Author: Linda Margison

Nashville musician encourages consumers to shop local

Nashville musician encourages consumers to shop local

 

NASHVILLE, Ind.Brown County musician and software consultant Chuck Wills encourages consumers to shop local this holiday season and throughout the year.

Wills says he shops at small businesses in his community all year round, but his family and friends have come to expect unique holiday gifts from the arts and crafts mecca of Brown County, Ind. Whether it’s for those gifts or just items he needs, he supports the local economy and encourages others to do the same by shopping local.

Wills adds, though, that supporting small, local businesses doesn’t just mean purchasing an item. He says buying tickets to an event or planning an evening out together is not only good for the musicians and performing artists people see, but also enhances one’s time with others.

Non-profit focuses on harm reduction for IV drug users

Non-profit focuses on harm reduction for IV drug users

 

NOTE: This is Part 1 of a profile on Indiana Recovery Alliance. The second segment will be part of a larger special feature on the impact of heroin use on social and community services in Indiana. The full package will be published in upcoming months.

 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Social worker Chris Abert started a non-profit outreach service to help those at risk for disease and death due to intravenous drug use. With heroin use and HIV diagnoses in Indiana reaching epidemic proportion, his agency has grown from three to more than 60 volunteers.

The Indiana Recovery Alliance focuses on harm reduction in whatever manner the person deems necessary. Abert said volunteers meet people where they are and focus on facilitating any positive change as people want for themselves.

That can manifest itself in many different ways.

Abert says that positive impact can range from abstinence to clean needles to condoms. It also means that Indiana Recovery Alliance will provide people with clothes, rugs to use as sleeping mats, shoes, sanitary napkins and many other necessities that help them continue to feel human.

Once a week, IRA volunteers climb in their long, silver van and go out to meet people and provide for their needs. The Chicago Recovery Alliance sold the van to IRA for $1, which the agency still owes, because, Abert said, “We don’t have a dollar.”

With the heroin and HIV epidemic that exploded this spring, Abert said his volunteer numbers have increased, but what the agency needs more than anything are monetary donations. For those who would like to donate money, go to IRA’s Facebook page or website at indianarecoveryalliance.org.

If you’d like to donate something, but don’t have money to spare, Abert said IRA could use medical or other supplies distributed or used when the van goes out in the community.

Another way to help, he said, would be for churches or other organizations to host coat drives. IRA distributes the coats to those exposed to inclement and winter weather.

Here’s an introduction to the Indiana Recovery Alliance:

Chris Abert talks about harm reduction and The Indiana Recovery Alliance.
(Video by Linda Margison)

19-year-old wants to ‘be the change’ as she faces bipolar disorder

19-year-old wants to ‘be the change’ as she faces bipolar disorder

 

ELLETTSVILLE, Ind. — Rachael Brown, a 19-year-old student at Ivy Tech Community College, heard a shocking diagnosis when she had an adverse reaction to painkiller during wisdom teeth extraction: She suffered from bipolar disorder.

According to behavioral specialist Cheryl Ferguson, bipolar is a disorder that manifests with episodes of mania and depression, once called manic-depressive disorder.

Brown’s therapist has explained to her the symptoms of her diagnosis.

“There will be times when I’m super hyper and I can’t sleep and I’m feeling my mind is racing, or there will be times when I’m maybe not like feel depressed, but I won’t be able to move as quickly, I will feel drowsy, things like that,” she said.

“And it can change at the drop of the hat, which is still scary for me, because I’m a person of consistence. I like to have the same thing, every day, every time, and having a monkey wrench thrown into my plans, and thrown in my life, really, is something I’m just going to have to get used to.”

Despite the changes Brown has had to make in her life, like taking the semester off from school and missing two weeks of work, she is keeping a positive attitude about how to cope with her diagnosis.

“I’m definitely learning my triggers,” she said. “I’m starting to learn… what’s happening to my body and that kinda helps me breathe through it, because it’s hard to breathe something when you don’t know if it’s going to end or what’s happening to you.”

She is grateful for the support of her family and friends.

“My friends and my family, they changed everything. I was able to live with my parents for a while and they were so supportive… I remember asking them hundreds of times a day, ‘Am I ever going to get better?’ ‘Am I going to be OK?’ You know, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ And they would always respond with the same calm, ‘Yes, you’re going to be OK, you’re going to be fine, we love you, people love you, you’re going to get through this.’”

Brown also has learned that the right medication and therapy can help her feel better.

“When I got on the right medication and I started to feel better, it was like night and day, and I was able realize the hope (family and friends) had given me… The support was what really got me through and changed my outlook,” she said.

Breathing is her main coping mechanism. She stops and breathes, “five seconds in, five seconds out,” and imagines her “happy place,” an Irish farm. She also says talking with someone she trusts helps her get through an episode.

“If I talk to someone I’m really close to, and just able to talk through, like just ramble and talk through anything that comes into my mind, if I can say it, it helps me get through it and deal with whatever thoughts I (have),” she said. “Having people who will just sit there and listen to me rant for a couple of minutes really, really helps me.”

She said she’s not letting her diagnosis change her future in a negative way.

“I’m just going to take it a day at a time,” Brown said. “I want to inspire people… be the change.

“I think mental health isn’t talked about as much as it should be and that’s why it’s stigmatized… I think, maybe, just if people hear a lot about it, maybe it will help them to be more understanding to those of us who have to deal with it everyday.”

 

About Bipolar Disorder

Cheryl Ferguson, an independent behavioral specialist and resident of Nashville, Ind., offers insight about bipolar disorder in this audio interview:

 

Ferguson has a master’s degree in non-teaching Special Education and a master’s in Education Psychology. She is a certified school psychologist in several states and worked in that capacity for 10 years.

“I got tired of putting labels on kids,” she said, explaining why she moved into the behavioral specialist field.

Now, she works independently as a behavior specialist and owns and operates an ice cream shop, The Sunshine Shack, in Nashville, with her husband.

[Music: “Fluidscape” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/]

Daughter shares memory of mom at Alzheimer’s walk

Daughter shares memory of mom at Alzheimer’s walk

 

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Fort Wayne resident Delana Etnyre joined 19 other family members Saturday, Oct. 10, to honor her mother, Verna Bates, at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

It was the 14th anniversary of Bates’s death.

After the event, Etnyre shared a memory about Hershey’s candy bars and how they became a shared private moment between her and her mother. She said the memory “is close to my heart, because it starts when I was very young and ends when she was very old.”

Her niece, Loretta Fox, said she raises money and walks each year for the Alzheimer’s Association, “because [Granny] was my best friend, and I do it for her… so she always knows I remember her.”

Fox also shared a memory about her granny.

 

For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, visit www.alz.org or call (800) 272-3900.

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