a little over two weeks in what was believed by many to be a manic episode

Here is one of my favorite pieces from it - "And He Shall Purify"

4-- Nellie Bly
While Bly did not have a mental disorder (at least, not one that I am aware of). As a reporter in the 1800s, she went undercover in a mental institution to expose the conditions there. It was a breakthrough for investigative journalism. It shed light on many atrocities I will not go into detail here.

5-- Winston Churchill
"Had he been a stable and equable man, he could never have inspired the nation. In 1940, when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished," wrote Anthony Storr about Churchill's bipolar disorder in Churchill's Black Dog, Kafka's Mice, and Other Phenomena of the Human Mind.
This is by no means, an exhaustive list. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has a list of famous people who had mental illnesses.

And now for the free book.
If you would like to get a copy of my novel "Saint Jude" (which was rated one f the "best 100" books books for teen readers in a guide by librarian Nancy Keane) you can order it on Smashwords. Enter the following code for the coupon before June 6, and when you check out, the book should register as free.

Here is the page for the book: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/58667
And the code is: TR27J




Monday, May 18, 2015

Ice-T--- Sweet or not?

Without doubt, this is, quite possibly, the coolest sign I have seen in a restaurant. Period.
Props to Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn of Wilmington, NC.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Is your website mobile responsive?

I confess, as a writer I never gave this much thought until I started doing some research for this blog post. Don't know what a mobile responsive website is? Well, it's a website that is designed with mobile devices in mind, so the website looks equally appealing on your laptop and your cell phone.

Not sure if your site is mobile responsive? Google has a handy tool where you can test your site. Just click here.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

On meeting David Tennant

I confess, the last time I had my heart flutter was probably at some point during the Clinton Administration. But I was totally thrilled and, yes, a bit fan girl giddy, at the prospect of meeting David when he came to Wizard Con in Raleigh this year.  

Meet is probably a stretch.  I was one of the tons of people who lined up for an autograph, I was one of the few who got to ask him a question. 

" He smells so NICE" said the girl in front of me, who was waiting to  ask a question.  
"He really does," said someone else.
"So, is it a cologne or something?" I asked.
"No... he just smells so nice."

Well, because of my chronic allergies, I cannot attest to the scent of Mr. Tennant. However, I can say he is an incredibly gracious guy. I confess, it hasn't been since high school that I felt my heart race like this, totally teeming out over someone. 

Below is a link to the session where I asked him a question.  I am the girl with the radio voice at 13:00. I ask him about his role in the BBC TV movie Recovery, which was brilliant..

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mNHvfUa7PE4

That is me in the blue, trying to suppress a fangirl squeal....
I know my interaction with him was probably a whole 30 seconds, but from what little I saw, he seemed like such a classy guy.  

Thank you Mr. Tennant.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Real-time blogging from Raleigh's Wizard World Comic Con - And top five David Tennant roles..number one may surprise you....

Hi all,
I am right now at a Holiday Inn in Raleigh,  gearing up to go to  the Wizard World Comic Con.  No, /i wasn't there yesterday, because I had to drive in from the coast, but I am gearing up today and will post periodically (with a hopefully great internet connection) and upload photos from the evening. 

I am thrilled because I will get  to meet David Tennant, one of the most popular Doctors to take on the lead role in Doctor Who. But aside from being a science fiction celebrity, Mr.Tennant has some serious acting chops.  

Following are my favorite David Tennant roles--hint, Dr. Who is only #3!

5. Peter Vincent in "Fright Night" -- for totally reinventing the character and doing it with humor and panache.  Following is the link (I hope it works)
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m_tw5RMqdLs 

4. Alex in "Broadchurch"-- while theAmerican version of this didn't fair so well, the BBC version is absolutely wonderful. Tennant brings such depth to the  character. 

3. The Doctor in "Doctor Who."
How you could not love him?  Not only did he take the role at a pivotal point in the series, but he broadened its audience, and I think was responsible for paving the way for a lot of new American fans....
here is a tribute post..   https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cSXc9qkESkM


2. Hamlet
Just playing one of the most iconic characters in all of literature. No pressure there...

1. Recovery
Seeing Tennant as a man recovering from someone with a traumatic brain injury was so powerful it was almost
physically painful to watch...

More anon...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Rise of Telemedicine

The use of telemedicine has increased exponentially. More than half of U.S. hospitals use some form of telemedicine. In addition, there are 200 telemedicine networks in the U.S., with 3,500 service sites....

...read more on my guest blog post for Proclaim Interactive.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Front Street Books... How cool is this?

Perhaps the only thing cooler was that a random stranger gave me a quarter so I could get one..  Did I mention I love Wilmington, NC !

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