Tag Archives: Mental Health

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choff777.wordpress.com ~Jacqueline Cioffa – I am nothing if not my word has packed up and moved:

You’re invited: jacquelinecioffa.com

Blog posts, everyday thoughts, ponderings,  guest posts around the web, Beauty Blog and books all together in the same spot.

Author site: Jacqueline Cioffa

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ABOUT

Jacqueline Cioffa was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in Brainstorms, the Anthology and numerous literary magazines. Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. She’s a storyteller, observer, essayist, potty mouth and film lover who’s traveled the world.

Look for her on the Gravity Imprint of Booktrope Publishing.

 

 

Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle.

I’m tired.

Wiped, discouraged, caput, worn down, exhausted.

I am not winning this mammoth battle with the mind. I can no longer distinguish between mania and anxiety, thoughts race ahead anyway without definition. Oxygen depleted and unrelenting physical pain does not let up.

No, no, no, no way. There’s no way I can keep up with this living thing. I am not strong enough.

Am I?

Just when I think I have used and abused every single resource left with no reserve, a timely reminder appears.

It’s not about me, it never was. This life is not mine to begin with. I am circular memories, sand granules stolen backwards in time.

Precious quartz that most assuredly slips through my fingers returning to earth how it began.

So what if I can’t see clearly when the angels can?

So what if I can’t see clearly when the angels can?

“Your time stamp is 2:22 which in angel numerology means, “Don’t quit before your miracle occurs!” 

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“Newly planted ideas are beginning to grow into reality. Keep watering and nurturing them, and soon they will push through the soil.”

I believe in angels, pixie dust, numbers, crystals, and dark/ light matters we cannot see or comprehend.

To dream wearing a featherweight light suit of armor while speckles of  gold, violet, teal, fuchsia and indigo angel dust flutters abound.

Drowning by Mouse

Woke up to a flooded basement (only a little), and a head that feels like it’s in a vice-grip. I have taken half a Benadryl, Alka-Seltzer and Flonase with only marginal relief.

Not matter what’s happening or how shitty I feel, my personal summer goal is to swim every single day.

And, it only counts if I get my head wet. Duh, everybody knows that.

Don’t they?

Went to the gym and for a dunk even the asshole mouse floating past, more like sunken did not stop me.

It would have thwarted my goal day three, if I had seen it. I might have passed out.

Can you pass out in water? Huh, I’ll have to google that.

Mouse??? I DON’T DO MICE. Let me be clear, reiterate, I DO NOT DO MICE.

“MOOOOM!!!!” 

I’ll spare you the yuck factor and unpleasant bloated, furry black pink tail imagery. Squeak. Eek.

Yeah, no. I will not go down that easy.

Drowning by mouse.

