Words & Banter

Let’s All Agree That It’s Not “Mind Over Matter” … It’s Minds Matter!

Last year we talked about Naomi Judd (see below), and it’s good that mental health’s being discussed more, but too many people still don’t want to talk about their situations, either because they feel ashamed and/or they don’t know where to start or who to contact. (Remember, there’s a 988 lifeline.)

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is “Look Around, Look Within” because it’s so important to be aware that many factors affect our mental health. And even more important is that no one should ever have to suffer alone …



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I’ve only recently started listening to country music, mainly because that’s what Sawyer’s always listening to, but I already knew of the mother-daughter duo, The Judds .


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Hard not to, as it was the most successful female duo.


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What’s hard to believe is that the day before her and Wynonna’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame , Naomi committed suicide. As a mother, your instinct is to put your children first, so that shows the overwhelming depth of the depression she was battling.


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I am sure people questioned how someone who appeared to have everything, and was about to be awarded one of her industry’s highest honors, could feel so bad about herself or her life to want to end it.

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I suspect many people think that fame and money would solve most of life’s problems. Obviously, they don’t realize mental health is a battle she had been fighting for a long time. Not only did she publicly talk about it, but she wrote a book about her depression and championed mental health for years.

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I know that, but some people still think you need to “toughen up” and “gut through it”, although they would not say that to someone who broke their arm. Or, had heart disease or cancer. Given the statistics (1 in 5 people will experience mental health illness in any given year), I bet we all know people who are struggling with it. Although they might not admit it or seek help.

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Hopefully, as more and more celebrities use their fame and public platforms to shed light on mental health issues (and other subjects that are either uncomfortable or considered taboo), it will make “mere mortals” realize they’re not alone. And, in turn, more comfortable admitting their own struggles and, more importantly, to seek help.

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Think about how many people felt alone and isolated, not to mention stressed out, during the pandemic. And, even though almost everyone was going through the same thing, they would talk about physical symptoms and their opinions about vaccines and masks, but not any related mental health issues they might be battling.

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It’s funny, there was so much emphasis placed on reaching out and checking on people – whether by phone or Zoom or whatever method made the most sense. But now that I think about it, it was more about being socially engaged and not totally isolated vs. seeing if people were truly ok.

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No one should ever have to suffer alone. How difficult is it for us to be less judgmental and more accepting? Ok, that is a rhetorical question. But, the bottom line is we should let family and friends know it is ok to not always be ok.

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I’m not brave enough to speak for you, but most of us have days when we’re not functioning well, or not feeling like ourselves, and maybe even hurting. So, we should all be more understanding of each other. But how do we know if it’s serious enough to seek help? And what if you don’t even know where to turn for help?

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That is why Mental Health Awareness Month is so important. And, this year’s theme is “Back To Basics ,” so there is a lot of basic information and additional resources available. Not to mention, places to turn for help.

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Well, I know how much you love getting back to basics.

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Because getting “ back to basics ” reminds us of what really matters.
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Were you like Red and shocked when the actor Chadwick Boseman died at the age of 43 after battling colon cancer for years? Cancer isn’t only for older people, and recent studies show more people under 50 are getting cancer. (Doctors aren’t sure why but suspect it may be due to less physical activity, more highly processed foods, and new toxins.) That’s why cancer screenings are more important than ever!

February may be Cancer Prevention Month – but we need to do it all year! Every year. And is why we’re rerunning last year’s post …



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I know that cancer isn’t the “death sentence” it used to be when we were growing up, but it’s still a very scary word. Especially if it’s heard “close to home”.


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When we were young, the word was rarely said. And if it was, it was whispered or referred to as the “ c-word.”


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Kind of like when I had my two miscarriages. No one wanted even to acknowledge, let alone talk about, them. Which made it all the more difficult to get through it, although intellectually, I knew it was not uncommon.


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Unfortunately, neither is cancer. It is the second-leading cause of death in the world, surpassed only by heart disease. But, at least, it is no longer a taboo subject.


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Please don’t make this about numbers. It’s about people. Which you should know. I’m sure you remember when Daddy was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer , which luckily was treatable. And I’ve had skin cancer, although I was very fortunate, it was caught early and easily treated.
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Even though Red’sthe warm and fuzzy one and Black’s extremely pragmatic, we both think of hearts on Valentine’s Day. Just not in quite the same way …



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Happy Valentine’s Day. And before you say anything, yes, I know you don’t celebrate holidays, so just humor me.


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But, I do “celebrate” February being American Heart Month since heart disease is the leading cause of death – for both men and women.


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Gee, that’s one way to turn a “fun” holiday into a real downer. Today’s supposed to be about letting people you love and care about know that you’re thinking of them. Think Hallmark cards, squishy teddy bears, chocolate hearts.
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Are you taking the Dry January challenge and not having any alcohol for the month? Or, maybe you plan to drink less (but not nothing), which makes it Damp January. Or, maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it. (If so, there’s still time to start!)

Well, nothing much has changed from our approach to Dry January last year, except the one who had started drinking more last year is continuing the trend …



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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK , started Dry January , where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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