Sylvia Likens, Age 16, Tortured and Killed

Warning! Explicit images included in this blog post. 

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Isn’t she a pretty young girl? This is Sylvia Likens – 1965. She was 16 . . . when she was repeatedly tortured and then killed by Gertrude Baniszewski, a woman Sylvia was staying with while her parents, carnival workers, were out of town.

Sylvia was a sweet girl but Gertrude, who was poor and had many children of her own, blamed Sylvia for bogus acts. Gertrude evidently needed an outlet for her stress an anger, and Sylvia Likens was nearby.

Gertrude’s teen daughter, Paula, told her mother lies about Sylvia – making things even worse. Gertrude called Sylvia a prostitute and a slut and even “branded” her belly with a hot pin (along with the help of Richard Dean Hobbs, a neighbor teen).

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richard-hobbs Richard D Hobbs

 

gertrude-baniszewski  Gertrude Baniszewski

 

Gertrude encouraged her own children and neighborhood kids to go to the basement, where Sylvia was bound, and abuse her with kicks, punches, and cigarette burns. The teens would even untie Sylvia and throw her against the basement wall or practice Judo on her. She was also repeatedly made to climb the basement steps, where she was then pushed down them.

Sylvia was soon unable to control her bladder or bowels and was left in her filth.

The poor girl only lasted a few months before dying of malnutrition and blunt trauma to the head. Gertrude had the kids dress the naked girl before the police arrived.

 

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The house where Gertrude did her evil deeds is shown below:

 

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We should never forget little Sylvia Likens and what was done to her. Evil does exist, and Gertrude Baniszewski was filled with it.

(An informative movie about Sylvia’s story is called An American Crime and can be viewed on Amazon Video.)

 

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Reasons I Can’t Lose Weight, and I Need to Lose 120 lbs!

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I’ve heard it several times but never applied it to my own situation. Antidepressants can cause cause weight gain. I wondered why I’ve lost weight in the past but always gained it back.

It hit me yesterday; my doctor changed my antidepressant, and I read the enclosed paper about possible side effects. Issues with increased appetite (sometimes I just graze all day) and subsequent weight gain, there it was in black and white.

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My age also contributes to natural weight gain. I’ll be 55 in two months. As we age, our metabolism slows. Yet another strike against my attempts at getting thinner and healthier.

Will I let it stop me from shedding this massive amount of weight? You bet your first child it won’t’!

My mantra for today is this: “Stay on track and see results.”

I’m off to exercise. Ugh. Yes, it is only the first part of my new exercise plan, and I still hate doing it. I can hardly wait until the day I look forward to the activity – and I know I will. I’ve been there before.

Love you guys! Here’s to a healthy 2019! Stick with your goals!

 

Motion Creates More Motion. My Weight Loss Strategy.

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Here I am on New Year’s Eve. I visited with friends and learned a line dance called Rockin Cha. It would have been much more fun had my hips not been hurting from the activity. I’m in bad shape . . . like, having had zero exercise in a long time. So, any form of exertion really gets me winded and hurting. I hate this about myself. I’m glad I’m changing it!

I’ve realized something else; as long as I am inactive, I don’t have any motivation to “do” anything, much less move for an extended length of time. I’ve started using one spurt of energy to just stand up and stretch. Then, once I’m up, I focus on the reason I am making this life change. I want to be less limited in my every day life. I want to fit into restaurant booths again. I’d like to go to the movies and not have to hold my arms on my chest so I don’t take up mine AND my neighbor’s spaces on the arm rests. I don’t want my pre-diabetes to become diabetes. I have many, many reasons I want to get healthy). ANYway, while I stretch, I take deep breaths and keep my mind on what my plan is. The plan that will get me where I need and want to be, health wise. I don’t whine about it, I just walk to the elliptical machine – sometimes I’m even barefoot – and slip my earbuds into my phone an let the iTunes begin. I step on the machine and push Start. I go for at least ten minutes but aim for even one more minute than I did the day before (IF I exercised then). Once I’m in motion, I feel full of oxygen and enjoy the music. I feel productive and proud of myself.

So, my dear friends, it’s about making that first move UP and off the couch!

When I get on my elliptical machine, which is my favorite form of exercise, I have no stamina. I only last ten minutes! There was a time I spent an hour on that machine. I get frustrated easily but I know it”s normal and to be expected for the level of fitness at which I’m starting out. I try to give myself a break as I would for anyone else. I have a cute exercise shirt I’m dying to wear but it’s just too small  (it’s a small-fitting 2x) 😦  Fitting into that shirt is one of my beginning goals. See it below:

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I wonder if you have noticed that I haven’t told you my actual weight. I’m being honest with you guys but I can’t bring myself to quote how large I’ve gotten. One day soon, I will have the strength to share that number with you. I’m 5’2, so even a little weight feels like a lot but as I’ve said, I have 120 lbs to lose! I chose the Weight Watchers Online eating plan to help me control the quantity and quality of foods I eat.

