Celebrate the Dash in Between


Reposting for a friend . For you D.M.

Today is my mother’s birthday, May 31st. Had she lived, she would have been eighty-six. Instead my mother died when she was sixty-nine. Renal failure. I was there singing her favorite song. It was not easy to get through. I knew she heard me. The family had come and had said goodbye. It was just my mother and me now. Her last moments were spent with her hand in mine and my hand on her shoulder, singing to her through my tears. All the years of love, frustrations, good meals, fights with my father and homemade fudge had come down to this moment.

It was not a difficult decision to take her off of her dialysis as she was suffering being on it at that point. Her doctor informed me well on what I could expect and he was accurate.

I set off for the fabric store to buy the black fabric to place on the mirror in the front foyer of my home. Placing a black cloth on the mirrors at the death of a loved one is a tradition of my religion, so as not to see the pain in the faces of the survivors. When I returned from the store, she had stopped breathing. I suppose she needed me to stop sitting vigil and to walk away and allow her to slip peacefully into the hand of God.

She was ready, I wasn’t.

Is one ever ready for death, especially the death of someone so beloved? As hard as we hope for some people to find their peace in eternity, we still get left behind with the memories and their breath still left on our skin.

Traversing through our grief after losing someone close to us is undoubtedly the hardest experience we will ever have.

But I would like to share something I have figured out the hard way.

Life calls on us to move on, to move forward. Perhaps life cannot ask us to see crimson in the same way, even laughter may not seem as loud or as forthcoming; nevertheless, it is we who are left to carry on for those that have left us in charge. Death is not an ending, it is a new beginning of rebirth. It is the end of form and the sojourn of a spirit into ultimate peace and happiness. For those of us who are left behind, it feels like an ending, like a death, but it is the beginning of a celebration of a life. A celebration of the true essence of a human life.

For it is true that we are spiritual beings having a human experience and when we leave, we transition from human to spirit. So, make it a natural way of dealing with goodbye by celebrating the human life of the person who has left their essence behind in you. Because life is a celebration, each day, and each moment is a blessing.

As long as we celebrate the lives of those that have touched us, their essence, their spirit will live forever.

Happy Birthday, Mama. I love you, Sug. P.S. (I made luchen kugel twice in 10 days and got a request for the recipe. Hope you don’t mind.)

Here is a recipe from my mama to you.

Luchen Kugel by Shirley Waitsman

1 bag of wide egg noodles 3 ounces of cream cheese

2 tablespoons of butter 1 egg and a splash of milk

1 cup of cottage cheese little salt and pepper to taste

Add paprika on top before baking at 450 degrees for 45 minutes


As ever,

Be well~

My Mother’s Favorite Song

Posted in Celebrating life, Counseling, Death, Depression, Grief, Illness, Loss, Mental Health Wellness, Spiritual and Mental Health, Stress | Leave a comment

Grammer, Punctuation, Sentence Structure, OH MY!!!

{This blog is not for children}        


           Just recently, I had a patient point out that my blog needed some improvements. He thought my grammar and sentence structure was off. He also suggested I make the sentences more pithy. (I had to look that up to see what it meant).


Magnifying Glass over Dictionary


Dad gummit, he is correct!  There are plenty of grammatical errors in my post and a fair amount of misspelled words.  And certainly more to come. However, the content stands. Pithy or not. (Maybe I should have gotten a degree in English, instead.)

       This blog is not my effort in being a rock star in the blogosphere, but of imparting good solid information, tools and life lessons to the few people who are generous enough with their time to read it.

  I hope those few, will keep reading my content, even with my human foibles and all!!

Be well~



Renee is a wise-cracking, down-to-earth, tell-it-like -it -is therapist with bad punctuation and she can be reached at 727-278-8375.

Posted in Celebrating life, Creativity, Spiritual and Mental Health | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments


 {Please note this is a site for adults.  It is meant as an educational tool for adults and parents of children with mental health disorders}



     Depression is no laughing matter, that is for sure. Since the suicide of Robin Williams, depression has been in the footlights of our minds.

   Depression can hit us like a bolt from the blue or it can be chemical. Or it is often what I would address as characterlogical. 

   Characterlogical depression is something that is ingrained as a character trait. It is often a tandem trait with a personality disorder such as Personality Disorder NOS or Boderline Personality Disorder.  It is less chemically related, although if it persists, it can change the brain chemistry in the long run as well as the organs in the brain such as the hippocampus. The hippocampus, or the memory center of the brain can shrink in size with the chronicity of depression. 

   This type of depression is sometimes resistant to medication and/or therapy.

 The person that suffers with this kind of depression needs to have some kind of breakthrough that would allow them to recognize their resistance to change. Therefore, it makes this type of depression more difficult to treat. 

     Preeminent treatment for this type of depression is a form of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy called (DBT) Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. This type of therapy or skills training was introduced to us by Dr.Marsha Linehan from The University of Washington.

