Category Archives: Toss the Typwriter

Toss the Typewriter – Is It Ever Enough?

If you are following the news right now, you know that Robin Williams suffered from addiction and depression and finally succumbed to his illnesses. It is incredibly sad to lose yet another talented person to these dual diseases.

So many of our children and loved ones battle co-occurring disorders. Although they are not publicly recognized, they are talented, intelligent, and amazing people. Often, these brilliant stars have only us on their sides; and I know we all wonder, will that be enough?

Rest in peace, Mr. Williams. Rest in peace.

The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Note: For help outside of the United States, please refer to the resources listed here as one way to connect you with compassionate, understanding, and supportive people.

Read the rest of the story. Visit Is It Ever Enough? | Toss the Typewriter.

Toss the Typewriter – What You Might Not Know About Your College-Aged Child

Your child is off to college tomorrow. How exciting! What adventures to be had! I’m sure that you will be lonely, but then you will think about how happy your child is.

But what if your child isn’t happy? How do you tell if it is the normal freshman blues, or something more serious? What if your child’s unhappiness is more like depression or anxiety?

Please, why are you walking away? Oh, I understand. You don’t need to hear about mental illnesses. Your child was top of his high school class, popular, participated in sports and clubs. You and your child have a wonderful relationship. You’ve spoken openly about drugs and alcohol. You expect a little experimentation, but your child will be careful.

Please, don’t leave. Your child might never have an issue, but her best friend might need your child’s understanding and help.

But, before we help your child’s friend, consider this: is there is someone in your family who struggles with addiction or mental illness? If so, then your child is at risk. It doesn’t matter what you have discussed, or what promises your child has made. Being an addict or having mental illness is not a choice. Often, it is in college when the first symptoms of addiction and mental illness appear.

Here are some things you can do. . .

Read the rest of this very helpful and timely piece! Visit What You Might Not Know About Your College-Aged Child | Toss the Typewriter.

Toss the Typewriter – Wkly Brief – What is Love?

As I have learned about my loved one’s illness, I have grown kinder and more patient. I am grateful for this relationship in my life that deepens daily and has helped me grow into a better person. Each day together is a blessing; some days are radiant sunshine and hope. Other days? Well yes, there are other days that are harder to take. But even those aren’t too bad, when I am able to apply all I have learned about self-care to my day.

Yet there will always be days when I am weak; when a well-timed barb, spoken many times before and deflected, strikes home. Or worse, ever so much worse: when the darkness of a winter night falls and instead of seeing the crisp stars among winged birch branches, I see the suffering of my loved one, unable to face another day in this beautiful, cruel world.

Today, a difficult day for my loved one, the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, helped me remain supportive. These words, often read at weddings, can be applied to many relationships in life. But I find the words especially helpful for the sometimes one-sided relationships with those battling mental illness.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

My loved one carries a heavy burden. Yet my smaller burder is difficult too: I watch as my loved ones struggles with med-cycling; I am the brundt of antagonistic comments alternated with penitent pleas for forgiveness. I see self-loathing as peers achieve goals that were once his own. And just as I sit steeped in his sorrow, he baits me with critiques; I swallow retorts. For me, the meaning of Matthew 18:22′s forgiving “not seven times, but seventy-seven times” changes from the philosophical to an applied science.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Wkly Brief – What is Love? | Toss the Typewriter.

Toss the Typewriter – Wkly Brief – Marginalized Mothers

Note from Ruby: It may be long past Mother’s Day, but a parent doing their best to support a child struggling with mental health or addiction deserves your support any day in the year.

Throughout the world there are lovely women who raised beautiful children, and then something went terribly wrong. Perhaps the child picked up his first beer, or smoked her first joint. Maybe the child struggled with eating too much, or perhaps too little. Maybe the child missed many days of school, never graduated and still never leaves the house. Or maybe the child is no longer living.

You probably know one of these women. She was the one you laughed with at baseball games, and then she stopped coming. She is the mother who no longer calls you; who stays home; who worries. She is the mother who loves her child, but won’t necessarily ever hear her child return the words “I love you.”

Is there a good mother that you know who has lost a child to addiction, mental illness, suicide? Do you have the courage to call and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day? Are you willing to tell her you know she is a loving mother?

Yours might be the only call she gets this year.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Wkly Brief – Marginalized Mothers | Toss the Typewriter.

Toss the Typewriter – Weekly Brief – The Rayon Rainstorm

It started simply, just as any dam breaching starts: with one small drop. I wake up late. There is barely one hour until leaving-time. I must bake my daughter’s cake. I’m uncoffeed; in remote control. Preheat oven 350, mixer, cake mix, eggs. No eggs. Shoot. Give up on the cake and chalk up failure number one.

