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Triumph Over Trauma

In Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines Are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality, the reader is educated about psychedelics, shown how to use them, and taught about facts that are not shared in schools and on the media. Randall S. Hansen uses 23 stories to demonstrate to readers the positive impact psychedelics have on humans and why more people need to be open-minded about them.

Psychedelics are recognized to be hallucinogenic drugs that sometimes alter one’s perception and cognitive processes. In this book, Randall S. Hansen, throws light on the basics of psychedelics, answering frequently asked questions, and stating unknown facts. One of the things I love about how Randall S. Hansen started his book is the Matt Zemon quote he shared. The quote reads, ‘I am convinced that psychedelics are not a panacea, but they can play a role in healing and connection, both for the people that choose to use them and for those that do not.’ This quote is inspiring, and it acknowledges the healing elements of psychedelics.

Triumph Over Trauma is an eye-opening read. The author starts from the basics, discussing the best psychedelic medicines for newbies, how to source them, positive effects, the different kinds of psychedelics, and even the dangers. Randall S. Hansen is candid in his writing and does not write about fantasies or unproven theories. This book is a great read and incredibly excellent for anyone dealing with trauma. Whether it is trauma from work, home, childhood, or any mental condition, Randall S. Hansen, in detail, writes about how psychedelics can help you.

This book is divided into four parts. Part one of the book is an introduction for those unfamiliar with psychedelics. The second part of the book is my favorite. In this part, the author writes about experiences with 23 people. These are real stories told, and one can feel the healing the people in the stories share. The positivity radiated through these stories is marvelous. I appreciate that their stories were not too long but short enough to inspire and radiate the positivity readers that are hurt and those that have been dealing with past traumas need. I mostly enjoyed the stories and transformation journeys of Ryan, Todd, Charles, Hunt, Alexandra, and Jessica. Part three is on microdosing while the last part has the author summarize, and mention other vital information not discussed in the book.

Randall S. Hansen’s book is the ideal for your healing, wellness and positive transformation. After reading this book, you get a new perspective of psychedelics and feel refreshed. I recommend this book to readers that are struggling with traumas, those seeking treatment, and readers that are curious about psychedelics.

Pages: 290 | ASIN : B0BNLWHSHL

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Mind Candy

Your mind is a powerful tool that will either get you moving or have you stagnate in one position for a long time. How do you ensure that you take the right path in life and make weighty decisions? Does your general perspective of life influence your lifestyle? How does your subconscious mind control you, and what can you do about things you are not in command of? In Mind Candy: The Code to Program your subconscious Mind to Achieve Any Goal, Felicia Pizzonia takes the reader on a commanding journey of the subconscious mind. The author writes about mental wellness, setting and achieving goals, having a different view of things, embracing what is beneficial, and dealing with obstacles along the way; It all starts with your mind before anything else.

Even before getting to the main content, the reader is welcomed with an excellent foreword from Dr. John Demartini. This forward was crucial as it prepares the reader for the author’s discussion. From the foreword, my main lesson was self-discovery and self-love. I like that Dr. Demartini briefly wrote about the author and shared gems about living a rewarding life. The first chapter of the book felt like a continuation of the foreword. I appreciate Felicia Pizzonia for starting with an easy-to-digest topic; success. In this chapter, the author extensively writes about how to achieve success and be a winner in all you do. The points the author gives are realistic and level-headed.

Each of the topics Felicia Pizzonia wrote about was critical. From discussions about the conscious mind, receiving information, analyzing situations, changing one’s mindset, learning from experiences, setting goals, creating habits, taking care of your mind, body, and soul, and personal growth, among others, Felicia Pizzonia has advice on everything one needs for their well being and personal growth. One thing you are assured after reading this inspirational book is that you will expand your brain capacity and accomplish your goals within a set time.

I enjoyed Felicia Pizzonia’s writing and the phrases she used to enable the reader to comprehend the discussion. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “Your purpose isn’t meant to be another’s, just as their purpose isn’t meant to be yours.” The laidback tone in the book, arrangement of the chapters, separation of the various topics, and the warm and friendly language used by Felicia Pizzonia is encouraging. As a reader, you get pleasure from reading the book as you take hold of the knowledge being shared.

Mind Candy: The Code to Program Your subconscious Mind to Achieve Any Goal is the perfect book for you if you want to change how you view life, explore a bit of the liberal side and learn about your conscious mind. This is a wonderful book for young adults who are thinking about college and career paths and older adults who want to improve their own lives and take control of their futures.

