It Smells Like December

Young brunette woman wearing winter coat and blowing snow on her gloves outdoors

Happiness Is In The Air

Christmas is around the corner. Snowstorms are approaching. Our digestive track is still recovering from Thanksgiving treats. 30 more days until the new year. It definitely smells like December. This is the time of year where you either feel more depressed than ever, or jolly and optimistic.

December is a beautiful month overall, because it signals the ending of the current year and the beginning of a new one. If 2019 wasn’t so great for you, then this is the time to leave all of your baggage in the past and mentally prepare yourself for 2020. Do not take with you what should be left behind; a new year is a new you!

Many people are depressed during the month of December because they are in the midst of fighting seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For these people, it becomes much more difficult to enjoy the Christmas spirit. But remind yourselves that you have a fairly good control over your mental illness; do not allow SAD to take away your chance of enjoying the holidays!

Some people are sad during the month of December because they are alone. Even if you are alone, your sadness is created by your mindset; it’s all about the way you interpret and view your surroundings and current situation. If you tell your mind that sadness = being alone, then you are conditioning your mind to be sad.

Besides people with schizoid personality disorder, most would agree that they would prefer to be around others during the holidays. But this does not mean that you should leave your mind marinating in sadness, just because you don’t have anyone to be around with. You have yourself! And you have God who is always by your side!

Rather than viewing December as a hit or miss month in terms of happiness, adjust your lenses and start viewing it as a peaceful, relaxing and beautiful month. December is like the change in seasons: out with the old and in with the new! In this case, a new year is approaching, full of new opportunities and new relationships!

If you are ever feeling lonely, by all means, feel free to contact The DSM Ready Community. We are always here to help!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Celebrity Mental Health

Hollywood movie studios, palm trees and carts parked on street

The Mentally Ill Mind Of Celebrities

Fame. Fortune. Cars. Money. You name it. Mental illness has no boundaries and celebrities are no stranger to it. As a matter of fact, they may even have more experience with mental health services than most Americans. That’s because the life of a celebrity is not as great as one may think.

An artist has to come up with fresh albums, perform on yearly tours, attend photoshoots, do interviews, travel the world, etc. The limelight also takes a toll on their mental health: privacy goes out the window; everyone wants to know about their lives; endless questions about their careers and relationships circulate, etc.

Many celebrities became famous from a young age. They never had time to enjoy their childhood and just be a kid. Some examples include Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson and many more. When your mind skips the natural growth process of being a child and jumps prematurely into an adult state of mind, this affects the psyche of the celebrity adversely.

All stages of human development must be appropriately experienced in the right amount of time. When childhood prematurely ends because a person has suddenly developed stardom and is earning millions of dollars, that celebrity’s mind will unconsciously become stuck in the childhood phase of development.

When they get older, the fame and the money will no longer matter as much; they will have become desensitized. But what will slowly come back to the forefront of their minds is their inner longing for being a child again, except that now they are in their mid-twenties or older. They can’t be children anymore, and so they experience anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts.

A celebrity is just like any other person: they have feelings, emotions, desires, needs and the hope for a healthy state of mind. Many people envy celebrities for everything that they have, but this is not the right way to view them. We must be cognizant of the fact that their jobs are very stressful and hard on the psyche.

Celebrities are not any better than us, and we are not any better than them. We are all in this together!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Electroconvulsive Therapy

Silhouette of man sitting with a red outline around body

What Is ECT And How Does It Work?

Electroconvulsive therapy or ECT is a psychiatric shock treatment which has been around since 1938. It is a form of treatment used for major depression, catatonia, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar/depressive types and bipolar disorder. The stigma of ECT still maintains its presence due to its mechanism of action.

ECT involves a machine connected to wires which have scalp electrodes that are placed on the patient’s head. The electrodes may be placed bilaterally or unilaterally. When placed bilaterally, they can be positioned on top of the forehead (frontal lobe) or sides of the head (temporal lobes); also known as bifrontal or bitemporal.

When placed unilaterally, the position is usually over the non-dominant hemisphere of the brain. The difference between bilateral and unilateral has to do with the effectiveness and the cognitive side effects of the treatment. Bilateral ECT delivers more bang for its buck: more electrical stimulus means a greater likelihood of improved symptoms.

Unilateral ECT is not as effective because of less stimulus delivered to the brain, but it causes less cognitive symptoms such as transient memory loss. Unilateral may be used in a patient who is already suffering from memory problems, or experiencing symptoms which are not bad enough to warrant a bilateral stimulus.

