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Keep Our Children Safe

Wednesday's Child






On a warm summer night in July, 1994, 7-year-old Megan Nicole Kanka vanished after riding her bicycle with a friend in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. A neighbor who had just moved in across the street, Jesse Timmendequas, along with others in the community offered to search this small suburban neighborhood for Megan, a bubbly blonde girl who loved to chase fire flies. Within 24 hours, Timmendequas, a twice convicted pedophile lead searchers through knee-high weeds to Megan’s body, crammed in a toy box, and dumped in a county park. He had lured Megan to his home to see his new puppy, then raped and strangled her with a belt.

As a result of this crime, Megan’s Law was signed by President Clinton in 1996 requiring states to make information on registered sex offenders available to the public. The murderer lived across the street from them, but Megan’s family knew nothing about him.

Although Megan’s story and other high profile cases make the news, child abuse is far too common in the United States. Data recorded by child protective services (CPS) or other agencies estimates child abuse kills more than 3 children every day in the United States. Some believe the actual numbers may be much higher as many cases go unreported and unconfirmed. Often the abused child can’t or is afraid to speak about their abusers.

We might choose to believe child abuse is a modern day problem caused by a decline in family structure, family values, or the internet. Child abuse was around in the “good old days.” We just didn’t talk about abuse then. Newspapers seldom reported, and people pulled their shades and turned up the radio or television. What occurred in another family was not our business. We can still choose to believe there was little child abuse in that kinder gentler world– unless you were a victim still struggling to understand your hurt and anger as an adult.

Andrew Vachss, author, lawyer, and child advocate has several articles about child abuse on his site. In “What Are You Going to Do About Child Abuse?” he writes:

“Recently, my friend asked me, ‘Is child abuse increasing or decreasing?’…I told my friend he was asking the wrong question. What he should be asking is, ‘Who cares?’…After all, aren’t children ‘our No. 1 priority?’ Aren’t they ‘our greatest natural resource?’”

We should all care. Child abuse victims are among our family and friends. As adults, we need to protect the helpless child. As adults, we need to reach out to those– often silent friends– who suffered as children. As adults, we need to find a way to keep our children safe

Molly Brown, DMS

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Child Abuse and Domestic Violence

Wednesday's Child
Child abuse and domestic violence are tangled together. Women sometimes stay in an unhappy relationship for the kids. If their partner’s emotionally abusive, they try to keep him calmed down so he’s ranting and acting like a jackass when the children aren’t around. If he’s physically abusive and sneaky, he’ll leave marks where they’re not so obvious– broken ribs or a head held under water. There’s no limit to the imagination of an abusive man.

Joe Torre, former professional baseball player and manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, grew up with a physically abusive father. “I did not get physically abused myself. I grew up in fear because my mom did. I was shy and he would make fun of me. Whenever I saw my dad’s car in the driveway, I didn’t want to go home.” On Joe’s website, Safe at Home, you’ll find a video. Joe tells of his early life growing up in a violent home.

Joe’s Safe at Home Foundation recently opened an office on the west coast. There are currently eleven Margaret’s Place sites– safe abuse-free havens for middle and high school students. This first west coast program is in Los Angeles. Hopefully, it will spread north along the whole west coast. All children deserve a safe room where they can talk to each other and a professional counselor. If you’re in Los Angeles, or one of the cities up the coast, see how you can join or help start a new program in your area.

Molly Brown, DMS

"
Feminism and Catholic Nuns" is on my other blog, Lyn's Circle.

Are You Looking for Prince Charming?

Wednesday's Child


Would you trade love for a life of leisure with the wrong man? A recent poll said women were “very” or “extremely” willing to marry for money.

Money, or lack of money can be tied to our self-esteem. Insecure women brag about their designer clothes and fancy vacations. They even manage to drop information about their stock accounts and investments into the conversation– which in this economy may or may not be the truth. A friend and her husband invested in a financial pyramid scheme. We heard about their remarkable returns often. When the scheme collapsed it smashed her fragile self-esteem.

Money can be a weapon or way to hold power over a partner. One of my formerly married friends slipped into a money power struggle. They both had successful careers and no desire to have children. He collected watches. When he bought an expensive watch, she bought something equally expensive. Another formerly married stay-at-home mom ran up the credit cards. When her husband traveled, she felt lonely and bought herself expensive clothes and jewelry– often never wearing it around her husband. As the bills piled up, guilt piled onto her loneliness. Paying only the minimum on those credit cards soon dragged them into financial debt. Their marriage collapsed.

