TW: Depression, Mental Illness
I vividly remember the first day I started caring about what people thought of me. I was feeling uneasy while standing in the hallway in my new home in the US, picking out earrings for the day. I looked at myself in the mirror, and had an internal epiphany that said, “You care about what people think of you. This is never going away now.”
During my childhood years in the UK, I never used to care what anyone thought about me. I was an incredibly open and imaginative kid, and enjoyed speaking my mind. My peers and I just sort of existed harmoniously in our blue baggy uniforms, and supported one another in our learning environments; which, in my opinion, is the way it should be.
Later in the US, I was introduced to the harsh reality of how it was deemed uncool, unattractive, and unacceptable for me to be anything less than what the people around you expected out of me.
I knew what it was like to be bullied and seen as the “bottom of the food chain.” So, I quickly learned how to internalize, and became a chameleon for the people around me whose opinions I cared so much about.
I joined one of those cliques (yes, a’la “Mean Girls” – something I later ran from), and there was this constant pressure to be perfect. Not only was there pressure to be academically perfect, but to be socially perfect as well. You had to dress a certain way. You had to like certain things. You had to act a certain way. You couldn’t talk to certain people; or else you’d be gambling your “spot” in the group. You’d yearn to be the girls who everyone feared and loved. It was swimming a marathon without ever being offered the chance to gasp for air.
There were no classes, no lessons on terminologies, no open discussions, on mental health. I’d hear about depression, but it was spoken about as more of an adjective, as opposed to a real, physical, mental illness. Unless you were bleeding, bruising, or suffering from broken bones that were apparent to others, it was very hard to feel understood and seen with these “invisible injuries.” Due to the lack of education and resources, my mental health suffered greatly.
Depression was creeping up on me in many forms: stomach issues, an undiagnosed eating disorder, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, feeling physically incapable of getting out of bed, intense exhaustion, deep feelings of isolation, dissociating.
Instead of being able to properly educate and diagnose what was happening, I would tell myself “there is something wrong with me, and it’s not happening to anybody else.”
Thankfully, I did find a couple outlets in the creative world that provided comfort, insight, and a new perspective. I found solace in music. I fell in love with theatre. I had an amazing choir teacher in high school who taught one of the best classes I’d ever taken. The arts gave me a voice when I believed I had none, and I was able to channel a lot of those emotions and vulnerabilities into a beautiful final product. I didn’t think it was possible to turn pain into art, so this introduction was immensely life-changing.
There are many reasons why I’m as deeply passionate as I am when it comes to the arts, especially in regards to mental health. Theatre ended up saving me from some of my darkest moments. I am forever grateful I was able to find it at the time I did. To this day, I’ve taken that love and that driving force of the creative world with me; and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
However – please do not take this as the answer to mental illnesses. My resources stretch beyond the arts, and I would not be here today had I not sought out professional help, which I will discuss more in my coming pieces.
My mental health and my personal journey is far more complex; as is everyone else’s. There is no one size fits all when it comes to healing. There is no one size fits all when it comes to how we individually experience depression and invisible battles. But there is one thing that is absolutely certain; though we may feel like we are fighting alone, there will always be another who feels just as alone on the battlefield. If so many of us feel so alone; none of us really are.
Adrienne Warren To Perform At DIFFA’s 40th Anniversary Gala
DIFFA is excited to announce its highly anticipated 40th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, March 28, 2024 at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in NYC. It will feature a star-studded lineup of entertainment including Tony Award-winner Adrienne Warren (Tina –The Tina Turner Musical), vocalist and trumpeter Brian Newman and celebrity DJ Michaelangelo L’Acqua. The Gala will commemorate a remarkable legacy—forty years of impactful DIFFA initiatives — and raise critical funds to further support vital causes. Tickets and more details are available here.
The announcement comes on the heels of an incredibly successful Après Ski event held earlier this month, which raised over $100,000 for DIFFA grantees. Established in 1984 in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, DIFFA has since expanded its mission to encompass broader community challenges such as homelessness and mental wellness.
