Friday, February 20, 2015

How Environment Affects our Mental Health~

How are all my readers doing this beautiful morning? How are you all feeling today? I can say though my physical health is not good right now, I’m in a very relaxed mood. ,I live in Massachusetts and we’ve had so much snow this month that I can speak for most people, im ready for Spring now We’ve had enough snow to last the next few winters and then some, but im not going to complain, there is blue sky outside and the sun is shining through my bedroom picture window.
   I want you to close your eyes. I want you to sit down in a comfortable chair and keep your eyes closed and picture this in your mind .Its early morning and the sun is just coming up over the horizon. The sky is lit up with breathtaking colors of pink, orange and purple and you are overlooking the ocean as you sit in your chair on the rock in front of your little house next to the lighthouse. No one is awake except you, all you hear is the waves crashing against the rocks below, and the ocean seems to stretch for miles with no end in sight. Then you hear the seagull overhead and the sunlight and you feel the rays of sunlight on your face. All is well with the world. You are relaxed and ready to take on your day.
    Now I want you to picture this, with your eyes still closed, you wake up for work, you forgot to set the alarm, so now you’re getting a late start, the kids are giving you a tough time. , you burn the toast, since your running late; you realize you forgot to leave out the kids clothes the night before, so now you’re scrambling to find them something to wear. They barely make it on the bus on time. In addition, you finally make it out the door, only for your car to give your problems starting. There is a huge traffic jam, you arrive at work late, and your boss is not happy. You are trying to concentrate on your job, but you know all your responsibilities are waiting at home. The day has just begun and you are already stressed to the max.
   Two different environments. That’s today’s topic how does environment affect our mental health? A person’s environment can influence how a person acts or reacts to a given situation. Many dynamics can stress a person out, just by what kind of environment is going on around them, but what happens when you are dealing with mental health; it takes on a bigger picture of stress, since stress is a huge factor in triggering a bipolar episode.
   So how does the environment affect our minds and emotions, since they go hand in hand with one another? Stressful life events, disruptions in our routines and schedules, these changes no matter how subtle they are at times can negatively affect our brain chemistry. In addition, how we handle ourselves, by expressing our feelings in healthy or unhealthy manner. Stress, interaction sith people, noises these all are contributing factors that play a big role.
   So how can we react or act differently when were under pressure, and we feel like were overwhelmed. Well here are a few ideas. Connect to nature, go for a walk outside, let the sunlight be nourishment for your body and soul. Have options of what you do to calm down. Surround yourself with social support like family, friends and a good therapist no shame in that. we all need to talk out those stressful thoughts, reduce the noise in our lives and clutter and business, they can over take the room in our minds and we feel like were being pulled in so many different directions. Relaxing distractions, a good book, a exiting movie, a bubble bath, or a phone chat with a good friend, there are many healthy options!
 So both physical environment and social environment can affect you. What difference can a physical environment make? For example, a brightly lit room with bright colors will affect people differently than a dark room that is dreary feeling. One will bring relaxation and a calm over  us, while the other brings out isolation and depression, and our minds play into what surrounds us, when were surrounded by certain dynamics then we start to gravitate to feeling that way!
 We need to  be active in our own  environment , some factors can’t be changed, if were in situations that are beyond our control, but we need to find the quiet calm, and bring that daily into our environment even if we have to be alone for awhile to gather our thoughts and relax our  bodies. This is our way of being proactive in your treatment! I know it has worked for me! I take time every day before I dig into my responsibilities to have a cut of tea, read my bible or a good book and look out at my beautiful view out my picture window. Knowing boundaries will help you figure out what are healthy and unhealthy boundaries too! You are not alone, through this learning process!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Self Advocacy..Speaking up for Oneself~

