How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

Hello and Welcome Friends and New Visitors,

Many of my regular friends here know I am living with mental health challenges along with maintaining my recovery from addiction. Many suffer in a variety of ways and depression seems to be a popular disorder affecting more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

Persistent depressive disorder, as I have, or PDD, (formerly called dysthymia) is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years or longer according to “The Anxiety and Depression Association of America” Alek has written a great article for us to help those we know who suffer from depression. I hope it helps friends…
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“How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed”

It is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love go through depression. Depression is a disease that doesn’t operate within the normal bounds of reason. The chemical imbalances in the brain of a person who suffers from depression put them into a different mode of existence, where little things might seem like the end of the world, or it might be difficult to get excited about the big things, at all. Indeed there’s a reason that depression can be so closely linked to substance abuse. According to some studies, as many as half of the people with depression may also struggle with a substance abuse or addiction disorder at some point in their lives.

However, this doesn’t mean that a depressed person has to be resigned to living a life of sadness and repressed emotions. By using effective coping skills and learning to manage their mind, people all over the world live fulfilling lives, despite the effects of depression. Here are some key things that you can do to help a loved one who struggles with depression…


Don’t use shame to fight depression:

Shame is a tool that is too often utilized when it comes to our intercourse with mental illness. What makes this a real shame is that it doesn’t really work. You can’t shame someone into getting over the way that depression makes them feel. Phrases like “just be happy” don’t do anything to actually mitigate the effects of depression, which are caused by real and tangible chemical imbalances in the brain, and instead, work to make your loved one feel like they are understood, not more alienated. As you can imagine, this doesn’t work towards improving healthy habits that are able to help them cope with depression.

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Small acts of kindness go a long way:

We don’t need a big sweeping gesture that shows the people we love that we are willing to help in their struggle with depression. Instead, it’s important to remember that little acts of kindness can build up to make a person feel respected and appreciated. Don’t only offer these kind gestures towards your loved one, but encourage them to do the same for other people.
There are studies that show that small acts of kindness actually are able to increase the happiness of the person who carries them out.

Encourage professional help:

It can be hard for people to determine when depression requires the help of a professional. However, it’s important to realize that someone who is severely depressed will never seek the help of a professional themselves. That’s just the nature of the disease; when you’re in it, you can’t find hope that it will get better. Do whatever you can to urge your loved one to seek help, since you know that there are numerous ways today that we can help to manage the symptoms of depression.

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Don’t undermine their experiences

Even though the overwhelming feelings of a person with depression may be caused by the actual chemical effects of depression, rather than external factors, it is still important to understand that those feelings are still real, whether they are rational or not. Depression can be a part of a person’s existence, and even though it is important to learn coping skills to deal with the weight that depression can be on a person’s shoulders, it is also important to not undermine these experiences. Instead, just listen or give them their space. You don’t need to fix everything at every moment.

 

Encourage healthy habits

Because depression has to do with brain chemistry, it is very beneficial for a person with depression to be engaging in healthy behavior that improves brain balance, such as dieting, exercising, or eliminating the toxins in their body. This can be difficult since depression, by its very nature, can get in the way of doing important life things, including just eating at all. What you can do, as a person who loves them is encourage the healthy habits that are going to make them feel better, in the long run. While depression can undermine the desire to do such things, be persistent and know that it will help them.

Don’t expect quick fixes

If you are looking for a quick fix to get rid of the effects of depression, then you should probably hang up the cape right now and save yourself the time. Combatting depression takes time and is a battle of a bunch of little things, rather than any one big thing that gets rid of the entire problem.

Just be there

Sometimes, you don’t have to actually do anything. Feeling like you have to constantly be “fixing” this person because of their depression is just going to have the opposite effect that you want. Sometimes, just being there and not doing anything counterproductive is going to mean the world to them.

