Depressed Americans

Depressed Hispanic woman crying while laying on gray furniture

Coronavirus: An Era Of Depression

I have talked to so many mental health patients who are sitting at home in a depressed state of mind ever since the coronavirus pandemic started. The key word is at “home” because they are functional and not so depressed that they require a hospitalization, but this does not mean that they don’t experience some of the symptoms that come with depression. Even before the coronavirus, there were many Americans already depressed; now, that number has substantially increased.

Some of the symptoms of depression may include a decreased sleep, decreased interest in activities, decreased concentration, decreased appetite, guilt, loss of energy, slowing of body movements or even suicidal ideations. Many Americans experience at least a few of these symptoms while sitting at home with no agenda for the rest of the day. The recurring theme is that they lost their job and are not leaving the house; in other words, they lack activities to keep them preoccupied during the day.

Some people also become very anxious at home and anxiety and depression often go together. They will complain that there’s so much negative news or that people in the neighborhood are not wearing masks, “as if they don’t care that there’s a pandemic going on.” What’s important to understand if you are a reader who identifies with these thoughts is that we cannot force others to wear masks, nor should we expect them to; it’s a free world and people have the right to do what they want.

So why am I pointing out the obvious? Because clearly it’s making you anxious and more depressed that others aren’t following health officials’ recommendations. But why are you getting hurt in the process? You should not be anxious or depressed because of external factors; you need to learn how to put uncontrollable external factors aside and focus on bettering your life. Do your due diligence by wearing a mask and washing your hands but don’t expect others to do the same.

It’s not easy being home because of the coronavirus and not having a job. Some people work from home but still feel depressed because their previous routine of leaving the house and coming back in the evening has been taken away from them; they are not used to using their home space as a work environment after working away from home for over twenty years. As I have mentioned in many previous articles, depression is like a wave and many times you don’t see it coming; you just have to ride it out without falling down.

This coronavirus is a similar wave but much bigger and deadlier. It may be harder to hold on but it’s definitely doable. So don’t allow this wave of depression to knock you off your surfboard. Many people are experiencing the negative emotions that you are; you are never alone in this. So maintain a positive mindset, keep yourself preoccupied during the day by finding work, taking long walks outside, reading, exercising and socializing with others. Don’t allow anxiety and depression to get to you and certainly don’t allow them to bring your down!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Will Cryptocurrency Become The Next Internet?

Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP coins on fiat money

The World Of Digital Assets

Outside of mental and physical health, we are living in exciting times to be able to recognize the adoption and implementation of digital assets in society. If successfully executed, these digital assets will revolutionize our transfer of money globally. Not only will society be positioned on a universal platform known as the blockchain, but the internet of value will allow the transfer of money and liquidity ultra smoothly and efficiently. It will no longer take 3-4 business days to send large amounts of money internationally; it will be like picking up a cup of coffee.

Whether it’s Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP or Chainlink, not many coins will survive up until the finish line. Out of the 5,709 coins in existence, most likely 10-15 will be prevalent in the mainstream world. It’s way too early to spot the future top contenders but the race is certainly on. Whether competition or not, we should all work together to help adopt a new technology that will help everyone all over the world, including third-world nations who need and deserve the most help.

Bitcoin is slowly adopting the role of “digital gold” while XRP wants to implement a new system that will make cross-border payments flawless. What about Dogecoin? The “joke cryptocurrency” that is gaining moment because of a recent Tik Tok fad. The easiest way to start learning about cryptocurrency is by watching educational and informative YouTube videos and doing your own investigation by researching digital assets and their respective history and future intentions.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I Am Physically Fit

Blonde athletic girl holding weights in gym in front of mirror

Positive Affirmation: Staying In Shape

“I am physically fit because I put in the effort every day to maintain a great body by exercising and eating healthy. I enjoy to exercise because it makes me feel good about myself, including my mental health. Exercising makes me look more physically attractive and people notice how fit I am. I feel great waking up in the morning knowing that I exercised yesterday and that I have more motivation to exercise today. The more that I exercise, the more motivation and desire I harness to keep pushing forward. I am physically fit!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I Am Free Of Cigarettes

White man with gold chain on neck smoking cigarette

Positive Affirmation: Quitting Cigarettes

“I am free of cigarettes because I have experienced the joy of lighting up during many different activities and now I realize that it’s not worth also killing my lungs in the process. Cigarettes increase my chances of developing lung, bladder and pancreatic cancer and also make me cough like a mule. Cigarettes make me reek like an old chimney and make my fingers look disgusting. Cigarettes enslave me by motivating me to smoke whenever I get a break or experience an unpleasant emotion. Cigarettes are the most addicting substance known to mankind and I refuse to further engage with this evil drug. I cherish my mind, body and soul and cigarettes are no longer a part of my life. I am free of cigarettes and proud of it!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Talking To Mental Health Patients

Male psychiatrist sitting on couch talking to patient with hands on head

Holding A Normal Conversation

Many mental health patients are sick of their doctors, friends and family members always asking them questions about their illness. Imagine always being asked the same questions, “Any auditory or visual hallucinations? Do you believe others can put thoughts into your mind? How’s your mood? Do you have any anxiety? How’s your sleep and appetite?” It not only feels robotic to ask them the same questions every day, but it also feels robotic for them to provide the same responses.

