Thirty years ago, when Andy Shavalia — owner of Superior Window Cleaning in Santa Clara — was learning the business, the sort of safety equipment that almost surely saved the lives of the window cleaners in New York was rarely used. Instead of the motorized scaffold-like devices that are used today, called a “swing stage,” window washers were lowered from the tops of skyscrapers on a small chair tied to pipes or air conditioning units. “That’s like rappelling down the side of a building,” Shavalia says. “I would say rope work is probably the hairiest situation you can be in when you first learn the trade.”
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ONE IN FIVE ARE AFFECTED BY IT???
Did you know that in America 1 in five people are affected by mental illness? That estimate does not include the family members and/or friends that are affected by their loved-ones erratic behavior. As a window cleaning service, you no doubt have been in contact with someone that is mentally ill. It could be from meeting someone on the street, more likely than not, it’s a family member or friend that has introduced you to mental illness and devastating effects it can have on one’s life.
Mental illness is a life threatening disease! While the word “disease” may be inappropriate. It’s more chemical imbalance which can be treated with medications, or therapy. But don’t think for a moment, that it’s not serious! I should know. I live with Bipolar Disorder. I am also clinically diagnosed as mentally ill!
Hello – hello is any one out there??? Was that a pin drop I heard? Of course not…because you’ve been reading or following my blog and you already know that I am living with this debilitating illness. I’m reaching out to my fellow past and present window cleaning peeps to ask for some help to bring awareness to mental health month in MAY. Each year for the last five years, I’ve held a Cartoon-A-Thon where I draw 31 cartoons of Mental Health Heroes within the mental health community. This year, I am teaming up with an informal organization called the “Lime-Lighers” to wear and encourage others to wear a lime green ribbon to show their support for mental health awareness. I would also like to ask my fellow window cleaners to help me promote the awareness online. Will you please consider becoming a sponsor for this year’s Cartoon-A-Thon? I am looking for “in-kind sponsors.” These would be people, in lieu of financial contributions, would make a contribution of another sort… Maybe, a product or cleaning service fora mental health drop-in center recovery location and do it in behalf of Mental Health Heroes and the Lime-lighters. Or make a cash donation and be a sponsor for the Cartoon-A-Thon 2012.
QUICK HISTORY OF MY MENTAL STATE
As some of you many know and not even care about…I live with Bipolar disorder. In 2004, I was hospitalized in the psych ward… I blame it all on the inhaling of Joy and Ammonia from cleaning store fronts for 25 years. Joking, of course… After I got help and started my uphill battle with mental illness, I found that I can draw more then just cartoons about window cleaning. (I started drawing cartoons about window cleaning in 1999). In the spring of 2008 “DURING” my second visit to the psych ward, I started instead of “journaling” a type of therapeutic writing, I started drawing cartoons about my stay in the loony bin. I also started drawing cartoons for the kids in the “kids psych ward.” I realized the joy it brought them. And when I got out of the hospital, I drew three cartoons about mental illness issues. From those three cartoons stemmed a website, that website caught the attention of a huge new blog network that offered me a blogging position for mental illness. And so lead to my advocacy for mental health awareness with cartoons. I called it fittingly enough: MENTAL HEALTH HUMOR. You’ve seen many of the cartoons here on the window cleaning cartoons site. But, I would love to get more of my fellow window cleaners behind this very important cause…
Please contact me at: golime (at) windowcleaningcartoons.com
The number of people who get interested in wine glass increases every day.
From Tampa Bay times:
Spring Hill residents Nicole and Jeff Burrows have acquired a Window Genie franchise to serve Hernando County and surrounding areas.
Prior to moving to Spring Hill, the Burrows lived in Atlanta and Tampa. Jeff Burrows spent the past 13 years as a sales manager in the commercial food service industry; Nicole Burrows worked in office administration.
Best known for window cleaning that includes a “no streak” guarantee, Window Genie also offers other home services such as window tinting, deck and fence cleaning, concrete and brick cleaning and sealing, house washing, gutter clean-out, gutter protection, tile and grout cleaning and solar shades.
Many window cleaners are living with mental health disorders or have a loved one with Depression, Bipolar Disorder or other mood disorders. It’s more common then we may want to believe. I, myself, live with Bipolar Disorder and PTSD. Why does the window cleaning industry have more then some other jobs? Simple, for many of us, this is a business that can work around the illness and requires less restriction… Not to mention, it can be a cash business. Window cleaning does attract many people from all walks of life. Since studies say 1 and 9 people live with or have been diagnosed with a mental illness, you can understand, we as an industry have a higher influx of those working with an mental illness.
In 2008, I started to over-lap the Window Cleaning Cartoons with my own grass roots project called, Mental Health Humor Project. It was my goal with the project to bring a little humor into the lives of my fellow peers. The cartoons, much like the window cleaning cartoons, focus on a clean and positive message. This past year, I’ve been honored by winning a few awards for the Mental Health Humor cartoons. I’m particularly proud of two. First, the 2009 national Facing Us contest. To enter, we had to tell our mental health recovery story using a hand held camera. Here, take a look at the video on YouTube.
Winning this allowed me to receive a sponsorship to go to the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance 25th Anniversary Conference at the end of April 2010. At the conference, I received another award for being part of “Stand Up for Mental health.” It was the first time I ever did stand up comedy. I’m happy to say, I did not totally bomb!
Here is the point, no matter who you are if you are reading this, then you know some one with a mental disorder. Could be a friend, a loved one or even yourself. I believe in community out reach for advocacy. We need to be able to talk about mental illness and help find ways toward recovery…Yes, recovery! It’s not a cure… Mental illness can’t be cured but it can be controlled. With medication or therapy and a network of support…Recovery is possible.
The mental health humor cartoons do not make fun of the illness. We look for ways to laugh while living with it. All this month of May 2010, I will be volunteering over 100 hours to draw caricatures of Heroes in the Mental Health Community. I encourage you to come and see these heroes! You will see, they are as normal as you. The only difference, we have a chemical imbalance that (at times) limits what we can do.
Would you like to know more about Chato B . Stewart?
Feel free to connect with me on Facebook too.
Like it? Link it: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/humor