Fog-clearing attempt…

imageAs we advocate for such a diverse population here at WisdomWithin, we endeavor to remain apolitical.

That clear:

During recent peer discussion about fears and concerns raised by reported pronouncements and legislative upheavals here in America, questions arose that we are not qualified to answer.

So, legal friends, for the benefit of those of us who are willing to ask questions but are not necessarily sure where to go after a certain point, I offer the following query, as I have emailed to my elected officials (with resources):

Are we to understand from the following, that everything the new president has signed thus far, are executive actions, not executive orders? Therefore, basically, wishful thinking?

All help appreciated.

Resources:
PBS.org (Listing all to date)

AND:

uspolitics.about.com:

Executive Actions Versus Executive Orders

Executive actions are any informal proposals or moves by the president. The term executive action itself is vague and can be used to describe almost anything the president calls on Congress or his administration to do. But many executive actions carry no legal weight. Those that do actually set policy can be invalidated by the courts or undone by legislation passed by Congress.

The terms executive action and executive order are not interchangeable. Executive orders are legally binding and published in the Federal Register, though they also can be reversed by the courts and Congress.
When Executive Actions Are Used Instead of Executive Orders

Presidents favor the use of nonbinding executive actions when the issue is controversial or sensitive. For example, Obama carefully weighed his use of executive actions on gun violence and decided against issuing legal mandates via executive orders, which would have gone against the legislative intent of Congress and risked enraging lawmakers of both parties.
Executive Actions Versus Executive Memoranda

Executive actions are also different from executive memoranda. Executive memoranda are similar to executive orders in that they carry legal weight allowing the president to direct government officials and agencies. But executive memoranda are typically not published in the Federal Register unless the president determines the rules have “general applicability and legal effect.”
Use of Executive Actions by Other Presidents

Obama was the first modern president to use executive actions in lieu of executive orders or executive memoranda.
Criticism of Executive Actions

Critics described Obama’s use of executive actions as an overreach of his presidential powers and an unconstitutional attempt to bypass the legislative branch of government, even though the most substantial of the executive actions carried no legal weight.

Some conservatives described Obama as a “dictator” or “tyrant” and said he was acting “imperial.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida who is considered a potential presidential candidate in the 2016 election, said Obama was “abusing his power by imposing his policies via executive fiat instead of allowing them to be debated in Congress.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Obama’s use of executive actions as an “executive power grab.” Said Priebus: “He paid lip service to our fundamental constitutional rights, but took actions that disregard the 2nd Amendment and the legislative process. Representative government is meant to give voice to the people; President Obama’s unilateral executive action ignores this principle.”

But even the Obama White House acknowledged that most of the executive actions carried no legal weight. Here’s what the administration said at the time the 23 executive actions were proposed: “While President Obama will sign 23 Executive Actions today that will help keep our kids safe, he was clear that he cannot and should not act alone: The most important changes depend on Congressional action.” (Uspolitics.about.com)

Advertisements

Rumblings for thought…

imageWith the caveat that WisomWithin appreciates and respects everyone’s political views, rights AND responsibilities, this post is not about liberal or conservative, or anything in between.

But, here I am to say, that there it was recently. Someone spoke it aloud in public. You may very likely have heard rumblings; the assertion that the new president is mentally ill. The most vocal was Dan Rather, I’ll come back to that.

As someone who, by sheer nature of my work, ethically obligates to share my own journey of wellness and recovery in living with mental health diagnoses, I can certainly empathize with, and understand,  the … disquiet … such suggestion might raise in … well … anyone.

I am not a doctor. I walk my walk, and talk with folks who are living with mental health conditions, those who think they may have such a condition, and anyone who cares about these fine folks. And pretty much, everybody knows somebody, so I talk with everybody.

Ok, that said, and back to anyone proposing that someone else is mentally ill.

Lets just consider the idea for a moment, that this person, specifically, is not a president. Let’s say, this is a fellow human, who may or may not be living with a mental health condition. Our our goal here is simply to provide information to help folks living with such possibilities.