Pages: 172 | ASIN : B07ND2NWG9

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The Decision to Kill

When a crime is committed, numerous questions are asked. But if that crime rips apart the very core of a family, the only question to ask is why? When everything about who you are and who you love is torn apart, what have you got left to stand for? And would you overcome all the pain and sorrow to see justice prevail? Would you fight for your family? Is blood thicker than water? And in the end, could you say that you still love after so long of feeling nothing but hate?

The Decision to Kill: A True Crime Story of a Teenage Killer and the Mother Who Loved Him is brought to us by Leslie Ghiglieri. It is a memoir and true crime book that documents the investigation and murder trial of Dwayne Weir, a 16-year-old boy accused of murdering his father. The author shares all the gruesome details surrounding the case but does so in as respectful a manner as she can. The story is told from the perspective of his mother, Cherie. She talks us through the whole story, their lives, the events leading up to the murder, and what happens after.

The author has included real courtroom accounts and expert testimony on not just the actual murder but the mental state of Dwayne. What I really enjoyed about it was the use of actual letters written by Dwayne. This really gave an insight into his mental state and showed how far he retreated into the dark corners of his mind. But this tale is as much about his mother if anything. Her quest for the truth and her battle to understand is almost too hard to bare. Her struggle to move forward and reconcile her feelings for her son after what he did is heartwrenching. This is a story no mother ever wants to be a part of.

The Decision to Kill is an emotionally charged biography and true crime story. This gripping story will engage readers as they follow the tragedy and follow along as the family searches for the answer to why. A must-read for any fans of true crime.

Pages: 340 | ASIN : B09ZNKF28B

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The Promise of Psychedelics

The Promise of Psychedelics: Science-Based Hope For Better Mental Health is described as a psychedelic therapy guide by Dr. Peter Silverstone, however, if you ask me I would classify it as a crucial academic work that is of high value in the field of psychiatry. Ever since his first day as a young psychiatrist. Dr. Silverstone was faced with patients who were suffering from depression and had tried to commit suicide at one point or another. From that day on Silverstone made it his life mission to find new ways to help people dealing with all sorts of mental health issues.

Studies show that two out of ten adults suffer from some kind of mental health problem, and due to the lack of professionals who can cater to the needs of all patients, a high percentage of patients are given medication. Sadly the medication isn’t always effective, especially in cases such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, addictions, or personality issues. However, thanks to our extended knowledge of the brain and neuroscience our approach to a lot of these issues has changed and will continue to further change and evolve in the future. Here is where Dr. Silverstone comes in with psychedelics such as psilocybin, ketamine, MDMA, cannabinoids, and LSD. In his illuminating book he explains the existing forms of therapy and treatment as well as some brand new ones that he discovered in his decades dedicated to this subject.

Inside the book, readers will get to read about different intertwined topics from the diagnosis of a mental health issue, to the plasticity of the brain, different psychedelics and where they can be used and so much more, including biographical details about Dr. Silverstone himself, and how he chose his career path.

Even though I’ve described this book as an important academic work, Dr. Silverstone purposefully made sure to write this book in a language that is easily understood by anyone. It does not matter if you have a background in the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry or not. A perfect example of this is his comparison of the brain to a pizza sliced into four parts. It may sound funny, but every good teacher is able to explain complex ideas in relatable terms and Dr. Silverstone is an exceptional educator.

My favorite chapter in this educational book, as a reader and as a psychology student, was where he talked about the plasticity of the brain (brain plasticity refers to how the brain can change, how it is flexible and can be molded) because it is a topic I had learned in developmental psychology and it was fascinating to read some new information on that topic.

I believe that The Promise of Psychedelics is an academic work that will become significant in psychiatry as our knowledge of the brain continues to broaden. I highly recommend this enlightening book to any professionals or students in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and medicine as well as anyone interested in mental health. 

Pages: 283 | ASIN: B09QWFJWJ5

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Born Into Crisis

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Kenneth Nixon Jr. plainly explains his childhood in Born Into Crisis. From start to finish, he has survived and conquered many trials. He leaves nothing out while detailing the abuse of his childhood. Along the way, he gives advice on handling loved ones suffering from mental health issues. His own mom suffered from them, which is why he became an advocate for mental health. Finally, he tells his story of overcoming great odds to have healthy relationships. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Expertly written and easy to read. I, unfortunately, can relate to a lot of his childhood trauma. His advice and tips for helping those struggling with mental health issues are accurate. He is very knowledgeable about how to handle his mental health issues as well as others. His childhood is very similar to mine. The emotional, mental, and physical abuse that he went through at a young age is comparable to what I went through. His messed-up childhood takes place mainly in Arlington, Virginia. From poor parenting to a parent with bipolar disorder, he lets the reader know just how stressful life can be.

