Mental Health Is The New Focus

Kneeling psychotic brunette woman with hair covering face wearing a brown dress

Momentum For Mental Health

As more people come out and admit to suffering from a mental health condition, this process will continue to help shed more light on how significant mental health is. Every single thing that we do revolves around psychology and the mind; without it, we’d be walking corpses.

More people are coming out to realize that they are not alone in the battle against mental illness; it is much more common than we previously thought. As a matter of fact, we always knew that mental illness was common. But now, society in general is warming up to the idea that its prevalence and incidence are massive.

We are living in a time where people want to improve, and they want to improve fast. This is the day and age where people want a quick fix and perhaps some pleasure to go along with it; however, there’s a big BUT that comes along with this mentality.

This BUT is: there are no quick fixes to mental illness. Even antidepressants take 4-6 weeks to improve one’s mood and alleviate symptoms of depression, and even then, there is no guarantee. Many patients are on antipsychotics and still have florid psychosis churning in their minds.

Mental health is here in the sense that more people are coming out to admit their pain and suffering. But mental health is also not going away anytime soon. It takes time to heal from a mental illness, and even then, there is never a guarantee that your mental illness will not make a comeback at some point in the near future.

So rather than looking for that quick fix that you will never find, take a seat in that comfy couch or chair and open up to your psychiatrist about everything that is going on in your mind! We are very close to demolishing the stigma that has plagued mental health since the beginning of time.

And without your help, the process only slows down. We need the entire world to join behind The DSM Ready Movement and make mental health the new kid on the block.

Mental health is in. Are you?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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Mental Health And Beauty

Beautiful woman naked in bathtub with water and flowers

Beauty Lies In The Eye Of The Beholder

Mental health and beauty are highly related because physical appearance is something that is on most people’s minds. Whether someone is beautiful, average or below average in physical appearance, it has an impact on their way of viewing themselves and those around them.

Beautiful people may unconsciously or consciously believe that they are better than others, or have an upper hand in certain situations. From the time since they were little, society has complimented their good looks, by providing them with opportunities that others were not granted.

By having good looks work to one’s advantage, beautiful people have learned how to maintain these opportunities in life. This does not mean that all beautiful people are stuck-up or believe that they are better than others. But this is an example of how beauty impacts mental health.

On the other end of the spectrum, unattractive people may have been made fun of since a young age. They quickly realized that society did not appreciate their unattractiveness, and labeled them as “ugly.” By having this word thrown at them since a young age, it gave room for insecurity, depression or anxiety to flourish.

In reality, the physical appearance of someone else lies in the eye of the beholder; the person who is observing gets to decide what is beautiful. What needs to change in our society is less emphasis on glamour and external beauty, and more care for the individual as a person!

By putting aside the importance of beauty and status that Hollywood and the entertainment industry throw at us, we will be able to focus more on what should be more important to the human race:

  • Personality traits
  • The care and comfort for another individual
  • Helping each other
  • Sharing mental health stories and symptoms of concern
  • Building fruitful relationships and friendships

. . . and the list goes on. Beauty is subjective, because what may be beautiful on the outside for one person, may be unattractive on the inside for another. But if we change the way we view others, by focusing more on the actual interaction among us, we will more effectively help alleviate insecurity, selfishness, excessive worrying, anxiety, substance abuse, and depression.

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)

Famous People With Mental Illness

Men with mental illness hugging each other

Mental Illness Has No Boundaries

Fame, money or talent does not prevent mental illness from affecting one’s mind. No one is immune to mental illness, just as no one is immune to cancer. The brain is the most sophisticated organ in the human body and we have no access to it besides with imaging. And even then, we cannot really tell what is happening at the neuronal level.

Mental illness affects even famous people:

  1. Adele: suffered from postpartum depression, stating “I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me.”
  2. Lady Gaga: suffers from PTSD from a rape that she experienced at 19 years old, stating “my own trauma in my life has helped me to understand the trauma of others.”
  3. Leonardo DiCaprio: suffers from OCD, stating “I’m able to say at some point, ‘OK, you’re being ridiculous. Stop stepping on every gum stain you see. You don’t need to do that.’”
  4. Michael Phelps: suffers from ADHD since 9 years old, having used the swimming pool from a young age to burn off all of his excess energy.
  5. Demi Lovato: suffers from bipolar disorder which has caused her to battle drug addiction, eating disorders, self-injurious behavior and depression. She states the following about learning coping skills in therapy, “for the first time in my life, I started to feel.”

. . . and the list continues. Mental illness is real and can affect any human being on this planet. There is no reason to be ashamed of your mental illness. The goal is to make every person in this world comfortable with their diagnosis; not proud, but comfortable! Comfort brings upon happiness.

