Whether it be through your genes, environmental experiences or simple curiosity, once alcohol enters your bloodstream, it salivates its way to your brain, smoothly crossing your blood-brain barrier and camping for as long as it can; tonight it has found a home and your brain is it! If you are already vulnerable, such as experiencing emotional pain, suffering from a mental illness or the victim of peer pressure, you will quickly learn that alcohol is like a potion, quickly numbing away your painful experience. Once booze and your brain shake hands, call it a deal made in hell.
Does this mean that you are now prone to developing an addiction? Not necessarily. Is it possible? Absolutely. Many people with anxiety disorders or depression love alcohol. The substance helps lubricate their shyness, fears, anxieties and low mood, but only in the moment! Once your brain soaks up all the ethanol like a sponge, it crashes: you feel hungover or even worse you start to experience withdrawal effects such as tremors, anxiety, restlessness, sweating, insomnia, excessive thoughts of acquiring more alcohol and even seizures, shaking, confusion and hallucinations, something known as delirium tremens.
Why does alcohol love your brain so much? Or simply reversed, why do you like alcohol so much? I’ll let you answer those questions.
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)
How do you know that you have control over yourself? How do you know that you’re being yourself? How do you know that your thoughts aren’t being manipulated or influenced by your environment? How do you know? Everything you do is influenced by your surroundings, even when you think that you are in control. Now this doesn’t mean that you aren’t enjoying your experience; you may very well be celebrating quite often that is! But please understand that you are being influenced every second of your celebrated experience.
Who are these outside forces? Everyone who is part of your reality: movements outside your window, strangers passing you down the street, marijuana smokers staring outside their windows, parking garage employees, liquor store workers, friends, family, social media, the news and the list goes on. Do you get my point yet? Even if you have a strong grip on your reality, your mind is being influenced. Keep in mind that influence does not necessarily equate to manipulation.
What is influence and what is manipulation? Being influenced to think, feel or behave in a certain way can be a good thing; it’s not always bad. Being manipulated can be good or bad but it’s always at the advantage of the person or entity who is doing it. Also keep in mind that you can be influenced and manipulated by the internet, television, podcasts, apps, billboards and books; it doesn’t always have to be by people.
We’re all surrounded by negative people; some are our friends, family members or even coworkers. At what point do you draw the line and stop interacting with them? Many times, we love these people and find them funny, entertaining, attractive and fun to be around, but their negative temperament often causes you to feel sad. It’s very important to keep this in mind because who you surround yourself with influences your thoughts, behavior and expressions. Being around negative people for too long will slowly turn you into a negative person as well.
In therapy, the psychiatrist can only help you as much as you want to be helped. It’s very important to find that comfort zone and open up about your symptoms so that your doctor can better understand you. Withholding your symptoms will only delay the process to your mental health recovery and you will suffer more during the process. Find a psychiatrist who makes you feel comfortable and divulge to them everything going on in your mind like an open book. Your doctor can’t wait to help you but you have to want to help yourself as well.
Exercising is not just about physical health. The point of exercising is to also feel good mentally. Exercise helps decrease your anxiety, improves your mood, promotes the birth of new neurons in your brain and elevates your self-esteem and confidence. Not to mention, exercising feels amazing! When you feel physically and mentally good, you radiate that positive energy into the world and people can sense it; this can lead to an improvement in your relationships! Start with baby steps if you don’t currently exercise: every day, go for a 20 minute walk on the street. After doing this for a week or two, include some jogging, fitness bikes, weights or whatever you enjoy. You’ll notice soon enough how beneficial exercising can be for your mental health.
Everyone talks about what they love about social media, but the negative aspects are often left out. Social media can be toxic and detrimental to your mental health when you are exposed to negative comments. These negative comments can be very powerful and make you feel sad at times. Social media is also toxic if you are constantly comparing yourself with people on Instagram who post exotic and wealthy pictures. This can make you feel sad as well by comparing your life which lacks those elements of materialism. When using social media, keep your mental health in mind and learn to spot and eliminate the negative aspects of them.
When psychiatrists inform you of your diagnosis, they are not doing it with the intention of labeling you with an illness to make you feel bad. A diagnosis is given to you to inform you of what we think may be going on and as a guide for treatment. Psychiatric diagnoses do not define you as a person. It’s important to mention this because many patients experience an uncomfortable feeling when certain psychiatrists slap a diagnosis on to them. Informing patients of their diagnosis is very important when it comes to delivery of the information; empathy and being nonjudgmental are crucial to making patients feel comfortable. At the end of the day, we are here to help you overcome your symptoms and lead a happy and fulfilling life again.
Psychoanalysis is based on the Freudian school of thought that our unconscious mind contains repressed thoughts, drives, traumatic experiences, memories and unresolved childhood conflicts that influence our present thoughts and behaviors. By accessing your unconscious mind through analysis of your transference during therapy, you can gain a better understanding of yourself and why you say and do the things that you do. Besides formal psychoanalytic therapy with a therapist, you can also analyze yourself when you have free time on your hands. This is helpful to better understand your interactions and behavior, but make sure that you’re not overdoing it; too much self-analysis can potentially make you rigid if you’re always thinking about why you said this and did that. A healthy dose of analysis is the best way to go.
Manipulators are all around us. Sometimes they are our friends, family members, acquaintances, coworkers or strangers. Manipulators can also use fear tactics to further attempt to control your thoughts and behaviors. It’s important that you learn how to catch onto manipulative behavior so that you can protect your mental health. It’s not hard for someone to attempt to manipulate you but it can be difficult to catch onto their behavior if you’re not aware of it in the first place!
Millions of people all over the world experience panic attacks. These occur out of the blue and involve a great sense of doom, fear and sometimes even physical symptoms. Panic attacks can be treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or antidepressants. Don’t be afraid to seek therapy. Would you rather take a chance with therapy and medications or continue to suffer from panic attacks while in public?