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SusanDolphinDelaney

Healing and Empowerment for Women

Category Archives: Mental Illness

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From 2002-2006 I had the incredible privilege of working with homeless, mentally ill persons in downtown Dallas two days a week.

Homeless Services had no official “team leader”, but on the days I worked I was the de facto team leader.

Each Tuesday and Thursday morning I’d send out an email to the whole team, using “Starfishers,” as my salutation.

I’d remind the team that although we could not “save” every patient we served that day, we could save some of them.

And we could touch them all; we could make each and every one of them feel that they matter. We could look into their eyes, listen to their stories and honor their feelings.

In my Starfisher emails I told the team stories of patients who had triumphed over addiction and homelessness. I encouraged them in their noble mission.

When I left, the team gave me a wonderful snow globe:

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I will admit that I tear up sometimes when I see it.

The rotating center star says “You are a Star” and the inscription is to “Dr. Susan Delaney, The Ultimate Starfisher”. The music box plays “I Believe I Can Fly“.

I hope that you will look around you today for beached “starfish”. Look around you for the abused, the lost and the lonely. Pick one of them up and share your love with them.

It matters to that one.

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Today at my church, we presented the fourth graders with their own bibles. The youth minister had wrapped the bibles in five different layers of “gift wrap”. First a mailing envelope, because it was a Special Delivery. Then festive gift wrap. Then a map, because the Scriptures would take the kids to places they’d never been. Then newsprint because of the “Good News” in the bible. Finally in gold paper to mark the bibles as treasure.

It was a beautiful ceremony, but seeing the fourth graders stand there makes me tear up every year because, statistically, it is fourth-graders that are sexually abused by clergy, altar boys and altar girls. They are so little!

Sexual abuse is a fourfold catastrophe for the child: physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual. It creates a shattering of the child that takes years to heal.

My own abuse by a clergyman happened when I was five. That’s me in at age five on the cover of my book.

My faith is strong again now. People remark on it. I would not wish on anyone what it took for me to get it back!

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I have a Pinterest board “Justice for Kids”:

http://www.pinterest.com/susanddelaney/justice-for-kids/

It is based on the “Legend of the Starfish”: A woman is walking along the beach at low tide. Every time she sees a stranded starfish, she reaches down, grabs it and throws it into deep water. A man is walking toward her and when he gets to her he asks her what she is doing. She explains. He says, “it doesn’t matter, you can’t save them all.” She throws the starfish in her hand into deep water and looks him in eye kindly. “It matters to that one.”

Every time I come across a photo of a starfish on Pinterest, I pin it to Justice for Kids and add the words, “It Matters to That One”.

Protect one kid.

Save one kid.

Believe one kid.

Call the police if a kid discloses abuse of any kind. It is THEIR job to investigate, not yours.

It matters to that one!

p.s., it’s grand if you can save more than one!

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Gabriella, a four-year old Bichon, is my trained therapy dog. She comes to my Psychiatry office several days a week. The patients love her.

She loves sitting in their laps. We are still working on her pausing for a moment before she leaps into their laps!

She is a happy, kind-hearted dog. I have a few patients who refuse to come in unless she is here.

 

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Yesterday was my day off and I played with polymer clay for several hours. Crafting is, I am convinced, what keeps me sane.

These beads were some of my productions.

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I wanted to explore the technique that I’d learned last weekend at the North Texas Polymer Clay Guild for stacking colors in a bead. I also wanted to explore the use of translucent clay in beads.

I am pleased with the way they turned out. I ordered some shiny “mystic black” Swarovski pearls to string them with.

I am tickled that they resemble, in some ways, the lamp-worked beads I have come to admire.

I am still struggling with the Do Over Challenge I mentioned in a post next week. The copper jump rings I ordered came yesterday. Tomorrow I plan to actualize my current plan for the make-over of the necklace I received in the Challenge. I have until April 21 to make it work!

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“AP Stylebook” Adds Entry on Mental Illness for Journalists

The Associated Press (AP) has added a new entry about mental illness to their “Stylebook,” clarifying how journalists should refer to mental illness and people with a mental illness in articles and stories, and admonishing reporters and editors to avoid stigmatizing terms and phrases.

The entry includes the following instructions: “Do not use derogatory terms, such as insane, crazy/crazed, nuts or deranged, unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the story,” and “Do not assume that mental illness is a factor in a violent crime, and verify statements to that effect. A past history of mental illness is not necessarily a reliable indicator. Studies have shown that the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, and experts say most people who are violent do not suffer from mental illness.”

The “AP Stylebook” is widely used by writers, journalists, and editors for a broad array of publication types, and the new entry reflects a remarkable sensitivity to the way public perception of mental illness can be shaped by modern journalism.

The sad truth is that the mentally ill are more likely to be VICTIMS of violence than they are to be violent.

Let us cherish our mentally ill, not stigmatize them. Let’s make it easy and possible for them to get the treatment they need.

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