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Reflect On This

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Excerpt From Ruby Wax's "What's So Funny About Mental Illness?"

Posted on January 30, 2013 at 11:13 AM Comments comments (1)
Excerpt from Ruby Wax’s, “What’s So Funny About Mental Illness?”

One in four people suffer from some sort of mental illness, I am one of the one in four. I think I inherited it from my mother, who, use to crawl around the house on all fours.She had two sponges in her hand, and then she had two tied to her knees. My mother was completely absorbent. And she would crawl around behind me going, "Who brings footprints into a building?!" So that was kind of a clue that things weren't right. So before I start, I would like to thank the makers of Lamotrigine, Sertraline, and Reboxetine, because without those few simple chemicals, I would not be vertical today.

(When hospitalized) I wasn't sent a lot of cards or flowers. I mean, if I had of had a broken leg or I was with child I would have been inundated, but all I got was a couple phone calls telling me to perk up. Perk up! Because I didn't think of that.

Because, you know, the one thing, one thing that you get with this disease, this one comes with a package, is you get a real sense of shame, because your friends go, "Oh come on, show me the lump, show me the x-rays," and of course you've got nothing to show, so you're, like, really disgusted with yourself because you're thinking, "I'm not being carpet-bombed. I don't live in a township." So you start to hear these abusive voices, but you don't hear one abusive voice, you hear about a thousand -- 100,000 abusive voices, like if the Devil had Tourette's, that's what it would sound like.

(But we all know) there are no voices in your head. You know that when you have those abusive voices, all those little neurons get together and in that little gap you get a real toxic "I want to kill myself" kind of chemical, and if you have that over and over again on a loop tape, you might have yourself depression. Oh, and that's not even the tip of the iceberg. If you get a little baby, and you abuse it verbally, its little brain sends out chemicals that are so destructive that the little part of its brain that can tell good from bad just doesn't grow, so you might have yourself a homegrown psychotic. If a soldier sees his friend blown up, his brain goes into such high alarm that he can't actually put the experience into words, so he just feels the horror over and over again.

So here's my question. My question is, how come when people have mental damage, it's always an active imagination? How come every other organ in your body can get sick and you get sympathy, except the brain?

…can we please stop the stigma?

Everyone Grieves Differently

Posted on January 19, 2013 at 5:07 PM Comments comments (1731)
Everyone greives differently:

Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried – and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

Common symptoms of grief:

While loss affects people in different ways, many people experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal – including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you’re in a bad dream, or questioning your religious beliefs.


  • Shock and disbelief – Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth. If someone you love has died, you may keep expecting them to show up, even though you know they’re gone.



  • Sadness – Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness. You may also cry a lot or feel emotionally unstable.



  • Guilt – You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings (e.g. feeling relieved when the person died after a long, difficult illness). After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done.



  • Anger – Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry at yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you.



  • Fear – A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone.



  • Physical symptoms – We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.


Coping with grief and loss tip: Get support!

The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and do not grieve alone. Connecting to others will help you heal.

Finding support after a loss

  • Turn to friends and family members – Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. Draw loved ones close, rather than avoiding them, and accept the assistance that’s offered. Oftentimes, people want to help but don’t know how, so tell them what you need – whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or help with funeral arrangements.



  • Draw comfort from your faith – If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you – such as praying, meditating, or going to church – can offer solace. If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or others in your religious community.



  • Join a support group – Grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. To find a bereavement support group in your area, contact local hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counseling centers.



  • Talk to a therapist or grief counselor – If your grief feels like too much to bear, call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling. An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving.


Do You Own Your Self Esteem?

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM Comments comments (0)
In meeting with various clients I have discovered that those who report negative self worth concerns do not "own" their self esteem.  What I mean by this is that they gather self worth from the opinions of others.  Someone tells them they look nice, they then believe they are attractive and feel good about themselves.  However, when someone tells them they look bad, they then believe they are unattractive and feel terrible about themselves.  Do you see the problem with this?  They do not "own" their self esteem.  They allow others to give it and take it away.  A healthy self esteem is "owned".  No one can give it or take it away from you.  Sure, a positive comment will feel good and a negative comment may prick you, but if you "own" your self esteem, others cannot control what you think and feel about yourself.

Author: Heather N. Smith, M.Ed., LPC
            Director of Reflections Counseling of Denton
            (940) 367-9887

64% of College Students with Mental Health Issues Drop Out

Posted on November 28, 2012 at 8:21 PM Comments comments (5)
64% of College Students wtih Mental Health Issues Drop Out

Mental health may be a larger factor in college student success than previously thought.
A majority of former students with mental illnesses dropped out for a mental-health related reason, according to a survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
There were 765 respondents in the survey, all from individuals diagnosed with a mental health condition who are currently or were enrolled in college within the past five years. Of the respondents who participated in the survey, 64 percent are no longer enrolled in college.

"For some, the stigma associated with mental illnesses keeps them from seeking the help on campus that may allow them to suitably deal with their issues and stay in college," said Christopher Scott, Associate Clinical Director of the UH Counseling and Psychological Services.

In the survey, students said receiving certain accommodations like lower course loads and help communicating their needs to professors may have helped them remain in school. They also said connecting with mental health providers earlier and having peer-run support groups available would have positive effects.

“Sometimes they may need to take a leave of absence, reduce their course load or switch to part time student status – but for some students these actions had negative consequences on their academic careers,” Markey said.

"Schools and students need to be more proactive about noticing signs of a mental health problem, like a sudden drop in grades, increased absences and social isolation," Markey said. "Schools can connect students to its services by promoting what it provides and by publicizing the importance of mental health to the entire campus."


Symptoms of Depression

Posted on October 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM Comments comments (2)
Common Symptoms of Depression
 
Physical
  • sleeping much more or much less than usual
  • eating much more or much less than usual
  • feeling fatigued, lacking energy
  • frequent headaches, stomachaches, or otherwise inexplicable aches and pains

Behavioral/Attitude
  • diminished interest in and enjoyment of previously pleasurable activities, such as going out with friends, sports, hobbies, sex, etc.
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • neglecting responsibilities and personal appearance
 
Emotional
  • depressed mood-this can mean feeling down, irritable, pessimistic, guilty, anxious, empty, etc.
  • suicidal thoughts
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • feelings of worthlessness
 
If you believe you are currently experincing symptoms of depression we can help.  Give us a call at (940) 367-9887.

Did you know you become what you think about?

Posted on October 5, 2012 at 8:18 AM Comments comments (0)
"What You Think, You Become"

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character.
Watch your character, as it becomes your destiny.
 
(Yoga Philosophy)

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