Your Dreams Rock

Gray microphone inside party room with bright orange lights and people in background

You Are A Rock Star

With more time on our hands because of the virus that has decided to take a world tour, we have no excuse but to dream bigger and work towards making our dreams a reality. Utilize this free time as an opportunity to grow and plan out your future; no time should be wasted. Life always throws you opportunities for improvement, even if it’s during deadly times.

In other words, do not sit idly at home waiting for evilness to pass away; it never will. The coronavirus is just a small piece of the arsenal when it comes to Satan and his army; unfortunately he took out one of his more powerful weapons this time. But casually sitting around complaining about how your world has changed for the worse is not doing you any good.

Did you know that you are a rock star? We all are. But we have to start thinking like a rock star, believing like a rock star, dreaming like a rock star and eventually living like a rock star. No worldly event, no matter how negative and evil it may be, should be holding you back from progressing in life.

And it all starts with your dreams! Are you waking up every day believing that this will be the day that you will accomplish X, Y, and Z? If you are not, then you aren’t thinking like a rock star. You must feed your drive and motivation the minute that you wake up, no matter how pissed off you are and no matter how unfortunate your current circumstances are.

You can’t allow your environment to make you its slave; you will not allow that to happen! You have to learn to put yourself in a position of power where you are the one controlling your environment and this does not mean controlling others; you never want to control others. You want to be a leader, not a boss. Bosses tell people what to do; leaders show people how to do it!

So start dreaming and living like a rock star and watch your success and happiness skyrocket. And when you start demonstrating leadership qualities, people will start to respect and follow you to learn more from your awesome ways! This is the rock star mentality that you need to start adopting today.

Together we can and we will!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Getting High During Social Distancing

Person holding unrolled cannabis joint with grinders on table

Is Your Brain The Real Enemy?

With so much time on your hands, your brain begins to beg you, “Please give me some candy so I can feel bomb!” The problem with listening to your brain’s demands is the same problem when you listen to a child’s continuous requests: you give up power as they gain more control. Getting high during social distancing is certainly very tempting but you have to resist your brain’s desires.

The coronavirus pandemic is a perfect time to develop a drug addiction; hence, why you have to redirect your mind away from substances. With so much free time on your hands and mixed feelings regarding the current social situation, substances become an avenue of escape; a destination that is often hard to return back from.

Getting high helps you to enhance your isolation at home. It makes activities such as cruising the web, watching YouTube videos, having sex, eating and putting on a Netflix show much more enjoyable. That’s because substances hijack your reward center in the brain and release great amounts of dopamine; much more than naturally released when having sex with an attractive partner!

That’s why half the world is addicted to a substance; it’s like candy for adults. Just as children love sugar highs, adults love a state of intoxication. Since we are little, we have been programed by society to enjoy getting high. The difference between those who do and don’t comes down to many factors, including the current COVID-19 pandemic!

Getting high may truly make your social distancing experience more enjoyable; no one is denying that. But are the consequences worth it? When all of the smoke clears up and the coronavirus dies down, will you want to be in a position of stepping out in public with an addiction on your hands? If you do end up in that position, the real enemy was your brain who convinced you all along to get high and you fell for it!

So don’t allow your brain to become your enemy. It does not always look out for what’s best for you; the brain is quite selfish! The human brain is so smart that it comes up with ways of tricking you into giving it what it desires. And once you give it a glimpse into the world of getting high, it will take full advantage of the dopamine rushes by keeping you hooked on drugs as much as it possibly can.

Control your mind and you will be in a good position to carry forward.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Isolated Heart

Isolated sad man sitting on brown wooden windowsill across buildings

Searching For Connection In A Time Of Crisis

The alarm rings precisely at 8:00 am. Your eyes open to the same four walls surrounding your physical presence. As you sit up in bed and look outside, not much movement can be observed . . . you’re still in a state of quarantine. You start to wonder if your mind or your heart feels more isolated. You quickly feel it in your chest, “My isolated heart at it again.”

You wonder if anyone else is feeling this way: isolated, broken, lonely, sad, miserable, hopeless and anxious. Does it even matter if anyone else is feeling like this? You can’t reach them anyways. Texting and calling feels superficial at this point. Your interest in virtual connections has been saturated; it feels superficial and distant.

You just want someone who can understand and share your pain. But why would you want others to share your pain? Isn’t that evil? Perhaps at this point in time, social distancing is making you bitter and you no longer care for others. But then your mind starts rationalizing on how your heart has gone crazy.

