I Am Free Of Pain

Topless sad woman holding head down with both hands

Positive Affirmation: Mental Pain

“I am free of mental pain because I have learned to manage my negative emotions and redirect my attention on the positive things in life. Whenever I feel sad, I allow the pain to surface without any hesitation, as I know that if I try to fight back, the pain usually persists even longer. I give my pain room to breath but I do not identify with it because my pain is not really mine; it just comes and goes like the foreign clouds in the sky. Just as I cannot feel the clouds in the sky but just observe them, the same applies to my emotional pain; I can’t physically touch it but just observe it from the sidelines. Just as I can’t make a storm go away, the same applies with my emotional pain; I let it take its course until it evaporates into the distance. I am free of pain because I have learned how to respect my mental health and take care of it on a daily basis!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Depressed As A Doormat

Grayscale photo of depressed woman sitting next to window holding doll

When People Stomp All Over You

There are many people who were raised to not disobey their parents and argue back, but at a very extreme level. As children, they feared their parent’s disapproval and did everything they could to appear perfect. As they slowly exited out of adolescence and entered the real world, they soon realized that the way they were brought up was not suitable with people outside their culture. They found themselves to be depressed by their interactions with others because they always cared about what others thought of them; they also never had the strength to stand up for themselves.

Your upbringing defines your adulthood to a great extent. It’s when you’re a child and adolescent that your personality is molded and shaped into the person who will carry you to the end of your days. If your personality is not shaped well from a young age, you will experience difficulties in relationships later on in your life. When people stomp all over you, it means that you do not have the courage nor strength to argue back and stand up for yourself.

You give others the power and even turn them into authority figures, similarly to what you did with your parents growing up. When others make fun of you or point out your flaws, you become ashamed of yourself, almost internalizing and believing everything they say, rather than standing up for yourself. You may even experience what some like to call a “shutdown;” an episode of low energy, drive or motivation to do anything besides being paralyzed on your couch or in your bed. You become a doormat and everyone keeps walking all over you.

Even though you may have a job, raise children and still be functional, your interactions with others limit your happiness. If people are nice and get along well with you, then you find yourself having no problems. It’s only when those who argue back and critique you that you become frozen in time and no longer know how to react. You want to fight back, experiencing an internal desire to stand up for yourself and tell them, “stop saying these things! They are not nice and I don’t believe in what you are saying!” But sadly, you never learned how to do that growing up.

But it’s never too late! Psychotherapy is the process of analyzing your life and learning how to change your thoughts and behaviors. Anyone can benefit from psychodynamic/psychoanalytic therapy; you don’t need a mental illness to be qualified for therapy. If you find yourself in this category of persons who are functional but struggling with depression and problematic behavioral patterns, then I highly recommend you start psychotherapy! You will not regret it.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Trypophobia? – Afraid Of Chocolate Chip Cookies — Overcoming OCD

Most people I know adore chocolate chip cookies and some of my friends are simply addicted to them. So, I guess it may come as a surprise if I tell you that I have never tasted them and I am not even planning to do so. I can totally imagine that they taste good – […]

Trypophobia? – Afraid Of Chocolate Chip Cookies — Overcoming OCD

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Mental Health for Moms: Maternal Mental Health —

Moms and Mental Health Series Here at MSB, we specialize in talking about Mental Health issues from the unique perspectives of those who experience them. That’s why we’re dedicating this series specifically to Moms who struggle with their Mental Health. Why? Because Moms don’t get the choice to step back and work on their Mental…

Mental Health for Moms: Maternal Mental Health —

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Depressed Americans

Depressed Hispanic woman crying while laying on gray furniture

Coronavirus: An Era Of Depression

I have talked to so many mental health patients who are sitting at home in a depressed state of mind ever since the coronavirus pandemic started. The key word is at “home” because they are functional and not so depressed that they require a hospitalization, but this does not mean that they don’t experience some of the symptoms that come with depression. Even before the coronavirus, there were many Americans already depressed; now, that number has substantially increased.

Some of the symptoms of depression may include a decreased sleep, decreased interest in activities, decreased concentration, decreased appetite, guilt, loss of energy, slowing of body movements or even suicidal ideations. Many Americans experience at least a few of these symptoms while sitting at home with no agenda for the rest of the day. The recurring theme is that they lost their job and are not leaving the house; in other words, they lack activities to keep them preoccupied during the day.

