Women & Money: A Book by Suze Orman

To be well means wellness in all of your life, including your financial life. women_money.jpg

I have to say that when I first saw the book "Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Own Destiny" by Suze Orman, I didn't want to read it. In the past, I found that many of her books were difficult to understand and frankly a little preachy. When I saw that I could get it for free on Oprah's site (for one day only) I figured I had nothing to lose. I downloaded the book and then watched her on Oprah later that night on my Tivo.

She made a very good point. She said that often people came up to her and asked how they could start saving for their kid's college. The first question Suze would ask back was "Well, do you have enough money saved for your own retirement?" and most of the time, the answer was "Well, No." And Suze, in her authoritarian voice "Well, then why are you trying to save for your kids when you haven't saved for yourself. Let them go to Community College so they don't have to support you in your old age."

It is a different approach than I've ever heard before. It seems, as women, we are taught to take care of everyone else first and save ourselves for last. We forget that the only way we can truly care for other people is if we are well enough to care for ourselves first.

Intrigued, I began reading the book. Surprisingly, it was written in a different voice than the rest of her books. I didn't feel stupid when I read it because she wrote as though she were talking to someone who had absolutely no idea of anything money related.

The book goes into a 5 month plan of teaching you about your own finances and how, if you follow her plan, you can start saving money for yourself. And, her plan is simple: it only takes 24 hours each month. That is one day, Ladies!

I think the most interesting part of the book is that it focuses on women taking care of themselves. Even if you are married, you should have your own bank account, and savings that are in your name only. Because, sometimes, things happen out of your control when you need to be able to take care of yourself.

She also has a deal on her site with Ameritrade: open up an online savings account with Ameritrade and faithfully put in $50 a month for a year, and you will get $100 dollars from Ameritrade. FREE MONEY! That's a good deal. It is only open until the end of this month, so you have to act fast.

For more information, you can go to Suze's site:

Popularity: 4% [?]

Are You Vitamin D Deficient?

At my last visit to the doctor for my annual physical, my doctor ran a blood test and told me I was deficient for vitamin D.  The lab test told me that a normal "bottom level" of Vitamin D in someone was 32 ng/ mL, and my level was a "20.8 ng/mL".  (I'm not sure what the "ng" part of the mL stands for, the lab report didn't actually tell me what that unit of measurement actually was.)
I felt ok, and was surprised to hear this.  My doctor told me it was very common in women who have osteoporosis, and in fact, that vitamin D deficiency might be a cause of this bone disease.  She also told me that there were no symptoms for this deficiency, and that more and more doctors are told to check their patients for it.

I started doing some research and found that low levels of vitamin D have been linked to increased risk of breast and prostate cancer, colon polyps, multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, muscle weakness — even depression and schizophrenia.  I also learned that some experts believe as many as 50 percent of healthy adults and children are deficient in this essential nutrient.

The reasons for this are simple:  we are an indoor society, and when we do go outside, many of us use sunscreen.  The farther away you live from the equator means you are much more likely to be deficient for Vitamin D.

My doctor put me on a regiment of 50,000 units of Vitamin D3 weekly, and told me that while it was possible to overdose on this vitamin, it was difficult to do.  She told me that lifeguards who spend time out in the sun much of the time have levels of up to 200 ng/mL in their system and are fine.   I also take a multivitamin every day that also has Vitamin D.

If you feel you might have Vitamin D deficiency, all you need to do is ask your doctor for a blood test.  You can do it at the same time you get your cholesterol checked.

Popularity: 4% [?]

ACK! I Cracked My Toe!

Ouch! After tripping over the dog on my way through the kitchen, I nailed the wall with my foot. After the pain didn't go away after an hour, I made an appointment for the doctor. Sure enough, the x-ray revealed there was a hairline crack in my toe that appeared to be a minor 'scratch' on the bone. (I was actually rather peeved the crack wasn't more evident because it SURE HURT!)

I asked the doc what to do about this, and really there wasn't much. But she did suggest the following:

  1. Buddy tape the toe: That is, you tape the toe to the next toe to keep the broken toe from moving so much. (After doing this and experiencing more pain, however, she said maybe in my case I shouldn't do it.
  2. Wear flat, hard soled shoes: a hard surface prevents the foot from bending so much and allows the toe to heal.
  3. And, of course the obvious: stay off the foot if you can for 5 to 7 weeks. So much for training for the triathlon this summer.

