Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away

A courageous man holding a camera walking on a train track during winter

Courage Is The First Step In Finding Change

Friends come and go. Relationships come and go. But often times, we get stuck in a toxic relationship that no longer serves us any good. Relationships and friendships are hard to come by, so we tend to hold on to them with dear life, in order to avoid loneliness. But little do we know, that by holding on to these relationships prevents us from growing. We must learn to listen to our intuition; our gut feeling which tells us if a person is right or wrong for us. Society these days has dulled our intuition; there is so much emphasis on the mind, leaving us to forget that our intuition was created to protect us.

Walking away takes courage, but you must take the initiative if you want new opportunities in life. New people who are motivated, successful, passionate and loving will help take your life to the next level. Old people who make fun of you, emotionally or physically abuse you and degrade you will keep you at a low and depressing level. The key to walking away is not caring if you lose that person from your life. Stop answering their phone calls, stop hanging out with them, stop enabling them to mistreat you! Be respectful to yourself and surround yourself with fruitful people who will make you shine and taste success and love.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Defeat Loneliness With Passion

A neon sign stating "fuel your passion"

Fire Up Your Emotions

There are more people lonely in the United States than ever before. But what drives loneliness? We are living in a society that promotes competition and selfishness; Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest at its finest. Everyone wants to get ahead of each other and can care less if the other person is suffering; it’s unfortunate but true. This in return makes us lonely because we may not share the same interests or drives as those around us; we end up being by ourselves. Some people are lonely even in the company of others; this means they find emptiness in the relationships they carry.

What is the solution? Introduce passion into your activities. Whatever you do, make it enjoyable and fill your mind with positive thoughts and energy. Don’t worry about the lives others lead. Focus on enjoying your life, your moments, your activities, your passion! Once you take your mind away from seeking companionship and focus on yourself, your life will start to slowly get rid of loneliness. But the key is passion!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Will Marijuana Legalization Worsen Mental Health?

A purple, orange and green marijuana plant

THC And The Impact On Mental Health

It’s no secret that Marijuana legalization is happening all across the United States. New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are the northeast states looking to legalize the green herb within the next couple of years. What will be the repercussions from allowing such a move to occur?

Well, first things first: research is coming out showing brain changes in adolescents who smoke Marijuana, resulting in emotional dysregulation. During the adolescent years, teenagers identify more with their peers and less with their parents. By Marijuana interfering with the emotional circuity of the brain, teenagers will possibly be even more disconnected from their parents. Secondly, the prefrontal lobe is not fully developed until age 24; this is why adolescents have poor judgement. By Marijuana dysregulating adolescents’ emotions with a naturally undeveloped frontal lobe, this may cause even more dangerous and unpredictable behavior from adolescents.

The truth is that the legalization movement is not addressing the mental health repercussions from legalizing Marijuana. They have an agenda to see the plant legalized, while ignoring the major negative side effects of potential psychosis, worsened anxiety and even depression in some! Only via clinical trials and research, we will see the results of Marijuana legalization. But legalization is happening now, while research results can take many more years to deliver the conclusions. Will it be too late?

One thing is for sure: the best way to stay mentally healthy is exercising, socializing, eating healthy and being productive. Substance use should not be at the top of this list.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

What Is Depression?

A brunette female appearing depressed with a double next to her

Low Serotonin Levels

Appetite, sleep, interest, suicidal thoughts, guilt, agitation/retardation – these are the components that make or break a diagnosis of depression. There are many forms of depression: Major Depressive Disorder, Situational Depression, Major Depressive Episodes, Substance-induced Depression, Bipolar Depression, Pseudodementia, etc. It is hypothesized that serotonin is in low quantities in the synaptic cleft of neurons, which results in depressive symptoms. Depression is not just an emotional event; actual brain chemistry is changed at the neuronal and receptor levels in the brain.

People experience depression in many ways. Some quit their jobs and lay in bed all day while others are still functional; some unfortunately commit suicide. It is not clear what the exact source of depression is. Environmental triggers definitely contribute to it: loss of a loved one, substances of abuse, accidents, loss of a job, etc. But others may be genetically predisposed; especially if their family members have depression.

Is depression curable? Curable is a strong word. I’m not sure if anything is curable. But it is treatable and manageable. Psychotherapy and antidepressants together is a stronger therapy than either alone. Prozac, Lexapro and Wellbutrin are some of the antidepressants you may have heard of; they work great, but for some people, even that is not enough. Some people may require ECT: electroconvulsive therapy. ECT involves 12-20 sessions of shocks delivered to the brain. Believe it or not, it works! I had a patient in Baltimore, Maryland who was doing better on it. It is time that we come together and eliminate the stigma of ECT and antidepressants; we must utilize all approaches and help each other along the way.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

What Is Bipolar?

A sad looking man with his eyes closed holding a flower to his head

Mania | Depression

Many people may have undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder. It is important to be educated on the topic in case you or someone may have the illness. Bipolar means you are not in the “middle” in regards to your mood. For two weeks, you are feeling depressed while at other times when not depressed, you are manic. The only requirement for a Bipolar I diagnosis is mania, but it may be accompanied by depression. What is depression? It includes: decreased interest in activities, low appetite, decreased sleep, psychomotor agitation or retardation, suicidal thoughts, apathy and guilt. What is mania? It includes: racing thoughts, irritability, uninterruptible speech, excessive energy, decreased need for sleep and grandiose thoughts. Bipolar II is when you have depression and hypomania; hypomania is just a less intense version of mania. Generally, people with Bipolar I become nonfunctional and can no longer work if not medicated; their mania causes too much distraction to continue being productive. People with Bipolar II can still function but can greatly benefit from medication.