Don’t get me wrong; psychiatrists do need to ask these questions in order to assess patients’ mental status, but we also need to learn how to incorporate more normal conversations during our encounters. When we ask mental health patients the same questions every time we see them, it can make them feel like they are less than us. This is because we give them the impression that they are “different” and that we can’t hold normal conversations with them.

At the end of the day, mental illness or not, patients are still human beings who can hold normal conversations and discuss everyday events; we must treat them like so. You’ll bring much more happiness into their lives if you can discuss everyday events without jumping to questions that dig away at their symptoms. A patient will tell you their symptoms even if you don’t rush to those particular questions, because they are the ones suffering from the symptoms in the first place and need them addressed.

So let them discuss everyday events and address their symptoms at their own pace. This applies to whether you have a relationship or friendship with a patient; don’t look at them differently and definitely don’t treat them differently. Do you treat people with diabetes differently? The same applies with mental health patients. Even if they are extremely psychotic but not dangerous to anyone, you can still say something as simple as, “Hi Leonard! Hope you have a good day.”

At the end of the day, let’s normalize mental health and hold normal everyday conversations with each other. Forget the stigma and judgmental ways of the past; those need to be buried for good. Rather, let’s move forward together and create a worldwide platform that will be of help to anyone in need. This platform should be based on honesty, love, sincerity and the desire to improve and help one another.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I am Free of Marijuana

Marijuana leaf symbol with chromatic colors

Positive Affirmation: Cannabis

“I am free of marijuana because I realize that it’s not necessary for me to use it in order to be happy and find joy in life. Even though marijuana may be fun, I find pleasure in socializing in a sober state of mind, enjoying my senses without having the munchies and watching movies and listening to music without experiencing an altered perception of my reality. I also enjoy to not cough up a lung or experience mini panic attacks when I am getting high. I also prefer to have a clear conscience and not feel guilty when I am high. I am free of marijuana!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I Am A Great Athlete

Female athlete jumping above ground near sunlit sky

Positive Affirmation: Improving Your Athleticism

“I am a great athlete because I have what it takes to work out longer, run father, lift more and compete at a higher level than ever before. Even if I’m not naturally athletic, I am improving every day because I have the will, drive, motivation, strength and determination to keep improving my athleticism. I no longer give up when I lack strength and I no longer give in to others when they put me down. I am capable of doing extraordinary things and one of these things is being a great athlete. I am athletic!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Experience Your Sadness

Sad woman leaning on windowsill staring outside

Not Running Away From Sadness

Whenever we experience sadness, we tend to bury it right away rather than allowing it to linger. This is because nobody likes the feeling of sadness so it’s easier to just brush it under the carpet and clean it up later. The problem with doing so is that you are not processing what is making you feel sad in the first place. Even though sadness is an uncomfortable emotion, you want to fully immerse yourself in it and see what thoughts and feelings will come out of it.

For some, it’s not an easy process because they feel like their ego is being jeopardized. They believe that if they feel sad, their masculinity is being threatened. For others on the opposite end of the spectrum, they tend to spend too much time dwelling over their sadness, experiencing it all day and never letting go of it. You don’t want to be at any end of the spectrum; the happy medium is always best.

This involves experiencing sadness when it kicks in but also knowing when to turn it off when certain circumstances arise. If you’re at work, it’s better to suppress it for the time being and revisit it later on. But if you’re at home and have nothing important to do, you can try practicing mindfulness while also becoming in touch with your sadness. This will allow you to process the thoughts associated with your sadness and potentially help you recover from it.

It’s always better to process your sadness rather than leaving it unhinged. There’s almost always a reason that you are feeling sad and you need to get to the bottom of it. Don’t be afraid to reveal new thoughts and feelings which are foreign to you; this is the process of growing in life. And always remember that you are never alone in experiencing sadness; millions of people all over the world are experiencing it with you this very moment.

What are some things that you are sad about?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I am Free of Drug Use

Man in gray hoodie covering head holding drug needle

Positive Affirmation: Staying Clear of Drugs

“I am free of drug use because they bring nothing but pain, destruction and addictions. Drugs, whether cannabis, alcohol or anything that alters the brain affects my sanity, personality and spirit and I prefer to stay clear from these substances. Drugs distract me from my life purpose and internally destroy me, throwing me off my course for success. Therefore, I stay clear of drugs and find happiness within myself and the environment.”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I Am Kind-Hearted

Colorful church window baptism

Positive Affirmation: Heart Of Gold

“I am kind-hearted because I have learned through my life experience that doing the opposite has never resolved any problems. Weak people rely on hate and division, but I rely on God’s love which he has shared with the world before our creation. I am kind-hearted because this helps the world evolve into a better place, whether or not others recognize it. I am not like the rest because I am not of this world as God teaches us in the bible. And that’s why I am kind-hearted!”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)