Summer Reading….On Mental Health


On vacation, but don’t have anything interesting to read? Want to know more about mental health? Want to find more books to read before you go back to school in the summer ends? Well look no further! I have a couple books (most from my bookshelf) I could recommend:








It’s Not Your Journey


“It’s Not Your Journey” chronicles a 2 year period the where, author, Rebecca Lombardo, discusses her bouts with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, self-injury, and recovery from a suicide attempt, while overcoming the loss of her brother and mother. Mrs. Lombardo’s book sheds light on what living with mental illness actually looks like in contrast to the negative depictions seen on mass media. And while yes, there are descriptions on the symptoms of mental health disorders, like for example, depression (e.g.  anger or irritability, concentration programs, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness), through her experiences you “see” what that looks like day to day.


Author Rebecca Lombardo

Her novel provides, in addition, encouragement to her readers keep on pursing their dreams and goals despite living with mental illness. I, myself, who struggle with mental illness have been inspired to stay strong and be best self, no matter what situation or person is against me…even if it’s my own mental illness. I highly recommend to book to anyone who lives or doesn’t live with a mental health disorder. It’s sure to make laugh, cry, and empower you and/or those with/without mental illness. I highly recommend you read it!

*I received a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review

You can also check out her website at:

Wonder Twin Powers Activate: Pop Culture In The Form Mental Health Awareness

Like comic book/superheroes? Want to know about your mental health and mental health in general? Why not have both? Like I mentioned in my previous post “Superheroes and Mental Health”, sometimes you could understand human behavior behind these masked/unmasked heroes, because they represent the throes of humanity. The sites I’m about to introduce YOU to are two great sites that I find do a great job at intertwining mental health awareness and the world of superheroes together:

The Arkham Sessions: Batman: The Animated Series

Pop Culture Hero Coalition

Superhero Therapy

Under The Mask: A Deeper Look at Heroes and Villains

Superhero Therapy

Superhero Therapy

Superhero therapy, ran by Dr. Janina Scarlet, a licensed clinical psychologist, uses various forms of pop culture such as comic books and videos games along with evidence based practices such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help individuals achieve optimal mental health. As being refugee and being bullied herself, she decided to use her pain to help others by attaining her Ph.D in Neuroscience and clinical psychology and of course, her love comics/pop culture to create “superhero therapy”. She has contributed her knowledge of behavioral health in various books like “Star Trek Psychology”, “Doctor Who Psychology”, “Game of Thrones”, “Captain America Vs. Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology,” “Dark Side of The Mind: Star Wars Psychology,” and “Psych of the Living: The Walking Dead.” She is about to release a new book titled, “Superhero Therapy: A Hero’s Journey Through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” coming out in the U.S. August 1st this summer (out already in the U.K.).

In addition to that, she contributes to the Saga comic series, aids Veterans with PTSD and other mental health disorders. She is also a curriculum creator for the “Pop Culture Hero” organization and website. For more information on her, her site, her works, and contributions, click on the websites below:

Superhero Therapy

What Is Superhero Therapy?


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Family Support for Military Sexual Trauma

Paths To Recovery For Military Sexual Trauma





Under The Mask: A Deeper Look at Heroes and Villains

Under The Mask pic 1

“Under the Mask” created by Dr. Andrea Letamendi “uses fictional heroes and villains to discuss mental health awareness”, while reducing the stigma and misconception toward achieving optimal mental health while still being able to nerd out!


Using her degree in clinical psychology (and love of pop culture, comic books, especially Batman) her sites goes health topics like, “panic attacks”, “PTSD”, “recovery and rehabilitation” and “bipolar disorder”.

While promoting mental health awareness, the website also aims to bring about “awareness and knowledge of psychology” and “strengthen and broaden the public impact that scientists and academics have about important scientific discoveries” through topics like “sports psychology”, “relaxation therapy”, the “recovery oriented model”, “positive psychology”, “neuropsychology”, “ethics and morality”, “cognitive psychology” and “electroconvulsive therapy.”

If you want to know more about her and her works in clinical psychology and pop culture, look at the links below:

 Under The Mask: A Deeper Look At Heroes and Villains

Batgirl’s psychologists

Captes, Cowls, and Courage: The Psychological Power of Superheroes

“Iron Man 3”: Does Tony Stark Have PTSD? (Guest Column)

Meet Batgirl’s Psychologist

the Mock Trial of the Winter Soldier

Saving Lives For 75 Years: “Batman Helped Me Find My Voice.”

