Category Archives: Inspiration

Mildly Medicated: ADD, Normalcy and Finding Acceptance in Music

Pay Attention!

If there were two words that I could have stricken from the English language growing up, it would have been those two. You would think that hearing them countless thousands of times you’d become desensitized, but you don’t, or at least I didn’t. People with ADD, which is very different from ADHD will know what I’m talking about. It has nothing to do with being smart or mental capacity, it’s just that your brain has its own set of commands and protocols that it intends to follow, and getting it to do something completely different and focusing just goes against the grain. In fact, it really wants to do something completely different most of the time, regardless of how much I want it to do what everyone else is doing. It’s not a question of desire; it’s a question of a biological constraint. The sooner you learn to work within that constraint, the easier things become.

There are a lot of very good people who I know I frustrated early on, my mother is one, and this woman has the patience of a saint. She was raising 3 boys on her own, and I’m sure I didn’t make the task any easier for her. My family, my teachers, all people who had the best intentions of trying to help me, sometimes made matters worse. I learn at my own pace. Sometimes that can be slower than normal, and sometimes faster. It depends on the protocol. Thankfully I was able to find a connection with music. Listening to it, understanding it on an intimate level, and being able to play it was somehow within my ADD brain wiring protocol. I must admit that in the beginning I was not very good, but I found out early that my condition seemed to exclude music while my brain usually bounced around from subject to subject, or topic to topic. I realized I was actually able to practice for very long periods of time and get things accomplished. Through music, I was able to be recognized as more normal, or should I say “more acceptable”. I dove into it with everything I had. I knew that in some way, it would be my salvation. Continue reading

Ten Things Change-Makers Do

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Last month, I had the honor of attending the United Nations’ Conference titled- Commission On The Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. I was present for several of the briefings. The conference drew in ambassadors, representatives, leaders, Deputy Secretary Generals, directors, policy makers, founders of non-government organizations, delegates, chiefs, ministers for human rights, and others from around the world. The event brought together incredibly bright minds from various backgrounds to examine ways to empower women through the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I was also invited to partake in many side- events that were organized by many of the people present for the conference. Typically, these events were smaller and conversations took place over a meal or coffee. At one side event, there were eight of us sharing a meal at a local restaurant.

What struck me about those in attendance not only for the larger conference and also for these side-events is that these individuals were not only successful leaders, but they were clearly what one would consider change- makers/ over- achievers. As a clinical social worker and author, I’m interested in observing behavior patterns. During these events, I began to notice that these change- makers had some traits and behaviors in common that I thought would be valuable to share. This list is in no particular order of importance.

Ten Things Change- Makers Do: Continue reading

Mildly Medicated: Musicians Find Hope and Possibility After Diagnosis

By Jenna Basile of Mildly Medicated

Jenna Basile is the Bassist of the Modern Rock Band Mildly Medicated. What do you get when you combine a lead singer with Hemophilia, a guitarist with ADD, a guitarist with diabetes, a bassist with Tourette’s, and a drummer on HGH therapy? You get the modern rock band Mildly Medicated. Against all possible odds, these uniquely talented young musicians from Monmouth County NJ found each other in 2012, all unaware that each of them had medical issues.  It was only until they were discussing possible band names that they all realized that they shared a commonality.

I’m going to start this story backwards.  I can assure you it ends well, and I have found peace, love, and acceptance. I have forged a family out of people who were once strangers, I have found my passion, my defining life force, my balance. The road to all this enlightenment and nirvana was not exactly an easy one to walk as there were many obstacles in my way and many forks where decisions had to be made. Let’s back uScreen Shot 2016-04-07 at 8.22.08 AMp a little a put ourselves about 4 years ago. I was a young female going through my really awkward stage. I wasn’t hideous, but I wasn’t the belle of the ball either. I did not hang with the “popular kids” and my father spent long hours as an investment banker in NYC, and sometimes left to live in foreign lands for weeks or months. I took solace in playing music. My older brother was already an accomplished drummer, and it looked like he was having fun, so I decide to follow him and began studying piano. After almost two years, I was pretty decent, although if I was honest with you I don’t think I was truly passionate about the instrument, but I did enjoy the accolades. One night while practicing, I noticed that I was unable to strike the keys with precision. As I continued, I realized that I was losing control of my body as a whole; the movements that were happening were not of my own design. I freaked out and had to be taken to the emergency room. I remember when the doctor walked in after I had taken a battery of tests. Just the look on his face told me that my world was about to change. Continue reading

Care Connects WWII Survivors and Syrian Refugees to Bring Happiness

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As of almost 1 year ago, there were more than 4 million Syrian refugees, a number that increases daily as conflict grows across Europe. Babies are being born in refugee camps. Children are experiencing years meant for exploration, imagination and fun in a landscape that is scary, violent and often times changing moment to moment. They’ve experienced loss at far too young an age but they are not alone in this.