I hope to be a contact of sorts with other women or men in cyber land – to show you it CAN be done. You have heard it many times before but I mean to show you – If I can do this, so can you!

Join me if you need to lose some significant weight. Let’s do this together. Feel free to comment and let me know what’s on your mind or what subject you might like me to cover here.

I’m off to grab some lunch. Tuna with crunchy veggies sounds good. Y’all have a great day! Lea

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers

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Reblogged. Thanks Cristian Mihai

Do you want to be a successful blogger? Do ideas for posts randomly pop into your head whenever, wherever? Do you think about ways to improve your blog?

How to write more? Better? Faster?

Do you study what the most successful bloggers have done to get to where they are right now?

You are not alone. I do this too. It’s one of my passions. To see what makes the difference. What works, what doesn’t, and to understand the why. Because of this, I can write cute posts like this one.

Here are the seven best habits to have as a blogger.

1. Effective bloggers are prolific

The first key to being a successful blogger is to write. A lot.

The more you write, the better your writing gets. Talent that does not get used, is wasted. And the more posts you add to your blog, the more juice you’ll get from search engines. And more content means more reader visits to see what’s new.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an advocate for quality over quantity, but the truth is that effective bloggers work hard. Putting a successful blog together requires a lot of time in front of your computer, and not surfing Facebook or posting pictures of what you had for lunch on Instagram.

Great bloggers put a lot of time into researching, writing, editing, and planning posts for their blogs.

2. Effective bloggers are creative

If you’re ready to take risks you need to come up with creative ideas all the time. The sad part is that, as time goes on, it can feel overwhelming to come up with and act on new ideas that keep adding value to your blog.

If you want to be truly creative you’ll need to keep taking action, and never let self-doubt, the naysayers, or the urge to procrastinate be stronger that your will to succeed.

3. Effective bloggers are really, really, really passionate

You’re passionate about what you blog about, aren’t you?

I know that so many advertise being passionate about your niche that it has become such a cliché, but this does not make it any less true…

Not only do you need to feel strongly about whatever it is your writing, but you also need to make your readers feel it too.

They need to feel your fire.

4. Effective bloggers never stop learning

If you’re new to blogging, you’re probably on a steep learning curve at the moment.

Maybe you tell yourself that things will get better when you’ve been doing it longer.

No, it’s not. It never gets easier, no matter how good you become.

Mostly because you’ll always need to step up your game. Also, because things change very fast.

And you have to keep learning.

If not…

What happens to a building that is not lived in?

A car that is not driven?

Have you ever noticed they decay faster than usual?

The same is your blog. Staying the same means a slow death…

5. Effective bloggers are focused and consistent

Successful bloggers develop a scheduleand stick to it.

They write consistently about their topic of choice, and with a consistent voice and approach. Whether they post three posts a day or two posts a week, their readers know what to expect.

6. Effective bloggers are visible and engaging

A lot of bloggers view comments as a bit of a pain in the dorsal region, so to speak. Yeah, I’m feeling very PG-13 at the moment.

If you think that replying to comments is a waste of your time, you might want to reconsider. And fast. Before you’ll find yourself in “no-comment land.”

Effective bloggers see their blog readers as interesting people who they naturally want to interact with them, not just some statistic. They reply to comments on their blog posts and talk to their readers on other social media because they value them.

The best bloggers focus on creating strong content that resonates with their readers. They’re not afraid to be provocative or share personal stories. They have that unique voice and point of view which creates reader loyalty.

Effective bloggers really talk to people. They show they care, and engage their readers rather than just going through the motions of networking because it has to be done.

7. Effective bloggers are persistent

Did I ever tell you about the Chinese Bamboo tree? No?

Well, the Chinese Bamboo tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine. In its first year, we see no visible signs of activity. In the second year, again, no growth above the soil. The third, the fourth, still nothing. If there are no results, it is easy to become discouraged and give up.

But then, in the fifth year, something happens. Growth. The tree grows 80 feet in just six weeks!

Overnight success is a myth, and top bloggers understand this.

More so, they even count on things being harder than their most pessimistic expectations. Persistence and patience are a top blogger’s best friends.

Successful bloggers don’t give up. They do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.

What trait do you think is most valuable?

What do you think the most important trait of a top blogger is? It might be one of these seven, or something completely different. Do let me know in the comments section below!

