Field Of Hopes And Dreams

Black woman falling on purple surface in dream

The Unconscious Mind Headquarters

You have 20 minutes to record your dreams in the morning or say goodbye forever. The meanings and messages which you can abstract are sometimes very powerful; they help you better understand yourself and your current role in life. But most of the time they need deciphering; digging through the dirt to find the treasure.

The unconscious mind is a rich source of information; the field containing all of your hopes and dreams. Every night when you dream, your unconscious mind is sprinkling bits and pieces of information onto your conscious mind. But most of the time, we forget our dreams because we don’t make an effort to type them up immediately after rising.

Once you start keeping a record of your dreams for a minimum of 2-3 weeks, you will start to develop a mental map of this “other world”; your dream world. This map will still remain fuzzy over time but you now have at least uncovered this other world within your mind. It just takes time to illuminate all of the terrain.

It helps to have a psychoanalyst guide you on your dream interpretation; they may provide you with a totally different interpretation of your dream. It helps to have multiple interpretations because you can easily discount one and accept the other. Once you accept an interpretation, it helps to relate the information to your life and abstract a meaningful message.

You will notice that symbolism will start to repeat itself in different dreams. These symbols may represent repressed hopes and goals which you have not achieved yet. Sometimes they divulge new information in regards to your hopes and goals and sometimes they just confirm them.

If you can dream it, then you can achieve it!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Insecurity Virus

Silhouette photography of insecure woman

How To Fix Insecurity

Just one comment, remark or joke by somebody can spark insecurity and make you feel anxious and uncertain about yourself. It leaves you scratching your head wondering why in the world a set of words make you feel so unconfident. The feeling may last a couple of minutes or the entire day!

Self-doubt is a very uncomfortable feeling that can sometimes paralyze the quality of your day, like a virus affecting your computer. This tends to happen when you are careless or do not have an antivirus software running; in this case, a confident personality and thick skin.

The reason why certain comments can be triggers for feeling insecure is because they shake up our unconscious mind which contains repressed feelings and wishes. As a reminder, our unconscious mind is active 24/7. When it detects a set of words or emotions from somebody else, it may react very sensitively depending on the material.

If your unconscious mind is uncomfortable with the material, it pulls certain strings to make you feel insecure; like a wake up call. Insecurity can be good or bad. It’s good when the material that makes you feel insecure is related to improving yourself and making a critical and important change in your life.

It’s bad when the material that makes you feel insecure is not that important, yet you still become paralyzed. In this case, you have to learn how to shake off the insecurity virus by recovering quicker or preventing it from affecting you in the future. The way to fix insecurity is to fully experience it when it kicks in rather than fighting it.

Don’t ignore your insecurity. Instead, digest it no matter how uncomfortable the feeling, while maintaining strength. It’s almost contradictory to maintain strength and feel insecure at the same time, but it’s doable. The objective is to analyze why you’re feeling insecure without allowing it to affect you on a deeper level and paralyzing the rest of your day.

No matter how strong and successful you are, you will always experience the insecurity virus from time to time. But it’s how you handle it which determines your character and quality of life.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Bloody Tired

Fatigued man sitting on bench besides body of water

When Fatigue Alters Your State Of Mind

The danger with becoming very fatigued is that your decision-making becomes impaired. You feel your temporal blood vessels pulsating on the side of your head and your blood boiling throughout your arteries and veins; anger starts to build up. You either want to sleep or yell at someone; many times, you can’t do either.

Work is a great factor in contributing to fatigue, burnout and depression; especially working long hours in a challenging environment. Working under stress and fatigue impairs your decision-making and professionalism: you start to become frustrated at every little thing and your attitude towards your employees changes for the worse.

Everything begins to annoy you: the red light seems to take much longer to switch to green; your boss on the phone sounds more annoying than on other days; your incoming call is disturbing you and you happily ignore it; you press harder on the gas pedal to drive faster and arrive at home quicker, etc.

When leaving work impaired from fatigue, driving becomes dangerous: you may switch lanes without being fully alert and drive faster than you usually do. Many cases have been reported of people leaving work so fatigued and impaired, only to find themselves in a car accident and dead.

Your relationships can suffer while experiencing fatigue: you become less patient with others; you become easily irritable; conversations start to annoy you; you raise your voice and shout at others, etc. You may even lose people in your life for being vulgar and using inappropriate language.

