On Direction!


Emotional First Aid/Guy Winch, Ph.D.

While I believe successful dating is a learned process, I think successful living in today’s world is as well. New ways of thinking from each consecutive generation seem to create a new strain of crises. Some coping skills are learned simply by living our choices, but there is no manual for these never before experienced problems.  It might not be necessary to conform to every change, but adapting might be needed for sanity!  I often wonder if the lack of a blueprint for the increasing manmade pressures is one of the reasons for the increase in depression. Our reactions to life’s emergencies, usually based on emotions, only compound the situation. Learning to recover from disappointments and failures is a necessary part of mental health. Today’s share addresses emotional hygiene, and backs it up with dumbed down action steps! This is good stuff, take notes!

‘We are losing too many Americans’: Suicides, drug overdoses rise as US life expectancy drops/USA Today

On average, there are more than 128 suicides per day in the United States, attempted by people with and without known mental health conditions. USA TODAY



Suicide and drug overdose rates continued to rise in 2017, helping drive the number of U.S. deaths to the highest total in more than 100 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a series of reports on mortality released Thursday.

“Tragically, this troubling trend is largely driven by deaths from drug overdose and suicide,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement. “These sobering statistics are a wake-up call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable.”

Life expectancy in 2017 fell to an average of 78.6 years for the total U.S. population, down from 78.7 years in 2016.

Overall, more than 2.8 million Americans died in 2017, about 70,000 more than in 2016.

The reports noted that heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and stroke remained the leading causes of U.S. deaths. Since 2008, suicide has ranked 10 and has grown at an alarming rate.

In 2016, suicide became the second-leading cause of death for ages 10-34 and the fourth-leading cause for ages 35-54.

Last year, 47,000 people committed suicide, a rate of 14 per 100,000 people. That is up from 10.5 in 1999 and from 13.5 last year. The total number of suicide deaths was the highest in a half-century and up more than 2,000 from 2016.

The 2017 numbers come despite the government’s Healthy People 2020 goal to reduce suicide rates to 10.2 per 100,000 by 2020.

“We need to ensure that suicide prevention is … tackled on the same scale and with the same vigor that we address other public health issues in this country,” said Bob Turner with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Otherwise “the number of people dying by suicide or struggling with suicidal thoughts will continue to rise.”

Drug overdose deaths among U.S. residents exceeded 70,000 in 2017, nearly 6,600 more than in 2016, the CDC said. The rate has increased on average by 16 percent per year since 2014 and more than tripled since 1999.

“Deaths from drug overdose continue to be a public health burden in the United States,” the CDC said, adding that “the pattern of drugs involved in drug overdose deaths has changed in recent years.”

The rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) increased 45 percent in 2017 from the previous year. The rates of drug overdose deaths involving heroin, natural and semi-synthetic opioids, and methadone were essentially unchanged from 2016.

“No area of the United States is exempt from this epidemic – we all know a friend, family member or loved one devastated by opioids,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat.

The CDC figures are based mainly on a review of death certificates in 2017. The life expectancy figure is based on death trends and other factors.

Life expectancy fell for the first time in decades in 2015. It held steady in 2016 but dipped again last year. The USA is seeing its longest overall downward trend since World War I.

More: We need to talk about suicide more

More: After a suicide, here’s what happens to the people left behind

More: Suicide is one of the nation’s top killers. When will we start acting like it?

CDC officials did not speculate about what’s behind declining life expectancy.

William Dietz, a disease prevention expert at George Washington University, sees a sense of hopelessness.

Financial struggles, a widening income gap and divisive politics cast a pall over many Americans, he suggested. “I really do believe that people are increasingly hopeless, and that leads to drug use, it leads potentially to suicide,” he said.

Drug overdose deaths continued to climb, although the death rate rose 10 percent from the previous year, smaller than the 21 percent jump seen from 2016 to 2017.

That’s not quite cause for celebration, said John Rowe, a professor of health policy and aging at Columbia University.

