Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hero or Superhero?

Scene: Friday morning after Thanksgiving with my Brother, Oldest Son, Youngest Son, Yougest Niece, Oldest Niece and Commuter Husband who are lounging in our front room in PJs. Nephew and his Girlfriend have not emerged yet.

Topic: Is Batman a Hero or Superhero? 

Oldest Son confidently maintains that Batman is a Superhero and utilizes his deep knowledge of both DC and Marvel comics to support his position. Youngest Niece (age 11) impressively defends her statement that Batman is a Hero. The conversation is lively as ALL participants (kids and adults) express their heartfelt positions. The definitions of superhero, super power and hero are the crux of the debate. They reference many other Superheroes to substantiate their arguments and cite sources from comic books as well as movies. Ultimately, no one in this group of independent thinkers acquiesces!

I was supremely entertained listening to the family banter. Sometimes life is just this simple.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Husband Humor and Praticality

Commuter Husband pulled away from our home in his red Prius at approximately 3am this morning, give or take a few minutes. Commuter Husband does this most Mondays. He likes to be in his Houston office by 7am.

During the week, I have lots of space both in our comfortable queen bed and in the concrete double driveway. I admit that I do relish the freedom to take up whatever area I choose. However when Commuter Husband arrives back in Dallas after a four hour drive, he expects to regain full access to these zones.

Fortunate for me, Commuter Husband is the spouse who never moves at night allowing me to constantly traverse the bed as a restless sleeper; love this about him! The predicament is the driveway and the indisputable fact that I seem to forget every single week that I must share this asphalt with Commuter Husband where each of us is allocated exactly one half.

Weekly, Commuter Husband pulls into the alley and clicks the gate opener excited to be reunited with his family. He turns his small car into the driveway only to be confounded with a blue-grey Prius parked haphazardly across the middle leaving no room for his diminutive vehicle. Commuter Husband patiently reminds me over and over and over and I cannot seem to remember, ever.

Today, I arose to drink my coffee and take the first conference call of the day. I open the blinds to the backyard and nearly spit out my coffee with irrepressible laughter. My loving husband of twenty years has solved the problem:
A few soccer cones and Commuter Husband's parking spot is reserved for the week! We always tell the kids to focus on the solution and not the problem. Well Played Commuter Husband!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

It Is Really Quite Simple

Less fortunate can mean many things such as
  • Temporary set back due to loss of job or health 
  • Lifelong struggles with mental illness
  • Unable to function well after an unhappy childhood
  • Being born the wrong gender or color or in the wrong place
  • Caught in an abusive situation unable to escape
  • Physical disability preventing work at decent wages
  • Caring for special needs child or elderly person
  • Addictions to substances or food
  • Chronic illness that will never go away
  • Not very smart and unable to make logical decisions
  • Loss of family due to car accident, cancer, war, violence
  • Kids in foster care tossed around from place to place
  • Making one bad decision that impacts forever
  • Living in a war zone
  • Homeless for any of the above reasons
The less fortunate are women, children, men, families, sisters, brothers, cousins, mothers, fathers, elderly, veterans, refugees, etc. And yes some less fortunate are simply lazy and depend on others.

I admire people who work hard and are productive members of society. Currently I am one of these people. But I am not better or more deserving than those less fortunate. The list at the top could be me or it could be my child or it could be my neighbor or it could be my best friend's grandchild. I am okay with my tax dollars spent, my non-profit donations helping and my time allocated; for I am lucky because I am one of the fortunate ones.

It is not complicated. Do not judge. Help those in need. All human life is valuable. All humans deserve love.

We do not choose who to help. We choose to help all.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Suicide seems unthinkable. But it is quite the opposite. Read the statistics above. Clearly many people think about it. These statistics only reflect those who have acted. It does not capture the torment of many that consider suicide and never act on it.

We tell the person "get help." Help usually means a therapist or a counselor. Someone you pay to help you with your emotional health. And I am a HUGE supporter of therapy - frankly everyone should have a trusted counselor on stand by. The 90% referenced above with a diagnosable psychiatric illness certainly needed professional help. I would propose that we as a society need to collectively help with embracing mental illness by showing compassion, empathy and kindness for the tortured person and for the family and friends walking life beside them. Mentally ill persons are talented and funny and thoughtful and flawed - just like those not suffering from mental illness. The mental ill are human beings with many dimensions on an infinite spectrum. We are all complicated. We all have our demons.

I also want to discuss another aspect suicide. Recently a man was senselessly murdered in Dallas. The wife he left behind committed suicide shortly thereafter. A column was then written in the Dallas Morning News describing her as selfish. I was angry reading this opinion and will not comment any further. Was she mentally ill? Or was she heart broken? Or some descriptor in between?

Our emotional well being does not fit into a simple state. The statistic (1) below references 8 million people who have had serious thoughts of suicide. And what about the people who think of suicide but are "not serious"? How many more millions would we add to that number? What word do we have for them?

And then the next scary statistic (2) below is that suicide rates are not going down. Personally I ask myself with so many drugs available to help people with their mental challenges, why are these numbers increasing? With so many trained professional available, how can this number get bigger?

I have way more questions and almost no answers. I think what happens inside our heads is not what appears on the outside - frequently - mentally ill or not. And I am stating that as a human condition. Right now I would like to reach for more understanding on every level of this topic. And I wonder out loud if we need sociologists to look into this situation just as much as psychiatrists.

"Also worth noting this week was the release of a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), based upon a survey of 46,190 American adults (18 and older). It found that 3.7 percent of the adult population had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year (or 8.3 million adults). Not surprisingly, the survey found that young adults (ages 18-25) have the most thoughts of suicide, made the most plans for suicide and to have attempted suicide, compared to older adults."
Reference 2006 - Click Here

"From 1986 to 2000, suicide rates in the U.S. dropped from 12.5 to 10.4 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in the population. Over the next 12 years, however, the rate generally increased and by 2013 stood at 12.6 deaths per 100,000"
Reference AFSP - Click Here