Thursday, 18 October 2012

We Are All In This Together.

My blog's underlying ideals has been and always will be, a demonstration that my mental health concerns are only a small part of who I am.  That I endeavour to live with, rather than, suffer from my mental illness. This blog is about bringing awareness and further understanding that mental illness need not be a taboo subject.  Anyone who is experiencing mental health issues should not feel ashamed.  The shame should lie within those who would place unfair stigmas, labels and stereotypes on those who are battling with inner turmoil.  We have to realise that we are all in this together.

I have received a number of emails from people who are struggling.  Who seek, comfort, advice and encouragement.  And thus, my friend, if you are struggling, do not suffer in silence.  We can, through verbalisation and seeking out positive resources and distractions, get that one step closer to that quality of life we so richly deserve.

There are those amongst us who have never experienced mental illness and would all to easily dismiss us as being weak.  'Get a grip', they tell us.  Yet, what they do not understand is that mental illness can happen to anyone.  And if it ever happens to them, then they would know and would understand, it's more than just 'getting a grip'.  So very much more.

Mental illness can stem from being overwhelmed by a negative environment.   This is what we call "nurture".  Mental illness can be of the genetic variety or "nature".  And some have a combination of both nurture and nature.

What has to be learned is that nobody has the right to devalue your humanity.  If you are experiencing mental health concerns, rest assured, through reaching out and finding motivation, you will be inspired and in turn, inspire others to have a more positive life.  We become motivated by the need to achieve a positive outcome.

I shall do a number of postings over the next few weeks that can help cultivate healthy thinking and behaviour.

To end this posting, I give you a list of your personal rights which are conducive to assertive behaviour.

You have the right to express your feelings and opinions.
The right to say 'yes' or 'no'.
The right to change your mind.
The right to say, 'I don't understand'.
The right to be yourself without having to act for other people's benefit.
The right to decline responsibility for other people's problems.
The right to make reasonable requests of others.
The right to set your own priorities and make your own decisions.
The right to be listened to and taken seriously.
The right to change and grow.
The right to make mistakes, admit to and learn from them.
The right to be illogical in making decisions.
The right to be miserable or cheerful.
The right to be treated with respect.
The right to say 'no' without feeling guilty.
The right to express anger.
The right to be assertive.
The right to to take personal responsibility and to be independent.
The right to disagree.
The right to religious and political beliefs.
The right to information.
The right to privacy.
The right to economic status.
The right to be treated equally.

71 comments:

  1. I have a friend who suffers from being bipolar and it's not just 'in his head.' I encourage him the best I can. He is a man of strong faith, so we talk about God a lot.
    Neither he nor you are any less a wonderful person in God's eyes.

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    1. Hi Alex,

      Indeed and I have some dear friends who are struggling with genetic and environmental mental health concerns. Encouragement, caring and the willingness to try to understand, works wonders.
      In God's eyes is one thing and that's powerful. In the eyes of those who would show such disregard for their fellow man, is another.

      Thank you, my friend.

      In kindness, Gary

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  2. As for those who think one should just "get a grip" - there's a reason it's called mental "illness", no less of a reality and medical concern than other health maladies.

    Thanks, Gary, for the thorough and frank conversation that you lead here about mental health. Its so very important!

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    1. Hi Kim,

      Your words ring true and just because you cannot see an illness doesn't mean it isn't as valid as any other.

      I know we share a common passion to bring further awareness and understanding. And a common passion to all be here for each other. It is so very important. So right you are, my friend.

      In kindness and empathy, Gary

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  3. People can be thoughtless when it comes to mental illness. One doesn't choose to be mentally ill. One can only "get a grip" if they're not mentally ill. Those who pursue and strive for mental health are to be encouraged and applauded, not ridiculed.
    And yes, if we all hold hands through this, nobody gets lost.
    On we go.
    Wonderful post!
    Laura
    x

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  4. Hi Laura,

    You have summed up my thoughts in a most profound way. And those who have the courage to stand up and admit they are experiencing mental health issues and yet, are doing there best to work through it, should most assuredly be applauded.

    Together, sharing and caring, we can make this a kinder world and a less negative environment will do wonders to our hearts and minds.

    Thank you for you inspiring comment, Laura.

    In kindness and good wishes, your way, Gary
    x

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  5. Thank you so much, Gary. I feel braver after reading your posts. I feel like I'm not alone. After 21 years I was able to write about what a wonderful son our Jack was, because you've help me. And I'm forever grateful.

    Please give Penny the Jack Russel dog and internet superstar my very best. Hope the move goes well.