“Maybe it’s starting to slow down, but it hasn’t turned around yet,” Rowe said. “I think it will take several years.”

Other CDC findings:

•For males, life expectancy changed from 76.2 in 2016 to 76.1 in 2017. For females, life expectancy remained the same at 81.1.

•The infant mortality rate rose slightly, from 587 infant deaths per 100,000 live births in 2016 to 579.3 in 2017.

•Age-adjusted death rates increased for seven leading causes and decreased for one: cancer.

•The 10 leading causes of death in 2017 – and 2016 – in order were heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide.

Contributing: Associated Press

Starting a Sentence With Because Posted on July 10, 2014, by Chris Maynar

Writing a book is emotionally exhaustive and extremely challenging while adulting. In my mind, I saw myself carving out several hours per day to make this happen prior to signing the contract. How time-consuming and difficult can it be to share the facts of a life already lived? Especially when characters and dialog aren’t necessary.  I’ve learned writing an autobiography isn’t as easy as imagined. The reality is that several jobs, and the responsibility of dealing with the crises of life (as a single entity) when they occur, extended a one-year contract into three. My issues are never as simple as breaking a fingernail, or a flat tire. They always require major attention and mental energy that halts creativity for an uncomfortable period of time. I’ve abandoned the either/or thinking, that I can’t be Mrs. Fix It and write at the same time. Someone suggested I put the book on the shelf until life settles down, but quitting isn’t an option. Life has always been a fist fight so there’s no need to wait for the perfect time to cultivate an idea on my heart. Especially when I know the vision was downloaded for a reason. My sons story on mental illness needs to be heard for several reasons, so I’ll keep plugging along. I choose to stay away from the comparison trap and take the challenges as they come. I’ll get there when I get there. For the last two days, my mind has been in overtime on whether the writing police would consider starting a sentence with because legal or not. Finally annoyed with the amount of time spent on this brainfart, I googled the question. There were a variety of responses but this piece was pretty comical. In spite of wasted research, I decided to start my sentence with “because” simply because I want too, lol…


I’m going to be honest with you, there are some grammar rules that I really don’t care about. Actually, there’s a lot of them. Really, most of them. That being said, sometimes it’s important to know and follow the rules, because other people care about them no matter how silly they are.

And so, today, we are going to examine one of the sillier rules of grammar: whether you can or cannot start a sentence with “because”. A lot of people will say that you can’t start a sentence with “because” and be using “proper” grammar. While it is true that starting a sentence with “because” is usually “incorrect”, it’s only because it results in an incomplete sentence. Thus, sometimes you can start a sentence with “because” and still be in the clear. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

“Because” is a subordinating conjunction. A subordinating conjunction is a word that joins two clauses, one of which is independent and one of which is dependent. I know that’s a lot of jargon, but basically what we’re looking at is this: we have a sentence with two parts, and “because” joins them together. The two parts have to be in the same sentence for the use of “because” to be “correct”. Otherwise, one of the clauses becomes a sentence fragment, which is a problem.

The reason you can’t usually start a sentence with “because” is because the sentence needs two parts for because to join together. Usually, “because” goes in between the two clauses, so if we start a sentence with “because” there is often only one clause in the sentence. Put simply, if “because” is in a sentence, the sentence needs two parts to be “correct”. Let’s look at an example.

We decided to go to the pool because it was hot outside.

The two clauses we are looking at are “We decided to go to the pool” and “it was hot outside”. “Because” links them together and makes them friends. Let’s look at what would happen if we were to split the sentence up into two.

We decided to go to the pool. Because it was hot outside.

Now that the two clauses are in different sentences, “because” can’t really join them together. The clauses can’t be friends and now they’re lonely, making the second sentence “incorrect.”

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. There is a circumstance in which we can start a sentence with “because” and not be violating any silly rules. If we start a clause with “because”, then insert a comma, and then a second clause, then both of the clauses are in the same sentence and everyone is safe. As an example:

Because it was hot outside, we decided to go to the pool.