What are the signs or symptoms, or the behaviors involved? What behavior has been visible?

  • Insecurity possibly? As an analogy, I short-version this individual to the man hiding behind the curtain in the Wizard if Oz, projecting the huge head on the screen, bellowing insistence that the audience believe everything he says, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. Even when the curtain reveals him.
  • Obsessive tendencies? Outwardly, significant focus on … size … of … things (trying  to keep a sense of humor where possible here). Seriously though, his intense focus on his numbers, his rationalizations for his numbers, his readiness to investigate his rationalizations for numbers… and so on.
  • Obvious compulsions? How do I say this? Tweeting. To the point of international diplomacy (or lack thereof) in the Twitterverse. Name the social media venue of individual addictive behavior.
  • Self-obsessed? “My crowd, my businesses, my TV show, my way…”. Everything about him is better than anything, ever. Needing to be the center of focus at all times. Needing to have the last word.
  • Lying, a LOT? Truly, to the point of believing everything he says and getting angry and spiteful with anyone who calls him on it?
  • Lack of empathy or conscience? No obvious remorse for anything he says or does that might be horribly painful or insulting or judgmental or publicly vilifying about, to … well … any one person … or any entire group of people?

I don’t know this human personally. I have, however, lived with humans exactly like him. They were diagnosed with severe mental health conditions. I have loved them and advocated for them and fought for them for many years. The nature of such illness is treatable, but, only when the person recognizes and takes responsibility for their condition.

My own diagnoses were nothing like what’s described. Nonetheless, I live with major depression, PTSD and anxiety disorder. What is the same, however, is the necessity to recognize and take responsibility for my condition. Every day.

I will leave you with this thought for the moment:

The intense nature of my job at the time of my diagnoses, and the combined severity of my symptoms, required that my doctor take me out of work immediately. I was not fit to serve in the office I’d been hired to.

It was devastating, and frightening and humiliating and awful and absolutely necessary. For my own recovery, and for everyone I worked with and worked for.

 

 

 

 

On perceived threat…

imageIt’s gotten to be a scary world out there. Hard enough without group violence, or group hatespeech in the streets and twitter-verse of America. We are one nation!

I, myself … I don’t get using violence, or hatespeech, to protest or stand up for anything.

But, I get the reason for peaceful protest and the marches today. There are things and people that need standing up for.

My friends that are married, want to stay married. We all deserve protection of our rights. If we cannot keep our children safe in a certain school, we find one that can, or find ways to promote change, or homeschool, etc.; yet, I believe in our teachers. My last two contacts to the police (in 7yrs), were personally more harmful than helpful, I feel, not handled professionally, yet I believe in our police and first responders. It’s not an easy world to navigate for some of us. But we keep going.

People say, believing this “will all be ok”, might apply only to the privileged. Those not affected by the potential for damage ahead.

On the other hand, I am privileged. I am privileged that I have love and good humans in my life. I am privileged to own my home – that I worked my ass off for. I am privileged to be a voting, tax paying, noncriminal, nongunowning (but I can shoot), white female, partially college-educated, worked since I was twelve to support my family, great-granddaughter of immigrants, mother of grown sons, who has lived with a partially disabling condition for the last several years. I am privileged to have worked hard in my lifetime and paid into disability, so that I receive a small monthly allowance.

Make no mistake, I seek no sympathy/charity, rather, simply state as fact, that I am not able to afford all my medication, and co pays, and therapies my husband’s insurer deems not covered – because an insurance company knows better than all of my doctors combined; yet we still pay $500/mo in premiums, so I can keep my doctors. He works a blue collar job, coming up on thirty years. First time he ever voted, was for Obama. I’ve voted all my life.

My point: I still encourage folks, “it will be ok”. No matter which side of the election you were on.

Those who are happy with the new administration, deserve respect, yet need to have as much patience as they’d ask from the rest of us; we are all responsible for “it” to be ok.