Usually it’s the other way around; your heart attempts to correct your mind which is prone to experiencing evil thoughts. But during this coronavirus pandemic, your isolated heart is becoming susceptible to evilness. Your mind is already affected by evilness but it tries to salvage your heart because it knows that without a pure heart, it will let you down.

And there you are stuck in the middle of three components: a fragile mind screaming for substances as a form of entertainment, a depressed heart that is now bleeding tears rather than oxygenated blood and you. You are the third component who has to quickly get your mind and heart under control or you will go down with them.

But how do you avoid going down? You stay positive during times of adversity and you connect with people who can understand your pain and who are going through a difficult experience themselves. When we connect and share hope and love, nothing can bring us down. This is one of the goals of The DSM Ready Movement.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Finding Refuge In The Park

Green trees in park at golden hour

Forest Fuel: Nature Heals My Mental Health

If it’s not work then it’s being at home. If it’s not being at home, then it’s being stuck within your mind while at home. It’s fair to say that most people would agree that life has dramatically changed within the last couple of months and certainly not for the better. It sometimes feels like we have become prisoners to our own home; the rooms feel like they are closing in on us more every day.

But it’s our mind that is closing in on us. We start to become inpatient when spending so much time in the house: activities become repetitive, the news is getting old and going “virtual” is not at all exciting. The fact that we’ve reached a point in time that our government is telling us to stay home is quite worrisome.

They keep emphasizing “social distancing” repeatedly like we’re little kids who do not comprehend the first time around. But there is a reason that many of us do not comprehend social distancing and that’s because we are losing our mind by staying indoors all day. But one gem that remains available is our parks!

Finding refuge in the park is no exaggeration. It provides a calm and relaxing environment where we can sit on benches, jog on trails, walk on grass and converse with friends and family. Now that mother nature has rewarded us with the beauty of Spring, the park has become an even more pleasant place to retreat during this coronavirus pandemic.

The park is like a reset of your mental health throughout the day. Whether you are still working or casually relaxing within the comforts of your home, the park provides a beautiful opportunity to relieve your stress and connect with nature. Putting all medications aside, nature is still one of the best healers of mental health!

It helps you leave your hole which you call your “home” and allows you to release your thoughts into the wild, allowing the trees to scatter them away into the distance. The park welcomes you with a big hug provided by the sun rays and wind streams brushing away from the trees and on towards you; the park engulfs you with mental comfort!

If you are feeling sad and lonely during this COVID-19 catastrophe, remember that you are not alone! We all are. But don’t be afraid to leave your home and find a park to help heal your mental health. Don’t remain in your house for endless days at a time; you are ripping your mental health apart by doing that.

Let’s consciously connect together in the park!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Silently Panicking

Brown and black desk globe with yellow "stay home" sticky note on top of it

Living In A Ghost Town

The coronavirus pandemic is every bit as mental as it is physical. You are not in the clear if you don’t have physical symptoms because your perception on reality has now been altered. It’s not like you purposely altered your perception; it just happened as a reaction to the virus infecting humanity. Just take a look outside and you will see how quiet the streets are; ghosts have replaced human beings.

New York is not what it used to be. It now takes 30 minutes to get from eastern Queens to Washington Heights where Columbia University is located; on a normal day, it would take 45-60 minutes. Walking down the streets of Manhattan, very few people can be observed. Almost everyone is wearing a mask and you don’t even have to wait at a red light if you are attempting to cross the street; no cars are coming in the opposite direction!

There are more parked cars than there are moving vehicles. Sadly, people are either at home or in the hospital; society feels totally shut down. At least hospital cafeterias and coffee shops remain open; there are no lines and the food options have decreased greatly. But you can still get a nice warm veggie pizza however!

No more long Starbucks lines. You can now receive your Caramel Frappuccino in a couple of minutes. But as you slowly make your way back outside, you unconsciously start to panic after you see the empty streets again. You also develop a dry cough . . . “Does this mean that I have COVID-19?”

As you very well may now, this time of the year you are still susceptible to acquiring a common cold or the flu. But because of the coronavirus slowly destroying society, you start to freak out when your cough persists. Your anxiety level starts to build as you wonder if you are walking around infected. If you are living alone at home, you start to become sad as you start to feel isolated and distanced from society.