Throughout everything, he ultimately maintains hope and becomes a parent himself. I found this book to be dramatic, informational, and thrilling. I appreciate how plainly he explains the trauma he went through. He doesn’t over-exaggerate anything or make it overly dramatic. He calmly tells his story as though he has done it a thousand times. Which he probably has due to therapy. Hardships like his can either make or break a man. Truly broken men don’t write memoirs. His entire book is written like he was speaking. He mentions his ADHD, and you can tell from his writing style that he wrote the book to be like he was speaking. There were several mannerisms in his writing that, on a side note, were quite comical. He goes in-depth with all of the mental health issues he discusses. It was a truly fascinating story to read. 

Pages: 232 | ISBN: 1950476561

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Actively Fighting For My Life

Author Interview
Tricia Stafford and Annie Stafford Author Interview

The Apparition is a memoir that charts your journey through the mental health system while providing information and research on various aspects of mental illness, particularly hearing voices. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Tricia: I wanted to lend dignity to people who suffer from extreme mental health challenges. There’s a tremendous amount of shame attached to this kind of suffering, and, as a result, we would rather push it away than admit it to anyone. I wanted to bring the topic down to a very personal, down-to-earth, relatable-to-some level. The educational components of the book are meant to provide at least a primer on the various manifestations of mental illness. Although the reverberations between my own mental health and my daughter’s originally compelled me to write the first part of the book, which took many years, in the end it was the hearing voices population that propelled me to action, the poignancy of their pain that urged me to go public. I wanted to do something for the people who were so distressed by their voices that living a “normal” life was a battle. I wanted to help humanize the phenomenon. I have been aided by the honesty and sincerity of so many writers along the way, and I wanted to contribute, in my small way, to that same body of literature.

Annie: While my mother is the primary author, it was important for me to contribute to this book because the experience of hearing voices is still so misunderstood within the traditional mental health system. I felt compelled to share my journey, both with hearing voices and other mental health challenges, in hopes that others may connect with some pieces and feel less alone in their own struggles. Ultimately, it felt important for my experiences not to have been in vain, but to use them to propel some semblance of change.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

Tricia: The personal challenges I wrote about were not things I was eager to share, so none of that was easy. I wondered how family members would react to me knowing these things, and I thought it would be strange for people I knew to suddenly know these most intimate details about me. Would I be straining the relationships in my life? Would I offend anyone or put them off? I have always been an extremely private, introverted person, and it goes against the grain for me to be so public. But I am far along in life now and have the long-view perspective of wanting to contribute something to our greater understanding of mental illness, as well as make meaning of my own experiences.

What I worried about most, though, was possibly causing further damage to my daughter. I did not want her to feel bad about herself in any way. Parts of the story, I knew, would be hard for her to review, but she trusted that I was not out to write an account of “gory details” and I tried hard to honor that trust. On the other hand, she was fully onboard throughout the process, and I was grateful for her contributions.

Annie: The hardest portion for me to write was my ending piece, which details where I am in my life now. During this time, I was actively fighting for my life. It was painful to capture these experiences in brutal honesty. But as difficult as it was, the act of writing helped me to hang on and keep fighting.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is hesitant to seek treatment for their mental health issue?

Tricia: I would try to remind that person that there are times when the weight of our problems is simply too much to bear on our own. I understand the shame one can feel about reaching out for help. I wish that I had not felt that so acutely in my own life, but I did. I think I would have suffered far less if I had allowed myself to be more human and admit I had problems. Not only is there no shame in seeking treatment, but it is equivalent to accessing medical treatment for any debilitating physical condition. Treatment can enable us to look at the problem and set things right, or at least on a better course. Simply put, reaching out for help has the potential to be lifesaving.

Annie: To someone who is hesitant to seek treatment for a mental health issue I would say that you should not have to suffer alone – you deserve support. While it may take time to find treatment that is the right fit for you, do not give up. It takes immense courage to reach out for help, but what lies on the other side could be transformational.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

Tricia: I hope that readers learn something about the different ways the mind can respond to chronic stress. I also hope they develop an appreciation for the complexity of their inner lives and see the detriment of sweeping difficult emotions under the rug. For example, if they feel particularly troubled by a problem which causes them to repeatedly stumble, perhaps they can do something about it. As mentioned in the book, in my own life social anxiety was a particular scourge. Although I was a pretty good student, I dreaded the classroom environment because of the stress it caused me. I wished I could have spoken up when I was a young person, but I did not know how, nor did I have the strength or courage to do that. Perhaps in the future, knowing how hard it is for people to admit they suffer from social anxiety, students could be screened for it and offered a more comfortable learning environment. We have made great strides in the school system with other learning differences, and perhaps this could be another one we learn to accommodate. I also hope readers take away the knowledge that listening deeply and with compassion to someone who is struggling goes a long way toward easing their pain and discomfort.

Annie: What I hope readers take away from the book is the power of unconditional love. My mother’s love made more of a difference in my healing than any service or medication ever could. When I lost hope, she held that hope for me. Unwavering, consistent love is one of the few forces that can transcend even the most difficult of mental health conditions. I wish this kind of love for everyone.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

When Tricia Stafford’s seven-year-old daughter Annie suffered incapacitating anxiety after a traumatic encounter with a Catholic nun, she had no idea that it was just the beginning of more serious mental health struggles – for both her and her daughter.

While Annie battled OCD and depression, Tricia’s own history of anxiety re-emerged and led to an emotional breakdown. At age twelve, Annie also began hearing voices, but in 2012 they met Ron Coleman, an activist in the Hearing Voices Movement, who offered them a new kind of hope.

This deeply personal account charts their long journey through the mental health system, while weaving in relevant information and research on various aspects of mental illness, particularly, hearing voices. In sharing her story, Stafford shines a light on our country’s mental health crisis and challenges us all to seek a better understanding of, and more compassionate treatment for, those suffering from any form of mental illness.

The Apparition

A reckoning with madness in the true sense of the word. This book gives a very personal account of Stafford and her daughter’s experience of mental health issues as the duo traverse across uncharted territories together, trying to understand their trauma and proactively working towards healing, continuously seeking alternative treatment methods and support systems while constantly battling some of the most debilitating physical conditions. It recounts the numerous ordeals that they faced and exposes us to the tumultuous world of voice hearers. To that effect, it is both inspiring and informative, encouraging readers to visualize the amount of emotional stress Annie or any person who hears voices has to endure on a daily basis.

To say the narrative follows a chronological order or has a linear timeline would be limiting, because this book is anything but a series of events highlighted one after the other. In fact, it is sometimes akin to a research paper in how it makes references to literature on and around the subject of mental illness, hearing voices or suicidal ideation, etc. Other times it flows with the melancholic drift and confessional tone of an autobiography or memoir as it closely retells the lived experiences of the mother and daughter, almost reminiscent of a survivor’s tale.

What is particularly interesting to note is the conviction with which the mother supports her daughter and never fails to believe in her overall potential to overcome these challenges. Her honesty and candor makes the book humane and more accessible instead of painting their struggles as an isolating experience. She single-handedly becomes the stability Annie craves, the solid ground for her to stay anchored to when everything else convinces her she is crazy. Stafford tells her daughter’s story with immense empathy and a subtle pride, evoking in us in turn a sense of compassion, understanding and awe.

Although painfully fragmented, Annie’s voice still rings clear through the extracts her mother deftly curated and dispersed throughout the length of the work. Albeit some parts of the book where the topic veered into religion, theology or mysterious spiritual awakenings, the narrative sometimes seemed disordered yet there is much in this book that is eye-opening.

Pages: 242 | ASIN: B0BL1CSCJX

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Taming Fear in the Age of Covid

As an individual that struggles with anxiety and depression that have worsened in the last few years, Taming Fear in the Age of Covid by Dr. Winfried Sedhoff is the perfect place to begin tackling fears. This beautiful book is divided into two parts: Fear is a Charlatan and From Fear Monster to Friend.

The first part of the book goes into detail about the trauma experienced by most human beings and the power it takes to tame this fear. Through real-life experiences (including his own), Dr. Winfried goes into the science of the human brain and how it can rewrite fears.

The second part of this book goes into actionable steps that one can take to overcome their fear. He shares the feeling of lack of interpersonal communication and isolation during COVID, transmission and how it occurs, and unknowns associated with the COVID-19 virus. One of the tips that he gave that has increased my productivity instead of obsessing over unfinished work is the notepad trick. He shares that when he was an intern, he carried with him a large notepad everywhere, and he wrote down everything. A daytime task diary has become part of his routine and is now part of my routine to increase efficiency. This helps us stay in the present and not stress about the future. After all, “Mindfulness taps into a secret about the fear we have just learned: the brain can only be afraid if it considers the future.”

It is important to know that this is not the kind of book one can read in one sitting. The actionable steps in part two of the book require practice and mindfulness before moving on to the next stage of practice. Yes, there are stories about how certain people overcome anxiety and depression. However, healing does not take one day, just as Rome was not built in a day. I rate the book four out of five stars. Through the practices that Dr. Winfried gives, one releases so much tension and anxiety that one was not aware they carried, which is both a beautiful and sad experience.   

Pages: 304 | ASIN : B0BF8213Z6

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