The Legal Geeks


The Arkham Sessions Batman: The Animated Series


This weekly series by Dr. Letamendi and Brian Ward gets into the psychological views of Batman: The Animated Series, while still providing educational and comical views of the iconic Batman Heroes and villains.


Co-host Brian Ward

The show does use other characters of the DC Universe to further explain mental health and world of psychology. Here are a few topics/characters they discuss:

The Arkham Sessions, Episode 102 “Joker’s Millions”

The Arkham Sessions, Episode 101 “WonderCon 2017: The Psychology of Animated Series

For more information, click on the link below (you can also download them via podcast; very fun and informational stuff. Trust me):

The Arkham Sessions

Pop Culture Hero Coalition


The “Pop Culture Hero Coalition” is a non-profit organization that “stories from TV film, and comics to make a stand for real-life heroism over bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBTQ, bullying, cyber-bullying and other forms of hate”. They have a team and have partnerships with non-profit (Random Acts and To Write Love On Arms, and the United Nations Associations of the United States of America: San Diego Chapter) with various organizations that discusses crucial information on how we can make this nation, this world a better place. Two of people who are a part of the Pop Culture Hero Coalition, team include the two doctors I mentioned earlier, Dr. Letamendi and Dr. Scarlet.

They have also made visits to various schools and conventions around the country (I’ll tell you about the one I saw at this year Wonder Con) to discuss about pertinent details that is essential to living a great and optimal livelihood. For more information, click on the link below:

Pop Culture Hero Coalition

Dual Diagnosis

Being that this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness month is “Risky Business” I’m going to talk about dual diagnosis. So here is a problem we have here…does drugs and/or alcohol lead to mental illness or…does mental illness lead to drug and/or alcohol abuse? It’s hard to say. It’s kinda like the “chicken or the egg” thing. Anyways, if you are not familiar with the term, dual diagnosis is a term for individuals who live mental illness and substance abuse. According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). It’s a broad category. It can include, for example (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.):

  • Mild depression due to binge drinking
  • A person’s symptoms of bipolar disorder becoming more severe when they abuse heroin during periods of mania.
  • Drug abuse leading to mental illness because of how the drug has an influence on a person’s moods, thoughts, brain chemistry and behavior.
  • Self-medication using drugs and alcohol to mollify the symptoms of an existing mental health disorder

Regardless of how a dual diagnosis begins it impacts an individual’s interpersonal & intrapersonal relationships (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.):

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Using substance under dangerous conditions
  • Engaging in risky behaviors when drunk or high
  • Loss of control over use of substance
  • Developing tolerance & withdrawal symptoms
  • Feeling like you need the drug to function


About 1/3 of people experience mental illness in the U.S. and about half of people who live with a severe mental illness and undergo substance abuse (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.). Men are more likely than women to have a dual diagnosis, then, individuals on a lower socioeconomic status, part of the military or veterans. So how can dual diagnosis be treated? Individuals can be treated by detoxification, attending impatient detoxification, medication, psychology and/or self-help and support groups (“Dual Diagnosis”, n.d.). And I know one resource that can help you and/or your loved one overcome that problem.

Drug is an informational website that provides resources and tools to help break from addiction, so individuals and/or loved ones can achieve long term recovery. The site covers various forms of addiction such as

  • Alcohol addition
  • Drug addiction
  • Prescription drug addiction
  • Crystal meth addiction
  • Heroin addiction

Drug Rehab 2

Details on Adderal, its potency and how it’s digested.

Then some of these topics have subtopics; for example, in the discussion of Prescription drug abuse it covers:

  • Prescription Drug Abuse
  • Chronic Pain & Prescription Addiction
  • Who Addiction Affects
  • Mental Illness & Addiction
  • Commonly Abused Prescribed Drugs
  • Signs & Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse

Other topics  Drug goes into are:

  • Eating disorders
  • Functioning alcoholics
  • Teen Drug Abuse
  • Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Co-Occurring disorders (aka: dual diagnosis)

For example, in the topic on Co-Occurring disorders, discussions include:

  • Mental illness
  • Self-medicating mental illness
  • Common mental health disorders
  • Symptoms of Co-morbidity
  • Stigma of mental illness & addiction
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Causes of mental disorder & drug use

In addition, the Drug Rehab website is an extension of Advance Recovery Systems or ARS. The ARS—which also funded and provided information for the website—helps people treat addiction, substance abuse eating disorders and mental health issues. They offer services such as:

Therapeutic learning

Cognative Healing


They also (which I find awesome about this mental health services) provide various mental health words to assist in substance abuse recovery:

  • Doctors
  • Dietitians
  • Case workers
  • Nurses
  • Therapists
  • Education

Whether you or someone you know has abused substances that has led to a mental illness or visa versa, everyone deserves to live a full life. Most importantly, you/they deserve to be happy and find the peace and serenity that has been within you/them all this time.