There is no magic number as to how many ECT sessions a patient needs to receive, but usually 12-20 is the range in which patients start to see a difference. ECT works particularly well for depressed patients. Some patients are so depressed that they refuse to get out of their beds. After ECT, they become a changed person: they get out of bed, walk around like everyone else and look more vibrant and alive.

Fortunately, as mental health stigma dissipates, so is the stigma around ECT. The reason the stigma became alive in the first place is because ECT induces a generalized tonic-clonic seizure in the patient. At first, the patient undergoes general anesthesia with Brevital. After the patient becomes unconscious, a button is pushed on the ECT machine, causing the patient to have a seizure.

The seizure can be observed via either the left or right foot shaking; the rest of the body is not observed to be seizing due to succinylcholine inducing muscle relaxation. The seizures usually do not last longer than 180 seconds. The idea of inducing a seizure in a person with the hope of alleviating their psychiatric symptoms does not sit well with many people.

Whether you agree with it or not, ECT is proven to be one of the best treatments around for severe mental illness!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Don’t Even Think Twice About Porn

Man's fingers in a sliced red fruit

Porn: A Lusty Haven Designed For Destruction

Porn feeds on the weakness of human beings. What is brilliant about it is that it utilizes weak human beings to capitalize on others’ weaknesses. While it’s not right to judge others and call them weak, their actions is all we have to go by; unless you know them on a personal level.

Porn is nothing but a pleasure haven designed for the destruction of the soul via physical means. By filming consensual adults having sex and performing other lusty behaviors, the human mind becomes extremely entertained. What is even more terrible about it is that it has the power to attract people who are married.

About 50% of American men would rather watch porn than to sleep with their wives. What separates the two is that a pornographic girl can do whatever you desire; there’s a video for that too! But a wife cannot fulfill her husband’s every fantasy; sexual acts come with different personalities.

Porn also makes people view their spouses differently; they no longer are as sexually attracted to them, because they cannot obtain that same level of pleasure which porn provides them with. It has a lot to do with dopamine released by the Nucleus Accumbens, or the reward center of the human brain.

Porn hijacks the reward center and promotes the release of high quantities of dopamine. When a man sleeps with his wife the following day, way less dopamine is released; unless his wife is banging that is (no pun intended)! And so that explains the deteriorating marriages due to porn.

By hijacking the brain, crumbling relationships and increasing the desire for more, porn puts the user in a vulnerable position for spiritual destruction. Imagine a person sitting at his laptop masturbating, while his face is slowly turning demonic; figuratively speaking, his values, morals and principles are slowly dissipating.

Don’t do porn. You’re much better than it.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Glued To Our Cell Phones

People holding their cell phones while sitting in public outdoors

Technological Addiction

The idea of going one day without your cell phone is unimaginable by today’s standards and expectations. You’d probably have your family members and significant other entertaining the thought of filling out a missing persons report. Cell phones are probably the most addicting technological piece of hardware known to modern mankind.

The fact that smartphones can basically do everything from GPS to tracking your heart rate, keeps people from putting them down for even one hour of their day. But it’s not so much the features that keep people glued; the idea of instant contact via texts, calls, emails and social media is driving this madness!

People love to socialize, and what better way than on-demand access at their fingertips? This form of connection via FaceTime, iMessage and social media is almost replacing in-person meetups; why leave your home when you can communicate from your couch? Don’t get me wrong, people still meet up all the time.

But we’re not as motivated to meet up because of the on-demand access; especially when it comes to dating. Why get dressed to go out when cold and rainy, when you can just use Tinder or Bumble to match with someone and hope to get a chat fired up? Our phones are literally learning how to control us with every yearly upgrade.

Have you ever tried disconnecting yourself from your cell phone for at least one day? Try and see if you can put your cell phone away for one entire Saturday! You will see how difficult it is, because your mind has become trained to continuously use apps and to anticipate people contacting you.

Even if we want to put our phones down, it becomes very hard to do so because our minds have become addicted to it. However, we don’t consider it an addiction unless someone goes overboard with it, as per societal standards. But aren’t we all overusing our phones on a daily basis?

So what is the solution? The expectation that you’ll use your phone for less than 10 minutes per day is out of the question; achieving that is unrealistic, unless if you are a monk! But you can decrease your usage and the way you view your cell phone by literally not caring so much about it.

