Lights of Hope for Troubled People

Source: Lights of Hope for Troubled People – News Lincoln County

Lights of Hope is a grassroots movement which started in Toledo in 2017. This is an event which brings people together who are affected by addiction in their family, friends, or personally. There will be BBQ, games, speakers, prayer, candle light vigil, and Siletz Indian Tribal Drummers and Dancers as well as numerous resources for addiction and mental health. This event will be held on Saturday, August 25th, 5pm to dusk at Toledo waterfront park. Donations can also be made at any branch of Oregon Coast Bank or at the Go Fund Me site below.

Click here.

Open House at New Day Shelter in Newport

Traci Goff Flowers of Grace Wins Haven is inviting APARC (Alcohol Prevention and Recovery Committee) and MHAC (Mental Health Advisory Committee) members (actually, everyone) to an Open House at the new Day Shelter that she is remodeling to serve people without housing at the former Patrol Services building (a few doors west of the Lincoln County Food Share warehouse) at 437 NE First Street, in Newport, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm this Friday (Dec. 22). Traci was APARCs guest in December and this is one of the projects she discussed. Holiday cheer, refreshments, door prizes, and great yuletide vibes!

Coping with narcissistic personality disorder in the White House

A few days ago, I wrote a post for my Facebook friends about my personal experience dealing with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in my family, and how I view the president-elect as a result. Unexpectedly, the post traveled widely, and it became clear that many people are also struggling with how to understand and deal with this kind of behavior in a position of power. Although several writers, including a few professionals, have publicly offered their thoughts on a diagnosis, I am not a professional and this is not a diagnosis. My post is not intended to persuade anyone or provide a comprehensive description of NPD. I am speaking purely from decades of dealing with NPD and sharing strategies that were helpful for me in coping and predicting behavior. The text below is adapted from my original Facebook post.

I want to talk a little about narcissistic personality disorder. I’ve unfortunately had a great deal of experience with it, and I’m feeling badly for those of you who are trying to grapple with it for the first time because of our president-elect, who almost certainly suffers from it or a similar disorder. If I am correct, it has some very particular implications for the office. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) It’s not curable and it’s barely treatable. He is who he is. There is no getting better, or learning, or adapting. He’s not going to “rise to the occasion” for more than maybe a couple hours. So just put that out of your mind.

2) He will say whatever feels most comfortable or good to him at any given time. He will lie a lot, and say totally different things to different people. Stop being surprised by this. While it’s important to pretend “good faith” and remind him of promises, as Bernie Sanders and others are doing, that’s for his supporters, so they can see the inconsistency as it comes. He won’t care. So if you’re trying to reconcile or analyze his words, don’t. It’s 100% not worth your time. Only pay attention to and address his actions.

3) You can influence him by making him feel good. There are already people like Steve Bannon who appear ready to use him for their own ends. The GOP is excited to try. Watch them, not him. President Obama, in his wisdom, may be treating him well in hopes of influencing him and averting the worst. But don’t count on it.

4) Entitlement is a key aspect of the disorder. As we are already seeing, he will likely not observe traditional boundaries of the office. He has already stated that rules don’t apply to him. This particular attribute has huge implications for the presidency and it will be important for everyone who can to hold him to the same standards as previous presidents.

5) We should expect that he only cares about himself and those he views as extensions of himself, like his children. (People with NPD often can’t understand others as fully human or distinct.) He desires accumulation of wealth and power because it fills a hole. (Melania is probably an acquired item, not an extension.) He will have no qualms at all about stealing everything he can from the country, and he’ll be happy to help others do so, if they make him feel good. He won’t view it as stealing but rather as something he’s entitled to do. This is likely the only thing he will intentionally accomplish.

6) It’s very, very confusing for non-disordered people to experience a disordered person with NPD. While often intelligent, charismatic, and charming, they do not reliably observe social conventions or demonstrate basic human empathy. It’s very common for non-disordered people to lower their own expectations and try to normalize the behavior. Do not do this and do not allow others, especially the media, to do this. If you start to feel foggy or unclear about why, step away until you recalibrate.

7) People with NPD often recruit helpers. These are referred to as “enablers” in the literature when they allow or cover for bad behavior, and “flying monkeys” when they perpetrate bad behavior on behalf of the narcissist. Although it’s easiest to prey on malicious people, good and vulnerable people can be unwittingly recruited. It will be important to support the good people around him if and when they attempt to stay clear or break away.

