Be Strong and Courageous

Three blue abstract bubbles

Courage: The Road Less Taken

Our automatic response is often, “no, I don’t want to, why should I do that” whenever we’re presented with a new situation, idea or encounter. Why do we shy away from being strong and courageous? This is because we’re comfortable in our bubble; the space where no one can bother us and where we feel in total control. Whenever new ideas pop up, they threaten our bubble by risking inducing uncomfortable feelings, emotions and a general discomfort; we often don’t want to put effort into a situation or person that is not already in our existing bubble.

We all do what I mentioned above, but the question is how do we prevent that? It’s simple on paper but harder in reality: you say no to your bubble and take the opportunity to step out of it. You just have to do it by just saying yes when the opportunity arises. You will feel discomfort and annoyance but the key is to say yes without putting much thought into it. The more you dwell on whether you should do something or not, the higher your chances that your mind will convince you not to do it; your mind loves the bubble.

Strong and Courageous: Conclusion

So in other words, sometimes you have to pop the bubble and break yourself free. Relying on others can be hit or miss, but relying on yourself is success if you’re willing to try it. But courage is required from you. Courage is the road less taken because people don’t enjoy taking chances and risks in life. The most successful people are those who take risks. Risks provide you with opportunities you didn’t even know existed; they reward you for being a brave human being who is willing to explore a brave new world. In the end, try being strong and courageous; you’ll feel better doing it.

What is your experience with courage and stepping outside of your comfort zone?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Psychology of Money

Money in the Bank

Our everyday interactions are intertwined with the psychology of money. From the day we discover money as children, we immediately appreciate the power that lies at our fingertips. Whether it’s that yummy cheeseburger at McDonald’s or those candy bars at the local convenience store, we realize that money can bring us immediate happiness; the food or candy provides us with a sugar high and a dopamine rush. Our brain then associates the currency with the awesome feeling, and so we seek to ask our parents for more of it, work for an allowance or get a job as a teenager.

Something changes in adults however; some become very motivated and learn to make handsome amounts of money, while others are lazy and unmotivated and settle for much less than their potential would have afforded them. Why does this happen if most of us appreciated money from a young age? It doesn’t matter where you grew up; even those in urban and poor neighborhoods appreciate the value of a dollar when they see their favorite athletes on television or even drug dealers on their block rolling on 24 inch rims.

Psychology of Money: Accumulation

Is there a psychology behind accruing larges amounts of money? I believe that there certainly is and that it has a lot to do with drive, belief, vision, motivation and dreams; don’t forget luck. Keep in mind that most of those factors have to be present for one to be successful at obtaining large amounts of money. You can’t just have dreams but not work towards them. You can’t just work hard but not have dreams; otherwise, you’re adopting the role of a robot and you will eventually burn out.

Belief is a very important factor behind the psychology of money; definitely a top 3 factor. Belief is the gasoline in the engine; it keeps your ride moving forward. The engine is your drive, the motivation is the rider and the dream is your destination; don’t forget luck because that’s responsible for a smooth ride. Now do you see how all of these factors are connected?

What is your experience with making large amounts of money?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Falling in Love

Can’t Help Falling in Love

Falling in love… Why do we do it? We think the other person is an extension of ourselves, but are they really? We want to unite and feel like one, but many times with the wrong person; if that weren’t so, then why do 50% of marriages in the United States fail? And why are folks so quick to jump into relationships and run off to get married? Are you supposed to be awarded some kind of medal or something? Let’s not even get into the fact that so many couples remain in a relationship even if they know deep inside that they’re not right for each other; the fear of starting over is overpowering.

They believe that by minimizing arguments, maximizing pleasure and ignoring what they don’t like about each other, that everything will be fine. It never is fine if your partner is not the right one to begin with. Then there are the couples who aren’t in an official relationship; they are in something casual. The movies call them “friends with benefits.” These folks often do well together because it’s a “no strings attached” type of situation, until one of them becomes emotional, catches feelings and falls in love; then he or she tries to distance themselves or even starts a fight to deal with their insecurities.

