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Mental Wellness Isn't Just For Writers

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

IF taking care of yourself usually shows up on the bottom of your to be done list it’s time to make a change. Women especially are at risk for depression because we tend to be the first line of defense in our families to take care of others and not us. As a Licensed Independent Social Worker counseling nursing students, I deal with mental health issues every day at work. But what many of us don’t think of until we get depressed or suffer from anxiety is what mental health looks like? What is a definition of mental health as opposed to mental illness?
One definition of mental health is:


1. psychological well-being and satisfactory adjustment to society and to the ordinary demands of life.


1825–35 Unabridged

My definition of Mental Health is the absence of disease and the enjoyment of life. I like to say the absence of dis-ease. Just like any other part of the human body the human mind can have illnesses. You can read up on all of these problems at the National Alliance on Mental Illness You can help stamp out the stigma against those with mental illness just by becoming informed and sharing your knowledge. I think Jesus demonstrated the objective of mental health when HE said: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 NIV

There are many ways to relieve stress in our lives (my top pick is massage, bet you couldn't guess). I think other effective strategies are 1) Talking about your problems with someone you trust, 2) Pray and seek God’s wisdom for your particular concerns, 3) Set healthy boundaries, in other words, learn to say no. Resource: Boundaries (When to Say YES When to Say NO To Take Control of Your Life) Dr. Henry Cloud, and Dr. John Townsend, and 4)Exercise that releases endorphins and helps you feel better.

One of the biggest mental health disorders that we all know something about and many writers suffer from is depression. Did you know that Sir Winston Churchill suffered from depression; he called it his Black Dog.
British folklore talks about a ghostly black dog that has large glowing eyes. This made me wonder if that was the thought behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s, The Hound of the Baskervilles. I have not researched that idea but made a quick run of the question on the internet and found not surprisingly that Conan Doyle did suffer depression after his wife and several other family members died.

There are many mysteries yet to be solved regarding the human body. The health of the spirit is also related to the health of the brain. Please remember that the brain is part of the body and those who suffer with any type of mental illness are due the same respect as anyone else who has cancer, diabetes, thyroid disease, etc.. It’s just different. Taking care of you means taking care of your brain, too. How are you going to take care of you and your brain health this summer? I know that I'll be walking.

Why not search for a new scripture and use it to guide your wellness needs?

If mental wellness was a color, what color would your choose?


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday was my last day of work from my day job for eight weeks. I work in a college and it's a wonderful perk to have time off in the summer. I'm taking a week off from blogging on this site because I'm taking a much needed vacation and visiting friends in Atlanta.  When I return home I'll be in full out writing mode. I'll spend this break time separating one job from the other and trying to get some perspective on the creative work that needs to be done. Now, that being said I'm being interviewed on two blogs Monday - Wednesday. :) You can find me Monday at Janalyn Voigt's Blog, Novel Books. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday you can find me over at Favorite PASTimes. I'll be on vacation but I'll be checking in so please come visit these blog sites if you have time. And then when I get home I'll be blogging at Just The Write Charisma on May 30th. If you'd like to check out the reviews that have been coming in for my novel just click here.

Are you taking a vacation this summer? If you are where are you going? Do you have a favorite destination? Or do you enjoy staying home and doing whatever you like without having to travel?


Rachelle Gardner's Triple Post for Blog Pick Friday

Friday, May 20, 2011


Difficult Conversations Part I
"This Book Isn't Going to Work."

Difficult Conversations Part 2
 "I Shopped It Till I Dropped, But Nobody's Buying."

Difficult Conversations Part 3
"Don't Take This Personally-But It's Personal."

If you want to hear about all the different difficult conversations that agents might have with there authors then Rachelle Gardner's blog was the place to be this week. If you happen to be visiting here just click one of the above links and zoom over to Rants and Ramblings. Don't you love that picture from Part One? Who hasn't felt like that on some occasion?

Have a great weekend and may it be free of difficult conversations. :)

Archaeologists Unearth Skeletons at Old Bethlehem (Bedlam) Hospital

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've been employed as a social worker for thirty years. I've worked in the mental health and medical fields for all of that time. If you read my books you'll find an interesting psychology thread. I'm currently revising my second book which will take you into Bedlam in the year 1818. When I saw this article Archaeology Find I was both fascinated and horrified. Then I became more fascinated when I realized this was really an old burial ground. Still it's hard to know what actually happened until more information comes to light.

"It's interesting on the archaeological side because the 16th century is a time of immense poverty really in the outer areas of the city of London. Sites of this type haven't always been fully investigated," Carver said.

In the picture with the article it appears to be more of a mass grave. I can't help but wonder if this was used for the patients who died, or perhaps bodies from an epidemic like the plague. The The Great Fire of London occurred in 1666 so I wonder how that may have effected this grave site. About ten years later Bethlehem hospital moved to Moorfields. It's moved twice since that time and still provides help for those who suffer from mental illness.