Some people also become very anxious at home and anxiety and depression often go together. They will complain that there’s so much negative news or that people in the neighborhood are not wearing masks, “as if they don’t care that there’s a pandemic going on.” What’s important to understand if you are a reader who identifies with these thoughts is that we cannot force others to wear masks, nor should we expect them to; it’s a free world and people have the right to do what they want.

So why am I pointing out the obvious? Because clearly it’s making you anxious and more depressed that others aren’t following health officials’ recommendations. But why are you getting hurt in the process? You should not be anxious or depressed because of external factors; you need to learn how to put uncontrollable external factors aside and focus on bettering your life. Do your due diligence by wearing a mask and washing your hands but don’t expect others to do the same.

It’s not easy being home because of the coronavirus and not having a job. Some people work from home but still feel depressed because their previous routine of leaving the house and coming back in the evening has been taken away from them; they are not used to using their home space as a work environment after working away from home for over twenty years. As I have mentioned in many previous articles, depression is like a wave and many times you don’t see it coming; you just have to ride it out without falling down.

This coronavirus is a similar wave but much bigger and deadlier. It may be harder to hold on but it’s definitely doable. So don’t allow this wave of depression to knock you off your surfboard. Many people are experiencing the negative emotions that you are; you are never alone in this. So maintain a positive mindset, keep yourself preoccupied during the day by finding work, taking long walks outside, reading, exercising and socializing with others. Don’t allow anxiety and depression to get to you and certainly don’t allow them to bring your down!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Talking To Mental Health Patients

Male psychiatrist sitting on couch talking to patient with hands on head

Holding A Normal Conversation

Many mental health patients are sick of their doctors, friends and family members always asking them questions about their illness. Imagine always being asked the same questions, “Any auditory or visual hallucinations? Do you believe others can put thoughts into your mind? How’s your mood? Do you have any anxiety? How’s your sleep and appetite?” It not only feels robotic to ask them the same questions every day, but it also feels robotic for them to provide the same responses.

Don’t get me wrong; psychiatrists do need to ask these questions in order to assess patients’ mental status, but we also need to learn how to incorporate more normal conversations during our encounters. When we ask mental health patients the same questions every time we see them, it can make them feel like they are less than us. This is because we give them the impression that they are “different” and that we can’t hold normal conversations with them.

At the end of the day, mental illness or not, patients are still human beings who can hold normal conversations and discuss everyday events; we must treat them like so. You’ll bring much more happiness into their lives if you can discuss everyday events without jumping to questions that dig away at their symptoms. A patient will tell you their symptoms even if you don’t rush to those particular questions, because they are the ones suffering from the symptoms in the first place and need them addressed.

So let them discuss everyday events and address their symptoms at their own pace. This applies to whether you have a relationship or friendship with a patient; don’t look at them differently and definitely don’t treat them differently. Do you treat people with diabetes differently? The same applies with mental health patients. Even if they are extremely psychotic but not dangerous to anyone, you can still say something as simple as, “Hi Leonard! Hope you have a good day.”

At the end of the day, let’s normalize mental health and hold normal everyday conversations with each other. Forget the stigma and judgmental ways of the past; those need to be buried for good. Rather, let’s move forward together and create a worldwide platform that will be of help to anyone in need. This platform should be based on honesty, love, sincerity and the desire to improve and help one another.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Experience Your Sadness

Sad woman leaning on windowsill staring outside

Not Running Away From Sadness

Whenever we experience sadness, we tend to bury it right away rather than allowing it to linger. This is because nobody likes the feeling of sadness so it’s easier to just brush it under the carpet and clean it up later. The problem with doing so is that you are not processing what is making you feel sad in the first place. Even though sadness is an uncomfortable emotion, you want to fully immerse yourself in it and see what thoughts and feelings will come out of it.

For some, it’s not an easy process because they feel like their ego is being jeopardized. They believe that if they feel sad, their masculinity is being threatened. For others on the opposite end of the spectrum, they tend to spend too much time dwelling over their sadness, experiencing it all day and never letting go of it. You don’t want to be at any end of the spectrum; the happy medium is always best.

This involves experiencing sadness when it kicks in but also knowing when to turn it off when certain circumstances arise. If you’re at work, it’s better to suppress it for the time being and revisit it later on. But if you’re at home and have nothing important to do, you can try practicing mindfulness while also becoming in touch with your sadness. This will allow you to process the thoughts associated with your sadness and potentially help you recover from it.

