Category Archives: Mental Health

The Old College Try

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The Old College Try

Hi everyone and happy weekend! So this past Thursday I decided to give going to see a therapist a shot. Things in Lil Red’s world have been anything but perfect lately, so I thought I would try my hand at going to have a chat with a professional for the first time in years. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends that I can talk to when I’m feeling GLUM, but who wants to spend BFF time rehashing the most depressing stuff ever? Not me.

I saw a therapist all throughout high school and shortly after and it always seemed to help. And, I have to say, that it definitely felt good to be able to unload some major burdens onto someone who doesn’t know myself or my family a couple of days ago. I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed and depressed as of late and I’m over it. I’m stressed out constantly and I need to just be able to vent to someone and then get up and walk away from it until next time.

I felt a little bit better after my first hour long session on Thursday, which is way better than feeling one hundred percent miserable. AND I have my appointments scheduled for the rest of September and all of October to work on getting these blues shaken away. I felt pretty proud of myself for actually attempting to do something instead of just wallowing in my own misery until things start to get better. I am definitely looking forward to next week’s session!

I’m giving therapy The Old College Try again and I’m excited to start making some improvements for myself. How do you deal with the major blahs? Has therapy helped you now or in the past? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Are You Ready To Start Expressing Yourself?

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Are You Ready To Start Expressing Yourself?

One thing that a lot of people struggle with is that they don’t feel as though they’re able to project much about who they are to the world as a whole. You might be the most interesting, creative, and exciting person on the planet and yet you still feel as though you blend into the background when you’re around other people. Sure, not everyone wants to be the center of attention, but it can be tough when it feels like people aren’t getting to see the real you.

However, that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with that kind of situation for the rest of your life! Being able to express yourself isn’t all that difficult, you just need to know how to go about it, and feel comfortable enough to let the real you shine through no matter what. Here are a few simple things that you can do to get started on really showing the world what you’re made of:

Change Up Your Look: Not everyone is going to be obsessed with fashion, and that’s okay! But the way that you present yourself can have a huge impact on the way the world sees you and can be a wonderful opportunity for you to express yourself. Different styles say different things, and it’s cool to be able to share something about yourself with everyone that you walk past. And of course, no one feels the same every day so why not change up your look constantly?!

Many people will look completely different on a day to day basis, whether that’s through clothes, makeup, or even wigs. That might sound a bit drastic but it can be a lot of fun, and it’s worth trying at least a couple of times. When it comes to wigs, try CelebWigs for a bunch of different styles to see how you can express yourself. Of course, if you’re not looking to make that much of an entrance wherever you go, sticking to a style that you love and reflects who you are is just as good!

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Who doesn’t love a good makeover?!

Be Proud Of The Things You Love: We all have things that we’re passionate about, but a lot of the time we don’t want to express those things to other people because we’re worried about how they will judge them. This is where the idea of a “guilty pleasure” comes from. The truth, is that you should never have a guilty pleasure. If you love something, then that doesn’t impact anyone else’s life, so why shouldn’t you be proud of it? Whether it’s a type of music, TV, book, or anything else, wearing your passions on your sleeve can be a great way to express yourself to the world. And hey, you might even find that someone else feels the same way and you can strike up a new friendship.

Be Confident In Who You Are: One of the hardest things in the world is being confident in who you are. The media and the world around us work very hard to tell us that we’re not good enough. That we’re too fat, thin, short, tall, old, or young. All of these things mean that many of us are walking around on a day to day basis feeling as though we can’t be confident in who we are. But the world’s not going to change unless we change. So, no matter who you are, it’s important to be proud of it and never let the world tell you that there’s something wrong with that.

Change Your Environment: Of course, sometimes those kinds of feelings don’t come from inside yourself but from a toxic environment. Having friends who don’t appreciate who you are or people around you who try to make you feel bad for the way that you express yourself can make life very difficult and lonely for a lot of people. If that’s the case, then there’s nothing wrong with ending those friendships and changing your environment to something more loving and supportive. You would be amazed what a change of scenery can do for your self love and confidence.

Now, none of this is trying to tell you that you should try and be some kind of bold, brash person if that’s not who you are deep down. You should never try to be anyone else. The point is simply to be able to embrace what makes you a unique individual and to avoid hiding that from the world, because everyone deserves to see the real you shine.