This blog post from one of my favorite sites sheds more light on what is being reported. Bethlem in the News

Many people don't know that Bethlehem Hospital, also known at Bethlem and Bedlam opened it's doors to the mentally ill in the 14th century.

What intrigues you about this history?

Choosing Your Life Verse

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2 Timothy 1:7 
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. KJV

Over the past several years I've struggled with a number of issues within my family and within myself. Much of the time, after prayer and studying the Word, I knew that many of my thoughts centered around fear. God does not want us to live caught up in our fears. I know that. I think we all understand that, but when it comes to daily living and the challenges we face it's easy to get off track. It's easy for me to get off track and fall into the fear trap.

I think that's why it's been important for me to choose a life verse. A passage of scripture that encourages, that grounds me, that reminds me of what's really important. I can't even remember when I heard about life verses or choosing one for myself. I've picked a scripture off and on every month for awhile, but I've felt compelled to pick a scripture that I think encompasses my life so far and this is it.

Have you thought about choosing a life verse? What does that mean to you? How will you use it?

Pace Yourself with Myra Johnson from Seekerville/Blog Pick Friday

Friday, May 13, 2011

When you read a book that moves quickly and you get lost in the pages of a romance, mystery, thriller, or horror novel chances are you're reading a book with just the right pacing. This is not an easy feat for writers to accomplish. I struggle with it and I know others do too. So when I saw Myra's post from Tuesday I knew it would be my blog pick. If you haven't read it yet just follow this link and learn to Pace Yourself.

Myra's new book is called, A Horseman's Heart. Sounds like my kind of reading and I look forward to that soon. Check it out!

The Thrill Ride To Publication Part Two

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Last week I published part one of this post at Just The Write Charisma. You can read it here. It's an interesting experience comparing different aspects of thrill rides like these to our journeys toward publication, and if you think about it, it's truer than we might like to acknowledge.

Yesterday, registration opened for the American Christian Fiction Writer's Conference. This is a very exciting and worthwhile conference for writers. I've attended more times than I can remember. But I know it can feel like a thrill ride called, The Flight of Fear when newbies attend conference for the first time or when any of us meet challenges at conference. The Flight of Fear is described as: "The first linear induction motor LIM-launched roller coaster in the world catapults riders from 0 to 54 miles per hour in just four seconds on a heart-pounding adventure in total darkness through four inversions."

Just imagine that you are at conference and this is your first appointment with an editor. You sit down to pitch your story and your mind encounters total darkness, you've gone blank, your stomach rolls and you think about doing the unthinkable, but then you remember. Whew! You pitch your story, instead of your breakfast, to the best of your ability. The editor asks you to send a proposal. You leave the room and jump up and down hugging your closest friend who has been waiting for you and then you speed down the hall, catch an escalator to another level taking two steps at a time because the thing is just too slow, and then you sit down to talk with your with your dream agent.

Your dream agent asks why you want an agent and again your mind enters total darkness and you feel lost in a deep, dark wood. You thought the editor was going to ask you to pitch your project. Instead you hem and haw your way through the question and then he/she asks what you are writing. The light bulb burns bright and you remember your pitch. She tells you it sounds interesting and encourages you to send a proposal. You are thrilled and leave the room walking on air.

Everyone experiences a different journey. Have an experiences (good, bad, or ugly) you want to share? They might be about a conference experience or something else along your writing journey. Help each other out so your journey is awesome. So before you get to conference remember to come prepared, be yourself, have fun, and put your thinking caps on; there is a lot to learn. What helps your jitters at conference?

Happy Mother's Day and Winners!

Sunday, May 8, 2011



                                             ERIN MACPHERSON                                            



Secrets of the Heart Launches Today!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm thrilled to celebrate the release of Secrets of the Heart today.  I hope you will join me in the celebration. I will be giving away TWO copies of my novel this week and will leave this blog post in place through Saturday. Please leave a comment and e-mail addy. If you don't leave an e-mail address I won't know how to reach you. I will close this opportunity out at midnight on Saturday, May 7th and announce the winners on Sunday, May 8th, Mother's Day. :)

I'd love to know what you like about historical romance novels. What attracts you to this genre? Take a look at the video Realms made for Secrets of the Heart. Does this trailer draw you in at all? Would you buy or have you bought a book because of a trailer or was it only one aspect that helped you make a decision?

Other than a great romance, Secrets of the Heart is a book with mystery/suspense elements. That's my personal preference. How about you? I think I'm a latent Sherlock Holmes. What elements do you like in your historical romances?

An Encouragement For Your Week

Sunday, May 1, 2011

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. KJV