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“Presented by Recovery Starts Here!  ~ Author, Catherine Lyon” 


Is Being Diagnosed With Mental Health For Men More Difficult Than For Females? Guest Post From NAMI…

Is Being Diagnosed With Mental Health For Men More Difficult Than For Females? Guest Post From NAMI…

So? Is mental illness more difficult for men than women?  Can they learn to cope and come to acceptance of a diagnosis?  I came across a great article from my friends at “The National Alliance on Mental Illness” and they help many find treatment, advocate, raise awareness and educate the public on a growing topic impacting thousands. Mental illness and disorders in the society we seem to live in today is affecting 1 in 5 people each year. So is it harder for men? Give this article a read to learn more…

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Depression is an Illness, Not a Weakness

By Joshua Beharry and Dr. John Ogrodniczuk | Apr. 21, 2017  NAM

While growing up, boys learn what it means to “be a man.” Unfortunately, some of these “manly” teachings can be downright harmful like “big boys don’t cry,” “suck it up,” “tough it out,” and more.  Most boys are taught to ignore or dismiss their feelings—internalizing vulnerability and asking for help as a weakness. Boys then grow into men, without ever being in touch with their emotions or knowing how to identify or describe what’s bothering them.

For these reasons, many men find depression a difficult topic to discuss. They feel ashamed that they need help and are too embarrassed to ask for it. “For a long time, I’d been pushing things away, hiding my emotions and pretending that everything was okay, but it was getting to the point where I was afraid that I’d drifted too far and I wasn’t going to come back,” says Joel Robison, concept photographer and mental health advocate.

Starting the conversation is the first step towards recovery. For many men who have overcome depression, the turning point came when they reached out to a friend or family member for support. It’s usually something they wished they had done sooner rather than later. Here are specific things any guy can do to start a conversation about mental health:

Talking to a Friend or Family Member

 

If you don’t normally talk about your mental health or feelings, it can be hard to know which person in your life is best to talk to. And you may be worried about the reaction you’ll get if you reach out. Just keep in mind that the conversation doesn’t have to be perfect, and you should only share what you’re comfortable with. Try easing in:

  • “I’ve been getting pretty stressed lately.”
  • “I’m going through a tough time right now, and I think something might be wrong.”
  • “I think I may be depressed, have you noticed me seeming more down lately?”

Be prepared for different responses—in particular, don’t be deterred if you don’t find the support you were hoping for right away. But if things go well, you can talk more and ask for more specific support, like working out together or helping you keep up with chores. Most people are happy to be given a chance to lend a hand in a time of need. When you’re doing better, you can return the favor.

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Talking to a Professional


Depression
is a serious illness. It can make your life miserable if it’s not treated properly. When you break your arm, you go to the doctor. If you have ongoing serious pain, you go to the doctor. If you think you may have depression, you go to the doctor. That’s how simple it should be. When you talk to a doctor, you’re talking to someone who knows about depression, and whose job it is to help you. That’s why it’s essential to get their input.

If you’re hesitant to see a doctor because you think they’ll just throw medication at you, know that medication isn’t the only treatment for depression. Your doctor can give you advice about certain lifestyle changes and different treatment options that may or may not include medications.

Once you’re at your appointment, it may feel a little awkward getting started. Be as honest and as specific as possible about how you’re feeling and the impact it’s having on your life. Here are some examples:

  • “I can’t sleep at all.”
  • “I’m too tired to go to work, but I keep going out drinking.”
  • “I don’t want to see my friends anymore; I’m sick of everyone.”
  • “Sex isn’t interesting me like it used to and it’s getting harder to perform.”
  • “I’ve been gaining (or losing) a lot of weight recently.”

Depression is one of the leading risk factors for suicide. It’s a real and serious condition that affects millions every year. Talking about depression is never easy, but men everywhere need to start talking about their mental health. There are effective treatments and there’s no shame in seeking support. In fact, reaching out could very well be the smartest and bravest thing you could do. It could save your life.

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Joshua R Beharry — Since recovering from experiences with depression and a suicide attempt in 2010, Joshua R. Beharry has become a passionate advocate for mental health. Josh is currently the project coordinator for Heads Up Guys a resource for men suffering mental illness.