“What started as a group of designers and manufacturer’s gathering in an NYC basement to raise money to help support their ailing friends and co-workers’ doctor’s visits and living expenses, has grown into a catalyst for change. Since our founding, we’ve granted more than $55 million to organizations which provide direct care to those most in need of assistance,” remarks Dawn Roberson, Executive Director of DIFFA.
“DIFFA has been a cause very close to my heart for more than 30 years. I’ve seen first-hand how the organization has galvanized the design community to rally our talents, resources, and creativity in the face of some of the most intractable social and healthcare challenges of our era. I’m so proud to celebrate 40 years of giving back and am excited about DIFFA’s next chapter,” said David Rockwell, who currently serves as Chair Emeritus of DIFFA.
“Serving as a rallying point for the design community, the Gala event will allow us to continue DIFFA’s legacy of giving. An opportunity for brands and individuals to demonstrate their solidarity, it will also pay tribute to those pioneering individuals who were champions of the cause and instrumental in making a DIFFA-rence—from the 1980s when AIDS was a mysterious illness with little hope for a cure, to DIFFA’s work today in line with its expanded mission,” adds current Board Chair Thomas Polucci.
The gala will feature an award ceremony and special video segment highlighting an honoree from each decade of DIFFA’s history. Fern Mallis and Steven Cole of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) are among those offering video tributes to former DIFFA chairs Cindy Allen, David Rockwell, and George Slowik, and former executive director David Sheppard. The event will also recognize the incredible work of DIFFA’s grantees, including organizations such as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Housing Works, God’s Love We Deliver, Bailey House, SAGE, Health, Hetrick-Martin Institute, and Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. These grantees provide direct care through several different initiatives—from funding pantry bag meals to supporting outreach programs for underserved and disenfranchised LGBTQ homeless and street-involved youth.
Thoughtfully designed installations by students at FIT, SVA, Pratt, and NYSID will provide an inspiring backdrop to the evening’s festivities. Each imaginative vignette will illustrate a different decade in DIFFA’s rich history. Guests will be treated to performances by Tony-award-winning actress Adrienne Warren, who recently played Tina Turner in TINA – The Tina Turner Musical on Broadway, as well as the dynamic sounds of DJ Michaelangelo L’Acqua.
DIFFA is deeply grateful to Benjamin Moore, presenting sponsor of the 40th Anniversary Gala, as well as gold sponsors Empire Office with Steelcase, EvensonBest, HOK, MillerKnoll, Rockwell Group, and Shaw Contract.
The DIFFA gala is just one in several 40th anniversary fundraising events. Lip Sync for Life—a drag event originally founded by DIFFA Chicago—is scheduled for the last week of June in conjunction with PRIDE festivities.
For more information on DIFFA and the full list of grantees, visit diffa.org.
DIFFA: grants funds to organizations providing treatment, assistance, and access to healthcare for a diverse group of people affected by HIV/AIDS, food & housing insecurities, and mental health issues. For four decades, DIFFA has created legendary programs and events that highlight a cause that has impacted the industry. As times change and we face a new set of challenges, DIFFA answers the community’s needs by expanding our mission to include funding for those with food and housing insecurities and to support mental wellbeing.
Harnessing the design industry’s resources and creativity to respond to critical health issues and build a healthier, robust, and inclusive community. Making a DIFFA-rence!
DIFFA is one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the United States. Mobilizing the immense resources and creativity of the design community, DIFFA has granted more than $55 million to hundreds of HIV/AIDS organizations nationwide. Including Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Housing Works, God’s Love We Deliver, Bailey House, SAGE, Health, Hetrick-Martin Institute, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, among many others. www.diffa.org.
Jose Verdugo: Guardianship/ Conservatorship and What You Need To Know Part 3
Sabrina E. Morrissey, Credit: Facebook
Just released, Wendy Williams’ guardian has been accused of a scheme to rob her client in a $30 million lawsuit while controlling Wendy Williams’ finances and countless others. The U.S. Sun exclusively revealed that Wendy’s guardian, Sabrina Morrissey, her firm Morrissey & Morrissey LLP, and about 10 other attorneys have been named as defendants in another lawsuit.
