Merry Christmas

Brindle french bulldog puppy in Santa hat near Christmas presents

Holiday Season

Take a long and hard look at your life and try to analyze why you behave and say the things that you do. The holiday season is a great opportunity to end the year trying to understand your mistakes and what you can do to improve moving into the new year. Don’t take the holiday season for granted; utilize this time of year to reflect on your accomplishments as well.

Christmas is a holiday to spend time with your family and friends, give back to others and thank God for the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross. If you are not a believer, then perhaps this is your time to become one. Through God, you can become a better person and live a more purifying life. But you must be willing to change.

There are many people out there who remain bitter and who do not enjoy the holiday season for various reasons. Put those reasons aside and try to enjoy every moment of it; life is too precious to be angry and dissatisfied. We all have our private list of complaints, but this should not stop us from wishing each other Merry Christmas and enjoying life.

There are also many people are who lonely and upset during the holidays. Don’t beat yourself up because of your current life situation; remaining bitter only promotes more negativity and doubt. It’s always better to spot the positives in your life; we all have them no matter the amount of difficulties that we experience.

The holiday season is that time of year to enjoy your time with family and friends, and unwind after a long year’s of work. This is the time for you to scratch off whatever you didn’t accomplish this year, and shoot for the same goals or even new goals in the following year. Don’t become discouraged because of unaccomplished goals.

Goals are not always easily achievable, especially the ones that you really want! Life always has a funny way of giving you what isn’t high on your list, leaving you wondering why in the world you can’t get what you truly desire. But the truth is that you can! It just takes time, perseverance and patience.

So don’t beat yourself up this holiday season because of your dissatisfied performance. Rather, enjoy the holiday season and utilize this time of year to kick back and reset yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. And if ever feeling alone, remember that you can always leave a message on The DSM Ready platform.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Experiencing Command Hallucinations

Man with disturbed facial expression experiencing command hallucinations

Voices Inside Your Head

Imagine not only hearing voices inside your head, but scary ones that degrade you and your family and instruct you to harm others. Command hallucinations are the most dangerous types of auditory hallucinations experienced by people with psychotic episodes. They are not easy to control because they may be so demeaning, that patients eventually succumb to their instructions.

Command hallucinations may be experienced in schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar I disorder with psychotic features, major depressive disorder with psychotic features, substance-induced psychotic disorder and more. Patients usually complain of the voices being unpleasant and disturbing.

It’s important to keep in mind the differences between men and women with schizophrenia:

  • Men tend to develop it at an earlier age (early to middle 20s)
  • Men tend to have more negative symptoms (apathy, social withdrawal, blunting of affect, poverty of speech and thought, loss of motivation and anhedonia)
  • Men tend to have a poorer course
  • Women tend to develop it at a later age (late 20s and on)
  • Women tend to have more affective symptoms (depression, mood instability) and auditory hallucinations
  • Women tend to have a better course

Because women tend to have more auditory hallucinations, they should logically also experience more command hallucinations; however, it’s not clear if this is true. But what is true is the distressing nature of command hallucinations. For instance, when a patient hits a staff member, it’s not always due to the patient disliking the staff or being angry with them.

Sometimes patients hit staff or others in their surroundings because “the voices told me to do it.” A patient may complain that they were hearing voices inside their head degrading their family members and making them very upset. When this occurs, a patient may become very restless, attempting to neutralize the voices with violence.

During a psychotic episode, the voices tend to get worse. This may then be followed by the voices confusing the patient, by telling them that a certain person is out to get them. The patient refuses to believe but at the same time, can no longer take these menacing messages within their mind.

The voices then command the patient, “Hit him now! Kill him already! What the hell are you waiting for?” And that’s when the patient unfortunately reacts. Whenever a loved one or a friend tells you that they’ve been feeling different lately, take a compassionate stance and actively listen to what they are trying to tell you.

Can you imagine how hard it is to come out to your friends and family and tell them that you are hearing voices within your head? It’s almost as if you don’t want anyone to know. But if you are experiencing voices within your head, you have to let someone who you trust know about them.

Never keep these experiences to yourself, because you never know when they might become too overwhelming, causing you to commit a tragedy. Coming out and sharing your experiences is always the best step that you can take. Forget the existing stigma; allow the The DSM Ready Movement to take care of it by working hard every day to extinguish it.