8) People with NPD often foster competition in people they control. Expect lots of chaos, firings, and recriminations. He will probably behave worst toward those closest to him, but that doesn’t mean (obviously) that his actions won’t have consequences for the rest of us. He will punish enemies. He may start out, as he has with the New York Times, with a confusing combination of punishment and reward, which is a classic abuse tactic for control. If you see your media cooperating or facilitating this behavior in order to r rewards, call them on it.

9) Gaslighting—where someone tries to convince you that the reality you’ve experienced isn’t true—is real and torturous. He will gaslight, his followers will gaslight. Many of our politicians and media figures already gaslight, so it will be hard to distinguish his amplified version from what has already been normalized. Learn the signs and find ways to stay focused on what you know to be true. Note: it is typically not helpful to argue with people who are attempting to gaslight. You will only confuse yourself. Just walk away.

10) Whenever possible, do not focus on the narcissist or give him attention. Unfortunately we can’t and shouldn’t ignore the president, but don’t circulate his tweets or laugh at him—you are enabling him and getting his word out. (I’ve done this, of course, we all have… just try to be aware.) Pay attention to your own emotions: Do you sort of enjoy his clowning? Do you enjoy the outrage? Is this kind of fun and dramatic, in a sick way? You are adding to his energy. Focus on what you can change and how you can resist, where you are. We are all called to be leaders now, in the absence of leadership.

This post originally appeared at Medium.

Written by

Nell Ziehl

 

Suicide rate of female military veterans is called ‘staggering’

Sara Leatherman

Enter a caption

Sara Leatherman in Iraq in 2006. A back injury forced her to leave the military in 2009. She also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Leatherman was 24 when she hanged herself in her grandmother’s shower in 2010.

By Alan Zarembo, June 8, 2015

New government research shows that female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women, a startling finding that experts say poses disturbing questions about the backgrounds and experiences of women who serve in the armed forces.

Their suicide rate is so high that it approaches that of male veterans, a finding that surprised researchers because men generally are far more likely than women to commit suicide.

“It’s staggering,” said Dr. Matthew Miller, an epidemiologist and suicide expert atNortheastern University who was not involved in the research. “We have to come to grips with why the rates are so obscenely high.”

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FOR THE RECORD:

Female veteran suicide: In the June 8 Section A, an article about the high rate of suicide among female veterans said that the Pentagon found that an estimated 10% of active-duty women were raped and another 13% subjected to other unwanted sexual contact. In fact, the 2012 Defense Department survey found that 23% of active-duty women had experienced a sexual assault, but it did not distinguish between rape and other kinds of sexual contact.
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Though suicide has become a major issue for the military over the last decade, most research by the Pentagon and the Veterans Affairs Department has focused on men, who account for more than 90% of the nation’s 22 million former troops. Little has been known about female veteran suicide.

The rates are highest among young veterans, the VA found in new research compiling 11 years of data. For women ages 18 to 29, veterans kill themselves at nearly 12 times the rate of nonveterans.

In every other age group, including women who served as far back as the 1950s, the veteran rates are between four and eight times higher, indicating that the causes extend far beyond the psychological effects of the recent wars.

The data include all 173,969 adult suicides — men and women, veterans and nonveterans — in 23 states between 2000 and 2010.

It is not clear what is driving the rates. VA researchers and experts who reviewed the data for The Times said there were myriad possibilities, including whether the military had disproportionately drawn women at higher suicide risk and whether sexual assault and other traumatic experiences while serving played a role.

Whatever the causes, the consistency across age groups suggests a long-standing pattern.

“We’ve been missing something that now we can see,” said Michael Schoenbaum, an epidemiologist and military suicide researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health who was not part of the work.

The 2011 death of 24-year-old Katie Lynn Cesena is one of a dozen cases The Times identified in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Cesena’s death highlights two likely factors in the rates.

First, she had reported being raped by a fellow service member. The Pentagon has estimated that 10% of women in the military have been raped while serving and another 13% subject to unwanted sexual contact, a deep-rooted problem that has gained attention in recent years as more victims come forward.

The distress forced Cesena out of the Navy, said her mother, Laurie Reaves.

She said her daughter was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression at the VA Medical Center in San Diego and lived in fear of her purported rapist — who was never prosecuted — and his friends.

