Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Article: Mental Illness Isn't Contagious

A friend of mine wrote a really good, spirited article telling how frustrating STIGMA is to those who have to manage their Mental Health.

The article is short and will only take you a few minutes to read - but is well worth your time. It's on a HubPage, but don't worry - the following link is designed to open in another window:

Mental Illness Isn't Contagious (article by "Whirling Dervish")

There are several interesting comments about 'media' in this little article.

It should make you think, "Hmmmm"

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Choking Game - Accident or Sign of Something Else?

While watching television over the summer (2007), I viewed a program called 'The Choking Game' that made me check around some more until I gathered some information that partially confirmed more about the information from the documentary show.

I wondered whether the game 'played' by children could be a kind of addiction-forming activity and I did find some reports that said YES.

I wrote an article about this scary childhood activity over at Hub Pages:

The Very Scary Choking Game on HubPages
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In the article I provided the name of the program and TV network that aired the documentary that piqued my interest in this topic. I also mentioned additional sites where some studies show that the 'euphoric' feeling that children may experience when they play the Choking Game can become addictive. You'll also find a 'support' site mentioned in the article, dedicated to spreading the word about this deadly game.

The 'game' is also called the 'passout' game and is known by a variety of names. Children actually design methods to make themselves pass out and lose consciousness, however MANY CHILDREN ARE DYING from playing this game.

It's not new...just 'covert.' People don't talk about it.

Just like people don't talk about OTHER things that they SHOULD talk about...

I hope you will visit the link and read the article as I've decided to take a little time off from the topic. It's quite an upsetting topic to research because kids who have died from playing this game often receive the cause of death label of 'suicide.'

While searching around, I had to go through a lot of articles and sites dealing with childhood suicide as well as abuse issues. Child abuse issues are more closely linked to childhood suicides, however, 'choking game deaths' are often not related to child abuse at all. The problem was - to get to the right topics, I had to wade through a great deal of the non-related stuff, anyway, so I've decided that now is a good time to take a break with this topic and try to process all the information I went through.

The Very Scary Choking Game on HubPages
(opens in new window)

I'll let you visit the hubpage and read. I think this information is very important to display in many locations - I'm just not up to writing a fresh article with prime details about 'The Choking Game' at this time.

I think the issue has been glossed over - in part, because the deaths are so senseless, and also, because the causes of death are often not uncovered until quite some time has passed. Typically, a family who has lost a child due to this game will suffer for many months, thinking that the child was suicidal and they are to blame because they missed all the signs...usually another child will come forward - one who played 'the game' with the deceased before - and admit that the friend was engaged in playing 'the game' for a while.

The issues surrounding this problem are very complex, but are typically hard to even determine because the game is almost always 'a secret,' within childhood circles. It is kept away from adults. Kids KNOW there is something wrong about 'the game' but they aren't quite old enough or mature enough to know what this great 'wrong' is. They also know that it's wrong to keep 'secrets' but the game doesn't work if everyone - especially adults - knows about it.

To Find Out More:

The Very Scary Choking Game on HubPages
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There are 'signs' that children will display when they have been engaged in playing 'the game' for a while. My other article gives a few tips about what 'terms' to watch for in your child's vocabulary - to make sure that your child isn't involved with The Choking Game.

Please don't forget to rate the hubpages article - it's easy - just look for the thumbsup or thumbdown button

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I Can Be Reached At Yuwie

If you need to contact me before September 15, please send me a message through the Yuwie Social Site. On September 15 my website will be functional (www.teeray.com), and you'll be able to track me down easily - but until then, don't hesitate to reach me through Yuwie.

If you're not already a member at Yuwie, don't worry - just sign up for free, look for 'teeray' and send me a message. The site is really easy to navigate and Yuwie also pays people for interacting on-site!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Heroes Are All Mental

The Television show, Heroes, is about ready to air for the second season. NBC will air the first show of Season Two on Monday, September 24th.

What is both surprising and very interesting about Heroes on NBC is that all the characters seem to exhibit Mental Illness symptoms, yet they are definitely HEROES!

Their quirks are seen as EXTRAORDINARY abilities.

Could this show help change our perception, in North America, about Mental Illness?

Heroes Characters Have Odd Psychological Profiles

This Television series is very popular in North America. The common age group watching, who are closely following every episode, are YOUTH and young adults.

Are you going to watch Season Two?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dual Issues

A lot of people who have to deal with Mental Health/Illness issues also become easily caught up with Addictions issues.

Many of the medications that are given to people in order to keep their Mental Illness symptoms under control are very powerful drugs. Sadly, many of the medications are not very safe, and if used improperly, these medications can cause dependency issues.

In a case like this, a person would have to deal with both addiction recovery and mental health recovery, and this can be very difficult to overcome.

Another way in which people with Mental Illness can easily be subject to the world of addictions is via Mental Illness symptoms which affect a person's self-esteem and moods. Many Mental Illnesses are considered 'mood disorders' and typically, drugs and alcohol are 'mood enhancers' or substances which also disrupt, influence, or otherwise alter a person's 'moods.' Putting symptoms together with substances is tricky business.

Both 'safe' and 'unsafe' medications are effective for assisting in the removal of or lowering of troublesome Mental Illness symptoms, so naturally, people who experience Mental Illness symptoms may have a higher risk of being exposed to both safe and unsafe substances.

It is of primary concern that people with Mental Illness acquire really good health professionals who will support them in any concerns about drug dependency issues. This means finding doctors who tend toward a 'naturopathic' lean and not wholly on a medical/drug way of thinking.

Yes, there are some wonderful medications out there to assist people with Mental Illness in living healthier, fuller, symptom-free lives - but each medication and each possible dose of medications can react in different ways, according to each individual person's body metabolism. What doctors feel works well, in the way of drugs, for MOST PEOPLE - may work poorly on certain individuals, so if your doctor does suggest drug therapies for Mental Illness symptoms, be sure to find out if the same doctor will very closely monitor how things are going for you if you do decide to act on suggestions.

Sometimes, after a certain medication has proven to be unsuccessful with alleviating Mental Illness symptoms, a patient comes out of the experience with a difficult diagnosis called 'dual diagnosis,' which simply means that addiction as well as mental illness symptoms affect behaviors and mental health.