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Identifying When Your Friend Might Need Your Support

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Identifying When Your Friend Might Need Your Support

Despite the immense potential and beauty that life can offer, and does offer all of the time, sometimes we all must enter periods of sadness, sorrow, and doubt. This can trigger from a range of different problems, and we all experience it now and then. Not everyone can be functioning at 100% all of the time, and periods of depression or isolation can actually serve for the greater good in the long-term. If you’re going through a period of depression, that previous statement must be apologized for in terms of its bluntness, but not it terms of its message.

Trivializing depression is always wrong, but robbing it of all complete perceptive value would be wrong, too. Overcoming a depressive episode can make you a stronger, more down-to-earth person. Remember, a tree’s branches can only reach as high as its roots go. A person who has successfully made it through a depressive episode is likely to come through the other side better off in some ways. It can be a purifying fire, that forces you to prioritize what is important to you, who is important to you, and how you can best live your life with wisdom and foresight.

However, this doesn’t mean that being depressed isn’t real. If you’ve been through feelings of despair yourself, you’ll know about the support that you hope for but usually can’t articulate your desire to retrieve. As a friend, it’s important that you keep an eye on your other friends or roommates to make sure they are okay and doing well. Here’s what to look for if you notice a change for the negative in your loved ones:

Change In Physical Appearance: Depression can rob you of many things, not the least your physical vitality. If you’ve noticed that your friend lacks their usual vitality, they could be deeply depressed, or even worse, they might be turning to substances to overcome their issues. This never works in the short or long term, but is a tempting process for someone who feels that they have no escape.

Communicating your concerns can be difficult to approach in these circumstances without seeming hostile. Living with a prescription addict can be even worse, because they can often get a sanctified, legal way to obtain their habitual maladies. To overcome these issues, try and help them get help through any means necessary. Inform their GP and family. Be there for them. If you have to, organize some form of stay-in recovery. Depression culminates in many ways, and people take it differently depending on their personality. Another sign to look out for is:

Withdrawing From Social Life: Withdrawing from standard social discourse is a good sign that tells you that someone isn’t functioning at 100%. Another sign is keeping an odd schedule, such as replying to your messages on social media at the early hours of the morning. A symptom of depression is late sleeping and late rising, so be sure to look out for this. Even introverted people need social contact, so complete withdrawal, especially if said person used to be social, can be taken in a number of ways.

Communicate clearly to the person that you harbor no ill-will for them limiting themselves or withdrawing, but let them know that you are worried about them. Never stop inviting them to places. Consider doing activities inside with just the two of you. Try and open up conversation as much as possible without being annoying. See what you can do to be present. Even if they don’t show it, they’ll likely need you far more than you think.

Sometimes, the best remedy as a friend is your simple presence. However, sometimes it requires more than that. Be sure to identify which one will be more helpful and take further action when needed. What matters is your observation and your willingness to help your friend through thick and thin.

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Improving Your Emotional Well-Being, Starting With You

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Improving Your Emotional Well-Being, Starting With You

While the world is still full of many wrongs – many things we would alter, tweak, and change – we are moving in the right direction on so many critical topics, not least of all mental health. Funding, awareness, openness, and the battle against its stigma. These are all ways in which we are improving as a society that realizes the debilitating outcomes for those unlucky enough to be preyed on by their own mind.

But the one thing that can have the biggest influence above all is you. Sure, that may sound cliched, but what’s wrong with that? Cliches are just truisms. Of course, the only way that you can help yourself on an emotional level is knowing how you can take better care of yourself. Get that right and your well-being will follow.

The Word ‘No’: We are taught to say ‘yes’ from an early age. Taught that the word ‘yes’ brings with it opportunity and adventure, and this is true. However, it is important to respect the word ‘no’, too. By learning when and how to say no with grace and understanding, you will find it much easier to fit in the things that you want and need to. There is never enough time or energy to do everything. So in order to enjoy saying ‘yes’ you need to know how to say ‘no’, as well.

Go Outside Every Day: When you are trapped in the vice-like grip of depression or anything of that ilk, the idea of crawling out from under the duvet and leaving your bed can be unfathomable, let alone leaving the house. However, research has proved that spending time outdoors can boost your energy and emotional strength, while also giving you a heightened sense of well-being.