I’ll install my software. Enter personal information; scrape gray matter off of plastic card, type in code. Code not valid. Check the numbers, try again. Code not valid. Have husband check the numbers. Code still not valid. Add failure number two and move on.

With fifteen minutes left before I have to leave the house, all I want is to take a shower. No bathrooms available. No time for a shower. yet another failure in a morning of failures. Nothing I have tried to do has worked. It’s only 8:45 AM and I’m sitting on the side of my bed, crying.

But like any dam breaching, it isn’t the tiny drips of a broken morning routine that bring on the tears. It is the tumultous waters behind the façade, churning for months on end; and then when most vulnerable, hit by an unexpected emotional rainstorm.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Weekly Brief – The Rayon Rainstorm | Toss the Typewriter.

Toss the Typewriter – Put Your Oxygen Mask On First

Someone you love is in trouble, and you are desperately seeking a way to help this person. You need answers and direction, fast.  Perhaps your loved one exhibits signs of addiction, or his behavior is erratic. Maybe your once sensitive and loving child (spouse, parent, sibling) cruelly slices your sense of self with his words. Maybe your loved one is alone and lonely, abandoned by his friends who do not understand why he has changed. For whatever reason, you are searching and you found this page.

Are you really ready to do everything you can to help your loved one? If so, the first step is to let go of the shame and the pride that has you anonymously searching the internet for help. You will have to admit that your loved one has a debilitating illness. Cancer is an illness. Diabetes is an illness. Addiction, bipolar, schizophrenia, et al, are all illnesses. Being an ostrich doesn’t make these illnesses go away. Sooner or later, to access the help that is available, you will have to get past your pride. Your choice is simple really. You can keep your healthy pride, or you can help your loved one find a healthy life.

Read the rest!  Visit Put Your Oxygen Mask On First | Toss the Typewriter.

Toss the Typewriter – Weekly Brief – Relief for Caregiver Stress

There are mornings when you wake up and you are too tired to get out of bed.  There are nights when you are so tired, you cannot go to bed. The television is a balm to your exhaustion. It saves you from thinking, from worrying, from obsessing.

I need to work to pay the bills; I need to work to maintain insurance.  But I cannot work today; I’m needed at home. What if I’m fired?

You care for your aging parent, your young child with a disability, your spouse battling mental illness. Love, anger, resentment, anxiety, exhaustion swirl until the vortex has you gasping for breath.

Read the rest!  Visit Weekly Brief – Relief for Caregiver Stress | Toss the Typewriter.

Toss the Typewriter – My (Dis)Organized Life

What has this week been like?  Aargh! That’s the only word I have.  It wasn’t horrible I guess, if you like invasive procedures, x-rays and doctor’s offices, like to have your child tell you aren’t needed, like having ten tons of snow dumped on you, and like living in a house that smells like wet dog.

I don’t know what to write about. What do people want to read? I am so sick of playing Candy Crush, yet it is just there calling, calling, calling.  Is that what an addiction feels like? Only when I’m done with CC,  I’ve just wasted my time, I don’t believe I’ve damaged my brain cells.

Or have I?

I think I’ll write about The Anonymous People and how silence and anonymity is trapping millions of people alone with their disease. Or maybe I’ll write about mental illness and what it feels like to be a family member of a person with a mental illness. But I can’t write about mental illness, because it invades another’s privacy.

    And now I’m back to thinking that anonymity breeds loneliness.

Really though, I should scrap it all and just get back to writing my novel. I’m putting it off and that’s a bad place to be. I printed it. It’s ready for revision. But instead I have read three books and three more are in progress. I’ll write my blogs and I’ll ignore my novel. I’ll comment on blogs and I’ll write about not writing and I’ll read about not writing.

And then I’ll kick myself for not writing.

Read the rest of the story!  Visit Toss the Typewriter – My (Dis)Organized Life.

Toss the Typewriter

What is stigma?  According to the Oxford Dictionary, stigma is “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.”  The first example given is “the stigma of mental disorder”.  Ouch.  There it is.  In perpetuity for all to see.  Unless changed, the words stigma and mental disorder are forever bound together in a trusted resource. At least the Merriam-Webster online definition adds the words “often unfair beliefs”.

I belong to a ‘secret society’.  We meet on Facebook and talk about our concerns for our loved ones and the lack of access to adequate and appropriate care.  Some of us advocate for mental health issues; others share current medical findings; still others attend or lead support groups.  Each of us is trying to find our voice. But none of us will speak out if it will harm our loved ones.

Read the post in its entirety!  Visit Be The Spark | Toss the Typewriter.