Posted in Guest Post, mental health awareness

How Depression Affects Relationships and What to Do About It

How you deal with your depression may very well decide whether your relationship will end before the depression does. One study showed how major depression leads to negative life events such as divorce. Not only that, but your spouse may become depressed, too, as they struggle to manage things you aren’t able to do because you’re mired in negativity.

Your spouse may be your greatest support. The best way to thank her or him for that is to deal with your depression as quickly and completely as possible.

Easier said than done, right? However, there are some things you can do for yourself to decrease the severity and length of your depression.

Avoid Ruminating

Ruminating means turning something over and over in your mind without solving the problem you’re thinking about. Some people call it wallowing. Think of it as dwelling on problems rather than solutions.

Research has shown that people who ruminate a lot when they’re depressed have more numerous and severe depressive symptoms. So, instead of thinking about how bad you feel and everything you feel has gone wrong, choose more positive thoughts.

Change the Way You Think

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment method used by therapists to teach you how to identify problem thoughts and replace them with more positive thoughts. Through cognitive restructuring, a key CBT technique, you learn to look at your situation differently.  You can work with a local therapist or an online psychiatrist to change your thinking through CBT.

Take Positive Action

People who are depressed often have a hard time taking positive action to improve their situation. Many do break through their feelings of being stuck though, and you can, too. Start with CBT. Then, go further by putting what you learn into practice every day.

Take action on your own, or talk to your partner about how you can work together to solve problems. The benefits for your relationship can start even before the depression lifts. Just the fact that you’re collaborating with each other on these issues can bring you closer together.

Confide in Your Spouse

Confiding in your spouse about your depressive thoughts and behaviors is a good way to check your perceptions and thought processes. Assuming your spouse isn’t depressed, too, she or he can help you develop a more balanced view and provide a more positive perspective.

Do Activities You Usually Enjoy Together

You might not feel like going hiking or taking an evening to go have dinner and see a play. If an activity has been a source of joy for the two of you in the past, though, your spouse may miss it. Honor the support your spouse offers you by doing what you can to support them, too.

Seek Help

The most important thing you can do for your relationship is to seek help for your depression as early as possible. With early intervention, you can overcome your depression faster and stay well longer. You can learn appropriate ways to deal with your depression within the marriage and when you’re on your own.

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie-Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Posted in mental health awareness, Personal Blog Posts

How I Cope With Depression & Anxiety

Hello there everyone! You guys have read a lot of different posts from me. I mostly post book reviews, author interviews and personal writing blog posts about my own work as an author. That’s what you’ve come to know about me over the years, but one thing you may have noticed as well is that I am very passionate about mental health awareness. There are many reasons for my increased passion for this topic, but today I’m going to tell you the personal connection I have to mental health awareness. You see…I suffer from depression and anxiety.

I’ve touched upon this briefly in old videos on my YouTube channel Avina Vlogs. However as I’ve had the pleasure of working with the amazing company BetterHelp on several guest blog posts, I thought I’d take a more hands on approach and work with the company to bring you my own personal mental health struggles.

You see, my depression struggles began when I was sixteen years old. At that time I was an active kid in high school, working hard in school and holding down a steady job, earning money for my future. I was studying, working, and gearing towards my future education in college. I was losing weight, hitting the gym hard and was living what society has deemed a typical high school life. Yet whether you want to call it fate or just a stroke of bad luck, the universe had other plans in store.

One night in November 2006, I was at the gym playing a pickup game of basketball when I landed on a slippery spot on the court. My legs gave out under me and I proceeded to tear a ligament in my ankle. That would be the night my life changed forever. To make a long story short my life got turned upside down. My ankle to this day after multiple surgeries never healed properly. After my injury, illnesses I inherited from my family began to crop up,. This stopped me from working out of the house, forced me to finish my high school career from home and set me on the course I’m on today.

Now while this string of bad luck allowed me to find my purpose in life, which was writing, it also set me up with a lifetime of health struggles that will never end. This has been the biggest contributing factor in my mental health struggles. Since then I have struggled with crippling depression and anxiety, especially and more specifically social anxiety. It’s a struggle to get out of bed each day and do what I’m capable of doing, knowing I’ll never be able to do what I once was able to. The struggle never stops, but there are ways I’ve learned over the years to cope. Some are more personal, while others may be able to help you as well.

  1. Talk to someone. This is the most important step you can take. Sitting alone with your thoughts in this state is dangerous, and if not for my amazing family I would have been alone. Speak to family, friends, or professional help. No matter what find someone to reach out to.
  2. Find a Creative Outlet. This for me has included various things, such as writing and reading, blogging, photography, videography, playing video games and so much more. Perhaps art or design is your outlet. Find something to occupy your mind.
  3. Health. Eat healthy food, exercising or moving in general can help with your depression.
  4. Seek Help. If the depression is overwhelming, seek help from a professional. Don’t let others tell you differently. Ignore those who support the stigma around mental health. Take control and find someone to help you. They can either prescribe the right medication for you, help you find natural ways of coping or talk you through the process. A great way to do this is to find a psychiatrist, which thanks to my friends at BetterHelp you can do by clicking the link here.    https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/psychologists/reasons-to-choose-an-online-psychiatrist/

Thanks so much everyone for listening. If you’d like to know more about my mental health journey or other’s who struggle with it and how they cope, leave a comment below and share this post on your social media sites. Thanks to my friends at BetterHelp for the link to this amazing resource, and I will talk to you all in the next post.