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One, Two Buckle My Shoe

One, Two Buckle My Shoe

By Jacqueline Cioffa

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One, two buckle my shoe. I don’t know how other writers find their way into a story.
For me, it usually goes something like this. I hear a line in my head, a word, see a visual, and then the story plays over and over, until I release it onto the page. Its cathartic, sometimes it takes me back, some days it moves me forward when I am wallowing and can’t get unstuck. Most times, it’s just an honest, real interpretation of an emotion. I’m an emotional girl. Or, so I’ve been told.
I live with the image, words, sometimes for days, weeks, even months. Then, like magic or being possessed, I have to get it out. My fingers take over the keys; my mind wanders and dictates the thoughts, mulling it about until there is a clear picture. I see mere babies growing, learning the simple phrase, “One, two, buckle my shoe.” We are all preconditioned from the start. “Look at me, Mommy look what I can do. I can talk, walk and dance all on my own.” And we wait, for the love, the adoration, the pride on their faces. The loving adoration of a parent and their perfect can do no wrong baby girl. We wait, and then we wait some more.” Look Daddy, I dyed my hair red with a blond streak, I wanted to be different”. I got drunk in school, lashing out against the bullies, the in crowd, and the machine, desperate to be an individual. Daddy holds my head as I puke and strokes my hair, he tells the first lie. “It’s ok, baby girl, you are my princess, you are going to be all right.” And we wait, for the clap. Bravo, you are so smart, so beautiful they say. You are positive they mean it. You miss the roll of the eyes in frustration, or the bed time whisper and tears, “I’m so worried about her.” She’s too young to be this sad, so depressed, to be so oddly different. One, two buckle my shoe. I must conform to society, wear the same shoe, walk the same old boring old walk, say all the right things. I’m sad for the young girl, so miserably, visibly unhappy, in high school. I hate the way this feels; I take note that I am different. They say nothing, providing all the pleasantries and comforts of a supportive, loving home. I am so lucky like that. Maybe they knew all along, how horribly difficult things would turn out, how unusual I would actually become.
“It’s not her fault, it’s in her genes.” Oh my God, did they speak it aloud? She’s Mentally Ill. What?! One, two, buckle my shoe. I try to be normal, to please them, to see the admiration still on their faces. My daddy is gone, he died a broken man. Mental Illness got him, no matter how hard my mother fought. She did not win. We buried him in a grave and he has not yet come back. I wait for him. I still wait for him. In my dreams, during this sabbatical and these sick days, he hasn’t come. He can’t quite find his way back. One, two buckle my shoe. My mother has aged so. The bravest, head strong, caring, woman I know. Cursed in this lifetime to fall in love, make a family. One, two buckle my shoe.
With a baby daughter who would grow to walk in her father’s shoes. I didn’t mean it, as hard as I try, I can’t win. The Lunacy gene has taken hold of me, too. One, two buckle my shoe. I don’t care if I die see; the excruciating days are too hard to fill. I came back home. Home, to the safe, happy childhood home I once knew. It’s less happy now. There are fewer nursery rhymes. There are only mornings, where I wake shaking and take pills. Lots and lots of pills, I count. Ten a day, sometimes twelve. I don’t want them, fuckers one and all. I hide it best I can. Inside I am a ticking time bomb, shoeless, crying, screaming, I’m so sorry I didn’t make you proud. I gave it my best shot. I hide the pain, the fear, the paranoia, and the overwhelming anxiety the best way I know how. In the bottom of an old, outgrown, dated, and worn down shoe. I’m sorry, really so very sorry I never meant to lose my mind. I’ve always wanted to come back to you, to make my mother and father proud. I lie most days, I do. Sometimes that even makes me feel better. I can forget the ugly future that awaits.
I am penniless, wandering with no direction. One, two buckle my shoe. I end up in an institution or worse on the street. No one cares. They barely saw me before. You see, while my parents were busy clapping my way into adulthood, I saw it. The times they were preoccupied doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, getting on with life. They missed my first steps. Not on purpose, not without regret. I know they tried their best, I know they did. But, I’m still looking for that first and final clap. It never comes. I will always be out of step.
I drink Ginger with a bit of Ale to ease the relentless ad nauseam that is the day. It’s winter here. We have had an easy time of it. Today, the sun shines and I reminisce. One, two buckle my shoe. I can’t remember the full verse. I guess it doesn’t matter anyhow. I will ask my mother. No, no I must not. I must learn to walk on my own, however blistering and uncomfortable the shoe. The numbness fits.

originally published April 2012 brooklynvoice.com

“Because you, more than anyone I have ever known loved being alive.” L.B.H.

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Lupe and I must have walked the loop at Hoopes Park a thousand times, or more.

In ten-degree freezing black ice, navigating lethal dangerous walkways (and fallen more than once), on grey-cloud, weepy wet gloomy days.

You name it. We’ve dredged through it.

It helps, ya’ know. The walk.

To free the brain from the pressure, dark and dangerous thinking.

Easing up, releasing the unrelenting anxiety.

When we walk past the white pristine house with the red door, I have to fight the urge not to run up and knock.

Or barge in.

She’s not there.

I know this to be true in my head, but my heart searches for her.

Missing every puzzle piece and all her silly ways. Her sage advice, too.

The water fountain, Buddha and Zen room she created, so proud to show me the space.

