“I Am The Sky”A New Branch Of Support

Mental health is always a topic that carries stigma. Some people are open about their mental illnesses, and others are not. Thomas Dyer, a caring member of a small Maine community in Orono, is taking a step forward to help those who are in need of someone to talk to for mental health support across the country. He know’s what it’s like to struggle with mental health issues, and wants to give back. He started a confidential 24/7 support line called “I Am The Sky” He has even started a Go Fund Me page in hopes that people will donate to help his non-profit organization grow even further. I spoke with Thomas today, and asked him a few questions about how this idea came about, and asked him about his hope for I Am The Sky’s future.

 

Me: Thomas, I understand that the topic of mental health is something you are very passionate about. How did this organization start?

Thomas: I Am The Sky is something that I’ve wanted to start for so many years. It’s something I’ve had in my brain for far too long. I grew struggling with depression and severe anxiety, and I was surrounded by people who I felt didn’t understand. I felt so alone, and that feeling itself makes the idea of suicide that much easier. After years of this feeling I came to realize that if people like myself could come together and help one another, we could in some way save each other’s lives. And since that day, I’ve been trying to put this project together.

Me: How did you come up with the name “I Am The Sky”? Does it have any significant meaning to you personally?

Thomas: I Am The Sky has so much meaning to me. This phrase alone kept me going. A while back I was told by a wonderful person that anxiety, depression, and fear, are all clouds in the sky, and I was the sky. And no matter how cloudy it got, no matter how bad the weather was, I’d still be there and the clouds would go away, because I Am The Sky.

Me: That is the most beautiful story. I absolutely love the name. What is your mental health story? Only share what you are comfortable sharing.

Thomas: My mental health story is lengthy I won’t lie. I’ve suffered from severe depression, social anxiety, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was a kid. It was all so debilitating for me, I felt like I was trapped. I found a wonderful agency that helped me learn to cope with my problems. And after years of being a client I became a worker. I felt so alive helping people, and in return helped myself.

Me: What are your hopes for I Am The Sky’s future?

I hope that someday in the near future we can become a well known source of help for those who need it. I hope that we can, even if by a little, help people feel less alone.

Me: What would you like to tell people who are reading this article right now?

Everyone who knows me knows I say this alot, Be yourself. Love yourself, everything about yourself. Be different, and create. This life has so much to offer. There will always be a struggle, someone putting what you do down, but forget them. Show them why you are here. But always remember, You’re worth it.

 

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Follow I am the sky today to help support others who are fighting mental health issues. One like, donation, or share could possibly save someone’s life. Here are the links:

I Am The Sky On Facebook

I Am The Sky On Instagram

I Am The Sky Go Fund Me

-Rebecca Elizabeth A Punk With MS

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Vegetarian Chili

Here’s my recipe for a delicious vegaterian friendly chili! I have been weaning off of red meat recently, and can vouch that this meal will definitely satisfy any type of chili or meat craving. (I know it satisfies mine)

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You’ll need:

2 cups of Gardein beefless ground (or any other beef free ground you can find) 

1tbsp of garlic

1tbsp olive oil

1 15oz cans of diced tomatoes (with green chilies)

1 15oz cans of red kidney beans

1/2 tsp of Chili powder (adjust this to your style of taste because the green chilies in with the tomatoes are really spicy as it is )

1tsp of Mrs. Dash Salt Free roasted garlic and herb 

1tsp of Mrs. Dash Table Blend

1/2 cup of diced onions (frozen or raw)

Directions:  in a medium frying pan, put your olive oil in the pan until it heats up. After this, put your diced onions into the pan and fry it on medium high until they are brown.

Once browned, add your beefless ground into the pan. Make sure to add your garlic and all your spices in with your beefless ground.

Once your beefless ground is thawed in the pan, add your can of diced tomatoes with green chili’s and can of red kidney beans. DO NOT DRAIN.

be sure to taste test your chili, as you may need to adjust the spices to your taste.

Lower the pan to medium heat, and allow the chili to simmer. Once simmered for 5-10 minutes, turn off the heat and enjoy. Refrigerate any leftovers you have for another day. Double the recipe to serve more people!

 I will note, If you need to keep your diet with less salt, feel free to use salt free canned diced tomatoes as a substitute. Also, I have added a 1/2 cup of diced green peppers to this recipe before and it came out just as good. This meal can be great on top of rice.

-Rebecca Elizabeth A Punk With MS

 

 

 

Getting Yourself Through Tough Times

We’ve all been there. Some days you may feel like you’re simply living day by day, other days you may feel like you truly have a purpose for your existence. Dealing with emotional and physical issues can be a burden that follows you throughout the journey of your life, but it can also empower you. Here is a list of ways you can get yourself through the more challenging times.

1. Be Mindful Of Your Emotions

Okay, so let’s get straight to the point. Some days your mind may race, it also may wander. Sleepless nights may have you tossing and turning, you may even be in physical pain. Regardless of your situation, I want you to listen closely to these words: You do not have to be a prisoner of your own emotions. What does that mean? It means that you can be mindful of negative thoughts that may  pass through your mind, but you do not have to allow them to cage you. The mind is a powerful thing, so be mindful of those thoughts but realize that they are only the darker and more distressed parts of you talking (especially the negative thoughts you may have about yourself)

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2. Find A Support System To Help You Deal With Your Mental And Physical Issues

It’s not an easy path but we all need a hand sometimes. There are numerous outlets that can help us during our tough times especially during this technological time and age. There are many different online support groups on places like Facebook and many other places online that you can express your issues with other people also struggling without judgment. If you can’t afford therapy there’s even a free website called 7 Cups of Tea that has numerous volunteers (some who work in the mental health field) who can help you cope with your distress. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to talk to who may even also know what it’s like to have mental or physical issues.  This type of interaction will help you achieve your personal goals in improving your emotional well-being and is especially helpful for those with social anxiety.