In such cases, if a person has become addicted to substances, their physicians and health care providers will have to be extra careful about prescriptions for the future and sometimes, the affected person will benefit greatly from addiction/rehab materials.

Most alcoholism and drug addiction material used in our present day treats addiction with the idea in mind that addiction, itself, is a sort of mental illness, so this may be why 12-Step programs and other addiction-related programs, literature and information works well for people who have Mental Illness.

More Information - Clean Time For Dummies Blog

Friday, August 3, 2007

Thoughts On Meditation

Those With Mental Illness Can Benefit From Meditation

Many forms of meditation are helpful to everyone, those with Mental Illness included. Often, people with Mental Illness symptoms feel like their thoughts are racing, or their thoughts have taken a 'scary' turn, or have gained some other discomforting manner. This can cause greatly heightened symptoms of agitation, fear, disorientation, and other uncomfortable stresses in the mind.

"Agitation" and "Agitated" are fairly common terms for either the feelings that people with mental illness experience (agitated, nervous, restless, fearful) - or else the behaviors that others witness (agitatation, jitters, restlessness, fidgeting) from people suffering with mental illness. Sometimes a person exhibiting symptoms won't be aware that their mental process is leading to certain telling behaviors, but others can take note of their symptoms. In many instances, meditation can help reduce 'agitation' symptoms, even if the affected person is caught up in a mental process where he or she doesn't seem 'to feel' bad or nervous. (Often, a manic person will feel 'exhilaration,' or 'extreme elation' and will show behaviors that are out of the ordinary, which look like agitation to others).

But meditation isn't JUST FOR people with Mental Illness. Meditation is available and is effective for reducing stress and promoting good mental health in everyone. Some people claim that meditation doesn't help them or that meditation has, on some occassion, made their mental health/illness symptoms worse. In cases like this, it is highly possible that - with all the TYPES OF meditation available, some people who have not gained benefits with meditation have selected a type not suitable for them.

Some techniques are helpful to allow people to focus with great intensity on body feelings and things that are directly in contact with the senses (sound of a heartbeat, temperature in the room, feel of the shirt against your skin, sound of a clock ticking, etc). This type of meditation may not be helpful for someone who is having a panic attack which involves certain symptoms like heart palpitations - unless, of course, there is a 'helper' closeby to help 'guide' the meditation away from suggestions about body sensations that are troublesome. A person whose panic attacks revolve around heart palpitations probably should not be 'tuning in' to the sound of their heartbeat, unless guided in meditation by a professional who can 'talk the person down' to hearing their heartbeat slow down.

By contrast, someone who is having some sort of mental episode involving their beliefs about reality (I have had panic attacks where symptoms include body numbness, so a technique like this is helpful for me, personally - particularly during a panic attack), might benefit from the intense focus type of meditation where body sensations are brought into consideration in minute detail. When I have had previous panic attacks with 'numbness' symptoms, it has helped to mindfully meditate on heartbeat, then pulse feelings, then clothing contact, and gradually, I can feel the room temperature in the limbs I once thought were 'numb.' Consequently, by this time, the 'panic attack' symptoms have dispersed and the attack is usually over.

In any case, meditation, in general, is a very safe, effective, easy-to-perform, and inexpensive way to relax and promote most peoples' levels of better mental health.

With today's hectic lifestyles, you have to realize that 'the norm' of rushing around, fitting appointments into full-time school and work schedules and all the rest of the activities that society deems are necessary, 'the norm' is really not healthy at all.

Don't settle for just one meditation, particularly if you have felt uncomfortable with the process of meditating a certain way in the past. There are dozens and dozens of meditative methods for you to try. Also, some meditations improve and bring added benefit with 'practice.' You can hone your skills at meditation so that you can use a certain technique almost anywhere.

I can meditate when I am walking to a dentist appointment that I am feeling nervous about. This helps me to make it to my appointment instead of taking off on the first bus heading the other way - which is usually what I want to do as soon as I leave my apartment to go for my dentist appointments! I meditate while in the dentist office and chair. My dentist has said I am one of the most calm patients he has ever witnessed. He has checked to see if I am 'awake' during certain procedures. Practicing meditation, in my case, alleviates any need to use 'anxiety' medications, like a lot of people do when they go to the dentist. Surviving the dentist's chair without the use of drugs is definitely a big part of my mental wellness program!

Feed Shark

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Alternative Treatments For Bipolar Disorder

Alternative Bipolar Medications and Management

Bipolar is considered a major disorder that can greatly affect an individual and his family. There are many definitions of this illness. One definition gives that a person with bipolar disorder experiences extreme elations that alternate with deep depression. Bipolar disorder is also called manic depression. Generally, it is characterized by depressive episodes and accompanied by a manic episode.

To put it simply, bipolar disorder affects feelings, thoughts, behavior, and perceptions. Experts say that it is brought about by chemical and electrical elements in the brain that are not functioning properly. Some say it runs in the family, so families having a history of bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses are more prone to having the disorder.

There are certain medications given for bipolar patients, however, not all people are comfortable with taking daily doses of different medications. Many people are interested in securing supplemental or alternative therapies that can be safely sustained over a long period of time. Often, this more natural or alternative management of Bipolar disorder is preferred over taking prescription medications.

Omega 3

There are many research reports showing that omega 3 (found in fish oils and in certain fish) is an excellent aid in the management of bipolar symptoms, as well as those having other mental illness symptoms.

A certain research project showed that, in 30 bipolar patients who were monitored for four months, Omega 3 helped ease mental illness symptoms without causing undue side effects. It was a placebo-controlled and double-blind study. It aimed to compare omega 3's efficacy versus olive oil or placebo for the treatment of bipolar disorder.

According to researchers, bipolar disorder is a neuropsychiatic illness that has a high mortality and morbidity. In their preliminary study, it was proven that omega 3 performed better and resulted to longer remissions based on the four scales of symptom-severity. Further studies are still underway, and researchers are hoping that they can come up with new classes of psychotropic compounds that can be used as mood stabilizers.