And we can use more happiness in this day and age!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

What Does Malingering Mean?

Young man showing photo of himself malingering

Malingering Versus Factitious Disorder

To malinger is to exaggerate or feign an illness in order to escape duty or work. There are many malingerers in the world of mental health. Some attempt to avoid long prison sentences by feigning a mental illness: they may try to act psychotic or depressed and suicidal. Some are successful and are sent to a psychiatric state hospital; others return back to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence.

Another example of malingering is a homeless person wanting shelter as winter is approaching. They will enter a hospital emergency department and make up various symptoms such as, “I had a seizure“, “I had a stroke”, “I’m really sick, my stomach has been killing me.” If the neurologist or ED physician is experienced, they will easily catch on to the malingering.

Factitious disorder is when a person presents with real symptoms in order to assume the sick role; they have an unconscious desire to be treated like a patient. They may self-inject fecal material in order to acquire a bacterial infection or self-administer insulin in order to become hypoglycemic.

Patients with factitious disorder are usually female nurses or hospital employees who have general knowledge of the healthcare system and desire upfront medical attention. There is even factitious disorder by proxy, where a person will make their child or elder sick in order to assume the caretaker role!

The clear difference between malingering and factitious disorder is that the former is a conscious act; the latter is a conscious act motivated by an unconscious desire. Malingerers find an excuse to obtain a get out of jail free card, while patients with factitious disorder have unconscious conflicts that become the drivers behind their behavior.

If you find a patient who is unwilling to cooperate with medical procedures and evaluations and paints a sketchy picture, then you have just met a malingerer. If you find a patient who is a middle-aged female and has a medical track record of entering many different hospitals in a short period of time for suspicious and questionable activity, then you have just met a person with factitious disorder.

Welcome to the world of mental health!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

When Eating Takes Over Your Life

Addiction to burgers, fries and soda

How To Beat Food Addiction

Not everybody who is overweight has a food addiction. Some are genetically predisposed, do not exercise and/or eat carelessly. Food addiction is when you cannot stop thinking about the act of eating and must compulsively eat larger quantities more frequently to satisfy your desire.

Some people become addicted to food because they have a low self-esteem or feel depressed. The act of eating may make them feel better because their reward center in the brain is releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine. As with anything that tastes or feels good, the process is repeated.

Some obese individuals do not feel good about themselves when they indulge in too much eating, but continue the process for unknown reasons; they just cannot stop. Their self-esteem plummets because they know that eating large quantities of food is wrong, but they do it anyway. These individuals can benefit from psychotherapy to attempt to get to the root of the problem, which is often psychological.

Some patients with bulimia nervosa may be overweight even though they are suffering from an eating disorder. The difference is that these patients will either purge or excessively exercise after eating, attempting to compensate for their excessive caloric intake. Bulimic patients can benefit from SSRIs and psychotherapy.

Defeating food addiction requires you to be honest with yourself! You need to discover why you are indulging in a destructive behavior; any addiction requires this kind of analytical thinking. If you have trouble with this process, then you may benefit from psychotherapy with a trained professional.

Secondly, you need to eliminate your favorite types of food from your home and replace it with healthy food. This is not so hard: either finish your favorite food or discard it and do not purchase it again. Once you accomplish this, it then comes down to training yourself to enjoy healthy food eaten in smaller portions throughout the day.

You will find that with determination and consistency, eating healthy food in smaller portions throughout the day will become your new norm; you will not even think about it anymore. It takes time and motivation, but with the right state of mind and being honest with yourself, it is definitely accomplishable! This process will help you defeat your food addiction!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Social Media Seriously Harms Your Mental Health

Vehicle besides wall with graffiti about social media

Negative Effects Of Social Media

Ever since the arrival of social media websites such as FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram, many people have wasted precious hours of their life on the internet rather than going out and making friends, socializing, playing sports, exercising, reading and studying.

People who spend more than two hours per day on social media are more likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is because social media makes you believe that others are having fun and “living the life” while you are sitting behind a computer screen as a bystander; it is all a mirage. Most people are not living extravagant lives and having as much fun as you think they are.

Social media increases your risk of experiencing cyberbullying. There are people out there who love putting others down and causing them embarrassment and humiliation; Twitter is big for this kind of behavior. Experiencing cyberbullying can make you feel depressed; some people even commit suicide.

FOMO or “fear of missing out” is developing anxiety when you observe others on social media having more fun than you are having; you become scared of missing out on a positive experience or emotion that someone else is experiencing.

