Liebster Award Nomination

liebster-banner pink

I was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Steph Wetherhill. Her blog can be found here…. Steph Wetherhill .

Or here :

It feels great that someone gets it about my blog and what I am trying to do!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH TO STEPH. I am so happy that I get to share this! It’s an important award because other bloggers nominate you and your blog. That is a pool of my peers.

11 Random Facts About Me! (Amy Hellman)

  • I prefer large dogs…they cuddle better and I feel safe.
  • Almost all of my dogs have been large stray dogs that I have taken in.
  • I prefer being in the woods walking alone over anywhere.
  • I love fishing in Northern Minnesota.
  • I usually do all the driving, I am a bad passenger.
  • I am a fantastic cook! BBQ kind of cook!
  • I have five grandchildren, 2 girls and 3 boys, I love them all so much.
  • I’m a “cancer” sun sign with a rising Leo. My Mars is in Aries, and my Moon is in Pisces. *For those who know astrology!
  • I love non-fiction reading. Sometimes I will read fiction for fun, but not very often.
  • I have a passionate hunger for learning that is never quite satisfied.
  • I believe it is our civic duty to be actively engaged in politics. “We the People” means nothing if we are too scared to discuss politics. I don’t believe in the etiquette that says we cannot talk politics. That is how so many bad things happen today – nobody talks about them!

Here are my answers to Steph’s questions:

Worst habit? Smoking…. With asthma and COPD, I really need to end this awful habit. I am paying to kill myself slowly.

Best quality? I love people and I truly care when I see an injustice to a person. I’m far more caring than I lead on. I know that I was born to make a lasting mark and change on society, so that is what I am trying to do, one person at a time! I want to give voice to those who have none!

Most extravagant impulse buy? Computers… and software. I like technology and sometimes I find myself buying these because I see the great sale, not so much that I can afford new technology!

Favorite childhood memory? Visiting with my Great-Uncle Cecil and Great-Aunt Ingrid all the time. They lived near the Lions Spring, in Central Lakes, MN and as kids, we met so many different and new people all the time at the spring getting water. We thought it was a safer time but was it really? Anyhow, I was given my passion for nature, the outdoors, and the woods out at their place. I still love tall red pine trees and I’ve seen black bears in the woods often in my life. They gave me so much in untold treasures of just being free out in the wooded land and among the flowers and grasses. It was truly an adventure every day that we went there!

If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you would do? I would buy a house for myself on a lake and each of my children a home where they wanted.

What is your long-term goal from blogging? I want to get my name out there and to give voice to those who have none. I have my mental health blog and I also have just started a blog space for my writing: poetry, essays, rants, raves, and so on. When the muse strikes, some of it I share on this blog. Writing is what I love to do and have always wrote about my life and every single major event. Writing to me is like breathing to everyone else. I have to do it daily.

If you were reincarnated, who or what would you like to return as and why? I would like to come back as a woman of money and means, to see the other side of life, without the poverty so that I could have given my children more.

Biggest idol? Maya Angelou – she overcame so much and became a respected writer and artist! She is by far my favorite writer and always will be. Her passing was sad but then she did live a long and wonderful life. It wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine for her and she used her writing to get through a lot of it. I have always been like that. My writing is my life and my life-line.

What is your favourite color? Blues have always been my favorite color. I’m a “water” sign and I have always loved the water! Fishing, swimming, or just hanging out by water. It soothes my soul. I often listen to meditation tapes of water falls and nature.

What’s your best advice to the younger generation? Don’t wait to do it, get it done now. Keep a free mind, always be watchful of your government, and don’t wait for someone else to do “it”, whatever it may be. Give to your community, no matter how you can give; your time, picking up garbage, volunteering with the elderly, helping out the elderly, helping others, mentoring younger kids, anything! We all have something to give and a little help goes a long way.

READ! I’ve never met a book I didn’t like! OK, maybe those silly romance books but hey, they have their place I am sure. You can learn anything in a book. Life is a never-ending classroom of learning and doing new things. Again, that open mind!

If you could meet any celebrity, past or present who would it be and what would you request of them? I would love to meet any and every celebrity who is now living with a mental health diagnosis. I would also like to meet those in recovery, to chat it up about those things! I would be willing to be there for them if they needed someone to talk to. I know that being a celebrity doesn’t mean that you always have the right people near you to talk to or to help you. I don’t want anything from them but I would be their friend when they needed someone to talk depression, substance abuse, bipolar issues, anxiety, suicide thoughts, attempts, or losing someone to suicide. We all need an ear to listen when we are in need.


