Nov 30, 2011

How Does Your State Stackup?

20 yrs of Unemployment Rates in Video

Pretty amazing stuff from Google.

They've accumulated data from the past 20 years, which you can play-back via a state-by-state graph. Starting from January 1990, you can watch our unemployment rates ebb and flow right before your very eyes, and skyrocket to the current state of less-than-awesome affairs. 

It appears that Puerto Rico currently has the dubious distinction of having the highest unemployment at a whopping 16.1%   (whoa :0/ ) followed by Nevada, at 13.4%.

The lowest in the country is.......(drumroll please).... North Dakota! at 3.5%!   They must be doing something right!  I wonder what it is??? We need to replicate it pronto!

[Data from: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Nov 28, 2011

Say it loud! "I'M SAD & I'M PROUD!"

"A hero is an ordinary person who finds the strength to
persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."  ~Christopher Reeve

     So, you may have noticed -  it's been a little while since I've posted, and I feel bad.   It's not that I haven't thought about it - or wanted to - or wished I would.  I just COULDN'T seem to eke a word out, let alone a paragraph.   

"Why," I ask myself.

     I guess it just seemed TOO. HARD.  Well, now that I think about it, EVERYTHING seemed too hard; cooking, cleaning, getting up. I think I've been in a funk.  A bad funk....  And.....  Well...... Some might even say.....I was...... Well, that I was..... depressed.

There!  I said it! 

     And to tell you the truth I've been completely embarrassed to admit it to me and to you.  I'm Miss Positive after-all!  The inspirational tweeter!  The person changing her life and helping others!   And worse, what if someone who knows me - a family member , a former student, even a potential employer finds out?!  Then what?!  Would they think less of me?  Would they lose respect?  Would I not get "the job?"  
     These questions kept me concealed in the dark, retreating into myself, getting less and less involved and more and more bummed out - the OPPOSITE of what I needed.  And thus the self-perpetuating shame cycle began, a cascading waterfall that continued picking up steam and pulling in additional destructive qualities; less exercise, less laughter, less self-care, less hope.

Well, I've been thinking about it allot lately, and I've decided I'm gonna go ahead and turn that "WHAT IF?"  into a "SO WHAT?!"    
                           Let's talk about it!

I mean, why SHOULDN'T we?!  Depression is NOT a moral failing. Folks who are depressed are not "broken."  They are not weak. They are not to blame. Losing someone you love, health problems, job separation, relationship stress are all potential triggers that most of us will experience in our lives.  Any one of those things could make us depressed. And when I think about objectively, (not under a shroud of self-blame & recrimination) I've experienced several of those things lately.  (I lost my job, my Dad and partner are seriously ill, my Grandma died, a friend recently committed suicide).  When putting the pieces together, I guess it makes sense.  Of COURSE it makes sense!  It's human. (Although, even if it didn't "make sense" it would still be valid).   Lots of us feel like this - with or without knowing why.

         In fact, did you know that the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that about 14.8 MILLION Americans are clinically depressed in any given year?!  What tha?! And the World Health Organization estimates that 121 MILLION people worldwide are depressed!  Translation: a heck of allota people!  Translation: there are people in your life right now who are, have been, or are going to be depressed.    And you may not know it.  Sadly, shame often prevents folks from admitting it, talking about it, and seeking help.  And that is tragic.  

"It is an odd paradox that society, which can no speak openly 
and unabashedly about topics that were once unspeakable,
still remains largely silent when it comes to mental illness."    ~Glenn Close

     We talk about everything else - why not something so big, so common, and so important?  Remaining silent only serves to further alienate ourselves and those who need us most.  What's more important as a society than addressing the state of our individual and collective mental health? 

     As for me?  I'm doing much better thank you!  I've been sleeping better, thinking better, moving better, feeling better, and ready to do a bunch of posts!  I have allot of hope.   My only wish I didn't have to wait to get better before being comfortable enough to talk about it.

      Nov 27, 2011

      A Call To Action

      I want to remember this.....

      "A great way to give thanks...

      for the privileges we've got is to do important work.
      Your job, your internet access, your education, your role in a civilized society... all of them are a platform, a chance to do art, a way for you to give back and to honor those that enabled you to get to this point.

      For every person reading this there are a thousand people (literally a thousand) in underprivileged nations and situations that would love to have your slot. Don't waste it."

      Nov 16, 2011

      Save The Date Postcard Ideas

      Did I ever tell you that I'm engaged?  I don't think I have.  Probably because it's not something I think about TOO often.  And that's probably because it doesn't feel TOO real.  And THAT'S probably because it's been quite a while since he popped the question on Christmas (in front of my entire family!)  How long?  Gosh, I'm not even too sure at this point (he's the one that's good with dates, not me)...  Let's just say a good 5 plus years.  So, you can see why the rush of excitement isn't quite what it used to be.   That's not to say that I don't dream about a future ceremony.  We've talked about it countless times.  It just seems a bit daunting for a number of reasons.