General

On the night of April 14, 2016, a dear friend passed away due to complications from severe pneumonia.  She had been under an inordinate amount of stress and her body couldn’t fight it off.  She was someone who helped me deal with my own issues with workplace bullying, but in the end, it was that same kind of stress that took her life.  Please, please, please understand that workplace bullying harms people.  It harms health and it take lives.  I’m saddened, shocked and angry that this happened to such a special lady.

Workplace bullying has affected me directly and it has also affected many people that I know and care about.  There are still too many people that are unaware of this phenomenon and some who feel that it’s just something experienced by “weak people who don’t have a backbone.”

The friend that so many of us lost that night was far from weak.  She was one of the strongest people I’ve ever known.  Bullies don’t attack the weak.  They attack the high performers, the competent workers who make the inept bullies feel threatened.  Bullies are the weak ones. 

Workplace bullying is very real.  Statistics reveal that many workers have experienced bullying as either a target or as a witness.  Workplace bullying affects most workplaces to some degree.  And its effects are deadly.  The stress it causes attacks vital organs in the body.  It causes depression, anxiety and PTSD. People commit suicide because of the terrible pain caused by it. It exacerbates already existing health conditions. 

If anyone wants to learn more, and I hope many do, please inbox me and I’ll direct you to several resources.  Workplace bullying is not BS. At any time, a bully may direct their wrath at you or someone you care about.

God bless my friend and her family, especially her grandsons who she loved so much and who will miss her terribly.

To: Amy Buttery, Ventura, California
From: Drew Mitchell, NW Illinois

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” Gimli, from “The Fellowship of the Ring” (JRR Tolkien)

Take a close look at the attached pictures. Can you explain the purpose of your comment and your purpose for attempting to explore my website? I refuse to believe that you were trying to access another website that was having the exact same issues that mine was at that exact same period of time. The screenshot from your Facebook page was taken during the period that I was having issues with my server. The message from the server has much the same language that your Facebook status had, although I believe the “belly button lint” comment was uniquely yours. In other words, do not accuse people of doing things that you yourself are guilty of.

Enough said on that. Please continue reading.

First of all, I admit that there were things I did wrong that first weekend of October 2012. I did my best to apologize to you for any disrespect I showed and/or any pain I caused you that weekend. I admit that up until you ended our friendship, I thought there was still a chance for us to reconcile our differences. I thought the world of you and wanted nothing but the best for you. As of this writing, I have so many mixed feelings about you, but I still hope for you a happy and successful life.

I would think that my behavior that weekend should have tipped you off that something was wrong. I was not myself. You had known me long enough to know how I typically behave. You had made statements over the previous three years that I was a lovable person, that you understood my condition and you never allowed it to have any bearing on how you felt about me. You seemed sympathetic and empathetic to my condition. You even signed some of your emails to me with X’s and O’s at the end. I thought we were pretty good friends despite the fact that we only knew each other through the Internet.

I have PTSD, depression and panic disorder. My condition was partly to blame for my behavior over the weekend in question.

The thing that hurt worst was that whenever I tried to explain what I was going through over that weekend, you would not allow me to, citing that you were very busy. It was as if your entire viewpoint of me had changed. I could not understand how anything I did that weekend was so bad that a five minute explanation was so out of the question for you. Instead, you acted like I was a hunk of dog crap on your shoe that you wanted to be rid of.

If you had allowed me to explain myself, you would have learned that I was grieving that weekend. It was the 25th anniversary of my mom’s death. The first week in October is always rough for me; the fact that 2012 marked 25 years since her death was extremely difficult for me. I don’t expect you to understand the effect the death of a parent has, especially when lost by someone early in their life (I was 24 when my mom died). I hope and pray that your mother has a long life so you don’t experience that kind of pain each and every year over a long period of time.