Most people resolve to the use of herbal supplements instead of taking prescribed drug medications. But not all herbs are good for the treatment of bipolar disorder. In fact, there are certain herbs that can worsen the condition of a bipolar patient. Some herbal supplements actually have a harmful reaction when used together with certain drugs. Consult your doctor first before taking any herbal medication in conjunction with other drugs.

Nutrition and Your Diet

You have to adjust your diet, and this means checking meal menus everyday. The nutrients which the body receives are very important. Holistic physicians use b-complex, magnesium, and thiamin for treating and easing the severity of episodes of depression.

Pastoral Counseling

If you're suffering from bipolar disorder, you can also talk to your pastor, priest, or rabbi instead of talking to therapists. The religious community may be of great help during these times. In fact, the community is now recognizing the role of spirituality and prayers. In can even be included in psychotherapies and medication.

Art Therapies

If you're always staying at home, then perhaps you might want to join expressive therapies. Through the arts, you can express freely your feelings and do so without inhibitions. You can enroll in a drawing class, sculpting, painting, and many others. Find an appropriate therapist in your locality who specializes in art therapies or expressive therapies.

If you want movement, enroll in a dance therapy. Let your feet fly and your spirit soar while incorporating your physical, cognitive, and emotional facets to the dance.

Soothing music can make a person relax. So why not enroll in sound or music therapy? Your body chemicals can be stimulated to improve blood pressure and flow, breathing, pulse rate, and changes in posture.

Traditional Medicine

Traditional medicines or the culturally based ones like shiatsu, reiki, acupuncture, yoga, Ayurveda, talking circles, and sweat lodge are only typical examples. All these healing arts are based on balancing the states of the physical, spiritual, and emotional for the wellness of an individual. If the forces in your body are imbalanced, you will likely get an illness.

If all these things are combined: omega 3, herbal, right diet, pastoral counseling, art therapies, and traditional healing arts, perhaps the forces of the body can be balanced and a bipolar patient can be treated effectively. But remember to consult your doctor for any problems that you may encounter, and don’t just stop your prescribed medication if you have one. Continue using it, and ask your doctor if you can also use other alternative medication.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Enter The Contest - The Simpsons Movie Contest

Enter The Simpsons Movie Contest with me!
More Information About The Simpsons Movie Contest
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How about a short break away from Mental Wellness/Illness issues?

I'm entering The Simpsons Movie Contest that Fox TV and Opera (yes, the browser people) have put together recently. Contest ends July 27th - that's only 7 days from now, so enter The Simpsons Movie Contest with me before the 27th!

I have to run - I have to make sure that my friends have this information. I'm in a rush because I just found out about the contest a few hours ago.

More Information About The Simpsons Movie Contest
(opens in new window)

I hope you'll enter the contest. Winner announcement will be on the 27th, the day that The Simpsons Movie premiers! I hope you win the contest!

Good Luck!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Back To The Topic of Self-Harm

I noticed a post in the 'comments' area of the 'Self-Harm' post a while back and have been surprised that it didn't gain some more comments. I think that it's a really good bit of information, so I've decided to bring it up front and copy it as an entry on its own so that people can see it.

"Vanessa Vega said...

Self-injury remains one of the most misunderstood disorders in the world. Because it is a disorder rooted in shame, few sufferers will come foreward and share their experiences. I am hoping to change that.
I have struggled with self-injury for more than 30 years. I have never met anyone else who self-injures or thinks the way I do. And yet I cannot imagine that I am alone. After many months of intensive therapy, I have come to understand some of the underlying factors behind my behavior. As a result, I have just celebrated my first year of being injury free! It has been a long, hard journey, but a deeply insightful one. It is my hope that by speaking out and claiming my behavior, others will have the confidence they need to seek out help. I have a blog and would love love visitors and comments! http://comes_the_light.livejournal.com "

I hope that readers will visit Vanessa's link. Vanessa's material at her Live Journal location is very down to earth, and personally revealing, and I think she is right in saying "Speak out" and claim your behaviors because it does, indeed, help other people gain the confidence they need to ask for help.

People need to know that they aren't experiencing symptoms of mental illness 'all alone.' Millions of people worldwide experience symptoms of mental illness and they need to speak out and gain help just like someone who has fallen while running might need to see a doctor and have a sprained ankle or broken ankle tended to properly. A person who falls while running isn't a freak. Maybe they aren't even clumsy - a fall can just happen. Mental Illness can just happen, too.

I haven't read ALL of Vanessa's posts on her Live Journal blog yet, so I'm going there now to finish reading

PTSD - More Common Than You Think

You may think that PTSD only happens to victims of war, rape, deliberate psychological abuse and things like that. You might think that PTSD only happens in soldiers, abused people, and people who have experienced severe accidents like plane crashes, automobile accidents and things like this.

You couldn't be more wrong!

Though the types of events mentioned above do contribute to causing PTSD and the types of people above often develop PTSD, there are a lot more details to the condition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that need to be considered.

A person considered more 'emotionally sensitive' than those around him/her may experience certain events as 'traumatic,' whereas peers do not. In a sense, a main 'requirement' for developing PTSD is pretty simple:

If a person's response to an event or situation involves intense fear, feelings of helplessness, or horror...

This can lead to PTSD symptoms where the affected person might:

* Have recurrent recollections of the experience (thoughts, feelings, 'impressions' and perceptions)
* Have nightmares
* Feel, at times, as though the event is happening again (reliving the experience)
* Be triggered by visual, audio or any kind of 'cues' associated with even a small part of the event - and react severely to these triggers while experiencing intense psychological distress (panic, fear, despair, hopelessness, anger, etc)

There are more symptoms, but these are some basic ones.

Children often experience these symptoms if they have been exposed to violent videos at too young an age, before their 'life experience,' emotional and mental capabilities are able to sort out 'reality' from 'fantasy.' In certain cases, it would be correct to determine a child as suffering from PTSD - if they are having recurring nightmares, are having trouble determining that the experience is 'over' and instead, are 'reliving' the memory over and over again - if they feel intense fear, hopelessness, are feeling 'horrified' by whatever they have seen.

