Why The Mind Is So Complex

Silhouette of man thinking about something complex

The Intricacies Of The Mind

Part of the reason why mental illnesses are difficult to treat has to do with the complex nature of the human mind. Every person has their own beliefs, ways of viewing the world, character traits, opinions and ways of reasoning things out. What may work for one, does not necessarily work for another.

That’s part of the reason why medications such as antipsychotics or antidepressants do not have the same response in every patient. All of these medications are working in the same way on every person’s brain, but their minds are not necessarily working in the same on the medications.

That’s also why psychiatry is not all about writing prescriptions and seeing the patient in a couple of weeks. For all the patients who do experience this kind of care, then it should be your responsibility to search for a new psychiatrist; one that cares for you on a human level.

Psychiatric patients need time, patience and understanding from their providers. Psychiatrists need time, patience and understanding from their patients. This is the common ground that must be arrived at, in order for the patient to fully benefit from treatment. When one party is underperforming, then the other party becomes effected negatively.

It can be frustrating as a patient to share all of the intricacies of your mind, because you may feel that your psychiatrist is becoming inpatient or frustrated as well. But great psychiatrists do not lose patience! We are here to help you guys reach a stable and happy state of mind, where you can live a life full of joy and greatness once again!

Whenever you feel like losing hope because your mind feels like it’s giving up on you, share that experience and concern with your psychiatrist! We are here to provide encouragement and support on how to restructure your thought processes, and take back control over your mind.

We are here to help.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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Hostile Work Environment

Hands holding yellow angry face illustration in front of brick wall

The Hostile Nature Of Some Psychiatric Patients

You will find that there any many psychiatric patients who have a hostile nature. If things don’t go their way, they will take it out on you if you catch them at the wrong time of day. There are many reasons for this: they may be disorganized, psychotic or have a personality disorder such as narcissism or antisocial traits.

These hostile patients are extremely difficult to work with, because they won’t allow you to get close to them on a personal level. On the one hand, you want to help them to overcome their symptoms and get discharged; on the other, you feel threatened and start to lose interest in helping them.

Persistence is key with these patients, but at the right time. If you keep insisting on meeting with them on a consistent basis without spacing out your requests, they will only distance themselves even more from you. They may even start to verbally or physically threaten you.

The threats make no difference, because you can always inject them with an antipsychotic or anxiolytic. But you don’t want to develop a relationship that revolves around hostility and injections; this won’t help the patient in the short or long run. You are there to establish a therapeutic alliance with the patient.

It can be very frustrating to observe hostile patients defeat themselves in their own treatment. But one has to understand that sometimes their mental illness is so bad, that their judgment becomes way too clouded. With a poor judgment and a shaky insight, it also becomes more difficult to establish a therapeutic alliance.

But patients also need to understand that psychiatrists are there to help them; we are not their enemies or punching bags. Without our help, patients are only cornering themselves into a deeper hole. Deeper holes never turn out with positive results. Therefore, patients need to take it easier on their psychiatrists and allow themselves to be helped.

Both parties bring important contributions to the table: the patient provides their insight into how they view the world and their illness; the psychiatrist provides his knowledge and understanding on how to better help the patient. It’s a win-win situation when both parties cooperate and form a strong therapeutic alliance!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Accepting Responsibility

Responsible young man on stage giving speech at a conference

The Great Attribute Of Responsibility

You cannot always pinpoint when you’re expected to be responsible; sometimes it just comes unexpectedly. As one matures and ages, responsibility generally increases over time. That’s because we don’t have our parents to take care of us anymore. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone and exceptions do arise.

But there are times when unexpected events occur, and you have to step up to the plate and take the lead. This is especially important in the workforce. Your coworkers may have all taken vacation during the same month, and you are left alone to run the show. If you are not a responsible person to begin with, this may prove to be especially difficult.

Practicing responsibility from a young age is an attribute that parents should want to instill into their children. It helps them become more independent, more adaptable and even more successful! By not relying on others all of the time, children have a greater chance of becoming independent thinkers with a stronger work ethic, when they grow up.