You just do your part and share your experiences with the world. In return, we’ll give you the help, comfort and support that you deserve!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Practicing Giving To Others

Grayscale photography of homeless man sitting on bench next to luggage and cardboard sign

We Are Selfish Creatures

Giving to others is not a natural process that we are born with. From the moment that we take our first breath, we reek of selfishness and want to absorb as much attention as we possibly can. This selfishness continues throughout our lives and never stops. It just differs in severity from person to person. That’s why we need to practice how to give to others.

Giving to others is a difficult process for many people because it feels unnatural. Whenever a thought crosses your mind about giving something to someone, you become bombarded with question marks about that particular individual: “Do they deserve it? Will they even like it? What am I getting out of this?”

Forget about giving to others during Christmas or other holidays; most people do it because they’ve been programed by society to give during these events. They also know that they’ll probably get something back in return. But the act of true giving is on a random day of the year when the other person does not expect it. Anyone can easily buy someone a present for Christmas, but not anyone can wake up on a random day and perform an act of kindness!

Remember that giving is not always about materialism. Actions are actually much more valuable and stick longer in a person’s memory bank than objects. Actions are also harder to perform than buying someone a present. Actions determine your character and if your character does not line up with your intended actions, then nothing gets done.

That’s why we have to practice giving to others. Even saying something nice to your coworker or friend on a random day is an act of giving. Answering your poor aunt’s phone call after she has tried reaching you for over 2 months is an act of giving. Talking to the cashier at your local supermarket and asking how they’re doing today is an act of giving.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that giving is always about materialism. No matter how expensive an object is, in the end, it’s much cheaper compared to actions and words. Materialism promotes superficial relationships, but your heart draws in authentic connections.

We don’t have to hide it from ourselves anymore: we are selfish creatures by design! But we can change that if we ask God for guidance. God sacrificed his own Son Jesus Christ on the cross to die for our sins, so that we can be saved on judgment day. Through God, we can learn anything and become better human beings. We just have to be willing.

Practice letting go of your selfishness and start giving more to others.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Freedom Of Misinformation

Worm's eye-view photography of ceiling with bright yellow lights

Unlimited Sources Of Misinformation

With unlimited amounts of websites presenting you different types of information, and with different news channels twisting the information to fit their narrative, society has created what is known as, “the freedom of misinformation.” This is happening because there are so many sources with different agendas, that it has become challenging to discern who is pushing misinformation or not.

The advancement of misinformation has to do with competition among different sources, different beliefs and agendas and of course, money. As a matter of fact, everything traces back to money. For example, take CNN versus Fox News. No matter how many positive things President Trump does for the United States, CNN still manages to focus on all the dirt and negativity buried in his closet.

On the other hand, no matter how much dirt is buried in the president’s closet, Fox News still manages to focus more on the accomplishments of the president. This shows you how each source has their different agenda, run by the corporate families who own these organizations.

Every major agenda stems from the top-down: those in power who are not even well known, look down upon society as their playground. If they care to push misinformation, the messages spread down the pyramid until they reach the masses. But most people don’t view society working this way, because they are either misinformed or too shocked, preferring to ignore it.

Another example is the legalization of marijuana across the United States, as well as the targeting of children and adolescents by vaping manufacturers. While the overall rate of alcohol, cigarettes and hard drug use have declined, vaping has been soaring; especially marijuana vaping!

Most teens nowadays do not see anything wrong with smoking marijuana more often. Where does misinformation come into play? How about the potential development of a psychotic break, when a fragile teen inhales THC that is twice or three times as potent as it was 50 years ago?

You don’t hear the politicians, pro-legalization movements and marijuana business owners educating the public on how marijuana is related to changes in brain chemistry, resulting in mental illness and even violence. This because they have their own agenda: legalization and profit; aka the “green rush!” So by not informing the public, this is one type of misinformation that is influencing children’s and adolescents’ views and decision-making on the use of marijuana.

We did not even mention the internet and how much digital pollution lies on there. I’m sure one can find a source talking about “the benefits of porn” or “vaping is not bad for you.” The problem with these misleading sources of information is that they have the potential to go viral across social media platforms.