Make Big Waves: Mental health issues can manifest in so many different forms, including severe dependencies. Escaping this crux can be as tough as it gets, so don’t be afraid to make big waves and take big steps. Seek help. Speak to therapists. Look at that extended stay treatment at Beachway. Approach councilors. Your mental health and emotional well-being is the most important thing that you have, which is why you shouldn’t accept any compromises. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Get Lots Of Sleep: Studies have shown that you should get at least seven and a half hours of sleep each night. This is because sleep deprivation, whether it be broken sleep or chronic insomnia, can lead to weight gain, a loss of focus, feeling unstable, and a general lack of productivity. If you manage to get into a good sleep pattern, not only will you feel better, but you will be better too.

Respect Yourself: We neglect ourselves without even realizing it. That is why you should start making a conscious effort to treat yourself in the same way that you treat your family and closest friends. Imagine how you would help a friend that was suffering in the same way that you are. We’re talking about offering yourself compassion, respect, kindness, and advice. Pushing yourself to be a better you is important, we can’t deny that. But being hard on yourself is different. Being hard on yourself only encourages guilt and can harm your emotional well-being to no end.

Every new aspect of your life starts with you, including improving upon your mental health. Make goals, challenge yourself, and take the steps necessary to start a lifestyle in which you are kinder to yourself.

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5 Tips For When You’re Worried a Friend Has a Mental Illness

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5 Tips For When You’re Worried a Friend Has a Mental Illness

It is, unfortunately, just a fact of life that so many people are suffering from mental conditions. These problems can affect people from all backgrounds and demographics. You really can’t know who is suffering and who’s not just by looking at what they have or how much money they earn. If Prince Harry of England can suffer from mental health issues, then anybody can. When it’s your close friend or partner, sudden changes in their mood and outlook on life can be glaringly obvious to you. Here are five tips for handling that situation, should it arise (we hope it doesn’t!):

Talk It Out:

People have a hard time opening up about mental health problems, which is one of the problems in the first place! So it’s unlikely that your friend is just going to spill every single detail about what’s going on inside their mind, especially if they like to put on a front that everything is all good. If you suspect that something’s up, have a conversation with them. A real one. They might just have a small issue that they just need someone to listen to. If it’s more serious than that, then you can take it further.

Give Positive Energy:

If a friend is suffering from something that’s not nice to deal with, then they will obviously be in a dark place. While it’s not easy to be your bright and cheerful self around someone incapable of matching your enthusiasm, it’s important that you bring all of the positive energy you can muster when you’re around them. This doesn’t mean being loud and suggesting a wacky adventure every time you’re with them; it means being calm, thoughtful, positive, and suggesting activities that might boost their mood. It won’t be easy, so patience is definitely a virtue.

Encourage Them To Get Help:

Sometimes, a friend will be suffering from problems much more threatening than mild depression, for instance. It might be that they need to get professional help. Unfortunately, they might not go down this path if they haven’t accepted that anything’s wrong. When that happens, help them see for themselves that something isn’t right. If you suspect your friend is suffering from schizophrenia, have them take a self-screening test from schizlife.com here. When they don’t feel attacked and can be honest with themselves, they might be more willing to seek professional help for their problems.

Don’t Get Too Close:

While it’s important that you do everything that you can to make sure your friend is okay, you should avoid getting too close to the situation. This is especially relevant if the friend is your boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s important that you keep a healthy distance, for their sake as well as your own, as sometimes your own mental health can suffer when looking after their other half. Make sure that you take care of you, too.

You’re There For Them:

Above all, make sure they know that you’ll always be there for them. Some people’s conditions flare up, and they need to know someone is there for emotional support. If you let them know that you are available, night or day, then they’ll have an extra dose of comfort knowing that they’re not alone in the world.

Mental health issues can be scary, and as a friend or partner it is your duty to show support to a loved one who is struggling. Life is not always sunshine and rainbows, but you can definitely try and help it to be!

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Connecting Health & Self Esteem To Improve Both

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Connecting Health & Self Esteem To Improve Both

For one reason or another, we can all find ourselves in stressful circumstances in life. Sometimes, we can handle them. But sometimes, they stick – and that’s when it hits us hard. When you’re dealing with stress, not only can your health suffer, but your self-esteem can, too. At times like this, you feel like you’re never going to be able to make things work and feel good about yourself again. But you can. There are so many different ways that health and self-esteem are connected, you just need to find them.