On a different note, it is possible that PTSD can also circulate on a mass level and reach people who do not actually experience DIRECT contact with a traumatic event. And example of this is how people reacted, internationally, to 9/11 with horror, fear, and hopelessness.

Do you think that there are still residual PTSD sufferers from 9/11 who weren't even in New York during the disaster?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Resilience Against PTSD

I've just been reading about a study concerned with measuring 'resilience' against PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Researchers have studied the survivors from the World Trade Centre Attack (9/11). Some of their findings were measured against some general information known about Viet Nam survivors. Researchers have been trying to find out why some people are more affected and suffer more mental illness symptoms than others after such traumatic events.

Not a lot of information was displayed about Viet Nam statistics but it seems that World Trade Centre Attack survivors fared a little better than Viet Nam survivors and this is probably because less was known about PTSD back in the 1970's. (This paragraph, my own assumptions - from general knowledge of Viet Nam dates and knowing that much more is known about PTSD Now than in the 70's). Also, some of the data from Viet Nam studies was probably gathered WELL AFTER the fact (I know that more formal and legitimate studies of Viet Nam vets and lasting effects of the war were not initiated until about a decade after the fact - not until after people noticed that Viet Nam vets were still suffering severe symptoms of PTSD long after they were removed from the 'war' situation), while WTC-Attack survivors were approached in a very timely manner (within 6 months) so that researchers could monitor PTSD reactions. This difference in timing will account for researchers knowing quite a bit less, in general, about Viet Nam vets and victims than about WTC survivors.

WTC survivors had 'support options' available to them shortly after the attack, whereas Viet Nam survivors gained 'support options' only a long time after their time of active stress.

The point of this post is to mention what items seemed to be most helpful about managing PTSD - but I felt I should clarify the difference in the two groups studied above because each group actually had very different variables. Usually, such differences can hamper research, however, the drawbacks or 'lack of support' and having less knowledge about PTSD in the one instance actually heightens the focus on 'support' for the study initiated to track the progress of 9/11 survivors.

Bottom line...

IMMEDIATE and APPROPRIATE support for victims of stressful disaster events is CRUCIAL.

For the 9/11 people, those who were able to access appropriate supports soonest were more likely to cope with the disaster and recover with less PTSD symptoms, in general - or - at least they were able to cope even when mental illness and continued stress symptoms occurred in reaction to 9/11 events.

9/11 survivors who had stong support systems (family, counsellors, mental health workers, discussion groups, physicians, etc) and accessed them regularly - showed more signs of recovering health and returning to more normal life skills, activities and work. Those who didn't access or who didn't really have solid support systems were often afflicted with symptoms of mental illness for longer - or they suffered more severe symptoms.

The New York City study of residents in the area near the 9/11 attacks numbered 2 752 and some of these individuals were actually inside the World Trade Centre when the attack happened. Of all these, two-thirds of the people displayed only one or NO SYMPTOMS of PTSD.

This study suggests, as well - that some people are very 'resilient' - moreso than we think! It was amazing to read that for this study, done only 6 months after the World Trade Centre Attack - a great number of people actually had NO SYMPTOMS of PTSD!

That's amazing - and the people from this study were RIGHT THERE...right in the city when the attacks occurred.

Too bad the world didn't realize how important 'support systems' were when the veterans came back out of Viet Nam decades ago! In essence, the Viet Nam Veterans who suffered so greatly for a decade after the war - were the ones who taught scientists, doctors, health professionsals, etc., that special supports are necessary after certain disastrous experiences and events.

Now, in North America, at least, we have a lot of known support protocols for many different severe events - even RAPE victims have better supports now and in a lot of North American cities, special 'teams' are in place when a female is admitted to a hospital and a rape is suspected as the cause of her injuries. With these teams, there are often 'all women' support workers - so that the victim has less emotional discomfort, receives some counselling right away, etc., on top of all the testing and questioning that has to be done.

Sometimes, for severe road accidents, there are special 'trauma team' workers who can come to the bedside of children whose parents were killed in accidents and the 'support' process can start immediately for unfortunate and innocent victims of such disasters.

Though sometimes PTSD is thought of as an 'overused' and convenient 'catch-phrase' for all kinds of things, it's nice to know that long-term stress is still being researched and is still taken very seriously.

PTSD is no joking or small matter. Too little is known about it - so I think that those who would minimize the effects and occurrence of PTSD problems and call PTSD 'convenient' for some - are sorely mistaken. It would be good to sometimes err on the side of caution, anyway, with this sensitive term rather than display the 'suck it up' or 'get over it' attitude, in my opinion.

I'm not sure exactly why this article struck me or why I felt I had to post this information to my blog...

Maybe - just 'cos it matters to me.

A general bit of info about 'Resilience' can be found at about.com and the following link can also lead you to some more in-depth studies on this topic if you're interested:


Friday, June 1, 2007

Please Take Manic Depression Seriously

Taking Manic Depression Seriously

Manic depression or Bipolar Disorder is actually considered as one of the worst type of depression that people can suffer from.

Characterized by sudden and extreme changes of mood, Manic depression is called such because manic = mania refers to the 'ups' while depression refers to 'downs' - in a cycle of mood changes that can persist for long periods of time. Many people actually experience very erratic changes, and so-called 'mood swings' may not just be caused by PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) or stress. Doctors actually have diagnosed mood swings as a common symptom of depression.

Often, when these so-called mood swings have progressed for an extended time, ranging from feeling simple 'annoyance' (even by very minor, simple things such as not getting a favorite ice cream flavor), this may not be just a sign of brattiness! If getting 'irked' means you'll cuss and swear at ice cream vendors, friends and family, throwing absurd tantrums - this behavior can be a sign of the onset of Manic depression.

'Manic' - 'ups' - are the times when a person suffering from Manic depression experiences overly 'high' periods. This means feelings of heightened energy, sudden outbursts of euphoric mood, extreme irritability, racing thoughts, and - unfortunately - agressive behavior, too (not always - but almost always!).