Stop viewing your cell phone as this be-all-end-all technological prize. Appreciate what it can do for you, but learn to replace cell phone time with meditation, praying, in-person communication, reading and even thinking! Do we even think anymore? That’s an entire separate subject to be considered.

Just remember that you are greater than your cell phone; don’t allow it to take a hold of you.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Passion To Exercise

Silhouette of three women running on concrete road outdoors under blue sky

Only You Can Motivate Yourself

Let’s face it . . . we all wish to some extent to be more disciplined in our workout routines. Maintaining consistency from week to week is a difficult task for many people, especially for those who are not involved in sports or lead busy careers in totally different industries. But regardless of where we stand, we can always find some time to hit the gym or the jogging trails.

Part of the reason that many people do not maintain a consistent exercise routine has to do with motivation. Motivation or the general desire or willingness to exercise has to come from you! Motivation is difficult to maintain because exercising is not an easy task; for many people, it does not come naturally.

Some hope that by paying a personal trainer to motivate them once or twice a week, they will suddenly see a significant difference; don’t bet on it. Either one of two things will happen:

  • You’ll enjoy it for a while but give up later by canceling your trainer
  • You’ll keep paying your trainer but not see any significant results

Your trainer cannot improve your physique if you’re not motivated in the first place! Anyone can go ahead and sign up with a trainer, but not everyone can give 110% during their workouts. Your personal trainer is most likely not going to yell at you because you’re slacking; the guy or gal wants to keep you happy and not scare you off!

Without motivation, it’s likely that you’ll stop seeing your trainer in the near future. And when that’s done, you’ll most likely stop exercising altogether. Motivation is the root of all good things that have the potential to come into your life. It cannot be given to you; you have to create it within yourself.

On the other hand, there are many people who casually exercise while maintaining a decent level of motivation. These are not the people who are jacked like Arnold Schwarzenegger or fit like Cristiano Ronaldo. They are the people who are fit enough to look good and feel great!

And that can be you! You see, motivation can be built upon with the maintenance of a consistent exercise routine. That’s because the more results that you observe in the mirror, the more motivation that you’ll continue to receive; hard work rewards you with happiness and motivation!

Are you DSM Fit?

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Searching For Meaning

Funny man in suit using magnifying glass to enlarge his blue sunglasses and nose

Feeling Lost In Life

Being consistently patient is a difficult task for many people, because we often seek immediate results and new opportunities for fun and adventures times. Whenever you find yourself leading a repetitive life, you scratch your head even harder, hoping to find more meaning in life.

You may find yourself searching for meaning by meditating, consuming psychedelic drugs such as DMT, psilocybin or LSD, attending church or performing intensive internet searches; some people even join cults. There is nothing wrong with searching for meaning, but you should do it in a natural manner.

By natural, this means that you should not be forcing yourself to search for meaning. Whenever you are forcing yourself, it’s usually out of boredom, non-satisfaction with life or feeling empty inside. These scenarios do not usually lead to new meanings; you often end up back at square one.

Naturally searching for meaning is when you are leading a productive and satisfactory life: you are enjoying your job; are happy with yourself; have friends to socialize with; are close to your family, etc. When you find yourself searching for more meaning during these times, you will often find it naturally without actually looking for it.

This occurs because you are not actually directing your attention to finding new meaning; you are too busy enjoying your life. As with many things in life, we often receive a new opportunity or meet a new person when we least expect it. If you learn to accept this fact, it will become much easier for you to discover new meaningful ideas, without experiencing a frustrating and disappointing journey.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Feeling Sad During The Holidays

Portrait of sad man's face in the dark during the holidays

No Pleasure During The Holidays

Sadness is not at the level of depression, but can still be painful enough to cause you to feel no pleasure, especially during the holidays. If one is depressed, they’ll usually have their appetite, sleep, concentration, energy level, movements and thoughts affected; many can no longer attend work.

But if someone is sad, they feel unhappy, lousy and do not find much pleasure in the activities which they once enjoyed. Many people feel sad during the holidays for various reasons:

  • They have no family to be around with
  • They have no friends to be around with
  • They are lonely and not surrounded by good company
  • They are battling an injury that is providing them with great physical pain
  • They are sad about other events in their lives
  • They are experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder

. . . and so on. There is no one universal reason for feeling sad during the holidays, and there is no psychiatric diagnosis that combines sadness with the holidays. But sadness during the holidays does not necessarily mean that it’s a coincidence. The holidays are meant to be a time when close ones gather together to laugh and have fun!

