Saturday, December 15, 2012


Marion Pellicano Ambrose


Let me start by saying, I write this article , not from reading other articles and writing my interpretation, but from painful, personal experience. Those of you who have not lived with a family member suffering from mental illness, may be able to empathize to a certain extent, but you can’t really grasp the hellish existence we must endure.


The senseless killing of 20 innocent children and 6 adults has caused people to cry out for gun control, better security in schools and bans on automatic weapons. The real need, my friends, is for BETTER MENTAL HEALTH POLICIES in this country. Families with mothers, fathers, sons and daughters suffering with mental illness, like Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression and countless other illnesses, struggle on a daily basis trying to get help and effective treatment for their loved ones, but it just isn’t there for many of us.


“Simply put, treatment works, if you can get it. But in America today, it is clear that many people living with mental illness are not provided with the essential treatment they need.”

—Michael J. Fitzpatrick, executive director of NAMI National, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Grading the States 2006, Arlington, Va.


Parents with children who are violent, abusive, or destructive have few options. If we act to keep our children and others safe, we are accused of child abuse or endangerment. For example, my son was violent and would kick out his windows, run outside and try to climb onto the roof to jump off. We put plexiglass on the windows and he kicked those out. We finally had to put grating on the windows, to keep him from getting out and to protect him from shattered glass if he did shatter the window. A social worker said we were breaking the fire code and endangering his life and that we could be reported to DCF. I stated that if we took the grating off, he was in much greater danger. I also asked her what she would do in this case. Her answer was “Well, I certainly wouldn’t put grating up! Take it down.” And that was it. No help or advice. She went home to her normal, safe family and left us to deal with our situation alone.


I was forced to Baker Act my son several times. This means, he was a visible danger to himself or others and police can be called to take him to a mental health facility to be evaluated. In every single case, he was drugged into a catatonic state, and of course, his incidents of violence stopped. The longest he was held was 72 hours and then released back home where, of course, we wouldn’t keep him drugged until he was like a zombie. A day or 2 later we were right back where we started. Back to living in hell.


Who knows what the mother of this young man who killed so many has lived with. No one can judge her until they know the circumstances of her life. It could be that she was an abusive mother, or that she neglected her son. But it’s also very possible that she struggled for this young man’s entire life, trying to get treatment, medication, counseling, and support for him and her family. I’m not surprised that her son murdered her. My son attempted the same thing on several occasions when he was younger, especially when he was going through puberty.


Please don’t misunderstand. I love my son. I did everything on God’s good earth to get him help and treatment. I traveled all over the state and farther to find the best psychiatrists and psychologists. I had a behavioral analyst, social workers, nutritionists, an more working with me. I went for training on how to safely restrain him, how to try and defuse his fits, how to use conditioning, reinforcement, how to protect myself , my daughter and my husband. All this because I INSISTED that I be trained!! Only one of the many, many mental health professionals encouraged me in this. For this reason, I will always be grateful and hold in the highest regard, Doctor Humberto Nagera of the University of South Florida.  He met with me won a weekly basis and gave me advice and strategies to deal with my son. The others were annoyed and labeled me a “difficult parent” because I fought for help. Dr. Nagera was also the ONLY one who was concerned about the effect of my son’s illness on my daughter who is 4 years younger. His care and concern had such an affect on her that she is now in graduate school studying to be an Applied Behavioral Analyst. I wish President Obama would put Dr. Nagera in charge of forging new mental health policies and programs that actually help not only the patient, but their suffering families.

I believe it is because of him , his support and the advice he gave our family, that my son has never been arrested, never on drugs, and not permanently committed to a mental institution. My son is now attending college after getting a GED, has a girlfriend, and lives on his own (with some help from me). He is still bipolar and still has great difficulty with life. He still gets angry but has learned to control it enough to keep from becoming violent. Some days he’ll talk to me and we have a good relationship, and others he hates me and  says I was never a mother to him. I’ve learned not to take it personally and just wait it out. Eventually, he comes around again. I believe that, without the hard work and partnership of me, my husband, my mother, my mother in law, my daughter and my friends, and especially the help of Dr. Nagera , my son would be dead or in prison and I would have been murdered by him.


So when you’re hearing all the calls for gun control or complaints about school safety (even though Sandy Hook was proven to have a good policy in effect and all teachers and staff acted heroically in this situation), PLEASE remember that if parents had access to EFFECTIVE mental health treatment, help with violent and abusive children, and the empathy and understanding of the public, there might not be incidences like Sandy Hook and Columbine.


ALL parents need to look at what they’re teaching their children by allowing them to see violent movies, play violent video games and act and speak disrespectfully. It’s not funny when a child uses foul language. It’s a crime when a young child is permitted to play games where they kill and maim with guns, swords or whatever weapon the game provides. It’s irresponsible when parents allow children to see movies or TV shows where sex and violence are commonplace, causing them to think this is the way it is in real life. THAT’S EXACTLY why it is becoming real life. It’s not adorable to see young girls dressed like sluts or boys dressing like gang members. All these things send a message to our children, and it’s not a good message.


Let me leave you with these facts:


One in four adults—approximately 57.7 million Americans—

experience a mental health disorder in a given year. One in 17 lives

With a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major

depression or bipolar disorder1 and about one in 10 children live

with a serious mental or emotional disorder.


• About 2.4 million Americans, or 1.1 percent of the adult population,

lives with schizophrenia.

• Bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million American adults, approximately

2.6 percent of the adult population per year.