According to therapists, someone suffering from Manic depression may have Manic 'periods' whereby the sudden outbursts of euphoria and elevated mood can go on and on for more than a day - in fact, more than a week and beyond! Imagine how STRESSED the physical body of a person would be if their 'up' period were to last even one day! Some people go through this 'up' behavior and feeling for over a week. This is terribly taxing on the physical body.

When it comes to the so-called 'low' or 'down' periods, these can actually bring someone who is suffering from Manic depression very similar symptoms as those who are suffering from actual depression. People who have Manic depression may actually experience episodes of depression where they feel worthless, unloved, and they may start to experience very severe irrational, corrupt thinking. Varied symptoms like, guilt, extreme sadness, anxiety (including panic or anxiety attacks), feelings of not belonging, extreme pessimism and obvious loss for pleasure can all surface. Sometimes in combinations and almost all at once! According to therapists, an individual who is depressed consistently for more than a week can officially be diagnosed as someone who is suffering from Manic depression.

In spite of being one of the most common, yet severe types of depressive disorders, Manic depression, can actually be treated. Quite successfully too! If an individual with Manic depression identifies their symptoms with the help of a professional, follows proper procedures outlined by a good therapist, maintains proper taking of prescribed medications of the correct dosage, then Manic depression need not be unmanageable at all.

Also, individuals who are suffering from Manic depression should ensure that they are able to visit their therapists on a regular basis. This is helpful for allowing the individual to release pent up emotions with someone who can effectively interpret and understand what kinds of emotional and mental processes are going on. Here, though helpful family and friends are of extreme importance, the assistance of a professional is likely best (even if there is a therapist in the family) because the 'venting' can remain with and fall on the shoulders of an objective person, the therapist. This can help alleviate 'responsibilities' of family members and friends who might 'take on too much' responsibility, out of love and concern for the person diagnosed with Manic depression. In this, family and friends can be more stress-free and well-prepared for times when their loved one might need their understanding outside of regular therapy.

Although positive results for a Manic depressive patient can still be achieved from natural alternatives, a more lasting relief from Manic depressive symptoms can often be acquired through Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Contrary to some beliefs, long-held, about psychiatric treatments being the ultimate answer (or the only one) for dealing with Manic Depression, cognitive behavior therapists are actually some of the best professionals to consult for this illness.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Self Harm

Often, people with Mental Illnesses will deliberately harm themselves. This is a serious issue for obvious reasons. Please consider the less obvious form of self-harm (passive form, 'neglect'), as well - because this is often overlooked when placed beside the VISIBLE forms of self-harm like 'cutting,' visible substance abuse and other visually apparent evidence of self-harm.

NEGLECT if often overlooked - a mis-represented or hidden form of self-harm as well, so be careful to remember about this important element, too, when you are considering the topic of self-harm.

Sometimes, a person with Mental Illness will believe that they must punish themselves and will hurt themselves for this reason. Sometimes this punishment is in DENYING themselves something that healthy people do not deny themselves. These 'somethings' can be basic human needs that are being denied, such as food and water, human touch, human support, sleep, etc.

The reasons why someone might plan, obsess in the mind over, or engage in methods of self-harm are all quite complex...

I'm not a professional, so I won't pretend to delve into the complexities of this. I'm not attempting to explain away all the functions and elements related to 'self-harm' in this post - but rather, just tossing the topic in the air, offering some links to where 'self-harm' is explained in better and more thorough terms.

I believe that self-harm topics are uncomfortable - VERY UNCOMFORTABLE for most people to discuss and are, therefore, often pushed to the sidelines or even pushed under the carpet when they are present. For this reason, I am putting this post ON TOP OF THE CARPET and away from the sidelines.

Self-Harm can graduate all the way to the height of SUICIDE...but for some reason, people still find the topic an embarrassment and a discomfort - even despite the very serious nature of self-harm concerns! This attitude and way of dealing with the self-harm details will never allow many solutions to develop around this serious, sometimes life-threatening area.

People do not get embarrassed and try to hide other behaviors - even behaviors that are deliberately nasty and violent - like FIGHTS, unhealthy verbal exchanges and things like that - sometimes even violent actions like fighting are praised in society - if the actions were said to serve a good purpose. Fighting is almost never really a good action but it is accepted well above a person's QUIET cry for help in the form of self-harm (especially when in the passive form, the 'cry' is stifled into silence) - which might not physically harm anyone but the self-harming victim.

Even WARS are praised, but few people voice that this is an insane notion and occurence... where hundreds and thousands of people are deliberately killed, for any number of political agendas. By contrast, suggestions of 1 lone, single person experiencing Mental Illness and who engages in self-harming activities...is usually universally frowned upon as someone horrendously twisted - the acts themselves, horrifically perverted - that necessarily need be shoved in the closet as soon as possible before too many people find out about it!

Self-harm is often hidden by the individual, anyway - whether the self-harm is of a violent physical form or of a passive, neglectful form...so altogether, 'self-harm' is a very difficult subject that needs as much reasonable EXPOSURE as possible...rather than the typical or past blanket thrown over it!

Here is a site that has several articles about the nature of, some of the reasons for and some suggestons for intervening in self-harm.

This site contains a great deal of information - under such headings as:

"Understanding Self-Harm"
"What is Self Injury"
"Self Perfection"
"Drug Use"
"Positive Responsibility"
Along with a lot more topics, too.

Some of the information at the "Accept and Adapt" portion of the "Project Spears" website will be disturbing to some people who didn't realize that they engage in self-harm - even though they are not diagnosed with an illness whatsoever...although they have never considered 'smoking' as such a bad thing - even if they just smoke a few cigarettes a day.....

Because of this last point...really - the problem of Self-Harm really isn't all connected ONLY to people diagnosed as having Mental Illness, either! This was a hard point for me to realize, but I have to conclude - after reading this information - that this is simply a rational, true statement! People who are considered 'mental-illness-free' are performing self-harm against themselves, in certain instances within our society, and they aren't even aware of it!

I encourage readers to go ahead and sign in to this site, instead of simply clicking on the available free article links. There are free downloads (You'll need Adobe for these), a 'diary' available and also, information about 'long term' dangers of self-injury.