Money is more than credit cards, new cars, and holidays in far off destinations. It is wedged deep down in our emotional lives. We need to separate our money and emotions. Money should not be used to control a relationship or boost a sagging self-esteem.

Are you looking for a wealthy Prince Charming? If so, dig a little deeper, be honest with yourself and ask, “Why?

Molly Brown, DMS

"
Birth Control for Non Contraceptive Purposes" is on my other blog, Lyn's Circle

Prescription for Healthy Relationships

Wednesday's Child
As many women know, it’s easy to slip into an unhealthy relationship– a relationship that sucks your energy and has you questioning your self-worth. We’re all entitled to one, maybe two mistakes, but when your friends and family start worrying about that next controller or bottom feeder you’ll be dragging home, it’s time to be honest with yourself and ask, “Is my self-image so low I think I don’t deserve better?” If you suspect that might be your problem, Talaya G. Stovall, author of Crossing the Threshold: Opening Your Door to Successful Relationships can help you break out of that rut of unhealthy relationships. If you’re looking for a relationship with equal balance, Talayah has many helpful articles on her site. “Prescription for Healthy Relationships” is just one.

Prescription for Healthy Relationships

By Talayah G. Stovall

Human beings have an inherent need to develop meaningful relationships. We all want to share our goals, ideas, joys, sorrows, desires, affection and experiences with someone else. However, we all fall short at times in handling the mechanics of them. There are times when we need to “doctor” up or even perform “surgery” on some of our relationships.

Do you experience any of the following symptoms in any of your relationships?

· Frequent arguments
· Low energy conversations
· Apathy regarding the relationship
· Lack of interaction/no desire for proximity
· Continuously looking for “something better”
 
We go to the doctor for regular checkups, but how often do we check the health of our relationships? Just like your physical health, positive relationships–whether they are romantic, social or professional–require maintenance. Good relationships don’t just “happen.” Just as our physical bodies get sick from time to time, most relationships go through periods of “illness” as well. Fortunately, with proper treatment, these relationships can “recover” and thrive.

Being constantly on guard for symptoms of illness within your relationships will help keep them healthy and prosperous. People who have healthy relationships are happier and less stressed.

If you answered “yes” to any of the above symptoms, you might be in an unhealthy relationship. If so, here are some possible “remedies”:

Regular check-ups – to determine the overall health of your relationship, it is important to regularly communicate with your partner, friend, relative or associate to determine how they are feeling about the relationship. Set a regular period, depending on the relationship – monthly, quarterly, etc. to get together for the sole purpose of assessing the relationship.

Relationship checklist/chart
– discuss what is working and what is not working in your relationship. Work on the issues and revisit them to see if the “stats” have improved at the next check-in.

“Weigh in” on your relationship – each of you should share your feelings with the other person. Be open and honest about what you are experiencing and listen carefully to his or her concerns.

Take the “temperature” of your relationships. Is it running hot or cold? Do you still enjoy each others’ company and/or benefit from the association. Is it moving in a positive direction?

Measure the “pulse” Is it strong or weak? Is the bond between you growing stronger or weaker from one check-in to the next?

Use the correct prescription - know the right dosage of love and caring to share with that person, remembering that the prescription will be unique for each individual.

Know yourself - just as you pay attention to your body’s signals when it is experiencing injury or illness, know your personal reactions to the situations you encounter in your relationships and how those situations affect you. Know your “numbers” and how to read your results.

Read the warning signs/symptoms
– as indicated above, watch for “key indications” that might indicate that there is a malignancy in your relationship.

Here are some of the “vital signs” of a healthy relationship:

· Built on respect, trust and caring
· Allows each person to be an individual and to grow personally
· Allows for differences of opinion and interests
· Apologizes, talks things out and moves on
· Knows how to respect each others’ “space”
· Enjoys each other’s company
· Benefits from each other’s opinions
· Supports each other’s goals
· Contains open communication and sharing of thoughts and ideas as well as active listening
· Establishes boundaries that the other knows not to cross
· Has common interests, but also values differences
· Picks their battles by determining what is really important and what issues are not worth arguing about and works on one issue at a time.
· Comfortable saying “no” when necessary

· Expresses appreciation for each other to reaffirm respect and affection
In a healthy relationship, you should not be afraid to speak your mind. No type of relationship should cause you to compromise or doubt who you are. People who have your best interests at heart will never ask you to be someone you are not or to compromise what you believe in. Before being open with anyone else, you must first be honest with yourself about who you are, what you are seeking from another person and what you are willing to give.