Care is an organization responsible for sending care packages to children affected by WWII. If anyone understands even a margin of what modern children in war-torn nations are experiencing, it is the survivors of WWII who are now being recruited by Care to write letters to children receiving packages today. Care was created in 1945

Does he go to school? Does he have a father? Does he have something to play with? I never played as a kid.
-WWII Survivor And Letter Writer

The first 20,000 Care packages reached the shores of France in 1946 and 70 years later, Care packages are still arriving on far off shores. Today those Care packages include letters from alumni who seek to help children feel known, heard and understood in this time of crisis. Watch their story: Continue reading

My Past Doesn’t Define Me – It Strengthens Me

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By Ryan Skinner

Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” As a recovering addict given a second chance at life, I have been given the opportunity to pay forward my reversal of fortune to help others struggling with the disease of addiction. Every day I ask God how I can be of service to others using the talents He’s given me, and I have learned that the true measure of success is found in how many people you bless. It may sound ironic to be grateful to have gone through something so horrific, but I thank God now that I can help people experiencing the same nightmare. Continue reading

How Far Will Your Arrow Fly: Reaching Beyond the Possibilities

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By Dan Castro

The next time you are tempted to say, “I’m out of options.  I’m defeated.  There is nothing left that I can do,” step outside on a clear, starry night.  Look up.  Recall that at one point in time, humans believed that all that existed was that which we could see with our own eyes.  The earth, the sun, the moon, and a sea of stars.      

As you look up at the stars, single out one star among all you can see.  Focus on it.  Zoom in on it with your mind’s eye.  Now mentally transport yourself to it and stand on it in your very own specially designed space suit.  Look deep into space.  Deeper.  Into the inky black night.   Isolate the darkest spot in the night sky.   

Now let your mind wander through that dark spot to the furthest edge of space you can imagine.  Stand there at that edge and reach out your hand.  What do you feel? Continue reading

Words of Wisdom: The Work of Loving Yourself

“Love yourself” is simple to say and sometimes the most difficult thing to do.
It means asking ourselves what love is.
It means asking ourselves what we believe our value to be.
It can mean dismantling a lifetime of false or negative beliefs.

Scientists have taught us for hundreds of years about inertia and a physical object’s “resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion”. People are not always unlike that in an emotional or mental sense. Changing direction can be a struggle even when we detect that we’re headed down a road we’ve stopped wanting. It will take force. It will take focus. It will take intent to change, to push yourself to be the best you, to keep pushing when you get tired.

Today we are happy to help with the pushing. We are sharing words of wisdom from brilliant minds who believe that loving yourself is worth the work: Continue reading

Reclaiming A Missing History: The Founding of Black History Month

Can you imagine what it must feel like to hold a history book in your hands and find no trace of yourself in the pages? To know you exist, to know your parents existed before you and their parents before them, and find no record must be a kind of grief and alienation one hopes to never feel. Born in 1875, a child of slaves, Dr. Carter G. Woodson would become both a scholar and a historian as well as lead the charge in reclaiming the silent history of African Americans.

What started as his own effort became the founding of the (later known as) Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the publishing of the Journal of African American History, organizing the 1st Annual Negro History Week in February 1926 and, fifty years later, he would see that week become an entire month of celebration. Continue reading

Right Now: My Favorite Podcasts

Do you know what a podcast is?

I don’t ask that rudely. A lot of people don’t and today I want to share my favorites because you might be missing out on some good stuff! Just as everyone was sure old media forms were dying (translate: radio, newspapers, TV) thanks to the internet, the internet brought me one of my new favorite things: podcasts!

You, yes you, could make a podcast for pretty much nothing (if not nothing) and share it with the whole for for pretty much nothing and that is cool because we now have access to stories, information, people we might’ve never known before. So many are free. Unlike radio, they’re stored and ready whenever you are. You can come back to them again and again. It’s now my preferred listening material when I exercise or drive.

And if you’ve never listened to any, here are some of my current favorites: Continue reading

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