Here's the 'Accept - Adapt" part of the site:

Accept Adapt Training

And here's the entrance to the full "PROJECT SPEAR" site:

Project Spear Website

Thanks for Reading...

I will post more about this topic once I learn a great deal more...


Try This Fun Quiz

Your Theme Song is Soak Up The Sun by Sheryl Crow

"I've got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame
I'm looking up"

You're laid back, optimistic, and very together
Like the sun, people feel warm and comfortable around you

Do You Like Sheryl Crow Too?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Code Amber Alert Tickers Now On This Blog

I thought that posting about the USA/Canadian Code Amber Alert Systems would be a little off-topic on this blog, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this blog is a perfect place to put tickers for the Code Amber Alert Systems.

Code Amber Alerts are real-time tickers online - and extensive broadcasting offline (Radio, TV, Billboard alerts) that are displayed and dispersed when there has been a criminal act against a child. Basically they occur when a child goes 'missing' and law enforcement authorities deem that the general public will be the best help in recovering the missing or kidnapped child.

I'm not sure I've ever read of any kidnappings that have occurred where the perpetrator was NOT under some form of mental duress, under influence of drugs or alcohol or in some other way - not behaving normally. Certainly, breaking the law to steal, abduct, kidnap a child is not a normal or accepted behavior.

Sometimes, when someone has been deemed mentally incompetent to care for their child, certain authorities remove the child from the person's home. This, in itself usually causes a great deal of mental anguish.

A person deemed 'healthy' or not 'mentally ill' would undergo extreme mental, emotional and spiritual difficulty. Someone already or recently diagnosed as 'mentally unstable' might have their 'health' naturally and negatively compounded to the point of being completely overwhelmed.

In some instances, a person might resort to 'taking back' their child - in order to try and put some family stability back in their life. Authorities call this 'abduction' and 'kidnapping,' however, not all kidnappers and abductors have ultimately 'black' or homicidal designs for the children they steal.

Sure - some people are mentally defective in a manner that is very scary and very deliberately harmful - which the creators and implementors of the Code Amber Alert System recognize, as well.

In this, the Code Amber Alert System assists in the recovery of children from ALL KINDS OF abductors and kidnappers.

My only suggestion here is that NOT ALL mentally ill people who abduct or kidnap a child are doing so plainly just to kill the child. Sometimes the person is a distraught parent, so in light of the nature of this blog - to dispell the 'myths' of mental illness, I just had to make the aforementioned statements.
In doing so, I am in NO WAY determining that a parent who 'steals' their own child may not harm the child - but simply that harm may not be intended by all who do such a thing.

If someone is deemed to have a Mental Illness, and their child has been placed in alternate care for a while, it is highly likely that even if the parent is a loving parent, there are some ways in which they are unable to properly care for their child in a healthy way. Sometimes someone in this situation doesn't realize the magnitude of a court's or of a family's decision to place their child in alternate care facilities or homes, so the whole issue of child abductions and kidnappings most certainly does present a set of complicated data. For this reason, the tickers to deserve to have a place on a Mental Health/Wellness blog.

I have decided that the Canadian and American Code Amber Alert system tickers would have a suitable place on this blog. I believe that even if this blog contained other topics, besides or instead of Mental Health/Wellness information, a Code Amber Alert system ticker would STILL BE A PERTINENT ADDITION. Anywhere they can be visible, I believe, is a good spot for placing Amber Alert information! The reason they are successful is because they can be placed in so many places visible to a general public.

Had the Amber Alert Systems been fashioned and implemented before 1996, a certain Amber Hagerman, formerly of Arlington Texas - for whom the entire system is named, might still be alive! Amber was out riding her bicycle and someone kidnapped, then brutally murdered her. Had a Code Amber Alert been broadcast, some of the witnesses who saw the killer with her at certain locations would have KNOWN that Amber should not have been with that person at all - and that she had been kidnapped. Someone might have reported a 'sighting' of Amber and law enforcement officials might have found her before the kidnapper had a chance to attempt the brutal act of murder.

I am just sorry that I find the information sooner which would allow me to put a ticker on this blog and offer more of the general public additional access to such a helpful system.

The tickers for both Canada and the USA are located in the left-hand column and I would very much appreciate - if you see the ticker 'blackened' or not functioning, please interact with me and let me know. Under regular conditions, the ticker will run messages explaining the program details, however, when an Alert is under way, the message area will have a Yellow/Amber background and contain details of the Code Amber Alert in progress. Again - if you see the tickers in a non-functional state, please contact me so that I can check on them and make sure that something hasn't occured due to Internet problems or some other cause - to render the tickers non-functional. I will do what I can to make sure the items get back to working status as quickly as possible!

Thank you - ahead of time!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Mental Illness Affects The Entire Family

Many people mistakenly believe that the one who displays Mental Illness symptoms is the only person involved in a particular mental illness and its treatment.

As well, a great number of people believe that once professional treatment is issued for a Mental Illness, that this treatment is a one-time 'cure' for a particular individual or a particular form of Mental Illness.

These things are not true, but are commonly held by a general public - as well as families who suddenly find themselves faced with someone in their midst who is diagnosed as having a mental illness.

Mental Illness affects everyone involved with the person who has been diagnosed with an illness - including friends, family, co-workers, and employers.

Here is an interesting video that I picked up at You Tube, which deals with a Canadian survey done to find out details about how Mental Illness affects caregivers. The title of the video, "Mental Illness Care Giver Survey."

Caregivers are often the loving, responsible people who have family ties with people diagnosed with Mental Illness. Too often, so much emphasis is placed on the Mental Illness and the individual suffering with Mental Illness, that the caregivers are pushed to the background.

Caregivers often require special attention because their stress is different from someone who is not primarily involved in a responsible position toward the person who has Mental Illness - though entire families are still affected.

This video is interesting because it brings light to the position of caregivers of people with Mental Illness - and explains in very simple terms that dealing with Mental Illness is a long-term affair.

Sites mentioned in the video:

Mood Disorders Society Of Canada

Schizophrenia Society of Canada

World Fellowship For Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Most of All - Remember Your RIGHTS!