For more help and exceptional resources for mental and emotional illness, please visit my friends of  NAMI Today!.

Book Review and Interview Share. Meet USRA Series Champion Racer and New Author, Justin Peck…

Book Review and Interview Share. Meet USRA Series Champion Racer and New Author, Justin Peck…

‘ I turned back to the half-finished note I had written to her. My heart breaking and the tears flowing. I set the notepad down, reached into the truck’s console, grabbed my pistol. Loaded it. Put it to my head and pulled the trigger.’

That was then, today USRA Series Champion Racer and New Author, Justin Peck has come a long way from those dark days of the unknown….  One of my perks if you will, of working and being an “Author’s Cafe” Columnist for “In Recovery Magazine” is I get to meet a lot of wonderful new authors and enjoy reading their books. And Justin Peck is one of them. I can not tell how much his story moved me to the core of my being. I knew the pain, darkness, and hopelessness he felt when he pulled that trigger.

I also know the impact it has on our spouse and family as I had my own two failed suicide attempts. And I know how much Justin’s book is going to help all who suffer from mental health disorders and challenges I and many live with every day.

Let’s learn more about Justin Peck and about his fantastic Memoir, his story….and as he says;  “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing!  Moderation is for those who don’t believe in their abilities.”    ~ Justin Peck
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ABOUT THE MEMOIR:

Bulletproof by Justin Peck gives insight to a life full of pain, struggle and the perseverance required to overcome it all. Not only is it an inspiration for those suffering from mental illness, his story has the power to motivate anyone looking for a light at the end of the dark tunnel that everyday life sometimes seems to be. As he shares experiences of learning to deal with the challenge of bipolar disorder, you’ll find the strength and courage to live and enjoy life a little more each day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR & RACER ~ Courtesy of PRNewswire:

Top Motorsports driver and team owner of Race Pro Technologies, Justin Peck #49 has published his life story, titled “Bulletproof.” Telling his tale of addiction, literally beating death and overcoming mental illness while learning to use it to his advantage, Justin Peck is an inspiration to so many who may not be able to see hope or light at the end of their dark tunnel. The metamorphosis of a mental health condition has catapulted Justin Peck into a champion on the track and in life. “Bulletproof” lays out the trials and tribulations of the painful, yet powerful transition that taught him how to free his mind. Transparent and raw, Justin shares examples of courage, defeat, and lives to tell how he rose above it to beat the beast.

Justin Peck has accomplished so much since becoming #Bulletproof.  From becoming an off-road USRA champion, owner to Race Pro Technologies team, founder/owner of Gear 49 Motorsports Nutrition, loving father, upholding legislation and so much more, he has since taken this opportunity to speak across the country and bring awareness to the challenges facing those with mental illness.

“Bulletproof” speaks to anyone plagued by addiction, bi-polar disorder or mental health issues, and suicidal tendencies just like Justin. It can help guide friends and families of suffering loved ones, athletes and people mentally crumbling on the inside, but play a strong face on the outside, or anyone stuck in life needing a splash of inspirational boot camp.

Since that day he drove to the top of a mountain, put a pistol to his temple and pulled the trigger – but the bullet refused to fire, which drove him to have a wake-up call and a call to action to change and save not only his life but also others.

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Since reading Justin’s book, I have been more inspired to share more of my own challenges and story about “the mental health” side of myself. So I thank Justin for the motivation as HE IS now my Mental Health CHAMP! Her is my 5-Star Amazon book review and a few others so you know this ONE is a must read and WORTH your time to do so!
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BOOK REVIEWS FOR  “BULLETPROOF, A Memoir” now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and here on Justin’s Author Website.

February 13, 2017 – By  Catherine Lyon

5.0 out of 5 stars5-Stars ~ “Off Road Race Champ #49 and Now Mental Health Champion Advocate

I was thrilled to receive an early copy for an honest review of Justin Peck’s Memoir by his publisher/agent.

What an amazing story Justin has shared of his life battling challenges of bipolar and mental health. He truly is doing a service to our cause of shattering the “Stigma” around those who suffer and are learning their way to have a normal happy life despite the effects.

