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: Pandora's Beauty Box
Yesterday, I went sailing on my Uncle’s 40 ft boat. Evidently, many other people had the same idea and were parked on the bay side with their flags displayed. As we approached the Gulf Side of Shell Island, a rainbow appeared. It was truly magical- A promise of remembrance of those who paid the ultimate […]
Along Crawfordville highway in between Panacea and Tallahassee is a Ford Car Graveyard. Twenty + cars dated from early 1900’s to mid are arranged in a semicircle from oldest to youngest. My girls and I stopped here coming back from the beach in Panacea. Evidently, all these cars were used on Pat Harvey’s family farm. […]
Florida County Hwy 65 runs from the interstate south through Hosford, FL through Apalachicola National Forest and dead ends on Hwy 98 on the coast in Carrabelle. It’s 54.7 miles from Hosford to Carabelle. While driving down this highway, there are no cities, there are no dollar stores or gas stations or any other […]
As promised, here are the wildflowers I encountered while driving on FL Hwy 65 towards Sumatra in the Apalachicola National Forest. I included the common and scientific name in the caption (for all that I could identify). You are welcome to share any of the pictures or use them as backgrounds. Tomorrow, I’ll post the […]
I hope everyone had a happy International Astronomy Day! Friday night, I finished photographing wildflowers and that photogenic water moccasin around sunset. As I prepared to drive back home, fireflies started to flash their lights in the hundreds (thousands?) . I stayed about another hour and captured them along with the stars. Earth/Sky website featured […]
: Hands Across The Aisle
My Pledge to use my Voice.
My America, the Eagle Distressed To even contemplate that we, as a nation, are akin to an Eagle— one with the Freedom of the skies– to have the time, the Liberty, to speak about this noble bird in any manner with total impunity, without fear of mortal retribution or imprisonment, is absolutely the epitome of […]
Category Archives: photography
Lest We Forget
Don’t close your eyes, lest you forget,
Don’t turn away from your fellow man again;
One nation indivisible are we; yet,
Divided by self-interest, self-doubt, regret,
This lonely wound wastes away, pain.
Don’t close your eyes, lest you forget:
This day, hatred collects her debt,
Torn asunder, an iron rain.
Are we one nation indivisible? Yet-
Look at the flags, waving in the sunset,
For each life lost, they stand urbane.
Don’t close your eyes, lest you forget:
The many faces of our brethren, set
Together, candles and tokens side by side lain,
One nation indivisible, are we yet?
Under the skin: same blood, same sweat;
Free to choose love or hate, hope or pain,
Don’t close your eyes, lest you forget:
One nation indivisible, we are yet.
Note: On Saturday I visited the tribute to the Orlando shooting victims at the FL state capitol here in Tallahassee. This poem is my reaction to the tragedy. Sadly, it seems that for every mass casualty event we as a country come together briefly, then are divided again. I just hope that no one ever forgets that even though everyone has different opinions, we are still one country, one people.
Silence. Numbness. Heart ache.. so much heart ache. Headline- Another mass casualty event. This one yet again the, “Most deadliest in History.” You see the images of the bereft, the maimed, the dying.
Bleeding. Shocked. Dead…so many dead. You ask, “Why?” and search the news for possible answers. Fingers pointed-
Guns. Faith. Hate.. so much hate. You, america, cannibalize yourself in pursuit of answers. You let the beast of hate and fear devour your rationality.
Blame, Walls, Sides, so many sides. But still no answers.
Prayers, Thoughts, Solidarity… so much solidarity. In our oneness, lost, searching, WE come together to support each other’s grieving. WE offer up OUR very blood to the broken.
Selflessness, Compassion, Empathy, so much empathy. WE place ourselves in the victim’s shoes, reaching past our fear of being the victim.
Steadfastness, Determination, so much determination. Even for the briefest of moments, WE strive to find one mind, find a way to prevent this sorrow.
