Mental Wellness

Angel Russell

(This was written during a recent hospital stay where I was suffering from food poisoning and a sinus infection, because I have ulcerative colitis they had to keep me in the hospital for days to make sure my digestive illness wasn’t having a flair up. During my stay the doctors were completely unaware of shy I had my symptoms which were extreme vertigo, diarrhea, and sever stomach pain. Though I am grateful the hospital staff worked hard to find out what was wrong with me they ultimately sent me home unsure of what was wrong. While I was there I had a panic attack and one of the doctors upon realizing that I have PTSD told me perhaps all my symptoms were being cause by my anxiety.)

To be honest here. I am so entirely sick of mental health stigma, ESPECIALLY when it comes from those in the medical profession. I may not have a doctorate but I know a hell of a lot about my condition. PTSD does NOT mean that I am unable to retain information, understand diagnosis, cause psychosomatic physical manifestations of stress on demand, especially fevers, diarrhea, nausea and vertigo. (yes I know long term stress can lead to illness) However, until you know what it is to be treated differently because someone sees your mental health truth, like in a big way, you can’t know this discrimination; the cautious look in people’s eyes, the pause before speaking. I was triggered before an operation because someone grabbed me from behind to push me into a wheel chair while I was being transferred. I very adamantly said DO NOT GRAB me. I explained I have PTSD from physical trauma. I apologized. I very clearly showed that I understood the situation and made it clear it was a trigger for me. Since then I have been left in the dark about my diagnosis. I have been here for days. I have been under suspicion for some crazy infectious disorder, isolated, had brain scans, stomach scans, EKG, colonoscopy, etc. I want this. I want them to scan all possibilities. I know many disorders can be caused by stress, but I also know I was doing fine emotionally before I came here. So to be treated differently because I was triggered is so entirely frustrating. I have seen this before. I have had people tell me I am too much to deal with. What people with mental health issues need is compassion, understanding, and empathy, NOT fear, stigma, and isolation. I honestly believe if I had not been triggered I would not be treated differently because I wasn’t until then. Don’t let fear rule you. I above all know this. Learn, ask questions, don’t belittle, dismiss, degrade, or reject.

You know what I’d like? And I guess its terribly liberal or what not of me, but I’d like to be called DIFFERENTLY ABLED, NOT MENTALLY ILL. Yes I know we need labels to understand diagnoses etc. But the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) turns people into cogs, not the multifaceted human beings they truly are. It’s good to have a guide (and I absolutely believe the brain can and does function in a way that can cause difficulties) but to think that the human mind can be forcibly shut into a small behavioral box is a bit irritating, AND makes complete sense to me. This can go wrong however when doctors, psychiatrists, etc (people on top of any field) use these diagnostic tools too rigidly and that it in turn closes their minds. For example, younger kids who show an inability to focus are often misdiagnosed with ADD when they may in fact have anxiety or are being traumatized at home. And think about this! They are prescribed SPEED!! Lumping the human brain in this way is both needed and somewhat wrong. A non liberal example would be the Pharisees growing so concerned with the law ordained by God that they lost sight of God. There are truths in every ideology, construct, and formula, and many times these truths force us into boxes that close our outlooks and perspectives. This happens in the government, currently with Liberals and Democrats being so right or left they are both WRONG. We become so closed off into our own ideologies and truths that we loose sight of God as the Pharisees did, truth in the shades of grey, and the fluidity of differing truths and perspectives. This is the sad problem of intelligent minds closed down by their own egocentric aptitude. Therefore, please, see my mind and other minds like it, as differently abled, not ill. My quick thought processes ultimately begun by anxiety help me to think quickly on my feet, my hyper-vigilance helps me to see problems in work and my surroundings well before others do, my years of developing coping skills, help me now to cope with many stressful events at once which has in turn formed me into the perfect business manager. These strengths came from what we call illness of the mind. How limiting, defeating, and sad. How terrible for each new young soul to be told of this sort of limiting ILLNESS, a diagnostic coffin nail in an already fragile mind. Teaching being differently abled instead of this illness we prescribe will help others like me see the glaring strength in their own tempered weaknesses.