I do know the level of “hopelessness” Justin felt when he pulled the trigger to END the “madness” as I have had my own two failed suicide attempts as I went undiagnosed with bipolar, manic depression and agoraphobia for years. So when reading Justin’s story, I could relate. His book proves that no matter who you are, successful or not, mental health can touch and affect anyone and has NO boundaries and can claim anyone.

An exceptionally well-written memoir and well worth the time to read! Thank you, Justin, for sharing your story and not being afraid of “stigma” in order to help others. This book will do it and what a legacy to leave behind.

“In Recovery Magazine” Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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on February 11, 2017

Format: 5-Stars on Amazon Kindle Edition

“This is definitely a page turner. Justin has truly lived a full and fascinating life. I am glad that more and more people are bringing attention to mental illness. Hopefully, someday there will be less stigma associated with mental illness.”

 

on February 2, 2017
Format: 5-STARS Amazon Kindle Edition

“This book takes you on a roller coaster of emotions. Whether you personally struggle with any form of depression or mental health issues, I would guarantee you know someone that does and on some level, you will relate to the stories told.”

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Here is some of an in-depth interview with Justin and his book Courtesy of  “The Huffington Post”  – Kimberly Jesika, Contributor

I saw in your story where you put a gun to your head. What were you going through at the time that brought you to that place?

I had a pretty rough few months before the gun.  I had just come off of a tremendously manic phase in which I created another new company and was going non-stop.  I felt the depressive state coming and tried super hard to fight it, but as it always does, it got the best of me.  I remember waking up that morning like I typically did, kissing my wife and kids before I left for the day.  I was reeling inside with despair, but I had no one to communicate that with.  I knew that this was the beginning of a phase that I didn’t want to fight again, and when I saw the opportunity to end it, I tried.

I had an aunt with Bipolar disorder growing up, sadly she did not get over hers and died at 32 after turning the corner trying to get her life back. How did you know you had Bipolar?

I knew I had some disorder from the age of 13, but back then, there was little known about Bipolar- disorder.  It really wasn’t until I tried to take my life that I realized I needed help from a professional because I knew that it would only be in time before I tried again.  After I pulled the trigger, the rush of adrenaline and emotion immediately pulled me out of the despair (for the moment) and it was then I realized that there is always a way out.  If I could control my adrenaline or get more of it, then I could escape the despair.  Now, that works to a point, and I have fought extremely hard my entire life to find that perfect balance. I still contend, but things have got substantially better.

Please go by The Huffington Post for the rest of this AMAZING Interview with Justin Peck here:  “The Huffington Post”  – Kimberly Jesika, Contributor
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Check out this YouTube Video and listen to Justin Live!

 

*Now go connect with Justin on Social Media and tell him Cat sent YOU! *

On Facebook
Now on Instagram
On Twitter too!

 

** Presented By Author/Columnist, Catherine Lyon **

“We Can Learn from Others Recovery Journey. A Little of Mine” . . . .

“When we do the inner work within ourselves and begin to clean out the “soul” is when our recovery really takes hold.”   ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery from gambling addiction and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining and stay in recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered.”

My recovery journey first started in 2002 and reset in 2006. Both times I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. In 2002 I was diagnosed with mental health disorders while in the middle of a full-blown gambling addiction. I was suffering from bipolar manic depression, PTSD, and OCD from past childhood trauma and abuse, and today, still manic depression and agoraphobia.

Then again in 2006, another breakdown, but this time the problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be “normal” like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.

I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had depleted all of my savings, I panicked and chose to steal from someone. What a mess? No excuses, just insights. Of course, they pressed charges. I was arrested, went through the courts and was sentenced to many hours of community service, two years of probation and paid restitution that I’m still paying today. My point?

You have to do the work in all areas of your recovery, including your finances. Even though I was not gambling, my financial and legal troubles told me I still needed to work with a gambling addiction specialist. After my problems had occurred, I worked with a recovery expert for a year while I went through the legal mess I created. Why am I sharing this? Our stories and words of our “character defects” can be powerful tools to help others.

