Hope At The House of Mouse (Disneyland 2018)

My Day At Disneyland

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The blazing Southern California heat couldn’t touch stop us from having the time of our lives. When the world thinks of Southern California residents, they have a certain image of us. They see beach dwellers, Hollywood obsessed actors and non-stop party goers. They see the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, and the pitfalls of crime and horrors on the streets of our cities. Thanks to social media, a lot of people also tend to assume that anyone who lives in Southern California goes to Disneyland all the time. They would be wrong.

When I was a kid, trips to Disneyland were a once a year adventure. They were ingrained into our childhood memories, like sand mixing into the fibers of a carpet. No matter how hard you try not to dwell on the past and yearn to return to a happy time, those memories just won’t go away. For someone like myself, who struggles with physical disabilities 24/7, getting down to Anaheim and the Happiest Place On Earth is no easy task.

Entering The Park

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For the first time, I got to experience a day at Disneyland and California Adventure like never before. Setting out with my fellow Disney obsessed fans (who happen to also be my mother and sister) we ventured into the park and experienced it like it was the first time. From our first time eating lunch at the famed Carnation Cafe to the soothing ride on the classic attraction Jungle Cruise, the day was like someone scavenged through the memories of my childhood and plucked it out of my mind.

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Honoring My Grandfather

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The highlight, (one of many), of the day for me came in New Orleans Square. Years ago on Christmas Eve, my family and I had the misfortune of having to say goodbye to my grandfather, my mother’s father. He was a kind, caring family man who may not have been perfect, but he loved his family dearly. He was the kind of man who wouldn’t let you get into his home without bombarding you with affectionate hugs. He gave my mother, sister and I our love for cheesy horror movies and musicals. He is the man who introduced my mother, and subsequently me, to the works of Stephen King, the author who would inspire me to become a writer in the first place. He was an amazing soul who worked his entire life as a carpet layer to provide for his family, and gave everyone a lifetime’s worth of memories to cherish.

It was one of those memories that led to this momentous day at Disney. While in New Orleans Square, my mother surprised my sister and I with a glass figurine each. We learned that as a child, her father would take her to Disneyland, and together they would watch the glass figurines being made in that shop, the Cristal d’Orleans. Then he would buy her one of the figurines. It was a symbol of the great memories she made at the park with her father, and for years she dreamt of passing it down to us. After a decade away from the park, we finally had the opportunity to learn of this experience she had, and together we had an emotional bonding moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.

California Adventure

Then we continued our fun in California Adventure. An area of the park we never experienced as children since it had yet to come into existence fully, we explored the fun and excitement of the park. It was Pixar Fest, and we got to see some amazing sights. We traveled back in time to the days when boardwalk games were still popular and won some fun prizes. We listened to amazing Mariachi Music, including a wonderful rendition of our current favorite Disney tune, “Remember Me” from Coco. We shopped and dined, and together we experienced one of the best days of our lives.

Some may not understand fully why a day at Disneyland could be so magical to a family of adults, but to us, honoring our childhood and the memories we shared, is something everyone should experience throughout their lives. The world of Disney helped shape part of our lives, giving us the means to explore masterful storytelling, emotional highs and lows in life, and best of all, discovering the magic of hope. In our daily lives, we experience physical pain from our disabilities, emotional pain from those illnesses and the despairing world around us, and mental pain knowing those things aren’t something we can change overnight. Yet in that one day, we got to experience nonstop wonder, excitement, fun and best of all, hope.

A Day To Cherish

We laughed. We cried. We made memories together, and we made promises to one another. Promises to honor the day we had with one another and make it an annual trip (hopefully) in the future. To make it a goal to get to the park at least once a year, and honor the memories we shared with one another. To honor those who are no longer with us in body, but remain in our hearts. To look adversity and pain in the face and smile, as the hope for a brighter tomorrow races towards us. For myself and my family, that is what the happiest place on Earth means to us. That’s what Disney has done for our family.

What is your favorite childhood memory? What’s one place you will never stop wanting to go to no matter how old you are? Leave your comments below.

https://disneyland.disney.go.com/

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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.

The Basics of Bipolar Disorder (Guest Post)

Hi there my friends. I’m honored to once again be hosting a guest post from the incredible website BetterHelp. The post they’ve put together for you guys is near and dear to my heart, as Bipolar Disorder affects someone I love and care for dearly. I may talk about that in a separate post, but for now I hope this post will help anyone suffering from Bipolar Disorder or anyone who knows and loves someone suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Take special care to read the article and click the links, especially if any of you feel you need help in this regard. Thank you once again to BetterHelp for this amazing guest post, and I hope you all will enjoy it.

Anthony Avina

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You may know it as manic-depressive disorder, but it is typically now referred to as bipolar disorder. This is a serious mental health disorder that affects close to three percent of the United States population. Bipolar disorder is a double-edged sword in that it causes both severe depression and mania or hypomania, which is an extremely high mood. There are several types of bipolar disorder, including bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia.

Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I disorder is characterized by having at least one manic episode that lasts at least seven days and is followed by a depressive or hypomanic episode. Those with bipolar I disorder can also have psychosis, which is a period when emotions and thoughts are impaired so much that you are no longer able to tell what is real and what is not real. This sometimes includes hallucinations.

Bipolar II Disorder

This condition consists of having more than one period of depression and a period of hypomania but no manic episode. Hypomania is a less severe type of mania that causes some manic episodes but you can still perform your daily activities. Many people with bipolar II disorder are mistakenly diagnosed with depression because they do not consider the hypomania a part of the disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder, or cyclothymia, is a milder type of bipolar disorder. With this disorder, you will have both depression and hypomania on and off for several years but it will not get severe enough to affect your daily life. It is called cyclothymic disorder because you cycle through high and low emotions over and over again. This condition is rare and only affects less than one percent of the American population.

How You Can Tell if You Have Bipolar Disorder

Even though the signs of bipolar disorder can vary from person to person, there are some that are common in all patients. These symptoms include:

Mania

  • Not sleeping
  • Talking louder, faster, and more often than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Trying to do more than you can handle (overbooking yourself)
  • Extreme behaviors such as gambling, unprotected sex, spending money that you cannot afford
  • Drinking in excess or using illegal drugs
  • Rapid thoughts

Depression

  • Feeling sad, despondent, and helpless
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Anger or aggression
  • Crying bouts for no obvious reasons
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Memory lapses
  • Thoughts of suicide

Risk Factors

According to experts, bipolar disorders are genetic, but they can also be affected by environmental issues like constant and extreme stress, lack of sleep for long periods of time, addiction to alcohol or drugs, physical abnormalities in the brain, and/or chemical or hormonal imbalances.

Treatment

The treatment for bipolar disorder includes medications such as a tricyclic antidepressant, an atypical antidepressant, monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). In addition, those with bipolar disorder should talk to a therapist on a regular basis. This is important because some of the medications can become less effective over time and your therapist will be able to tell just by talking to you if you need to switch your dosage or medication. If you do not have a therapist to talk to or you are too busy to find the time to make an appointment, you can find a professional on BetterHelp.com. Just click here to talk to someone, with no appointment necessary.

 

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.

Book Release: Blood and Romance by Anthony Avina

Hi there guys. Seven years ago I released a short book of poetry called Blood and Romance. Today I updated the book to better reflect my writing, gave it a cool new cover and finally gave the book a paperback version. Now the book is available in Kindle and Paperback formats. If you enjoy good horror and romance themed poetry, then pick up this cool book for only $4 on Amazon, and best of all it’s available for Prime members (free shipping)! I hope you guys enjoy it and in the comments below if you read the book tell me your favorite poem.

Buy the Book!

My Interview with Author Claire Gem

I was fortunate enough to work with author Claire Gem recently on her novel Spirits of the Heart, and she was kind enough to offer me a chance to do an interview for her website as well. So be sure to check out my interview with Claire over on her website, and don’t forget to follow her while you’re there!

 

via Welcome Author Anthony Avina

Judging My First Writing Contest!

Hello there everyone!

I’m excited to announce that I am going to be an official judge for this year’s Your Laugh Line Book Contest. I will leave the official details below, but I wanted to share this with both my readers and supporters of this blog and my own writing, and to any authors out there who may be interesting in entering this contest. I’m so excited to be participating in this event and honored to have been asked to judge what I’m sure will be a great assortment of books to read. I will keep you guys posted when I get more info on the event, so stay tuned. For now, enjoy the official press release from Your Laugh Line!

 

Press Release:

 

Strap in!  It’s going to be a hilarious ride!

Starting on February 1st, Your Laugh Line begins its official search to find the funniest books written in 2017.  It’s like a quest for the Holy Grail (Monty Python or otherwise) but more important!  Our hope is that this book is so funny that it will end all war.

Okay.  Maybe not.

But we are looking for the best, hilarious books written last year. 

The contest has two components. One is a Reader’s Choice Award. Readers can log onto https://yourlaughline.com/vote and enter the author and book of their choice. The author who receives the most reader votes will win $250 and an assortment of promotional help from Your Laugh Line.

 

The other component is an adjudicated contest for books submitted by authors and/or their publishers.  The form is available at https://yourlaughline.com/laugh-line-humorous-book-awards.  The cost to enter the competition is $20 per book. Those books will be judged by a panel of expert book reviewers. The winning author will receive $500, plus an assortment of promotional help from Your Laugh Line.