Posted in Guest Post

What Is Depression? (Guest Post with BetterHelp)

Hello there everyone. This is Anthony Avina. I am honored to be working with BetterHelp on this guest post regarding depression. I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness, and I hope this will be the first of many guest posts working with this amazing company to bring awareness to these very serious topics that affect so many people. I hope you guys will enjoy this article and if you or anyone you know is suffering from any sort of mental health disorder, please be sure to go to this website and find the necessary resources and support systems you need to help you or those you love. Now here is BetterHelp with a look at depression.

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How to Live with Depression

For those of us who suffer with depression, we know that life is not as easy for us as it is for other people. What makes it worse is that depression and other mental health conditions are “invisible” diseases so nobody can tell what is wrong with you just by looking at you. While some may think this is a good thing, it also makes it hard for others to understand why we may not feel like getting up and going to the beach with the gang or how it takes everything we have to just get out of bed on some days. In fact, I am sure some of you have heard “you are just lazy,” or “quit being so dramatic,” or my favorite “it is all in your head.”

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that is very common in both adults as well as children. In fact, it is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects one in six people at some point in their lives, which is almost 17% of the American population. It is not just feeling sad or grouchy for a while or being upset because you lost a loved one, although that can trigger it. Depression is a group of symptoms that include:

  • Feelings of sadness that lasts for more than two weeks
  • Lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy
  • Sleep changes (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or sleeping more than usual)
  • Extreme fatigue or listlessness
  • Feeling empty or lost
  • Crying for no obvious reason
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Slowed speech or movement
  • Thoughts of suicide

Who Is Most at Risk?

While anyone can suffer from depression, it is more common in some people than others. For example, women are twice as likely to have depression as men. Other risk factors of depression include:

  • Hereditary – Mental health conditions such as depression can be hereditary so if someone in your family has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, you may be more susceptible.
  • Chemistry – Many experts believe that a chemical imbalance (too much or too little) in the brain is a major cause of depression.
  • Previous mental health disorders – If you have had trouble with anxiety or depression before, you are more likely to have another bout of one of these mental health disorders.
  • Environmental situations – Many situations such as abuse, neglect, extreme poverty, or exposure to violence can make you more susceptible to depression.
  • Physical ailments – Certain major chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes can cause depression.

What You Can Do

The first thing you need to do is talk to someone. Even if you do not have a doctor or therapist, there are experts who are available to you that can help. In fact, you can talk to an online psychologist without even having to leave your home or make an appointment. These therapists are licensed and trained in dealing with depression as well as many other disorders. There are other things you can do in the mean time to make your life easier to deal with such as:

  • Exercise – Force yourself to get out of bed at least once a day and move around. Even if it is just to get up and take a shower and walk around the house.
  • Smile – According to experts, even a fake smile can make you feel happier.
  • Break things up – Do things a little bit at a time so you do not get overwhelmed. Thinking about all the things you have to do that day can be a major block but if you break things up into smaller tasks, it is much easier.
  • Talk about itTell people how you feel. Even if they do not seem to care, talking about it helps you understand your illness.
  • Goals Set some small goals for yourself. Talk yourself into doing at least one thing from that goal list every week.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore it and do not try to hide it. There is nothing to be ashamed of and it is more common than you think. Talk to someone. Today.

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Marie Miguel Biography

Marie-Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Vincent Hollow

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?


As someone who has struggled with depression, social anxiety, and ADD for most of my life, writing was always something of a therapy for me; to release any negative thoughts in a non-violent way that I could turn into something creative. Most of my creative writing was during my high school years outside of school, but after graduating, I didn’t start writing again until about 12 years later when I began spiraling into one of my worst depression periods. It would end up being the catalyst that would give me reason to expose all of my pain onto paper. I didn’t want my writing to be too autobiographical, because honestly, I don’t really enjoy writing about specific things in my life, but the idea of using poetry as a vessel to carry myself into the hearts and minds of those like me allowed me to be open and honest while still keeping it vague and relatable to anyone who may read it. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?


I’ve always had a fascination with astronomy and cosmology. Even at its most basic level, you can still be enthralled by its infinite landscape of mysterious and majestic beauty. I wanted to convey that in a very simplified take of a well-known science fiction premise of an astronaut going on a deep space mission. But I didn’t want him going in order to save the earth or to take part in an intergalactic war, this was going to be extremely personal. He was doing it for love, even at the cost of his own sanity and existence. I wanted this story to be relatable to anyone who has felt that type of connection,  that they would risk it all to be with the one the had lost to either natural causes, an unforeseen tragedy, or even just venturing off from your timeline. The thoughts that run through your head, both logical and illogical, calm and erratic, overwhelming and empty, create the atmosphere for this story, as well as the celestial splendor experienced by the Astronaut, as a sort of reminder that no matter how dark everything may seem for what feels.like eternity, there is always something beautiful passing by that reminds you how wonderful life is and there is always a new journey to go on.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?


