Showing posts with label #OWFI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #OWFI. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cynthia Diamond Stevison Talks About Mental Health

Today I welcome author, Cynthia Diamond Stevison to Writing with God's Hope blog. Stevison and I met at the Oklahoma Writers Federated International conference in May, 2016.  Since the mental component involved with fighting addiction is of interest to me, I loved discussing this topic with Stevison. I asked her to tell us about it and to also tell us about her book. Since I met her, I have read her book. Scroll to the bottom for my review and disclaimer.

Take it away, Cynthia.


There is a mental health crisis in our country today.
Few people realize mental disorders can be treated and managed.
Recovery is possible.
The Tree of Happiness explores the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. This story offers encouragement and empowerment to those willing to accept it and climb into their true potential. This book converts decades of personal and professional healing strategies into a proven process that equips readers with the tools to create their own Tree of Happiness.
Readers will
  • Discover how to unveil the roots that bind them.
  • Find answers to help those that suffer from mental illness.
  • Experience comfort that they are not alone.
  • Discern how mental disorders can be managed. Unpack how recovery is possible.
My book offers personal stories. I hope it inspires others to find their purpose and expand their potential. This book highlights the fundamental strategies for a successful recovery.
The Tree of Happiness unites human spirit and the mental health crisis in our country today. It uncovers the secret that mental disorders can be treated, managed and recovery is possible.
The book examines the stigma and discrimination faced by many Americans today. This story offers hope and healing to those willing to accept it.
We can impact others by sharing our stories. Every day is an opportunity to share. You see everyone has a story. If you just take the time to listen, share, and be supportive.

One of my favorite quotes by Katrina Mayer:
“At the end of the day the only questions I ask myself
Did I love enough?
Did I laugh enough?
Did I make a difference?”

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What is essentially the ‘correct’ mindset to combat the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness?
In my experience over the last 25 years there are several ways to reduce stigma and discrimination. First to combat the fears about mental illness is to accept that mental illness can’t be cured but can be managed with proper treatment. This treatment is up to the individual. This person is not broken and everyone’s success looks different. Many individuals want to end the stigma and open the door to opportunities for discussion.
What is offered in your book “The Tree of Happiness”?

“The Tree of Happiness” unites human spirit and the mental health crisis in our country today. It uncovers the secret that mental disorders can be treated, managed and recovery is possible. There are four phases to the book.
1. The Struggle
2. The Recovery Plan
3. The Healing
4. The Impact
 
In the book I open up my tool kit of and reveal the seven practical steps for educating, empowering and encouraging others with mental illness.
Who do you recommend this book for?
People with mental illness and their friends and family
NAMI Groups
Social Workers
Counselors
Department of Corrections
Suicide prevention centers
Alcohol and drug treatment providers
Grief Counselors, Trainers
Military Personnel PTSD
Law Enforcement
Department of Child and Family Services
Support Groups
Crisis intervention teams
Why mental illness called the invisible disease?
People don’t often look sick. Some individuals hide behind closed doors and use alcohol and drugs to medicate the disorder. Many individuals rather than seek help with their mental disorder, many hide, hoping that it will go away. They are unwilling to admit to their illness because they are frightened of society’s reaction. Those who most need support from others, aren’t able to find the support they need because of society’s view on their illness.
 
What is your advice?
My advice to caregivers is smile, sit and listen. Don’t pity the individual. Realize the person is trying on good days and bad days. I advise those that struggle with mental health to learn to ask for help. Remember, ninety percent of mental disorders are treatable.
How did you recover?
I want everyone to know things did not change overnight. It was a slow and steady pace. I have known my share of hardships and loss but here I stand continuously moving forward. I remember the days that made me strong. I asked for help and I never gave up on myself. I am now in control of my own destiny. I have a wellness plan and that I am faithful to.
Which is your coping strategy?
I have a wellness plan that involves medication, relaxation, yoga, supportive people, meditation, volunteering, journaling and creative writing.
Why read the book now?
• We can raise awareness for others that are still struggling.
• We could inspire hope, and help in others.
• We have to expose this invisible disease to others.
• Tell them we need to treat mental illness like every other chronic illness.
• We must invoke policies changes in our federal and local government.
• If we better understand ourselves and others, conflict will decrease.
• Healthier relationships inspire peace, forgiveness and new beginnings. They build value and worth.
• We must advocate for each other.
 
Message in three words or less.
NEVER GIVE UP.


Order Tree of Happiness on Amazon








Cynthia Stevison is a midwest writer, advocate, blogger, traveler and entreprneur. She is a great storyteller. 
Cynthia earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Cynthia resides in the state of Oklahoma with her family.





Thank you for visiting us, Cynthia.


