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The Above Ground Charity Event is being presented by Dave Navarro and Billy Morrison in partnership with Revolver Gallery. The event is to raise awareness and funds for the treatment of mental health. Two iconic albums will be played in their entirety with an all star band and special guests. The event takes place at The Belasco Theater 1050 S. Hill St. Los Angeles, CA, Monday April 16th. Tickets are on sale now from ticketmaster and livenation. Proceeds donated to MusiCares.

This is an event I would love to attend. I’m just not sure it’s a good idea. My physical health isn’t the greatest but I could also feel worse because of my environment. I have flown to California alone before but I’ve never spent time alone there. It’s a decision making time and I’m not good at decisions. lol


Roughly 50% of people with a severe mental illness are also affected by substance abuse.

What is considered “severe mental illness”?

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Mental Illness is caused by a combination of genetics (your family history), your environment, and other outside factors.

37% of alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.

Alcohol and drug abuse are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of mental health problems that have gone undiagnosed. In the long term this worsens symptoms.

Evidence shows that people who abuse opioid painkillers are at greater risk of depression and marijuana users have an increased risk of psychosis.

Alcohol abuse increases the symptoms of mental illness or even triggers new symptoms, it also makes antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers less effective.


  • Do you use alcohol or drugs to cope with unpleasant memories or feelings, to control pain or the intensity of your moods, to face situations that frighten you, or to stay focused on tasks?
  • Have you noticed a relationship between your substance abuse and your mental health? EX: Do you get depressed when you drink?
  • Has someone in your family struggled with either a mental illness or alcohol/drug abuse?
  • Do you feel depressed or anxious even when you’re sober?
  • Do you have unresolved trauma or a history of abuse?
  • Do you ever feel guilty or ashamed about your alcohol/drug use?
  • Have you ever blacked out?
  • Has your alcohol/drug use gotten you into trouble with the law?
  • Has your alcohol/drug use caused problems with your friends/family?


When looking for treatment make sure the program is licensed,  accredited and has  experience with your particular mental health issue.

The treatment addresses both substance abuse and mental health.

You share in the decision making process and are actively involved in the strategies used to help you cope with challenges and stress. It’s a waste of everyone’s time if you’re not going to do what’s suggested because you have trouble concentrating or memory issues. These things have to be shared and talked about so a program can be tailored to your specific needs.

I realize when I look at something in chart form or statistics I think it looks simple. Nothing is simple when it comes to mental health and addiction. If it was simple we wouldn’t have so many people dying.

Society is worried about gun violence when Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15-34 year olds. It’s 3rd among 10-14 year olds and the 10th leading cause of death overall.

There were 47,193 Suicides last year compared to 17,793 Homicides. I think the focus is on the wrong subject.



I like statistics and research but it’s hard to see some numbers when they are not changing much year after year. It’s even harder knowing that not much is being done about it. Here is some of the newest information and you can decide for yourself.

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • 1 in 25 adults experiences serious mental illness in a given year that interferes with or limits 1 or more major live activities.
  • 1.1% of adults live with Schizophrenia.
  • 2.6% live with Bipolar Disorder.
  • 6.9% had at least 1 major depressive episode in the past year.
  • 18.1% experienced an anxiety disorder such as PTSD, OCD, and specific phobias.
  • Among the 20.2 million adults who experience a substance abuse disorder 50.5% had a co-occurring mental illness.
  • Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14.
  • Despite effective treatment there are long delays, sometimes decades, between the first signs of symptoms and a diagnosis.
  • People living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of chronic medical conditions.
  • People with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than other people.
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
  • Each day an average of 18-22 veterans die by suicide because they don’t get the help they need.

This is a report sent to the government every year. Every year nothing changes. I’m one person with limited time left to change things. I don’t have the energy to change my socks. I have severe chronic medical conditions that interfere with my mental health.

Last night I received a phone call about my student loan. I started crying on the phone. I was babbling and stuttering. At one point I said “My dad is worried right now he won’t have the money to bury me so how can I pay you?”. The thing is the loan isn’t supposed to be there. If something happened where you went on Disability after school and didn’t even get a chance to really use what you learned they are supposed to “forgive” the loan. But only if the paper from Disability says when your next review is.

I’ve asked Disability to send me the paper 4 times. Each time I get the same one saying that I’m on Permanent Disability but there is no mention of a review so they won’t except it. I get frustrated when the loan people call because I can’t understand why they won’t take it. I told them I’m sick enough that I don’t need a review! I won’t be getting better only worse. That’s why they won’t put a review date on there.

I’m at a point where I don’t care. One of my birds is dying and we’ve had her for over 20 years, my Pomeranian won’t be here much longer she’s 14 and has had epilepsy since she was 3. My dad’s health is getting worse, he looks like skeleton and I don’t want to be the one who finds him. I don’t want to watch another parent die. It’s too much. I can’t do it. We fight sometimes now because we’re both sick but before that we were like best friends. We would go to the movies together, do anything that involved animals together, watch TV together and laugh, he kept me sober for the first 5 years by being there. He’s always been there. Mentally I know it will break me.