Swan Songs is all about overcoming impossible odds when struggling with mental illness. People are welcome to interpret whatever message they find within this Astronaut’s mission, but the one I hope they see shine the brightest is “You’re not alone.”

4) What drew you into this particular genre?


I always think of poetry as songs that you don’t sing, your heart does. As a teenager, I would spend a bit of my free time writing song lyrics to music that, for the most part, didn’t exist, but it was an important first step to what would eventually be my passion. I enjoy the simplicity of poetry, the ability to convey so much emotion and story in few words, and even though poetry does have its rules, I find I like telling my stories through verse and prose as it makes it feel like I’m composing a kind of silent album.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?


Perhaps the Astronaut’s friend, Patrick, to ask them how they would spend their life after their friend was launched into what was, in his mind anyway, a sort of suicide mission. Would he continue to work with INSTAR? Would he follow the mission until his dying day? Would he be so overcome with grief and guilt that he would walk away from it forever? I can’t imagine what it would do to him on an emotional and psychological level.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?


I would say Instagram has been great to reach multitudes of new fans and building a wonderful poetry community where I can share drafts of pieces I’m working on, promote book releases, and, of course, enjoy the writings of other poets from all different skill levels and give them support as they support me. It’s a very helpful and motivational platform.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?


I say just go for it. Read authors and genres you enjoy. Take notes of words you like. Use everything as inspiration, not just books. Films, songs, history, paintings, casual conversations. Anything can be your muse, so make mental notes on the things that get your attention. Odds are they can be made into something your wouldn’t have thought of on your own sitting at a desk.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?


I’m hoping the books I write will be enjoyed by those who find comfort in the melancholy of their pages when facing their own personal darkness and possibly seeing a part of themselves in the verses as well. 
Currently, I’m in the midst of a few projects, one is the story of a haunted house I expect to release early in 2021 and the other is the sequel to Swan Songs. I’ve been working on the haunted house story since about April and I’m very pleased with how it’s developed. The Swan Songs sequel has gone though a multitude of changes and rewrites since I first finished the first half of The Weight of Black Holes and has ended up on the backburner while I worked on other projects, but it’s about time to take it back out and bring it to life. 

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About the Author

VINCENT HOLLOW is an astro-poet and interstellar storyteller living aboard the space vessel, Aquarius. Shooting from the star system to star system. Vincent spends his time gazing out into the universal abyss and the depths of himself where he hopes to find his place in the cosmos through the words he weaves in the fabric of spacetime.

https://www.facebook.com/Vincent-Hollow-105005078127184/

https://www.instagram.com/vncenthollow/

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Jennifer Anne Gordon

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

The first time I remember consciously thinking about writing, I was in seventh grade, and had just turned twelve. I was a poor girl living in a rich town, and for that reason and probably many that I will never understand, I was bullied and picked on by a group of girls. They were incredibly cruel, and my self-esteem was demolished. I was depressed, I didn’t understand that then, but I do now. My grades suffered a lot, I barely did any homework, I was hardly functioning. I did have an English teacher who knew I was smart, and she was willing to help me get my grades up. She suggested I write stories or poems, so I did. I fell in love with writing then, with creating a world outside of my own. 

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What inspired you to write your book?

This will sound crazy, but many years ago I was undergoing hypnosis for past life regression, and a few of the scenes that I included in From Daylight to Madness were the direct result of these sessions. Just little flashes in my mind, but they were very emotional. I thought about them a lot, what they meant for me, what they meant in general. I always knew one day I would write the story of those images in my head, what I didn’t know was that I was going to create a gothic horror series around them, for a a while I thought they would just be straight historical fiction.  

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Though the Hotel Series is Victorian Horror, it really is at its heart a story about grief, and trauma and two very misunderstood people who never really had a chance at a normal life. I would hope people would take away a little knowledge about different kinds of mental illness, including depression, survivor’s guilt, dissociative disorder, and the terrible ways people who had these problems were treated or ignored in the past. 

What drew you into this particular genre?

I have always been drawn to darker things, and horror. It’s my favorite genre to read, write, watch. I guess I could blame the fact that when I was little, I used to play and hang out in a cemetery near my house. That combined with reading Pet Sematary at the age of ten had a huge impact on my life.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

This is a great question, and I think it would be different every time someone would ask me. Today I will go with Hawthorne Hughes who is the hotel manager and one of my antagonists from my Hotel Series (From Daylight to Madness and When the Sleeping Dead Still Talk).  I would probably ask him what his relationship was like with his parents, and I would want to know what kind of childhood he had. (I have thought about doing a story or a book about him someday as well).

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I think Facebook and Instagram have been the best for me, especially Facebook. I have always believed that if people get to know you and they find you interesting and likable then they will want to support you. I have made some great friends and found some very loyal fans on there as well. I also have started to use Slasher as well which is a horror-based app that is a lot like Facebook.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Don’t ever let yourself get talked out of writing what you want to write. Even if you don’t think there is a market for it, or it may not be popular, focus on writing the book you want to read, and trust your voice. Remember you can always edit or rewrite. You can’t edit a blank page.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Yes, I am in the early days of a new Work in Progress, I have been writing for about a month now, and I am about 20,000 words into draft one. It is a departure from Gothic Horror, which is what my first three books have been. This one leans more into speculative fiction and horror, with a little bit of a dystopian romantic comedy thrown in. 