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    1. Hi Joylene,

      Dear lady, thank you very much. I have always said you are one remarkable lady and strength comes from your courage to be transparent, to show the rawness of your pain. Your tribute to your beloved son was poignant, painful, powerful. For you to share with us such articulation took inner strength that leaves me in awe. I am grateful to you.

      I shall pass on your best wishes to the adorable Penny. The move is looked upon as a fresh start and a return to the positive environment we rightly deserve. Thank you, Joylene.

      In kindness and admiration, your way, Gary

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  6. I completely agree that we have the right to express our emotions\feelings. But sharing them online, takes some courage and I think I could never share it online.

    I would go outside my boundries if I did. I'm pretty private online and I like it that way. I don't want anybody online to be part of my personal life...it's my own personal space and I want people to respect that. So that's why I stick to writing about my writing journey, film reviews and other blogosphere stuff on my blog.

    I do encourage and support MANY writers online. I love it! And they support and encourage me too so it goes both ways. No wonder I love this online writing community so much...

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    1. Hi Livia,

      I completely understand you not wanting to share your innermost feelings online. This is greatly respected.

      What I try to do is demonstrate, by my candid transparency, to be of comfort to those who may think they need suffer in silence. I know that what I verbalise has been experiences that others have told me they can relate to.

      And Livia, that's the beauty of the blogging community. Such diversity and we utilise the power of the written word in our own special way. I do variety and that's part of my writing therapy. Heck, I even have a certain dog take over when she sees I have nothing legible to write :)

      We are all in this together within the great blogging community. Yes, all different, all equal. You embrace the ethos of positive interaction amongst us. Livia, that is a powerful result.

      Thank you and have a peaceful day.

      Gary

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  7. I like the list of human rights that you wrote down.

    I am glad that you feel that mental illness is only a small part of your personality.
    You are a wonderful person with a generous heart.

    Most definitely, I believe that people need to know more about mental illness and that it is not different from my blood pressure problem or asthma.

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    1. Hi Munir,

      I'm heartened that you liked the list of human rights. I know you can add more that come to mind.

      Oh yes, my mental illness is only a small part of who I am. I will not let it dominate my life like once it did. Your kind words are warmly appreciated.

      Further awareness, education and understanding is vital in removing the stigma attached to mental health concerns. Yes, like your physical concerns, mental illness is tangible. Thank you, Munir.

      In kindness and goodwill, your way, Gary

      Delete
  8. It is often in the lack of awareness, in the blind abyss of ignorance, that others make general statements about things they do not understand nor could they comprehend it...unless they were in the thick of it themselves.

    This is a great post addressing a matter that shouldn't be a taboo subject...but it is, in the eyes of far too many.

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    1. Hi Angela,

      Absolutely, the lack of awareness and the misconceptions attached to mental health issues. The sensationalist media can take some of the blame for distorting the reality. Yes indeed, there are folks who pass judgement without knowing the facts. If they experienced such issues, they would understand.

      May this 'taboo' subject no longer have the fear it induces in those who don't want to understand. We are getting there, slowly but surely. Thank you, Angela.

      In kindness and respect, Gary

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  9. An inspirational post, Gary.

    Jai

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    1. Hi Jai,

      Thank you for that. May we inspire and be inspired.

      With kindness and peaceful wishes, your way, Gary

      Delete
  10. Dear Gary,
    Ah, a post after my own heart. I particularly like your list of rights at the end. I'll have to practice my assertiveness by seeing if I actually do the things you mention.
    But, as you are a hirsute thing, what about the right to be hairy?
    Very Best Wishes, your way,
    David.

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    1. Dear David,

      I knew this would be a posting that shares your ideals. Glad you liked my list of rights and being assertive in a pleasant yet firm way, can pay positive dividends. Okay, doesn't work with my new neighbours, but generally speaking, it seems to work.

      You have the right to be hairy. I bet you can come up with loads more rights. You have the right to be left. Sorry, that was silly. Unless, I meant it based on a political leaning.

      In kindness and some extra hair, your way, Gary

      Delete
  11. I have so much trouble excepting that I have these rights. I must learn to do so. I am also honest and tell people how I feel and try to explain that there is no tangible reason. That is what they can't understand.

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    1. Dear middle child,

      When you have been undermined, having your humanity devalued, it starts to take its toll on you. It takes much courage after insecure people who see you as an easy target, have ingrained in your mindset that your rights are not valid. Dear lady, you have the right to be you. We are all in this together. Together, we gain strength and the positive inspiration grows in you.