If you remember from yesterday’s story these are the same individuals that were and are involved in Errol Rapports mother’s case and Libra Max with her father the artist Peter Max.
The case Morrissey and the attorneys are accused in, is for Jose Verdugo, who had won $5.5 million in a personal injury claim. For more than a decade, the defendants imprisoned Verdugo in a humiliating and oppressive guardianship by manipulating and serially deceiving him, as well as New York Supreme Court and the Appellate Division. The fraudulently-based attorney and guardian fees, plundered Verdugo’s multi-million dollar personal injury recovery.
Your Inner Dialogue: Positive Affirmations for Addiction Recovery
Positive affirmations are of help to many people working to recover from an addiction. The uplifting messages, when repeated regularly, train the brain to think positively. They focus on the present and future, providing motivation and inspiration to continue on the road to recovery.
How Affirmations Work
The brain is a malleable organ. Affirmations help take advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity by repeating positive messages about ourselves or our goals. Each time we verbalise the affirmation, that statement fires along certain neural pathways in support of the affirmed idea or belief. Repeated over and over, affirmations strengthen those supportive pathways until, with enough repetition, the affirmation becomes the default outlook programmed into our brains. As a result, drug rehab programs in texas often make affirmations a priority.
Creating Effective Affirmations
Telling yourself “I no longer crave drugs” likely rings hollow in early recovery. More realistic affirmations like “If a craving comes, I can get through it” set reasonable expectations. Over time, as these affirmations prove true, they can lay the groundwork for more ambitious statements. By starting small with positive, solution-focused affirmations, we can start retraining our brains with helpful messaging. Repeated regularly, effective affirmations help cement the attitudes and behaviours that allow people in recovery to cope with challenges and continue healing.
Integrating Affirmations into Daily Life
To fully benefit from affirmations, they must be put into consistent practice. Simply thinking about them from time to time is not enough for real change. Affirmations should become ingrained into one’s daily routine.
Ways to effectively integrate affirmations include:
Writing Them Down
Writing affirmations by hand helps imprint them into the mind. Keep a running list of affirmations to review regularly. Also, keep individual affirmations in multiple places, such as on sticky notes around the home, the car dashboard, and more. These little reminders help facilitate the repetition of positive phrases throughout the day.
Reciting Them Out Loud
Vocalising the affirmations is powerful too, engaging more of the brain through auditory pathways. Set reminders to repeat affirmations out loud at certain times, such as morning and evening. Doing them in front of a mirror can also help increase effectiveness. Making Them Digital
Digital applications provide another way to practise daily affirmations. Apps will send daily reminders to view inspiring quotes and phrases. Some affirmation apps allow users to select or create their affirmations as well. Viewing these positive messages right on a frequently-checked device helps reinforce them.
Affirmations Take Practice
Keep in mind that integrating affirmations into one’s mindset requires consistency and practice. At first, the concepts expressed may feel silly or untrue. However, with routine use, their effects become cumulatively powerful in supporting continued recovery. Affirmations lay the groundwork for emotional and spiritual growth that sustains people through challenges on their journey.
Affirmations are a simple yet powerful technique that can lead to profound changes for those in addiction recovery. By overriding negative thought patterns and activating motivation centres of the brain, affirmations promote personal growth and healthy decision-making. When consistently integrated into one’s daily routine through written, vocal, and digital practice, affirmations retrain the mind to be more supportive of recovery goals. Maintaining focus each day on positive visions of self-worth, forgiveness, strength, and hope builds the emotional resilience needed for the lifelong journey of recovery. Though challenging at first, committing to regular affirmations lays the groundwork for lasting transformation one phrase at a time.
Errol Rappaport: Guardianship/ Conservatorship and What You Need To Know Part 2
Wendy Williams, Peter Max and Errol Rappaport’s mother guardian were all Sabrina Morrissey. Here is one of the horror stories.
