Emotional Burden

Silhouette photography of man in front of window in dark room

Experiencing Multiple Emotions At Once

There are times when you experience multiple powerful emotions at once, and you can’t seem to identify the reason why; an emotional burden at its finest. While not particularly pleasant, there are learning points that can be abstracted after you weather the storm. But sometimes the learning points can become buried in the rubble, if the storm is not handled properly.

An emotional burden can happen for no apparent reason. We are usually so bombarded with stressful factors, unpredictable outcomes and even annoying relationships, that one small trigger can unleash hell. When this happens, you suddenly may experience anger, sadness, emptiness, uncertainty, dysphoria, but even moments of happiness and clarity.

You read it right: dysphoria and happiness in the same bag. How is that even possible is what you’re probably thinking. The reasoning behind this phenomenon is that you’re probably so stressed from unresolved mental conflicts, that your negative emotions linger on in situations that normally make you happy.

Normally, negative emotions should be processed fairly quickly, leading to a seamless recovery. But when they continue to linger on, you may not always be aware of their presence, until another trigger comes along, intensifying them more than usual. Or you could be confronted with good news, and rather than a nice wave of clear happiness, it becomes mixed with a feeling of displeasure.

An emotional burden must be handled with ease, because you don’t want to bury yourself even deeper. These situations are often distracting from your work and relationships, attempting to set you off course; they have the potential to do so! The way you handle them is with gentle and careful processing.

Don’t fight the emotional burden. Rather, recognize that the negative emotions are there and accept their presence. View the emotional burden as an injury: you cannot heal the injury overnight; it takes time for it to heal properly. The same applies with your emotional burden: give it time to swirl in your consciousness before it slowly dissipates.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Coronavirus Epidemic

Closeup photo of woman with blue eyes wearing surgical mask

The Attack Of The Coronavirus

A virus is an infective agent that is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host. There are differing opinions as to whether a virus is a living organism or just an infective agent that attacks living organisms. Either way, once it infects a cell, it passes its DNA into the genome of the cell, causing an identical copy of the original virus to form. Coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. There are 7 types of coronaviruses that can infect humans: 229E, NL63, OC43, HKU1, MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus was identified on 1/9/20 in China, causing an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan city, China. The SARS-CoV was recognized in China as well, but in 2002, causing over 700 deaths. SARS-CoV causes body aches, chills and fever. And the MERS-CoV was reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, causing many respiratory symptoms near the Arabian peninsula. MERS-CoV usually causes shortness of breath, fever and cough.

Coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory illnesses. The duration is often short-acting and symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Cough
  • Runny nose

Keep in mind that coronaviruses can also cause lower respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This usually occurs in infants, elderly or people with already weakened immune systems. Coronaviruses spread through human contact:

  • Touching infected surfaces
  • Shaking hands with others
  • Coughing and sneezing

Prevention is key because there are currently no vaccines. Washing your hands with soap and hot water, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands and avoiding contact with sick people, are the best steps that you can take to prevent an infection with this type of virus.

As far as treatment goes, there is no medication to fight against a coronavirus. Staying at home to rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking pain and fever medications to ease the symptoms is what is recommended. Allowing time for your immune system to mount its defenses so that it can fight this potentially deadly invader, is key to recovering successfully. But if your symptoms are very bad, then seek immediate medical attention!

For more information on the coronavirus, please check the CDC website.

Here on The DSM Ready Community, we would like everyone to remain as healthy as possible. Please feel free to share any tips, suggestions or stories in regards to the coronavirus.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Face of Dr. Martin Luther King

Beloved Community

Today is a special day because it reminds us what one man of color envisioned for our society: empowered individuals, stronger communities, bridged barriers, effective solutions to social problems and a beloved community, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion. This is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

These types of holidays serve as a reminder of the importance of putting racism aside and working together to improve our relationships. Racism is just a concept based on power and hate. It goes all ways; it’s not just white against black. In actuality, power and hate have nothing to do with skin color.

Hatred towards the color of one’s skin is just a tool that was created by powerful people in control of our society. They named this tool racism and implemented it in order to gain an upper hand over those deemed inferior, based on skin color alone. This ideology gained so much traction and popularity throughout history, that it has remained with us till this day.

While racism is not what it once used to be, it probably is just as bad underneath the surface. With the coming of President Trump into power, we’ve actually seen more racism reach the surface, but it existed all along even before he came into power; the president just breathed life into it.

And this is not his fault. We cannot blame one person for racism. Racism was and probably always will be. But this does not mean that we cannot hope and work towards a better future where racism will one day disappear. In actuality, this is exactly what we should be doing.