   Good evening my readers.  I am happy to say my husband and I are now in our new place, that we moved too and love it. There are many reasons why im so happy that we are now in a new place, but now that the night mare of finding a place is over and were getting settled in and we have internet back I can now once again focus on my blogs, which when  im actively doing them keep me busy.
 Tonight’s topic is  a very important one, though everything I write on has importance, this topic sums them all up and it’s the very reason why I do what I do writing this bipolar blog. The topic is Advocating. What is it and why is advocating so important to those who suffer with depression, mental health issues and how can you take part in advocating?
 How many of you have ever felt like your voice did not matter? How many have felt like you got the short end of the stick, when it came to how doctors treated you with your depression? How many of you have ever felt like you weren’t believed, or you were belittled? I know I have at certain times. It wasent until I found my voice that I knew then that my bipolar was not going to win this war.
  For so many years in my own journey, I did not know how to find my voice. I was so lost within myself, I was fighting myself every day, afraid that I would be lost forever in a dark world of depression .Because I didn’t have  a healthy self esteem, I didn’t think I could be  of any use in raising awareness, which  part of that process is Advocating for yourself and for others.
  Self-advocacy gives you a sense of power and control. YOU play a role in your treatment, your not just a patient, but a contributor, it gives you some ownership to this disease. We can’t control bipolar/depression but we can control how much input we have, and again it goes back to learning to care enough and love yourself enough to speak up, you have a right to  take part in your own  treatment of your emotional well being.
  Develop your own power statement: Meaning I will be treated with love and respect. I will not be silent; I have a right to be heard. In addition, stand by your beliefs!
Ways you can advocate:
Ask for what you want: Make your needs known
The right to say yes or no: know your rights!
You can change your mind: do not be pressured into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable!
Stand by your beliefs and values:
Do not be afraid to speak what you feel: Your feelings are valid and worth being acknowledged
Receive all info on treatments, risks and benefits:
Be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion: ive gone through times in my journey when ive gone to the hospital and was not treated with compassion. I had doctors whose bedside manner was anything but kind! If at any time you feel like someone in the medical field has done this to you, speak up, keep your cool, your more  apt to get your point across if you don’t lose it, I know its tough, ive been on both sides!
Be listened to: Not just HEARD!
Receive Hope and Encouragement: Search out those who will support you!
Communicate concerns: Don’t just sit back and go along with everything they tell you, if you have concerns about medications they are putting you on, express that, its your right!
Involve family/friends: you have a right to have them involved!
 Be yourself:
Be safe:
Change doctors: this is huge, ive dealt with this one, because some of the doctors ive had were not helping me in a healthy way, or they made me feel uncomfortable or terrible bedside manner, so I switched to someone I felt comfortable with! Do not be a doormat!
Play your ROLE: have a part in the decision-making!
Keep track of your progress: this is your way of showing your doctors that you care about your treatment, its also a way of learning to find what your triggers are, and learn healthy ways to cope.
Do your research: ive done this before personally, know what your medications are, why you take each one, side effects. When you choose a new therapist or psychiatrist, do your research about their back ground and degrees, what are people saying about them?
SELF-ADVOCACY IS WHAT IT‘s ALL ABOUT! You have a voice make it heard…
 Just like the small pebble in the water makes many ripples, once voice can make all the difference, it can change how your treated and then others hear about your experiences and then aren’t afraid to speak up to! Make ripple effects~

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Embrace the Beauty of Life...Embrace Change~

Good afternoon readers; I know its been awhile since I wrote in this blog, and I sincerely apologize for that. There have been many family issues going on.I plan on getting back into the routine of writing a entry more often.
   Here we are a new A New Year, 2015. I know for many of us, 2014 was a very difficult year, Remember that we are survivors though and we press on.A new start a blank page of new beautiful beginnings .today’s topic entry will be  about Embracing Life, what is thrown our way the good, the bad and the ugly, that what we wish to forget.
   At the beginning of last year, I chose a WORD, which would be my word for the year. last years was TRUST. This year’s word is “Embrace “This word would be my theme for the year, it would be a word I would focus on, reflect on and had personal meaning to my life. So as this new year is upon us once again, this is what I plan on doing.
   2014 was a tough year for us, my husband lost his job, we lost our place to live, thankfully, we had amazing friends take us in and help us. The journey has been anything but easy. We did all we could to mae the changes we needed to make and we are happy to say those prayers have been heard, and were moving into our new place Jan 15th.
  One thing this year has taught me is to focus on what really matters, I found a quote that speaks volumes of the message I’m trying to convey to you and it reads “Today is your day, to LET GO of things that no longer serve you” by Katherine Mayer
  The quote goes hand in hand with the topic, I do not want insecurities or fears top hold me back. I want to EMBRACE! This year lets strive to embrace who we are, what our strengths are. I want to embrace all that God has planned for me, embrace who God wants me to be and where he wants us to go.
   I encourage you all to embrace your depression; bipolar is like any other illness. let the stigma fall to the wayside and speak out your story. You matter your story matters don’t sit back and wait for others to riase awareness, were all part of the human chain, we all have  a voice, its time we EMBRACE change, change for the better, change as individuals and climb out of ourselves and reach out more. What abetter world we would live in.2015 im embracing you im using my story to inspire others!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Importance of a Good Therapist~