My mother meant the world to me. She was my first best friend. She comforted me when bullies tormented me. She went nose-to-nose with school officials who had made the bullying worse by dismissing it as a “rite of passage.” She stood by me when I was at my lowest. She hugged me and told me how proud she was when I beat all odds and was named salutatorian of my high school class. I live my life as a tribute to her. I want to continue to make her proud of me. My only regrets are that she didn’t see me graduate with honors from college and that she never got to see me get married. So that is who I was grieving the weekend that you ended our friendship. Mama had her faults, but she always loved me unconditionally. I will take that knowledge to my own grave.

Do you remember the chapter from a book I was writing at that time that I sent for you to read? The working title was “Behind Blue Eyes.” The book has little to do with the song by The Who and everything to do with my mom, who had deep blue eyes. I guess I thought you were pretty special to let you read something like that. Instead, you made the manuscript the centerpiece of your anger against me that Monday. I haven’t touched that manuscript since you ended our friendship – too many memories of what you did. I had intended for the book to be finished and dedicated to her in honor of that anniversary. I guess that was why I rushed you about reading it. I’m still very sorry for that. I know I could have explained it better, especially if my emotions hadn’t been all over the place.

If you had asked a few questions, maybe you would have understood my state of mind, the heartache I was dealing with and then maybe you would’ve felt differently about me. I tried like crazy to apologize for allowing my emotions to get the better of me, but you were so busy that a time to discuss things never came up. I wanted to tell you so badly that I was not coping well in dealing with one of the WORST events of my life had made me act so differently than usual and that I was so sorry that my behavior had hurt you.

I waited all that day to hear something, anything, from you. Monday evening you said you were still busy. I needed help from you to understand where I stood with you. Then, later that Monday night, you bawled me out because it was after 11:00 at night when I emailed you, saying that it was not your “job or responsibility to validate me,” and that I should help myself. I never asked for validation from you. And how could I help myself? I needed answers that only you could give.

In my defense, there’s a two hour time difference between us, so I was awake at 1:00 AM because I was unable to sleep. I was driving myself crazy with worry at every turn that whole day. Yes, I should’ve been more respectful toward you, but my own well-being was at risk as well. It was a vicious cycle.

Even the next day (Tuesday, October 9, 2012), I asked you to allow me to explain and you said not to bother, that all was cool. I thought all was forgiven. I even “blessed” you for being so wonderful. I told you I loved you like a little sister. Then you blocked me from every site we were friends on. That hurt me so much. That was the anniversary of the day that we buried my mom. Just one bad coincidence after another. By this time, I was numb.

I soon learned that my wife sent you an email wanting to know what happened between us. I learned of this the next day (Wednesday). She asked for your help because she was worried I might harm myself (which I never intended). You didn’t respond; instead, you blocked her. When I learned this, it hit me like an ice pick to the heart. At that point I knew that I no longer meant anything to you, if I ever had.

You told me many times that you didn’t want to look like a self-absorbed teenager. Yet those three days sent me into flashbacks where I was dealing again with the mean girls in high school that made my life a living hell. It was awful. All of this and having to deal with real life: working when I could, taking care of our foster kids, and trying to be a good husband, all without turning into a raving lunatic.

I went to my therapist and told her about all that had happened. Instead of the usual treatment plan she used with me, she treated me using grief counseling. Essentially, I needed to cope with losing your friendship much as I dealt with the death of my mom. The similarity was mind-numbing. And the flashbacks? They lasted for quite a while. Eventually I started seeing a psychiatrist who would put me on a cocktail of medications to alleviate my symptoms as much as possible.

Through a lot of hard work and perseverance (and no thanks to you), I am doing much better. But to put things in perspective, prior to our falling out, my therapist listed my condition as being in “partial remission.” Afterward, my inability to cope caused a major setback. I’m not blaming you; I blame myself for failing to utilize the coping mechanisms I had previously learned. I was in a tailspin that started that weekend and I failed to get myself out of it. If it happened today, I believe things would have come out differently. I am a stronger person today than I was two years ago.