Remember, healthy relationships are not built overnight. It takes time, energy and commitment to develop any type of relationship, whether with business associates, family, friends or a romantic partner. So, be happy; be healthy; be whole. Here is to a healthier you!

- - -

Talayah conducts workshops on personal empowerment and relationships. Find more about her or contact her on her site. If you’re thinking of marriage,

150 Important Questions You Should Ask Before You Say “I Do”
is worth reading. As she tells us, “The difference between love and infatuation is information!”

Molly Brown, DMS

"How Safe is Lap-Band Surgery?" is on my other blog,Lyn's Circle.



Don't Call Me Sweetie

Wednesday's Child



 

 


I received the following from a reader. If you have something that's irritating you, shout it out!

There is never an age when it is O.K. to be made to feel like the " invisible woman'-- an invalidated non-presence wandering like a ghost among so-called "more with it " persons. But it seems, at a certain age, we are automatically perceived as brain dead, senile, or an almost different species. Therefore, to be patronized and suddenly known only by vague, supposedly nice nicknames as sweetie, dear, darlin', etc.--all but patted on the heads to pacify us into not speaking our minds, voicing opinions, or just plain pointing out the errors of AT&T customer service persons and bank managers who mess our accounts up, etc. They cannot register that they are often inefficient and want to blame our fuzzy, foggy minds for their errors. Doctors are also very good at this and mostly speak of any woman over 65 in the 3rd person when discussing her health with a nurse or family member even though she is in the same room. Being ill in body does not mean ill in mind. When will they get it?

Oh yeah-before I sign off- you administrators of senior residence complexes- PLEASE take some more courses on how to relate to women seniors, especially. We do have the right to be on the planet as much as anybody else. Maybe more!

Molly Brown, DMS

"Living With a Controller" is on my other blog, Lyn's Circle.



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Aging Women and Parenting

Wednesday's Child


Just abut the time that last kid moves on and you have some catch up time to work on your health and finances, or maybe that career you’ve put on hold, life can surprise you. Barbara Morris, author of Put Old on Hold, says, “We don’t know what life will dish out– so we should be as ready as we can for whatever happens.” That “whatever happens” can be grandchildren needing a home because their parents are unwilling or unable to provide for them. Barbara suggests preparing yourself now for whatever surprise life might have in store for you:

Aging Women and Parenting: The Case for Preparation

By: Barbara Morris, R.Ph.

It's not news that the "golden years" of many older people, especially women, are years hijacked by young family members in need of care. It's not just boomers caring for aging parents; it's aging parents caring for children of their boomer aged children who for whatever reason do not care for their own children.

A lengthy article in the local paper about local older women who care for very young children was heartbreaking and thought provoking.

One woman is 92 - she gets around on a cane and raises her great grandchildren. Other women in their seventies with arthritis and other health problems severe enough to require others to care for them, try their best to raise typically active youngsters.
The story reinforced for me the reality that we don't know what life will dish out - so we should be as ready as we can for whatever happens.

The best way to do that is with foresight and preparation. At least by midlife, assume life will be tough. That means you cannot live day-to-day and just let life happen. If you do that, life WILL just happen and your reward will be the usual decline that eventually progresses into dependence.

I keep saying that aging is all about what goes on in your head well before you are old, and it is. How well you age is the result of how and what you think, the choices you make and just plain gritty determination very early in your life. It's knowing in your gut that you don't want to be a burden. You know you want to be strong and healthy, mentally and physically, for whatever comes along. You want to be ready to take care of yourself and grandkids if need be. Or your spouse, or someone totally unrelated who needs help.

One other caution: do not allow your thinking to get "old" by adopting "old" thinking of friends and family. We learn from each other and old thinking can hasten the aging process without your realizing it.

Aging well is not difficult. If over the years, you eat a nutritious diet, take anti-oxidant supplements; if you exercise regularly (nothing exotic - walking 30 minutes a day on a treadmill will do) and challenge your mind with activities that promote brain integrity instead of decline - you can say, "I've done the best I can to be the best that I can." And you will be the best you can be.