TJ Doyle: On The Horizon

His imagination’s life blood is built of trees, blades of grass, the song of the nearest sparrow, the chirp of a cricket, and the rush of a field mouse. TJ Doyle is at peace in his surroundings, nature being the heartbeat behind his song. In addition to a natural setting, his influences stem from speaking the mind of his generation in a colloquial manner with no bunkum in tow. In his new album On The Horizon, his song writing is seamless, his voice is classic, timeless, modern, smooth, and rough, soft and real, and just undefinable. His connection with nature helps him listen, watch, wait, and breath peace, which transposes onto his score. The sonic transitions are as fluid as a river floating on clay bedrock, pulling up bits of rock along the way, with all the rushes of the great whites to the calm down the way. There is something for everyone in On The Horizon. Classic Rock fans, Indie hipsters, and even the melodramatic folk supporter will find a connection. TJ Doyle brings the the poet’s voice from the 60’s to the modern era. He absorbs our longing, our pain, and our intrigue and lays it bare, and in doing so show’s us that we are all connected, just as the field meets the sky On The Horizon.





Lingering Thoughts From PTSD


I have had writer’s block for about a year now. I can’t write because I can no longer be honest with myself. I always made it a point to be brutally honest to myself and those around me. I didn’t want to be disillusioned. I wanted to face reality. I wanted to have a clear understanding of the events that got me to where I was. Somewhere along the way the timelines blurred together.  I realized I wasn’t being honest, I was just trying to absorb one shock at a time. If I gave way to all the things that were raining down upon me, I would sink like a rock down to the bottom of a lake, the lake that made up my life. Events like water flowing in from various places in my world.  Rivers of events beyond my control came together, creating the ebb and flow that is my life.

I have merely been a child floating on a dinghy, looking over the edge wondering what the murky depths hold. Sometimes I’d be courageous enough to dive in, but I could only see a few feet in front of me.  Sometimes I’d go fishing, feel a pull on the line, the fight would ensue. If I won, I’d pull up something sparkling, shiny, slippery, and wet. I’d feel bad watching it as it gasped for air, so, I’d throw it back in; another in a long line of fleeting memory, too hard to hold.

As I said, the timeline is blurred. I have been trying to pick a place to start. A place that I could say “And this, this is the beginning”. I’m afraid there is no such point. A life is not a timeline, has no point A to B, birth to death. This is not what makes up a life. It’s the events in between that create a life. Not from where the rivers run from or go to, but the mass of water that collects in the process.

About a year and a half ago, I fell in the lake.  I was slowly drowning, memories choking me.  I would claw my way to the top only to sink back under with the surge. For months I fought, until my last ounce of strength gave out, I let darkness take me, its grasp cool and calm. And then something miraculous happened. I awoke. There above me was an angel, or what I thought was an angel. He spoke to me; his words seemed far away and foreign.  I looked back to the murky depths, fear began to take its hold, and then he did something I never thought of doing. He forced me to surface and to look up. I saw the sky, the birds; I saw into his eyes…and held my gaze there for a very long time.

Then,  creeping into the night. One drip at a time, the memories flooded me. Things I thought I had forgotten, haunting me. The very thing I thought I had escaped came back to torture me when I thought I was finally safe. How do I dispel such an enemy? An enemy wrought from my own past, attacking from within my own mind. It’s easy to ignore the depths looking up, but I’m afraid I might go blind looking at the sun.

So where does a person go from here? How do I make a balanced view of both the light and the dark? How do I exist within the yin and the yang, without getting lost in one or the other? Where do I begin to look, within the shadows or the light? Both surely make up the person I am, but I can’t seem to focus, or understand. What exactly am I made up of?  I lose myself in the paths I take, only to find myself naked stranded on a beach gasping for air. When will they let me go to swim freely once more? Is life just this endless questioning until we either burn ourselves out or go insane? Is midlife crisis just when you realize you still have no answers?

I have fantasies of myself wondering. Just getting on a plane and not telling anyone, just going.  I picture myself winding up in some temple meditating, walking through ancient forests searching for ancient voices to lend me some wisdom, to point me in a direction, any direction. I would find and old man, sitting on his porch, he would do nothing but simply raise his hand to offer me a seat; we would sit there until the sun sets. And in silence, he would teach me what I have been so long searching for, my Siddhartha. An old man content, not wasted forgotten in some home, but content with all things, in harmony with nature, one with life and death.  There’s wisdom in his smile as ancient as life, and even before that.