Her home with the red door is just a dwelling now, somebody else’s house we pass on the walk.

Suicide was never her choice, she just couldn’t stay.

I don’t believe there are coincidences, I choose to believe there are signs along the way.

L.B.H., I believe you threw me one today.

It’s the perfect sixty-degree, pretty blue sky day with sunshine peek-a-booing through the clouds.

Like a child playing hide and seek, giggly and covering their mouth to contain the excitement.

Just like a happy child, exactly like you.

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http://standagainstsuicide.org

Thanks for the Buddha, water fountain, precious memories and luminescent magic that was your life.

The Zen room has a new home, with me.

I’ll do my best to keep them safe.

I’ll do my best to keep you safe, using my voice.

I stand against suicide, because your life matters.

Because you, more than anyone I have ever known loved being alive.

You, and your gypsy-free spirit, brilliant, bold, courageous, compassionate, goofy, non-judgmental, all-encompassing, curious, big beautiful love would be walking right beside me.

You are.

I can’t see you, but I feel your presence in mine.

I did not forget.

2 days and eight years gone is too long.

You were, and continue to be forever loved.

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Mental Health Warrior: Jacqueline Cioffa

Proud to be a featured #MentalHealthWarrior and fellow Stigma Fighter on The Lithium Chronicles. Together, we are changing the world’s views on mental illness through our words to raise awareness. Thank you, Nicole Lyons.

Nicole Lyons

One of the many things that I admire about Jacqueline is that she embodies real compassion and humanitarianism. As a Stigma Fighter and advocate, Jackie shares her own personal stories, spreads awareness, and shines light where ignorance would prefer it remain dark.

Jackie has experienced so many different and fascinating adventures in her life, some haven’t been all that great, but they haven’t tainted her or driven her to become bitter in any way. Jackie believes in celebrating people for their accomplishments, and lifting them up when they fall. She expresses gratitude whole-heartedly, and this is rare to find today. Jackie is a gem, and it has been such a pleasure to get to know her. I love everything that she stands for, and I believe that she is changing the world. Thank you, Jackie. You are inspiring.

The Fault Line

By Jacqueline Cioffa

I keep coming back to one thought. Let…

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“We are left with the prisons of our own minds and that is heavy enough.” J Cioffa #MentalIllness #Treatment 

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One in Four. No, not Really. 

The very real, gut-wrenching mental illness statistics remain not far off from fifty years ago when pyschiatric institutions were the solution, lock them away.

As long as my beautiful chaotic mind and the words don’t betray me, I use my voice.

I am Three in Four even Four in Four, hit the mentally ill genetic jackpot. The reality is I could snap at any moment, I pray won’t.

Please, don’t judge. Don’t judge the ‘crazy,’ the insane, the unfit, the unwell, the lunatic that is me. Help us instead.

We are left with the prisons of our own minds and that is heavy enough.

From the Washington Post, “A shocking number of mentally ill Americans end up in prison instead of treatment.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/30/a-shocking-number-of-mentally-ill-americans-end-up-in-prisons-instead-of-psychiatric-hospitals/

I Am Adam Lanza

By Jacqueline Cioffa

A decade ago I lived a frivolous, spoiled, privileged life. An International fashion model, I worked in more countries than I can count. Freedom was something I took for granted, until the earth fell from under me and my whole world shattered. My first psychotic breakdown took away everything I knew to be true and buried me whole.

The paranoia, delusions of grandeur, mania, the irrational and out of control behavior. I wanted to die, too exhausted by the fragile, broken mind. I wanted to let go of the rage, the fear, the despair, I wanted to end my life. The slicing of the wrists, my escape and a way out. Dancing in the streets, in stores, I was too out of my mind to be ashamed, by my behavior. The shame and isolation would come later, as thick and heavy as a steel beam, freight train crushing my soul. I lived with my brother, exasperated, helpless, not knowing what more he could do, he put me on a bus back home to my mother. My Irish, stubborn, loyal, family first, capable mother. She had experience dealing with Mental Illness; my family had been plagued by the unlucky 1 in 4 gene pool.