      Through your honesty about your feelings and you not realising a tangible reason, they might not understand, yet somewhere inside you, your inner expert understands your feelings and why you have them.

      Peaceful and hopeful wishes, your way, Gary

      Delete
  12. Hi Gary. Your list of rights could go far beyond the issue of mental health; it's an inventory that should be the rights of us all. It would make the world a better place.
    Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Hi bazza,

      Of course, those list of rights are for all. If we incorporated our rights more into our lives, the world would surely be a better place. And a positive environment reduces the amount of mental health issues. Thank you, bazza.

      In kindness and peaceful wishes, your way, Gary

      Delete
  13. Hi Gary,
    What you say is so true. I have been told on numerous occasions to 'get a grip', 'what have you got to be depressed about?'. There are people who see any mental illness as a blight on human conscience, they simply don't, or don't want to, understand. We need people, like yourself who have an articulate and intelligent way of explaining this dibilitating illness, Thank you for that, my friend.
    They are days when I wake up, that I don't want to 'wake up', but the sound of bird song carries me into the morning. Of course, this is a little hard with the darker mornings and the lack of bird song, but I know it is there somewhere and will return, for that I am grateful.
    J
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

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    1. Hi John,

      Thank you, my good friend. We have both encountered people who think that we have no reason to be the way we are. I have met people who reckon they could cope with my situation without even actually knowing my situation. We are not weak. We have a debilitating illness that we do our best to not overwhelm us. More need to try to understand rather than pass judgement made out of ignorance and misinformation.

      It's so encouraging, despite those mornings you would rather just stay under the duvet, that you visualise, you maintain that positive focus on when the birds doth sing again. Your appreciation and gratitude for the wonders of nature have kept you strong. I am grateful for you and your wondrous blog.

      In kindness and understanding, Gary

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  14. Wise words, Gary. I have seen the effects of mental illness and agree that it shouldn't be dismissed. No one should be defined by an illness or disability whether mental or otherwise. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Hi Suzanne,

      Thank you and wise words from you, my friend. Nobody deserves to be labelled, to have judgement passed on them based on an illness or disability. We must see the ability in all rather than a perceived disability, mental or physical. Thank you, Suzanne.

      With appreciation, your way, Gary

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  15. An excellent post, Gary. I find your empathy to be the greatest help and encouragement for others. Cheers, Dixie

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    1. Hi Dixie,

      Thank you for your kind words. Empathy is a gift we share. A symphony of empathy in the great orchestra of understanding. Thank you, dear friend.

      In peace and empathy, Gary

      Delete
  16. It's so graceful of you to encourage those of us who suffer in silence. You are a great human being, Gary, and I am so happy I found you :). And so is Penny, I'm sure.

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    1. Hi Petronela,

      Thank you, dear lady. I just want those who are struggling realise they need not be alone. We can all be here for each other and that makes for a most profound reality for the betterment of all. I am heartened that we found you. Penny is the treasure that reveals gifts of hope :)

      In peace and kindness, Gary

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  17. BIG CHEER!!!!!!! The stigma over mental health issues is an unhealthy thing. You are a brilliant advocate, so the big cheer is for your self as well as the work you are doing here :-)

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    1. Hi Lily Tequila,

      I can hear that cheer all the way here. Wow, I just did some sort of poetry :) Indeed, the unfair stigma of mental health issues only compounds the situation. The stigma can make those who need help feel too ashamed to seek help. That is so very wrong.

      I am most encouraged by your thoughtful words. Thank you, Lily.

      With respect and good wishes, your way, Gary

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  18. Replies
    1. Hi Teresa,

      Why thank you, Teresa. I am most appreciate of that.

      In kindness and peace, your way, Gary x

      Delete
  19. We wouldn't dream of telling someone with a broken leg to 'snap out of it' or to 'pull themselves together'. Mental illness is just that. An illness. Not a lifestyle choice. Hiss and spit. And, given statistics indicate that one in three of us will experience some form of mental illness the phrase 'as you sow, so will you reap' is entirely appropriate. Climbing down from the soap box now.

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    1. Hi The Elephant's Child,

      Very well said! One doesn't exactly choose to have a mental illness. When the teacher asked me, 'what would you like to be when you grow up?', I didn't say I want to have a mental illness. What the statistics don't note is that mental health concerns can happen to anyone. Something to bear in mind when those who would stigmatise may realise that they too need help.

      You have a nice soap box :)

      In peace and gratitude, your way, Gary

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  20. Replies
    1. Hi Old Kitty,

      Oh yes, Amen!