Continuing to ignore racism will not improve the situation. The way the situation will be improved is by diving within your heart and expunging the hatred and darkness that lie in there. We all have a lot of hatred and darkness and it should be our goal every single day to erase some of it.

Do you have your mind on your heart? If the answer is no, then it’s time to start making a change. This is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Losing Your Mind On Cannabis

Margarita glass with cannabis leaf decor

Cannabis Edibles

While cannabis smoking is controllable, edibles can take you on an entire different plane. Smoking cannabis is convenient because you get to decide when to stop, based on how high you are. Cannabis edibles are very difficult to titrate and that is one main reason why many people show up to the ER in states that have legalized it. Losing your mind on cannabis is real and it can happen to you!

The biggest mistake that people make with cannabis edibles is impatience: they believe that it must not be working because they are still sober an hour later. So what they do is indulge in more edibles hoping to increase the effect. But what happens is that by the second or third hour after the first ingestion, the cannabis finally starts to kick in.

At this point, you might wrongfully believe that it’s the second edible that kicked in, when in fact, the second edible is still in the process of being absorbed by your digestive tract. So now you have a ticking time bomb cruising through your digestive track. At this point, your mind is slowly being altered by the THC from the first edible.

The difference between smoking and eating an edible is that the effect of the edible takes longer to kick in, and the high is more spread out, as opposed to smoking which is a “quick on, quick off.” But going back to the mistake mentioned above, two hours later, the second edible starts to kick on top of your ongoing high.

This is what is meant by a “recipe for disaster.” Not only do you have too much marijuana in your system, you are now juggling two superimposed highs. You are praying for the first one to end, and as soon as you sense a coming down from the high, the second edible takes you back up, like a never-ending rollercoaster ride.

One of the worst experiences under a high dose of marijuana is the feeling of losing your mind. It’s like you don’t know anymore which mindset is in touch with reality: your perception of reality has been divided into two. One mindset is your normal one that is buried under the intense high, and the other is the intense high which is sitting on top of your normal state of mind, preventing it from reaching the surface.

At this point, you either don’t fight the feeling and accept the notion that you may very well have lost your mind, or you keep wrestling the feeling, hoping that you step back into reality. Both scenarios are extremely uncomfortable: accepting the possibility that you have lost your mind puts you in a state of panic.

You start to feel your heart racing as if you’re about to have a terrible panic attack. So now you try to fight this uncomfortable panicky feeling, on top of the dooming mindset that has swarmed your consciousness. On the other hand, you can continue fighting the high by refusing to believe that you have lost your mind.

The second option is miserable as well because you cannot do anything but keep fighting the high, hoping that it will soon come to an end. Except that it doesn’t, because the marijuana high from two edibles may last up to 4-10 hours. At a certain point, it’s just better to close your eyes and try to fall asleep. Keep in mind that you may wake up from sleep and still be cruising in space; the high doesn’t end just because you went to sleep.

Overall, the lesson that should be learned here is that if you want to indulge in marijuana, do so by consuming a small dose of an edible and allowing 2-3 hours to see if the effects will kick in. Do not eat a large dose or rush into eating a second dose prematurely. Losing your mind on cannabis is a real phenomena that you want to absolutely avoid at all times.

Safety, sanity and happiness always come first.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Anticipatory Anxiety

Worried brunette woman wearing pink pants with finger in mouth

Worrying About The Future

Anticipatory anxiety is a symptom commonly found in a number of anxiety related conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD); however, you may have anticipatory anxiety and not be suffering from GAD. Anticipatory anxiety is when you are experiencing increased levels of anxiety by thinking about an event or situation in the future.

The experience is not that unpleasant that it interrupts your day like a panic attack would, but it can be stressful and bothersome in the long-run. For instance, you may be starting a new job in a couple of months or flying overseas for a nicely earned vacation. Anticipatory anxiety is when you are constantly worrying about these future events, even though there is no particularly good reason to be worried.

It usually occurs every day, but it doesn’t have to. In general, the anxious thoughts are replays of scenarios in regards to the future events: “What if I won’t be good enough for the job? Everyone will laugh!”, “What if the plane will crash and I will die? My family will suffer forever!” The anxious thoughts have you thinking of different scenarios that may play out in the future.

They generally make you worry about future events; these worries may last a few minutes at a time or longer. The way to deal with anticipatory anxiety is to tell yourself to stop worrying about what tomorrow will bring, and to focus on how you can better yourself today. It’s all about controlling your thoughts: instead of dwelling on the anxious ones and making them stronger, just ignore them when they do come into your mind.

