| Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Adventure revisited

Posted on 07 April 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Bet you never heard of Cades Cove, an enclave in the Great Smokey Mountain Range in Tennessee, pioneered in the 18th century by Cherokee Indians. Wikipedia has recorded its rich history, but nowhere is there any mention of the 1987 adventure of Ivy and Emily, rolling blissfully in the lineup of haystacks placed in the heart of this mountainous retreat … hundreds of haystacks deftly linked together like railroad tracks, for what possible purpose remains a mystery to this day. It does not matter.

What does matter is that Ivy, at age 30, and Emily, at age 60, spent a few hours off the trail rolling, lolling, giggling and squealing like 6-year-olds, sniffing the tangy, earthy scent, enduring the stray strands of dry twigs adhering to our warm up suits, (it was November) inebriated with mountain air and becoming completely mindless in the ecstasy of the moment —two city girls — women — who had never before been up front and close to a haystack. Okay, so it wasn’t sex. But some experiences come damned close.

When we came down from our high, walking toward the car to continue our road trip from Westchester County in New York to our Los Angeles destination, it went like this:

Emily: “Ivy, when you’re 60 and I’m 90, we’ll have to do something like this again.”

Ivy: “That’s a promise.”

Ivy had been my son’s live-in girlfriend. They broke up amicably and she decided to move to California to be close to her parents who had recently relocated there. She packed up her tiny Honda Civic, with her art supplies and personal effects, and mapped out her solo route to the left coast.

Ivy,” I said when she announced her plan to me (she and I had become buddies). “Do you really want to take that trip alone?”

Are you kidding? I’m dreading it. I wish I could find someone to go with me.”

Thus, we became the two generation, cross-country travelers of the late ‘80s. That trip has already been recorded in all of its quirky iterations, stops along strange by-ways, plans made and tossed, and remade, sketching the richness and diversity of people, culture, landscape and noteworthy encounters.

Twenty nine years have since passed. Ivy and I have kept in touch. For the curious, neither she nor my son have married – much to the betterment of any who might have succumbed to either of them. Both are happy in their singlehood, but that’s another story.

The e-mail I received from her a few weeks ago said, “Emily! We waited 29 years. My parents aren’t well. Who knows what next year will bring. I don’t want to wait another year to keep our promise. Let’s do it NOW!”

And so, plans were made. We’re meeting in Phoenix in May en route to Sedona, a different one of our enchanted places. Ivy is in charge of finding the haystacks. If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of mountains to climb.

 

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: My b-a-a-d

Posted on 03 March 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

It was a Saturday night and I was “frolicking” with a group of friends when my smart phone signaled that I had received a text. I tell you that I am obsessed about not answering those damn gadgets in a social situation. To me, this is the height of rudeness. Nonetheless, something made me take a quick glance at the screen which told me in a nanosecond that Justice Scalia had died. I could not squelch my initial reaction, which was an audible, “Yay!” bringing a number of friends to my side to share what seemed to be my good news.

I tell you this in the spirit of a confessional. It is one of those moments of which I am not proud. True, the good Justice had handed down decisions that were completely anathema to me, and sent me virtually screaming in the dark, trying for a split minute each time to fathom the rationale that would arrive at a place so far beyond the range of what I considered to be rational.

And then the media – overjoyed at the prospect of being diverted from the Trump Travesty – began to expose the Life of Scalia and my closed mind began to open. In a typically narrow-minded political vise, I had not bothered to view him as a person, but saw only one side of the man and made my judgment according to my ignorance. People do that, and it’s so wrong.

I began to see him as a principled man of high intelligence and humor who just happened to see things from a perspective different from mine – but nonetheless an honest one. Was I an “originalist” as regards the interpretation of the constitution? I had given it some thought as major SCOTUS decisions were highlighted by the media, but my thoughts were fleeting as life continued to “happen.”