One of the condition of this award is to post the rules on my post so here we are, the rules of this award:

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
  3. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.
  5. Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions.

My 11 Nominees

  1. – Great writing and fabulous pictures!
  2. Just Poetically Pathetic – Love the poetry, the writing, the words!
  3.  Treatment Before Tragedy – Parents, family, friends, and others who advocate for the seriously mentally ill to have treatment before death, jail, homelessness, or any other tragedy!
  4. Jill’s Experience With Mental Health, Stigma blog – A woman’s experience with her son’s mental illness and her husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease, and her point of view, her experiences.
  5. Blog For Mental Health Project – Making mental health everyone’s concern. “Blog For Mental Health was dreamed up by a wonderful woman and inspirational blogger who writes under the name of Tallulah “Lulu” Stark — better known to most of us simply as Lulu.  Lulu is one of those rare souls who can lay her finger on something people need very much, and who will then waste no time in finding a way to fill that need.”
  6. A Canvas of the Minds – “A unique collaboration of different perspectives on mental health and life”
  7. Amanda Sums It Up – A woman named Amanda writing about her life. Simple but real!
  8. Poethead  – The premise of the Poethead blog is simple, I use technology to increase the visibility of women writers and editors work through devoting a small part of this blog to platforming poetry written by women writers. The Poethead blog is about all types of poetry, there are many links to sites about poetry dedicated to the working writer. ….. My Index Of Women Poets is devoted to women poets from many countries, while Contemporary Irish Women Poets represents an ongoing attempt to index some contemporary poets from Ireland. I do not think that the Poethead blog will remedy our evident neglect of Irish women poets. I love this blog for a refreshing new view of the woman poet.
  9. Optional Poetry  – Daily poetry musings and I love poetry!
  10. Women In Theology – Women in theology having a discussion about theology. The “about” page says this, “WIT is written from an anti-kyriarchal Christian ecumenical theological perspective by graduate students in theology.” and this “The original concept was developed in response to the realization that discussions of women in religion constitute something of a void on the Internet. We hope to contribute to filling this void” … I love the discussion this blog can bring up and hearing about theology from women who are studying this. I’m tired of hearing men explain Christianity to me.
  11. ClearlyConfused – A random poetry blog that I really enjoy the write! I love the shared writing of others as well.

My 11 Questions for My Nominees

  1. Why do you write?
  2. Who are the writers that you admire most?
  3. What do you hope that your blog will accomplish, if anything?
  4. What are you most passionate about?
  5. Why?
  6. Your favorite season?
  7. Your favorite read?
  8. What genre do you most prefer?
  9. What is your best characteristic?
  10. What is your worst characteristic?
  11. Who is a mentor to you or who do you look up to?


Thank you again Steph!!!

Thank You


Medications – When Meds Bring On An Episode

The darkness of depression enveloped me, slowly, but ever-so completely. It brought me to the depths of despair, wanting to die, and wondering why all I can do is sleep. I lost all of my energy! Any zest for life was snuffed out like the flame of a candle at the end of the night. I cried. I wanted to be alone. I had no ambition, no want, and no energy to do things had I even wanted to. I was sucked in!

So again, I had to admit that something was wrong. I needed to again, go back on anti-depressants. Paxil or PAROXETINE, works well for me and lifts my mood but I gain weight on that medication. Unhealthy weight. I was on a neurological pain killer, Gabepentin (generic for NEURONTIN)  for the pain associated with my carpal tunnel syndrome. I did the tests in January of 2013 and I would not find a way to have the surgery until February, 2014. A year of severe pain.

It became noticeable when I was a head cook at the homeless shelter in a near-by large city. I would be up all night in pain and usually by 3 a.m. I was crying for want of sleep and wanting the pain to go away. I wore the braces and they helped. I eventually was prescribed Gabepentin.

In the late summer of 2013 I could feel myself falling away. I could feel myself slipping. I was angry and I was tired a lot of the time. I was down and going further into depression. It was not until January of 2014, that I would read a post on a Facebook page for amputees, would I have even thought about the cause of my depression being that pain medication Gabepentin. *(My significant other is a double – amputee and that is why I was affiliated with a group of other amputees. I wanted to learn more.) I did my own experiment.