New Year Changes and Your Frame of Mind While Doing Them

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Hello, friends! That’s me at Halloween. I post this picture because it’s whimsical and fun. It made me think of my weight loss journey. I’m making changes to my whole life by just changing the way I eat and think of the fuel going into my body.

I may as well enjoy this path because there is no real END to it. I will always have to watch my weight. I’m a 5’2 Cajun woman with curves everywhere; I doubt I will magically transform with a string bean body.

I like to listen to Tony Robbins. In one of his YouTube videos, he says, “We live who we believe we are.” In other words, my body shows my inner standards about who I believe I am. In addition, my actions make my results.

Another interesting thought is this:  Skill comes from repetition.

Whatever I think of myself and whatever I DO each day, becomes “me.”

You may have heard this before. If so, let’s make changes together. I’m losing fat and getting my body in healthy condition. What do you need to change? Surely you have a negative trait or lazy habit you’d like to get rid of.

If I am excited and inspired enough, I will keep my eyes on my goal and behave in a way that will help me get there. Yes, there will be numerous set-backs and oops moments. I had one late last night – my FIRST stupid night on this new plan. But I’m back today, staying on the road to my goal.

Here is what yesterday’s dinner looked like. It was grilled rainbow trout with lemon pepper, turnip greens, and a kale salad. We went to Cracker Barrel. I stayed on plan and had a delish dinner!

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I’m trying to stay in the zone of “this is a long haul but I WILL make changes!”

Here I am on New Year’s Eve. Partying my fat butt off with friends. I learned a line dance called Rockin’ Cha and was sore all day yesterday. LOL!

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Let’s figure out who we want to be and then aim that direction!

My mantra today is ” I choose myself.”

Love y’all, — Lea

My Big Fat Cajun Life. My Journey With Obesity and How I’m Losing Weight

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That’s me. I look like I have “attitude,” don’t I? Well, sometimes I do. I need to lose 120 lbs, and that affects my whole life. I’ve started a major life-change diet today. I am using the Weight Watchers plan to “get er done.” I intend to exercise daily and lose approximately 2-5 lbs a week.

I thought I’d take my readers/subscribers on my journey. Hopefully, if you need to make a big change in your life, you might find motivation, encouragement, and acceptance here.

I had scrambled eggs and half a banana for breakfast. Here I go . . . Come with!

Lea

 

Is it Depression or Bipolar?

 

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Thanks to Kitt O’Malley, who posted this before me. And thanks to Michael Pipich for the wonderful information.

Are You Just Depressed or Is It the Onset of Bipolar Disorder?

Michael G. Pipich, MS, LMFT

About two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed with other mental health problems before bipolar is discovered.[1] Among those individuals, a significant majority are given a diagnosis of major depression. Most people with a major depressive disorder that is unrelated to bipolar disorder (typically known as non-bipolar depression or unipolar depression) can be treated safely and effectively with a combination of antidepressant medications and psychotherapy. But when people with undetected bipolar are treated this way, a host of mental health problems can occur, making the underlying bipolar condition much worse.

It’s understandable that someone may not immediately be given the bipolar diagnosis if their first mood swing begins in a depression mood zone. This seems particularly true of people who have bipolar II disorder. And sometimes, there may be more than one depressive episode before a manic or hypomanic episode happens in a person with bipolar.

If you’re wondering about whether you may have depression or the beginning of bipolar, there are some keys to keep in mind when seeking treatment.

First of all, when assessing if your depression is a part of bipolar, know that bipolar disorder has distinct genetic foundations. In other words, it runs in families and is passed through family genes. So if you suspect that any family members may have had bipolar disorder, it’s important to inform your doctor or therapist when entering treatment. If the information is available, a thorough family mental health history can really support a proper bipolar diagnosis. Unfortunately, such information isn’t always asked for, so be prepared to volunteer all that you know during an evaluation or treatment session.

Next, your personal history of mood swings should be explored. If you’ve had severe ups and downs during childhood or adolescence, these may be more than the common tumult of growing up. They may instead be early expressions of bipolar disorder. It’s especially important to review periods of hyperactivity, bouts of unexplained rage, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts or actions that could have occurred at any time in life. There certainly may be other explanations for these, such as early life trauma or severe loss and grief experienced during these formative years. But if explosive behaviors or deep depression occurred at different times, especially with little or no provocation, it can point to underlying bipolar disorder.

Usually, most people with bipolar who seek treatment on their own are currently or recently depressed, or are experiencing consequences of untreated bipolar disorder. Any history of mania or hypomania is less obvious, however. And often, bipolar patients will either not understand manic symptoms or will avoid discussion about them. If you have had at least one occurrence in your life of intense euphoria, excitability, unexplained energy and creativity, avoidance of sleep, or impulsive behaviors, inform your treatment professional. But also bear in mind that mania and hypomania may be marked by intense periods of irritability and agitation, know as dysphoria. This is in contrast to the euphoria that most people think about with bipolar mania. Often a dysphoric type of manic or hypomanic episode can be mistaken for the kind of agitation seen in major depression. This can mislead the course of treatment to focus only on depression, while missing the full bipolar condition.