But that’s for another treatise. The fact that Scalia’s judgment had national consequences that I found to be abhorrent is what living in a democracy is all about. The fact that I could not separate the man from his views is scary in this time of political parody and lack of civility – and I do not want to fall in line with political haters. The more I looked into the life of Antonin Scalia, the more I could admire his qualities as a human being who felt as passionately about his views as I do about mine. Mankind is not monolithic. We are all “many people” in one body.

We talk about tolerance all the time. We talk about acceptance. We talk about coming together. We talk about compromise. These are the high values that truly make America great. It is worth noting that the Roman Empire fell into decline as onlookers cheered the gladiators for their fierceness at dirty fighting.

And so, with all due respect, and a lesson learned, I can acknowledge with sorrow, the demise of a patriot and one who was true to himself. May he rest in peace.

 

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: LOVE Again — 2016

Posted on 11 February 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

It’s “Love-Time” again, so get your pen and paper and prepare to take a short, simple quiz.

Here it goes: Finish the following sentence: “Love is ….”

Expand on your answer as you see fit and e-mail your response to me (See email address above). With your permission, I will include it in my next column, or in next year’s LOVE column, depending on how many responses I get.

And, yes, there are all kinds of love, and infinite degrees of intensity that the feeling engenders, and that’s what makes the subject an intriguing study, as well as a great dinner-party go-around at the table.

The big secret is that “real love” needs to begin with self – non narcissistic, “whole- self” – love. If that does not exist, I know some “shrinks” I could recommend. You cannot love someone else if you don’t truly love yourself.

I am always fascinated by the variety of ideas people express on the subject, all of them, no doubt, reflections of their personal experiences. Those of us who are engaged in pursuing self-awareness (or mindfulness, or a high level of consciousness) agree that the experience of “love” – all kinds – is the ultimate goal of human achievement, a concept which is the root thesis of most religions.

Love: Follow it and see the patterns change. It is like a piece of dough that begins with one ingredient and gets added to, reduced, blended, rolled, flattened and shaped. It is wiggling, bouncy, euphoric and constrained. It reaches out and pulls back. It is gentle and it is violent, giving and demanding. It is lustful and phlegmatic. It is the sustenance of the world and yet its chemistry can be venomous. It is a spot of mercury, darting, volatile, fusing and breaking into bits and pieces. It is open and closed, a release and a prison. It is agony and glory, darkness and sunlight, distance and touch … and, mostly, joyous.

As one who has experienced the entire range of love-feelings – and as one who has advanced in chronological years – it is pure happiness to report on “love” in the senior years. Some people call it “cute,” condescending to the belief of youth that those feelings experienced during the teenaged and early 20s and 30s cannot be duplicated many decades hence. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! (I joyously report.) And thus – another celebration of Happy Valentine’s Day.

Here are two of several legends about Valentine’s Day: Valentine, a Roman priest, was killed because he attempted to help Christians escape from a Roman prison as they were being tortured and beaten there. Yet another popular version of the legend states that while in prison Valentine, or Valentinius, fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who visited him during confinement. Before his death, Valentine wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart from the jail and signed “From your Valentine.” The expression became quite popular amongst the love struck and is still very much in vogue.

So here’s to the good St. Valentine, may his love-aura be spread – and may you live in lovingness all the days up to and beyond the 14th.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: The past is our present

Posted on 03 December 2015 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

What would you think of a belief system that states that talking or thinking about the past has no value for the present? “The past,” it says, “is a canceled check. You can’t buy anything with it.” The present, it says, “is a check to be cashed to buy the future.”

Lovely words, indeed, but they mask the problem that exists with the acceptance of aphorisms (a terse saying embodying a general truth or astute observation) as dogged pronouncements of absolute truth. By defending the value of recognizing and mining the past, we do not, as those words suggest, diminish the larger importance of the present.

And we can always find an aphorism that abjectly states a contrary case, i.e.:

A man cannot free himself from the past more easily than he can from his own body.” –André Maurois; “The past is not a package one can layaway.” –Emily Dickinson; “The past lies upon the present like a giant’s dead body.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne; “The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginning.” –Ralph Blum; “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” –Soren Kierkegaard; “Study the past if you would define the future.” – Confucius; “The past can’t hurt you anymore, unless you let it.” –Alan Moore; “If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.” — Baruch Spinoza. Bless us, Google will show you over a thousand of these – and I picked from them.