I stopped the Gabepentin for a few days and soon my mood was up and so was my energy. I didn’t sleep all day and night. I had again ambition. As my surgery neared, I knew that I could stop using the Gabepentin soon enough. I was elated!

By the time some of us are in our forties as I am, we find that we are on a host of medications for physical ailments and mental health needs. I have lived most of my adult life with depression, PTSD, and anxiety off and on.

As I am getting older, I have been diagnosed with asthma, (un-diagnosed but suspected by doctors that I have had my whole life), COPD, high-blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, (operated on February 2014 – both hands) and a foot deformity that causes acute pain when I’m on my feet for long periods of time. I recently found out that my back is causing nerve issues that they cannot fix with an operation or anything. It will end up just being pain meds or something.

Now post surgery, seven months, I have hands that feel pretty darn good. I still have some numbness as it takes some time for the nerves to regenerate after being constricted for so many years. I’m well on my way to healing there.

Recently I had gone back to work cooking and found that an eight hour shift had began to cause a great more foot pain. I have “lifts” that align my feet as they should be. I have a foot deformity that causes my feet to roll outward and it puts an enormous amount of pressure on my middle foot bones. During this recent job, I began to have leg problems. My left leg goes numb in the thigh and then if I don’t take the time to rest here and there, I get the sensation of holding burning rocks in my pocket. When this was looked at, that was when my lower back problems were discovered and I was told they couldn’t do anything about it. So it is something I have just learned to live with. I rest my legs for a few minutes when the pain comes on and it goes away after about 10 minutes of sitting. I go back to work until it starts again.

I don’t want to be a slave to my medications nor to my body failing me. I am working on my stamina, as my whole body took a hit last year with the depression. I have the will and the ability to regain my strength and stamina. I just think it’s very important that all of us monitor our medications and that we be ever watchful for more signs of bringing on an episode of depression, anxiety, or whatever. I have learned over the years that I am very sensitive. I am sensitive to medications, to any mind altering chemical – be in prescribed or otherwise.

Recently I tried the Chantix to stop smoking because it’s the last great addiction that I need to fend off. I have always been weary of trying this medication and when I did, I felt good for the first day, I didn’t want to really smoke on the second and I was getting crabby. By the third day I didn’t want to smoke but I was feeling rage and anger. I don’t like those feelings and I knew that it would only lead to troubles. I stopped on the fourth day and let my care provider know that I had done so and why.

I’m okay knowing that some medications will not be an option for me. I have to remain watchful and mindful about what works for me. And so do you. All medications affect others differently, and what works for me may not work for you. What works for you, may not work for others. That is true of medications for physical ailments and psychotropic meds, too. I knew all of this and still, the depression seeped in and took a hold of me. I couldn’t stop it. It was so slick, like a salesman!

I’m lucky in that my care provider and I talk about anything and everything. She listens to me very well and if she cannot find the problem, she will lead me to someone who will. Part of taking care of ourselves is talking to our providers, listening, and involving them in our care.

We cannot expect our doctors to help us if we don’t share the full story. If you don’t feel that you can have that with your doctor, I would find one whom you can. It may very well save your life. When I first moved to here, eight years ago, I had a doctor I talked to about everything. But when he allowed my blood pressure to be 200/110+ for well over a year, I had to let him go. I have a minor background in medical and my mother is a nurse, so I knew that was not good for me. I knew that heart disease ran in my mother’s family. She had her first heart attack at 39 and stroke in her early 40’s. I won’t deal with doctors who ignore heart disease in women, especially young women. It’s in my best interest to find a doctor who takes care of me, my family history in mind, and that my doctor is knowledgeable in me and my needs. It’s been a long year medically for me.

Most recently I was put on the CPAP machine at night with oxygen. I pick that up Wednesday. Just remember to be mindful that our medications can cause more problems, they can bring on more symptoms of mental illnesses, and we have to be our own best advocates. Full body medicine is about our minds, our spirits, and our bodies.

Recovery Month 25 Years

Recovery Month 2014 – Video Voices

Recovery Month 2014 – Video Voices.

Recovery Month 2014

via Treasures of Life :30 — 2014 PSA – YouTube.


Link to Recovery Month 2014 here.

‘The Price of Silence’

As a parent and consumer, I am sure that her book will touch home with myself and many of my blog readers. See the article to find the best places to purchase her book! As a fellow writer, I know how important it is to put this experience into words! No parent should have to watch their child deteriorate and suffer as the parents’ of children with mental health disorders must! May we come together and implore our society to act, to act now!