After my second suicide attempt and crisis, I learned I did not have a balanced recovery; and seemed had more work to do. I learned that God, my higher power, had bigger plans for me, a purpose for me that involves helping those reaching out for recovery. After I was released from the crisis center in 2006 and started working with a gambling/mental health specialist and got my mental health under control, I began to see the stigma surrounding those of us who live in recovery. Those of us who have a mental illness have a huge hurdle in our path.

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I am a dual-diagnosed person who lives in recovery and has mental health challenges. It can make obtaining recovery a wee bit more work, as I discovered. I had picked up nasty habits, behaviors, and diseased thinking within my addiction that needed more correcting. Working with the gambling specialist was eye opening. He helped me break down the cycle of the addiction, and we also worked with tools and skills for dealing with financial problems that may arise while in recovery. I’d been given a relapse prevention workbook, and although I didn’t relapse into gambling, the book has helped me develop a plan for any financial or life event that may arise during my recovery journey. You need a plan before life events come.

Another tool that helped was journaling every day. I have always done this, but my specialist showed me how to relieve stress and learn more from my journaling. My journals were a guide with help in writing my current published book. Writing my story and experiences in memoir form was a very healing process for me.

I shared my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, my past childhood abuse and sexual trauma and what it is like living with mental illness. I never dreamed I would be a published author, recovery advocate, freelance writer and blogger, but these are just a few of the recovery blessings I have received in my journey thus far.

By publishing my book and sharing it with the world, I hope to shatter stigma around gambling addiction, recovery, and mental health. I want to be a voice for those who are childhood sex abuse survivors. Through my book and my recovery blog, I have chosen not to be anonymous. I want others to know how devastating compulsive gambling addiction is and how quickly one can become addicted when using it for all the wrong reasons. It truly is a real disease and illness. I want others to be informed and educated, and I raise awareness of the effects it has on our communities, family, and our lives. This also goes with mental health and those who suffer from its many forms.

The public needs to understand with the expansion of casinos and state lotteries, it is making gambling more and more accessible today and is now touching our youth. Currently, 1% of our population are problem gamblers. Through my recovery, I have learned many lessons.

The best advice I can give?

When starting recovery learn about this addiction. Work with a specialist or recovery coach to learn the “cycle” and then learn the tools and skills to interrupt it. Work a steady, balanced recovery that encompasses mind, body, spirit and finances. There are many ways to recover including in or outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings. Anything and everything you can find? Do it. Only one option may not be enough for success in long-term recovery. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way in early recovery before that little “Lightbulb” above my head went off!

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Now that I have reached TEN years in recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I know it is my job, my duty, to be of recovery service to others. Life today is good! My husband and I learned we can now weather any storm together. I’m proud that my book;
“Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat” has done so well and has opened doors for me to share what I have learned. I advocate and share as much as I can with others. It is to prove we can recover from this insidious addiction.

And I do this in many ways and many platforms, like “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” which is a free publication, Gambling Blogger at Addictionland” and for “In Recovery Magazine & Column The Author’s Cafe”. As we are now hearing more and more people today with “dual diagnosis” and seems to be more common.

With a high percentage of people relapsing after rehab or treatment, I wanted, and my readers asked me, to share how to attain the first year of recovery. I also share this on my recovery journal in blog form. So my second book I am working on now is about just that. How to make that first year in recovery. All I can urge others to do is never give up. You are worth a better life in recovery. Sharing our experiences and our recovery story with others is just as important as the professional or clinical side of how to recover. Sharing one’s story is a powerful tool for others to listen to and learn.

My last tip is to do something for your recovery each day like I do with writing and sharing my “testimony” anywhere I can to raise awareness and educate the public. It will help keep you in recovery, and you won’t ever become complacent in your journey. So, let me pose this question and open up a “Comments Dialogue” .  .  .

“What do you do to stay in RECOVERY”???