Those who feel marginalized, or threatened, it will be ok by getting involved, encouraging folks to get involved, learn the facts – from legitimate sources, and be the constant voice of the constituency, by calling and writing /emailing your elected officials, on the regular. With today’s technology, it is faster and easier than ever. And they listen.

Complacency should never be the norm again. That is partially how we had the election we did. Not just the outcome, but the whole big picture.

Complacency is over. That is what I believe these marches put forth anew today. Mr. Trump is president. That’s what is. Rest assured, the protests are not to change that, but to change and ensure the future. We are still one nation. Our collective voices in our elected officials lives are what will make U.S. stronger, safer, better; I hope. So that “it will be ok”.

I really get everyone’s side. Except the side with the violence and hate speech, which supports no one and nothing. {{{hugs}}}

It’s going to be okay…

imageInauguration Day. No matter which side you were on during this election, I hope we are able to be compassionate. We never know the road another human has walked, or what might trigger emotional response in people.

Today is going to be extremely difficult for some folks. Not necessarily for political views – but for highly personal, emotional reasons.

There were moments during the year,  when tone of voice, condescension, belittling, verbal abuse, narcissism, prejudice, etc., triggered emotions in fellow citizens victimized by such things in the past or present.  I’m one of you.

Those not living with certain mental health conditions mIght have a hard time understanding such deep reaction to election rhetoric. If, however, you have lived with such abuses and triggers, you may not be at all able to help having those rising feelings of fear, panic, and isolation. Worse still, reactions can become physical; shaking, rapid respiration, anxiety, panic, chest pain, nausea, headache… if you’ve lived it, you know what I’m talking about.

But, it’s going to be ok.

We know we have choices in life. Life is good, and it goes on.

We can leave the news off. We know how to check up on the world from reliable sources. We can then focus on what’s meaningful for us. Whether it’s advocacy, community service, more regular involvement in contacting elected officials throughout the year, not just during election season. Or realizing perhaps, we may not be at that point, but that we can still take care of ourselves, be kind to ourselves; utilize those items in our wellness toolkits; utilize our supports. Care for one another, and be understanding of those who view things differently.

I have reached a point of peace with it. This is how our system works. It may not be perfect, but we are a free people. If we want candidates we feel better about in the future, we can ensure the voice of the constituency speaks well and often in the interim.

For now, be well; breathe in, breathe out, repeat. Everything’s going to be okay.

Call In Day, Tues., 1/17

Call-in Day, 1/17! Protect mental health care!

Click here for more info: It’s Your Call!
Include your voice into the conversation to protect mental health. Call Congress Tuesday. Make your voice heard.

Call your members of Congress, and ask them to protect Medicaid and insurance safeguards that help millions of Americans get mental health care.

Call (202) 224-3121, Press #2 And Enter Your Zip Code.

Not sure how to word it? Basics, Sample, Simple & to the point:

“As a constituent, I would like the Representative to protect people with mental illness who can’t afford to lose health coverage. Please preserve Medicaid and insurance safeguards that help people get mental health care. Thank you.”

Want to do more? Call your Senators with the same message.

Call (202) 224-3121, Press #1 And Enter Your Zip Code.

Mental Health Care for All? It’s Your Call
NAMI.ORG

About….

 

Greetings from WisdomWithin!

Who the heck do I think I am, starting a little blog with such a potentially pretentious plaquard as “WisdomWithin”?

It’s been a long road, culminating this past year.

 

In 2016, I became a New York Certified Peer Specialist in Mental Health, with a goal toward encouraging mental health awareness, promoting self-advocacy and wellness; even more idealistically, reducing stigma and improving quality of life for our demographic.

Understand, that 20- 25% of the population will live with a mental health condition during their life time. That’s 1 in 4-5 people. Everyone knows someone living with a mental health condition. We are actually a very large group. Most of us are completely harmless, and … surprise… we are very much able to recover!

That NYCPS certification, is a fancy way to say I have lived mental health experience, lived mental health SYSTEM experience, follow a strict code of ethics, am willing to disclose and share my journey in an effort to be of help to others like me, and those who know and love us. This certification requires a level of ongoing education and work in the field, either directly with peers, or in contribution to the overall mental health awareness, advocacy and wellness community.