Someone may know in advance that they will be spending the holidays by themselves, causing them to feel sad from ahead of time. When the holidays do arrive, they find themselves deprived of their spirit and joy; it’s as if they have turned into a living mummy. Their self-esteem goes out the window, and any motivation to derive some pleasure from the current situation is killed on the spot.

If you are experiencing sadness during the holidays, know that you are not alone! There are many people in your shoes experiencing the same feelings. Do not start to entertain suicidal thoughts due to the belief that you are a “loser” and by yourself; do not give depression power.

Even those who are around a boat of friends and family members may feel sad. A lot of times, sadness has nothing to do with who you are around with. Why do we hear stories of wealthy people and celebrities dying from drug overdoses? They had everything at their fingertips.

When feeling sad, find a way to become comfortable with your own presence; especially if no one is available for you to talk to! When you learn how to become comfortable with just “you,” things will start to feel better. And you can always contact The DSM Ready Community for love and support!

Happy holidays!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Being A Superficial Person

Superficial and elegant woman dressed in fancy clothes staring at building outdoors

Attracted To Materialism

The proverb, “one should not judge a book by its cover” is very true when it comes to analyzing others’ behaviors, expressions and thought processes. There are many superficial people who enjoy materialism but have a heart of gold! On the other hand, there are many superficial people who couldn’t care less about others’ thoughts and feelings.

Society has trained us to be quick to jump to a judgment or stereotype based on how someone dresses, speaks, behaves or carries themself. This is because all of the characters who we can think of are represented fairly accurately in Hollywood films and music videos.

By observing these characters on television or in lyrics, we are being trained to judge others; it has almost become an automatic process. So when we see “superficial” people behaving like Kim Kardashian or the Jersey Shore crew, we are quick to jump to a conclusion: “superficial.”

But this approach to viewing people is wrong and only contributes to the divide which our world is experiencing. Just because someone appears superficial on the surface, does not mean that they are not caring and loving individuals on the inside. Who are you to judge a person who you do not even know?

In the bible it says, “You hypocrite! First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.” We are so quick to jump to conclusions about others’ behaviors, that we forget to look at ourselves first and fix what we do wrong.

There is nothing wrong with someone who is attracted to materialism, as long as they are not allowing that attraction to influence their inner being in a negative way. It is actually worse for us to sit around and point our fingers at a superficial person, than it is for the person to be superficial in the first place.

At least that person is being themself by admitting to their superficiality. But what are we, by judging other human beings’ ways of living? It doesn’t make us any better! Rather than spending so much energy judging others, we need to come together and learn from each other, superficial or not.

The DSM Ready Movement is about the integration of all people with a good heart and solid intentions.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Thanksgiving Should Be Every Day

Group of young people hugging each other

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s very lovely that people gather once a year to offer their expressions of gratitude towards their family, friends, coworkers and God. This brings upon us unification, love, happiness and a feeling of warmth, which can effectively heal a mental illness and its associated emotions. But what would be nicer to observe from now on, is the celebration of Thanksgiving on a daily basis!

Unfortunately, many people put on a mask during the holidays in order to fit in with the rest of society celebrating times of unity. These masks are not hard to detect; pay attention to their body language and choice of words before the holidays, during and after. You will notice many inconsistencies, easily giving away their public facade.

People put on masks during the holidays because they are dealing with internal pain and insecurities, which they have not learned how to overcome. By not overcoming their internal problems, the holidays actually make them feel worse. How would you feel if you were put in a position to smile and chit-chat with folks who you see twice a year, while you are feeling depressed inside?

So the solution is to increase the frequency of Thanksgiving; not twice a year or every month, but every single day of the year! Every day should be an opportunity for us to learn more about each other and how we can be more involved in each other’s lives. Every day we need to become more passionate in our interactions with others.

It’s easier said than done, but definitely applicable on a large scale if many people around the world start applying this way of living! With every person who you pass this message to, someone new around the world can be touched and moved by it. What is missing from our world today, is genuine unity among the masses.

We are more divided than ever and no particular person or group is to blame. The reality is that our human nature has not evolved much beyond selfishness. And in order to alter our human nature, it starts with as many people around the world applying the notion of Thanksgiving being every day.

It’s possible to change our course of reality, but it cannot be done with 10, 100 or 10,000 people here and there. This calls for a worldwide implementation of acceptance and unity on a grand scale; a platform based on unconditional love extending to all parts of the world; a new modern-day hippie movement!

And together we can!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)