Other than that, there really isn't a whole lot you can do. Wait it out. So, I wait. In the meantime, I will put together that triathlon training schedule and let you all know.

Popularity: 4% [?]

Depression is Real Campaign

I am pleased to see a formation of a public education program to explain to Americans that depression is a real disease, and not just 'something in your head' as many people believe.
The Depression Is Real public education campaign is sponsored by The American Psychiatric Foundation (a philanthropic and educational subsidiary of the American Psychiatric Association), the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Medical Association, the National Mental Health Association and the National Urban League and is made possible through the support of Wyeth.

Studies have shown that most people do not understand that depression is a biological disease, and instead believe that depression is a sign of 'being weak' or getting old. Personally, I felt the same way for many years: I believed that if I could just 'be happy' and 'get over it', I'd feel better. I learned later that I was depressed because my hormones were not in balance. When I got that straightened out, it was like night and day.

Depression, feeling anxious, or feeling like life is so hopeless you just want to die is not something you can just 'think your way better' with. You can't just tell yourself 'be happy' and get over it: that's like saying you can heal a broken leg just by gritting your teeth and telling yourself to 'get better.'

More information on Depression is Real Campaign as well as resources for depression:


Popularity: 74% [?]

Why I Finally Got Treatment For Depression

For me, depression was a day in and day out gloom. I didn't understand why people wanted to go out and do stuff because frankly, all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and stare into space. I rarely laughed, and when I did, I did it to please other people.

My mind would stick on subjects like "What's wrong with me? What did I do wrong? Why do I not have friends?" My heart ached all the time. When I slept, I rarely dreamed, and when I did the dreams were scary and I'd wake up from the panic attack caused by the dream. I cried at anything and everything. I didn't understand why I couldn't just 'flip the switch' and be happy.

So, I tried just being positive. I was determined to 'think myself out of it' and be a happy, normal person. That would work for short periods of time, but not in the long term.

That was normal, everyday life.

The Bad Days of Depression

When my depression was really bad, I didn't feel anything. I was completely numb. Life wasn't worth living. My head was in a fog and I literally could spend hours and days not doing anything more than staring into space between bouts of sobbing. I felt like I had a coating on me that prevented any feelings from entering my body -- like someone dipped my entire soul in candle wax and let it dry.

I felt like I was on a cliff of my sanity and I was running at top speed just inches from the edge. On the good days, I felt enough fear that I didn't want to fall over the edge. On the bad days, I felt as though I could look over the edge and lean and not feel that natural fear of falling that your supposed to have when looking over a cliff. I look back on those days now and realize how close to death I really was.

Getting Treatment for Depression
I can't remember exactly what made me want to pull myself out of depression. I think I may have looked at a calendar and realized years had passed me by. I think I finally got sick enough of myself that I was desperate for a change. I wanted to think more of myself.

One day, I did think more of myself. I remember that day as clearly as if it were yesterday. I was sitting at the dinner table, and I realized I was sitting on a wicker chair that had a hole in it. And I put a magazine over the hole so I wouldn't have to sink down in the chair and be uncomfortable. I know it sounds like such a small thing to most people, and something most people would have fixed right away, but to me, it was a completely new way of thinking: I was worthy of sitting on a chair that didn't have a hole in it.

The next day, I began looking for help, and reading all I could about self help and depression and what I could do to fix it. I made an appointment with my physician who referred me to a therapist. Slowly, things began to turn around.

When Treatments Began Working
I have learned that I have been depressed for much of my life. How I endured this for so long is because I had been depressed for so long I didn't know there was any other way to live. A little over a month after I got off birth control pills, started medication, and therapy I felt an incredible change. I realized I felt better than I had for years. I felt like a new person, and people started to tell me "Heather, you look better than I've ever seen you look."

My Experience Now
Even now, I sometimes feel sad. But the lows are not even close to what I experienced as "every day life" when I was depressed. I will always watch myself for it; I see depression like a cancer: once you have it, you always check for it.

I am currently using anti-depressants, and I make sure to exercise every day and eat good food. I have to avoid caffein because it affects me like 'a panic attack in a cup.' I no longer take birth control pills because they were a big cause of depression for me.

I also have several behavior modifications I use regularly: I avoid people and things that bring me down, and if I do get down, I journal about it. My journal provides me a way to rant about something and get it out of my system before it eats me alive. When I have a panic attack, I use EFT to alleviate it. And when I'm stressed out, I play with my dog.

Now that I've experienced life without depression, I'll never go back.

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