Is Bipolar dangerous? Yes it is! Who would want to shift moods from one extreme to another? On one side, a person is depressed and may commit suicide. On the other side, a person is manic and may get in trouble with the law. Bipolar needs to be treated, and thankfully, people do well on medications. Medications such as Lithium and Valproic Acid work great. But it is always best to include psychotherapy in the treatment process, which includes talking to a psychiatrist or psychologist who can help you understand more about your personality and how to handle your illness. Overall, always seek professional help to be officially diagnosed with Bipolar. I believe every person who has Bipolar can have a successful life if treated!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Shoot For The Stars

A boy looking at a yellow wall that says "believe in yourself"

No Goal Is Above Your Horizon

Do you often find yourself struggling to have enough motivation to accomplish something? Motivation is something that needs to be developed. For some, it comes easier, for others it needs to be worked upon. But one thing is for sure: you must find a goal or two and constantly work towards achieving them. Every day, you must remind yourself why you want to accomplish that goal and work towards making progress. One goal we should all shoot for is achieving a happy state of mind. Mental illness is very prevalent throughout the world and in particular, our society. Genes, epigenetics and stressors contribute to a decline in our mental health. Epigenetics is when some of our genes are silenced or turned on based on environmental triggers; this may result in depression, anxiety and even psychotic symptoms such as visual and auditory hallucinations; some even become paranoid or delusional (the husband who believes his wife is cheating on him, contrary to the evidence). What do I mean by shooting for the stars? We often set shallow goals that don’t really bring us success or much happiness (i.e.: I will go to the gym once a week, I will not eat fast food twice a week, etc). I call these goals shallow because they don’t deliver “the stuff” that we’re looking for, and frankly, “the stuff” we deserve. We need to become more motivated by increasing our goals and striving to achieve them. But it starts with you! You need to discover what you want to accomplish and set out to achieve it. Once you discover your goals, increase your motivation every day by reminding yourself how bitter sweet the end result will be!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Defeat Any Type Of Addiction With Self-Respect

An open container with needles, drugs, spoons and cigarettes

Addiction Ends When You Want It To

It’s no shock that we are currently experiencing multiple drug epidemics: methamphetamine and opioids. Some even suffer from Gambling Disorder. But what is driving humanity to becoming slaves to addiction? The answer is: lack of self-respect and control. We often seek a change in consciousness because we get bored with our reality. We want something more exciting and enticing that will bring us stimulation. But that is where the problem lies; these addictions hijack our brain like a virus does to a computer, to the point that we must function under the virus until we feel motivated enough to undergo reprogramming.

Reprogramming is not always successful, truth be told. Sometimes the virus is so destructive that we end up losing the hardware. The solution is to increase your self-respect and avoid/prevent/or stop the process of addiction from taking place. By self-respecting yourself and realizing how much you have to be thankful for (just the fact that you are living) should be enough! Resist the urge to seek a replacement for your current reality and instead find fulfillment in healthy activities that can bring you peace of mind and joy.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Stay On Track With Your Plan

Paper, markers and coffee on a table

A Plan Maps Out Your Future

We’re often tempted to give up on a set course of action. Either we don’t see the results, we get bored and inpatient or we get new ideas the deviate us from the original plan. The key is discipline. We have to remind ourselves that nothing comes easy. Achievement takes a lot of work and persistence and along this grueling path, comes a lot of sweat and tears. But it pays off in the end once we reach the destination.

You want to commit to your plan everyday; even on the days you feel sad and gloomy. When you get through those gloomy days, you will have more energy during the happy days, and this will inch you forward to whatever it is you want to achieve. Mental health also comes into play with staying on track with your plan. A good state of mind where you are free from depression and anxiety is key to maintaining consistency in your life. Depression and anxiety need to be eliminated from your life before giving yourself the best chance at achieving success. Your plan may even be to eliminate depression and anxiety, and the key is to stay on track with that plan! Once you have freed yourself from mental obstacles, success will be right around the corner.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Free Yourself From Pain

Graffiti of a stressed African American man with hands on his face

Pain Causes Stagnation

Why is it that no matter how much we accomplish, we still are stabbed by pain? It’s like the air or water is polluted with a toxin that makes its way into our brain and degrades us into depression. Whatever the source is, all we can do is learn how to deal with the present situation and free ourselves from pain. But you may ask, how? The key is to turn your everyday events into a positive experience; this includes the way you view your job, friends, family, activities, home, car, income, etc. You want to view everything you have in a positive way. This way, you will train your mind to stay positive and in return, you will attract more positivity into your life. It’s easier said than done, but often times, we do not even make the effort to try. This is a way of life that I am suggesting, and until you are willing to apply it, the pain will continue.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Show More Love

Male and female hand coming together to form a heart sign

Love Trumps All

We live in a very competitive society, to the point that we have lost one important feature: love. We are so focused on getting ahead of one another, that we forget how to show love towards others; even towards our family! It is through love that we can get things done easier, garner more positive energy and move forward towards the destination we want to reach. Love is contagious; the more we spread it, the more it comes back to us. Don’t let this fast-paced society turn you into a zombie; you are a God-loving spirit who needs to go back to his or her roots and utilize the strongest asset in your arsenal: love.

Via love, we will accomplish things more smoothly and our mental health will prosper in return. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, love is endless and does not judge. Speaking of judging, don’t let judgement cloud your heart. Spread love like birds spread their wings and flap that positive energy at everyone coming your way. By showing more love, you will fly high!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)