      You take care, also.

      Gary
      x

      Delete
  21. I do think we all have issues and because of that we should all have empathy for those who are in pain. No one is without their own crosses.

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    1. Hi Arleen,

      Yes we do all have issues of some form. And a more understanding society would go a long ways in making this a better world for all of us. Empathy is a powerful gift. Thank you, Arleen.

      In kindness, your way, Gary

      Delete
  22. Amazing how many of those rights we tend to squash down and deny to ourselves. Thanks for reminding us.

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    1. Hi Delores,

      Yes, we can too easily forget our personal rights and find ourselves becoming resentful. Assertion, in a firm, fair manner, is conducive to self-esteem. Thank you, Delores.

      In peace and kindness, your way, Gary

      Delete
  23. Replies
    1. Hi PT,

      Thank you, my friend. I'm encouraged.

      Kind wishes and happy writing, your way, Gary

      Delete
  24. Very well said, Gary. I've suffered both the nurture and nature varieties. It can be quite disconcerting. I have to sometimes remind myself that in reality, everything is okay. One thing I embrace about my occasional breaks is the way in which it helps my writing. I feel emotions, both good and bad, that make my writing more gripping. But I can't tolerate that for very long. Good thing I have meds that work well! :)

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    1. Hi Nancy,

      Thank you, Nancy. My friend, you use positive reinforcements and affirmations. You focus on the positives and work your way through the darker times. I know that your writing is an emotional outlet that speaks of the good times and the bad times. Feeling the sensations of your emotions does enhance your creativity. And thus, a cathartic and therapeutic exercise. Then, the meds kick in....:) Thanks, Nancy.

      Congrats on your book and continued fulfilling writing.

      In peace and positive wishes, your way, Gary

      Delete
  25. "Look at everything you have to be grateful for!"
    "Get a grip"
    "Pull yourself OUT of this!"
    "You always look at the bad side of things"
    "Shirley got better by chanting...try it!"
    "Have you talked to your doctor?"
    "SMILE! Come on. . . cheer up!"

    And all I can think is "KILL THEM ALL".

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    Replies
    1. Hi lotta joy,

      Ah yes and the next person who tells me to "get a grip", may well find I have grabbed some vice grips and squeezed their privates. We are the expert on who we are. Seeking help is good. Being passed judgement on by know-it-alls, sucks, big time!

      In peace and fun stuff, your way, Gary

      Delete
    2. Dear Sweetness, I read your comment to middle child. Then I read it again, SLOWLY. Being a child whose mother tried to kill it, then tried to give it away, then married it off to an abusive man, I guess I was devalued as a human more than most people. I'm now 63, and only starting to 'think' I 'might' have been more valuable than I was taught. I wish I had more years ahead of me to become 'right in the head'.

      Delete
    3. Dear lotta joy,

      Oh yes, what you endured had a direct impact on your right to a peaceful, positive environment. Often, there are deep rooted traumas attached to childhood turmoil. You went through hell and I know of a similar hell.

      And as an adult I thought the devaluing I felt may well have passed. Then I got ill and my then wife decided it would be really neat to get pregnant again, however I wasn't the father.

      You know you are strong. Considering what you have had happen to you, praise yourself for how well you are doing, despite it all.

      Have a peaceful, positive weekend.

      Gary

      Delete
  26. I commend you for speaking out Gary. The Nature/Nurture debate has always fascinated me and I review rights with individuals I work with regularly. It's sad that the world can be so naive so education is key

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    1. Hi Heather Murphy,

      I appreciate that, Heather. The Nature/Nurture debate is a great source of debate and opinion. More people need to exercise their personal rights. Education is indeed a vital key to it all. Thank you, Heather.

      In hope and good wishes, your way, Gary

      Delete
  27. Just put a smile on your face and before you know it you'll be smiling for real. My dads solution to my depression!

    Really a punch in the nose is the only acceptable response.

    I struggled for so long to pretend everything was alright to keep other people happy. Now I just freely admit that I have depression, I can tell this makes some people uncomfotable but that is their issue not mine. I do tend not to tell people that I'm probably bipolar but that is mostly because the manic / hyper times are not as bad or obvious as the depression.

    Thank you for this post, I don't have therapy anymore but it's always good to keep thinking of ways to fight my depression and ideas from others are the best way.

    Just so you know my combination of prescription drugs, positive thinking and carefully monitoring my moods is working pretty well :)

    Hugs to Penny!
    MrsM

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mrs Midnite,

      Of course, we both know that putting a smile on your face will make it all better. When the frame of mind is more positive, the smile does bring back smiles. That would be in between the bouts of deep depression.