 

I wish you all a successful and learning recovery journey!

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Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon  🙂  XoXo

My Recovery Guest Article of the Week. Trauma and Healing.

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Healing after Trauma ~ By Christine Hill

Trauma isn’t a new or unique story in the world today. In fact, some psychologists have stated that we have an epidemic of trauma in our society, without the tools to recover from it. Trauma can be any event in your life that sends you into an extreme state of stress, fear, and helplessness. It can be physical or mental abuse in the home, a cataclysmic natural disaster, or a chronic sickness.

In any case, the primary goal after trauma is to find a way to heal. For some, this comes naturally with time. For others, recovery is a difficult process for which they’ll need help. Unchecked, trauma can cause a multitude of disorders and harmful behaviors, from PTSD to schizophrenia to addiction and risk-taking behaviors.

Here are some ways to help patients recovering from trauma find healing and peace in their lives:

Step 1: Restabilize and Find Safety

The thing about trauma is that it makes us feel unsafe and helpless. A heightened stress response keeps triggering, sending us right back to that place where we felt threatened. The most important first step to take after trauma is to re-establish safety.

“Safety” will look differently for everyone. As children, we learn to rely on others to establish safety for us. However, sometimes that system breaks down, and as we grow, we become responsible for creating a safe place for ourselves.

The first step in recovering from trauma may consist of breaking from the traumatic event or situation that you’re in. This might mean a move. It might mean breaking from certain people or patterns in your life. It might even mean using certain help or resources available in order to leave and find a new place where you can be safe and rebuild.

Establish Healthy Patterns

Most recovering patients of trauma find safety in patterns in their lives. After feeling completely helpless and out of control, it’s comforting to have something that’s in your control. Practicing self-care also supports the body’s healthy systems, empowering you to counteract the effects of trauma. Some healthy patterns will include:

  • Getting proper sleep
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Steering clear of substances that will alter your mental state
  • Exercise

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early in the morning


All of these things help to balance the hormones in your system which have been thrown off by extreme stress. True, it’s easier said than done. After trauma, night terrors can interrupt our sleep. We feel powerless to set up new healthy habits like exercise. And we reach for things that grant immediate comfort and numbness, which is why trauma and substance abuse are so often paired. However, substance abuse perpetuates the pattern of trauma, and continues to throw off our self-regulatory systems, which can prolong your recovery, and send you back into a mental state that will aggravate the harmful effects of trauma, instead of leading to a path of healing.

Connect with Others

Another cruel effect of trauma is that it often causes us to feel isolated. The separation between ourselves and everyone who hasn’t experienced the trauma can feel too great to overcome. It can be hard to reconnect with people who seem to expect you to be the same old person you were before the trauma entered your life, or you might fear having to confront the trauma and having to explain it to others.

However, studies have shown that people who reach out after trauma heal much faster. You have a choice about whether trauma will cripple you, or whether you will use it as an experience that enables you to help others. Here are some suggestions to get you going:

  • Join a survivor group. Talking with others who have experienced similar things will help you remember that you are not alone. Learning about the coping strategies that have helped them will give you ideas for things to try in your life. Reaching out and striving to problem-solve with others can motivate you to find creative solutions for your own problems.

 

  • Reconnect with people who care about you. The people in your life who love and care about you can be a touchstone of sanity and safety when everything feels out of control. If you’re lucky enough to have a few people who will fight for you, make time for you, patiently listen to you, and sacrifice for you, take advantage of that gift. Remember that you don’t have to talk about traumatic experiences that have shaken you. Take your time, and ask for what you need. Be patient with yourself and with others.

 

  • Volunteer. One of the best ways to recover from trauma is to look for the good. It’s reminding yourself that you still have the power to effect positive change – not just in yourself, but in those around you. Helping others gets us outside of ourselves and helps us to see things in a different way. It helps us make new connections and realize the power that we do have. Volunteering can be an opportunity to build new memories and experiences that can counter the memory and experience of trauma in our lives.