Cesena had started writing a memoir and shared the beginning on Facebook. “I would like to dedicate this book to the United States Navy and all the men and women who have bravely served our country with humility and have been raped and were brave enough to tell someone, whether anything came of it or not,” she wrote.

The second factor was Cesena’s use of a gun, a method typically preferred by men.

In the general population, women attempt suicide more often than men but succeed less because women usually use pills or other methods that are less lethal than firearms. Female veterans, however, are more likely than other women to have guns, government surveys have shown.

In the new data, VA researchers found that 40% of the female veterans who committed suicide used guns, compared with 34% of other women — enough of a difference to have a small effect on the rates.

Another area of interest to researchers is the backgrounds of women who join the military.

Female service members have always been volunteers, and their elevated suicide rates across all generations may be part of a larger pattern. Male veterans 50 and older — the vast majority of whom served during the draft era, which ended in 1973 — had roughly the same suicide rates as nonveteran men their age. Only younger male veterans, who served in the all-volunteer force, had rates that exceeded those of other men.

The differences suggest that the suicide rates may have more to do with who chooses to join the military than what happens during their service, said Claire Hoffmire, the VA epidemiologist who led the research. A more definitive explanation would require information not included in the data, such as when each veteran served and for how long.

Hoffmire pointed to recent research showing that men and women who join the military are more likely to have endured difficult childhoods, including emotional and sexual abuse.

Other studies have found that Army personnel — before enlistment — had elevated rates of suicidal thinking, attempts and various mental health problems. Those studies did not break out the numbers for women.

Though the U.S. military has long provided camaraderie and a sense of purpose to men, it has been a harsher place for women. “They lack a sense of belonging,” said Leisa Meyer, a historian at the College of William and Mary in Virginia and an expert on women in the military.

The Pentagon capped the number of women at 2% of the total military until 1967. Women trained in separate units until the late 1970s. Historically, they were nurses, which in wartime meant exposure to trauma.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, where roadside bombs were common, women suffered unprecedented numbers of casualties. But Defense Department data show their active-duty suicide rate did not rise — a sharp contrast to men, who saw their rate double.

The new data, which cover about half the veteran population, show that suicide rates rise sharply after service members leave the military.

In all, 40,571 men and 2,637 women identified as veterans through military records killed themselves over the 11 years in the data. The overall results were published online last month in the journal Psychiatric Services.

Suicide rates are usually expressed as the annual number of deaths for every 100,000 people. For male veterans, that figure was 32.1, compared with 20.9 for other men.

The numbers were much further apart for women: 28.7 for veterans and 5.2 for everybody else.

A stratification of the data by age group — which was provided to The Times — shows that young veterans face the greatest risk.

Among men 18 to 29 years old, the annual number of suicides per 100,000 people were 83.3 for veterans and 17.6 for nonveterans.

The numbers for women in that age group: 39.6 and 3.4.

The differences between female veterans and other women are less extreme in older age groups but still considered alarmingly high by researchers.

The states in the study represent about half the nation’s veterans but did not include California.

In the local cases identified by The Times, one pattern stood out: Several women had been discharged early for psychiatric or medical problems.

A back injury forced out Sara Leatherman in 2009 and continued to cause her pain. She was also suffering from traumatic memories of maiming and death she witnessed as a medic in Iraq, said her grandmother, Virginia Umbaugh.

Leatherman was 24, attending community college in La Mesa in San Diego County and receiving treatment for PTSD when she hanged herself in her grandmother’s shower in 2010, Umbaugh said.

The war, however, was not the only factor. Leatherman had tried to kill herself with pills while stationed in Texas, before going to Iraq, said Umbaugh, who raised her. “I don’t think there’s any one answer,” she said.

In other cases, veteran status seemed almost incidental, with decades passing since military service and no clear link to the broken relationships, financial problems, mental health troubles and other disappointments that can accumulate in the course of a life.

Linda Raney was 65 years old in 2011 and dealing with problems that mounted for several years: the death of her sister in a car accident, money and health difficulties.

She was living with an aunt in Acton and was disappointed that she didn’t meet the financial requirements for the VA to help her get her own place.

“She didn’t want to be a burden on her aunt,” said her nephew, Kevin Pearcy. One afternoon, she called him to say goodbye, then committed suicide with prescription pills.

She had never talked much about her time in the Air Force.

“I don’t know her specialty,” Pearcy said. “She was very young.”

alan.zarembo@latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-female-veteran-suicide-20150608-story.html