And Love…so much love. The cure to hate to sustain the living. In giving love, We will overcome this beast tearing the fabric of our country.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Whether you realize it or not, you know someone who struggles with mental health. Statistically speaking, 1 in 5 five people fall into this category(1). Statistics also state that 1 in 3 people suffer from heart disease (2). If you were one of these people with heart disease (or one of your loved ones), chances are that you wouldn’t hesitate from reaching out for help or posting something like this to your Facebook/twitter feed, “Send positive thoughts, my Dad had to go to the ER for angina (chest pains).” Or if you needed to change your medications to lower your blood pressure, you wouldn’t think twice about telling your boss the reason for the doctor’s visit, or tell your coworkers the purpose of those pills you take during lunch break.
Same goes for diabetes. Diabetes affects 29 million people in the US; that’s 1 in 11 people(3). It develops either through the failure of the pancreas to make enough insulin, or the body not using insulin properly. Either way, diabetes is managed through medications, educational counseling, nutrition, exercise, community support and close monitoring by a medical professional.
Diabetes and heart disease are caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors. It all starts with genetics, by environmental stress, including nutrition, can compound any underlying biology. Neither one of these illness can necessarily be “cured.” One doesn’t simply, “snap out of” a diabetic trance or lower their blood pressure by “taking a deep breath.” These facts are accepted and understood.
Yet, when it comes to mental illness, stigma and misunderstanding still seem to rule the day. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, to name a few, are caused by (more or less) a malfunction of neurotransmitter chemicals within brain circuits and sympathetic nervous system. Like the other two diseases, mental illnesses are also compounded by biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Some mental illnesses have been linked to abnormal functioning of nerve cell circuits or pathways that connect particular brain regions. Others are caused injury to certain parts of the brain.
Just like the other diseases, mental illnesses can be managed through medications, nutrition, exercise, community support and close monitoring by a medical professional.
Yet, you probably won’t see someone post, “my anxiety is running high, I need to adjust my medication,” or “Send positive thoughts, my Dad went to the ER because he hasn’t slept in three days.” A person who lives with a mental illness is less likely to notify their employer out of fear of losing their job. Instead of saying, “I’m seeing my doctor to adjust my bipolar medications,” they are more like to give an excuse. Instead of reaching out to friends when anxiety gets too overwhelming, the are more likely to disappear, to delete their Facebook or twitter account for a while.
Why? Why is it that we can accept that someone with diabetes has a MEDICAL condition that needs treatment with daily medication, but someone who is depressed needs to “just snap out it.” Where is the fear to reach out to our bosses and friends coming from? Why isn’t it a part of the normal dialogue? And why won’t insurance pay at the same rate for mental health treatment as diabetes or high blood management?
A big part of the collective fear and disparity comes from the media. Historically, mental illnesses have been misunderstood and therefore portrayed in a negative light in films and TV. Also, whenever a violent crime with mass casualties is committed, often the first action is to rationalize the actions with, “did the person suffer from a mental illness?” Statistically, a person with heart disease is more likely to commit such an offense, but no one reports that person who shot up a school was suffering from high cholesterol. Also, people with a mental illness are more likely to be the VICTIM of a crime rather than the perpetrator. There is also the myth/misunderstanding that someone with a mental illness is somehow less mentally capable of completing tasks (not true!).
So, May is national mental health awareness. What can YOU do? Be aware of the myths and stigmas surrounding mental illness, and REJECT them. EMBRACE the current scientific research that demonstrates the need for community support and a PART of that community. SHARE this information to promote awareness. REACH out to your friends and family and let them know that mental illness is NOT something to be ashamed of, but instead, taken seriously and managed through love and support. UNDERSTAND, that a person with mental illness is a PERSON first, who has an illness second (just like a someone with heart disease is a PERSON with a malfunctioning cardiac system). And if you suffer silently, paralyzed by that collective fear, don’t. SPEAK up, don’t be afraid to tell your inner circle. More than likely someone in that inner circle also shares this fear. WRITE to your congressman today and demand federal parity for mental healthcare. Tell them to support the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016. It is unacceptable that people are turned away or don’t receive treatment due to the lack of access.
It is only through these actions that mental illness can be normalized and treated as the medical disease it is. Let’s, “snap out of,” this cycle of ignorance and fear, and promote a better understanding and acceptance.
-K.M.Clark, a person who conquers symptoms of bipolar disorder (most) every day.