Responsibility is not always fun, however. Sometimes, life throws at you very demanding tasks that increase your stress levels, to the point of becoming irritable and disgruntled. But you have to remind yourself that, “this too shall pass.” Difficult tasks help mold you into a stronger and more resilient individual.

On the other hand, sometimes responsibility can also be fun! Working hard to make money in a field which you enjoy, can pay off dividends in your personal life. It’s a great feeling to be able to live a lifestyle that you enjoy, based on your strong work ethic and responsible ways. Many times, responsibility is what provides you with a sense of freedom!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Learning How To Believe

Black woman looking up and believing while holding hand on chin

The Difficulties In Believing

Believing in something can get quite frustrating at times, especially when you expect to see results and you don’t. Even believing in yourself can get disappointing from time to time; you start to wonder if you are just make-believing! Maybe what is happening is that you don’t know how to believe correctly, or how to handle your beliefs.

Believing in something or in yourself should not be something difficult to do. It’s just a matter of adopting a thought and “believing” with all your might in the content beyond that thought. And the belief should not have to be forced. If you are forcing yourself to adopt a belief, then you are trying too hard!

There’s a difference between positive affirmations and beliefs. Positive affirmations seem artificial, because you are telling yourself “I am” commands that may make you feel guilty for “lying” to yourself. However, with enough practice, the commands won’t make you feel guilty; but they still may appear artificial.

Beliefs aren’t like positive affirmations at all. Beliefs feel real and innate; they are part of who you are. It feels good and natural to believe in something. But where people go astray is when they lose their beliefs, out of lack of the results which they expected to see. When this happens, other things begin to crumble as well in their life.

You have room to ditch positive affirmations due to their artificial nature, but you don’t have room to ditch your beliefs; especially, if they’re beliefs that are helping you or will help you in the near or distant future. It may be difficult to maintain your beliefs at times, but just remember that it’s normal to experience difficulties in life.

Therefore, do not allow the difficulties of life to bring upon you difficulties in believing. Your beliefs provide you hope, desire, confidence and strength! When you start to lose your beliefs, you can only imagine what will happen to the rest of you; you’ll start to fall apart.

Keep believing and one day you’ll be rewarded!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Prince Harry Mental Health

Group of women suffering from mental illness and standing on rock fragment outside

Even The Wealthiest Among Us Suffer

Prince Harry has come out of the shadows to admit that he has suffered for years from blocked emotions, mini-breakdowns, panic attacks and rage. This news should bring us excitement, not because of his suffering, but because it reinforces the idea that nobody is immune to mental health issues; mental health has no boundaries.

Many people suffer from mental health issues because they have never properly grieved a death in their family. It is actually very common, even among substance-abuse patients. They believe that by turning to a substance that will help numb the pain away, they can forget about the death.

But substances do not help forget about the death, they just bury the pain deeper into the unconscious mind. But once a substance is stopped, guess what slowly crawls back to the surface? Others don’t turn to substances, but constantly suppress the memories related to their loved one who has passed away.

By constantly suppressing memories and not grieving, the emotions slowly build up overtime. Once a trigger makes an appearance, it greatly increases the chances of the emotions spilling out and causing a massive breakdown. Massive breakdowns may be just the right amount of trigger to cause a serious depression or psychotic break.

We cannot progress in the field of mental health without honesty and open dialogue. We need everyone to come forward and admit to their struggles. Share it on The DSM Ready community and help others to come out as well. We need all the help we can get, and this will only be achieved via honesty and communication!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Destructive Nature Of Binge Drinking

Two young women holding beer bottles and binge drinking

Slowly Killing Your Happiness

Binge drinking is defined as 5 drinks for men in one sitting at least once in the last 30 days, and 4 drinks for women in one sitting at least once in the last 30 days. The psychological rush that binge drinking brings is what reinforces the behavior. It is not the same as drinking every day like an alcoholic does.