But then you remind yourself that the rest of the world is isolated at home too and that you’re not the only one. But does that help?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Redesigning Ourselves

Grayscale photography of black man standing in front of cross smiling

Praying For Each Other

Everyday selfishness is what prevents humanity from coming together to defeat the evilness that rules this world. Human nature, by design, is filled with selfishness but this does not mean that we cannot redesign ourselves. But the problem is that many do not know how to do this . . . many have not yet found it within their hearts the will to redesign themselves.

People wrongfully believe that redesigning themselves comes from within. It does to a certain extent but the percentage is small compared to asking God for help and guidance. That’s because when you attempt to redesign yourself without God’s help, you rely on the power found within you, and that power is humanly-derived; it can only take you so far.

That’s why you need God’s power to more effectively redesign yourself, and that can only be achieved by accepting and loving God in your mind and heart. Don’t bother if you’re going to be superficial about it; God knows you better than you know yourself. You must put God before your parents, siblings and significant other . . . you must put God before any human.

If you disagree with this, then you are disagreeing with the idea of putting your maker or creator before other humans. If it were not for God, you would have never had life and the chance to meet these humans who you call your “family.” God has blessed you with life, so if you want to redesign it, you must go back and reconnect with the source!

Fancy rituals, prayers in public, avoidance of certain foods, animal sacrifices . . . this is not what God is looking for; He does not want religious nuts but spiritual fruits! What God wants is a pure loving heart that is selfless and prays for others to improve as well. In praying for each other, you are not only redesigning yourself but are contributing to the improvement of others’ lives.

This is how humanity will improve and this is how we will better tackle mental illness, substance abuse, hatred, division and worldly pandemics.

This is how we will come together and love each other just the way that God envisions it for us.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Crack Stole My Leg

Depressed man wearing black hoodie with head down sitting on train track

Depression And Drug Use

If you think depression and drug use don’t go hand in hand, think again. Depression seeks drugs and drugs feed off depression; they’re the best combination to keep you suffering and to lose hope for the future. Uncontrolled depression whispers in your mind to alleviate your suffering with drugs and drugs whisper back, “I’ll take care of the rest.” But when drugs and depression gain too much power, suicidal ideations begin to make an appearance.

Suicidal ideations in the context of drug use and depression is a very bad situation. The problem is worsened by a low socioeconomic status, poor family support and bad friendships. The problem is that patients in these situations do not see the light at the end of the tunnel; their minds are too clouded by mental illness and substance addiction.

Many of these patients do not use soft drugs such as marijuana or psychedelics. When you are facing homelessness, unemployment and a past psychiatric history of depression or schizophrenia, soft drugs have no place on one’s plate. Drugs such as crack-cocaine and heroin better fit the picture.

The problem is when hard drugs are used on top of psychiatric symptoms such as depression, suicidal ideations or auditory hallucinations, judgment, impulse and insight become impaired. When these mental processes become impaired, so does one’s view on suicidal ideations.

Suicidal ideations unfortunately become the only sparkling light at the end of the tunnel. And sometimes this sparkling light is intensified by the track gleaming lights of passing trains. Patients in these severely depressed and addicted mindsets see an opportunity to end their living nightmares by jumping in front of a train.

And jumping is what they sometimes do . . . some survive while some lose their leg. This is never the solution but when living under such cloudy and foggy mental conditions, your decision-making becomes greatly impaired. That’s why it’s so important that we advocate for mental health and substance abuse support worldwide; these people depend on us and are thankful for our desire to help them once again live a life full of happiness and love!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Irresponsibility Of The Mainstream Media

Empty store shelve with white sign warning customers

People Laughing In The Streets

No one is denying the impact that the coronavirus is having on our society. Over 400 deaths in the United States alone and thousands overseas, COVID-19 has earned its place in the history books. But the media has also earned its place in the history books for the paranoia that it has been instilling in people’s minds. The irresponsibility of the media needs to stop before the next generation of journalists come into power.

So what exactly is irresponsible about the mainstream media? The panic that they are contributing to. Rather than comforting the millions of viewers who are sitting at home in tears, not knowing how they will pay their next month’s bills, they continue to provide us with 24/7 news on how deadly this virus is and how we should all practice “social distancing.

