Category Archives: Coping skills

26 Pieces of Advice That Have Actually Helped People With Mental Illness

By Sarah Schuster

With that expert’s list of ways to manage anxiety, the latest trendy mental health app and that “magical cure for depression” your aunt heard about on TV, it seems like everyone’s full of mental health advice these days.

So, we asked our mental health community to share pieces of advice they’ve actually found helpful. These little nuggets of wisdom aren’t FDA-approved, but when used correctly side effects may include: self-care, acceptance and a little more patience with yourself.

Here’s some advice that’s actually helped people with mental illness:

1. “On a particularly difficult day, I was trying to fight through an anxiety attack and finish all the child-related tasks I needed to complete. My husband kept offering help, and I kept refusing. He pulled me aside in the laundry room as I was frantically folding another load and said, “Just let me help you.” It doesn’t immediately make the anxiety go away, but it’s helped me learn to let go.” — Maria Hildreth

2. “Don’t wait. See a doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be embarrassed. Chances are, someone knows exactly what you’re going through.” — Kristin Salber

3. “I have depression and anxiety (as well as other chronic medical conditions), and after the worst week I’ve had in a while, my doctor said, “Find something you enjoy, and if you can’t find that, find the joy in something.” This really had an impact on me and still reminds me to look for a silver lining.” — Faith Merryn

4. “I have generalized anxiety disorder, and I made friends with someone who’s extremely similar to me. She told me to always be myself and the people who truly care will stick around. It truly did help.” — Julia Ann Lange

5. “Words can hurt to say, but they need to come out. Write all those words down on paper.” Melissa Cote

6. “A friend recently told me that no matter if I get a job one day or not, your life matters as long as you can make people smile. When I think of it that way, it’s easier to see my life as something of worth.” — Emma Wozny

7. “A great therapist I had told me to focus on ‘harm-reduction, not perfection.’ I felt like I was expected to magically ‘get better,’ and she helped me learn that starting with baby steps was totally OK.” — Jen Decker

8. “Someone said, ‘I’ve been here, I know a way out, I’m here to show you too.’ And, ‘It gets better, it may not leave, but it gets better. And it has.” — Tom Everman

9. “I have anxiety and major depressive disorder. This is going to sound ridiculous, but my best friend once told me, “When you’re sad, watch ‘The Simpsons.’” It actually works when I’m panicking, too. It gets my mind off whatever I’m obsessing about, and I usually end up laughing.” — Dawn Czarnecki Seshadri

10. “It wasn’t long after my diagnosis that I was told pretty bluntly: ‘This illness is has no cure. You’re going to carry this illness for the rest of your life. So you can either wallow in the weight of that, or you can fight for your only life and make it a good story.’” — Lyss Trayers

11. “My depression and anxiety stem from a traumatic childhood. Just hearing ‘it wasn’t your fault‘ from my psychologist was incredibly helpful.” — Kathrine Elise

12. “Don’t always believe what your brain is telling you.”Kerri Lewis Brock

13. “It’s OK to feel sad. You don’t need to pretend.”Allyson White

14. “The best advice: Treat yourself as if you were a good friend.” — Julie Jeatran

15. “Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small, instead of dwelling on all the things we perceive as failures.” — Jennifer Northrup

16. “I have post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. When I was in intensive outpatient therapy, the counselor looked at us and said, ‘It’s over. That moment is over. It isn’t going to happen again.’ For some reason, that resonated with me.” — Nicole Hanes

17. “They told me this: ‘You are not broken; you are a whole person. You are just human. A human who is living, learning and growing. And learning, living and growing comes with bumps in the road. Remember that this is just a bump.‘” — Kallie Kiefer

18. “Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small, instead of dwelling on all the things we perceive as failures.”Jennifer Northrup

19. “Your worst days will only be 24 hours.“Arielle Smith

19. “You wouldn’t skip a dialysis or chemotherapy appointment. Your therapy appointments are just as important. No excuses.”Jennifer Davis

20. “‘I think you need to give therapy a try.‘ Thanks to that, I started therapy and I’m now on the path to recovery.” — Julianne Leow

21. “Your struggles are your accomplishments in disguise.” Katherine J Palmer

22. “Remember: Depression lies. Don’t believe it.” Beth Brogan

23. “Always ask for help. There is never any shame in asking for help.” — Meghan Shultz

24. “Take life 5 minutes at a time.” — Stephanie Lynn

25. “You can’t give everyone else everything you have. You absolutely have to save a little of yourself for yourself.” — Shawn Henfling

26. “I am a human being. Not a human doing. I just have to be.” — Michelle Balck

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To Someone Who’s Just Been Admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital

Megan Roach By Megan Roach Jan 12, 2016 Mental Illness – Other Mental Illness

Checking myself into a mental health unit because I was suicidal and needed to keep myself safe was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I’ve been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and behaviors (including self-harm) more times than I can count. Sometimes I was forced to go and sometimes I checked myself in voluntarily.

During those times in the hospital, I felt so unloved and unlovable. I hated myself and didn’t think anyone else cared about me either. Many people in my position share these thoughts, and when that feeling grows it can seem unbearable.