The past, to me, represents the foundation of the present. We are who we are as a result of who we were. That is to be acknowledged and respected, and even nit-picked, in order to understand ourselves better. This does not mean we are dwelling upon it, but rather seeing it as one piece of the puzzle that is self.

When thinking or talking about the past, we can still exercise our golden right to choose which of the elements we wish to consider. But if, when considering the past, it continues to inflict pain, then we still have the present to confront it, to learn from it, and to find ways work out the process of diminishing that pain.

Since we eternally dwell in the present, we are currently living in the time of the year when we would do well to continue our thoughts of giving thanks and giving back to our communities, for all the good things we have – the people we love who love us back, the freedoms we have in this country that do not exist globally, and the ability we all have to choose positive thoughts and actions, and to pursue proactive paths of healing. In this way, the past becomes our present.

With holidays on our tail, we can remember the good ones with nostalgia and we can use those memories as a blanket to wrap around our present. The bad ones we can choose to expunge because “life is a river of choices.” I choose to wish you all the best of holidays surrounded by love and thoughts of peace.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: When I was a kid….

Posted on 05 November 2015 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

When I was a kid, what I hated to hear most from growns up were sentences that began with, “When I was a kid.” Such beginnings were sure to garner wide yawns, and something akin to, “Yeah yeah, yeah!” and an under-the-breathe, “So what?”

Nonetheless, I’m about to write nostalgically about one of the things I miss most about the time “when I was a kid.” Back in “the day,” believe it or not, we never knew who either political party would nominate for president and vice president until the actual convention. We would sit by the radio, and in latter days, actually watch the proceedings on our black and white TV screens. And the build up time prior to the conventions was only a few months – certainly not years.

Several big-wig politicos would take turns approaching the microphone in a tremendous arena filled with musical bands and balloons, and straw hats and signs, and people mostly wearing some kind of symbolic red, white and blue accessory or garment.

Traditionally, a male homeboy from the state of the nominee, in a sonorous voice, would “nominate” a presidential candidate, followed, by an expanded résume of qualifications – talk about yawns. Then came the “seconders” of the nominee, and more yawns. Often, there were several nominees —yawns to the max.

But the part that I most loved to hear and watch was the state by state roll call that took forever: “A-L-A-B-A-M-A” to ‘W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N.” The delegates from each state having voted the previous night “in caucus” for its own nominee, would have one “proud” representative announce the winner of that state, accompanied by another yawnie speech. Until it became obvious that one nominee had the majority of the votes, we would sit there in suspense not really knowing who the winner would be. And by “W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N,” of course, it was all anti-climactic. Also, it was getting late. But the entire procedure was repeated for the nomination of vice president, who was not – in those days – necessarily the selection of the presidential nominee.

Much of the old hoopla has been preserved, except for the suspense part. Delegates still go nuts at conventions and whoop it up with a bit too much booze and attention to other people’s spouses.

Now we are witnessing the most obscene expenditures on presidential campaigns in our entire history, with so much more spending to come. Families are still struggling to keep themselves together, and, next year, we will witness yet another twin obscenity when the two political parties will party hearty, performing acts of shameful theatrical redundancy ostensibly to nominate two (four!) who have already been nominated.

When I was a kid, some folks had to sell apples on the streets. When I was a kid, we had a war to lift us out of our economic gloom. But “having a war” doesn’t work any more, nor does having two or more wars.

But the one sure thing is – while families are starving we’ll still have a bunch of people making whoopee, while giddy, with hope for the future.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Heeere’s October

Posted on 08 October 2015 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

October is leaves falling in the final iteration of their colorful brilliance. It is the promise of holidays to come, the stress of anticipated shopping and planning and enduring the bumps of reunited family. It is orange and black wherever you go, and witches and pumpkins, and candy. It is the home stretch to a waning year and the incubation of round-ups of the recent past.