It’s why I want to move to Florida or at least spend a few months out of the year there. If only everything wasn’t about money. My sister acted excited about the new jewelry I’ve been making and said she wanted to help with marketing. Of course I can’t get in touch with her now or when I do she’s too tired to talk. She’s the best salesperson I know and has a friend who owns a boutique and likes my jewelry. I’m being selfish. She probably is tired. I’m just confused and scared.


I enjoy watching Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER but what I don’t enjoy is when a person who has no experience with a specific species buys one off the internet and it ends up in Dr. K’s ER in a life or death situation.

Exotics do not have the Immune System to fight off infections they can get from Humans. There are also diseases that can be passed from the animal to humans that can be life threatening.

I’m going to talk about a pet that I actually have a Moluccan Cockatoo. It also is sometimes called a Salmon Crested Cockatoo.


The Moluccan is from eastern Indonesia and considered Vulnerable on the Endangered Species List due to the over exportation from Indonesia for the pet trade, the Timber business taking away their habitat, and being seen as a threat to coconut palms by locals. It’s illegal for Moluccans to be used in the pet trade today but there are loopholes in this law.

Moluccan Cockatoos are mentally and emotionally complicated parrots and very few people are able to meet their demands. They are also one of the largest parrots and eat berries, nuts, seeds, coconuts, and insects. They need plenty of room, a lot of attention, and mental stimulation.

Lack of attention, the wrong food, the wrong cage or cage placement can upset them. The Moluccan suffers the most from forced isolation. They are birds that need to be a happily mated pair. Males and females are rarely apart and were never meant to live a solitary existence.

Baby Moluccans often never learn how to relate to other birds because breeders take the eggs immediately from the mother and put them in an incubator. My father always let the mother sit on her eggs and raise her babies. His Moluccans were always mated pairs except for the one we have now, her mate passed away several years ago and my Dad is no longer part of the Exotic world. When he was it was because he was one of the few people successful at breeding endangered birds and helping endangered programs at Zoos and Wildlife Centers.

When a Moluccan isn’t given enough attention, their mate dies, their diet is wrong, really any small thing can set off feather plucking beginning on the chest. Most birds have a hard time breaking this habit and it turns to self mutilation. This is sad and painful to watch I’ve seen it before. If the self mutilation continues it’s best to euthanize the bird. They will self mutilate to the bone and the area will be the circumference of a baseball. Most will not let you tend to the wound and a bite from a Moluccan is serious. They can bite to the bone. Honey in it’s pure form is used the most to cover the wound and has had some success. Unfortunately it’s limited and the bird goes back to old habits.

People need to think hard when looking into owning an Exotic Bird many have long lifespans and do not adapt well to captivity. If you could fly wouldn’t you actually fly all the time? So why deny the natural born instinct of an animal so you can look at it?401px-Cacatua_moluccensis_-Kuala_Lumpur_Bird_Park_-aviary-8a


You would think after a lifetime of knowing that something isn’t quite right with the way you react to the world, the way you behave around people, how you handle emotions, that finally being diagnosed with a mental illness or two would help. It doesn’t.

I just remember sitting there with a buzzing sound in my ears. I knew it was a strong possibility but I ignored it. I didn’t want it to be true. I didn’t want to be like my family members that everyone avoided and complained about. Even I was guilty of it.

The only thing that changed was I stopped drinking. Did I feel better inside? No. Not even after several years of medication trials, different therapies, and a round of ECT. It progresses. There are a 101 reasons why but it doesn’t matter. Even manic episodes leave more irritable and angry than anything. I become fueled with frustration and just want to run. But there is nowhere to go that I don’t take myself with me.

None of my Doctors have ever discussed the immense grief I still feel over my mother. It will be 9 years in February since she passed away and it still feels like yesterday. There are days I find myself on the bathroom floor sobbing into a towel and calling her name. I still have dreams of watching her die in front of me. I couldn’t look away. In retrospect they were doing CPR on a woman who was already dead. It was for our benefit. I wish they hadn’t. I wouldn’t have had to see the bloody foam coming out of her mouth and her lifeless eyes. The foam continued for hours after. My sister was spared seeing any of this.

I recently sent a text to my sister that was pretty mean. I always say I’m sorry after. I want more from her than she’s capable of giving. She has a family of her own and her own problems. I can’t expect her to deal with me too. I’m not her responsibility. I’m no one’s but my own. That’s a lonely feeling. All I have is my Dad who loves me unconditionally. I’m petrified of what will happen when he’s gone. Even with him here I feel alone.

I am confused a lot of the time. I have trouble making decisions. If left to my own devices I would sit in this house never leaving, never bathing, just sitting. The outside world grows less appealing everyday. I have less energy as the days go by. I lose more weight and lose interest in everything around me. I feel lost and don’t want to be found. I am at the bottom of the hole but this time I don’t care if I get out. The only thing I look forward to is my next kidney surgery and the anesthesia. I usually see my mom when I’m under. It’s becoming harder and harder for them to bring me out of the anesthesia. I know they’ve discussed this with my Psychiatrist. They think it has something to do with the Conversion Disorder. They’re afraid my brain won’t allow me to wake up during one of the surgeries but there is no other choice. I could care less either way.