For example, a college student on FaceBook observes that a bunch of his classmates are attending a party on Friday night, but he was not invited. This will cause him to feel lonely and possibly even depressed.

Social media promotes unrealistic expectations (i.e., Youtube millionaires, Instagram modeling, becoming famous for doing something online) that waste your energy and time and distract you from the more important things in life, such as education and realistic career goals.

Social media can make you believe that you have a negative body image. For instance, seeing famous accounts on Instagram of men and women who are fit, rich and wearing expensive clothes can make you feel insecure about yourself; you start wondering why you don’t look like them. This promotes insecurity, anxiety and makes you feel self-conscious.

Social media can adversely affect your sleep quality. Many people stay up late to chat and browse photos and other people’s accounts, causing them to develop poor sleep hygiene and feeling non-productive the following day. This habit can promote drug use such as stimulants to stay up the next day. In the long run, unhealthy sleep patterns pave the way to mental illness.

Lastly, social media can be very addicting. Most people have to check their accounts at least once a day to make sure that they are not missing out on something. As with any addiction, it affects your mood, choices, beliefs and behavioral patterns.

As with anything in life, moderation is key!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

When Mother Nature Speaks

Person holding white daisy flower after earthquake

Not Letting Earthquakes Rock Your Mental Health

Earthquakes are common phenomena that will never go away no matter how mindful we become of climate change. They are unexpected natural events that tear up cities and instill fear and pain into humanity; they destroy at their own will.

It is important to understand that you must not let natural disasters shape you into a negative and bitter person; whether it be floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes or wildfires. These natural events are meant to bring us closer together, make us more thankful for what we have and provide us with strength and resilience.

Sadly, natural disasters affect many families by bringing injury, pain and even death; but this is how it has always been since the beginning of time. What we can learn from natural disasters is that they teach us one important lesson: never take life for granted because you may lose it in the blink of an eye.

Natural disasters are reset points in our lives; they bring humanity closer by promoting empathy, care and more love for one another. They are signs from mother nature when we venture of course and deviate into wrongful directions. Natural disasters should not be looked upon as punishments against humanity; rather, they are corrections and opportunities for growth and direction.

If you or anyone has been impacted by natural disasters, please share your experiences with The DSM Ready Movement so we can support each other in times of need. We are all in this together!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

What Is Compulsive Buying?

Compulsive buying of shoes and bags in a lit display collection inside a dark room

When Onionmania Strikes

Compulsive buying usually begins at age 18 and is more common in women. It is a chronic condition that involves uncontrolled excessive buying without the ability to stop. Patients do not usually seek treatment until their 20s or 30s when they realize that they have developed serious financial problems; some even declare bankruptcy.

Compulsive buyers usually have many credit cards they use for their urges to buy items. They can go on shopping sprees every hour or as infrequently as once a month. Many try to stop their behavior on their own but are unsuccessful.

Compulsive buyers have a maladaptive preoccupation with buying or shopping. They experience irresistible, intrusive or senseless impulses to buy. They frequently buy items that are too expensive to afford or are not needed. They also shop for longer periods of time than intended.

Compulsive buyers are distressed because their behavior is time consuming, significantly interferes with their social or occupational functioning and results in financial problems. It is important to note that compulsive buyers are not experiencing hypomania or mania during their shopping behavior.

Treatments that have shown some success:

  • Limiting access to shopping, credit cards, home catalogs, the internet and home shopping networks
  • Psychotherapy (CBT, psychodynamic therapy, insight-oriented therapy, supportive therapy and behavioral techniques)
  • Medications such as Luvox (antidepressant), Lithium and Depakote (mood stabilizers)

If you or anyone is suffering from compulsive buying, feel free to share your experience on The DSM Ready Movement, so we can come together and help each other.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Socializing Is Good For Your Mental Health

People socializing beside lake and forest

The Social Butterfly In You

We often become so caught up in our daily routines, that we forget the importance of spending time with friends. Socializing is good for you because it keeps you disengaged from your work and hobbies and allows you to rewind and loosens up your working self.

The benefits of socializing:

  • People with social support tend to live longer than those who are isolated (a general wellbeing is associated with socializing)
  • Your physical and mental health improve (it is associated with a stronger immune system and decreases feelings of depression)
  • You may lower your risk of dementia (it is associated with better performance on tests of memory and other cognitive skills)

Isolation prevents you from growing; all that time by yourself will cap your knowledge on certain life events. Only through social interactions, you can learn certain things in life that you will not find in a book.

We are social creatures by design and we must make an effort to maintain a social life. Go out there and meet people; force yourself if you have to. You will realize that the more you socialize, the better you will feel.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)