innovative therapies

History of Velveeta

The yummy yellow block known as Velveeta is curently the most consumed food substance in the world! And for good reason - who can resist yellow, and mushy goodness?. But how did it get so popular, you ask? What happened that caused the rise of fame, and where to go from here? Read on…

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Hysteria is undoubtedly the first mental disorder attributable to women, accurately described in the second millennium BC, and until Freud considered an exclusively female disease. Over 4000 years of history, this disease was considered from two perspectives: scientific and demonological. It was cured with herbs, sex or sexual abstinence, punished and purified with fire for its association with sorcery and finally, clinically studied as a disease and treated with innovative therapies. However, even at the end of 19th century, scientific innovation had still not reached some places. During the 20th century several studies postulated the decline of hysteria amongst occidental patients (both women and men) and the escalating of this disorder in non-Western countries. The concept of hysterical neurosis is deleted with the 1980 DSM-III. The evolution of these diseases seems to be a factor linked with social “westernization”, and examining under what conditions the symptoms first became common in different societies became a priority for recent studies over risk factor.

17- Present


I guess the deeper in love we fall, the scarier the thought of that love leaving us becomes.    

I remember feeling like that, the night of the attack, the night Denny flew home after it. Never in a million years did I imagine actually feeling it, the desolation of love leaving me. I remember being so scared back then, not knowing what was happening or why it was happening, but if I knew anything, it was that I had Denny…forever.      

I hit my left blinker and made a turn into the lot. It was about half full, some people walking to their cars, others walking in the opposite direction back inside the one-story building. I narrowed my eyes, scoping the scene until I found who I was looking for.      

Pulling up, I hit my hazards and stepped out of the vehicle, one Jordan sneaker at a time. I could’ve stayed in, but I wanted to get out. I was dying to get out.    

“Hey,” I smiled, freshly glossed lips because I had just touched them up at the light a block down.      

“Hey, Neeka… you smell amazing.”    

I beamed. I had just sprayed perfume, too. Chloe. Denny said it made me smell like peaches. I sauntered up to Martha, Denny’s mother, and enveloped her in a hug but the whole time, my eyes scanned our surroundings.    

“Thank you, Martha. How was everything? How was the visit?”    

“Good,” she spoke, almost forced. I knew it was uncomfortable for her, not knowing what boundaries Denny wanted to keep set. My eyes still danced.    

“Mommy.” I felt the tug on the leg of my scrubs. I instantly felt guilty.    

“Baby! How are you?” I kneeled down, wrapped my arms around Milania. She was getting so tall. “How was your weekend with grandma?”    

“It was good,” she smiled. “We had fun! We made another garden!”    

That caused a smile to spread on my face. It was a Monday afternoon and Martha had kept Milania since Friday. I enjoyed my time alone but when alone turned to lonely, I looked forward to my baby coming back home.    

“And your visit with daddy? How was that?”    

“I see you came straight from the hospital,” Martha cut me off before Milania could even respond. I knew she had to know it didn’t matter. I could ask Milania all the questions I wanted once we reached the privacy of our car and then our home.      

“I did. We had to watch a neuter surgery today.”    

I was finally back in school finishing my degree to become a certified veterinarian.      

We stood there for a few seconds too long. My heart galloped in my chest, anxiety running through me like I’d binged ten cups of coffee and before the tears I felt inside could produce, Martha put me out of my misery.      

“Denny sends his love.”    

I gasped, tried to do it low, tried not to do it at all, but I couldn’t help it. I noticed Martha swallowed hard and then looked down. She didn’t know how much that meant to me.    

“Can you… Can you send mine back?”    

Martha met my awaiting gape, my longing gape, my agonizing gape. She nodded softly.      

“I sure will, love.”    

I shut my eyes. Love. I missed that. Terribly.      

My eyes danced around again and Martha knowingly gave her head a negative shake.    

“He’s already inside. Neeka… you should go.”    

I pulled my lips in and nodded, knowing it was best. Martha and Milania were allowed to visit Denny in his inpatient therapy center, but I was not. And anytime I picked up Milania, he was already long gone inside. I was the forbidden drug that had to be kept at bay. But I knew… if I ever knew Denny at all… I knew he was somewhere in there, watching.      

I didn’t know what would happen after this last six months was up. Denny was supposedly on some new medication and undergoing some innovative forms of therapy, group as well as one on one. It was supposed to help him cope with his delusions, to make him functional to society as well as family and friends. He had been instructed to start over and rebuild the dysfunctional relationships in his life into healthy ones, according to Martha. I wasn’t sure if ours was one of them. Also according to Martha, there was no way Denny could do this with me in his life in any way. He would be sick with worry about what I was doing and who I was doing it with; so cold turkey was the only option. I wasn’t sure if I really agreed with that but it was what she explained to me when I came to her hysterical with the whys after he’d up and abandoned me. Either way, through my resentment, I was so proud of Denny. He was so brave.      

I remember saying to myself once that only excruciating circumstances would get Denny out of the streets, and I don’t know if he was completely out, but I don’t know how much he was able to achieve from in there. Through Monie, I learned Ty had been taking on a lot of responsibility so I could only assume it meant Denny let go of his hold quite a bit.    