I will say that because of this experience, I learned some valuable lessons. I no longer trust easily. I’m more cautious with my feelings. I understand that online acquaintances and close friends are not necessarily the same thing. I believe you only saw me as some Internet guy, someone who lived in a box called a phone or computer that you visited when opportunities presented themselves. You were special to me. I trusted you. I never lied to you. I was loyal to you. And except for the events of that weekend, I treated you with respect. I honestly believe that I placed more significance on our friendship than you did.

I used to think that if things were reversed, I would have forgiven you. Except now I’m not so sure. All I know from you now is hatred. I’m tired of being blamed for bad things that happen to you. And I’m still curious about that bit of lurking you did on my website. Glass houses, dear. Glass houses. (smh)

On February 22, 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn introduced his proposed state budget for fiscal year 2013. Among repeat areas targeted for cuts is the Department of Human Services (DHS), specifically the Medicaid program. This has a direct impact on the city of Rockford because among the facilities targeted for closure is Singer Mental Health Center, a state-operated facility serving people with severe mental illnesses. Singer escaped closure last fall after the bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability voted against closing Singer because of a lack of transition planning for moving the residents served at Singer.

Governor Quinn seems to wear blinders when it comes to budgetary line-items to slash. He has continued the tradition of past governors to cut funding of human services agencies. This move is puzzling at best. Medicaid provides funding to many different types of services throughout the state of Illinois, including nursing homes, hospitals, and community health centers. All of these could be hard hit, but taking Singer as an example, several issues arise from a potential closure. First of all, alternate placement must be found for the residents. The state has already closed other state-operated facilities, so public options are not plausible. Placing residents with private agencies is possible, but as previously mentioned, these facilities are also affected by budgetary woes.

Continued at Examiner.com

We have all failed. I’m not even going to ask for a show of hands. You’ve done it; don’t try to kid yourself otherwise. Even if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and you have had the world handed to you on a golden platter, you have failed. It happens to the best and worst of us.

To me, strength is defined in how you cope with failing. Are you a whiner? Do you feel as if the world handed you a raw deal? Is it always someone else’s fault? True, others may contribute to your failures, but in the end, you own them. The secret is to not let them own you.

My wife will think this is all really weird coming from me. I’m still fighting the demons that emerged because of past negative events in my life. Meeting those demons led me to, at best, questionable choices. I could have reacted differently and there would have been markedly different outcomes. I could have walked away silently, leaving the effect of those situations to the the imaginations of those in left in my wake .

Then there is the whole concept of reaction. Maybe the lesson was that I shouldn’t have been in a position to react at all. Failure may come no matter how proactive a person is, but then you go into situations with eyes wide open instead of wandering into a quagmire that requires a major fight to evade.

Take failure for what it is – a lesson. We learn when we fail. We learn what NOT to do in the future. Remember what is said about doing something over and over and expecting a different result. That is truly nuts. Been there. Done that.

Take ownership for the failures in your life. It is never too late. Learn from them and build on the lessons you learn. Learn that there is one person under your control and that you should never allow others to take that power from you.

Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent. Marilyn vos Savant

Everyone fails, but it’s only fatal when people fail to learn from it. Unknown

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the World are the ones who do.  Jack Kerouac

In life you are either a passenger or a pilot, it’s your choice.  Unknown

A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.  David Brinkley

Anyone that knows me well knows that Stephen King is my favorite writer.  I have always had a love for the macabre and during his career, King has taken the genre to bigger and more bizarre heights.  My favorite novel of all – not just King’s, but of all time – is “The Stand.”  If someone is looking for a creepier book than that, then the search is bound to be a long one.

Anyone who knows me well also knows that Jen and I got married at Niagara Falls on August 28, 1999 and we honeymooned in Maine.  We did not make King’s hometown of Bangor one of our stops, but we could have.  It just didn’t seem right to take that kind of a weird side trip.  This coming from the guy that insisted that one of our honeymoon stops be the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

Jen and I love to travel, but while I am trying to find steady work, our travels are essentially limited to going to see family and friends that are within reasonable driving distance.  Someday we intend to return to Maine and then we will make a point to go to Bangor and maybe catch a glimpse of King’s home.  Until then, I will continue to be one of many “Number 1 fans” that the “King of Macabre” has.