Binge drinking brings upon a rush before one even consumes the first drink. Just the thought of “going out tonight” and getting intoxicated reinforces the behavior. This is followed by “pregaming” or drinking multiple drinks before arriving at the event. The pregaming part can be especially addicting!

Pregaming is exciting because it sets up one’s mindset for the evening, especially if one is in a good mood to begin with! The act of “chilling” with your friends and slowly becoming intoxicated while sharing stories is very pleasurable. This usually lasts for 1 hour at most, followed by the actual partying.

Once at the final destination, large amounts of drinks are consumed to the point of becoming drunk. At this point, one slightly loses touch with reality and is in a state of mind focused only on pleasure. This pleasure can be flirting, dancing, talking or sexual interactions.

The worst part is the hangover the following day. Besides the physical symptoms, the hangover can put you in a depressed mood, make you feel guilty or anxious and just makes you feel bad in all possible ways. The hangover day has basically one goal: to get through the day and wake up the next morning at one’s baseline.

What is destructive about binge drinking is that “this weekend” I did this, so “next weekend” I would like to do that! Memories are a very powerful experience, whether good or bad. It is memories and experiences that motivate one to keep binge drinking; the more one does it, the greater the tendency to repeat the behavior.

Avoid binge drinking. If you enjoy alcohol, then just stick to a few drinks at most.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Does DMT Cause Schizophrenia?

Purple psychedelic silhouette of person standing

The Mystery Of The Pineal Gland

The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland in the human brain that produces melatonin; the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. It is believed by some in the medical and scientific communities that the pineal gland may also secrete DMT, a chemical compound responsible for altered states of consciousness, intense hallucinations and mystical experiences.

DMT has been discovered in the human brain in extremely small concentrations. At these concentrations, no altered states of consciousness are experienced. It is also believed that the pineal gland may contain anti-DMT enzymes that constantly break down the compound, preventing us from hallucinating.

The question becomes: are anti-DMT enzymes malfunctioning in patients with schizophrenia, resulting in too much release of DMT that may be responsible for auditory and visual hallucinations? It is believed that DMT may be released at birth, during dreams, during very traumatic experiences and death.

It would be quite difficult to measure DMT in the human brain during any of the scenarios listed above. But since we do not know what causes psychosis, besides the possibility of too much dopamine, it may be possible that DMT is uncontrollably released due to malfunctioning anti-DMT enzymes.

When DMT is used for recreational purposes, users describe a very intense psychedelic experience of vivid hallucinations, a universal consciousness and detachment from the body. These descriptions sound similar to people who have gone through near-death experiences.

In addition, it has been observed in small DMT clinical trials that participants did not experience tolerance to DMT after receiving multiple doses. Tolerance is classic after multiple, consistent doses of LSD, psilocybin and mescaline are received. If the human brain does not experience tolerance to DMT, can this be part of the reason why some schizophrenic patients hallucinate indefinitely?

The next reasonable question to ask is why would the human brain create an endogenous substance responsible for making humans hallucinate? The same question can be asked as to why the human brain contains cannabinoid receptors and a compound called anandamide.

The human brain also produces endogenous natural pain killers such as endorphins and enkephalins, which are released when a person experiences pain. The pattern seems to be quite clear: the human brain contains receptors and endogenous chemical compounds that help with pain relief, pleasure, eating and sleeping.

If DMT is produced by the pineal gland, is it possible that it may be responsible for causing schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses in millions of people worldwide?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

People Will Let You Down

Naked backstabbing man holding big knife

Being Thrown Under The Bus

Trust is very difficult to come by in this day and age. People have their own agenda, ways of being and motives behind their actions. Even if you think someone is close to you, they may not be in actuality. As simple as this subject matter sounds, it is being addressed being we are still becoming disappointed when things go astray.

But as long as things are not going astray because of your actions, then you have nothing to be disappointed about! You have to understand that there are very few people who you can trust with your life and count on to not throw you under the bus. And they are very hard to come by.

