Mental Illness and the Holidays.

Christmas is not my favourite time of year, in fact I kind of dread it.  Aside from the well deserved break from the craziness that is school, it’s a time of year when I wish I could just quickly skip over it and start the new year fresh. I used to love the holidays, but the past few years have brought about some negative memories that I now associate with the holidays. Particularly the last two Christmases were especially emotional and hard to get through, it triggers my PTSD and anxiety similar to how I experience the same symptoms in…

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Michael Phelps on Life After Swimming and His Battle With Depression

The most decorated Olympian of all time wants you to know he has bad days — some very bad days — just like so many people. “I’m not a superhuman,” Michael Phelps tells LIVESTRONG.COM. “I’m a human being who was very fortunate to find something that I love and find something that I’m good at and really never give up. But, really, that’s it.” While he made success in the pool look easy, a shadow hung over the star athlete for years as he battled depression. Now Phelps is sharing more about his mental health issues. “These are things that…

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The Depression Mask

The depression mask. What I would define as a defence mechanism because if you looked like you felt, no one would ever want to be around you. Depression has levels that is hard for people who don’t have it to understand. It makes me angry when I come across comments calling people like Chester selfish. To me, it’s a suicide is a failure of society to protect individuals for for letting them down to feel like this was the only viable option. Depression IS a disease. Sometimes medication can help and sometimes they don’t similar to any other sickness. The…

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Why we all need to practice emotional first aid.

Mental wellness does not just impact us as individuals, it impacts our whole society. If we all took steps to take care of our emotions and care for ourselves in this way the world would be a lot healthier. Emotionally injured people hurt others and as I have gotten older I have learned how important it is to take time to heal. “When people started practicing personal hygiene, life expectancy improved by almost 50% in a few decades”, mental hygiene can have a similar impact. Fighting loneliness, equipping yourself with tools to handle failure, and protecting your self-esteem can make…

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Let’s Talk About It.

Empathy. Congruence. Unconditional positive regard. Addressing Katherine and Katy as their identities. Reflection of feeling and content. Putting aside my ideas of Katy Perry for an hour, this is a beautiful example of the humanistic counseling model. I don’t think I can emphasize how much talk therapy helped me when I was at my lowest point. The questions that were asked, the revelations I came to, and the tools I was given to help me move forward. I agree with Kathryn in that social media has made it incredibly hard to be real with one another. We all hide behind…

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Zelda Williams Gets Real About The Work It Takes To Manage Depression.

Zelda Williams is acknowledging some major truths about mental health. In an extensive interview with Teen Vogue, Robin Williams’ daughter talked about how she prioritizes mental health, what it’s like to be an advocate and the hard work it takes to manage a condition. She told the publication that one of the ways she focuses on her own mental health is by speaking about it openly. She hopes that by doing so, it helps people recognize signs of mental health issues. “I try to bring a lot of advocacy to the people who have maybe never felt their brain to be…

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Never Miss a Day.

Many of you know I’ve never been a runner but most of you also probably don’t know one of the main reasons why I run is how I am choosing to take control of my battles with depression. This summer I want to reclaim running. I strayed away from running for many years for fear that the negative thoughts would be triggered. Thoughts like I was too slow, too fat, too tired, or thoughts that I just wasn’t made to run. But since i’ve started running, nothing beats the sound of my feet pounding on the pavement, the sun hitting my…

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Where To Get Help.

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre. If you’re worried someone you know may be at risk of suicide, you should talk to them, says the Canadian Association of Suicide  Prevention. Here are some warning signs: Suicidal thoughts. Substance abuse. Purposelessness. Anxiety. Feeling trapped. Hopelessness and helplessness. Withdrawal. Anger. Recklessness. Mood changes.

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Why I Wish I Didn’t Watch ’13 Reasons Why’

TW: Suicide I recently finished watching “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix, and part of me wishes I didn’t watch it at all. Not because it’s a bad show, but because it hit just a little too close to home. The show provides a glimpse into the life and ultimate suicide of Hannah Baker, a fictional American teenager struggling to navigate high school amidst the rampant sexism and bullying that unfortunately shapes much of her experience. As the show unfolds, the audience, alongside Hannah’s friends, family and peers, learn the reasons Hannah ultimately decided to end her life. I finished “13…

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UBC president Santa Ono opens up about his struggle with mental health.

University of British Columbia’s president opened up for the first time Tuesday about his struggle with mental health and how he twice tried to take his own life. Santa Ono spoke at the Healthy Minds: Healthy Campuses Summit and highlighted UBC’s commitment to providing mental health support to students, faculty, and staff. He said he decided to share his own struggle with depression in hopes people who are experiencing mental health issues would feel less alone. About one in seven young people in B.C. will experience mental health illness at some point, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, the…

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A Day in the Life of a Student With an Anxiety Disorder.

Every day is a challenge. I wake up with a nervous stomachache. I get dressed and put on my mascara, trying to hold the brush tightly with shaky hands. I try to eat something, but I can’t. Everything makes me feel sick. At school I greet my friends with a fake smile and try to appear as calm as can be. It doesn’t last long. I spill out my worries in a stream of chatter. They are all irrational, so nobody understands. They tell me to “just calm down” and “it’ll be OK.” I don’t understand why it’s only me fearing…

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Thinking Of Giving Up?

Are you hydrated?  If not, have a glass of water. Have you eaten in the past three hours?  If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs.  Perhaps some nuts or hummus? Have you showered in the past day?  If not, take a shower right now. If daytime: are you dressed?  If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas.  Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress. If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep?  Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and…

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It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Sometimes.

I feel much sorrow for the family and friends of the young man that took his life this week. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and even though I never met this individual I know the pain and emptiness that filled him. The cascade we put on pretending we’re happy and strong, because that’s what society expects. High functioning individuals. But deep down we’re empty. sad, and so very tired. Suicide isn’t something that just happens, it’s a conscious choice because of outside failures to help them before then. With schools and job fields getting more competitive, it’s not…

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Being Happy.

“Too many people neglect to make their mental health a priority! And so it gets forgotten about and put in the ‘too-hard’ or ‘too-busy.’ But just like physical health, mental health really should be considered non-negotiable because without it, we have nothing else. If I had to limit the key ingredients to happiness and good mental health to just a few I’d say good quality relationships and connectedness, good physical health and well-being, living a life with meaning and purpose, loving oneself and others, and having a sense of hope and optimism for the future.” —Timothy Sharp, Ph.D., clinical psychologist…

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Clinical depression: Shining a light on the world’s leading cause of disability.

Keith Dobson is a professor of clinical psychology who leads UCalgary’s Depression Research Laboratory and heads the Department of Psychology. When Dobson was a teenager, though, his family lived on a farm north of Edmonton, and his father had a drinking problem. The farm work began to slip. Things began to fray. His father became distant, staying to himself, and then increasingly absent. Though he didn’t know it at the time, Dobson was witnessing his father’s descent into depression. “Looking back on it, my father was significantly depressed,” says Dobson. “The extreme avoidance and isolation were the key features of…

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