New York fashion design team David and Frances Rappaport were married for seventy-two years. They had three sons—Michael, Errol, and Richard—and a spectacular penthouse apartment in a landmark building at 200 Central Park South. A few years before David died, the couple asked Errol to leave his publicist job in Los Angeles and return to New York to care for them. Errol, a Vietnam veteran and trained medic who wears fashionable designer eyeglasses and his graying hair in a ponytail, agreed to return. He moved into the sprawling twenty-fifth floor apartment where his parents had lived for more than four decades. At the pinnacle of their success, the elder Rappaport’s are said to have amassed a fortune of between $9 and $10 million, thanks to the popularity of David’s Italian knitwear line, and the elegant Frances’s famous silk blouses (marketed under the name Francesca of Damon) favored by celebrities like Lucille Ball, Princess Aga Khan, and Manhattan fashion icon Iris Apfel.
Soon the penthouse was listed for sale, and the guardian moved Frances Rappaport out of her cherished Manhattan home of forty-six years and into a small apartment miles away in Queens, New York. Errol, then in his early seventies, said he was left homeless after having exhausted his savings battling his older brother. At his age, he said, he had zero job prospects. “I have to take two different buses to get out to Queens just to visit with my mother, and right now I’m couch surfing with various friends.” Errol said.
He spoke to me in the courthouse hallway during a break in yet another guardianship-related proceeding he was summoned to attend in downtown Manhattan. This proceeding was called to take Errol to task for
Wendy Williams: Guardianship/ Conservatorship and What You Need To Know Part 1
“How did her health deteriorate so quickly, and why isn’t her only child allowed to be by her side?” These are questions being asked by Wendy Williams’ former attorney LaShawn Thomas. Williams, 59, was first placed under guardianship by her bank, Wells Fargo, but the conservatorship has since been moved to attorney Sabrina Morrissey.
Thomas alleges that she had been “threatened with physical and financial harm” if she speeks out about the care Wendy is receiving.
The Lifetime documentary, began shooting in August 2022, shortly after Wendy was forced to move back to New York for the guardianship. Although they allowed the documentary to be shot, Wendy’s guardians went to court two days before the scheduled showing dates, seeking to prohibit the network from airing Where is Wendy Williams? Why?
Wendy Williams is just one of an estimated 1.5 million to to 2 million active adult guardianship cases across the country. This is a massive industry, with guardians controlling an estimated $50 billion in assets and this is just the numbers they are telling us as the precise figures are not known as there is no government entity keeping track of citizens who lose the right to determine their own fate.
“Established in the late 1800s, the guardianship system was designed to assist the most vulnerable citizens: the elderly and the physically or intellectually disabled. While guardianship has been beneficial to many “wards of the court,” this little-understood process can be a judicial rollercoaster from which there is seldom an escape, and which often leads to financial devastation for the ward and their families. Each year, fifty billion dollars belonging to wards are placed under the control of court appointees, an obvious temptation to bad actors who are in a position to control these funds. As investigative journalist Diane Dimond discovers, the number of exploitive and abusive guardianship cases nationwide demands our urgent attention. This book also provides concrete steps that families can take to protect themselves, as guardianship can happen to any one of us at any time” states award-winning investigative journalist Diane Dimond, whose new book “We’re Here to Help: When Guardianship Goes Wrong” is currently making waves.
Guardianship/ Conservatorship harms some of the most vulnerable members of society with little if NO legal recourse. In South Florida, the GuardianshipProgram of Dade County sold at least a dozen homes of “incapacitated” people under their care to one Miami real estate company, Express Homes. These houses were often resold for hundreds of thousands dollars more than the purchase value.
This state-run system, is largely unregulated, ill-understood, and increasingly populated by financially motivated predators. Until recently it was a hush, hush problem until Britney Spears. Thanks to her case a person in the system lose all their civil rights in the process. Currently, there are an estimated 1.5 to 2 million Americans under court control, but precise figures are not known as no government entity keeps track of citizens who have lost the right to determine their own fate.
In these cases they go after people with money, people who live in rent controlled buildings or buildings the landlords want to tear down. Don’t believe me? I will give you cases in NYC that are going on right now.
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