Sunday, November 3, 2019

We Need Each Other.

mental health, women's health, PPA, PPD, anxiety, overwhelmed, emotions,

Do you talk about mental health with the people in your life?

Do you tell them if you're struggling?

Do you ask them if THEY are struggling?

Mental health matters. It matters to me. It should matter to you.

Over the years it has been so easy to use words like nuts, crazy, whacko, insane.

I used to use them. I shouldn't have - but I did.

That isn't to say that I never do. I still describe myself as a little crazy now and then.

What is a little crazy, anyway?

Do we really know?

But we can say whatever we want about ourselves, right? We can say we're a wee bit crazy and it's okay, but someone else uses that word against us - or about us - or about someone we love - and the gloves are off, y'all. Don't mess with me or my people.

Mental health is kind of like that. Sometimes. (Not always. I repeat: NOT. ALWAYS.)

I can talk about my own, but you, we, all of us - we should try to NOT address that of others. It's none of (y)our business.

But today it's going to be a little bit different.

I'm going to ask you to LOOK at your friends and loved ones. Take a good look.

SEE them.

Because they might be struggling, too.

There are so many hidden aspects of mental health issues, so many things we don't recognize, we don't always know that a friend who cancels dinner plans 3-4 times in a row might be facing crippling anxiety. The mom who never wants to bring her kids to your house to play? Too depressed. She doesn't WANT to use the television as a babysitter. She just has to. She literally CAN'T bring herself to leave the house.

Your friend with the clutter? There might be a number of different tendencies there. Maybe they're so overwhelmed with their anxiety - depression - whatever it may be - that one more thing seems like the thing that will push them over their personal edge.

The new mom who isn't sure what's wrong with her? The one who is afraid to tell anyone what she's feeling. What she's questioning. What she's afraid of.

You sense that something is off. You know because you've been there. Tell her. Ask her.

The momma-to-be who is afraid to leave the house. Imagining the worst? She needs you, too.

Can you reach out? Can you ask these people if they're okay? Can you remind them that they're not alone? All it takes is a question. An ear. A shoulder. A hug.

If you think that you don't know anyone experiencing these things. Or that you don't know anyone on medication to help manage their mental health? 

Think again. 

If you think that these things don't matter?

Think again.

SO many people out there are experiencing mental health related issues, and they're terrified to say so. 

The stigma that they see? Those words? "She's nuts. Crazy." "What is WRONG with him?" "What's his problem?" "I'm tired of her canceling plans." "I've had it. I'm done."

It makes so much sense for you [for us, any of us] to react this way. 

SO. MUCH. SENSE.

And I'm not mad at you for doing so. Truly.

I just want you to understand. 

I want you to remember that there can be so much more than the eye can see. 

So follow your heart. Acknowledge that gut instinct. 

You sense things. You're rarely wrong. 

Step out of your own comfort zone and offer to help.

Maybe watch the kids while she takes a shower. Heck, encourage her to take a bath. 

Offer to come over to her house for the playdate. Pick her up if she's afraid to drive. 

Talk to him about YOUR therapist. 


Whatever it takes. 

Make it real. Make it normal. Make it okay. 

Because it is. It's okay. Really. 

And if it doesn't feel like it is, it WILL BE. I promise. 

Because they aren't alone. They have YOU. And you know now. You know you can help. 

And they hopefully know it, too. 

Just do it.

Your friends need you. And I'm willing to bet that you need them, too.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Ask Her.

new mom, motherhood, parenting, emotions, mental health, PMAD, maternal mental health, anxiety, depression, ask new moms


There has been a lot of chatter about maternal mental health this last week or so.

That said, it has not all been heartwarming or supportive.

Why is that, you may wonder?

Well, because Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex, has made some statements about being vulnerable. And about not being okay.

And the internet world, as it so often does, has torn into her beyond words.

Meghan. I see you.

I see you. And in seeing you I recognize the strong possibility that you are living with a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD). *

I see you saying that not many people have asked if you are okay.

You're a new mom. You should be asked repeatedly.

Are you okay?

You have a new baby and live a whirlwind life.

Are you okay?

Your baby is adorable. Is he sleeping?

Are YOU sleeping?

Are you eating?

Are you taking a few moments to yourself regularly to catch your breath?

Are you experiencing scary thoughts that you're afraid to discuss with anyone?

EVEN your amazing husband?

Are you okay?

Listen, friends. Let me tell you a thing or two about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders do not see status.

Nope.

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders do not see wealth.

Nuh-uh.

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders do not see race.

Not that, either.

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders do not see beyond the women they find a home within.

That's the one.

PMADs develop in women who are pregnant, women who have recently given birth, and/or women who have children under the age of one year old. [Truly, I don't think that's the hard so-called "end line" and know many practitioners who would state the same.]

And Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, may very well be experiencing a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder at this very moment. *

So for all of you out there who have ripped her to shreds in the comment sections? Goodness. I hope you never know the pain. I hope you never experience the anxiety. I hope your eyes never ever look sad to anyone who knows or does not know you.

But above all, I truly hope you'll reconsider your callus remarks.

Because it doesn't matter how much money a mom may have. How much support they seem to have. Or what their title is.

Mental illness follows no rules. No laws. No restrictions.

Mental illness recognizes the internal make-up of a new mama, and reacts. Responds. Flourishes.

Mental illness is real.

Maternal mental illness is real.

Know a new mom?

Ask her.

Ask her if she is okay.

====

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, please consider reaching out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You do not have to be suicidal to call. You do not have to know exactly what you're struggling with, what you're feeling, you just need to know that someone is there - at the other end of the phone - ready to listen and support you. Call today: 800-273-8255

* Note: I am NOT in any way diagnosing The Duchess. AT ALL. But we know what we know. And we know what we have seen. And, for many of us, we know what we have LIVED. So take a moment. Look at her eyes. She's struggling. I hope she is getting/will soon get the help she needs. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tips for Men: How Not To Create A Dating Profile

dating, divorce, Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel, Match.com, eHarmony, online dating, dating apps, dating profiles, what not to do to get a date


Listen. I've been single for a good bit of time, y'all.

Dating after divorce is not a fun experience, especially if you have been married for while, or a long long while.

You just don't know what's out there.

And let me tell you, my friends, what's out there? It's terrifying.

I've decided to take this space to write a few tips on what not to include in your profiles. Let me help you, if you would. Because many of you are scaring off potential partners with what you ARE including. And maybe you know it and don't care, but in case you do? Keep reading.

10 things you need to stop including in your dating profiles


1. Fish pics.

STOP with the fish pics, please. Not one woman that I know is going to swipe right because of the size of your fish. Yo. Seriously. Stop it. Think about it. It's a DEAD FISH. We don't want to see that. 

2. Not my kid pics.

Listen. We know. You wrote in your profile or included in your bio info that you don't have any kids. And then, the disclaimer. "That's my nephew." "Not my kid." All the things that reiterate that the kids in your photos aren't yours. Okay. We get it. 

3. Blurry faces. 

Maybe this doesn't bother other people, but if you're going to put your pics on a dating app, can't you find some that don't include alllll the other people that you've blurred out? Especially the kids. You know. The ones that aren't yours? [See above.]

4. Group pics.

An entire profile of photos that include at least 1-2 other people. Because, dude, which one are you? A group shot or two in the mix of 5-6 photos? Great. We see you have friends. But all of 'em? No. Please.

5. Insults.

If you insult women in your profile I'm going to wonder what the heck you're even doing on the app. Those profiles that say: 'Nobody reads this anyway," or "If you don't look like your pics you're buying drinks until you do!" - - and yes, I'm 100% serious. I've seen that one several times. Thanks, but no thanks.

6. Let's talk beards.

Do you have one or don't you? If you do, maybe don't include pictures of the time that you didn't. If you don't, please don't include beard pics without the disclaimer that the beard is temporary. Because we want to know who we're meeting. Not who you used to be.

7. Ab shots.

We get it. You have abs. A 6-pack. Hot. But if all your pics are you lifting up the side of your shirt in a gym selfie? I'm turned off. Usually because you've got your tongue hanging out, or your face is covered by the cell phone in the mirror, or, well, let's face it, there's always the peace out two-finger salute. That one's fun. 

8. Pets that aren't yours. 

Unacceptable, guys. Truly misleading. We need to know if you're snuggling up to Max or Fido regularly, or just using them for a photo opp. 

9. Hunting pics. 

See the info on fish pics, and increase it 1000-fold. Because, no. I think I speak on behalf of all the women out there. We don't need to see any dead animals. Period. 

10. Dick pics. 

I know. You can't really show them in your profiles. You'd be reported in a heartbeat. But the number of pics I have seen with the shadow/shaping/underwear/crotch shots? Unlimited. They do nothing for you. They make you unappealing. Just. Stop. Maybe you're cheating on your wife. Maybe you don't want your female colleagues to see you on a dating app. Just. Stop. Show us something else if you're not going to show your face. Some women might swipe anyway, just out of curiosity. Do it differently and you can still maintain privacy and anonymity. 

There you have it. 

Now, this says nothing about grammatical and spelling errors, profiles that are all caps, and some that are just empty (because WHY, y'all? WHY?). I've got plenty more to say on that.

PLEN. TY.

Just stick with me and I'll get there eventually. *wink*


Friday, October 18, 2019

100 Books You Should Read in This Lifetime

books, fiction, goodreads, lists, nonfiction, reading, best books of all time, 100 books


If you're new here you may not know about my reading addiction.

Or maybe you knew and that's why you're here.