 My Review and Disclaimer

The Tree of Happiness supplies a wonderful resource for those who have ever dealt with mental illness through family or close friends, or in themselves. This author has experienced both things. Her brother is bi-polar. Written in the form of creative non-fiction, Stevison gives her brother's account as through his eyes. Her own story is a memoir or journal entry of her experiences during her stay in a mental hospital as well as struggling though years of recovery. Often, people shun those ill mentally unlike those with physical ailments. I found Stevison's steps for recovery not unlike much of my findings written in my book, Divine Dining. The Tree of Happiness asks questions, giving space to provide answers, utilizing thought processes that a mentally ill person can work through by themselves or in a support group. The book offers much common sense wisdom. Stevison believes in 12 step programs, as do I. She calls on help from her Higher Power, a mixture of God, as preached in churches, and humanism or spiritualism whereas my Higher Power comes from Jehovah God of the Bible, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, three in one.

****Disclaimer: Though this book can definitely help the mentally ill, and those dealing with one who is mentally ill,  be aware, first of all, that the journals give realistic language including a little cursing or crude words. This doesn't happen a lot, and is mostly at the beginning. Second, Stevison promotes a lifestyle that the Bible preaches against. Because of this, anyone reading this must be strong in their Christian beliefs, so as not to be influenced in the wrong way. As a believer in Christ, I love Cynthia Stevison. I applaud her recovery success. She's doing much good with her life. What a blessing that is. I do not advocate her sin, merely the wisdom she brings to the mental health issue.

Thank you, Cynthia Diamond Stevison for introducing us to this resource. I pray for your continued recovery and writing.



Saturday, December 20, 2014

An Interview with Author, Bonnie Lanthripe

I met Bonnie Lanthripe in Edmond, Oklahoma when she stopped by the university where I was doing a booksigning. She purchased my Divine Dining  and Victoria and the Ghost. How could an author like me not like someone like that? She became a cherished friend and one of my sweetest encouragers.

Since then, Pen-L Publishing Co. has released Bonnie's debut novel, and it's very good. I'm not just saying that because she's my friend, but because I have a twelve-year-old grandson that the hero of her middle grade book  The Ringleader reminds me of.

 
 


A middle-grade adventure novel. Fourteen year-old Patrick Morrison makes a bizarre unexplainable discovery while exploring a drainage culvert with his friends. Obsessed with identifying what it is and how it got there, his search turns up some surprising clues as they race from one adventure to another. A series of unusual twists uncovers all the pieces of the puzzle, bringing a stunning resolution to the riddle.


 
 
I asked Bonnie to stop by Writing with God's Hope blog today and answer some questions.
 
 
1.  Bonnie, tell us a little about yourself.
      I am originally from Arkansas, lived many years in California where I met my husband and raised our family. We have four children, six grandchildren and two great-grandbabies. I love spending time and traveling with them all.

2.  Tell us about your writing journey.
      I basically have been writing for as long as I can remember--- just not on paper. I grew up on a farm in Arkansas and when I was alone, in the field, in the barn loft, I made up stories, even supplying the dialogue and sound effects. I wrote very detailed letters to my friends back home when my family traveled during my teens.
        It wasn't until after our youngest child was in college that I got an opportunity to go back to school to finish my degree. When I began creative writing classes, I felt as if God had presented me with a huge gift; a great big box tied up with a red ribbon; something I'd always wanted, but didn't know it. I've been writing ever since, but it was only two years ago when I got up the nerve to attempt to get published. What a thrill when I held my book in my hand!

3.  Did you ever feel like giving up? And how did you press through this?
     I let life get in my way. It is sometimes difficult for me to discipline myself to a steady routine.  Busy-ness of everyday life sometime overwhelm me and I think maybe it would be better to just stop. Then I remember that God gave me this awesome gift and I plow through the daily "stuff" and come back to the keyboard.

4.  What gave you the idea for this book? What is the book about?
      My 14 year-old grandson told me about an experience he and his friends had. I thought it was hilarious the way he told it, and that it would make a great story.
      The book is about Patrick Morrison and his friends who like to adventure. Instead of hanging around inside, they  get out and explore their neighborhood, the nearby open fields, the surrounding community. Check things out.  They make up wild stories and shoot videos of them.
     One day, while exploring a drainage culvert, Patrick sees something he can't explain, something that really spooks him, but he is determined to find out what it is and how it got into the culvert. His search for the answer leads the boys into some sometimes humorous, sometimes risky, situations but their adventure ends in solving the mystery.

5.  How do you feel this book will encourage people in their walk with Christ, or did you have something in mind when you wrote it?
     "The Ringleader" is not classified a Christian novel, however, when I first began writing courses, I made a commitment to write responsibly. My purpose is to present characters who are respectful, responsible, with integrity. They accept accountability for their actions and learn valuable lessons through their experiences. Isn't that how a Christian is supposed to act?

6.  Anything  more you'd like to add?
      Maybe that I never thought about writing a book for middle-grade or Young Adult. Only when I began writing this one did I realize how fun I was having. I'm having the same good time with the sequel.

7.  What's a little known fact about you?
      I am a socially functioning introvert. Go figure that one out.

 Oh, I love that, Bonnie. I think that describes me, too. Must be why we like each other.  
 
8. Where can your readers find you?
       Bonnie.Lanthripe.com/  From here readers can connect to my author's page, blog and web page.
       Also, Pen-L Publishing, Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold.