On Adam Lanza, Mental Illness, and My Son

We have a myth in our society that explains tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary, and it goes something like this: When something bad happens, it's because hidden in our society are evil monsters, who prey upon the innocent, and that there's nothing we can do to stop these people but to arm ourselves with guns or prayer and hope they don't come for someone we love. Image: © Wang Yiou/Xinhua/ZUMAPRESS.com ...more
@Sherene Chen-See I've read a number of reports on Nancy Lanza and her guns.  All I can say for ...more

3 Steps to Overcoming Fear in Firsts

Fear of the unknown and paralysis in firsts can be overcome through creating a new understanding of awe, gratitude, and faith. Step One: Create a Sense of Awe Close your eyes. You about to set the stage for newness. You are going to understand when you open your eyes that you will experience everything for the first time. When you notice the dresser in front of you, the person in front of you, the view you are about to see, it will be entirely new. New landscape, new smell, new feel, new meaning and understanding. ...more
I'm one of those people who thrive on new experiences, so for me it's only situations where I ...more

Five Steps to Lasting Joy

The key to feeling happier starts with committing to just that: feeling happier. Make a happiness decision right now, and then use the following tools to back that up with action rather than just waiting for good things to come your way. According to research by happiness researcher Dr. Sonja Lyubormirsky, changes in your circumstances (e.g., moving to a nicer apartment) made people happier for 6 weeks, but changes in activities (e.g., spending time with a new friend) made people happier for at least 12 weeks. ...more
For me it's all about surrounding myself with a positive, loving community, and dispelling some ...more

Missing Before: What Happens When Your Teen Is Suffering from Acute Mental Illness

Once upon a time I believed that if I loved the stuffing out of my kids and worked only part time... or stopped working entirely... or worked from home... to better afford me the time and space to pack their lunches and do their laundry and tell them to put their stuff away and remind them that I love them beyond measure, the road might be a little bumpy, but it would be okay. I would be a good mother and they would be happy and healthy. That was a good idea. What we knew, the first time Chickadee got sick, was that she seemed unable to shake off a recent strep infection. ...more
My son had his first psychiatric hospitalization at age 4.  I miss not HAVING a "before" with him.more

You Don't Want To Be On Helen's List

I really, really liked Helen Williams. Helen is the mother of actress Vanessa Williams, co-author of You Have No Idea and a woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind. As Vanessa's mother she's seen her child exposed to ridicule and just plain mean comments in the media. That's not an easy thing for any mother to deal with so how does she cope? She has her list. And you don't want to be on it. ...more
I believe in forgiving, but not forgetting.  Forgiving releases the anger, the hurt, the pain... ...more

Simple and Quick Meditation and Relaxation Techniques

There is a true spectrum of happiness. Happiness as... positive emotion - positive mood - resiliency - contentment - fulfillment - joy - bliss. The higher states of happiness are available through setting the intention of connecting to something greater than yourself.  This intention will bring about a state of peace, tranquility, serenity, calm, and ease that will guide you into states of extreme joy and bliss! ...more
I'd love to meditate.  I really would.  But I just can't find that kind of stillness in my life ...more

Do You Trust the Right People?

Vanessa Williams didn't always trust the right people. She made this clear in You Have No Idea, the book that she and her mother, Helen Williams, wrote together. She mistrusted two photographers much to her detriment. Not many people would have bounced back successfully from being forced to step down as Miss America but Vanessa did. This is in part due to her also putting her trust in the right people. ...more
I believe this is part of the learning process: that, especially when young, we tend to trust ...more

Do You Ask For Help?

One of the things that quickly becomes evident while reading Vanessa Williams' memoir You Have No Idea is that she has a great support system. One of her biggest supporters is her mother and co-author, Helen. It was interesting to read about the pair of them because they get along well, yet in many ways they are opposites. Vanessa knew she could ask for help when she needed it. Helen wasn't someone who really ever asked for help. I think I fall somewhere between them. ...more
I'm very bad at asking for help... not just from friends, but from family as well.  I think a ...more

Do You Listen to Your Mother?

From the very first pages of You Have No Idea, you will learn that had Vanessa Williams listened to her mother, Helen, a lot of things might have been easier. Those photos would have never existed. She might not have dated or married the men that she did. Things might have been easier. Well ... maybe. We all know that life isn't as simple as all that. ...more
Yes, I followed my mom's rules, right up until the day I moved out.  And I learned that mom ...more

Blogging Your Way to Happiness

Everyone in the BlogHer community enjoys the written method of expression. You enjoy a good cry when you read a touching a story, you get mad when you hear about injustice, you feel compassion when you read about hard times, and you feel joy when you read about celebration and success. When you are the writer, you invoke a feeling in yourself that allows the reader to embrace the emotion you are experiencing as you type your way to self-expression. ...more
For me it's all about knocking down the barriers between people I feel as a result of chronic ...more