This is how I feel most of the time. There are some okay days. Days where everything makes sense. There are just too few of them now. But I’ll keep going because it’s what my mom would’ve wanted. That has to be enough for now.


I first want to start off by saying how sad I am to hear of the passing of George Michael. He struggled with many issues in his life and I hope he has found some peace. I also hope the Tabloids won’t destroy his memory and leave him as the vocal icon he was. I know that’s too much to ask.


How do you define a “slip” or a “relapse”?

It boils down to intent.                                                                                                                                    A slip is usually a single unplanned use of drugs or alcohol.                                                              A relapse is when you abandon sobriety or abstaining from drugs or alcohol all together.

There were times I knowingly went somewhere with the intention of drinking even though I had been sober for a considerable length of time. I knew I would continue to drink.

There was one time I had no intention of drinking, no need to drink, but when I arrived at the place I was going, I felt so awkward, alone, and noticed I was the only one NOT drinking. I drank. The next day I immediately wrote down what I had been feeling at the time and how I could’ve handled the situation differently. I had to understand WHY I felt the NEED happen in the first place. Why did I feel so out of place? Why did I always feel I was “less than” everyone else? If I didn’t deal with those feelings then I wasn’t going to be able to give up alcohol.

It happened at a time where I had learned not to let “shame” and “guilt” consume me. If I did I would convince myself that it was useless to try to please the people around me who wanted me to stay sober. I also realized WHY I had to do it for ME and NOT THEM.

With a relapse you know what the outcome will be if you drink or use drugs but you do it anyway. You might use what started as a “slip” as an excuse. Like I did at one time. I went from an everyday drinker to a weekend binge drinker rationalizing it by thinking “at least it’s not everyday”. It was still the same but I was actually causing more harm by binge drinking.

A slip DOES NOT MEAN YOU RETURN TO DAY ONE. This kind of thinking is detrimental to anyone who is struggling with addiction. The thought of starting over after say 15 years or more has left many returning to their old ways. Only this time their bodies are not use to the same quantities of drugs or alcohol it once was. This is why you see many people who have been sober for a length time that have overdosed or died from alcohol poisoning or alcohol related deaths.

You can never take away a sober day. It all counts no matter what. A mistake doesn’t mean the end. It means you are human, you have to find a reason, a way, to get back up and keep going. The only thing chips are good for is dip.1b7c9bceda54495b68ea705d83a18aa3


My father is on Prednisone for Temporal Arteritis. It’s an inflammatory disease that is diagnosed by bloodwork AND a Biopsy of the Temporal Artery. The Biopsy is the important part. Of course my father refuses to get a Biopsy and is going on the diagnosis made by the Emergency Room Doctor at a Hospital that has tried to kill him several times and had a huge hand in my mother’s death.

The Prednisone itself is a harsh medication. It makes it harder for you to fight infections, causes weight gain, brittle bones, diabetes, and changes in personality and mood. I no longer recognize my dad’s face or his personality. His face is so bloated his eyes look closed. He angers easily and has a problem controlling his temper. This is not the man I know and love. It is hard to watch him change.

He will not listen to me even though I live with him and I’ve always been the closest person to him besides my mom. If my sister came over and saw him and spoke to him about his health, for some reason he would listen. She’s too busy. She didn’t even talk to him on Easter. She feels that he knows how to work a phone too and should call her. She is an idiot with her head in the sand. It’s her favorite place to stay. That way she isn’t responsible for anything.

I have to go to a Hospital I’ve never been to tomorrow for testing before surgery. She can’t go with me because she is working the “book sale” at her kids school. My dad is going with me. I don’t want him to. He is sick and shouldn’t be around other people that are sick.

I really need him to come off the Prednisone. His Dr. at Dialysis says he needs to come off of it but gave him no suggestions or names of people to see. They have infiltrated his fistula 5 times now. I become more disgusted every time he comes home. I called there once because I was angry. My father was furious with me. He’s so filled with pride it’s going to kill him.

He has done nothing in regards to a Living Will or a regular Will. His state of affairs is a mess. Someone will have to deal with his 300 pigeons and his enormous antique clock collection. My sister believes she can just open the doors to the pigeon coops and they will fly away. She’s in for a big surprise. My sister and brother know nothing about antique clocks either. They do not know what is worthless and what is valuable. I imagine a yard sale with over 100 antique clocks all priced at $10.

I’ve stopped worrying about it. They can have it all. I would rather have my dad. My plan is to take off as soon as anything happens to my father. Let them deal with the mess I’ve been dealing with for years. I’ll live in my car if I have to. L.A. has a very nice homeless population in this one area I know of. There is a car wash across the street where most of them wash up. It doesn’t scare me anymore to think of that happening to me. I would be more afraid of being hospitalized against my wishes.

Back to the Prednisone. I need to find a way to get him weaned off of it. I may have to play nice with my sister and get her to talk to him.

In case I forget I watched a YouTube video of a young woman who had a Nephrostomy. This is where they have 2 tubes coming out of your back to drain your kidneys. This may be in store for me. I really, really, hope not. I’ll have to weigh quality of life against quantity at that point.

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