My thoughts about Mental Health, Virginia Pillars

The Golden Rules for Postpartum Depression

Your support mightbe the difference

August 16, 2019

Postpartum depression – sometimes refrerred to as “Baby Blues” can affect up to 1 in 5 women. It’s upsetting to the new mom who questions, “Isn’t this supposed to fill me with joy?”

It gets hard to get out of bed. Guilt feelings arrive. Am I a terrible mom? More guilt feelings. Exhaustion. You want to cry all the time. And the negative emotions pile higher and higher.

What can we (family or friends) do to help? asked me to write an article for loved ones who want to support a woman suffering from this. I entitled it, The Golden Rule for Postpartum Depression. It’s my one of my goals – to strive to treat others as I wish to be treated. This article posted on July 25, 2019.

Thanks so much for stopping.

Bye for now,


My thoughts about Mental Health, Virginia Pillars

Typical behavior for an adolescent or a reason for concern?

October 12, 2018

It’s Friday of Mental Illness Awareness Week. Several days, I posted reviews on books about mental illness, both nonfiction and fiction.  I find when I read books and talk with people affected by mental illness it broadens my knowledge. I also read online research and listen to webinars and videos. Each time I do, I realize how much I don’t know. I promise myself to keep my education on this important subject in a forward motion.

As I visit with groups, I’m asked often, “How can I tell if it’s typical teenage behavior or mental illness?”

Typcial behavior or something of convern_2 (1)In 2016, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation published a blog about this subject. In this article, they focused on Bipolar, which is a mood disorder.

The next few paragraphs came from their blog:

Advice on Caring for Children and Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder

Some typical teen behavior—such as unstable moods and risky behavior with drugs or sex—can also be expressions of bipolar disorder. How can a parent tell the difference?

This is one of the toughest problems for parents. The key is the clustering of unstable moods with other symptoms. Let’s use the example of a child who goes snowboarding, jumps off a cliff, and breaks his leg. Is that a manic symptom? Well, does he also have a decreased need for sleep? Is he saying grandiose things like, “I’m the best snowboarder in the world?” Is he staying up late at night and talking faster? Does his behavior stand out, even among his friends?

If parents suspect a problem, they should first talk to the child and say, “Here’s what I’m seeing. Do you think you need to talk to somebody?” The child will probably say no. Then you go a little further and say, “Why do you think you’re more irritable? It must be hard to get through the day with such little sleep.” If you suspect that he or she does have a mood disorder, get an evaluation with a psychiatrist or a psychologist—a diagnostic evaluation that includes a full medical history. Ask for recommendations on next steps— knowing that no one doctor has all the answers.

If there are questions about whether your son or daughter’s behavior is healthy or not, it may be best to just do “watchful waiting” for a while, before insisting on medications or therapy. If your child has expressed any suicidal ideation and depression, get rid of any weapons in the house and make sure alcohol or prescription medication are not easily available.

To learn about the difference in adults and youth, monitoring their moods, should they tell their friends, how to find the right doctor, among other topics, read the rest of the article.

My thoughts about Mental Health, Virginia Pillars

Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 7 – 15, 2018 is National Mental Health Awareness week.

IntoMH-Facebook-TimelinePeople with serious mental illness die on an average fifteen to thirty years earlier than the those without. What’s the difference for this disparity that’s higher than gender, racial, social economic factors?

October 7 – 15, 2018 is National Mental Health Awareness week. People with serious mental illness die on an average fifteen to thirty years earlier than the those without. What’s the difference for this disparity that’s higher than gender, racial, social economic factors?

One common misconception is that they die earlier because of suicide, overdose or accident due to their mental health condition. However, similar health conditions take their lives, just as with others in their age group. Illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, pulmonary disease, and diabetes are responsible. Why do those with mental illness die from these at a higher rate? Just like with all medical issues, the answers are not one-size fits all.

  • Risky behavior is higher for those with mental illness, such as the use of tobacco products.
  • Research continues to explore why those with a serious mental illness have a higher rate of diabetes, strokes, or cardiovascular disease.
  • Often those with a serious mental illness receive their general health care from a public mental health service or a psychiatrist as opposed to a primary health care physician.
  • Bias from those who provide health services has a couple of segments that change the treatment suggested.

1. What’s the point? Some believe those with a serious mental illness won’t recover, so why bother to treat them.

2. Failure to listen to symptoms by professionals because they attribute the complaints to the mental illness and not as a serious concern. As a result, doctors are less likely to order cardiac catheterization for symptoms associated with a heart attack. They are also less likely to order cancer screening or follow-up treatment than they would for the general population. (National Council for Behavior OcHealth, 7/10/18)

The above statistics make me sad. I’d like to see everyone make it to recovery and live a life similar to others in their age group. I’d like to see this change in my lifetime. If not, in my daughter’s.

Let’s continue to talk about mental illness. Let’s work together to help those who struggle with it. And let’s champion for our loved one to ensure they get the care they need when they need it. Sometimes, we have to act as their voice until they can speak for themselves.


Each day this week, I hope to post a book review about a book that deals with mental illness. I hope you stop back.

Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 8

“God bless you.” I grew up hearing this every time I sneezed. My mom, grandmothers, aunts, uncles – it seems that everyone had this response. Now, I react in the same way – “God bless you.”

So, today, I’m grateful for tissues. Yes, tissues. I grab one to wipe my runny nose, dab my eyes when something touches my heart, or hand to someone who needs it for the same reason. We got through boxes of them each year in our home.

We take them for granted. Before the wide distribution of them, people used cloth made of cotton. The movies illustrated to me a couple uses: women dropped them for the gentlemen to pick up and hand to them, or people offered their personal handkerchief to someone who needed one as a gesture of kindness.