Your foresight and determination will make a huge difference in your older years and in the lives of others who may depend on you. If one day you have to parent your great grandkids, it could turn out to be a joy instead of a millstone if you are mentally and physically up to the task. You can be in charge of your circumstances if you take charge of your aging process while you are still able to do so.

- - - - -

Barbara Morris is a pharmacist and expert lifestyle management coach. The author of Put Old on Hold and No More Little Old Ladies, Barbara believes in “living defiantly and unleashing the ‘pit bull’ within.” If you don’t plan to grow old gracefully, check out Barbara’s site then sign up for her free newsletter.

Molly Brown, DMS

"Spiritual Abuse" is on my other blog, Lyn's Circle

Fight Depression-- Naturally

Wednesday's Child


Over 18 million Americans suffer from clinical depression and 28 million take anti-depressant drugs or anxiety medication. Psychotherapist Julia Ross calls this a "bad mood epidemic." She suggests there are true emotions and false moods triggered by poor nutrition. Author of the book The Mood Cure, she says there are four mood engines in our brain and each needs a different amino acid fuel.


The four emotion-generators in your brain are actually called neurotransmitters. Each one powers a different emotional zone in your brain and each has a distinctly different effect on your mood:

The Dark Cloud of Depression
If you're high in serotonin– you're positive, confident, flexible, and easy-going.
If you're sinking in serotonin– you'll tend to become negative, obsessive, worried, irritable, and sleepless.

The Blahs
If you're high in catecholamines– you're energized, upbeat, and alert.
If your catecholamines have crashed– you'll sink into a flat apathetic funk.

Anxiety and Stress
If you're high in GABA– you're relaxed and stress-free.
If there's a gap in your GABA– you'll be wired, stressed, and overwhelmed.

Oversensitive Feelings
If you're high in endorphins– you're full of cozy feelings of comfort, pleasure and euphoria.
If you're near the end of your endorphins– you'll be crying during commercials and overly sensitive to hurt.


On her site, The Mood Cure, you'll find a questionnaire to help you decide your mood type and suggestions for diet changes.

Under Frequently Asked Questions, she discusses Seasonal Affective Disorder where "We can literally slip into the emotional shadows." In this section you'll find safe suggestions for boosting the serotonin our brains need during this winter blues season without forcing, "a brief serotonin boost, using sweet and starchy carbohydrates, alcohol, or drugs."

Depression is a serious problem for many. If you are one of the many, you're probably looking for answers. If you think a diet change might help you out of that dark cloud of depression, dig through The Mood Cure site then discuss it with your therapist.

Molly Brow DMS

"Quivering Daughters" is on my other blog, Lyn's Circle.



The Season for Sad

Wednesday's Child





In the colorless world of winter, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) settles in. Believed to affect 20% of people in the United States, it occurs in both hemispheres and hits harder the farther north you live from the equator. Those long winter nights can cause a drop in serotonin levels– a brain chemical. Your body's balance of melatonin can also change, putting your body clock out of sync. Researchers found both the morning decline and evening rise in melatonin happened several hours earlier in those with SAD. The urge to hibernate that comes with SAD– pull the blanket back over your head and sleep for a day or two won't work. Your boss won't like the idea and your family won't let you rest for long. Even an energetic dog will demand you get up, feed him and let him sniff around outside for a while.

Health.com points out "everyone feels a little melancholy this time of year." The most common symptoms are sadness, hopelessness, difficulty in falling asleep, and a loss of interest in your favorite activities. If you have these symptoms for at least two weeks, you might have SAD. If you suspect you might have SAD, this slide show"7 Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder" explains the symptoms to watch for.

It's going to be a long winter. Allison Wilson, Wellness Director and Nutritionist at the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown suggests "4 do-it-yourself ways to fight SAD this winter" and bring a little happy back in your life.

If your symptoms are severe, consult a therapist. Depression of any sort is serious and can be fatal.

Molly Brown, DMS

"No Income, No Credit" is on my other blog, Lyn's Circle.