 

Authors can enter the competition between February 1st and April 30th.  Reader’s Choice voting runs from February 2nd to August 15th.  Books making it past the first round will be announced on July 1, second round list on August 1, and the final winner on September 1. Honorable mentions will be made for category-specific books.

 

Author or reader – come and help us find last year’s funniest book! 

 

About Your Laugh Line

Your Laugh Line was created to help funny authors find an audience who appreciates funny books. Knowing the power of laughter to help alleviate stress, to provide the necessary mental distraction to give the brain a break, and to make people feel silly, Your Laugh Line is committed to making the world a better place through humorous books.

www.yourlaughline.com

 

 

My 2018 Goals

It’s a new year. 2018. The time to make changes, set goals and decide what you want your life to be. While some things are out of our control, there are so many things we as people are capable of doing to make positive changes in our lives. As an author, a blogger, a writer and a YouTuber, I have made a decision to make 2018 the year of Anthony Avina. In other words, I plan to better myself in all aspects of my career, and make this the year my goals become somewhat of a reality. I also want to improve my own personal life, including being more open about the life I’m leading with you guys, the readers. With that in mind, I thought it was time to write about my 2018 goals.

No, this isn’t a New Year’s Resolution kind of thing. Instead, I’m going to be focusing on setting goals for myself to work towards with no commitment that they will definitely happen, but with the hope that maybe, just maybe, I can accomplish these goals. So here are my 2018 goals!

Personal:

I plan to get healthier. Those of you who don’t know need to know that I am never going to be 100% healthy. I have several disabilities that hinder me and my daily life, including Dercum’s Disease (look it up), Fibermyalgia, Hashimodo’s Disease and probable Rheumatoid Arthritis (test pending). These diseases have no cure and have made it impossible to get a 9-5 standing job, to be able to run, hike, or work out normally. It’s also lead to weight gain. If I’m being honest with myself, part of it is due to depression and eating food I shouldn’t. However a lot of it is due to the diseases themselves, which some lead to weight gain you can’t control. Before all of these illnesses, I was working out. I was loosing weight and getting fit. That life of a skinny or athletic person is never going to happen for me, but I’m OK with it. I have accepted this is my life and I am striving to make 2018 the year that I at least improve my health. Already I have been doing well on a new diet, cutting out most of the carbs I used to eat in my life. I am also starting to walk with my little dog Sammy and will be working to improve the amount of walking I can do. No matter my size, I’m determined to be happy in my body and still get healthier.

I also plan to push myself to get out more. As I mentioned with the disabilities I also have depression, anxiety and social anxiety. I have a hard time conceiving a situation in which I could approach someone and strike up a conversation without any lead up. Talking with people in real life is a lot more difficult than emailing them or live chatting them. When I got sick, I had a lot of friends that suddenly stopped talking to me. It was high school, so I tell myself that they were kids who had their own lives and moved on like any other teenager and young adult would have. However it was difficult to make friends after that. This year I plan to change that. I want to converse more and talk with the online friends I’ve been fortunate enough to meet in the last couple years. I also want to travel more and meet new people, befriending them or possibly starting a relationship with a woman I meet in the world. Overall I want to push myself to be a more social person.

Professionally:

2018 is going to be the year I move forward with my career. This year, I plan to make my blog here and my YouTube channel prosper. I am dedicating myself to writing more on this blog and growing both my subscriber base and newsletter following. I want to entertain, educate and start a conversation in multiple areas on both my blog and channel. I am going to be doing way more book related posts and videos. I have gotten over 150 book review requests and that number continues to grow. I am hopeful I can build both my blog and channel into a thriving community where we can discuss books, pop culture and the world at large in a positive and happy arena.

Finally, this is the year my writing takes center stage. Towards the end of last year I was fortunate enough to get a new job working for the online publication TheGamer, a popular entertainment magazine where my articles have garnered over seven million views thus far. I want to grow my presence on the website and make that a big priority for my work, bringing the most entertaining articles possible. I have some exciting Nintendo related articles coming to the site soon. I also plan to self-publish and traditionally publish books. I have several self-published books in the works right now, and will be working to write and edit/publish more this year. Most exciting of all, I have a publisher I’m working with on my first publishing deal right now. I can’t reveal the book or the publisher yet, but I just finished the editing phase of the process and my book is now in the hands of a proofreader, so needless to say I am so thrilled that my writing career seems to be hitting an all-time high and I feel this is the start of a wonderful new phase of my life. This is where my dreams of becoming a writer begin to take shape, and I will work to make that a reality in the months to come.

Those are my main goals of 2018 guys. I hope you’ll follow along as I go on this journey to make myself and my career shine in 2018. If you guys want to watch my latest YouTube video where I talk about these goals, be sure to check out the link here! What are some of your goals of 2018? Leave them in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to my blog and sign up for my free newsletter! You get a free short story when you do and it’s free to sign up. Thanks for listening guys and I look forward to hearing from you guys!

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