And October is many-abirthday. It is the time of births conceived in the cold, cuddly anti-climactic month of January. It is the time, for karmic unknowable reasons, that people important in my life have slipped out of womb-protection – on the same 10th day – albeit separated by many years, arriving on a planet of incontrovertible strangeness.

My late sister blew onto earth just two weeks prior to the Great Wall Street Crash of October 1929; her granddaughter Rachel arrived 63 years later on that same 10th day as Bill Clinton was galloping toward a takeover of the electoral college. My longtime friend Renee H., as well as my “significant other,” both defy all actuarial tables and prove, on this upcoming Oct.10, that age is just a number, and that life can still be beautiful even as they will complete nine decades.

Maybe you can find some significant connection among the six U.S. presidents who were born in October: Jimmy Carter (Oct. 1), Rutherford B. Hayes (Oct. 4), Chester Arthur (Oct. 5), Dwight Eisenhower (Oct. 14), Teddy Roosevelt (Oct. 27) and John Adams (Oct. 30).

And one more interesting tidbit – only two first ladies were born in October: Eleanor Roosevelt (Oct. 11) and Hillary Clinton (Oct. 26)

Not many major national historical events took place in October as compared to other months of the year. As noted, there was the Great Wall Street Crash on Oct. 29, 1929. Investors and those in the general business community have been conditioned all these 86 years hence to become skittish around this time of year. We’ve seen some foreshadowing of that. NO predictions.

On the 4th of October in 1957, the historic Soviet satellite Sputnik 1 was launched. Where is our aerospace program now?

Ironically, on Oct. 22, 1968, Congress passed the Gun Control Act of 1968, banning mail order sales of rifles and shotguns, and prohibiting most felons, drug users and people found mentally incompetent from buying guns.

It was on Oct. 17, 1979 that the most excoriated of the president’s cabinet posts was established, the U.S. Department of Education.

On Oct. 9, 1986, the FOX broadcasting channel was founded, this being somewhat historical to a number of viewers.

On Oct. 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake rocked San Francisco, and was it only three years ago that Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc in the northeast on Oct. 29.

A final memory — Hurricane Wilma, rampaging through our own local towns on Oct. 24 just 10 years ago, destroying trees, screens and the very foundations of so many homes and lives. Memories linger.

That’s October for you. Before you know it, we’ll be eating turkey. And by next year this time, we’ll be awaiting the inevitable “October Surprise,” some scandalous outrageous revelation meant to turn the polls upside down about one – or both? – presidential candidates just days before the election. Whatta country!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Emily’s life review tour -2015

Posted on 06 August 2015 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I graduated from High School in Brooklyn, NY on the day that American troops stormed the Normandy Beachhead (DDay), the beginning of the end of the “good” war.

There were 500 kids in my graduating class and only two of us – me and my best friend Carol — who were exhorted to keep our mouths shut during the singing of our class song, reconfirming the well-known fact that both of us habitually sang off-key .

Don’t bother with the math. Suffice it to say that many a year and many a lifetime have subsequently passed, but Carol and I have endured as good friends, singing our hearts out in private on the very few occasions when we get eye-to-eye contact, she, a resident of Connecticut, and I, a transplanted Floridian.

So when she called several months ago, insisting that is was time for me to visit in her newly downsized condo digs, I succumbed.

The first thing she did was get tickets for the Emmy multi-awarded “The Curious Incident of the Dog,” etc., the price of which was “curiously” close to a Porsche. But I didn’t want a Porsche.

And thus began “Emily’s Life Review” tour.

Once “up there,” I could not “not visit” the remains of my other life – people who contributed to what became the richness of my life, people with whom I shared important milestones and giggles. Carol’s house was my final and longest stop.

Planning the trip had some similarity to the planning of an army invasion, minus the big map and pointer and 4-star generals. Many of my personal 4-star generals, however, were quick to offer me updated intelligence. It went like this: “You’re crazy to attempt so many places.” “Renting a car? You don’t know how bad the traffic is. You will be stuck on throughways forever.” “One wrong turn and you’ll be lost. And you know how bad you are with the GPS.” “You’re too old to be traipsing alone all over the tri-state area.”