My sick, wracked mind betrayed me, no longer mine to control. The whole and intact me, I used to know now gone forever. The carefree, compassionate, strong, independent person is living her worst nightmare. Even on the hard, horrific days, the dark evil thoughts dominating my brain, I fight desperately to regain control. If you have not been exposed to Mental Illness, please do not talk to me about it. You are out of your league, cannot begin to comprehend the exhausting toll it takes. On a family, friends, that is if you are lucky enough to have any left. Mostly, you are left with isolation and shame, your own.

My second breakdown brought black days, numbness, and a shell of a person. The depression and anxiety, so crippling I was forced to leave the big city, retreat back home to the safety of familiar surroundings. The pain so deep, so heavy, the fear immense, death seemed my only option. A welcome release from the demons, the evil lurking in the corners of a tortured mind. I work hard to beat the beast daily, as soon as my feet hit the floor, shaking. I take the psych drugs, Lithium, Xanax, Valium, the shock treatments and practice alternative medicine. I do yoga, eat healthy, exercise and live simple. I try to avoid the triggers, terrified of the next episode.

I never know when the outbursts will come, when paranoia will convince me the man in the park wants to kill me. In my heart and my soul, I know this is completely irrational. But, the mind plays tricks. I have to fight, every minute, every second to control the grappling Illness I must live with. Day after day, in constant fear of what I might do next. I don’t own a gun, I would be afraid to have one in close proximity. I hate violence, I find it abhorrent, but I do not trust the beast.

There is no concrete help for the Mentally Disabled; there is half hour, once a month consults with the overworked, underpaid psychiatrist, who spends your time glancing at a clock. There are no solutions, into the mysteries of a broken mind, they throw pills at you. Pills that may very well be your undoing, send you deeper into depression, trigger manic episodes or worse an acute psychotic episode, and the killing of innocent souls. Those are the worst breaks, the psychosis, and the hardest to come back from. I have visited them firsthand.

I watched, helpless as my beautiful, brilliant, Yale educated, compassionate cousin ended her own life. She was a Dr., the smartest person I know and she could not find a way out of the Mental Illness that plagued her. My own father, who endured 17 years of Mental Illness, endless pills that made him worse, psychiatric hospital visits, a dementia ridden mind at the end. My mother, who fought every battle with him, and for him when he couldn’t. His daughter who would always be in my memory, his adored, precocious, funny face, happy and intact child. He died not knowing my name. Although, in my heart and my spirit, I know exactly what I meant to him. His last breath I was beside him, holding his hand and on his heart. I felt the unbearable pain and destroyed mind, set free as he floated up to heaven. He was a good man, the kindest, most selfless I know.

I am a good person, who doesn’t deserve this fate. I am not a violent person, but I am Adam Lanza. He may have committed a horrific, unspeakable EVIL, act. Did he start out evil? He must have been an innocent, child himself at some point. When did his broken mind take over, when did he lose all rational, self-control? It’s too hard to grasp, too big to think about without immeasurable faith.

When are we, as an empathetic society, going to care about the Mentally Ill? Fight for them; stick up for them, as eagerly as we fight against gun control. When will we do something about the fact that there is no place for ‘us’, when the evil, mind disease takes hold? They send you to the ER, push a pill, perhaps a 72 hour hold to the Psych Ward. There is nowhere a parent with a disturbed, sick child can turn. We are in trouble, as a society. Take the guns off the streets, a mentally disturbed individual will find another way to kill. Help us fix them, with more research, better facilities, more culpability from the Government and its people, for the Mentally Ill.

I weep for those children, the families, the unimaginable depths of pain and sorrow. I rejoice in my youth, safe, happy and healthy. I’m grateful for that. I expose myself, sharing my story. Perhaps it can help bring insight and perspective. I don’t believe human beings are evil, I believe they are defective and commit violent, unspeakable acts.

Mental Illness has afflicted me, but it could’ve been you or a loved one. One in four is not great odds. I am alone, completely and utterly alone with my Illness, even while surrounded by an empathic family. I am not a child; I am an adult, who’s better equipped to manage this bastard disease.