It is important to avoid the tipping point from fatigue into self-destruction; think of a volcano eruption unleashing lava and creating a path of destruction. Once your fatigue gets out of control and you’ve created a path of destruction, it may become difficult to recover from the damage.

Always make sure to keep your stress level down, develop a proper sleep hygiene and perform in extracurricular activities which help keep your life balanced and stress-free.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Drugs Are The #1 Killer Of Teens In America

Male teenager smoking marijuana joint

Distracted By Altered States Of Mind

Whether it’s marijuana, K2, oxycodone or vaping, they all distract the mind of the individual user. America is not only experiencing a drug epidemic but an identity crisis epidemic. And it starts with children and teenagers; the time when bad habits are formed and either ditched or held on to for many years to come.

Teenagers have a very different mentality than children and adults: they are focused on discovering themselves and identifying with their peers. This is where drugs come in like superglue; they stick to a teenager’s mind and almost never let go. With the advent of marijuana legalization, it is much easier for teenagers to find marijuana use acceptable.

About 10-15 years ago, teenagers were hiding their marijuana use like a homosexual hiding his sexual orientation in the closet. There was no talking about marijuana to your parents or family members. But nowadays, because of the widespread acceptance of marijuana use by state governments, teenagers are no longer experiencing any fear or pressure; they can use the drug more freely.

Drug chemists continue to remain innovative by synthesizing new and more powerful mind-altering drugs. K2 for instance is known as the “poor man’s marijuana.” About 5 dollars a baggie, it will get you just as high or higher than marijuana but at a greater expense: the potential for seizures, kidney failure, heart attacks, paranoia and hallucinations.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100x more potent than morphine. A regular dose of what an addict believes to be heroin, ends up being their last breath of life while injecting fentanyl. The pushers don’t care about the deaths they’re racking up in the communities. The saying goes, “it is more addicting to sell drugs than to consume them.”

We are experiencing an identity crisis epidemic where teenagers no longer find as much pleasure in being themselves while sober; they become distracted by the altered states of mind provided by drugs. And this pattern has a great potential for worsening if parents and state governments do not adopt a stricter approach on the drug culture.

Legalizing marijuana? Vaping epidemics? K2 booms? Is this the culture we are promoting for future generations?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Being Happy For Others

Three young women sitting on bench on beach

It’s Not All About You

Being happy rocks! There’s no better feeling than having everything go your way and riding the wave of happiness; cloud nine becomes an understatement. But just being happy about yourself takes away the excitement from your relationships. Relationships strive when both parties can share each other’s happiness.

Being genuinely happy for others will improve your relationships: it shows people that you are not selfish, are empathic and able to share someone else’s happiness. It feels great to feel happy for someone else, even if it’s for a person who you are not close to; empathy has no boundaries.

When you redirect more attention towards others and less towards yourself, you are training your mind to be more caring; you are working towards altruism. In the process, you become more empathic, a better listener and more willing to help others out. You actually start to appreciate yourself more.

But when you don’t share the happiness of others, you are emotionally isolating yourself in your selfishness. At first you are distracted by your cloud nine experiences; you’re on top of the world and nothing can come between you and your bliss. But over time, your selfish joy gets old and you find yourself desensitized to your own happiness.

People can tell when you care about them; it’s a natural feeling that is easily detectable. But someone who does not radiate empathy often comes off as narcissistic or emotionally detached; it’s all about them and little about you. Don’t be that person! Life is so much more pleasurable when you are able to feel someone else’s happiness and enjoy it with them.

Remind yourself that life is not all about you! Inflating your ego to the point of forming an impenetrable barrier will only distance people from your presence. Your goal is to find a happy medium where you are happy for yourself but just as happy for those around you. Life is meant for us to be happy together!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Psychoanalysis: A Breath Of Fresh Air

Hand holding round clear glass

Proceeding With Introspection

It takes one session per week or every other week to reap the benefits from psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist. The first session is called “the dance”; I get to know you and you get to know me. The analyst is often very reserved during the dance; they are there only to observe and take in what you have to offer.

