Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Art Therapy: Isle Sanctuary Creative Artists -- the daughter of Sistah Mental Health and Wellness


One of the easiest ways that is relatively free is "creativity" -- IN ANY FORM -- "art therapy" so to speak. Isle Sanctuary Creative Artists was BORN out of Sistah Mental Health and Wellness to promote self-management of mental health and wellness through creativity and art.

Isle Sanctuary Creative Artists is the creative outlet to help those who are dealing with mental health conditions to release "packets of their trauma in their sleeping mind" to process to their "awake mind" for their best healing.

The name "Isle Sanctuary" was created based on the start of Sistah Mental Health and Wellness to guide folks to a place of calm. At the time, the most calming place I knew was Hawaii due to my numerous trips, and I wanted to share that with everyone I met online. I called it the Isle Sanctuary -- a peaceful oasis in the ocean, away from the torrential storm.

I wanted those who came to Isle to find balance and unlock their creative minds to help them find healing. I thought that our active duty military personnel and veterans can use this process to achieve their best mental health and wellness. And I think it does for them, and what I found was, my fictional story that I wanted to tell based on my favorite movie, Star Wars and I could tell it using roleplaying on social media...

Isle Sanctuary Creative Artists roleplays or RPs on Social Media. Roleplaying mainly is "pretending" to be one's favorite character or created character, and then "ACTING" in that character's voice with other people. There is an entire culture devoted to it. To explain it to those who are not involved, it is like being in a "school play" but there is no script.

For the older generation to understand it, it is like a 1940's radio drama, but now the "radio" is "social media". For the parents, it is like one of those videogames, but it is more of a free-for-all, that organized.

What Isle Sanctuary Creative Artists does differently from others is that applies a socially conscious business plan for an organically creative organization based on precepts of filmaking to elicit GREAT works of ART on social media.

We develop creative storytelling, fan fictions, graphic arts, and social media content development and background programming. ALL of these activities we envision can start the pre-productions of any larger format media such a books, novels, animation, television screenplays and movie scripts. The "enActors" can be played by anyone who can use social media and knows a bit about game strategy and acting.

What the production and distribution company gets in return is marketing metrics of their script -- what were the BEST lines of the script, does the scene have to change, the look and the feel of the performance, etc.

Because I am a HUGE fan of the Star Wars genre and Lucasfilm, I created three characters of my own:

  • AUSET LAH The Grandmother ((Image courtesy of Patrick Lambert -- artist has not named her Auset. But has not told us to cease and desist. We are in negotiations for a rendering.))

  • Senator Yemaja Lah The Mother with the greatest amount of work and stories devoted to her. Many love affairs from Jedi to Sith.

  • Osun'oya Lah-Windu. The Daughter of a clandestine affair between Jedi Master Mace Windu and Senator Yemaja Lah.

As set of Grandmother, Mother and Daughter and how they interact with one another in the Universe of Star Wars. Through my stories, I have determined that the most popular character is Senator Yemaja Lah, that her image is best reflected by the supermodel and actress, Ms. Selita Ebanks. That her voice must be diplomatic, somewhat elusive and cryptic; and that her greatest strength is to find her voice to stand up for herself, independently from her family. ALL of her being, created by me, was developed creatively by social media on Twitter. There were numerous others that assisted me and some I appreciate, others became wholly disgruntled, which prompted me to be able to "sell" this character to professionals and laypeople - many of them active duty personnel and veterans...

What the active duty personnel and veterans helped me to is to add layers and textures to my character. They added the procedural advances and with my knowledge of policy and government, I added the diplomacy to make this character come to life.

Recently, Isle Sanctuary Creative Artists has come under fire due to gross allegations of misrepresentation of those who are intent to destroy the story of Senator Yemaja Lah on Twitter. There is a competitive edge to roleplaying without organization based on cyberbullying of the domination of the conversation and ad homimen and ad proprium logic fallacies. Without naming these individuals directly, the risk management of our process is to block those individuals we do not know who have also given me death threats and their attempts to justify them by posting their offensive behaviors on the Isle Sanctuary blog and Facebook Fan Page.

As a corporation, since there is multiple accounts from the same individuals, we were blocking and obtaining examples of their behavior. Currently, when we have a more formal human resources and customer services department, we will be better able to follow through with the remarks more judiciously from a business perspective.

We have transitioned to Facebook Fan Pages which expands our social media network to the professional community and have made excellent contact involved in media production and distribution, as well as insiders to lift this "fanon" character to canon.

We are ready to add to the industry impact of movie making because we think social media needs to start at pre production, rather than after the final cut onto disk or film!

Aloha and E komo mai to Isle Sanctuary Creative Artists!