The Liebster Award

From Steph Wetherhill…. thank you very much for the honorable mention about my blog! I appreciate being noticed!!

Thoughts from my wave length


Sunday 10th August I received a very nice surprise-a lovely young lady nominated me for the Leibster award. I was really taken aback. So first and foremost I’d like to graciously access and thank Ellen who nominated me. You can find Ellen’s blog by clicking the link below:

11 facts about me:

  • I am partially deaf bilaterally and I wear hearing aids, this is a natural defect to my mother’s despair.
  • I love Disney. Disney holds many happy childhood memories for me. It symbolises family quality time and cheesy sing-alongs
  • I have a size 7 foot
  • I adore fish and seafood
  • I used to be a very active member of the girl guides.
  • I graduated this year with my Masters certificate in the Foundations of Clinical Psychology
  • I am right handed
  • Currently I still live with my family, much to my despair
  • I am a Zumba addict.
  • I have…

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Mental Health In the News

So much happening in mental health right now at the state and federal levels. I will be sharing some links today from NAMI-MN and their legislative action e-mail and also links about H.R. 3717, The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act by Rep. Tim Murphy.

There’s a new advocacy organization out there …. Treatment Before Tradgedy. I will adding some of their links and how to get into contact with them as well.

I’m now caring for my 6 month old grandson so I am busy with a full-time schedule. I am hoping that we get him into daycare soon so I can work. I’m working on that.

In closing, I want to say Rest In Peace – Robin Williams. A legendary actor and comedian who made us all laugh! And he had some of those movies where he made us cry and to feel human! He lost his struggle with depression and addiction, and it is sad to lose someone as talented as he was. It’s sad to lose any of our family members to these illnesses.

Prayers to the Williams’ family and to all of you out there who may be stuggling yourselves. Take care and keep on keeping on, doing your best. It’s all any of us can ask of you.

~ Amy              plain green ribbon

Learning About and Researching HR 3717 – The Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act

***Corrections Made — due to errors in my understanding of the HR 3717 Act.

This blogger is going again for surgery this week to “fix” my left hand from carpal tunnel syndrome. I already had this procedure done on the 4th of this month on my right hand. I needed to address both hands this month so that I can get back to writing, cooking, and working in some fashion soon! My doctor tells me that by April/May my hands should be doing well.

I am continuing my research into H.R. 3717 – The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act – that Representative Tim Murphy had the courage to bring forward to us in December of 2013. I do support much of this legislation but I also urge caution when implementing change. The changes needed in our mental health system are many, in my opinion. The legislation does a lot to address those needs.

I have been reading about the act and the reactions across the mental health system for almost 2 months now. I have been researching parts of the Act that I am unfamiliar with and learning more than ever. I appreciate the opposition and those who are completely for this. I am learning about all sides of the arguments and where different entities stand. I.E…. Department of Justice, Police, Sheriff’s Associations, Universities, schools, peer programs, research institutions, and the list goes on. Parents are also weighing in and that is great to see. Parents and family have the front row seat that not even the professionals get to witness.

We have some other high profile cases that recently happened like Senator Creigh Deeds losing his son. The Kelly Thomas case against several police officers who were acquitted of beating this homeless and mentally ill man to death, and it seems to be that many cases of police killing the mentally ill are also making headlines. So there is a lot to think about. So many sides. So many people with broken hearts and sadness. So much tragedy.

Watching grown children slide into homelessness, incarceration, death, or the madness of their mental health disorders is scary, shocking, pain-staking, and unbelievable that this happens in America in the 21st Century! If we can make a difference. If we can bring on comprehensive change to a system that in its current form is as worthless as a system could be…. than we are heading in the right direction.

A full and comprehensive system that affords care to all people, with initial symptoms or those with horrible symptoms and/or psychosis, is a system that will work. Inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care have to be available. State hospitals, community hospitals, or community support services…. we need all of those components to: a) empty our jails of people living with a mental health disorder, b) work on ending chronic homelessness, c) stop the endless killings of and killings by persons with mental health disorders, and d) stop destroying families because a loved one lives with a mental health disorder.

Please educate yourself on the proposed legislation inside of H.R. 3717 – “The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act”. You could be saving a life when you call or write to your national leaders about this very important piece of legislation!

Great Article on the Pope and Recovery in Mental Health

I read a good article this morning at the Huffington Post on mental health disorders, the Pope, and recovery. Follow this link to read it! It may make you smile! ~ Amy 

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