Now if I may be so bold, I will borrow some of King’s verbiage and ask you, “Constant Reader,” to enjoy this article about Mr. King.

Stephen King and Bangor a Matched Pair

By Ellen Creager, McClatchy-Tribune

August 10, 2010

BANGOR, Maine — The most famous celebrity in Maine is horror novelist Stephen King. He lives in Bangor on West Broadway Street.

The house is hard to miss. Some might call it burgundy red — or possibly blood red. The 19th-Century Victorian mansion is surrounded by a black wrought iron fence. The fence is emblazoned with bats and spider webs. You can drive by. You can even stop and take a picture. But don’t knock, don’t hang around, don’t come back a million times or try to look in the windows to see the author. That’s creepy.

I drove past only twice and sneaked a picture out the car window.

Read More Stephen King and Bangor a Matched Pair – chicagotribune.com.

By: Linda Dessau

When people find out that I’m a music therapist, the comments I hear most often are “I wish I could sing!” or “Oh, I love to sing, but I’m not good enough to do it in front of anyone”. Some of these people tell me that, as children, a parent, teacher or someone else told them that they should just mouth the words because they didn’t have a good enough voice.

Singing is our birthright! Singing is a natural and pure expression of how glad we feel to be alive, and the way we show our love of music. Here are my top five reasons to sing out your stress:

  1. To connect with your body: We sing with our whole bodies. Because singing is so connected to closely with breath, singing helps us “be in our bodies” and let go of the thinking (or worrying) we do much of the day. Singing can be a joyful activity and can release endorphins (those feel-good chemicals that the body creates).
  2. To connect with yourself: Meditative toning, singing along to a favourite song or simply humming to yourself are all ways to tap into your inner landscape and see what’s going on in there.
  3. To connect with others: Singing with other people – in meditation, prayer, at a sing-along, at a concert, or even over the telephone or Internet – helps us experience in a very deep way that we are all truly connected.
  4. To express your feelings: Many times a singer, songwriter or composer has expressed our feelings in a way we could never have – if there’s a song that expresses what you want or need to say, try singing along (keep in mind that this is just for you and it’s not about “sounding good”).
  5. To boost your good feelings: Whatever you focus on, you’ll invite more of into your life. You can choose uplifting, joyful and celebratory songs to sing.

So sing out! Be proud of your own unique voice. Experiment with what works for you – keep a journal of what you notice in your mind and body when you sing specific songs. Then you can choose the right song for the right moment and make use of the power of singing in your own life.

Author Bio
Linda Dessau, BFA, MTA, CPCC is a self-care expert, accredited music therapist and certified life coach. Learn more about using singing for stress management, personal growth and spiritual development at www.singoutyourstress.com, where you can download the FREE report, “Top 10 Ways to Sing Out Your Stress”.

Article Source: Free Website Content

Chris Anderson is one of my People Who Inspire.  I agree with his message in this article.  This is the struggle I am going through at this very point in time.

I now have a job that is taking up some of the time that I was using on my freelancing.  I have several articles that I need to finish in the next couple of weeks.  But I also need to put in the needed time at my new job.  Even though this job is temporary, it is still something I want to excel at.  Trying to strike that balance has been tough.

I don’t want to work seven days a week, but I may have to.  Boo hoo.  I’m a big boy and I can handle it.  And everyone reading this probably knows why.  Anything worth having is worth working for.

Oh – then there is that family life.  I need and want to spend time with my wife and fur-kids.  Above all, my family is most important to me.  I made a decision about a year and a half ago that my family and my health were more important than killing myself at a job that had become at best mundane.  Even though we don’t live a fancy life, I must say that I am happier now than I was then.  There is no doubt in my mind I made the right choice.

I will make the right choices again.  I am just finding my way – again.  I’ve never been fond of roller-coasters, but this is going to be a fun ride after all.  Anyway – on to Chris Anderson’s great article.