And nowadays, most adolescents spend their time on technological devices which incorporate social media; hence, one reason as to why the rate of drug use has declined. Adolescents are not attending parties as frequently as they did in previous decades, because of the easy use and access to social media. And the more internet and social media exposure that they have, the greater the likelihood of being exposed to unlimited sources of misinformation.

The freedom of misinformation is alive and doing well.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Working Harder Than Others

Motivated and hard-working black man doing a fist pump and standing next to high-rise building

The Hunger For More

Many people want success, but many also don’t want to work hard for it. Hard work is very unnatural to some, perhaps unnatural to almost every child who begins school. But just because something is unnatural, does not mean that it cannot be learned and perfected. There is no magic formula for success, but one important ingredient that you can never miss, is working harder than others.

The hunger for more is when you live every day of your life wanting to accomplish more than you did yesterday; your appetite never dies down and your thirst is unquenchable. Your passion to achieve more is on fire and your mind is chirping away new ideas that can help you get ahead in life.

It’s very easy to become satisfied with your life when you reach a certain milestone. For some, high school is enough and they stop there; the work force becomes their next chapter for the next 45 years. For some, college is enough and they stop there; a more advanced work force becomes their next chapter for the next 40 years.

For some, a postgraduate degree is enough; an even more advanced work force becomes their next chapter for the next 35 years. And lastly, for some, nothing ever becomes enough; they remain so hungry for bigger and better challenges, that they keep testing the limits no matter the potential outcomes.

This latter half of folks is where you want to be if you would like to reach the top. There’s no guarantee that you will, but by becoming a super motivated individual, you are at least heading down the right path. Becoming successful is very multi-factorial: elements of luck, passion, determination, drive, blessings, connections and an excellent work ethic all play a role.

Working harder than others cannot be emphasized enough: you have to put in the time and work to increase your chances of getting ahead. This does not mean that you have to compare yourself with others; as a matter of fact, don’t even do that. Comparing yourself is very mind-boggling and ends up in pointless distractions.

But this does mean that you need to work harder than your neighbor in order to get ahead. You do this by focusing on yourself and pushing harder every day. You don’t need to know how hard your neighbor is working, as long as you do your part by shooting for more on a daily basis.

The most important ingredient is doing it for yourself! When you enjoy what you are doing, it makes things much easier: you become immersed in the process and no one can take that away from you. You become so focused on getting ahead, that you start viewing life as tunnel vision: the light ahead is where you need to end up in order to rest for a little bit. And then you continue on before entering the next tunnel.

There are many tunnels which you have to traverse in order to fully rest at the finish line. And even at the finish line, more lies ahead. Are you ready to work harder than others?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Verbally-Aggressive People

Obnoxious man smoking cigarette

Dealing With Insecure People

Verbally-aggressive people are those who are typically insecure and project their emotions onto others. Because they are constantly dealing with negative thoughts and feelings on a daily basis, they attempt to redirect them onto others; especially those who are nice and kindhearted. This is because they find nice people to be easier targets.

Kind people are easier targets because they don’t often argue back. Kind people tend to be mature, responsible and respectable; they don’t feel the need to respond in malicious ways. So verbally-aggressive people take advantage of that and continue to direct their insecurities onto them.

Dealing with insecure people should not be a complex task. The best way to handle them is by allowing them to say whatever they want; act like you are not affected. If you do show signs of weakness, then they will capitalize on that moment and continue their aggression even more.

You may wonder why you should allow insecure people to continue being aggressive towards you. It all depends on the situation. If they are your friends whom you get along with, then allow them to keep doing it as long as you are not getting hurt in the process. Getting into arguments will lead you no where and only risks destroying your friendships.

If they are not your friends, then still allow them to remain verbally-aggressive; again, that is if you are not offended. But if they start getting under your skin, then kindly call them out on their words and actions in a friendly and mature way. The idea is to never show weakness by giving into their aggression.

You will always encounter insecure people; there’s no getting rid of them. To live a life with no insecure people is like living a life with people who have everything figured out; it just doesn’t exist. Insecurity is part of human nature; for some, more than others. If you react to every insecure person who comes your way, you will quickly become a very unhappy person.

Keep in mind that when people are verbally-aggressive towards you, they know very well what they are doing. They also know very well that they are the weaker person. So by demonstrating resilience, maturity and even humor, you’re showing them that you’re the stronger and better person. And you might even motivate them to learn from your impressive behavior!