So, if you’ve recently been admitted to a mental health unit or a psychiatric hospital, there are a few things I want you to know as someone who’s been there:

First of all, you’re doing the right thing. I know it may feel like you’ve hit the lowest point in your life right now, but please know it takes an enormous amount of courage and bravery to admit you need help. Good for you for recognizing that and getting the help you need.

Secondly, please know you’re not alone. There are many people who’ve done what you’re doing and there will be plenty of others who need to take care of themselves in the future. Make the most out of your stay in the hospital. It might not be fun, but it can be the start to healing. Go to groups, talk with your nurses and be honest with your doctor about what treatments are working and which are not. Take advantage of your resources — both in your community and from your family and friends. They are there to help you recover.

Thirdly, please try not to let stigma get you down. It’s hard to admit you’re at a hospital for mental health reasons. Some people might make you feel bad, but don’t let that in. You’re strong and brave for getting the help you need, and it will pay off!

And lastly, if you don’t remember anything else I’ve said, please remember you are loved! I believe you were put on this Earth with a purpose. I care about you, and I know so many others care about you, too. Take that to heart and work on healing your mind and body.

No one should feel bad for taking care of themselves.

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.

Author: Megan is the founder of Jogging 4 Journals. She’ll be running one 5k every month to raise money to buy journals for inpatients at her local hospital’s mental health unit. Her goal is to deliever 30 journals every month. To learn more, visit her Facebook page.

Taking a Mental Health Day from Work When You Have Bipolar

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Do you take mental health days from work? Most people don’t. But should you take mental health days from work if you have bipolar disorder?

Source: Taking a Mental Health Day from Work When You Have Bipolar

38 Tips For Finding Ways to Relax

By

relaxing photo

Photo by Greyerbaby (Pixabay)

This past week I met with a few of my former colleagues and we ended up discussing the various ways we tend to de-stress over the weekend. I thought many of the suggestions shared were great and wanted to share them with you!

If you are a parent, family member, or caregiver of someone with a severe or untreated mental illness, taking care of yourself is even more important. Caring for a loved one can deplete you of all your motivation. Even more, if you are a parent, a mental health professional, or simply a living, breathing human being, life can deplete you of all of your motivation and energy on a daily basis. Let’s face it, as beautiful as life can be, it can also bring a load of problem, burdens, and stressors. Because of this, it is very important that you take care of yourself and your health. One way to do that is by relaxing. Relaxing is very difficult for me sometimes and I’m sure you find it challenging to tell yourself “just relax.” So allow me to encourage you by the great list, compiled during a therapy session with a client, of wonderful ways to take time away from daily life:

  1. Read (reading a book in bed is nice at times)
  2. Sleep in
  3. Write (journaling, blogging, etc.)
  4. Pray (prayer is simply talking to God about the things that bother you and asking Him to intervene. Prayer does not have to be a formal activity. Be yourself and relax).
  5. Go for a walk with loved ones
  6. Photography (“buy a nice camera and take pictures of nature, family, and friends”)
  7. Exercise (swim, yoga, walking, jogging, Zumba, aerobics, hiking, gymnastics). I just love Refit, a group of free-spirited women who love to dance their stress away. Check them out!
  8. Meditate
  9. Engage in introspection (sit quietly and rest your mind and soul)
  10. Go for a drive
  11. Stroll through the mall
  12. Buy yourself something nice (doesn’t have to be expensive!)
  13. Listen to podcasts online
  14. Listen to music (upbeat music can have a positive effect on mood, while slower-paced music can encourage feelings of depression. There are times, however, when lower paced music can give you a sense of peace and calm).
  15. Try Pilates
  16. Find a dance class (some classes are offered for free at local Community Colleges, agencies, or gyms)
  17. Sit next to a stream, pond, or river
  18. Go to a pet shop
  19. Play with your dog(s) or cat
  20. Look at a magazine with attractive pictures (looking at photos can give you a sense of joy)
  21. Look at family photos or watch family videos that make you smile
  22. Seek personal therapy (check into your EAP-Employee Assistance Program at work)
  23. Seek pastoral counseling or support
  24. Call a prayer line or submit a prayer request online
  25. Play with your children or other kids
  26. Become a mentor for needy youth (offering your time gets your mind off of your own needs and helps someone at the same time!)
  27. Travel (traveling can entail going somewhere other than your usual spots. Traveling gives you a whole new perspective on life)
  28. Try aromatherapy (purchase some sweet smelling scents and spray around your home, on yourself, or in your bedroom)
  29. Engage in an online group discussion (be cautious and safe)
  30. Watch cartoons! (as silly as this may sound, cartoons are uplifting and can put you in another mindset temporarily)
  31. Get a manicure, pedicure, or massage
  32. Go camping or build a campfire (if done safely, you can enjoy this right in your own backyard)
  33. Go on a picnic with someone you love or go alone
  34. Spend time with someone you love or think about them
  35. Go to the movies
  36. Stay in your pajamas or lounge clothes all day
  37. Sing
  38. Check Pinterest (there are some great quotes and pictures on this site)

I welcome your suggestions and additions to this list! What are some things you do to de-stress?