If only nations would employ the wise to be their leaders.  More often than not, we ignore the wise.  We put up an ambivalent air to truths we know to be self-evident. We care not.  Life’s to short, live fast and die young, burn up our credit cards, burn out our tires, there’s always more where that came from, consume faster, lest someone else consume you. We are like parasites feasting on the corpse of our host, mutated and spreading; but that’s beside the point I suppose. Perhaps I should just pick a point, like on a map when you’re deciding where to take that road trip and go; stop staring at the sun, or into the lake, and just look ahead.

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Whiskey N’ Rye: Sick Soul Summertime

Set to release this summer, Sick Soul Summertime, is the new album by Whiskey N’ Rye a gritty Rock band birthed out of the rainy city of Seattle. Whiskey N’ Rye’s meteoric rise began in 2013 with their first album and hard rocking live shows around some of the countries best venues and festivals. The five piece with members, Philip Lindholm, Guitar, singer/songwriter and producer, Carson Dent on drums, Marco Longo on Keyboards, Greg Pascale on lead guitar, and Alex Atwood on Bass. The album Sick Soul Summertime is Americana, Blues, and Rock based full of down home grit and guitars with an urban twist of trumpets and soul back up vocals. Southern Slanted fiddles and harmonicas make an appearance as well. Lindholm’s vocals are throaty and of a light-hearted crooner feel with power and depth. The whole album feels like a bunch of musicians met at a truck stop and had a giant jam fest together. There is a bit of everything for people to enjoy without sounding overtly complicated or too thought out. The album is perfect for summer fun and rocking out too while having grand sun filled adventures. Check it out on their website for pre-order. Whiskey N’ Rye, the future of Americana and Rock.









Manett is a refreshing new musical project by a Brooklyn based artist. She grew up on an island in Micronesia and arrived in NYC at the age of 19 where she attended film school. Her music is an ethereal modern take on psychedelic 60’s rock with a nudge to indie folk and a punk heart. Her dreamy vocals are reminiscent of Portishead, Nico, and Beach House, and their simplicity and style transport the listener to a woodland meadow where fantasy creatures play the instruments and little birds sing along. Her guitar is simple with just the right effects that swarm like bees to flowers. In her new EP, “Stigma-Style” released today, she includes complex beats underlying the simplicity of her instrumentation allowing for her vocals to shine. Just when you think you understand the folk hearted-ness of her writing she changes the vision through a seamless transition into more of an electro-pop vibe full with synthesizers in her song “The Birds (for Paulo)”.  You can listen here and download her new Ep for FREE download and you can also get it on cassette tape (for $5) complete with a bonus track from Kerchow Records.


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Jamill Beats

Here are some new and interesting beats for you to chew on. Jamill Beats creates hip hop beats with a little bit of an old school style, some finesse, and more modern style percussion. Many of the tracks hark to a simpler day of hip hop. They are not over produced and contain few instrumentation choices so the beats are not overly complex and too stimulating. Some have a dark feel to them while others have a lighter more delighted impression. Jamill Beats resides in Franklin, IN near Indianapolis. Jamill is an 18 year old producer and given the ability present here you can be sure the talent will continue to grow. Like Jamill Beats on facebook. Purchase on iTunes. 


Postac’ music

Postac’ is a solo electronic project out of Buffalo NY started by Ezell Jordan in 2013. He started in the punk world and his path led him through some experimentation of new genre’s and finally electronic. His music is space, quiet and ethereal. It creates sweeping imagery in the mind and leaves the listener to impart their own colors on the musical canvas. The songs draw on a few different types of electronic music and all songs are cinematic in nature. If you close your eyes your transported to a dream like state full of mystery and intrigue. His style is never repetitive, and always interesting. Each track brings a new interpretation of his sweeping imagination and leaves you hungry for more. His first album release, “A Reason” (2013), was influenced by the sci-fi book, Clone by With his second release he expanded that idea and with Finding My Home (2014), he produced a  higher quality of work that infused more pop like beats while keeping with his cinematic approach.