Don’t take verbally-aggressive people seriously. Fill them with shame with your kind and loving ways.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Controlling Your Sexual Urges

Silhouette photo of horny black woman biting her eyeglasses

When All You Talk About Is Sex

Controlling your sexual urges is a problem for many people around the world. Whether they are single, in a relationship or married, they often experience difficulty being sexually satisfied, because all they can think about is sex. There is a difference between being casually horny and being so horny that you can’t go to a restaurant without wanting to bang the Asian waitress.

If you don’t learn how to control your sexual urges and desires from a young age, then they will control you until an old age. Your sexual urges are determined by your brain and personality, both influencing each other on many different levels. Your brain wants to release more dopamine in your reward center, telling you, “come on now, get me more sexual activity.”

And your personality is telling your brain, “I know, what do you think I’m trying to work on right now?” For people who have trouble controlling their sexual urges, it’s their personality that is more influenced by their brain. That’s because we all experience the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, but we don’t all go running around displaying “verbal diarrhea” about wanting to bang this person or needing a “side chick.”

So once again, it comes down to your personality. You must be willing to change as a person in order to become less sexually motivated. Even if you do happen to be in a relationship where you are experiencing a lot of sex, you still have to be able to change something about yourself.

A lot of sex in a relationship can negatively impact the relationship if you go overboard with it. Some men are not even satisfied with the sex that they are getting out of their relationship, often searching for someone else on the side, resulting in an affair. And an affair leads to another failed marriage. As for women with uncontrollable sexual urges, they may go off having an affair as well.

One reason many people struggle with their sexual desires is because they unconsciously still want to have sex with certain types of people; people which they didn’t have a chance to have sex with when they were younger. For instance, a married white blonde girl may fantasize about having sex with a tall black man. Despite her white husband satisfying her, she still gets off more when she masturbates by herself to the thought of a black man.

Unfilled sexual desires that linger into adulthood from adolescence is definitely a strong contributing factor to uncontrollable sexual urges. But the reality is that you are not always presented with an opportunity to fulfill your sexual desires. So if that is not possible, then you need to make a change within yourself in order to avoid being so sexually motivated.

When all you talk about is sex, the image that you portray to others is not an impressive and admirable one. It shows them that you are too in touch with your ID; the animalistic side of your brain and personality. People don’t want human pets as friends. They want responsible and mature adults who can hold their own and not make a sexual comment every 5 minutes.

Control your sexual urges and fantasies, or they will control you.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

It Feels Good To Be Close To God

Boy sitting on bench and laughing while holding the bible

Straight From The Heart

Knowing and learning more about God is what motivates many people to continue living faithful and righteous lives. When you have found God in your life, it becomes very obvious: you become filled with his holy spirit, touched by his presence and healed by his purity. And the younger that you are when you discover him, the more years that you have to start building a relationship with him. Parents, start teaching your children about God while they are still young! It feels good to be close to God.

Knowing God is not about empty prayers or praying a handful of times a day to fulfill a quota. In the bible it states, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their full reward.”

Instead, God teaches us to pray in private, “But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your father, who is unseen. And your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” You don’t have to show or even tell others about your prayers. Humility is a much more valuable trait in God’s eyes than the public display of religiosity.

God is very humble and wants to teach us his ways through his written word in the bible. But once you are given the holy spirit, you also begin to learn through God via signs and different interpretations of life events. If you maintain your eyes and ears wide open, these signs become apparent without much difficulty.

But one problem among many people is that they constantly seek signs of wisdom. God does not throw around signs at mens’ commands and desires. These subtle signs occur when you least expect them, but when they do, you will notice them. They may present to you as a different understanding or an alternative way of viewing a specific event in your life.

You then begin to connect these signs to God himself, because it makes you appreciate the clarity of the events, in which you previously never appreciated. By no doubt, the biggest sign that God gave to humanity was life itself: he gave us a chance to experience creation.

But the second biggest sign that God provided for humanity was the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus knew before the beginning of time that he would be sent to Earth as God in the flesh, to free man from his sins. Because God is all loving, he did not erase history and start his creation from scratch.