Following the first session, the analyst begins to open up to you and offer their opinions, observations or even suggestions; their words are slowly influencing your choice of topics. You still talk about what you feel like, but their responses help you navigate different routes of thought. It becomes relieving to talk about what you wish, when most of the time you don’t have someone in your life who you can be 100% open with.

But with an analyst you can be as open as you want. They are not there to judge or make fun of you; their role is to help you develop an understanding of your mental and emotional processes. They want you to become comfortable with any thought that comes through your mind; they want you to learn how to better understand yourself.

Psychoanalysis is like a breath of fresh air because the sessions help you get things off your chest (or your unconscious mind, realistically speaking). And you learn more about yourself while doing it, but at first it might not seem so apparent; especially after “the dance.”

However, over time and as days go by, you notice that your mood improves, your confidence builds up and you seem more satisfied with life in general. This is because you are unconsciously releasing knots of conflicts that you have held on to during your entire life. The psychoanalytic sessions are a platform for your unconscious mind to partake in “the dance.”

The more sessions that you attend, the more your unconscious mind will become comfortable with the analyst; this leads to a greater divulgence of unconscious information, conflicts and secrets. When you make your unconscious mind happy, you become happy! Without psychoanalysis, our mind is often separated into two entities: the unconscious portion and the conscious portion.

Rather than being oblivious to your unconscious mind and allowing it to aimlessly control your life, psychoanalysis provides an opportunity for uniting both portions of the mind and helping you become more wholesome and complete. Events in your life begin to make more sense!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Searching For Answers

Young woman searching for answers while walking on sand dunes

Questioning The Events In Our Life

Curiosity is the eagerness to know or learn something. We are often curious to learn more about why things happen the way they do in our life. Sometimes we receive happy news which makes us jump off our feet, while at other times, we are confronted with such terrible news that suicidal thoughts start to lurk into our mind.

Many times, we have no explanation for the random events in our life. We often sit alone and try to analyze what we could have done differently. If there is a learning point to take away from a certain event, then learn from the experience and avoid repeating the same mistake in the future.

But quite often, you will find that you cannot come up with a reasonable explanation as to why something turned out the way it did. The worst thing that you can do is to ruminate over the event; this distracts you from putting your best foot forward and moving on with your life.

Our entire life has been a process of looking for answers; this process will continue on moving forward. Life is like a classroom since the day we entered preschool; we will never stop learning. That’s because we will never leave the classroom; life will continue to teach us lessons until the day we die.

No matter how painful the lessons taught to you by life are, you have to do your best to learn from them and move on. The people who have trouble learning from painful lessons are the ones who have a higher chance of developing a mental illness. Unresolved pain promotes depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Don’t get too stuck on looking for answers. Life will provide them to you if it’s meant to be.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I Am Not Afraid Of My Mental Illness

Young black male with mental illness praying

Facing Your Symptoms

Mental illness can be scary. When your brain malfunctions, causing you to experience unfamiliar symptoms, you either begin to freak out or ignore them. Freaking out is bad; it only makes the experience worse. And ignoring your symptoms is a terrible idea; it only prolongs the duration till your acceptance.

So don’t do either. The best course to take besides treatment is acceptance of your mental illness. Acceptance is key because even with treatment, there is no guarantee that your symptoms will greatly diminish. So rather than getting upset and fighting against your symptoms, you need to become accepting of them while finding a personal way to cope.

From time to time, you will experience some fear regarding your symptoms: “what if they happen in public?”, “I feel them coming on!”, “other people might notice!” When you begin to experience these negative thoughts, remind yourself: “I am not afraid of my mental illness!”

It is perfectly normal to anticipate your symptoms coming on and fearing them. But you must take control of them or they will take control of you. Taking control of your symptoms depends on what mental illness you are experiencing. Sometimes not even a psychiatrist or psychologist can teach you how to manage your symptoms.

You know your mind and body best! You have to find ways to manage your symptoms when they are not fully controlled by psychotherapy and medications. Sometimes just talking to a loved one does wonders; someone who you feel will listen to you non-judgmentally and support you with unconditional love.

The key point to take away is to face your symptoms. When confronted enough over time, they will slowly diminish and you will find peace again. It may take some time but giving up should not be part of your agenda. With persistence and belief, you will conquer your mental illness and live happily again.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Living In Fear

Group of people surrounding person on knees experiencing PTSD

Signs Of PTSD

Post traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness that is diagnosed after a person experiences symptoms for greater than 1 month. Imagine being paralyzed in fear on a daily basis because the trauma you have experienced in the past is continuously haunting you. You almost become afraid to live.