If Anything Happens I Love You

Then there are the couples who are in an open relationship and allow each other to sleep around with other partners. I never understood this type of relationship. It’s supposed to be along the lines of, “I love you so much that I will let you sleep with others!” If that’s the situation, I don’t see how these relationships can go the distance, and I’m not referring to a couple of years, but more like a lifetime. Sleeping with different partners only promotes more interest in other people and may make you lose interest in your partner; what if you meet someone who has more chemistry than your partner? Overall, falling in love and holding onto a current relationship is easier than starting over with a new person who might be a better fit.

What is love to you? Have you experienced pain related to love? Share your experiences below.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Words of Encouragement

Pandemic: Living in the Era of COVID-19

Take my words of encouragement how you like them. It’s so easy for you (and for us) to wake up every day and dive into a negative state of mind, especially during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. We turn on the news and hope that we don’t hear any more mentions of “lockdowns,” “mandatory vaccines,” “delta variant,” and “masks.” After one minute of the television chirping in the background, we’re already slightly stressed and quickly turn it off. This process is even worse when you’re suffering from a mental illness.

So what are my words of encouragement for you? I know it sounds simple but they are, “practice gratitude and be thankful for what you already have.” A mistake many people make (including myself) is that they constantly desire more in their life, at the expense of practicing gratitude for what they already have. While there’s nothing wrong with desiring more and creating goals to accomplish new dreams, always seeking without practicing gratitude puts you in a “consciousness of lack.” In other words, you attract more of what you don’t have because that’s what your mind is focused on.

Words of Encouragement: You Already Have What You Need

Just remind yourself that you already have more than you need; never forget that. We’re already very selfish by nature so don’t let your environment make you even more selfish. You can imagine how terrible it must be for your psyche if you’re not practicing gratitude, always seeking more and suffering from a mental illness, all while in the middle of a never-ending pandemic. Gratitude is like medicine but we often ignore this potent medicine that lies within us. We’re too focused on our environment rather than internally being thankful for what we have.

Starting from today, practice gratitude this very moment and continue to do so for the rest of your life. Lastly, I want to mention that I don’t write long blog posts due to time and energy. As a psychiatrist, it’s a challenge to write impressively long content, so I hope you enjoy these short pieces.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Psychosis: A Taste of Insanity

Inpatient Care

Psychosis, a taste of insanity minds you no time

It’s no longer the dominant factor

Your mind has discovered the matrix and does as it wishes

Hallucinations or reality, that no longer matters

Feeling good and partaking in the psychotic realm becomes the agenda

Psych patients often become violent when you’re interfering

Inpatient care isn’t easy when they’re freely swinging

You offer them medications but they’re freely swinging

Psychosis: A Taste of Insanity, Part II

Imagine a football team about to tackle them

Those sharp needles entering their body; they become spent

Sometimes four-point restraints don’t even provide a dent

Psychosis doesn’t give a damn; immovable hallucinations become the trend

To the patient this is nothing but part of the experience

You try to educate them but they continue their resistance

Psychosis is their best friend, but sometimes their best enemy

Satan enters their mind and tricks them into a deeper insanity

What can you do besides have potent drugs handy

Do you see how Tricky Psychosis can be?

Many recover but many remain dormant

In the psychotic experience in which they keep roaming

Is there a cure to this madness?

Medications work but sometimes they flop

You keep pushing intramuscular injections

The patient becomes sedated and begging

“I want more, give me another shot”

You tell them they’ve had enough

They lose it even more banging against the wall

Their bleeding forehead leads them to their downfall

You order another injection to calm their nerves

By the time the nurse administers it

The patient is already on the floor hurt

After the chaos calms down you become relaxed

The staff becomes happy and you expect some claps

But who are you kidding

These patients are mentally ill

You didn’t do much besides feed them a pill

Psychosis, will you ever accept a cure?