Ignoring anxious thoughts is not that hard, unless you are suffering from a panic attack, but it takes practice! In the case of anticipatory anxiety, ignoring these thoughts is about making a change in your personality: no longer worrying about what will happen tomorrow. If you can adopt this change in mindset, you will feel much better about your future job, flight overseas or whatever it is that is coming your way in the future.

Not worrying about tomorrow is not the same as not planning for the future. You still want to visualize your future goals and set out to accomplish them, but you don’t want to worry about the process or the results. The process will be dealt with when the time arrives, and the results will be determined when the process will come to an end.

In the meantime, focus on bettering yourself today. Take a few deep breaths while you perform mindfulness, and soak in everything there is about the present moment; exhale away your anticipatory anxiety.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Blunted On SSRIs

Grayscale photography of man experiencing emotional blunting from SSRIs

Emotional Blunting

SSRIs work great for major depression and anxiety. They increase serotonin in the synaptic clefts between neurons in the brain, alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety over time. They take about 4-8 weeks to start working, but in addition to psychotherapy, your symptoms can be alleviated even quicker. But being blunted on SSRIs is something to watch out for!

While not a notable side effect that everyone experiences while on an SSRI, emotional blunting can definitely be noticeable when it does happen. You don’t feel it right away however; it may take months or maybe even a year until you start noticing it. That’s because you don’t really expect it, and it’s not a common symptom that physicians inform their patients of, even though we really should!

It’ll become fairly obvious when you start catching onto the symptoms of emotional blunting. You will feel that you no longer get so excited or sad in situations that would normally make you fully experience those emotions. Rather, you feel dull or emotionally blunted: being less able to laugh or cry when appropriate to do so.

It’s not a terrible feeling, but it can be if you are a really vibrant person who is usually upbeat and full of emotions. Dropping down a few notches of excitement can make you feel like you’re not being yourself anymore. Sure, your depression or anxiety has gone away, but now you’re left with numb-like emotions.

The options that you have is to either talk to your physician and ask to go down on your dose of SSRI, continue the medication without making any adjustments, or completely stopping the medication. Again, you always want to work with your physician regarding these matters! Never go about doing medication adjustments on your own. And keep in mind, that the downside of stopping an antidepressant is that your depression or anxiety can potentially come back.

But potentially is the keyword: many are able to defeat depression and anxiety after a successful trial on an SSRI. Once the SSRI is stopped, the emotional blunting diminishes and you return back to your old self; the good self! So definitely ask your physician about emotional blunting before being started on an SSRI.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Slippery Slope Of Casual Drinking

Topless man drinking beer in swimming pool

Responsible Drinking

There is something soothing about casual drinking: it provides you with a relaxed state of mind, company when lonely and imagination when dull-minded. Alcohol becomes a soothing medicine when lonely or stressed or after a long day’s work. It’s also easy to consume and even easier to refill. But there’s a slippery slope to casual drinking.

That slippery slope is addiction. When is casual drinking casual and not pathological? One beer a day? Three times a week only? There’s no official recommendation for the right amount of alcohol consumption that will prevent the development of alcoholism. What is right for me, may be the last drink for you.

In general, drinking even one beer a day is too much. You may get away with this pattern for even years at a time, but at some point, your brain will want more. One factor is tolerance: one beer will simply not give you that oomph that you previously experienced. This is the basis for all types of addictions: what previously worked now requires a stronger stimulus.

Perhaps casual drinking is our ticket to alcoholism, but this does not mean that everyone keeps their ticket. There are many factors at play behind the development of alcoholism: genetics, social class, status, race, age, mental health, history of trauma, substance use, etc. Some people consume other drugs but have been casually drinking for years, without any signs of alcoholism.

Responsible drinking starts within you. It’s about maintaining control over your indulgence. If you are aware of the thought that consuming that next drink is out of desperation to get more intoxicated, then you should be willing to harness the strength to prevent yourself from grabbing it.

The toughest moment “is in the moment”: when you are feeling slightly disconnected from your baseline and would like to rev it up a notch or two. But casual drinking also poses the risk of progressing into binge drinking: the over-indulgence in alcohol in a short period of time.

Binge drinking is an entire separate chapter, but not one far away from casual drinking. You see, casual drinking can sprout into binge drinking, an alcohol use disorder or a straight path. The straight path is where you want to remain, if you’d like to continue enjoying casual drinking. The key is to never overdo something that provides you with pleasure; enjoy the opportunity for pleasure, but don’t go seeking more of it.

