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.