      Good afternoon, readers how are you all on this chilly fall afternoon. I hope this entry finds you doing well, and living in the moment and just doing the best you can. That is all any of us can do is our best and our best is Good enough.
  Today’s topic is “The importance of finding a good Therapist and why that is important “Besides discussing the vital role a therapist plays into your treatment, I will also share my personal stories of the good, the bad and the ugly of being in counseling over the years! So before, we dive into this topic ill share a bit of my experiences.
   My first experience with a councilor started as a teenager, when I was first diagnosed with major depression at 13-14 years old. This was a councilor my parents found and she was a older woman, but very kind and involved with my treatment plan. Thankfully, my first experience was a positive one, so I did not get a bad taste in my mouth of therapists. I was very fortunate, others I have known there first counseling appointment makes them doubt they can find compassionate therapists out there, and that is sad, because there are wonderful people in this field.
  That therapist started me  on a road, she knew her stuff, and very important  she was a good listener. Sadly, not all that can be said about. Later on after I was married, I had a  psychiatrist who thought he was God’s gift to psychiatrist, and that all his patients loved him. He was only suppose to be handling my medication aspect, but thought he could be my therapist too.
   He came across very ignorant. in truth this person never should have been working with the public, he also thought he knew it all, knew what was best all the time, he barely ever listened a;; he thought he should do is talk my ear off. every time I went into his office I had a panic attack and my blood pressure rose, not too long after I started seeing him, I stopped, he even had me admitted into a hospital, when I shouldn’t of been .As you can see  that was a bad experience.
   A couple years later I had a wonderful therapist, she started seeing me in her office and then she started doing home visits and she not only was my councilor, but she had become a good friend! We really bonded and she helped me immensely. When she left the practice because of health reasons I was heartbroken, but I understood. She helped me through many rough times in my life. The therapist I had after her I only had for a few years, but she was a sweetheart. Then I had to say goodbye to her because her practice was moving to Boston.
   The therapist I just started seeing a couple weeks ago, she is a a Christian, which is nice and her and I bonded, that’s so important, that both the therapist and client feel comfortable and it’s a growing relationship, if the bond isent there, then its heard to get anything positive from the therapy.
  So as you can see ive had more positive experiences than negative. So why is it important to seek out a good therapist and how do you go about that process.Well  when you seek out help  and treatment for your depression or anxiety or your dealing with issues and need to talk to someone professionally.the treatment plan is not just about medication, sometimes meds are involved, other times they aren’t, depends on the diagnosis.
  Talking about our feelings, and experiences and troubles we deal with on a daily basis whether with a spouse, friends or pastor are important  to keep healthy relationships going strong.  there are times when Professional counseling needs to be sought after. Someone who cares about People, that have got to be first, someone who is educated in this field, who can help you with cognitive skills and coping skills. Who helps you see the bigger picture? Who helps us make sense of the confusion and many thoughts floating around up there in our brains? Its important to feel connected to the person who you will be pouring your heart out to, if you’re not comfortable, then you need to speak up and let that be known and ask to see someone else.
   When you’re looking for a therapist, sometimes the best way to find a good one is through word of mouth, when a friend or someone we know sees one who  tells us about  so and so and they come highly recommended. another way we can is do research online, some therapists have a place on their practices website that people can rate them, look to see what other reviews of them are. You have a say in who you want.
      You have to make that call and does that bit or research, it won’t be done for you. And remember this… There is is not shame in seeing a therapist, it’s just someone to talk to who understands and can help you make your way through this maze of emotions your feeling!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mental Illiness in the Church~

   I am sorry readers that I have been not blogging as much as before. Lot has been going on in my life right now, but I really want to get back into blogging on a weekly basis! Tonight topic is “Mental Health in the Church “This is such a crucial issue that needs to be addressed and not pushed aside. This is coming from someone who has suffered with depression and someone who husband is pastor in our church.  Over the years, I have seen this happen many times at the different churches that I have gone to through the years.
   Church is a place for the broken, were all broken in some form from experiences we have gone through, or pain that we have endured. Mental health does not discriminate against those who go to church. Mental illness can touch anybody, Male or female, old or young.
  Therefore, what can the church in general do to Educate and raise awareness as well as approach this issue with understanding, and compassion. First off, those who suffer with this disease if they share their stories will allow others to open up their hearts and share their pain, so the church family can come alongside them and help them bear this load.
 Secondly, those in leadership need to be trained in this area; I do not think this kind of training should be isolated to those who work in the mental health field. More and more this issue is coming up with pastors and churches. After the tragic deaths of two prominent Pastors, sons ended their lives, mental health and Suicide prevention came up more to the forefront. Both the pastors openly spoke about their pain, of their families.  How their son’s suicides affected them, their church families, and the communities as a whole.
   When I heard about both these suicides, my heart broke.  Both pastors spoke out about the importance of prevention., About mental illness, what it is and how can the Church play the vital role they need to be in .I strongly believe pastors need to preach from the pulpit about mental health, it’s a topic a lot of pastors don’t want to even address.
   When my husband and I worked with teens at our old church, the youth pastor at the time did a lesson on depression and he asked me to speak about my experiences because he knew there was a lot about depression he did not understand. We need to speak in love and not be judgmental. a lot of  so called Christians judge others within the church, who suffer in silence with depression, this is heartbreaking to me .
      Because I’ve gone through this depression. I do all I can to speak out about depression and show those who need that genuine Christian love with no judgments, just compassion and understanding. There is still much that need to be done in raising mental health awareness, especially in the church. Start by not being afraid to share with one another, make sure it’s a safe place for those that need to share can and educate and train those who will be counseling others! The leadership need to lead by example.