I thought about this the other day. I’m glad for those portable tissue packs most women carry in their purse. I, for one, take comfort in the fact that when I’m offered one, it has not been used already to wipe a brow, or worse yet, a nose.

When someone asks me if they can borrow a tissue, I refuse. “No, you can’t borrow it. I don’t want it back when you’re done. I’ll give you one and you can keep it,” I say as I respond with a smile. It’s falls into the same class as a band-aid. I really don’t want it back after it’s used.

Tissues came about because of a shortage cotton during World War I. Kimberly-Clark developed cellucotton, an absorbent cotton-like material for surgical bandages on the battlefield and in the hospitals.

After the war, they had a surplus and looked for a new use. They marketed the product as a cold-creme remover cloth to Hollywood and Broadway. Soon, women complained that their husbands blew their noses in them.The demand by consumers for something to use on their nose switched it to our current product.

In the early 1920’s, the invention of a cardboard pop-up tissues box, propelled them into what is now a common household necessity for most of us.

I’m grateful for disposable tissues.

The photograph for today? Last spring, as I visited libraries across our state to talk about mental illness and sign my book, I spent time in new communities. I explored the local shops and tried to leave a bit of my pocket-money with them. I found this wooden tissue box in a second-hand furniture/craft store. I bought it as a decorative reminder of my journey across the state, plus I thought it fit my decor and personality.

Happy Wednesday.

And, God bless you.






Gratitude – November 6

This month, I challenged myself to look around and find gratitude for things I often overlook. Things I take for granted.

Right now, at 5:35 a.m. on Monday, my kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes. Not an ideal way to begin the week. But since I like to use Sunday as a day of rest, I didn’t want to wash them last night. Neither did either of my family – hubby or nephew (who makes his home with us.)  Worn out from the week, my bed’s invitation ranked higher than the sink’s.

Today, I’m grateful for dirty dishes. Why? Because we had plenty to eat yesterday. We had breakfast, a nice meal after church, and popcorn for our supper (our weekly tradition.) Lunch consisted of baked chicken, (I had salmon,) potatoes, butternut squash, green beans, and ice cream for dessert. The potatoes and squash were from my backyard garden.

I did take time yesterday to freeze the last of the kale from my garden. (For me, this falls into the same category as the sheep in the pit Jesus referred to in the book of Matthew – timing. I couldn’t let it go to waste.) It’s a wonderful feeling to know I can go to my freezer multiple times this winter, pull out a bag of kale, and toss it in a pot of soup.

I went to bed last night with a full and happy tummy.  I know I’ll get what I need to eat today, tomorrow, and more than likely, every day for the rest of my life. And for that, I’m very, very grateful.

What can I do with this? Me, one person?

I can make donations to food kitchens, food pantries, and other organizations that feed those who don’t have the same privilege.

Happy Monday. Live in gratitude.

I think I’ll go wash the dishes.

Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 5

Yesterday, as I searched the junk drawer in my kitchen – the place where everything that needs a home lands – I found a slip of paper from a fortune cookie from who knows when..

I smiled. What timing!

On November 1, I took the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November, my first attempt at fiction.

I’ve had the idea rolling around in my head since 2015. I decided the time is now to bring the characters to life.

After only four days I wondered if I could do it? Can I stick with the writing schedule I gave myself? Write 1700 or more words each day?

Discouragement set in.

And then I found a reminder on how to enjoy the process: “Keep your ideas flexible and don’t ignore details.”

This told me: Lighten up; just let the ideas flow. Let my creative side go free, without censor. And don’t forget to add details to keep it interesting, but make sure to stay consistent with facts.  Above all – have fun with it.

All this because of an open drawer, a long-forgotten fortune, and a resolve to stay the course. Simple things that melded into motivation. This reminds me stay alert for signs to guide my way – to watch at all times for these things I call God winks. And for that I’m grateful.

Happy Sunday.






Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 4


I put them on each morning. I take them off each night. Sometimes, I change during the day into a different pair. Just for fun, I counted my shoes. I have a two pair of sports shoes – both black; dress shoes –black and brown; sandals – again, black and brown; Mary Jane style flats – black and khaki; and, boots – black, knee boots and snow boots. Me, one person, owns ten pairs of footwear.

Perhaps, many people might think ten pairs is a lot, while some people may think it’s not very many. But it works for me. I have what I need, plus a few extra, and for that, I’m grateful.

For I’ve seen poverty, real poverty, when one pair of shoes for a six-year-old boy was like the golden ticket to him. I remember the day with clarity.

In 2011, I visited an orphanage in Africa. Each child lived within a family type unit. Each unit had a house-mother, actually two women who rotated their live-in role on a two-week basis. The “family” ranged from the youngest toddler or infant to a teen, with all ages in between.

That day, one young man in particular stands out in my memory. As I sat in the immaculate front room on a comfortable couch, his “Mom” asked him if he wanted to show me what he’d just received. His face brightened and he scampered back to the bedroom that he shared with his “brothers.” He returned with a simple box. But, he carried it as if he had the jeweled crown of England on a pillow. He walked up to me, slowly and carefully. He stopped in front of me and held out his treasure for my inspection.

“I got shoes. Now, I can go to school,” he said. The pride in his voice almost brought me to tears.

The box contained one pair of black, dress shoes. 

“He can go to school, now, that he has shoes,” his “Mom” said. She, too, beamed with pride for the young man in her care. 

My view of shoes changed forever.

I’m grateful for my abundance of shoes.

            What fills your heart with gratitude today?