PTSD occurs after a person has experienced a very traumatic event: returning from the war in Iraq, experiencing hurricane Katrina, being raped, tortured, kidnapped, etc. Any traumatic event can induce PTSD in a person. Think of PTSD as your mind having experienced such a great shock, that it cannot shake it off; the aftershocks persist day and night.

The common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Agitation and hypervigilance
  • Irritability and hostility
  • Flashbacks
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Nightmares and insomnia
  • Heightened reactions and severe anxiety

Many patients with PTSD turn to substance abuse because they find that the alcohol and drugs alleviate their symptoms. But little do they know that the alcohol and drugs are only temporary bandaids; the symptoms return after they wear off. And in the background, an addiction slowly starts to cook.

Patients with PTSD will avoid certain roads or places in public that reminds them of their traumatic experience. For instance, a war veteran may avoid alleyways after remembering an ambush in Fallujah. A patient may avoid driving on the highway after recalling the traumatic incident when a drunk driver swerved into her vehicle at 60 MPH.

When patients start avoiding certain places in public, it becomes almost crippling. Some patients’ symptoms are so severe that they no longer feel like a functional and productive member of society; they become isolated with a bottle of Jack in one hand and a .44 Special in the other.

Psychotherapy and antidepressants work for some patients but not for others; many are so depressed that they eventually commit suicide. A new potential drug on the horizon is currently undergoing phase 3 clinical trials: MDMA. Also known as “Molly” or “Ecstasy”, MDMA combined with psychotherapy has been shown to be very promising in treating patients with PTSD.

But until we come up with more effective treatments, our role should be to promote open and comfortable talks about mental illness. We need to come together, share our stories and end the stigma. The act of talking, sharing and listening are very healing processes. We are the new generation who can deliver and improve mental health for the future generations to follow!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Junk Virus

Heroin needles and trash on soil

Public Health Problem Number One

The stories are endless: violence, burglaries, robberies, overdoses and deaths. Heroin has penetrated almost every street corner in the US; the new neighbor on the block is not here to play. It chews you up and spits you out; you’re lucky if you come back out fresh enough to survive.

The junk virus made its grand appearance after its synthetic army was unleashed by the medical community: the opioids. These include demerol, methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl, percocet, percodan, vicodin and many more. Once the army was sprinkled onto society and its pricey tag maintained, heroin was slowly whispered into the addicts’ ears.

There was no malicious agenda by the medical community to unleash opioids onto the masses. There was simply a poor regulatory system and overwatch by the federal government. Physicians prescribed the medications based on professional opinion, but they were not quick enough to realize the enormous addictive potential they had.

Once physicians realized that patients were returning for multiple prescriptions, they began to turn them down. So patients began to window-shop for new physicians, juggling multiple at a time for that extra Rx. This lasted for some time until patients came to the realization of the expense of their new addiction.

And that’s when hurricane heroin hit the U.S. by storm: stronger, better, easier to obtain and cheaper! Call it the drug dealers’ economic boom but the recession of the people. Addicts were happy but also suffering: the high was great but the withdrawal and expense hellish.

And junk virus officially became an epidemic with no promising cure and no treatments successful enough to make a dent. Addicts were simply transitioned from an opiate to an opioid: heroin to methadone. Some addicts were switched successfully, others continued to use both and some just returned back to heroin.

Today, junk virus is still active and strong abut a new parasite has entered the market: meet furious fentanyl. 100x more potent than morphine, fentanyl is taking over cities like the great plague: heroin is vanishing from cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore and being replaced with fentanyl.

Addicts no longer know what they are getting. But they are quick to suspect their batch to be fentanyl if they are getting much higher than expected. Even if they want to stop, they can’t for two main reasons: they’re hooked and their drug dealers no longer have heroin. So the epidemic persists.

Public health problem number one is also public enemy number one: synthetic army + hurricane heroin + furious fentanyl. When you have such a deadly epidemic killing our people, it is fair to say that we are in the midst of fighting a domestic terror war. Are you ready to reclaim your mind?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)