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3. Do An Activity That Makes You Happy

When you’re not emotionally in a positive state of mind or are limited physically to do as much as you’re used to, it’s VERY important to keep productive. If you can’t do much in your current state, doing something as simple as meditation for a few minutes a day  or maybe listening to an E-Book can drastically improve your mood. I find books personally hard for me to focus on some days, so listening to someone read it is super helpful when those unfocused days hit me. There’s also yoga, poetry, drawing, photography, and many different activities that you can do. If you don’t like those ideas maybe start binging on your favorite Netflix or Hulu show!

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One last thing I want to cover; Don’t overwhelm yourself or put too much pressure on yourself to do all of these  listed things at once because recovery takes time. Self care is  important, so please don’t forget that you are just as important as anyone else in this world.

-Rebecca Elizabeth A Punk With MS

Marijuana and the Stigma that Surrounds it

Okay, so we hear all kinds of things about marijuana in our everyday lives (especially lately with legalization across the nation). Parents across the USA fear for their teens and fear  the possibility of their younger children somehow getting a hold of the plant.  Major media outlets such as CBS news have gotten on the reefer madness hysteria bandwagon  about a rare syndrome that has been around since the beginning of time for marijuana users. The syndrome is easily halted by stopping marijuana use and even taking a hot shower.  All that this type of media exposure is doing is putting nothing but fear into people about marijuana’s legalization movement when the plant itself helps people more than harms them. I can’t think of any situation where marijuana is harmful to someone.  The DEA even recently put CBD on the same list as other Schedule 1 drugs (which includes heroin and marijuana) CBD is from the marijuana plant but does not get you high, it relieves pain. Will the federal government ever accept the fact that a plant from the earth isn’t as harmful as alcohol or opiates?

There may still be a war against the federal legalization of marijuana but many people agree on one thing; other parts of the world have legalized it and now it’s time that the U.S.A. followed.

For an example, I’m a 25 almost 26 year old woman with Multiple Sclerosis.If you have no idea what Multiple Sclerosis is, click here. Marijuana doesn’t just help my muscle spasms and nerve pain, it has also stopped a lot of my P.T.S.D. symptoms.  It slows down my racing thoughts and  gives me a chance to think before acting irrationally.  This miracle plant has gotten me off muscle relaxants and has given me a chance at a better life.

I live in the state of Maine and I am blessed to have a medical marijuana card, but our Governor Paul Lepage is determined to try his best to halt recreational use another year against the will of Maine voters. This means if it doesn’t get legalized recreationally, i’ll have to pay a lot of money to renew my medical marijuana card this year and pay more for something at the dispensary that I could otherwise legally grow myself for less cost.

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Marijuana doesn’t only help with MS, it helps with many symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease,  Cancer, Lupus, Lyme Disease, and everyday chronic pain. There are many other conditions it helps, but to list them all would take a century.

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If you know anyone who is misinformed on the benefits of marijuana, step up and speak out. This is a way that you can inform them (or even possibly change their mind on the topic).  With a lot of hope and advocating as much as possible on the topic, we can get one more step towards legalization.

-Rebecca Elizabeth A Punk with MS

Three Ways You Can Stop Hating Your Body

In a world that is always technologically advancing, we hear a lot of talk about social media and magazine advertising impacting our self-image. Everywhere you look you can see edited photos of people; even on simple things such as magazine covers and makeup advertisements at the grocery store. Have we as a human race forgotten what it means to have physical imperfections? Are we truly this afraid of aging in our bodies and experiencing life naturally as we were born? How does this effect our self-esteem, especially our children who are now growing up relating their human bodies to nothing but edited photo shop images? When will we teach our children to love themselves as they are and not teach them to wonder what they should look like? These are many questions that many of us have, yet society’s answer appears to remain vainful. Here are three ways you can maintain having a positive self image.

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1. Know That “Every Body” is Different
According to dosomething.org, 91% of woman in the U.S. are uncomfortable with their own bodies and attempt dieting to get the figure that they want. That is a insanely huge percentile. Only 5% of woman in the US actually have the body shape that is normally presented over mainstream media. Let’s not forget about the men; according to nationaleatingdisorders.org, young men are more effected by mainstream media than adolescent boys. I couldn’t find an exact percentile on what amount of men are uncomfortable with their own bodies, but everyone should remember that men are just as important and can feel insignificant about themselves too. Remind yourself daily that no body is alike, and that everyone is made up of many different shapes and sizes. There is no such thing as a “perfect body.”

2. Do Self-Affirmations Often
Okay, so we all know that it isn’t easy to always love what you see in the mirror. Spending two minutes in front of the mirror a day acknowledging to yourself that you are beautiful will not only help your self-esteem, it will boost your self-confidence. The reason is because you’ll acknowledge your body image with positive thoughts psychologically this way instead of filling yourself with negative ones.

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3. Eff the Media’s Beauty Standards
Beauty means something different to everyone. A part of your body that you hate may be something that someone else in the world would love or find attractive. Our minds have been drilled with flawless images so much that we forget that no one looks as perfect as some women/men do in those public images. Embrace that mole on your face, realize that those stretch marks on your body are battle scars. It’s your body and you deserve to embrace every part of it.

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-Rebecca Elizabeth, A Punk with MS

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