For more information, on Drug or ARS, click on the links below. Also check out 2 free resources the site offers. They have a free 24/7 confidential hotline you can call at: 855-402-0161. And they have a free Sobriety E-Book you can download.

Advanced Recovery Services

Drug Rehab 1.png

The Sobriety E-Book


Dual Diagnosis. (n.d.). National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Retrieved from

Superheroes and Mental Health

I Love Superheros

Yes… I made a big ol’ picture depicting how much I love superheroes. They are so cool! I mean they have their own individual superpowers and they fight to save those they love

I love watching superhero movies and tv shows! I mean like, I currently I am watching “Gotham”, “The Flash”, “Supergirl”, “Arrow,” and “Legends of Tomorrow”. My favorite superhero is Batman. I own a bunch of comic books (as well as manga). I am definitely looking to watch “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2”, “Wonder Woman”, “Justice League”, “Thor Ragnarok”, “Spiderman: Homecoming” and of course… “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”.

As a child growing up in a domestic violent household, seeing violence day by day made me  feel small , hopeless and hopeless. No matter how many times I mediated my parent fights, no matter how many times I closed the door to my room to block out the arguing, the screaming and fighting, I still felt insignificant and that my life was meaningless. But…whenever I watched superheroes on tv, there were big and powerful. They used their powers to defeat evil and deflect harm away their neighboring communities and the people they loved. But you know what what really amazed me? They didn’t allow their weakness to hold them back.


I mean, for example, Superman despite knowing Lex Luthor would wear Kyrptonite to defeat him, he would still go toe to toe against Lex. Or another example, Batman despite have no superpowers, utilizes his personal resources to protect Gothamites from the villains that hope to overpower them.


Superheroes, whether the grew up in humble beginnings or affluent backgrounds, showed that grief, tragedy can happen to anyone. But do you know what people can also choose can let to happen to them? The choices they make. Do they choose to rise above the pain? Or do they allow it to pummel them? If you have read and/or watched any sort of superhero and even supervillain, you’ve seen it happen. Again using Batman as an example, although he is still tormented by the loss of his parents from a young age, he still continues to protect the city and people he loves. Yes, from time to time that pain haunts him, but he recovers from that pain everytime. Sometimes I feel that the loss of his parents takes a harder it on him than all the bad guys he’s ever faced! It kinda reminds me of this old African proverb:

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”


“I am vengeance. I am the night. I…Am..Batman!”

Recovery from his past hurts prevents him from taking harder hits—especially emotionally and psychology—physically from his enemies.  I mean, we’ve all been in a place where past hurts + current circumstances = major damage to our overall well-being. However, the real challenge beings when we ask ourselves will we allow that pain to continue to make us victims? Or…will we become victors?


If the pain should knock you—as so to speak—does that mean there is no point from rising again? Or do we get up anyway and continue to fight?


Yes, the world of superheros and villains only exist in our comic books, movies, video games and cartoon shows, but the human struggle of overcoming loss, heartache, disappointment and shame is very much real in this world. I have been made up fun of growing up, because of this statement, but where else have authors and comic writers got the ideas for most famous heroes and most infamous villains? Their butts? No.  Simply these fictional characters embody human strength and struggle. That’s why in addition  to readers and viewers admiring superheros and their powers, they can also identify with, for example, being different or being from a foreign land (*coughs Trump Administration*).


Senator Kelly in X-Men #58

I think such human experiences caught on comic books are reason why they still exist and why they continue to thrive. Heck…that’s why I read comic books.



Below are websites that use comic book heroes to help better explain mental illness and bring about mental health awareness. Click on the sites below for more information:


Pop Culture Hero Coalition

Superhero Therapy: Psychologist, Scientist, Writer, and Geek

The Arkham Sessions

Under the Mask: A Deeper Look At Heroes and Villains

For More Information:

Comicspedia: The Intersection of Comic Books and Clinical Psych

Geek Therapy: Episode 40: Stories Can Be Healing

What Is Superhero Therapy?

Blame It On Your Brain

Mental Illness is not your fault, but rather due to the chemical imbalance in your brain. If you know that already, I’m gonna remind you that again—it’s not your fault. For, example, the lack of Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid or GABA causes anxiety and depression. And large amounts of adrenaline increases anxiety and anxiety disorders. The infographic below from goes over neuroscience of the brain and how it affects the entire body