• Major depressive disorder affects 6.7 percent of adults, or about

14.8 million American adults.1 According to the 2004 World Health

Report, this is the leading cause of disability in the United States

and Canada in ages between 15-44.

• Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive

disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized

anxiety disorder and phobias, affect about 18.7 percent of adults,

an estimated 40 million individuals. Anxiety disorders frequently

co-occur with depression or addiction disorders.

• An estimated 5.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health

and addiction disorders.4 Of adults using homeless services, 31

percent reported having combination of these conditions.

• One-half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14,

three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatments, there

are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first onset of

symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment.

• Fewer than one-third of adults and one-half of children with a

diagnosable mental disorder receive mental health services in a

given year.

• Racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to have access to mental

health services and often receive a poorer quality of care.

• In the United States, the annual economic, indirect cost of mental

illness is estimated to be $79 billion. Most of that amount—

approximately $63 billion—reflects the loss of productivity as a

result of illnesses.

• Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk

of having chronic medical conditions. Adults living with serious

mental illness die 25 years earlier than other Americans, largely

due to treatable medical conditions.

• Suicide is the eleventh-leading cause of death in the Unites States

and the third-leading cause of death for people ages 10-24 years.

More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a

diagnosable mental disorder.

• In July 2007, a nationwide report indicated that male veterans are

twice as likely to die by suicide as compared with their civilian peers

in the general United States population.

• Twenty-four percent of state prisoners and 21 percent of local jail

prisoners have a recent history of a mental health disorder.

Seventy percent of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least

one mental disorder with at least 20 percent experiencing significant functional impairment from a serious mental illness.

• Over 50 percent of students with a mental disorder age 14 and

older drop out of high school—the highest dropout rate of any

disability group.

My heart goes out to all the families of the Sandy Hook tragedy, but it also goes out to the family  of this young man who killed his own mother and then himself . His mental illness doesn’t excuse the horrible thing that he did, but it should motivate us to vote for better mental health care in this country and support teachers and others who deal with this issue on a daily basis.


Marion Pellicano Ambrose

As we grieve for the loss of so many little angels, think not of our suffering, but of their flight to perfect happiness. I dedicate the playing of this song to the families and friends of all the "Little Wings" of Sandy Hook.

FLY by Celine Dion

Fly, fly little wing
Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove
Upon the wind of heaven's love
Past the planets and the stars
Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain
And fly again

Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forevermore
But hold this mem'ry bittersweet
Until we meet

Fly, fly do not fear
Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free
Be on your way, don't wait for me
Above the universe you'll climb
On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set
But I won't forget

Fly, fly little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light

Friday, December 14, 2012


Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, 
Our life, our sweetness and our hope. 
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, 
To thee do we send up our sighs, 
Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, 

thine eyes of mercy toward us, 
And after this our exile, 
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! 

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, 
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 


May our Lord give strength and courage to all those who are affected by the horrific evil that took place in our schools today.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Barbara Ward-Finneran
Everyday change something. Change one little thing and in time you will have amazingly changed everything. The truest challenge is to be brave enough to change yourself.  Embrace change as it cannot be avoided, it is to be celebrated! 

Keep the promises that you make to yourself!

Photo Courtesy of Barbara Ward-Finneran and Drawn 2 Design, LLC
© All Rights Reserved


Tony Walker
An Irishman had been drinking at a pub all night. The bartender finally said that the bar was closing. So the Irishman stood up to leave and fell flat on his face. He tried to stand one more time; same result. He figured he'll crawl outside and get some fresh air and maybe that will sober him up.
Once outside he stood up and fell flat on his face. So he decided to crawl the 4 blocks to his home. When he arrived at the door he stood up and again fell flat on his face. He crawled through the door and into his bedroom.
When he reached his bed he tried one more time to stand up. This time he managed to pull himself upright, but he quickly fell right into bed and was sound asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

He was awakened the next morning to his wife standing over him, shouting, "So, you've been out drinking again!!"
"What makes you say that?" he asked, putting on an innocent look.

"The pub called -- you left your wheelchair there again."

* * * * * * * 

A man walks into a bar one night. He goes up to the bar and asks for a beer.

"Certainly, sir, that'll be 1 cent."

"ONE CENT!" exclaimed the guy, the barman replied "Yes."

So the guy glances over at the menu, and he asks "Could I have a nice juicy T-Bone steak, with chips, peas, and a fried egg?"

"Certainly sir,"replies the bartender, but all that comes to real money."

"How much money?" inquires the guy. "4 cents", he replies.

"FOUR cents!" exclaims the guy. "Where's the Guy who owns this place?"

The barman replies, "Upstairs with my wife."

The guy says, "What's he doing with your wife?"

The bartender replies, "Same as what I'm doing to his business."

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Marion Pellicano Ambrose


I may not be Jewish, but I grew up in Brooklyn, and I know a good Rugelach when I taste one. This is my recipe for a really great Rugelach! Happy Hanukkah ! 

1 cup cottage cheese

  1. Combine cottage cheese and 1 cup of butter in a bowl. Mix thoroughly, then gradually stir in the flour. Dough will be sticky. Divide dough into thirds and wrap with waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees . Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  3. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of butter with the brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, and raisins. Set aside. Roll one ball of dough at a time to a 9 inch circle on a floured surface, while keeping the remaining dough chilled. Spread 1 tablespoon of the optional orange marmalade over the circle. Gently press 1/3 of the nut mixture into the dough. Cut the circle into 16 wedges. Roll each wedge tightly, starting with the wide end. Place the cookie point-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Beat the egg white with the water in a small bowl, then brush the mixture onto each cookie.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.