When fear calls shot-gun

Notes on Gratitude

As I sat that Sunday morning and started to write about courage, I realized I wanted to keep writing about it because, in this day and age, it can be hard to find our courage and harder to hold on to it. People rush to judgment and say (or write) such harsh and hurtful words with no hesitation whatsoever. I felt secure enough to explore my thoughts on the subject and wrote in my notebook about how scared I sometimes feel telling my story and writing about my daughter. I wrote about. ..

Click the photo to read more.

  • 8 September 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 2372
  • Comments: 10

And a few words about labels. . .

Meet Dr. Insel, NIMH Director

Tom Insel, M.D. is the Director of the Nation Institute of Mental Health. He's working to change the way we think about mental illness because changing the way we think about mental illness will change the way we treat it.

As with other diseases that over the last several years have seen dramatic decreases in mortality rates, his message regarding mental illness is clear: "Early detection, early intervention is the story for success." There's something that comes along with early detection and early intervention that can be tough for parents and patients alike: a label.

Click the photo to watch Dr. Insel's TED talk, read more about it and to read a few of my thoughts about labels.

  • 31 August 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 17190
  • Comments: 2
A comment that moved me. . .

Shortly after I published my post entitled Before and After (read the full text here), I received a comment from my cousin, Evelyn. Her words are filled with painful honesty and truth, and I wanted to share them with you. I contacted her first, and she gave me permission. Click the photo to read her comment and my responses, one of which is below:

And let me add, relative to my Before and After post, that I hope my writing never ever comes across as an oversimplification of such a complicated and complex issue. If love could heal mental illness, there would hardly be any left in the world. Every family member of every loved one suffering from mental illness I have met has deep love and respect for their ill loved one. Love alone does not cure mental illness. I believe in our power to positively influence one another, but there is as much or more negative out there as positive and its influence is as great or greater. Plus, love does not cure chemical imbalance and faulty wiring. There is, of course, so much for us to learn and so much to change as we navigate life with mental illness, it's not going to perfect. But I want to apologize here and now if my words came across as making the solution sound like all we had to do was join hands and sing Cumbaya a few times and problem solved! These issues are so multi-layered and complex. The system is making progress, but it is slow and inadequate and too late for some.

  • 26 August 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 2570
  • Comments: 8

Another first

Notes on Gratitude

Today my beautiful, talented and resilient girl starts 11th grade. Wow. Can someone please tell me where the last 11 years went? Today also marks the third first day of school since we thought there might not be any more first days of school for Olivia, at least not in the way there always had been. Every day that has passed since we emerged from our darkest hours, my daughter has been an inspiration not only to me, but to others around her.

Click the photo to read more about why I never get tired of celebrating the first day of school.

  • 26 August 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 1680
  • Comments: 2
Hi, My Name Is. . .

I am honored to announce my first guest piece to appear on this site. Erika (who has requested that I withhold her last name) is a 21-year-old woman with an inspiring story of recovery from addiction. She also lives with mental illness. An incredible 35% of people living with mental illness have an addiction disorder. Her story is one of such hope that I couldn't wait to share it with you. Please help me welcome Erika to the site, and thank her for her bravery and wisdom..

If you struggle with addiction or mental health issues or a combination of the two, please know that you are not alone. Help is available. Recovery is real and it is possible.

Click the photo to read more of Erika's story.

  • 17 August 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 2299
  • Comments: 2