My work to date in this field has been voluntary, and in attempting to help organizations develop mental health awareness and peer support programs. “There come a time”, though, dear readers, when DOING it, has to take place of just talking about it. Hence, WisdomWithin. Self-taught techie, unfunded, but dedicated, studied and on a mission. Your interest, commentary and support are invited. This is intended as a safe space & a judgement free zone.

Welcome to Wisdom Within!

Too cool…

I’m sorry, Mr. President, I just emailed you earlier this afternoon to thank you and your family for your service, and for your support of the 21st Century Cares Act, bringing some real beginning steps to Mental Health Reform. (Not including that entire letter again here, lol.)

I cannot imagine you just sitting there, you know, chillin’, maybe catchin’ some games, kickin’ back with Uncle Joe… and all of a sudden, oh, another email from Kathy. What’s up girl?   Then, just tapping a quick message back…

Be that the case…. or not … I am honored, Sir, from the bottom of my heart.

Sincerely,
Kathleen Surline, NYCPS
Founder, WisdomWithin: Encouraging Mental Health Awareness, Wellness, Self-Advocacy and HOPE

Continue reading

A salute & a thank you…

Recieved via email 7.16.2016, in response to an online letter I had written to the President and First Lady, advocating for Mental Health Awareness, reform, education, reducing stigma, and more. I was beyond honored to receive a reply, and have written them again today, thanking him for his support of the 21st Century Cares Act, which does make some steps toward the diversity of work that needs to be done in mental health. I also wrote about this project. We’ve just started, and they are just changing chapters. With no political voice intended, and sincerely just as a fellow human and fellow citizen, In tribute to every positive thing accomplished and achieved during the work of the First Family these last eight years, I just share this, with respect…


image

The White House, Washington
Dear Kathleen:

Thank you for sharing your story. I have heard from many Americans whose lives have been affected by mental health problems, and I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts.

As you may be aware, in any given year one in five adults experiences a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or post-traumatic stress, and many others are troubled by significant emotional and psychological distress—especially in times of hardship or difficulty. They are our family members, friends, and neighbors, and I believe there are things we must all do to help. As a Nation, we can strive to eliminate the barriers that still keep people from accessing life-changing treatments. We can also make sure every person struggling with psychological and emotional pain knows that asking for help is not a sign of weakness—taking action is a sign of strength.

My Administration has worked hard to help increase mental health services and improve access to care. We are working with community health centers to expand the availability of behavioral and mental health services across the country, including in rural areas. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, over 60 million Americans now have expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections. This law also prohibits insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions like a diagnosis of mental illness, and it requires most insurance plans to cover recommended preventive services without copays. Additionally, as part of the BRAIN initiative, we are supporting innovative research that aims to revolutionize our understanding of how the brain works and uncover new ways to address conditions like depression.

We continue to support our troops and veterans. I signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act on February 12, 2015, which authorized additional steps to address mental health and prevent suicide. The year before, I announced 19 Executive actions that make it easier for members of our Armed Forces and veterans to access the care they need, when they need it—including a new policy that will ensure the continuity of medication for mental health problems as service members transition to care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA has also worked to increase mental health staffing, enhance community partnerships, and expand the capacity of the Veterans Crisis Line.

To learn more about mental health assistance and health care reform, please visit http://www.MentalHealth.gov or http://www.HealthCare.gov. Calling 1-800-662-HELP is also a free, confidential way to receive a treatment referral or further information.

Again, thank you for writing. Michelle and I—like so many Americans—have known people who have experienced mental health problems, and we understand the effects these illnesses have on their lives and on their families. We must continue to work toward better prevention and treatment, and as caring individuals, we must do what we can to ensure those with mental health issues get the care and support they need and deserve.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama
Visit WhiteHouse.gov

facebook Facebook twitter Twitter youtube YouTube flickr Flickr itunes iTunes