But ever since that day, the day I still deemed the worst day of my life, when I woke up and he was gone, just like that, no funny note, no fresh fruit or juice, my life seemed to be one big question mark. I guess the only benefit for me, in addition to Denny getting the help he felt he needed and the safety he felt he was keeping us in by isolating himself, was that with Denny out of my life, my life became mine again, or it became my own for once, and not just the Denny and Neeka love story. I suddenly remembered the things I liked to do – like reading and meeting new friends, interacting with different types of people, people from school and the library, going to museums and plays with them. I found new aspects to myself that I had never been given the opportunity to explore. Even my relationship with Brianna was rebuilding but it was difficult since she’d decided to relocate down to Georgia. She has a son now, says she doesn’t know who the father is but I think she does. I think she knows him and I think I do as well.    

Also, sans the overwhelming presence of Denny who had been my life for the first years of my adulthood, I suddenly remembered my goals and who I wanted to be. I was excited about becoming a vet, even though I had convinced myself before that it was no longer important, and I was finally working in the clinic that I still owned, as well as still owning the house, and the hefty bank account Denny made sure he still provided for us but I tried not to divulge in much past the necessities. But still, beyond the benefits, beyond my newfound freedom and my newfound self, or partially found self, I won’t embellish… no matter what, I couldn’t forget love. Besides, we had this little person always here to remind me of it, of him.      

“Mommy, why doesn’t daddy want to see you?” Milania asked after Martha had bid us farewell and started toward her own car, and I began to strap her into her booster seat. “He doesn’t love you anymore?”    

I knew it was a question but it crushed me like a fact.    

“No, Lani… Daddy loves me very much. And I love Daddy, too. We… love each other.”      

We love each other enough to not love each other I reiterated April Winters’ aphorism from that dreadful day in my mind. Well, Denny loved me enough for that; I was still working on it.      

“But…” Her face crinkled in confusion and I could see why. This was all very puzzling to a soon to be five-year-old. “If you love each other… then why can’t you be together?”    

I clicked the seatbelt and stared at my child. She was the spitting image of him, smiling eyes and all.      

“Because we’re not strong enough, yet, baby.”    

“Daddy’s not strong? Mommy…I think Daddy is strong enough. He’s got even more muscles. He even got a new tattoo on his face!”    

I giggled and I smiled a little on the inside. I had a feeling if there was another tattoo on Denny’s face, it was sure to be another teardrop. A teardrop for someone else he had lost in addition to his father… me. I would bet my life on it.    

“Well… maybe Daddy is strong. In fact… no… Daddy is very strong, Lani. But it’s Mommy. It’s Mommy who’s so weak.”    

My eyes watered but I fought a smile through it and Milania’s eyes bore into me. If Denny wanted me back I’d probably drop it all in an instant – school, friends, security, my newfound indentity. Yup, I’d probably risk my life all over again, no fear of what he could do to me or even to Lani, if I could just feel him again in me. And that’s how I knew I was weak.      

“It’s okay, Mommy… Don’t cry, love.”    

I took in a deep breath and I knew Denaché Graham was speaking through his daughter.    

“I love you, Lani,” I told her because I wasn’t sure if I told her enough. “I love you like oxygen.”    

She crinkled up her face and smiled.    

“Like ocks-gen?” She pronounced a little wrong, confusion wearing her. I nodded, giggled.    

“Yeah… like that.”    

Closing her door, I made my way around and slid into the driver’s seat. I shut my car door and turned up the radio and my fingers froze. Out of strict boredom from the other urban stations, I had changed the dial earlier that day to a more mature option of 107.5FM to catch Steve Harvey’s morning show. Or at least that’s why I thought I had changed the station. But perhaps, it was destiny; God’s will even, for me to hear the song playing currently, at this moment.      

“Mommy, what’s wrong?”    

The Isley Brothers were crooning below her question and all I could do was stare out of the windshield in awe. Voyage to Atlantis was coming to an end and my heart filled with a bittersweet melancholy as I recalled that New Year’s Eve that me and Denny shared a dance to this very song, before the pregnancy, before I knew the truth, before anything complicated.      

“So we’ll say…    

…Our last goodbye…    

And we’ll make it…    

…This time…”    


I opened my door again and jumped out, momentarily ignoring Milania’s call, and as I made my way to the front of the car near the hood, I could still hear the sweet melody of the song.    


…is back to you.    

I’ll always…    

…come back to you…”    

I faced the building. Most were gone by now.    

And with no words and my feet not even able to carry me further because I was still not yet strong enough to return to the place I had now arrived, if I ever ventured back in. I pressed two fingers to my lips and lifted them out. Tears slipped from my eyes and I closed them, praying that kiss found its way.      

If I knew Denny… If I had ever known Denny… then I knew he was watching.   

I blew Daddy that kiss and then I retreated back to the car. But I knew… one day… I’d be back.      


I blew her a kiss back.      

“But you’re so brave…

…Stone cold crazy… for loving me.

Yeah, I’m amazed…

…I hope you make it out.