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About the Author

Jennifer Anne Gordon is a Gothic horror novelist. Her work includes Beautiful, Frightening and Silent (2020) which won the Kindle Award for Best Horror/Suspense for 2020, and From Daylight to Madness (The Hotel book 1), and When the Sleeping Dead Still Talk (The Hotel book 2).

She had a collection of her mixed media artwork published during spring of 2020, entitled Victoriana: mixed media art of Jennifer Gordon

Jennifer is one of the hosts as well as the creator of Vox Vomitus, a video podcast on the Global Authors on the Air Network, as well as the Co-Host of the You Tube Channel “Talk Horror to Me”. She had been a contributor to Ladies of Horror Fiction, as well as Horror Tree.

Jennifer is a pale curly haired ginger, obsessed with horror, ghosts, abandoned buildings, and her dog “Lord Tubby”.

She graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where she studied Acting. She also studied at the University of New Hampshire with a concentration in Art History and English.

She has made her living as an actress, a magician’s assistant, a “gallerina”, a comic book dealer, a painter, and burlesque performer and for the past 10 years as an award-winning professional ballroom dancer, performer, instructor, and choreographer.

When not scribbling away (ok, typing frantically) she enjoys traveling with her fiancé and dance partner, teaching her dog ridiculous tricks (like ‘give me a kiss’ and ‘what hand is the treat in?’ ok these are not great tricks.) as well as taking photos of abandoned buildings and haunted locations.

She is a leo, so at the end of the day she just thinks about her hair.

https://www.jenniferannegordon.com/

https://www.facebook.com/JenniferAnneGordonAuthor/

https://www.instagram.com/jennifergenevievegordon/

https://www.patreon.com/JenniferAnneGordon

Posted in reviews

Unchecked Capitalism is Killing Us!: How unfettered corporate greed and corruption have made us poorer, fatter, sicker, less tolerant of others and more dangerously exposed to the coronavirus by Earl B. Rynerson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Earl B. Rynerson takes readers on a journey to discover how capitalism and greed have utilized eight different industries to impact our health and way of life in the book “Unchecked Capitalism is Killing Us!: How unfettered corporate greed and corruption have made us poorer, fatter, sicker, less tolerant of others and more dangerously exposed to the coronavirus”. 

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The Synopsis

This book shows in detail how eight specific industries (banks, health care, processed foods/sugar, autos, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, military contractors and the media) have harmed us over the years, driven by their greed and quest for profits. For example, did you know that:-Drug companies and their lobbyists actually wrote government legislation in 2002 that gave them the unlimited ability to raise future prices on medications? -A Supreme Court ruling in 2010 essentially destroyed our democracy by allowing the wealthy and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on bribing and funding politicians.-There are over 100,000 different lobbyists in Washington today, each one trying to control our elected representatives with cash and bribes!-Our US defense budget today is larger than the next nine largest countries’ defense budgets, combined!-Our healthcare is a mess. All hospitals are profit driven. A trip to a hospital today can bankrupt even those of us who are insured.-Until Tesla came along, auto companies were content to produce essentially the same type of polluting car with the same gasoline mileage as the Model T. -There are eight specific US institutions that could normally help protect us during a pandemic. But unchecked capitalism (coupled with corporate greed) has infected all eight institutions, enabling the virus to infect more people here than anywhere else in the world.The problem is much worse than you realize…

The Review

This was a well-written, detailed, and focused book. The author does a great job of outlining a long list of industries and history that showcases how greed and corporations have wormed their way into American politics and have led to some of the most damaging effects on the American people. 

What really stood out to me as a reader is that the author utilizes a long career of experience without approaching the subject from either a Democrat or Republican Party viewpoint, instead of taking a non-partisan approach to this subject to find the root of the issue no matter what. 

While I myself am not well-versed in economics and the gritty world of politics as a whole, it was refreshing to see the author’s study of so many different industries that have an impact on the average American’s health, finances and so much more. Living in the world we do have right now, the growing pandemic has left many wondering why our nation is failing so badly in stopping this virus in its tracks, and this book highlights the decades of corporate greed that are now preventing the right measures to come forward and help stop this from getting worse than it already is. 

The Verdict

A must-read non-fiction related book that delves into both American politics and finances while also detailing the various industries and the issues that plague them, allowing readers to easily understand how unchecked capitalism is affecting us all. The author’s years of experience and the references utilized her showcase a well-researched book that drives the author’s excellent points home. If you haven’t yet grab your copy of this spectacular and fascinating read today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Why I wrote this book-

I started this examination of unchecked capitalism back in 2018 after I began hearing of all the corruption, lying and cheating that Wells Fargo Bank had been engaged in with their clients. What I found was that not only Wells Fargo, but all of the largest banks had for years been engaged in many of the same offenses, including even money laundering!

Curious, I started looking at other industries. Of course, the pharmaceutical Industry and the Healthcare Industry are huge examples of how unchecked capitalism has directly harmed us and our families, with health insurance that is too costly and drugs that are ten times or more the price that other nations pay. Hospitals, insurance companies and “Big Pharma” pocket billions of dollars in profits annually from us. They pay their executives huge salaries that are tens of millions of dollars annually, with stock options and bonuses that make their income even higher. We, on the other hand, have to decide whether to pay for rent, our medications or even if we can afford to go to the hospital.