This brings us to the most important part of knowing whether you have depression or bipolar onset. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition), if a patient is given an antidepressant medication, and it produces manic symptoms, the person is then diagnosed with bipolar disorder.[2] While this is a very clear indication of bipolar, how the mania surfaces in the individual may take different forms. For example, a person in a depression mood zone can improve early in the treatment, and as a result, may not show manic symptoms right away. Any slight improvement may provide a hopeful sign that treatment is working, but when the person starts to get worse because of emerging mania—especially if it’s dysphoric—the unwitting response may be to apply more antidepressant medication. Now we have some real problems.

So, if at some point in your treatment, an antidepressant medication makes you feel more agitated, more irritable, more aggressive, or you start to experience hyperactivity or greater impulsivity, tell your treatment professional right away. This could be the start of a manic episode that is revealing a previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Even more importantly, any increase in suicidal thoughts or possible psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, should be reported immediately, as these can be life-threatening. Any antidepressants will either likely be eliminated at this point, or possibly paired with a mood stabilizing or antipsychotic drug to keep a lid on mania.

With bipolar finally recognized, bipolar medications can be introduced to decrease manic-type symptoms, while keeping depression in check. Alongside medications, it’s important to have therapy focus on the unique challenges facing people with bipolar disorder. Major depression is frequently considered an acute condition because it often can resolve in time, so medications may be discontinued at some point, along with a shorter overall approach to therapy. But bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. Even though its symptoms can come and go in episodes, the genetic nature of the condition means the bipolar patient will need continuing care through the lifespan.


[1] Hirschfeld R. M., Lewis, L., & Vornik, L. A. (2003). Perceptions and impact of bipolar disorder: How far have we really come? Results of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association 200 survey of individuals with bipolar disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry64(2), 161–174.

[2] American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author, 128-130.


 

Michael G. Pipich, MS, LMFT is a psychotherapist and author of Owning Bipolar: How Patients and Families Can Take Control of Bipolar Disorder, (Citadel Press, Sept 2018). He practices in Denver, Colorado, and can be reached at MichaelPipich.com.

Press Contact: Janet Appel Public Relations
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212-258-2413

A Country Wife . . . A Poem

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A country wife

Gravel under her feet

Rain clouds above her head

Wind whipping the willow at her side

 

She walked

She had done it again

 

Most called it cheating

She called it surviving

 

Red nails at her fingertips

Smeared make-up at her eyes

Despite watching the time

It had been an hour of instinct

 

She left him behind

Like every other time

And walked toward home in haste

 

He filled her in more ways than one

Something marriage could not

 

Raindrops – between her lashes

Pasted curly locks in place

Her lips formed an evil grin

She imagined his square handsome face

 

Back into the kitchen

Back to cooking peas

He would get his supper

She would go to bed pleased

I’ve Been a Bad Girl . . . A Poem

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Rainy Sunday, Mother’s Day

Mama was at home

I took a shovel from the shed

And cracked her collarbone

 

Then I used the handle part

to gouge out her right eye

To my surprise it burst inside

then shed upon her cheek

 

Oh, Mama, silly woman

I told you I’d be back

to stop the strife

to end your life

then stuff you in a sack

 

 

People! That’s Nasty, Rude, and Irritating!

I KNOW you have pet peeves. We all do. Here are some of mine!

man-spitting  Yesterday, a man walking in front of me decided to spit. The wind was blowing MY way. Gross, folks! Think before you do nasty things!

man-chew-mouthopen  Last night at dinner, a man sat a couple of tables across from me and chewed with his mouth SO open that I was amazed the food stayed IN his mouth when he chewed. Gross, dude. Stop it!

man-burping  Last week, a grown man belched loudly in a restaurant and never said, “Excuse me or Sorry.” He looked proud of his sickening accomplishment. What’s up with these people? Were they raised in a barn?

man-waiting-tooclose  Ever have people standing waaaay too close to you in a line? If I can smell your breath, your lack of deodorant, or feel your breath on my neck, you are TOO CLOSE. Ick.

man-rude

Ah, yes . . . the person on the cell phone who is talking too loudly over a meal. Never mind how rude that is to whom the person is dining but the one on the cell phone is often yelling into the phone and disrupting all of the diners around her. Please put the phone down when you are at a table, people.

The public in general has adopted many frustrating habits. I’m from the South, and my Mama taught me better than that!