 

All the best to you

 

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About BIPOLAR DEPRESSION | bpHope – bp Magazine Community

Bipolar depression disrupts and devastates lives, and tends to dominate the course of one’s illness. Yet, it’s still difficult to diagnose and a challenge to

Source: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About BIPOLAR DEPRESSION | bpHope – bp Magazine Community

What to Do During a Mental Health Crisis

By Anna Medaris Miller

All American youngsters know the rules: Don’t take candy from strangers, play nice in the sandbox and call 911 during an emergency.

But what if the emergency is related to mental health?

More than 4 million people visited the emergency room due to a mental health condition from 2009 to 2010, according to the latest data from the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That same year, Americans made 63.3 million visits to doctors offices, hospitals and emergency rooms for what were eventually diagnosed as mental disorders, the CDC also found. “The reality is, a mental health crisis is a common occurrence,” says Paolo del Vecchio, who directs the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services.

Here’s what to know if one strikes you or someone you love:

1. Get to know a psychiatrist.

Mental health crises rarely arise out of nowhere. “Psychiatric illnesses, for the most part, evolve slowly, and so there’s going to be a lot of warning,” says Dr. Daniel Lieberman, the clinical director of the Department of Psychiatry at George Washington University Hospital. Ninety percent of people who die by suicide, for instance, give some indication they’re considering it, he says. “There’s this really irrational myth that people who talk about suicide do not commit suicide, and that’s exactly the opposite of reality,” he says.

That means that, in many cases, there’s ample time to get in touch with a mental health professional before a mental illness — be it a psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder or depression — becomes an emergency. In addition to providing ongoing care that can help prevent a crisis, he or she can be your first point of contact should an emergency arise. “If somebody does have a relationship with an outpatient psychiatrist, that’s the first place to go,” Lieberman says.

Such a partnership is key after the crisis, too, since almost 1 in 10 people discharged from state psychiatric hospitals are readmitted within 30 days, according to SAMHSA. “Having that kind of ongoing care is critical,” del Vecchio says.

2. Empower yourself.

Before a crisis, people with mental illness and their family members can benefit from educating themselves about a condition. Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, recommends reviewing the American Psychiatric Association’s consumer guide to the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or reading other research-based materials on your loved one’s condition. “Having a book is extremely useful because it really empowers the family and the person to understand the cutting edge information about these conditions,” he says.

You can also be proactive by getting to know the lay of the mental health services land in your area, del Vecchio says. Your community may have mental health services outside of hospitals such as mobile crisis teams, respite programs, and triage and assessment facilities. One way to find out is through SAMHSA’s treatment locator, which identifies mental health and addiction treatment settings based on ZIP code.

3. Recognize an emergency.

What constitutes a mental health emergency? Any time a person is an immediate danger to others or themselves, experts say. “In many ways, issues related to suicide are similar to having chest pain: This is an emergency, and it should be taken seriously,” Borenstein says. In other words, if someone around you is threatening violence, call 911 or take the person to the nearest emergency room yourself, he says.

Other situations that warrant quick care include people who show signs of psychosis that affect their functioning such as delusions, paranoia or fear, Borenstein says. People who are extremely agitated, wild, overly active and unable to calm down should also raise red flags — particularly if they don’t respond to verbal interventions like saying, “Hey, can we sit down and talk?” Lieberman adds.

Sudden behavior changes should be taken seriously, too. “If something evolves rapidly, it’s probably not psychiatric,” Lieberman says. It’s probably something really, really serious like poisoning, and they just need to be taken to the closest emergency room immediately.” If you have a choice, head to an academic medical center, since clinicians there tend to be up-to-date on the most effective procedures and treatments, he says.

4. Know where (else) to go.

The emergency room is often not the best place to go in a psychiatric crisis since the waits can be long and the psychiatric care insufficient, del Vecchio says. What’s more, most hospitals won’t hospitalize patients for mental health conditions unless they are suicidal or homicidal, Lieberman says. “Mental health professionals are using hospitals less and less as time goes on,” he explains, due to the high cost of care and low rate of reimbursement from insurance companies. That’s part of the reason why it’s often a better idea to call your mental health care provider (if you have one) or your primary care provider if you don’t.

Not everyone has quick access to a hospital or psychiatric care, either. “There’s a crisis in mental health care across the country,” says Virginia Sen. Creigh Deeds, who has focused on mental health care reform since his son died by suicide in 2013. “As your skin darkens, as your income goes down, as the people around you are fewer and fewer, your access to care is tough, very tough.”

If mental health care seems out of reach, try a hotline such as SAMHSA’s suicide prevention line or disaster distress helpline, which can walk you through the safest steps, or use a resource like SAMHSA’s locator, which can help you find the closest service.

5. Seek support.

Dealing with a mental health crisis is extremely stressful. In order to handle it as effectively as possible, the loved ones affected by a crisis need to take care of themselves, too, del Vechhio says. This might be by connecting with family members or friends who have gone through similar situations or reaching out to an organization like the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which has chapters in every state, he says.

“It’s important to know that these types of things are fairly common and that they’re not alone,” Borenstein adds. “Treatment is available for their loved one.”

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