But it’s not just those industries. Processed Foods/Sugar, Oil and Gas, the Auto Industry, the Defense Industry, even the Media, are all examples of how major industries (and those huge corporations within those industries), regularly cheat and lie to us, bribe those who are supposed to represent us, and regularly make our lives miserable, all the while pocketing hundreds of billions of dollars in profits every year that they often move offshore, paying little to no taxes.

Over a two-year period, I researched and maintained files of hundreds of examples of corporate corruption. I found that what you will often hear or read (in snippets about certain companies lying, cheating or engaged in other illegal activity) is actually a flood of corruption that has been going on for more than 20 years, activity that huge corporations (with their billions in profits and thousands of dedicated paid lobbyists) engage in to lobby Congress and to bribe our elected representatives. It is such a powerful force today that our own government is unable to stop or even regulate what is going on.

When you hear “We need to lower our taxes and reduce regulation“, it is simply a manipulative statement made up by the corporate elite decades ago to get the average American voter into a mindset that ends up weakening our government and increases our national debt. The taxes they are referring to are corporate taxes. These behemoths could care less about the taxes that you or I pay; they only care about taxes that they have to pay. Their tax rates by the way, are a fraction of the rates that you or I pay today. They are a fraction of the rates businesses once paid in the 1950s and 1960s, taxes which enabled our nation then to build roads, schools and airports and provide meals and services to the less fortunate. In many cases today some of the biggest corporations pay no tax at all!

The regulations they refer to are regulations that were put in place (usually by a bipartisan and thoughtful effort within Congress), to insure that businesses play fair with each other, and don’t provide products that kill us. Those are the regulations they want abolished and are the regulations they are constantly trying to get reduced or modified. Doing so will make them even more profitable which will enable them to spend even more money on corporate lobbyists.

For the record, I believe in capitalism over any other form of government, but we have allowed capitalism to get out of hand in America. When lobbyists for special interest groups and corporations start writing legislation and telling our elected representatives to “Pass it or else”; when the corporate heads spend tens of millions of dollars in bribes to get their chosen sycophant selected to run a major Federal Department (when they know nothing about that department), well, that’s capitalism run amok. Our government needs to be free of this incessant lobbying and the uncontrolled flood of corporate money flowing into Washington. We MUST take back control of our Democracy!

Who am I? I am an American-

I am a former Democrat, then Republican and now Independent. But today, I avoid affiliating myself with any political party. They all feel dirty. Political parties today do very little for the American People; they have succumbed to the will and the greed of of special interests, and corporations with their billions of dollars in profits and thousands of lobbyists. Politicians from both main parties have run our nation into the ground over the last 30 years, with our national debt now approaching (or even exceeding!) 30 TRILLION DOLLARS!

That’s why I call myself an American, not a Republican or Democrat. I choose to think of today’s issues as to how they affect the poorest among us. If we can help the poorest, then the rest of us will benefit as well. If we can start to think of what we can do to help others among us, instead of continually bashing those from the other political party, well, then maybe we can overcome some of our pettiness and focus on the real problems today, problems caused by unchecked capitalism and how those forces control how we live our lives today. It doesn’t matter which political party you think you are a member of; you are being harmed every day by the forces of greed and corruption coming from unchecked capitalism.

My background-

I am a retired Air Force Lt. Col. (I served in the military for 20 years), a small business owner for 17 years, Professorial Lecturer in MBA studies for Business Management and Marketing in San Francisco, and have been active in writing about problems that affect those around me. Back in 1999, I wrote and placed on the ballot in San Francisco a measure to stop handing out cash to the City’s addicts and alcoholics. While it didn’t pass then, it was dusted off a few years later by then City Supervisor Gavin Newsom who was able to get his measure passed. It helped him become Mayor of San Francisco, then Governor of California.

For years (2006 to 2015), I wrote a local blog about the wasteful spending in the City of Fort Lauderdale; millions of dollars spent every year on non-essential items rather than on improving the City’s aging infrastructure. Now, with budget cutbacks, the City now has to pay for repairs of numerous sewer and water breaks that are plaguing residents today.

My efforts to expose the dangers of unchecked capitalism in this book are similar to my efforts to expose the problems of handing out city cash to addicts and alcoholics, or the problems of wasting money on nonessential city services while letting the infrastructure rot. It’s the same effort, except my writings now are about a national problem, not a city problem.

The problem is worse than you think and getting worse every year. You will see how bad the national problem has become by reading my book. You will also see what steps you can take to start to better control the problem.

What do I want to do next?

My next book? I think I would like to write about the “Forgotten Generation”; those men and women aged 40 to 70 who lost their well-paying blue collar manufacturing jobs in small and medium sized towns in New England, the South and the Midwest 20 years ago due to Clinton’s “Free Trade Agreement” with China.