It’s always better to process your sadness rather than leaving it unhinged. There’s almost always a reason that you are feeling sad and you need to get to the bottom of it. Don’t be afraid to reveal new thoughts and feelings which are foreign to you; this is the process of growing in life. And always remember that you are never alone in experiencing sadness; millions of people all over the world are experiencing it with you this very moment.

What are some things that you are sad about?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

You Are Free Of Emotional Pain

Red human eye with pink liquid dripping out

Positive Affirmation: Emotional Pain

“I am free of emotional pain because I am in tune with my emotions and I am in control of them at all times. Even when people hurt me, I know how to immediately recognize negative emotions and process them effectively. I don’t allow emotional pain to hold me back in life. Emotions are like clouds that come and go; I observe and process them and allow them to float away. I am in control of how I feel today and tomorrow!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Depressed On Drugs

Person sitting on train track with cloud of smoke in the dark

Using Drugs To Cope With Depression

Not everyone will admit that they use drugs to cope with depression, but it’s quite common. Whether it’s your bottle of liquor, line of cocaine or blunt of marijuana, substance use comes in quite handy in times of depression. But there’s a catch; they actually make your depression worse in the long run because they don’t fix the problem to begin with. Substances only mask the problem, allowing you to believe that you can now live your life without experiencing the symptoms of depression.

Another danger with using substances to cope with depression is the increased risk of impulsive acts. Substances give you more power, freedom and ability to perform acts which you otherwise would not have if you were sober. In relation to depression, the most severe act is a suicide attempt. Because substances impair your judgment as well, you can end up doing something very dangerous towards yourself or others.

Many patients will deny having problems with substances and you can tell so by observing how they become defensive about the topic when you inquire more about their alleged use of a substance. If you pay attention to their body language as well as to the tone of their voice, you will realize that they experience your questions as intrusive, judgmental and even accusatory.

But you’re not doing any of that (hopefully)! What you’re in fact doing is called motivational interviewing; a technique utilized with substance abuse patients that attempts to understand where they are coming from and whether they are ready to make a change, the change being to eventually quit the substance. But patients who are depressed may have a more difficult time with motivational interviewing because many will hide their substance abuse in the first place.

Depressed patients typically have a low self-esteem during their depressive episodes, so the last thing that they want to do is to reveal their problems with substances; some might, but many won’t. Depression and substance abuse is a deadly combination because the substances give more power to the user to commit suicide. In addition, substances and psychiatric medications are never a good mix, sometimes even inducing serotonin syndrome if a combination of cocaine and SSRIs are used.

If you encounter a depressed person and you suspect substance abuse, then you’re likely right. But don’t pressure them to reveal their use; this will almost always backfire. Inquire and show your concern, but allow them to slowly reveal it to you when they are ready. Rather, you want to focus more on their depression because often times, it’s their depression that made them start abusing substances in the first place.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Not Fearing COVID-19

Man and woman kissing via two white iPhones next to coffee mug and spoon on wooden table

I Am Stronger Than A Virus

COVID has definitely affected the mental health of many people worldwide. It continues to affect the mental health of many because it brings pain, fear and destruction upon humanity. Anytime that there is a disaster in our society, shockwaves are sent to peoples’ minds, affecting their mental health adversely. Have I mentioned that watching the media does not help? The media is almost as contagious as the virus itself.

You have to learn how to not fear this virus and to continue to live your life as if there was no virus, but by also practicing good hygiene and the necessary precautions of staying safe and not acquiring the virus. Social distancing have become two annoying words and I hate to see it become part of our psychological relations, but unfortunately humanity has already been infected with this concept.

Don’t you think it’s about time to replace “social distancing” with “common sense?” This involves not being to close to strangers, but this does not mean that you should not be hugging, shaking hands or even kissing those who you know or are close to you. I know, I know . . . the media and “top health experts” will tell you otherwise, but don’t you think that the social distancing that they want us to practice is adversely affecting our mental health?

At the end of the day, we have to live our lives and this should not involve being locked up in our homes and practicing “social distancing” 24/7. When we do this, we allow the virus to win. Yes, there are currently many lives being lost in the southern U.S. as well as in South America and Africa, but there must be another solution that we can effectively implement. We cannot keep practicing social distancing for the next decade or we will truly lose our minds.

What are some suggestions that you think we can implement that will prevent us from becoming infected, but at the same time allow us to live a normal life again?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)