Either way, I'm glad you came by. I've decided to look back over my years of blogging and book reviewing and share some of my favorite reads with you.

As always, links will be affiliate links - meaning if you use them to shop I'll make a few pennies towards my next book purchases!

Let's consider it a list of must-reads for the ages. Or, you know, some ideas you might find worth considering, depending on your reading style. Keep reading...


100 Books You Should Read in This Lifetime


Historical Fiction 


books, fiction, goodreads, lists, reading, best books of all time, 100 books, historical fiction












Young Adult 


books, fiction, goodreads, lists, reading, best books of all time, 100 books, young adult


The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

Everything, Everything, Nicola Yoon

Tell Me Three Things, Julie Buxbaum

Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell

Dear Martin, Nic Stone

Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi

Love and Gelato, Jenna Evans Welch

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli

The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo

Wonder, R. J. Palacio


Psychological Thrillers 


books, fiction, goodreads, lists, reading, best books of all time, 100 books, psychological thrillers,


Behind Closed Doors, B.A. Paris

The Kind Worth Killing, Peter Swanson

Everything You Want Me To Be, Mindy Mejia

The Other Woman, Sandie Jones

Never Have I Ever, Joshilyn Jackson

Most Wanted, Lisa Scottiline

The Husband's Secret, Liane Moriarty

Searching For Sylvie Lee, Jean Kwok

Saving Max, Antoinette van Heugten

The Good Girl, Mary Kubica



Nonfiction


books, goodreads, lists, nonfiction, reading, best books of all time, 100 books, motivational, true stories,






My Favorite Reads 


books, fiction, goodreads, lists, nonfiction, reading, best books of all time, 100 books



Come Away With Me, Karma Brown

Looking for Alaska, John Green

This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel

Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

Heavy Weather, Normandie Fischer

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, Amy E. Reichert

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin

George, Alex Gino

The Perfect Son, Barbara Claypole White

The Comfort of Lies, Randy Susan Meyers




Jodi Picoult


books, fiction, goodreads, lists, reading, best books of all time, 100 books, Jodi Picoult


Handle With Care, Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light, Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult

My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult


Memoirs


books, goodreads, lists, nonfiction, reading, best books of all time, 100 books, memoirs, true stories



Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle

Becoming, Michelle Obama

Yes Please, Amy Poehler

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, Roxane Gay

Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love, Anna Whiston-Donaldson

The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls

Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected, Kelle Hampton

Running With Scissors, Augusten Burroughs



Magical Reads


books, fiction, goodreads, lists, reading, best books of all time, 100 books, mystical stories, magical reads, fantasy



The Astonishing Color of Ever After, Emily X. R. Pan

The Mermaid of Brooklyn, Amy Shearn


Beach Reads


books, fiction, goodreads, lists, reading, best books of all time, 100 books, beach reads,








Graphic Novels/Manga 


*from my tween*


books, fiction, goodreads, lists, reading, best books of all time, 100 books, graphic novels, tween reads, manga







Cookbooks


books, goodreads, lists, nonfiction, reading, best books of all time, 100 books, cookbooks, Whole30, Paleo, slow cooking, Chrissy Teigen


The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, Melissa Hartwig Urban and Dallas Hartwig

Slow Cooked Paleo: 75 Real Food Recipes for Effortless, Wholesome Meals in Your Slow Cooker, Bailey Fischer

Homemade With Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen, Jennifer Perillo

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want To Eat, Chrissy Teigen

Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, Tia Mowry



Books I Haven't Read Yet


* I know. It makes no sense why I'd include 10 books on a list of recommendations that I haven't read yet. Let's just say these are highly recommended in many circles. And they've been sitting on my shelves, or my Kindle, waiting to be jumped into, for a long while. Now - hop to it!

books, fiction, goodreads, lists, nonfiction, reading, best books of all time, 100 books






Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly

Ask Again, Yes, Mary Beth Keane

An American Marriage, Tayari Jones

Harry Potter (yes, I know, all of them), J.K. Rowling

Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng


I hope you've enjoyed this list and that you'll let me know if you decide to pick up any of these titles, introduce yourself to any of these authors, and let me know who is new to you.

HAPPY READING!!!

* There's this 100 items make a list thing happening in the blogosphere. I learned about it through Brandi, of Mama Knows It All. Brandi's Courage To Earn Facebook community is a wonderful environment encouraging growth and reminding us of our worth. Check it out at your convenience. *

Friday, October 11, 2019

Making Memories

grief, loss, loss of a parent, matzo ball soup, traditions, Judaism, love, family, father, generations


I wrote this piece several years ago to be published somewhere else, but today, today I need to share these same words. I'm lacking anything more - I'm missing my father as today it is six years to the day that he left us, and it hurts as if it were mere moments ago. 

Last year I shared why October hurts so much.

Six years ago I shared the immediate pain, the instant grief, the heartache. And then I talked about this very experience, the one I share below.