The bile rose in my stomach – and I am known to live and advocate in loud decibels for a stress-free life — but I soldiered on … and a glorious “Nyeah Nyeah” to all of them. My plan worked seamlessly – from the cousin family wrap-up, to the nursery-school car pool reminiscences, to the years of exotic world travel in out-of-the-way destinations with Billie, my best of all times travel friend (a former next door neighbor), and to Carol and our high school war-time days and young motherhood.

Beaches and parks, and community activities, were all part of the deal. Manhattan streets and traffic, subways and frenzy, the cacophony of sounds and smells, the body shapes and misshapes, the whirring of unrelenting movement and fl ow of energy – the numbing experience of the 9/11 memorial and museum brought it all, in the midst of building cranes rising to the sky, to a meditative halt, a reality check, a somber reflection on humanity and the eternal struggle between good and evil, and a human artistic achievement worthy of its purpose.

I came home on an emotional high. Now, I am breathing deeply and exhaling slowly. I let go of my stress and fulfilled my mission.

So it’s Back-To-School August and for many Florida full-timers, vacation is over, and the countdown to next June begins. But, now, it’s time to knuckle down and get the work done.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Balancing good and evil on July 4th

Posted on 02 July 2015 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Many have said it … God (or whatever higher power you ascribe to) works in strange ways.

And each time that power is wielded within plain sight, it adds weight to the proof that “balance” is the core of all existence. Take that incredible day of June 26, 2015 — and it doesn’t at all matter what your political preference is. This is universal.

The confluence of the Supreme Court’s Gay (etc.) Marriage decision coming in time-collision with Obama’s long sought opportunity to really hammer his position on “race” without having to cow-tow to political expediency (in his eulogy for Rev. Clemente Pinkney) signals to me some nonrefutable absolute truths: Evil and tragedy eventually bring good people out of their lethargy and comfort zone, propelling them to rise to heights often inconceivable. The Charleston Massacres, intended as they were to incite racial divide, did just the opposite, escalating universal consciousness to the inherent rights of human dignity and equality. The Supreme Court decision, defying a long-standing social code that has been slowly eroded over time, has done the same thing.

These two happenings are elevating in their own right. That they appeared on the “stage” of human events simultaneously, even as ISIS was perpetrating its heinous mission in other parts of the world (France, Algiers and Kuwait) cements the axiom of “balance” as a planetary existential fact, keeping us ever on the alert.

Good and evil work in tandem and it seems that as long as the known world has existed ‘twas ever thus. And yet good people continue to strive to overturn that balance in their favor, even as those evil forces seem to be invincible.

And so, with all of the above still lingering in our consciousness, there is that other phenomenon of the strange ways of the All Powerful. That is the miraculous way we, as a species, manage to keep our own personal balance. The parades, the fireworks, the speeches, the dancing in the streets, the gayety and celebratory essence of our nature can never be quelled even as we are being overwhelmed with external threats of extinction.

In my own personal lexicon, I call that “jumping tracks” – the ability to recognize, internalize and deal with the negative extremes that course through our lives, while still managing to revel in the positives that exist in perpetuity.

No one person is immune from the negatives – nor is any state. And it says so much for the general stability of our population that, for the most part, we are able to jump tracks — and joyously celebrate the good while cautiously seeking ways to cope with and eliminate bad.

So, Happy BBQing and here’s to lots of gratitude for what’s good in our lives.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Where is Emily Post?

Posted on 04 June 2015 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Emily Post – we need you now! For those of you to whom this allusion brings blank stares, let me fill you in: Madame Post was the guru of etiquette and manners for what is now the geriatric generation. She died in 1960, leaving a legacy of written material — books and columns – stating with no equivocation the rules of proper behavior. As far as I can tell, no one questioned her credentials in this regard, and most everyone who was anyone willingly acceded to her stipulations.

Fast forward to the world of today when concern for manners and etiquette are either at the very bottom of one’s “list of social reforms which I endorse” or they are the butt of parlor game jokes and Bill Mahr monologues.