Since both of the clauses are in the same sentence, they aren’t lonely and the sentence is technically “correct”.

So, there it is. Those are the circumstances under which you can and cannot start a sentence with because. It’s definitely a silly rule, and it’s not one that I would personally be strict about. That being said, I hope this was informative. If you want some more information, here are some resources that may be able to explain it a little better than I did:


4 thoughts on “Starting a Sentence With Because”

  1. It’s hard to take your grammar advice seriously, when your article is full of grammatical errors. It is not proper grammar to put commas and periods outside of quotation marks as you do repeatedly. For instance your, “If we start a clause with ‘because’, then…” should instead be “If we start a clause with ‘because,’ then…”

  2. Try this: 1) Purdue University “Online Writing Lab” (OWL) at https://owl.english.purdue.edu/. Impeccable; concise; correct English grammar (and you learn MLA, APA, Turabian paper formats for your college paper)
    2) Fowler & Aaron’s “The Little, Brown Handbook” (Pearson Publishing 10th – thru Present Edition–Perfection)
    3) W. Strunk’s “The Elements of Style” (Unlike the clown who wrote this article, English grammar is not “silly.”)
    4) Pick up ANY Merriam-Webster paper bound dictionary. English grammar “rules” and the proper use of “because” in a sentence is printed in virtually every copy within the first 22 pages, depending on which edition you get, or use. Avoid learning English grammar from anyone, student, professor, clown, psycho, et.al., who “claims” to teach you English grammar, and loads how much they loathe all those rules and virtually never uses them as an authority on English grammar.

  3. It is very interesting that you used “Since” and not “Because” in this sentence in the end of this article: [Since both of the clauses are in the same sentence, they aren’t lonely and the sentence is technically “correct”].


Devon Franklin On Discipline In Dating!

If the dating world feels like a constant state of confusion, maybe even a war zone, this podcast is a MUST! Don’t let the title deceive you, it has equal value for women and men both. I personally shut down for five years post-divorce, with no intention of ever revisiting that arena of vulnerability. By design, the only men allowed in my presence for half a decade were coworkers so it was a shock even to my own senses when I agreed to try again at age 49 (yes, it WAS as terrifying as it sounds!). This brainstorm wasn’t my idea, it appeared as a gentle nudge by my therapist and I avoided the topic as long as allowed. Eventually, she required I face the elephant in the room and that was the first day I left a session unsure if I would return. She had held space beautifully for several years while I battled various toxic relationships (work, marriage, my son’s mental illness), but this time I didn’t like the direction she was headed.


Her suggestion shared the aroma (and flavor) of the beets my mother forced me to eat as a child. Disgusting, but I swallowed assuming there were hidden benefits I wasn’t aware of. I hoped that would be the case here! Historical data clearly revealed I couldn’t trust my choices (even nice guys can be the wrong guy) but choosing to compromise, the inner nerd researched before taking action. Prior to my dating internship, I inhaled books, articles and took advice from both sexes. Once I stuck my toe in the water, there was plenty of time for on the job training because my dates were only occasional. Raising standards resulted in fewer dates and I notice many value quantity over quality. In their world, being with anyone is better than facing their fears and I don’t live in that school of thought. My time is valuable and intentionally working towards goals requires I schedule everything, even fun. 53 this year, I’m still surviving my singleness and have earned a Ph.D. in dating. Content in THE WAIT, I’ve concluded successful dating is a LEARNED behavior. Though not currently involved (but not allergic), I still absorb and share best practices. Especially for those whose self-worth can easily be determined by relationships, or a lack of.  My stance on life is that self-improvement isn’t possible with the same mindset that created the current situation. As we used to say back in the day, let’s call a spade, a spade. Life is a reflection of our choices and mentors are needed to break cycles.

Today’s share is of Devon Franklin, author of The Wait, and The Truth About Men. There is a short-lived echo at the beginning but hang in there, you won’t be disappointed.