What is portrayed in the media does not match what can be observed in the streets. And why is that? Because people are slowly losing interest in what they have to say. Take a look for yourself at what you can see in the streets: people are casually walking their dogs, families are strolling in parks, friends are smoking cigarettes and laughing, food vendors are in good spirits and selling Halal, etc.

Should we mention all the spring breakers partying on the beaches of Florida and the west coasters getting high and exercising on the beaches of sunny California? This is not meant to deny the importance of social distancing; we should continue to listen to our leaders and health officials on the recommendations of dealing with the coronavirus.

But it would be nice if the media did not secretly care so much about headlines and numbers, and rather report some positive news from time to time. Talking about COVID-19 24/7 is promoting paranoia, anxiety, substance use and depression in the population; people are also committing suicide! If this is not irresponsibility than I don’t know what is.

This is not meant to bash the mainstream media with the intent of hating. We here at The DSM Ready Community do not slide on hate; love is our passion. Our goal is to work with the mainstream media and help them realize that we the people want positive and honest news that does not scare us 24/7. I’m sure they can find a way of delivering other news that does not focus on the coronavirus all the time.

Only by focusing on various positive topics in the news, will people more effectively recover from this traumatic COVID experience and get on with their lives again.

Together we will!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Meaning Of Our Lives

Sad white woman's face looking into the distance

The Meaning Of Anything

As we sit in the comforts of our homes, time continues to become molded into our consciousness; we observe the hour hand moving ever more slowly as we start wondering the meaning of our lives. The pouring rain outside our windows makes the social distancing situation even more depressing; now we cannot even enjoy some fresh air. We have truly become isolated.

Sometimes it feels as if we are living in a social experiment created by a group of elite billionaires sitting on a french chateau porch enjoying mimosas and expensive Cuban cigars. Can this truly be a designed social experiment to observe how humans interact and survive in a pandemic?

In times such as these, we are naive and doing ourselves a disservice if we do not question the meaning of our lives; the meaning of anything! Curiosity is necessary in order to pose questions that help us arrive at better answers. We cannot simply sit like sheep watching CNN and Fox News every day and accept what is fed to us without questioning.

While the democrats and republicans hash it out in congress and on the senate floor to arrive at an agreement for an appropriate stimulus bill, Americans and other people around the world continue to get exposed and infected by the invisible enemy known as COVID-19. We are like sitting ducks, exposed to an enemy with no defense by our sides.

Society is slowly shutting down and we have nothing but time on our hands to question the meaning of the universe. Is there an endgame to this situation? Will this too pass? Maybe reality has forever changed . . . perhaps we are going to have to reside in the comforts of our homes for the next couple of years!

Any question is fair game during this time of social isolation . . . any question that stimulates our minds and helps us to see beyond what lies in front of us. Even conspiracy theories are fair game; do not allow the stereotype to prevent you from entertaining them. Keeping an open mind is a must, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

What is the meaning of your life?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Social Distancing In A Time Of Crisis

Woman sitting on window apartment practicing social distancing

The Hidden Enemy

As every day passes, we continue to remain with unanswered questions as to how we should live our lives. Health officials tell us to practice social distancing and to remain at home, yet this is resulting in massive job losses, economic fluttering and mental health problems. It’s not easy to stay at home after you’ve been used to living a productive life.

And even if you stay at home, how long can you go like this until you don’t mentally burst? Psychologically, it’s not healthy to remain at home day after day, even in a time of crisis. As a matter of fact, it’s actually worse to spend more time at home in a time of crisis because it just makes you more anxious and possibly even depressed.

When your mental health goes down, so does your physical health: you feel less energized and motivated to recover from any bodily symptoms. And social distancing does just that: it robs you of your social life and the way that you were previously used to living. So while we’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, should we be practicing social distancing?

While no right answer, it’s important to be cautious and practice good hygiene. Hand washing and wearing personal protective equipment is a must. If you work in a hospital, you should always wear a face mask; this should not even be disputed. You should always wash your hands after returning home from being outside, even if you haven’t touched anything.

While it may feel like you’re not living your life while practicing social distancing, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of self-isolation. If you are symptomatic, such as experiencing a dry cough, shortness of breath or a fever, then you should stay home, call your doctor or even go to the hospital. If your symptoms worsen, definitely go to the hospital.

We are living in very difficult times and many are suffering from mental health problems as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing is not helping everyone and many feel that they are losing their minds by staying at home. It’s important that you remain positive and maintain an optimistic outlook regarding the future.

We will get through this together!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)