      I'm proud that you no longer pretend. You have depression and you are doing your best to not let it dominate your life. Quite refreshingly, I am finding more people, with this increased awareness, are more understanding and actually have applauded me for my efforts to battle on. If you suspect you have a named condition, you might seek consultation with your GP.

      You can continue to seek positive resources and distractions. Keep reinforcing that you should be pleased and inspired in how well you are doing. You wish to live in peace in a positive, healthy environment. From what I'm reading, you are doing your best to maintain a healthy balance. Keep embracing that positive way and know we can all be here for each other. My friend, I cheer you on!

      I shall go and hug Penny :)

      In kindness and admiration, your way, Gary

      Delete
    2. Thanks Gary, the suspected bipolar is hard to diagnose, apparently they need to see you in a manic phase to allow a proper diagnosis. Do you ever go to the doctors when you feel fantastic? I keep telling myself I should but when it actually happens its not even on my radar. My therapist saw me like that over a couple of seesions which is where the suspected diagnosis comes from. My way of coping seems to reduce that as well so its all good.

      Loving your blog
      MrsM

      Delete
    3. Hi Mrs Midnite,

      Okay, I would of thought they could of potentially spotted a chemical imbalance. Of course, with bipolar disorder, the extremes are well, extreme, from the depths of depression to the heights of a euphoric state.

      I have gone to the doctor when I felt fantastic. I said to the doctor, 'I feel fantastic! What's wrong with me?! Seriously, I do understand how when you are in an up stage that going to the doctor would not even occur in your state of mind. As long as you feel good and have positive distractions and resources to keep you going, that is good. Just remember to watch your warning signs and please see a doctor for any concerns.

      Thank you for your kindness and please, have a positive weekend.

      Gary :)

      Delete
  28. my step daughter suffers from mental illness and just gave a speech about it in Lansing, Michigan on Wednesday....she would love this....I need to send it to her. Wonderful post.

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    1. Hi Caren,

      I am encouraged that your daughter had the courage to give a speech about her mental health concerns. Verbalisation is a powerful tool. I do hope your daughter finds this posting of positive benefit. Thank you, Caren.

      May you have a positive weekend.

      Gary

      Delete
  29. I work with mentally disabled adults and asserting their rights to be treated like anyone else, this blog post hits home for me and what I deal with daily.

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    1. Hi Tammy,

      Thank you, my friend. Oh yes, we are all different and all equal. We all have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. This is something you so powerfully advocate within your worthy vocation.

      Have a most peaceful weekend.

      Gary

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  30. you my friend are a shining light and inspiration to many thank you for sharing your thoughts and struggles with us and for allowing us in as well as teaching us about life and having compassion

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    1. Hi becca,

      That is very thoughtful of you. I firmly believe by being open, honest and transparent, I can demonstrate that we can all be here for each other. For each other in a more understanding society where stigma no longer blights our lives. Thank you, becca.

      Have a lovely weekend.

      Gary

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  31. Replies
    1. Hi The Golden Eagle,

      Thank you and may you have a most peaceful, happy weekend.

      In kindness.

      Gary

      Delete
  32. Wonderful insights!
    I love the list of rights. People should keep these in mind.
    Keep on doing what you do!

    -Aaron

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    Replies
    1. Hi Aaron,

      Delighted you visited my blog and thank you for your kind comment.

      Indeed, people need to understand they have rights and nobody has the right to undermine our validity. Most heartening of you, my friend. And your site is greatly admired as your candid posts reflect your desire to eradicate the unfair stigmas we endure. Thus, please keep on doing what you do!

      With respect and good wishes, Gary

      Delete
  33. I'm going to copy out those Rights and type them up for my ex.
    Perhaps it will help.

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    Replies
    1. Hi River,

      All the very best with that. I'll forward a copy to my ex.

      Positive wishes, your way, Gary

      Delete
  34. Hi Gary, great post! Living with a mental illness is indeed a small part of who I am. " be strong " that one I have heard a few times, how about just supporting me and telling me that " I am strong." I too love your list of rights. :)

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    1. Hi Madison,

      Thank you very much for that. Ah yes, strength comes from support and understanding. Through sharing, we realise that we can be strong for ourselves and in turn, for others. I'm glad you liked the list of rights :)

      May you have a peaceful, hopeful day.

      In kindness and understanding, Gary :)

      Delete
  35. Gary, I should print that list and reread it...
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.