Struggling with Depression

Wednesday's Child



Marian Keyes writes chick-lit. She's sold more than 15 million copies of her eight novels. She's pretty. She's smart and funny. She suffers from severe depression. As a child and through her twenties, she always felt like an outsider. By thirty she was an alcoholic struggling with life. "I was so lonely for so long and the alcoholism was so incredibly ugly and pointless and bleak, and oh, shabby, shabby! And it was so painful to live through, and I was so confused. I kept waiting to get into a clearing, and I never did...I had this incredible database of pain. I took that pain, and wrote about it - and people identified with it," Marian said in a 2007 interview with the Telegraph.

Marian's pain of depression is back. This time with the guilt that often hangs around depression. She posted on her website one year ago that she had been "laid low with crippling depression" and apologized to her fans for abandoning them.


My dear amigos, happy new year to you all and I hope your festive season was not too unpleasant. I'm very sorry but this is going to be a very short piece because I am laid low with crippling depression. Regular readers know that I've been prone to depression on and off over the years but this is in a totally different league. This is much much worse. I know I'm leaving myself open to stinky journalists saying 'What has she got to be depressed about, the self-indulgent whiner, when there are people out there with real troubles?' so I won't go on about it.

All I will say is that I'm aware that these are terrible times and that there are people out there who have been so ruined by the current economic climate that they've lost the roof over their heads and every day is a battle for basic survival and I wish I could make their pain go away. But although I'm blessed enough to have a roof over my head, I still feel like I'm living in hell. I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't write, I can't read, I can't talk to people. The worst thing is that I feel it will never end. I know lots of people don't believe it, but depression is an illness, but unlike say, a broken leg, you don't know when it'll get better.

I've been trying to read helpful, comforting and inspiring bits and pieces because I can't manage novels and I've included some of them at the bottom of the page, in the hope that you might find them helpful, comforting and inspiring at some time too.

So amigos, I'm sorry to abandon you for the moment. Full service will be restored at some stage, I hope. Thank you in advance for your kindness because you've always been so lovely to me and once again Happy New Year. I hope it's a nice one for you.


Even if you're not a fan of chick-lit, check out Marian's site. You'll learn more about this remarkable woman and her struggle with addiction and depression. 

Molly Brown, DMS

"Does God Give You A DO-Over?" is on my other blog, Lyn's Circle.



Women and Depression

Wednesday's Child





Women are at a higher risk for depression than men. Many women have a reason to be depressed. They live in poverty, are abused, or were abused as young girls. This early life abuse can set them up for depression as an adult. Long ago, we laughed off Freud's "anatomy is destiny" that blamed our depression on penis envy. Today, women are overworked, struggling financially, and expected to do it all– no wonder women are depressed.

Why more women? Women's anatomy lurks in the picture somewhere. Some women have PMS. Some women become depressed after the birth of a child. Some women suffer mood swings while going through menopause. This menopausal mood swing roller coaster can damage even a long standing relationship. A midlife hormone shift along with other changes– adult children needing your help, financial problems
, partners with their own emotional problems– can push you into a mood swing making an already bad situation worse.

When you're depressed, your life falls apart. You'll have, "disturbed sleep, loss of interest in food and sex, inability to experience pleasure, difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly, impaired short-term memory, self-blame, and inability to see alternatives." New evidence indicates, "Recurrent depression disrupts "the structure and function of brain cells...even killing brain cells."

Depression is not just in your head. It damages not only your zest for life, but digs into your heart and bones. If you have depression, it's likely you'll "develop heart disease ten years down the road...if you're 45, in perfect health, and depressed, you're somewhere between 50 percent and 100 percent more likely to have a heart attack than if you weren't depressed." Depression can accelerate osteoporosis. The National Institute of Health found. "Depressed premenopausal women develop bones as porous as those of post menopausal women. And the leeching of bone mineral persists, despite treatment with antidepressants."

Stress-related events may kick off 50% of all depression. We live in stressful times. Stress and depression go hand in hand. If you suffer from depression, you are not alone. After heart disease, depression is the "Western countries' second most disabling ailment." You are not just out of control or crazy. Don't pretend depression will go away. You whole body is sick and you need a proper diagnosis.

The above quotes come from" Depression: Beyond Serotonin." Your depression will not slip quietly into the night. You need to read as much as you can, find the right therapist– like lovers, not all are worth your time– then work with your therapist to find the treatment best for you.

Molly Brown, DMS

"Cleaning for a Reason" is on my other blog, Lyn's Circle.