Or will you keep torturing these human souls

Keeping their psyche in a stir

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Psychological Trauma

Psychological Trauma: Emotional Disorder

Psychological trauma can inflict deep mental pain that can remain with you for days, weeks, months and sometimes even years. For example, people with psychological trauma may experience a change in emotions, such as irritability, anger, depression, anxiety and fear. So sometimes trauma comes out at night in the form of nightmares. Do you still experience nightmares as an adult?

For me personally, I don’t have as many nightmares as I did as a child. For instance, when I do have them, I no longer wake up screaming or frightened. I usually wake up in discomfort and try to fall back asleep. People with psychological trauma may remain awake for the remainder of the night. Their nightmares feel like they’re reliving the trauma.

Trauma can result from many events and different types of scenarios:

  • Rape
  • Wars
  • Natural disasters
  • Kidnappings
  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Robberies
  • Theft
  • Even an adverse reaction from a medication or illicit drug

What exactly is trauma?

What exactly is trauma? Be definition, trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Therefore, something is traumatic when you least expect it to happen and it causes a great deal of stress and disturbance in your psyche. So if you’re not prepared for something terrible to happen, which most of us are not, your mind becomes shocked when it does happen. That’s because your mind does not experience terrible events very often, so when it does happen, it’s like a horror movie that comes to life.

In addition, these traumatic experiences are then stored in the unconscious mind which sprinkles tidbits of the trauma in the form of nightmares; these nighttime mosquitos love to sting! How do you deal with nightmares? Is there even a way to deal with them? What is your experience with psychological trauma? Have you ever been diagnosed with an emotional disorder? Please contribute as this is a platform for all of us to share our experiences and learn from.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Cannabis Legalization

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Let’s start off with The Good of cannabis legalization: governments will get to regulate the production and distribution, ensuring quality products in stores asking for an ID just like how it’s asked for alcohol and tobacco. This will ensure that people are not smoking synthetic cannabinoids (such as K2 or Spice) or low quality flowers which provide shorter durations of high, motivating people to smoke more frequently. In addition, the social aspect of legalization is surely a victory; here is a natural product that has been used since ancient China for medicinal and social purposes. It’s finally available (legally).

The Bad: mental health problems will rise. Yes, I know the argument that people who want to smoke already smoke, whether legal or not. But now imagine opening up stores all around your neighborhood with green crosses flashing. It’s going to be much more tempting for people to purchase some flower; even people who never previously smoked. The idea that it’s legal and the psychology of seeing so many people enter the shops on a daily basis will be quite enticing! In addition, the THC content of modern day cannabis is much higher. Research is still ongoing regarding whether THC can cause psychosis vs. an increased susceptibility of developing psychosis in those with genes for psychosis.

Cannabis Legalization: The Ugly

The Ugly: it makes me normal!” Psychological addiction will increase. The downside with higher THC products is that people will like it more: they will experience a more intense euphoria and increased urges to smoke more and more often. Euphoria is very nice when experiencing the daily hustles and bustles of work, stress and relationship conflicts; marijuana is great at helping you let go and enjoy the moment. With cannabis at a store near you, it will be more enticing to order products delivered to your home, seeking that euphoric high much more conveniently; getting high will become easier than doing your own damn laundry!

There, you have my take on legalization. Do I like it that it’s happening? Yes, I do. Am I realistic? Yes, I am. I truly believe that in the long-run, we will see more mental health problems surrounding cannabis, but only time can tell. What are your thoughts on this matter?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Grass Court Tennis

A Game of Luck, Resilience and Finesse

If you’ve been playing tennis for a while, you can appreciate the difference between different surfaces. The beauty about grass court tennis is that the lawn is catchy to the eyes, it feels good to walk on and provides you with a hint of nature at your fingertips. To get good at playing on grass, you need to first become one with the court and let it play for you. This involves appreciating the uniqueness of how grass plays; accepting the circumstances while willing to learn how to maneuver, deliver and conquer.