Once our government signed that horrible agreement with China, corporations fell all over themselves to close up their manufacturing facilities here, abandoning their workers. They instead moved offshore to find cheaper labor in China. Those Americans who previously were able to support themselves and their families with honest and reliable work suddenly had no job; they usually were left economically stranded, often bankrupt, depressed and often times addicted to pain killers and other drugs to mask their depression. That heartbreaking scenario has happened to millions of American families over the last 20 years.

Those folks remember what “Achieving the American Dream” had meant to their parents and grandparents, and are bitter and angry now. They have every right to be angry. Our country has abandoned them. They are having to work two or more low paying service jobs just to keep food on the table; trying to stay out of the hospital for fear of becoming bankrupt; trying to ration their medications due to the cost; often not having healthy food available to eat and watching themselves become obese. And all the while they see their country slowly rot and go into deeper debt while their elected leaders scream at and blame each other on national television..

This is what our nation has become. It is frankly, embarrassing and shameful.

So if you know of someone who has a story to tell about their troubles and how our country has abandoned them, please let me know!

My email address is: Bonneau@capitalismiskillingus.com.

Earl B. Rynerson

July 4, 2020

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, Guest Post

Guest Blog Post by Author/Poet Elizabeth Hazen

I am honored to share with you a fantastic guest blog post from author and poet Elizabeth Hazen, as part of the wonderful blog tour for “Girls Like Us”.

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For Christmas, which seems like three lifetimes ago, my parents gave my husband a book of interesting words from around the world*. An engineer who has a soft spot for spoonerisms, puns, and wordplay in every form, he found instant delight in this book. Did you know that Germans have a word for the weight we gain from stress-eating? Kummerspeck. Or that the Scots have a word for that awkward pause when you’ve forgotten the name of the person you’re introducing? Tartle. Among my favorites are the whimsical Swedish smultronställe, a place of wild strawberries; the romantic Italian dormiveglia, the space between sleeping and waking; and the essential Japanese tsundoku, that pile of unread books on my bedside table that grows with each passing month. 

Needless to say, I took that book of words from my husband, adding one more to my stack.

Getting through my tsundoku – or at least managing it – is one of my goals for this summer. I am a teacher, and the summer brings with it the beautiful freedom of longer days and fewer responsibilities, but the lack of structure –ironically, frustratingly, and inevitably – invites bad habits and a gradual decline into despair over the time I fear I am wasting. As a result, I know I need to impose some kind of schedule – a routine that will keep me on track. Part of that routine, I have decided, will include reading more poetry. 

One of the lessons I most love to teach to my seventh-grade students involves defining poetry. We examine a range of definitions – the top of our heads being blown off, the best words in the best order, language at its most distilled and most powerful. We can debate the specifics, note our preferences, but that words are the poet’s medium is indisputable. Imperfect, delicious, malleable, living, breathing words. It is my love of words that I always return to during the darkest moments, and boy are these days dark. 

In a review of my recent collection, Girls Like Us, Nandini Bhattacharya defines the poem as “ineffable interrogator, ethicist and chronicler of human history.” Indeed, I certainly have found more accuracy and truth in poems than in the newspaper, more solace in poems than in meditation or exercise, more freedom in poems than in the endless walks I take to escape the confines of quarantine. As when I was in the thick of adolescent depression, poems come to rescue me, to remind me that the legacy of human sadness and loss and pain is infinite, but so is our legacy of resilience and power and change. 

Perhaps poems allow us to do what the Dutch call uitwaaien: “to take a break and walk away from the demands of life to clear one’s head.” Or maybe life demands poems, and it is precisely in these moments of trauma and fear and violence that we must dive in head-first. Whatever they do, I am grateful for them. Here are several recent collections by women that I highly recommend. Each, in its own way, has given me what the Icelandic call radljóst: enough light to find my way.

Difficult Fruit by Lauren K. Alleyne, Peepal Tree, 2014

Thrust by Heather Derr-Smith, Persea Books, 2017

American Samizdat by Jehanne Dubrow, Diode Editions, 2019

The Miracles by Amy Lemmon, C&R Press, 2018

Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis, Knopf, 2016

Code by Charlotte Pence, Black Lawrence Press, 2020

How to Exterminate the Black Woman by Monica Prince, [Pank Books], 2019

American Lyric Trilogy by Claudia Rankine, Graywolf, 2004, 2014, 2020

The State She’s In by Lesley Wheeler, Tinderbox Editions, 2020

*The book of words I refer to is Other Wordly: Words Both Strange and Lovely from Around the World by Yee-Lum Yak with illustrations by Kelsey Garrity-Riley

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Hazen is a poet, essayist, and teacher. A Maryland native, she came of age in a suburb of Washington, D.C. in the pre-internet, grunge-tinted 1990s, when women were riding the third wave of feminism and fighting the accompanying backlash. She began writing poems when she was in middle school, after a kind-hearted librarian handed her Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind. She has been reading and writing poems ever since.

Hazen’s work explores issues of addiction, mental health, and sexual trauma, as well as the restorative power of love and forgiveness. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, American Literary Review, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, The Normal School, and other journals. Alan Squire Publishing released her first book, Chaos Theories, in 2016. Girls Like Us is her second collection. She lives in Baltimore with her family.