You do have the option to tackle your health and self-esteem separately, but you might find that you enjoy it better if you create a connection between them both and hit them head on. When your health suffers, it can harm your energy levels, your mood, and then eventually your self-esteem. Likewise, when you’re suffering from low self-esteem, you may find that other areas of your physical and mental health start to deteriorate. So, you’re going to want to work on boosting your health and well-being in a range of different ways to improve how you feel in life:

It’s A Mental Thing: First of all, it’s going to help you to acknowledge that your current concerns about your self-esteem are a mental issue. Your worries may not be anything to worry about, but by acknowledging them, you’re going to get yourself one step closer to feeling better. When you ignore your thoughts and try to avoid them, you’re not solving them. To push past the negativity that you’re dealing with in your own mind, you need to be able to acknowledge it first and then work past it.

Trying Out Yoga: To work on boosting both your health and your self-esteem, you should seriously consider trying out yoga. It’s a great workout, of course, but it is also amazing for your mind. There are so many benefits to yoga, that you’ll definitely be working on improving things like your flexibility and posture, but you’ll also be clearing your mind and relaxing at the same time.

Drinking More Water: Our bodies are made up of a huge percentage of water, so we need to be able to stay on top of that in order to improve your health. When you do start to drink more water, your body will be able to function better and that, in turn, will boost your mind. You’ll notice that you have a bit more energy and the more energy you have, the more positive you’re likely to feel.

Eating A Balanced Diet: Next up, you’re going to want to start prioritizing your nutrition. It’s okay to indulge every once in a while, but when you eat a lot of junk food, you may find that it makes you feel worse. There’s a lot to say for mood food because what you eat does impact how you feel about yourself. When your body feels sluggish, you will feel sluggish. And who wants to do anything when they’re feeling lethargic? The answer is nobody.

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Yummmm

Getting More Fresh Air: When you’re cooped up inside all day or you find yourself always heading from the office to your house and back again, you’re probably exhausted. Your mind will always be running with the things that you have to do. So, take a break. Getting enough fresh air is always good for your mind and your body. Going for walks or just sitting outside to remove yourself from stress can really clear your mind and help to keep you calm.

Accepting & Improving: Sometimes, you won’t start to feel a change in the way you feel until you encourage that change to come about. You can do that in two ways. First, it’s to work on improving whatever it is that is getting you down. Whether you need to lose weight and decide to see a fitness expert to feel happier in yourself or you want to improve your teeth with professionals like the Harrell Dental Implant Center so that you can confidently smile again, take action. Your other option is to accept who you are and what you look like, and be happy in your own skin. Either way, accepting or improving will help you to take a huge step forwards.

Committing To Exercise: Exercise is a great way to boost your mood and get healthy. No matter what it is, whether it’s a fun dance class or running on the track, by doing something, you will start to do something about how you look and feel. When you work out, you will find that you have more energy and will start to feel more positive and confident in yourself.

Trying Out Mantras: When you struggle to accept the skin that you’re in, you may need to take an additional step towards making that happen. Even if the idea makes you feel silly, you should try out positive affirmations. They can often boost your self-esteem and even train you into positive thinking. Either way, you will find that the effects work in a positive way towards your general levels of health.

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Think she’s thinking her mantra?

Switch Off & Step Back: Sometimes, you might find that your obsession with being on all of the time is holding you back. It’s something that we all struggle with at some point or another. But, the negative effects of social media are real. They can change the way you feel about yourself and your life, and drastically lower your self-esteem. So take a step back and learn to switch off. A social media hiatus might be just what you need to start focusing on yourself instead of others.

Put Yourself First: And above all else, you’re going to need to learn to prioritize your health and happiness in order to feel better. Doing the right things to boost your health will be good for your mind. Vice versa, doing things for your mind will positively effect your body. So rekindle that love you once had with a hobby and allow yourself a slice of happiness – for your body and mind’s sake.

Happy Friday!!!

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Proceed With Confidence! Tips To Overcome Procedural Anxiety

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Proceed With Confidence! Tips To Overcome Procedural Anxiety

For one reason or another, most of us in our lives will have a surgical procedure at some point. Some may be prophylactic, designed to prevent or reduce the chances of a serious medical condition, while others may be to treat an existing condition. Whatever the cause, the prospect of undergoing a surgical procedure can be extremely daunting, particularly if we’re doing it for the first time. Procedural anxiety is a very real psychological condition, which can have incredibly damaging physical effects. In some worst case scenarios, patients have been known to refuse potentially life-saving surgery because they were so crippled by the prospect of going ‘under the knife’.

