Add To Favorites In PHR
Judy Collins addresses Naples NAMI with a message of natural mental health
Naples Daily News - 12/9/2017
Dec. 09--Singer-songwriter Judy Collins and novel heroine Scarlett O'Hara have little in common except a wonderfully succinct philosophy: "Tomorrow is another day."
Collins, with her stallion mane of frosty hair and pool-blue eyes, is the antithesis of the dark-haired belle of "Gone With the Wind." Further, Collins recalls the comment not from O'Hara, but from a favorite counselor: "My therapist said don't worry about it -- don't worry about whether your career is going well. Tomorrow is another day."
She was set to deliver that mantra of optimism to 280 patrons at a sold-out luncheon at Grey Oaks Country Club Friday supporting the Collier County office of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). No guitar needed.
Collins gives at least 10 speeches annually on mental health, and while that doesn't compare to the 120 concerts a year she still performs, Collins believes mental health is the sina que non to a good life: "Oh, God, yes! They (therapists) kept me on this planet. "
"Your mental health is everything. It's every aspect of our lives -- what we eat, what we drink, what we say, what we don't say," said Collins. She has had her own emotional cliff hangers: more fame than she had ever dreamed at an early age, surviving in a 60's entertainment culture that was mired in alcohol and drugs, the death of her own son by suicide.
Collins said she first realized she needed therapy at age 23: "I was really ready for someone to talk to me, and for me to talk to someone." Even some of the songs she chose to record -- and which became radio hits -- hint at a gray cloud: "Both Sides Now," "Send In the Clowns."
Collins feels she was extremely fortunate to have worked with therapists who avoided medication in addressing their patients' problems. From her experiences, she has come out as a proponent of unmedicated mental health.
"I'm fundamentally anti-drugs. I don't mind saying that," Collins said. "Everything comes in a pill, all kinds of solutions for any problems. I don't believe that's correct."
"They may be appropriate at times because there are critical points," she said. "But overall the course of a long life, no. And I mean in regards to things like diabetes, blood pressure, all kind of conditions that can be controlled by a proper diet. That's essential -- a proper diet, laugh a lot, get a lot of exercise."
In fact, Collins' hotel room time Friday night would be spent jogging in her hotel. She uses a treadmill and a cycle as well, but gave up swimming in public pools because she was catching colds and other gremlins: "It introduces you to the petri dish, sort of," she said, laughing.
For her audience, the regimen of self-care would be emphatic. Collins has just published a book, "Cravings" (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday: $16.28 hardcover, $13.99 Kindle) which she says has been borne out by diet gurus. The human love affair with food, it says, has generated five basics that perpetuate cravings: sugar, grain, sweet, flour and corn -- "all in the ingredients in alcohol, and they're in the ingredients of food that make us overeaters," she said. "They cause cravings."
Collins, who dropped 22 pounds and numbers in blood pressure and cholesterol on her regimen, has kept her numbers low for the last 10 years.
She offered that those who need help will have their own solutions and the key is to find them: "I can only talk about what my solutions have been."
They have obviously worked for her. At an energetic 78, Collins is still writing songs and touring with her friend, Stephen Stills (of fellow 1960-70s hitmakers Crosby, Stills & Nash). In 2016, she set a goal of writing a song or a poem or song a day or journaling, and it worked, she said.
When she drifted away from it this year, she found herself with writer's block.
"The answer is I just have to keep doing it. And maybe something will emerge.They say you have to write about a hundred songs to get one good one, and I got probably eight or nine from that exercise," she reflected.
"I'll start it over in 2018, because I think in the long haul it's very effective."
Collins' talk was a keynote to the event, at which Collier County NAMI presented awards NAMI of Collier County presented Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)awards "for individuals that have helped improve the lives of those living with mental health illness":
* Officer of the Year: Cpl. Jerry Gibson on the Collier County Sheriffs Office Mental Health Unit for his compassion and support of individuals in crisis.
* "Advocate of the Year: Judge Janeice Martin for her tenure on the mental health and substance abuse courts as well as her support in gaining funding for comprehensive mental health treatment in thecommunity.
* Lifetime Achievement Award: Martha Lenderman, who helped write Florida's Baker Act. She also has helped educate more than 1,000 law officers in the Crisis Intervention Training program to help get the right support for those living with mental illness.
(c)2017 the Naples Daily News (Naples, Fla.)
Visit the Naples Daily News (Naples, Fla.) at www.naplesnews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.