Reach out for Help

Visiting psychologist

Group of people visiting course of psychological therapy…

 

A difficult step for many trauma survivors is knowing when to reach out for professional help. Many of us feel we can overcome the problems by ourselves, or we fear the emotional impact of reliving traumatic events. However, trauma therapists are specially trained to help patients come to terms with the events in their past, to empower them to rewrite their own stories and find a way to make daily life more functional and more enriching.


If you are having a hard time connecting with others, functioning in society – whether that’s getting daily chores done, or holding down a job, getting a good night’s rest, or building healthy patterns in your life, a therapist can give you tools and perspective that you might need in order to rebuild after trauma.


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*Author Note: I want to thank Christine Hill for a wonderful article. Since I am a trauma and sex abuse survivor myself, I could have used this advice when I finally disclosed to my parents what had happened to me as a little girl. Would the outcome have been different for me to the way the way my parents reacted?

Knowing how my parents were? Most likely not, but it may have been less traumatic for me, how having to go through the process of explaining it to them. I hope this article will help those who are still holding on to any past pain. Please, it is time to let it go  .  .  .  

 

Mental Health ~ A Look Back In History …

“Yes, I write and share about Mental Health on my blog as I am a “dual diagnosed” person living life in recovery with Mental Health daily challenges”

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Four Heroes of Mental Health Treatment Reform” ~ Guest Author, Christine Hill”

 

Mental health treatment is a dark section of human history. Stories range from outright abandonment to institutionalized abuse.

Anciently, recorded evidence of mental treatment is sparse. We can tell from ancient skulls that trepanning (chipping a hole in the skull) was practiced in Neolithic times, perhaps as an attempt to lose evil spirits from someone’s head. Egyptian practices were more humane, (and surely more effective,) recommending calming time in the gardens, recreational activities, and care for the body in response to mental distress. Most ancient cultures, however, believed mental illness to be a result of unclean spirits, or punishment from God, and thus treated it with prayers, spells, charms, and incantations. This tendency persisted into the Middle Ages, despite Hippocrates’ revolutionary theories citing physical pathology as the cause of mental illness.

During the 1600’s, as civilization advanced in Europe, individuals with mental illness were increasingly incarcerated and institutionalized. Although this was often seen as a merciful approach to mental disease, separating patients for their own good, innocents were grouped without distinction with criminals and treated accordingly. Conditions were completely inhumane. Patients went completely uncared-for and were chained to walls, with the basic needs of life hardly seen to at all.

Fortunately, since that time, there have been amazing and significant changes in the mental health care system, thanks to the crusading efforts of a few individuals.
 

Phillipe Pinel & William Tuke
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(William Tuke)

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Phillipe Pinel was a French physician who practiced in the late 1700’s. When he first came to Paris, hoping to advance and enact reforms, he was discouraged by the bureaucracy of the medical system already in place, which wouldn’t honor the credentials of a provincial doctor. However, after the French Revolution, a new regime was put in place, and Pinel was appointed the Physician-in-Chief of all public men’s and women’s asylums in Paris. He is well-known for his management of Bicêtre asylum, where he forbade the use of chains and shackles, removed patients from dungeons, and instead promoted the incorporation of gardens and sunshine in the treatment of patients. He believed that with gentle and humane care, mentally ill patients would naturally improve.


In England, another physician was of the same mind. William Tuke, of the York Retreat, sought to treat people with compassion and morality. Although it started as an organization built by Quakers, for Quaker patients, it was soon open to everyone. Facilities like the York Retreat and La Bicêtre soon set the standard for humane treatment of mental illness around the world, but unfortunately, it wasn’t as widespread as it should have been, due to underfunding and lack of awareness.

Dorothea Dix

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Dorothea Dix )

Dorothea Dix was an American activist, teacher, and writer who lobbied for social reform during the 1800’s. After teaching in women’s prisons, she was shocked to see the treatment of incarcerated individuals, especially those will mental illness. She started traveling the country, documenting the conditions in various institutions, and bringing them to the attention of state and federal legislature. During the next 40 years, she stubbornly petitioned for reform, causing the establishment of 32 mental health institutions during her lifetime. She also traveled to Europe and addressed problems there, famously drawing the focus of Pope Pius IX, who personally oversaw the construction of a new mental hospital in response to her reports.