Due to social stigma and wide-spread negative prejudice against even the idea of mental illness, people afflicted with Mental Illness often accept what is said. They often learn to allow the wrong ideas about Mental Illness to surround themselves.

They learn to accept what a general public 'says' about Mental Illness.
They learn that mental illness is for a select few who 'deserve' to be mentally ill for various reasons. They learn that it's just some peoples' bad luck that they are born retarted. They learn that those born unlucky are not as smart as everyone else - nor do they deserve everything that regular people deserve.

They learn to accept how a general public may sometimes treat them. They might accept as normal - that people shy away from those suspected or known to have symptoms of mental illness. Name-calling toward those known to have mental illness often is prevalent in society due to both 'normal' people initiating this kind of thing - and also - because those who are being called names, are not standing up for themselves to make it stop. Sometimes all kinds of people accept the wrong things, the wrong ideas about how life should be - and then it affects how all of us think.

Just to refresh peoples' memories, here is a list of UNIVERSAL rights:

I have the right to be treated with respect.
I have the right to say no and not feel guilty.
I have have the right to experience and express my feelings.
I have the right to take time for myself.
I have the right to change my mind.
I have the right to ask for what I want.
I have the right to ask for information.
I have the right to make mistakes.
I have the right to do less than I am humanly capable of.
I have the right to feel good about myself.
I have the right to act only in ways that promote
my dignity and self- respect as long as others are
not violated in the process.

These are just SOME of the universal human rights that everyone can choose to remember whether mental illness is present in their lives or not.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Mental Health issues, for both those who suffer with 'illnesses' and those who 'observe' - are very confusing, to say the least.

Perhaps it is the 'inconsistencies' of when, how, and the manner in which mental health symptoms appear that gives a general public the idea that they can call people 'mentally ill' instead of saying, 'that person has an illness and the symptoms of the illness are showing right now.'

Once someone has received some TREATMENT for mental illness symptoms, many people erroneously classify the individual as either 'well' or 'mentally ill.'

The truth of the matter is...the person is a person...who may or may not have one, several, many or all of the symptoms of his/her mental illness show up again in his/her life. Most likely, the person will be subject again with variations of combination 'symptoms' that will present the need for that person to seek professional help throughout their lifetime.

When an average person, NOT classified as having a mental illness has a sickness, we don't say,

"That person is cold" or
"That person is broken legged" or
"That person is flu" or
"That person is cancer" or
"That person is fever" or
"That person is sprained ankle."

We say

"That person has a cold" and infer, "for now, but will likely be back to better health soon" or
"That person has a broken leg" and say, "for now, but once the break is healed the person will be back to normal" or
"That person has the flu" and include, "but will feel great in a week or so once the symptoms pass" or
"That person has cancer" and say, "but as treament is going well, he/she will be on the mend soon, and cancer-free!" or
"That person has a fever," and add, "of the type that usually only lasts 24 hours, so he/she will be his/her bright own self in about a day" or
"That person has a sprained ankle" - "and will be 'good as new' once that ankle is rested and healed."

Even if someone gets sick with the flu over and over, several times in one year - if the symptoms of influenza appear in a person repeatedly, we don't start calling that person someone who "is constantly the flu!"

Even if someone is particularly clumsy and breaks their leg or other body extension often, we don't say "Wow, so-and-so, is really showing his/her broken leggedness - perhaps he/she needs more treatment. He/she is really broken legged!"

So - what we THINK about concerning Mental Illness (if we are understanding Mental Illness at all) is often very different and inconsistent with the way we TALK ABOUT Mental Illness.

Often, the way we ACT around people who have a mental condition is inconsistent with our rational thoughts as well. We may, on a rational surface level, have no difficulties understanding that people who suffer illnesses of the mental variety are often helpless to control the symptoms of mental illness...

However, we may still shun these people, avoid them, or brush them aside, simply because - although we acknowledge that the people themselves aren't at fault for their symptoms - we'll ACT AS IF they are intruding upon our 'normal space.' This may happen due to previously erroneous stereotyping (that says "stay away from those who have mental illnesses) and surely it happens due to ignorance about mental illnesses in general.

A Common Condition - Depression

"Depression" is quite common - common enough that it is often a term used in an off-hand manner to serve someone who is dramatically trying to indicate that are disappointed or quite suddenly sad about something.

Real Depression can come on as a sudden sadness, as well - but it isn't anything to deal off-handedly because symptoms of depression can make the sufferer feel a range of emotions from a hovering sadness to an intense despair!

There is no perfect guideline to establish all the signs of depression - and those who suffer from recurring bouts of depression will often have different symptoms at different times. Depression can sometimes be as frustrating for Professionals to treat as it is for individuals to experience!

People who may be suffering from depression or manic disorders actually exhibit or show each and every kind of symptom of depression that doctors can identify. At times, certain symptoms can be mistaken for other things or not seen at all until the depressed person is unable to help himself or herself.

If someone is concerned that they may be suffering from depression, it is best not to wait until one experiences all, most, or particular symptoms that they have heard of before they decide to get help. If someone is able to seek professional help before symptoms escalate or become more numerous, that person has a better chance of learning about how to take better care of their mind, emotions, mental state, and environment - in order to alleviate 'attacks.'

Some common examples of symptoms:

Loss of Pleasure Or Interest - former hobbies, social activites and even sex seems uninteresting.
Depressed mood - feeling hopeless, empty, discouraged, or just plain sad.

Sleep changes - insomnia or hypersomnia (oversleeping).

Weight or appetite changes - a significant gain or loss of more than 5% of body weight in a short time (1 month).

Fatigue or loss of energy - not being able to do things or do things as quickly as you used to, feeling physically drained...even small tasks are exhausting.

Psychomotor agitation or retardation - anxious, 'keyed-up,' can't sit still, sluggish, lack of responsiveness, slow body movements and slowed speech.

Self-Loathing - harsh criticism of self, of perceived faults and mistakes - strong feelings of worthlessness and guilt.

Problems with concentration - mind 'wanders' often, difficulty making relatively simple decisions, "can't think straight." General inability to focus.

Irritability - easily annoyed, and frustrated by little things - 'grouchy.' Angry outbursts.

