Men’s Health Month: Chasing Brady

As a 35-year-old man, it’s taken me awhile to accept that my body is getting older. I have been an athlete for most of my life, participating in one or two sports each season year-round until college. When I was no longer in organized sports, I had no trouble jumping right back in. If you needed an extra for flag-football, I could jog over to the field, sprint the whole game, head home to clean up, and then go out at 10pm with friends. Now, I’m still active, but I run out of steam, recovery takes longer, my joints ache constantly, bruises never seem to heal, and if I do head out with friends I am home long before 10.  The good news is: the guys I play hockey and softball with are just as old (if not older) and facing the same challenges. If, like me, you have finally accepted that you are getting older, consider these tips to help you stay active and healthy. Get some sleep Sleep is important at any age. When we were younger sleep was not only important for recovery, but also for the growth of our brains and bodies. Most recovery happens in deep sleep, which unfortunately may be harder to reach in adulthood. Establishing a routine is helpful for falling asleep and [...]

2021-07-31T13:03:06-04:00June 21st, 2019|Awareness, Lived Experience, Self-Help|

Addiction: A Story of Love and Loss

We met when I was 16 years old, and nearly 20 years and several serious relationships later, he remains the love of my life. His smile, his sense of humor, and his ever-giving selflessness are what I loved the most about him. Drugs took that all away. Early on, I wasn’t as concerned about his drug use because he worked full time in construction and went to community college at night. It was 2003, and I lived in the dorms at Temple University. We saw each other on weekends and occasionally during the week; but I had no idea how the disease of addiction was developing.  Looking back now, it makes sense considering his family’s cycle of addiction. His own father had overdosed a few years prior, and other members of his immediate family were in various stages of addiction. For his 22nd birthday, we took a trip to Ft. Lauderdale. While there, he never wanted to leave the hotel and unbeknownst to me, he was going through withdrawal. Recognizing how serious his addiction was, our relationship quickly fell apart. I was pregnant with our son and we had little to no contact during that time. But when our son was born in July 2006, he came to the hospital, and I was in complete denial of his addiction. We [...]

2021-07-31T13:03:15-04:00June 5th, 2019|Addiction & Recovery, Lived Experience|

Nursing & Mental Health

Happy Nurse’s Week to all of my fellow nurses out there!  I am very proud to be a nurse. It’s an amazing profession. Nursing is more than a job, though; it is a calling. It’s not just something you do, it is something you are; so it can be hard to maintain a level of separation when work is such an integral part of who you are. So how can nurses step back and make sure that they are caring for themselves in addition to the wonderful care they provide to their patients? First, let’s take a look at some facts.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) found that hospital nurses are twice as likely as the general public to suffer from clinical depression.  That is, 9% of “everyday” citizens experience clinical depression while a whopping 18% of nurses are affected. At first I found this number alarming. But then I thought about my last shift at work.   One doctor hung up on me and another doctor walked out of a room while I was mid-question.  I was on the phone with our pharmacy trying to clarify a medication order. All the while call bells didn’t stop ringing, the other line of the phone rang off the hook, the doorbell was going off, and [...]

How My Brother’s Mental Illness Affected Me

By Jeff Shair, Mental Health Advocate My brother Paul was diagnosed with schizophrenia, like myself. Yet because Paul was 10 years older than me, the illness was viewed quite differently when his symptoms first appeared. That was back in the early 1960’s. In those days, some psychiatrists believed that the disease was caused by the individual having a weak will. For instance, when my parents took me to Paul’s psychiatrist at 9-years-old, a time during which I was struggling emotionally, they asked the doctor in front of me “Will Jeff get sick like Paul?” The doctor replied by saying, “Jeff is too strong to get sick.” Nevertheless, I did develop schizophrenia and was diagnosed with the serious mental illness at the age of 17. At the onset of Paul’s disorder there was no knowledge that schizophrenia was linked to a specific gene and that it could materialize through a heredity component. Furthermore, there was little hope for the person with the mental illness, and recovery was considered to be out of the question. As a child I looked up to Paul. I wanted to be with him as much as possible. When I was 6 years-old, I was very excited when Paul introduced me to sports. He taught me all the ins and outs of baseball, football, and basketball. We [...]

2021-07-31T13:04:09-04:00November 15th, 2017|Lived Experience, Mental Health, Training|
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