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Ilene is the 9th of 10 children, a twin-less twin, the mother of twin boys (aren't they supposed to skip a generation?) and a wife of 27 years.
Growing up in a large, Irish-Catholic family was an experience, to say the least, made that much more interesting given that she and her siblings were in their teen's and twenties during the 60's and 70's.
Ilene is a self-taught writer. Her common phrase is, "I am a technical writer by trade and a creative writer by desire". Ilene writes on a wide variety of subject matters that include family, politics, women's issues, health care, mental health care and anything that "gets her Irish up".
Ilene describes herself as a "born-again" Atheist. She doesn't have anything against people who believe in God or who follow the teachings of Jesus, Mohammad, Baha'u'llah, Confucius, Buddha, or whatever religious prophet and teachings that people follow. All she asks is that people accept that she can have good morals and values (yes that is very subjective) and not believe in God. Her mother used to say that the world would be a better place if people just followed the last 7 commandments.
Ilene was tremendously affected by the long-illness and early death of her twin brother, Paul. Paul was diagnosed with schizophrenia when they were only 16. He spent one year in a private hospital until the maximum lifetime limit was met on their health insurance policy. He was committed to a state mental institution at the tender age of 17 and spent the next 22 years between three different state hospitals. When the final push to release the patients into the community was made in the 1990's, Paul was moved to an "assisted" living apartment complex. When that proved too much for him, he was moved to an adult home. Paul's life during that time was like a nightmarish roller coaster ride from adult home to the local psych wards to the state hospital and back again, only to have the ride start all over again. He finally got off the ride when his emphysema was so bad that he was accepted into a nursing home in 2007. He was diagnosed with lung cancer a few months later and died on May 1, 2008.
While Ilene is not busy writing advocacy articles about mental health related issues, she is writing a book about her brother. She submits articles to any and all publications like this in the hopes that she gets discovered and someone pays her to write what's on her mind.
SHARE Tuesday, February 9, 2010 Would You Do This To Your Grandmother?
How brain disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are like Alzheimer's. Some people people with these illnesses need long-term care. But one group, the ones deemed "mentally ill" are refused the long-term care they need through federally sanctioned discrimination.
(5 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 19, 2009 Thank You David Bowie
How one mother managed to stay calm when her teenage son declared, "By the end of next year I want to be a fully blown transvestite."
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 17, 2009 Don't Go Down Without A Fight
This is a story about my sexual assault of 30 years ago. I wrote it when Jaycee Lee Duggar was found alive a few months ago. I am hoping that other women - and men - will learn from this, as I finally have, to not only report these types of attacks, but to finish the job by ensuring that we assist in the capture and conviction of our assailants. I will have to live with my own inaction for the rest of my life.