     It can be very difficult to reach out and seek help, but if you know someone who is close enough to you that you feel you can talk to about it, do it. You could save a life or your own.


Next up, situational depression.

Be well~


Resources for your information:

Skills Training Manual for Treating Boderline Personality Disorder-Marsha Linehan. 1993

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skils Workbook- Matthew McKay et.al. -2007 (my favorite)

The Expandaned Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills Training Manual-Lane Pederson-2012

The Noonday Demon:An Atlas of Depression-Andrew Solomon-2001

Unholy Ghost:writers on depression-ed.Nell Casey-2002 (A National Bestseller and one of my personal favorites)



Posted in Anxiety/Panic, Counseling, Creativity, Depression, Diagnosis, Health, Spiritual and Mental Health, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment





{This blog is meant for adults only and is a blog about mental health wellness for adults and for parents of children with mental disorders}

DEPRESSION IS NO LAUGHING MATTER.                                                                  


There are many mood disorders. They fall under the categories of :

Depressive Disorders

BiPolar and Related Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Under these umbrellas of mood disorders falls disorders that are chemical disorders of the brain, situational syndromes and character-logical problems, and ALL exacerbate depression or are exacerbated by depression.


A clinical depression is defined not only by symptomatology, that is what we see and what we feel, but also what we cannot see, and that is inside the brain. The brain is a miraculous conundrum. It allows us to think beyond its limitations and breathe without requesting it to do so, but it also can cause us to have a chemical depression.

Certain neurochemicals work conjointly in each nerve cell to make a perfect recipe, but when something goes awry, the recipe can flop just like a cake in the oven. However, it is much more important than a cake that is supposed to be a pound cake and turns out to be an  upside down cake. Lack of chemicals going to the right place at the right time can cause depression and ongoing, can wreak havoc in the brain long-term. Sometimes more chemicals are needed to put the brain chemistry back on track.

In part two of this post, I will cover situational depression. You may look forward to at least two more posts in the series of depression.

Please forward any questions to me through the comment section of the website.

As ever-Be well~


Dr. Michaels is the owner of MindWorks on Call in Pinellas County, Fl.  She can be reached by email at mindworksoncall@gmail.com or by phone at 727-278-8375.


{This blog is for adults only.}




















Posted in Anxiety/Panic, Counseling, Depression, Diagnosis, Health, Mental Health Wellness, Spiritual and Mental Health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments



Often my toy poodles stand on the edge of the bed as they want to get down onto the floor.  Often, before I can get to them and place them gently onto the hardwood, I say to them jokingly, “Don’t jump, it’s not worth it.” While this is funny to our family, jumping off or suicide is no laughing matter and contrary to what the song says, suicide is NOT painless.

I remember one Christmas day: I was alone with no job and no prospects.  I had cashed out all of my stocks and investments to live on for seven months while I was unemployed.  With this money I kept my house and my car, but not much else.  I was so lucky to have this tiny nest egg.  Lonely and alone on that Christmas day, I found a frozen hamburger patty in the freezer, fried it up, and opened up a can of beans I found in the cupboard.  What a Christmas, eh?  I was probably as low as I could get, but at no time did I think or believe that suicide was an option.  I bet you are thinking “Why the hell not?”  First of all, it is not in my nature to do so.  Suicide is ego-dystonic to me.  It simply means one’s ego would not think suicide is an option since the thought of ending one’s life is so distasteful.

There is always a lesson and a blessing in these less than triumphant experiences we have. The blessing was my nest egg and my belief that things would change for the better, and the lesson was that things DID change for the better.

Think of it this way: if I am as low as I can go right now, then my life can improve.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Today I drove over the Skyway Bridge to take care of some personal business in Bradenton, and I thought about the despondent souls who had used this bridge not to cross over to the next town in their vehicles, but had used this bridge to leave this life. Their intent was to cross over to an unknown place so they no longer had to deal with life on this life’s terms. However, nothing ever changes at that point.  Once it is done, it is over. There is no going back for a redo.

We have free will to make our own decisions, but we need to use that free will for making good decisions for ourselves and the people who surround us.

There are so many professionals, friends, and family who can be a great support during the “low tides” of life. We have all been through these low tides, and those of us who stuck around for things to change, have experienced the high tides again.  Life is like that, waves of falling apart and coming back to shore again.

So, the next time you consider suicide and think that it will solve your problems, think again, think twice or three times or as many times it takes to get off that bridge and get some help.

As ever~be well


If you know of someone who needs this free hotline, please pass it on.      th-1




Renee Michaels, Ph.D is the owner of MindWorks on Call and can be reached at 727-278-8375.

Posted in Anxiety/Panic, Counseling, Depression, Diagnosis, Ego-Dystonic, Health, Mental Health Wellness, Spiritual and Mental Health, Suicide, Uncategorized | 3 Comments