Aches and pains - Depression can cause or exacerbate many physical symptoms, including headaches, backaches, diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, any 'old injuries or old injury areas,'and aching joints.

Often, depressed people will show signs of distorted thinking - thinks will look bleak and they'll talk very negatively about themselves, their abilities, their situations, and especially about the future. They'll feel helpless and hopeless and obsess further about all of these negative thoughts. Often they start to believe that the only way to escape their 'useless' future is to consider suicide.

Anyone talking of or hinting of 'suicide' - or of harming himself, herself or others - no matter what other signs of depression are or are not present - SHOULD BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.

Kinds of Depression in special groups...

Teens - as a general group, children, women as a general group, men as a general group and the elderly as a general group - will all require a certain amount of unique help with depression, according to their group. Depression must be treated carefully, according to the individual or else treatment can do more harm than good.

For instance - a teen with depression may be hard to identify - rather, the depression symptoms may be hard to identify, and we mustn't be looking for only 'average' or 'general' depression symptoms when we're concerned about a teenager. Teens (and younger children) often display ACTIVITY where we would expect an adult with depression to be inactive, mopey, and oversleep a lot. Instead, teens can be very active in showing their depression, raising their voices during uncalled for situations, acting hostile and overly grumpy and they might easily and frequently lose their temper.

Due to the difficulties people have in distinguishing 'depression' from short-term emotional setbacks, people should become more aware of the symptoms and - more importantly - learn to seek help if symptoms are apparent in themselves or loved ones. People will often minimize their symptoms, and, consequently, 'push on through' life's difficulties, forgetting that it is as important to take care of onesself in life as it is to work, earn money, care for family and friends, and even play!

With depression - or other mental illnesses - if the presence of it is suspected, seek professional help - find out for sure if you are blowing your situation out of proportion. A professional will be able to help you decide on this matter. It's definitely better, with depression, to be safe rather than sorry.

Treatment For Depression - Finding It

Finding the right Depression Treatment

Depression or prolonged sadness is very common in the United States. Almost 10 percent of the American population suffers from this illness, however, not all of will be treated properly and have their depression symptoms alleviated. Ill-effects of Depression will continue to be a burden to some people. As an illness, depression may seem more simple to treat than it actually is. In reality, it takes more than a little cheering up to actually cure or manage depression.

Often, prepeat visits to a cognitive behavior therapist (CBT care) are in order for those who suffer with depression of various kinds (yes, there are several kinds of Depression, not just one type). In many cases, depression must be treated with a combination treatment of behavior adjustments paired with prescribed medications.

Unfortunately, often the medications for depression are expensive, however, a person who doesn't sustain their medication intake will often suffer very miserably for having interrupted the medication benefits of their treatment.

It is often best to treat depression and deal with it head on. Utilizing various treatments will offer the person suffering with symptoms - the greatest degree of relief from symptoms. These might include attention to diet and exercise, utilizing meditation for relaxation and other more natural treatments along with medication. This is not to say that a person should take on more than they are able to mentally or emotionally handle during 'low' times - however, the person should learn to acquire a large and diverse number of tools to deal with this tricky illness.

Depression can easily get in the way of an individual’s daily activities, and his or her usual zest for life can quickly dissipate due to overwhelming depressed feelings. In place of a sunny disposition, those who suffer depression might display marked periods of low self-esteem, irritability and grumpiness, and finally - isolation to the point where one is truly quite separated from the 'normal' functions of the living world - and the person may care less about living anymore.

A depressed individual in this state needs much more than 'a good cheering up.' His or her behavior can also drastically affect loved ones who care about the depressed person. Since others will be affected by a single individual, it is best for friends and loved ones to support the one who is not well - as much as possible. This may mean that friends and family make concerted efforts to learn about depression, how it affects their loved one, and even - how it affects the family and community as a whole. Family and friends may even have to learn healthy ways to go outside the depression situation and make time for themselves away from the depressed person. If nobody ever takes a break from the situation then a high-stress situation, bad for all, can result.

Depression treatment actually starts, for the suffering person - with admission that there is a problem - that he or she is under sway of a serious illness. By being honest with his or herself, it will be a lot easier for others to help and for the individual to feel like he or she can actually receive the help. It's not just a 'bad mood' or a 'moody time' - Depression can be a potentially life-threatening illness if it is ignored too long! Once consensus is firmly established between the depressed person and those involved in his or her immediate vicinity, and once professional treatment is sought out, then the depressed individual has a much higher chance of managing illness, reducing symptoms, and returning to a more healthy existence.

From various medications (like Zoloft antidepressant for depression and anxiety treatment) to all sorts of psychotherapies, once a person acknowledges their sickness, there are an abundance of sources with which to fight depression. Everyone concerned will do well to keep an open mind where treatment is concerned - and feel positive about exploring as many health options as is possible. As well, others should be involved in a helpful way with another person's 'recovery' and management of mental illness, particularly if or when drugs are introduced. During the initial stages of medication treatment, the individual will need others to help monitor how the medication is working so that safe dosages can be realized and so that the person does, in fact, get the right medicine for their condition.

Psychotherapy, a popular type of depression treatment actually includes short-term therapy sessions and usually extends about ten to twenty weeks, depending on progress of the individual. This type of depression treatment actually helps individuals by slowly making them aware of - and able to more freely express their feelings and get closer to the roots of their mood problems. Healthy verbal exchanges between the psychotherapist, behavior adjustments and such - will often result in the depressed client learning how to take part in discussing what they formerly may have been too embarrassed about or too afraid, for some reason, to share. Sometimes the recipient of treatment will learn a great deal about how they react to life's situations - and the goal is for the person to learn to manage situations without turning experiences into something that will feed their sadness, frustration, depression, etc. Psychotherapy can often teach someone suffering mental illness - to deal with depression in a very pro-active, unafraid, empowering way!

Various medications that are available for depression treatment are actually great for helping the depression patient to regulate his or her mood swings, to actually help him or her sleep better and as well as be more pleasant towards others. When used with the type of - or a similar type of empowering mental health treatment, medications can be relatively safe and offer both the depressed person and their family base - a great deal of relief from the often debilitating illness of Depression.