Fear of the unknown is one of the defining traits of human psychology. It’s the reason why we have learned to hide in our caves and not to tangle with saber toothed tigers. But in today’s world, our anxiety can take many forms that can be damaging to us, especially when our health is concerned. Let’s examine the anxieties that accompany surgical procedures and what you can do to combat them:

Do I Have Procedural Anxiety? Like many forms of anxiety, procedural anxiety can take many forms. While there are recognizable symptoms, they manifest differently in different people. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms when considering surgery, or in a dialogue with your doctor about surgery, then chances are you are affected by procedural anxiety:

  • Breathlessness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or stomach upset
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability
  • Shaking/trembling
  • Heart palpitations or accelerating heart rate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to think clearly or speak intelligibly
  • A sensation of detachment from reality
  • Fainting or fear of fainting
  • Fear of losing control.

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Yikes!

These symptoms can be brought on by certain triggers. Most of us don’t even have to be in a hospital to start feeling them. In some cases, just the sight of blood or injury in television or movies is enough to make us feel nauseous. These kinds of anxiety are perfectly natural and more common than we may think. They affect us because of three key factors:

Loss of Control: It’s no small feat to entrust the care of our body to someone else if we are unconscious or otherwise anesthetized. This degree of trust in your surgeon is at odds with our every primal instinct to protect ourselves.

The Stakes: Surgery can lead to a better life that is free of whatever impediment the surgery is designed to treat. Often physical conditions or injuries can throw a wrench in the works of our plans for life, and surgery represents a chance to overcome that hurdle. With that in mind, it’s perfectly understandable that we’d invest our hopes in the procedure and the prospect of something going wrong or the procedure failing, which would be devastating.

Mortality: As we live our lives, we become so caught up in the minutes of our day-to-day lives that we subliminally assume that they’ll go on forever. Surgical procedures can be a stark reminder of our own mortality and make us feel fragile and vulnerable.

There’s no denying that procedural anxiety is a biggie, but that’s no reason to let it get the better of you. Here are some things that you can do to stifle your fears and go into a procedure with confidence:

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First, remember that you are not alone: Whatever happens, you have support every step of the way. Make sure that you make the most if it. Bring your partner, a close friend, or a family member with you whenever you feel you need some extra love. The medical staff will be there to help you and answer any questions that you may have, so voice anything that’s troubling you. If you’re worried about the prospect of something going wrong with the procedure, the surgeon, or the tools then rest assured that it’s relatively easy and risk free to get an attorney to help you.

Get to know your doctor: There can be no better way to squash the fear of the unknown than by familiarizing yourself with your doctor, medical staff, and the attending physician. Get them to describe the procedure to you in as much detail as possible (if you can stomach it). This will remind your subconscious that you are entrusting your body to a skilled, competent, and experienced professional.

Be as open with them as possible about your anxieties. You’d be astonished how understanding they’ll be. In many cases, they will work collaboratively with you, enabling you to make decisions for yourself when possible.

Educate Yourself: Knowing is half the battle, and nowhere is this more relevant than when discussing procedural anxiety. For some, having the procedure explained by a professional isn’t nearly enough and there’s no such thing as too much knowledge. Researching the procedure is one of the surest ways to rid yourself of fear of it. If possible, try and make contact with friends and family who’ve undergone similar procedures. Some people who’ve undergone surgical procedures write blogs to reassure others. Reading these can be a great reminder of what you have to gain and look forward to after the procedure.

However prepared we are, we often find ourselves overcome by fear and anxiety at times so here are some coping strategies that you may find useful:

Distraction: If you feel your mind dwelling, then it can be very counter productive. Listen to music or read a book or article in a magazine or online. Even focusing on the tiny details of a painting on the wall can give your mind a break from itself.

Challenge Negative Thoughts: We have a tendency to jump to the worst case scenario and it’s important to catch these thoughts and nip them in the bud as soon as they crop up. Use your newfound knowledge to assure yourself that the facts and logic outweigh your worst case superstitions.

Visualize: Many find it helpful to create a positive visualization to calm your anxious mind. Take yourself back to a time when you were carefree and happy and try and transpose that feeling to your future, to a time that you can look forward to after the procedure.

Remember that your anxieties are perfectly understandable and natural, but hopefully using these techniques will prevent you from letting it be the boss of you so that you can proceed with confidence!