GoodReads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50162841-girls-like-us

Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2U4wdtg

Alan Squire Publishing (also available is a SoundCloud Audio reading from her first collection): https://alansquirepublishing.com/book-authors/elizabeth-hazen/

Schedule for Blog Tour:

May 4: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Review)

May 15: Allie Reads (Review)

May 19: the bookworm (Guest Post)

May 26: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)

May 28: Impressions in Ink (Review)

June 2: Vidhya Thakkar (Review)

June 9: Everything Distils Into Reading (Review)

June 11: Read, Write and Life Around It (Review)

June 15: Readaholic Zone (Review)

June 16: Read, Write and Life Around It (Interview – tentative)

June 24: Anthony Avina Blog (Review)

June 26: Anthony Avina Blog (Guest Post)

June 30: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Review)

July 9: The Book Connection (Review)

July 22: Diary of an Eccentric (Review)

July 7: CelticLady’s Reviews (Spotlight/video)

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Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, Guest Post

Guest Blog Post: How Can Walking Help with Loneliness by Author Joyce Shulman

Most of us have heard that walking is good for our bodies: walking can reduce our risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, dementia, diabetes, several types of cancer, and more. Some of us have heard that walking is good for our brains: walking can help improve our decision-making, boost our executive function, and fuel our creativity. And many of us have heard that walking is good for our emotional well-being: walking can boost our mood and can be a valuable tool in the battle against depression.

But what about loneliness? Can walking help there too?

We believe so. A study my company undertook last year revealed that women who regularly walk with their friends are 2.5 times less likely to feel lonely often.

Why is it that walking together is so powerful?

First, we are social beings and we are wired to crave — and enjoy — shared experiences. Researchers believe this comes directly from our biological need to belong: our ancestors were a whole lot safer walking in the woods with their tribe than they were walking the woods by themselves.

Second, our hormones help. Walking increases levels of oxytocin — a hormone that heightens our connections with others. So when you walk with a friend, your biology helps foster a deeper, more meaningful connection. And yes, oxytocin is the same hormone that is released during childbirth and nursing, which makes sense because it encourages us to bond with our babies.

Third, extensive research shows that our brains process differently when we are walking. Because only part of our brain is occupied with putting one foot in front of the other, the rest of our brain is free to roam, to think more deeply. More importantly, when we are walking together, we can comfortably take the moments of quiet to process and give ourselves the chance to think, and connect, more deeply.

Finally, because conversations tend to flow more easily and because walking together provides an activity — and one that takes place away from home — it is far more comfortable to invite a new friend for a walk than to invite them to your home. Indeed, many mom friendships have been formed from the question “Do you want to take a walk after school drop off?” 

In short, walking together can be an incredibly powerful antidote to loneliness. It provides the perfect environment for conversation and connection. It offers time and space, free of distractions. It gives us the increased pleasure that comes from sharing an experience. It delivers a blast of oxytocin that encourages us to connect with one another. And it provides an easy way to begin to connect with a new friend.

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About the Author

Joyce Shulman, founder and CEO of 99 Walks and Macaroni Kid reaches millions of moms each month with hyper-local and national e-newsletters and websites, social media content, video and her Weekly Walk podcast. Having created a one-of-a-kind digital platform, she connects families to the wonders of their own communities and inspires women to chase their dreams and crush their goals.

Her most recent endeavor, 99 Walks, is on a mission to combat loneliness and improve fitness through the simple act of encouraging moms to walk together. Her mission? Nothing short of getting a million women walking.

Throughout her two decades as an entrepreneur, Joyce has guided SAHMs, teachers and even MBAs to success. Joyce shares how moms need to “take care of mama bear” and avoid the “martyr mom syndrome.” Her experience in business and leading mompreneurs makes her a coveted speaker where she shares tactics for beating burnout, fueling creativity, goal crushing, how walking can fuel productivity and performance, and more.

Joyce received her Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Maryland and her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from St. John’s University School of Law. After law school, she spent more than a dozen years as a New York City lawyer where her practice focused on complex commercial litigation.

A self-confessed idea junkie, in 1998, Joyce abandoned law firm life to liberate her entrepreneurial spirit and focus on the things that are most important to her: family, community and empowering women to chase their dreams.

Find Joyce online at:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/joyceshulman

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH-NR50srbDzKdUBx5BPgQQ

https://www.instagram.com/joyce.r.shulman/

https://www.joyceshulman.com/

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— Blog Tour Dates

May 25th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us in celebrating the launch of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

May 26th @ Karen Brown Tyson’s Blog

Stop by Karen’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman about how you become inspired to write a book.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

May 28th @ One Sister’s Journey

Visit Lisa’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://www.lisambuske.com/

May 30th @ One Sister’s Journey

Stop by Lisa’s blog again today where you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman where she talks about why do women need to take care of themselves. A timely post in this day and age!

https://www.lisambuske.com/

May 31st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 2nd @ Lady Unemployed

Visit Nicole’s blog and read Joyce Shulman’s guest post about beating brownout (the precursor to burnout).

https://ladyunemployed.com/

June 5th @ Wellness Connection Utah

Visit The Wellness Connection today and read thoughtful insights into Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://www.wellnessconnectionutah.com/blog

June 6th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Stop by Anthony’s blog again where you can read a guest post by Joyce Shulman on how walking can help with loneliness.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 8th @ Reviews and Interviews