Nellie Bly

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(Nellie Bly)
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Nellie Bly was an advocate for the advancement of women, and a mover and a shaker in the journalistic world. She was a firecracker who repeatedly drew the public eye to issues she chose to highlight. One of her most famous forays into investigative journalism, perhaps, was her expose about mental health institutions. Although there had been a major shift in the placement of mentally ill patients in asylums instead of jails, thanks to Dorothea Dix, there was still widespread abuse and neglect in these asylums.

Nellie Bly posed as a patient and lived in New York’s Blackwell’s Island asylum for 10 days. From there, she wrote about the apathy and disregard from doctors, mistreatment from nurses, horrible food, and starvation. Her report, published originally in Pulitzer’s Newspaper, the New York World, and then later as a book, was a sensation and brought national attention to the plight of those in mental asylums.


Today’s View of Mental Health is Different

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Thanks to social reforms, as well as groundbreaking advances in the medical field, mental health treatment today is a very different story. Today we have various options available; inpatient, outpatient, counseling and therapy. We treat mental illness in all its forms and try to find solutions, instead of simply locking people away from society.

Admittedly, there is still a lot to learn about the treatment of mental illness, but we’re optimistic about the progress of treatment and care.

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Columnist for In Recovery Magazine

Accept Me . . . Is It To Much To Ask For? “Flash Back Recovery Post Day!” Happy Thanksgiving All :)


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My Mental/Emotional Disorders, Recovery, or Childhood sex abuse & trauma survivor is not my label . . .

So please, don’t put me into a box labeled mental case or freak. And most definitely don’t treat me like I am different from others. Don’t set me into a category at all. I’m not a thing, I am human being. Don’t you see me? I am of flesh and blood like you.
I have feelings, a heart and a soul. I have a spirit no longer broken, not a victim of my disabilities. I am and will be a “work in progress” for a lifetime.

So don’t talk about my mental illness as if I’m not standing right in front of you. Learn to have more understanding, be educated about addictions, the cycle, recovery, and be informed not judge.

Don’t look through me, look at me. Have some compassion for those who battle with these issue’s, who have the courage to do so, and to take back their lives from addiction, and learning themselves to handle and face daily mental illness challenges, and overcome trauma and addictions.
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“Kindness is a Choice”, . . . as it is written in our Gospel/Bible to love one another no matter the faults or sins. To help one another. That includes those of us who may have taken a wrong detour in life for part of our journey, of God’s plan for us. I am human just like you. Life is a lifetime of choices. Yes, some may not make the right ones at times, but who asks this if it’s right or wrong? Is it our world and society we live in who asks? Is it our creator who lets us know when our choices are not correct, not you or someone else need not judge me, as it is not your job to do so, it is God’s.

I want my voice be heard among the roof tops that I am here, I am real and not my faults or wrong choices. I will be loud. I am not a person to be stigmatized by words, your words, harsh and negative from your mouths. No, I have feelings, I can hurt just like you. I am not my disease, my disorders, my situation, tragic as it has been in the past. I am of love and kindness. Of caring and sharing hope.

Am I Perfect? No, nor will I ever be.


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But I do know now the love and compassion I have for others is very real. You may not hear it, but you will feel it.
I am not my past, I am my future. I am and feel destined for great things, some of which have already come into my life. I live each day in this one moment in time.

Tomorrow will be here soon enough. Yes, I may live my life in recovery with mental disabilities and past trauma, but that is what I also have overcome.

No I may not be normal, hell normal is over rated, but at least I am happy about who I have become in recovery! No one person, place, or thing can steal my joy, my sparkle, nor my life that I have reconstructed from ash and devastation.

So please, accept me for WHO I AM TODAY, not my disease, my illness, wrong choices, or my past.

Is This To Much to ASK? . . . .

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL!
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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