God does not take the stance of a dictator; otherwise, he would force himself upon us and make us love him. Instead, God gives us free will to do as we wish. But doing as we wish does not mean that we are living in accordance to God. By reading the bible and receiving the holy spirit, you will also receive a better understanding of how God wants us to live.

You do not have to start attending church to read the bible, even though that always remains an option! Start reading the bible today in the privacy of your room, in the same manner that God asks you to pray. Humble yourself and share your heart with God; allow him to replace your human ego with his holy spirit!

This message is straight from the heart.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Guilty During Sexual Activities

Grayscale photography of woman opening her mouth during orgasm

On The Basis Of Sex

Sexual activity is a naturally normal process that somehow still penetrates our hearts, by making us feel guilty from time to time. In the moment, sexual activity is like an escape: it grabs you away from your present reality, like the onset of a powerful drug overcoming your perception. But many times, this drug makes you feel guilty.

Even if you would like to stop yourself during a sexual act, it is almost impossible to do so; keyword being “almost.” That’s because you’re not only battling an amazing pre-orgasmic feeling and sensation, but your neurochemistry: dopamine is slowly flooding your brain and making you feel “dope.”

At blastoff, the orgasmic climax feels out of this world, as if you grew wings and took a flight high into space without any repercussions. But what goes up must come down; in this case, that’s you! And most of us would agree that there are not many situations in which we enjoy coming down.

When coming down from a sexual activity, there are times when you wonder why in the world you are feeling guilty. This can occur with porn, masturbation, sex, sexting, video chats, strip clubs, prostitution and whatever else exists out there. On the basis of sex, guilt is not a foreign entity: it’s often buried somewhere between the lines.

The worst feeling to have after climaxing is guilt: it makes you feel like the entire experience was for nothing; a total waste of your time and energy. Your emotions crumble and your excitement plummets; you feel defeated as if locked into a penitentiary for 25 to life.

Is there a way to get rid of guilt during sexual activities? The answer is, it depends. We often know prior to engaging in a sexual activity if “this time” will feel right. But guess what we often do? We go ahead and engage despite anticipating some guilt around the corner; we go ahead and set ourselves up for negativity.

So rather than engaging, we need to hold ourselves back and distract our minds with other thoughts or activities; easier said than done, but not that hard if practiced enough! Your intuition and mind often provide you with warnings and signs, prior to acting on a specific thought. We just need to become better at listening to ourselves.

On the basis of sex, don’t act like you’re surprised when you experience guilt following a sexual activity. Try listening to yourself more often and you’ll be surprised on how many negative emotions you can avoid coming your way.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

When Patients Cry

Sad black woman crying with hand on face

We Are Human Too

Whether cancer patients, intellectually disabled patients or behavioral health patients, one thing remains in common for all of them: the deep feelings which they experience on a daily basis. The familiar uphill battle which they face every day, involving digesting their diagnosis, taking their medications and maintaining a smile on their faces, is what makes their experiences more difficult than others. And for all of those reasons, patients sometimes need to release, and that release comes in the form of tears.

Society does a great job at looking down upon crying, especially when it comes to men. Men are supposed to be masculine creatures who only display strength and leadership. And if they are caught displaying feminine traits or acts such as crying, they are looked down upon.

But crying has nothing to do with gender; it has to do with being human! We all experience emotions, pain, difficulties and even mental illness. Most of us can relate to being a patient in the hospital at one point in our lives; not necessarily a mental health patient, but anything related to being sick or injured.

We have all experienced what it feels like to be admitted to a hospital and to be thrown into a gown for several days. Now imagine the many patients who remain in the hospital for months at a time, some even for years in state psychiatric hospitals! Do you still look down upon men who cry?

Being a patient is one of the most difficult roles experienced by a person: you lose your confidence, you’re filled with worry and you place your hope onto the hands of another person. For mental health patients, not only are they in the hospital or following up as outpatients, but they have their mental struggles to deal with on a daily basis.

And even for people who aren’t patients, crying is a natural process that is very normal to experience. When we cry, we are processing our emotions and painful thoughts, and shedding them away in the form of physical tears. But when we hold ourselves back from crying, we are containing the negative emotions and pain within, worsening our overall well-being.

Whether it’s our tears dripping down our faces or our patients’, at the end of the day, we are human too.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)