Sometimes you just have to allow pleasure to find you, for the sake of preventing a psychological or even physical addiction from developing.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Negative Thoughts

Brunette white woman experiencing negative thoughts with hands on head

Hurt By Mindfulness

You’d be lying to yourself if you came out and said that you never experience negative thoughts. We all experience negative thoughts much more frequently than positive ones. That’s part of the reason why the human race is so evil at times: there are many who do not know how to control their negative thoughts and end up acting on them.

Negative thoughts have to be constantly dealt with if you want to maintain a proper state of mind. In a way, you have to learn how to coexist with negative thoughts, but not in a destructive manner that will hurt you or others around you. There are two types of ways in which our mind deals with negative thoughts: repression and suppression.

Repression is the unconscious act of placing your negative thoughts into your unconscious mind and not having access to them. For instance, this can occur when you have experienced a traumatic or uncomfortable event: your mind disposes the negative thoughts from your conscious awareness.

Suppression is when you purposely decide to bury negative thoughts into your unconscious mind. For instance, you just broke up with your boyfriend and want to move on, so you intentionally stop thinking about him in order to make the recovery easier. There is nothing wrong with repression and suppression, as long as they’re not unresolved conflicts.

Unresolved mental conflicts should not be disposed to your unconscious vault without first processing them appropriately. If you do bury them without processing them, they will only come out in the future with a stronger effect, causing you to experience a possible breakdown.

One way of properly processing negative thoughts is through mindfulness: the act of being nonjudgmental to any thought that comes your way. But with practice, you will realize that you are going to become exposed to a lot of baggage stemming from your unconscious mind, especially when you gain more stamina and can perform mindfulness for a longer duration.

You can essentially be “hurt by mindfulness” because of the powerful negative thoughts that are resurfacing into your conscious awareness. But do not allow this process to discourage you from practicing mindfulness. In actuality, the resurfacing of negative thoughts is healthy for you, because it gives you the opportunity to develop resilience towards negativity.

And the more resilient that you become as a person, the stronger your character becomes towards experiencing negativity or any potential mental health problem.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Why Forgiveness is So Important? β€” Human Performance Psychology

Never does the human soul appear so strong and noble as when it forgoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury. β€” E.H. Chapin Why should anyone forgive? There is no single reason, but this much is clear: harboring anger and resentment is physically, mentally, relationally and spiritually unhealthy. People who are unable toΒ […]

Why Forgiveness is So Important? β€” Human Performance Psychology

Courageous Parenting

Father in white shirt carrying blonde boy on shoulders

Willing To Provide Growth

The importance of proper parenting cannot be stressed enough. There are so many children with mental health issues due to terrible parenting. It’s so easy to believe that children who have mental health issues must have done something wrong in their lives. But the majority never did anything wrong: it was improper parenting that worsened their mental health. Courageous parenting is what is needed.

But courageous parenting is not that easy for many people, because of the difficulty required in consistently providing morals, direction, growth and warmth to children. Many parents are also “victims” of unplanned pregnancies; if “victim” is even the right word. Their irresponsibility led to the birth of a child for whom they do not show much interest in raising.

When children are raised around parents who are not affectionate or have their own mental health problems, they can become isolated, anxious, socially awkward or even direct their anger onto themselves. When a child directs his or her anger onto themselves, it often manifests into depression. Remember that in children, depression often manifests as irritability.

Then there are parents of children with autism spectrum disorder who do not know how to deal with them, because of the behavior manifested by their illness. Children with autism are often socially distant, exhibit ritualistic behavior and have trouble connecting with others. Parents who are irresponsible will often ignore these symptoms and not provide them with the professional care that they require.

And then there are the parents who suffer from a substance use disorder. How many of you have watched videos online or heard stories of children being passed a joint from their parent? This is not that uncommon, believe it or not. There are also children who steal their parent’s marijuana in the house and start smoking it themselves. And that’s because the marijuana is just sitting there!

Courageous parenting requires putting yourself second and your child first. This means that education, morals and values, safety and guidance need to be constantly provided, in order for a child to reach his or her full potential. Courageous parenting is going beyond what is expected, and hoping and believing that your child will happily succeed in life.

It’s not that easy to be a great parent, but it’s very easy to be an awful one! The children of this world depend on us to provide them with excellent parenting skills, as well as growth, direction and love. If we can improve our parenting skills, then we will improve the next generation of children who will one day make the important decisions for our society.

Courageous parenting is an important step in making this world a better place for the present generations, and all the future ones to follow.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)