Our Active Duty Military and Veterans' Mental Health and Wellness: PTSD

First and foremost I am not a veteran, and I FULLY SUPPORT the our active duty and veterans of my country, the United State of America.

Since I have been doing online mental health and wellness resources and support, I have received numerous inquiries from our active duty personnel and veterans. What I have learned by talking to them that they are actively working on themselves to find information and resources for their best mental health and wellness. I applaud their efforts, and personally, I LOVE THAT! They are finding novel ways to improve their health and they are starting online.

There are numerous active duty personnel and veteran groups that assist with dealing with mental health issues, which include Federal programs, some in the VA and outside the VA.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is one of them.

There are other online groups, one dedicated to Female Veterans through the VA and NAMI.

In 2008, Sistah Mental Health and Wellness was a private group in active recruitment of diverse women. Many of our members were veterans. They still support Sistah Mental Health.

What I have learned about our men and women in combat is mostly what affects them after serving is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It can be one of the leading causes to anxiety, panic, which can also lead to depression and/or substance abuse.

Our society, though changing, still has the stigma of mental illness and our troops are paying the price for that. Without going into the societal issues, if I could please transition with people's patience on what I think is going on neurologically as a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and a research scientist.

Research has shown that PTSD is caused when a traumatic and stressful event is encountered. Events could range from active combat, stressful job requirements, abuse, natural disasters: Earthquakes, Floods, Tornadoes and Hurricanes; and other events that overload the conscious mind to a tipping point.

This overloading of the conscious or "awake" brain can cause physical damage in the brain. If never addressed, it can lead to traumatic brain injury. But the perturbations in the brain are chiefly related to the molecules that control a variety of processes neurologically, such as RNA (ribonucleic acid), which affects one's perception on a traumatic event.

What happens is once the event is encountered, the "awake mind" has NO WAY of processing it logically, so it suppresses what was witnessed to process it later. Where the mind physically puts this event is into the subconscious -- the "sleeping mind". The "sleeping mind" is a different brain center. Our creativity come from there, our dreams come from there, our reflective thoughts which has nuances to understandings come from there, and our fears can come out of there. Moreover, the "sleeping mind" is far from being logical or rational, and many times our emotions are released from there. We can cause a perpetual state of nightmares where our fears of the trauma are exposed and the only way we can stop them is by staying awake, which can cause depression due to a lack of sleep; or substance abuse that has too many problems in and of itself.

Molecular biologically, some heart hormones sent to the brain go to these brain centers that are often tied in to our emotions. One such hormone is BNP or brain natureitic peptide. Of course there is NO linkage to PTSD here, but it is NOT inconceivable that other key second messengers sent to the brain from organs are not caused by traumatic events.

We are biologically WIRED to respond to trauma in this way as a process of evolution. If we were not wired this way, we would be vicious animals unable to control what makes up human, what makes us compassionate, caring, loving individuals.

On the flip side, if the logical "awake mind" attempts to process the event, the trauma can become addictive due to the endorphins it produces. The risk taking, sometimes unnecessary and illogical may be a result of different people able to manipulate their brains from the "awake mind" to the "sleeping mind".

What I professionally think to deal with these neurological paradoxes inclusive in a treatment plan is mindfulness meditation similar to that of the Japanese Samurai and martial arts. Deep transcendental meditation after trauma. Our society is new to this Eastern Medicine technique. Moreover, prayer can work when there is little political influence and the higher ideals of the faith are supported: The love, the compassion the goodwill, etc.

What I like about mindfulness is the "art of breathing" -- how to breath and releasing that breath, and inclusion of nature in the process -- listening to the rain, waves, birds, trees, etc and minimizing the machinations of "city life". Becoming respectful of the environment or good stewards to the environment.

We have to TRAIN like running a marathon or mountain climbing or any other feat; our "sleeping mind" to donate pieces of what happened to our "awake mind" to process and digest the trauma without discoloration. It takes a long time.

One of the easiest ways that is relatively free is "creativity" -- IN ANY FORM -- "art therapy" so to speak. Creative writing and artistry is the flip side of Sistah Mental Health and Wellness supports on Isle Sanctuary Creative Artists.

Isle Sanctuary Creative Artists is the creative outlet to help those who are dealing with mental health conditions to release their "sleeping mind" to their "awake mind" for their best healing. The name "Isle Sanctuary" was created based on the start of Sistah Mental Health and Wellness to lead everyone in a group of calm. The most calming place I knew was of my numerous trips to Hawaii and I wanted to share that culture and essence with everyone. I called it the Isle Sanctuary -- a peaceful oasis in the ocean, away from the torrential storm. I wanted those who came to Isle to find balance and unlock their creative minds to help them find healing. I thought that our active duty military personnel and veterans can use this process to achieve their best mental health and wellness. And I think it does for them, and what I found was, my fictional story that I wanted to tell based on my favorite movie, Star Wars and I could tell it using roleplaying on social media...