People will throw you under the bus for various reasons:

  • They want to save their own behind
  • They have many insecurities and want to take it out on you
  • They feel peer pressured from others to do so
  • They’ve changed their minds about you
  • They’ve never really liked you to begin with
  • They’ve discovered a new opportunity at the expense of your relationship with them

. . . and the list endlessly goes on. You could literally not be at fault and still have someone backstab you for no good reason. But how you handle these types of situations is key to progressing forward with dignity and professionalism. If you negatively react, then you are shifting the power into their hands.

The best course of action to take when somebody lets you down, is to maintain your composure and act like nothing has happened, not matter how grave the situation. You can imagine how difficult this may be for many people! But the reason why you should take this approach, is because it prevents you from falling down when repeatedly attacked by others.

Fill others with shame by not showing them that you are affected by their betrayal! In the bible, it teaches us to love our enemies for a reason: because when we have the holy spirit, it guides us into living a more purified life that makes us feel good and which others can model after.

So when someone throws you under the bus, smile back at them and carry on! This will drive them crazy and will make you feel empowered and beautiful inside.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

When Someone Tells You “That’s A Fairytale”

Woman standing on grass field during sunrise

Not Caring About What Others Say

It could be your own supervisor, friend or even family member who discounts your story, offer, statement or opinion by saying, “that’s a fairytale.” It really doesn’t matter how close you are to someone; people will still find a way to negate what you have to say. It’s human nature.

With experience, you will learn to just ignore people’s negativity and lack of belief in your way of being. What is important is how you handle these situations. Are you going to succumb to their negativity or stand your ground and keep moving forward? The latter is the correct answer.

It hurts when people don’t have faith in you, but what can you do? It’s their right to believe what they want. It especially hurts when it comes from someone who you had more expectations from. This just goes to show you that you never really know how people are thinking about you!

But the important thing is to adopt a mature and confident state of mind and keep moving forward; do not care about what others say or think about you. Always focus on bettering yourself and surrounding yourself with positive people who believe in you, and want to help you!

Do not ever allow someone to put you down or to kill your dreams. This doesn’t mean that you should become involved in arguments or even fights; this only leads to trouble and a big waste of time. The reality is that you cannot control what people think or say about you, but you can control how you react towards them!

Maintain your beliefs and dreams and tune out the noise. Nothing is a fairytale if you believe it with all your heart!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Listen More, Talk Less

Female psychiatric patient in gown laying on hospital bed

Vibing With Psychiatric Patients

Many times, we attempt to help our patients by talking about everything that comes to our mind in regards to their treatment plan. We’ll talk about medications, symptoms, groups they attend, appetite and sleep and their future plans. But over time, this can become very redundant and taxing on the patients.

Patients want more than just a psychiatrist who asks them similar questions, day in and day out. After a while, your patients will start to tune you out and just answer your questions out of respect, but not out of interest. Our goal should be to keep their interest level alive!

This is where listening more and talking less comes in beautifully. We must work on maintaining a flow to the conversation during our individual sessions, and this flow must go back and forth like a playground seesaw. When this occurs, the conversation becomes much more pleasant and easier to carry out.

You see, patients have a lot to reveal to their psychiatrist if you just give them time to flow; it just requires more listening on your part. But when you interrupt them with endless questions and challenge their delusions without giving them a chance to explain themselves, you are essentially burning away your therapeutic alliance.

Patients don’t want a robot as their psychiatrist. They want a human being who is willing to carefully listen about where they are coming from. They want to know that you are listening to their words without making them feel rushed or pressured. In a way, they just want you to vibe with them.

If you can tap into this vibing state of mind with a psychiatric patient, you will start to feel like you and the patient are on the same wavelength. This is the best feeling during individual sessions, because it makes the patient extremely relaxed and comfortable, allowing them to divulge more information about their symptoms.

Sometimes you just have to listen more to patients!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)