In the world of body tattoos, nose and tongue rings, and cleavages by the acre, little attention is paid to personal image, common courtesies, table manners or offensive behaviors. A long time coming, but table manners is somewhat my theme for today.

Okay – so I acknowledge that table manners evoke images of dining as opposed merely to “eating,” which is often done from a standing position and/or from a takeout cardboard container reminiscent of pretty nearly every sitcom where the protagonists sit on a couch in front of a TV, mostly with chopsticks, slurping down intermittent swigs of whichever “cola” the networks get paid for doing “product placements.”

Dining, however, occurs when real people actually come together for social reasons in addition to gustatory reasons.

So my question concerns the “social reasons:” Can “texting” (or phone fiddling) at a dinner table be categorized as anything other than bad manners? And indeed, why is it so universally acceptable? Answer? Because it is so universal an activity — as in: everybody does it.

Well, I don’t! And I find it extremely offensive when others do it. Half the time, they are responding as if the person on the other end of the call is holding his or her breath and, that response-time were factored into their emotional well-being. The other time they are scrolling — unsolicited-ly — for pictures in anticipation of a few faux appreciative expletives in praise of appearance.

And it is so all-pervasive, this intense concentration on a small hand-held inanimate object that is close to containing all that matters to us in our lives. How scary is that? And how scary is it that this is fast becoming part of our DNA?

It is also fast becoming an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” game. And this is what has thrown us so off kilter.

The other day, I was one of four people dining in a restaurant. The other three, during a break in service between ordering and receiving our meals, whipped out their smartphones. One was answering a call that was anything but an emergency and was engaged in a “regular” conversation. The other two were scrolling for a reference to some subject we had been discussing. These were not “dumb” people, nor were they in any other way oblivious of social mores, nor were they thoughtless, inconsiderate people. They were dear people and good friends who had totally succumbed to the cult of join-the-crowd behavior. Is it like climbing the mountain because it is “there?”

Where will it end? Emily Post, I’m afraid you are toast.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Posted on 14 May 2015 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

l’ll bet you have seen one or more of the hundreds of movies that address issues concerning mental illness. To name just a few: Psycho, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ordinary People, Rainman, Gilbert Grape, American Beauty, Black Swan, The Soloist, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Silver Lining Playbook.

Each addresses a different diagnostic malfunction of the many that attack our population, just as physical diseases are the scurge of mankind.

I’ll bet you never heard of NAMI – (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the month of May, NAMI, in conjunction with other mental health advocates, is bringing awareness to mental illness.

Each year, their supporters fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care.

Who doesn’t know someone with any of the following conditions: bi-polar, clinical depression, schizophrenia, autism, ADHD, mental retardation, dementia, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Agoraphobia, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia, and too many more to list.

These are not conditions that are treatable with a simple toss of a “Get over it” approach that belies any understanding of the pain and suffering experienced by victims and families. And, yet, the added burden of social stigma has not been eradicated, despite every effort to educate the public to the practical need for parity in funding, research and treatment for both mental and physical anomalies, as well as the compassionate need for the same kind of empathy for mental patients as we give to cancer patients.

Here are some facts: 1 in 5 adults experiences a mental health condition every year. 1 in 20 lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to the person directly experiencing a mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected.

When we think about cancer, heart disease or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4. We begin with prevention. We don’t ignore them. So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness?

Perhaps because people may not realize that their symptoms are being caused by a mental health condition or they feel ashamed to pursue help because of the stigma associated with mental illness. It’s up to all of us to know the signs and to take action so that mental illnesses can be caught early and treated. People can and do recover and reclaim their lives.

One way to see if you or a loved one may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is to take a screening. Visit www.mhascreening.org to take a quick, confidential screening for a variety of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, mood disorders or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There are many treatment options, ranging from talk therapy to medication to peer support, and, although it may take time for a person to find the right treatment or combination of treatments that work best for them, the results can be life-changing.

For more information about what you should know and what you can do at each stage, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may. And get information from local low cost facilities, like www.faulkcenterforcounseling.org.

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