{new blog forthcoming}

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mental Health and the Vegetarian

For at least 17 years, I have been a vegetarian. I am now an ovo-lacto-vegetarian: I eat eggs and some dairy. I have to eat my eggs mixed in with a lot of spinach. I do not drink milk, but I eat ice cream and I am not a fan of a various flavors.

My friends are rather respectful of my diet. Many are helpful to determine what I eat and how I eat it. People that do not know me are clueless and frustrated. And forget most key and the chain restaurants. I just starve.

There are many reasons why I chose to become a vegetarian. I was an adult. I knew my body pretty well at that time. My family health history was less that perfect, the usual African American ailments: Diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, obesity, stress, etc. And I had the layer of accepting my bipolar diagnosis at the time. With all the new medications I had to balance, I felt it was time to clean up my diet and leading to a healthier one.

I had always considered becoming a vegetarian, but I never knew how. So I did mine "cold turkey" -- pun intended. I ate no meet one day.


  • Physically, what happened was my hair started falling out, my skin was excessively dry, and my pallor or skin tone was gaunt. I did not have much weight to lose as I was already thin, but my stomach started extending which is a sign of starvation.

  • Mentally - separate from the mental health condition - I had cravings, but they were not horrendously bad. I also did not have the habit of eating a late night snack.

  • Economically - I was clueless at the cost of vegetarian food. Fresh veggies are best, but I did not know how to process them. The new veggie process foods were my staple and I never seemed to have enough. You can have two quick addictions: Sugar or salt. I had both and consumed too much of it.

  • "Bipolarly" - I was prone to huge swings in mood on a vegetarian diet. I tried everything to limit the pendulum magnitude. From Valerian root to Prayer, nothing seemed to balance the mood. Exercise was NOT a problem. Stress was a problem but not unmanageable until the next overload. That overload made me more sensitive to my female changes in my body. My bipolar was tied to my menses and at that time, sensitivity to that by physicians was ABSENT! Today there is an awareness, but NO EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS!

It took YEARS for a balancing.

How I found that balance ironically was having a major health crisis of seizure. Thankfully, I am a research scientist and I had my pulse on the literature. Glancing over a few scientific articles in peer reviewed journals, I found that Free Fatty Acids are VERY important components in the brain. I NEEDED THEM! A vegetable/vegetarian/vegan type oils cannot supplant the oils obtained from meat products, like Fish Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Eggs, Milk...

With HUGE reluctance, I reintroduced animal oils back into my diet. Eggs and Milk are as much as I can tolerate. I cannot take Fish Oil, even the processed DHEA oils, my stomach does not settle. But I saw a balance in my behavior, which is more important to me than worrying how "true", "real" or "authentic" I am to the cause of "Vegetarianism".

Some people have the genetic structure to cope with a complete vegetarian diet. I do not and I did not. Will I eat solid meat products. I cannot tolerate them physically. Organic diets have not worked for me. But vitamin supplements have, which have more to do with a product of age than dealing with Bipolar.

Do I have a problem with restaurants not attempting to have some basic vegetarian items or diversity on their menus. You bet I do! It is not that hard to create a nice concoction of meals, and yes, most of the customers eat poor comfort foods in my area. Adding soy-based or even mushroom based foods is not that tough. And a vegetarians taste bud palate on the tongue seems to appreciate the diversity of the flavors.

More and more the chefs who become "Molecular Gastronomists" are determining that immense flavor and the healthy phytols can be elicited through the standards of vegetarian cooking.

Yes, much of the vegetarian cooking practices come from Asian cultures. But there are other diverse cultural influences that can be built with a vegetarian influence: African, Brazilian, Russian, Mediterranean -- GLOBALLY one can build a vegetarian plan for a healthier diet.

I have a variety of health spices I use in my cooking that adds new flavors to my family's diet.

Lastly, there is a way to make it happen economically, BUT there is no point in choosing to become a vegetarian, when the stores in your neighborhood look at you with a blank stare. I live in a food conscious area, where food quality is great. But most of my friends live where there is gross food inequality and injustice. Freshness is lacking, junk foods are prominent and there are no "staples" like sugar, rice, flour, beans, etc. and let us not begin to speak on what leafy green FRESH vegetables are available for purchase... I believe that someone spoke about a "Food Gastromony" as coming BACK to the dinner table... In our current society, that has not happened and I am guilty of that.

However, how to fight against food injustice is another article. And, I will find a way to write it. But I will take suggestions.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Talk to me, I'm crazy enuf, I'll listen!!! :)