May is…

As is the case with most months, May spreads awareness for several different causes, and so it’s hard to choose. But this time, the one that is closest to my heart is Mental Health. It is so incredibly wide spread and varied, and yet is too often made to feel a taboo subject, and those who suffer from any of the multitude of mental health issues end up feeling like they are wrong or broken for feeling different in whatever way, they are shamed, and therefore don’t speak about it, when that is exactly what NEEDS to be happening. It is not shameful to be depressed, to have anxiety, to be bipolar, to have ANY kind of mental illness. It just IS.

If you suffer from any kind of mental health issues, don’t hide in the dark; know that you are not alone, not by a long shot, and you are LOVED. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t quite the same as a certain group of people. It is okay if you find enjoyment in different things. If you need help, be it a therapist or medication or whatever, there is NOTHING wrong with that! You wouldn’t look down on someone who needs meds for a physical ailment, right? This is no different, darling ones. You are not broken. You are beautifully you.

With love and LOVE,
Val

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On to the monthly book list! Clicking on the name of each retailer will take you to its product page, affiliate links for Amazon.

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From the centuries of torture of “lunatiks” at Bedlam Asylum to the infamous eugenics era to the follies of the anti-psychiatry movement to the current landscape in which too many families struggle alone to manage afflicted love ones, Powers limns our fears and myths about mental illness and the fractured public policies that have resulted.

Braided with that history is the moving story of Powers’s beloved son Kevin–spirited, endearing, and gifted–who triumphed even while suffering from schizophrenia until finally he did not, and the story of his courageous surviving son Dean, who is also schizophrenic.

A blend of history, biography, memoir, and current affairs ending with a consideration of where we might go from here, this is a thought-provoking look at a dreaded illness that has long been misunderstood.

AMAZON ~ BARNES & NOBLE ~ GOODREADS ~ BOOKS-A-MILLION ~ GOOGLE BOOKS

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In this astonishing and startling book, award-winning science and history writer Robert
Whitaker investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of disabled mentally ill in the United States tripled over the past two decades? Every day, 1,100 adults and children are added to the government disability rolls because they have become newly disabled by mental illness, with this epidemic spreading most rapidly among our nation’s children. What is going on?

Anatomy of an Epidemic challenges readers to think through that question themselves. First, Whitaker investigates what is known today about the biological causes of mental disorders. Do psychiatric medications fix “chemical imbalances” in the brain, or do they, in fact, create them? Researchers spent decades studying that question, and by the late 1980s, they had their answer. Readers will be startled—and dismayed—to discover what was reported in the scientific journals.

Then comes the scientific query at the heart of this book: During the past fifty years, when investigators looked at how psychiatric drugs affected long-term outcomes, what did they find? Did they discover that the drugs help people stay well? Function better? Enjoy good physical health? Or did they find that these medications, for some paradoxical reason, increase the likelihood that people will become chronically ill, less able to function well, more prone to physical illness?

This is the first book to look at the merits of psychiatric medications through the prism of long-term results. Are long-term recovery rates higher for medicated or unmedicated schizophrenia patients? Does taking an antidepressant decrease or increase the risk that a depressed person will become disabled by the disorder? Do bipolar patients fare better today than they did forty years ago, or much worse? When the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) studied the long-term outcomes of children with ADHD, did they determine that stimulants provide any benefit?

By the end of this review of the outcomes literature, readers are certain to have a haunting question of their own: Why have the results from these long-term studies—all of which point to the same startling conclusion—been kept from the public?

In this compelling history, Whitaker also tells the personal stories of children and adults swept up in this epidemic. Finally, he reports on innovative programs of psychiatric care in Europe and the United States that are producing good long-term outcomes. Our nation has been hit by an epidemic of disabling mental illness, and yet, as Anatomy of an Epidemic reveals, the medical blueprints for curbing that epidemic have already been drawn up.

AMAZON ~ BARNES & NOBLE ~ GOODREADS ~ BOOKS-A-MILLION ~ GOOGLE BOOKS

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41WOUYEZZ4L._SY346_After more than two decades as the essential guide to Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), this new edition now reflects the most up- to-date research that has opened doors to the neurobiological, genetic, and developmental roots of the disorder as well as connections between BPD and substance abuse, sexual abuse, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, ADHD, and eating disorders.

Both pharmacological and psychotherapeutic advancements point to real hope for success in the treatment and understanding of BPD.

This expanded and revised edition remains as accessible and useful as its predecessor and will reestablish this book as the go-to source for those diagnosed with BPD, their family, friends, and colleagues, as well as professionals and students in the field.

AMAZON ~ BARNES & NOBLE ~ GOODREADS ~ BOOKS-A-MILLION ~ GOOGLE BOOKS

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“A haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.”—Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
A deeply moving portrait of a girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

AMAZON ~ BARNES & NOBLE ~ GOODREADS ~ BOOKS-A-MILLION ~ GOOGLE BOOKS

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51T4Xs0+DjLA reporter chases the biggest story of her life—her husband’s descent into mental illness.

Even as a reporter, Sheila Hamilton missed the signs as her husband David’s mental illness unfolded before her. By the time she had pieced together the puzzle, it was too late. Her once brilliant, intense, and passionate partner was dead within six weeks of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, leaving his nine-year-old daughter and wife without so much as a note to explain his actions, a plan to help them recover from their profound grief, or a solution for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that they would inherit from him.

All the Things We Never Knew takes readers from David and Sheila’s romance through the last three months of their life together and into the year after his death. It details their unsettling descent from ordinary life into the world of mental illness, and examines the fragile line between reality and madness. Now, a decade after David’s death, Sheila and her daughter, Sophie, have learned the power of choosing life over retreat; let themselves love and trust again; and understand the importance of forgiveness. Their story will resonate with all those who have loved someone who suffers from mental illness.

AMAZON ~ BARNES & NOBLE ~ GOODREADS ~ BOOKS-A-MILLION ~ GOOGLE BOOKS

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Book lover, SAHM

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