Visit Lisa’s blog today and read her interview with  Joyce Shulman, author of the book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

June 10th @ Bookish Tay

Stop by Taylor’s blog today and you can read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://tayepperson.com/

June 12th @ The New England Book Critic

Visit Victoria’s blog today and read her insights into Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://www.thenewenglandbookcritic.com/

June 13th @ Simply Nourished Wellness

Visit Stephani’s blog today and you can read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://www.baconandwhippedcream.com/

June 15th @ Jessica’s Reading Room

Visit Jessica’s blog today and make sure you read her review of author Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://jessicasreadingroom.com

June 17th @ Bookish Tay

Visit Taylor’s blog again and you can read a guest post written by Joyce Shulman about how to keep fear from standing in your way.

https://tayepperson.com/

June 19th @ Coffee with Lacey

Stop by Lacey’s blog and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

June 19th @ Second Wind Leisure 

Stop by Terri’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better. You can also read a guest post written by the author about the power of yet.

https://secondwindleisure.com/

June 20th @ Cafeyre 

Visit Karoline’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://cafeyre.wordpress.com/

June 21st @ Simply Nourished Wellness

Visit Stephani’s blog again and you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman about the value of walking. Don’t miss it!

https://www.baconandwhippedcream.com/

June 22nd @ And So She Thinks

Visit Francesca’s blog today and read her interview with Joyce Shulman, author of Walk Your Way to Better.

Home

https://andsoshethinks.co.uk/embed/#?secret=1ilLtrNQ9d

June 23rd @ The Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

June 24th @ Cathy C. Hall Writes

Visit Cathy’s blog and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://c-c-hall.com/

June 25th @ D-Mom Blog

Don’t miss Leighann’s review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://www.d-mom.com/

June 26th @ Deborah Adam’s Blog

Stop by Deborah’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

Welcome!

http://www.deborah-adams.com/embed/#?secret=lWbZ45jh7z

June 27th  @ Deborah Adam’s Blog

Visit Deborah’s blog again today and you can read a guest post by Joyce Shulman about the commitment to women walking their way to better.

Welcome!

http://www.deborah-adams.com/embed/#?secret=lWbZ45jh7z

June 28th @ Bev A Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog today where she reviews Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

Posted in reviews

Emotional Fossils: Mental Illness and Human Evolution by John V. Wylie Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A detailed and humanizing book takes readers on an emotional journey through the stigma of mental illness in author John V. Wylie’s book “Emotional Fossils: Mental Illness and Human Evolution.” 

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The Synopsis

This essay is the culmination of forty-five years as a psychiatrist investigating the relationship between severe mental illnesses and human evolution. I have concluded that the most important changes leading to our evolutionary success occurred inside the mind. Upright posture, large molar teeth, opposable thumbs, large brains, and the onset of culture were additive responses to the evolution of what MOTIVATED early humans.

The inner experiences of major depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are shown to derive from the breakdown of normal emotions we all know intimately. These everyday feelings are ancient, have played a central role in our evolution, and thus can be viewed as “emotional fossils.” Stigmatized for centuries, mental illnesses are revealed to be the price we pay as a species for the extraordinary mental capacities that make us human.

Short and explicitly written to be accessible, this essay interprets the scientific findings of human evolution in accordance with an evolving mind.

The Review

At it’s core, this nonfiction, medical read takes readers into the heart of the painful stigma those who suffer from mental illness have to endure from those who don’t understand the illness itself. The book delves into how human evolution and the emotions we experience on a daily basis are closely involved with the development of these ailments, and the stigma has only increased the progression of these illnesses. 

This book is greatly detailed and creates a steady read for those who are interested in medicine, medical books and mental health awareness overall. The best way to review a book like this however is by relaying how it impacts readers, including myself. 

As a mental health advocate, this book truly spoke to me in a personal way. While detail oriented, the book creates a personal understanding in those involved in or even currently engaged in the mental health field. With two very close relatives having been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, the stigma of what that illness does to a person is everywhere, especially in pop culture, and this book does a great job of breaking down those stigmas and getting to the heart of the illness overall. 

The Verdict

This is a brilliant read that fans of nonfiction medical reads will thoroughly enjoy. The author speaks with an authority and expertise that will make readers feel more knowledgeable of the subject after reading this book, and in an age where mental health awareness is more important than ever before, this is the perfect read going into the new decade. Be sure to grab your copy of “Emotional Fossils” by John v. Wylie today!

 Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

John Wylie holds a BA in history from Yale, an MD from Columbia, and completed a psychiatric residency at Georgetown University. He began his career at a maximum-security prison in Maryland, followed by 35 years in the private practice of psychiatry in Washington, DC, where he served as chair of the department of psychiatry at Sibley Memorial Hospital. Dr. Wylie was a founding member of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, has had a longstanding interest in the relationship of mental illness and human evolution, and has given multiple lectures on the topic. He wrote Diagnosing and Treating Mental Illness: A Guide for Physicians, Nurses, Patients, and Their Families,published in 2010 (second edition, 2012), and Ape Mind, Old Mind, New Mind in 2018, which is a memoir of the development of his ideas. Dr. Wylie lives in Olney, Maryland with his wife Ann and their German shepherd Tulip.

https://amzn.to/3668ko0