It’s a game of luck: well it kind of is! You can be down 4-1 in the first set and find yourself in a tight tiebreaker 25 minutes later, only to win the set and cruise in the second. How do you create this luck? You believe and you enjoy the surface; you learn to dance. And the more you want to dance, the luckier you get. I know, this is still a work in progress.

Grass Court Tennis: The Resilience Factor

It’s a game of resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, in this case not feeling the ball, not identifying with your strategy and being mentally distracted. Grass can help you change when experiencing any of those difficulties; it provides you with longer points that help you build a groove and feel; in other words, the surface buys you some time. In return, you develop a capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; this is resilience.

And lastly, it’s a game of finesse: doing something in a subtle and delicate manner, in this case introducing backhand and forehead slices from the baseline and on returns of serve; introducing chip and charges and following the ball in to the net more often; serving and volleying at least 1-2x per game; throwing in several drop shots to keep them honest while testing their physical stamina; and most importantly, loving the grass and believing that your matches will turn into your favor. This is grass court tennis.

Have you played grass yet?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Think Before You Act

Psychoanalysis: The Road Less Traveled

Think before you act or maybe we should first ask

How does analysis feel?

Imagine taking many twists and turns into your memories

Childhood ones are not (excluded)

You’re surfing green pipes in Mario and Luigi

You explore your past in a very short period of time

Those moments can reveal many forgotten memories and thought patterns

Think before you act: Analyzing Your Past

Remember your adolescence?

That had a life of its own

To analyze is to study your past

Running away is not a viable option

You’re not living in the past

You’re living in the future

View analysis as a therapeutic method for keeping yourself well-balanced

Studying your past, present and future

The Fruits of Analysis

The circle of life becomes more fruitful

And this fruit you’re allowed to eat!

But will this fruit cause you to sin?

Digging up your past is not an illegal act

Your unconscious mind is always ready to act

All your repressed and suppressed thoughts come back to life

You’re shocked by some

And intrigued by many

You even forgot that they could be so handy

So much useful tid-bits of information

You connect the pieces of the puzzle

You dig up your life out of the rubble

Some things make sense while others are trouble

Do you have multiple personalities you ask yourself

Or maybe your mind is compartmentalized in many different layers

Everything was hidden but now clear like an honest prayer

Think before you Act: Seeking the Truth

All you seek is nothing but the truth

Analysis helps you obtain it

But your unconscious mind lies in a different booth

Sometimes it comes out and plays with you

It travels through dreams like a child would do

But you wake up dazed and confused

It’s speaking another language

Analyzing is the last thing you want to do

But analysis takes practice and patience

The road less traveled can be intimidating

But don’t give up, instead embrace it

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Kindness of Mind

Be Positive

Do you have kindness of mind?

Your heart begs your mind to cooperate

Your mind begs your soul for guidance

It fires back with instructions

It still begs your soul for guidance

But it remains in distant observation mode

Your mind asks you for alcohol and drugs

It wants a distraction from this world

Your heart starts tearing up

It wants to see your mind practicing kindness

But your mind becomes influenced by the world

Your soul is still observing from another world

Your mind finally musters up the courage to radiate positivity

Kindness of Mind: The Effort

Kindness of mind it tries

You start practicing before the act forever dies

Before the world robs your peaceful state of mind

Word of advice: don’t wait for tomorrow to implement kindness

Tomorrow is not promised

You only get one chance to demonstrate

People might look up to you

So practice it before it’s to late

Practicing hatred is not great

It makes you radiate poor taste

Jealously, envy and stubborness

Why do you have so much trouble with this?

Use your heart and intuition to guide your words

Your mind is unpredictable

But your heart is appreciable

Kindness stems from the roots of your soul

Your brain is not the main driver

Your heart was always the rider

The kindness you seek can be easily reached

Are you prepared to breach the barriers of what you seek?

People are waiting for your kindness

Give it to them already

So stop trying so hard

Your heart does not have all day

The last thing you want to happen is have it lose its way

Your mind is easily manipulated

But your heart is more highly-rated

Let the kindness and positivity flow naturally

Radiate it upon others

As easily as objects fall through gravity

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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