Please, don’t judge me. Don’t judge the Adam Lanza’s. Don’t judge the ‘crazy,’ the insane, the unfit, the unwell, the lunatic that is me.

Help us instead.

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CRAZY, Now Get Out of my Head

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No matter how many times this morning I repeated I am in fact NOT full of hate, bitter, ugly, paralyzed with fear or consumed by the crazy, I could not reason my way out. I’m a rapid cycler, I’ve been hypo-manic for weeks and yes headed towards the inevitable come down, the hideous depression and the dark. Black nothingness is something I understand, the concept I accept and am accustomed to. It’s always there, lurking, stalking, circling a part of my DNA. No, I cannot wish it away or yank it out like an abcessed, putrid smelling decayed tooth. The crash and burn snatches the pretty pieces of me, my self-worth, joy, hope, strength, wonder. Yes, I’m constantly skipping ahead to the future, not in a happy-go-lucky way but trying to map the least destructive, less painful route. I don’t even understand what’s happening to me, which thoughts to trust or block so how could you?

My worst fear, the one that buries me like a sinkhole is that I end up alone with my crazy. On the streets or even worse, like my father who had no idea who I was in the end. His crazy consumed him over an agonizing amount of days and years. It is slowly and excruciatingly doing the same to me. Silently, while I am screaming inside. I realize I am not going to win this war, I understand that. So why bother writing books no one will read? Painting rooms in a house I will surely have to leave. Why bother? When everything and everyone I love will die and be taken away. Why bother when I will be left insane, why the fuck should I care? About anything. God doesn’t. I’m not sure how much pain one body can endure, I’ve had more than one soul can carry. Today, I do feel sorry. I am allowed. But wallowing is dangerous, heartbroken tears make my eyes puffy, my heart heavy and the guilt of hurting those I love too heavy to bare.

I didn’t start the day with bad intentions. Most days I pretend happy, hoping it will rub off. For you and for me. For my benefit that I am indeed strong enough to cope with this bullshit brain that never stops the whirring, annoying chatter. If I do end up in the streets, so be it. I’d best plan now, pick a pretty, warm corner where the sun shines with a soothing view. The bastard disease has not yet ripped away my imagination. No, not yet that’s all mine.

My BFF talked me off the ledge, the pity party granted until noon and that’s all. The number of hours wasted, screamed, cried and hurled accusations at my mother is more shame than I care to remember. I insisted to my friend (when my head controls the dialogue I CANNOT think, to say I become irrational is being charitable) that I was ‘happy’ once, a ‘free-spirit’ which she quickly shot down. “Who is this person you’re talking about, that wasn’t you.”

I’ve been pretending so long since before I can remember, I don’t even know me. The lines dangerously crossed in my mind.

I’m not going to write books, do anything anymore. Why the fuck should I?

I quit. Why fight when there’s no winning? I can’t battle an invisible disease. Well, you have two choices and one is true midnight black nothingness. The other, keep breathing.

Do not feel sorry for me. Do not dare feel sorry for me. I do not want, need or ask for your pity. I’m sharing this because these words, my most hurtful truths, this unbearable pain, the incomprehensible fear someone else out there in a parallel world might be feeling them too.

Don’t judge my crazy or put a label on it for your comfort.

I did not ask for this mind, it’s what I got.

Tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll feel better. I probably won’t given the logic and the statistics, but tomorrow will come with or without me.

Fear has never been a friend of mine. Fuck it. Onward.

CRAZY, NOW GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

I am writing.

truth always wins.

GEORGIA PINE

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“Love your body for all its peak and valleys.” Jacqueline Cioffa Lane Bryant ‪#‎ImNoAngel‬

“Style goes beyond size. (Case in point: Everything on this page.)”

Post your beautiful self(ie) on Facebook Lane Bryant ‪#‎ImNoAngel‬

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Love your body for all its peaks & valleys
#ImNoAngel #CurvyGirls #FF Jackie Cioffa
ex-model MakeUp artist author feminist advocate being
Current Size 12