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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Kesha: The Holidays Are Hard If You Struggle With Mental Illness. Don’t Blame Yourself.

The holiday season is supposed to be the most festive and fun time of the year but sometimes it can quickly become a stressful and emotional time. All those plans and expectations of joy can turn tougher than they sound. This is especially true for those of us who struggle with mental illness — be it depression, anxiety, addiction or any other challenges. The holidays break your routine. Sometimes, you’re forced to spend time with family you rarely see and don’t always get along with. Or maybe you’re alone when everyone else is with family. Or you are off from…

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Almost half of Ontario youth miss school because of anxiety, study suggests.

At five years old, Shannon Nagy told her mother she wanted to die. In Grade 6, she missed almost the entire school year because more often than not, she couldn’t get out of bed. Nagy, now 20, was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and borderline personality disorder and was never able to finish high school. She spent most of her childhood immersed in a mental health care system that she said “did more harm than good.” Her struggle to get help and the impact that struggle had on her education is a trend captured in a new…

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I’m Depressed And Employed: How I Make It Work.

Since I was 15, I’ve been dealing with depression. I’m not talking about the blues, sadness, or simply the Mondays, but suffocating, full-blown depression—the kind that leaves you empty and hurting all at the same time. Throughout early adulthood, I had to constantly force myself to go to high school, college, and eventually, a full-time job. But then at 19, I was diagnosed with bipolar and things got even more complicated, adding mania, anxiety, and rapid cycling to the mix of symptoms. It seemed impossible to be productive, and there have been countless days, weeks, and even months when I…

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Strategies to calm the anxious brain.

Negative thoughts can bring you down. This is part of a series looking at micro skills – changes that employees can make to improve their health and life at work and at home, and employers can make to improve the workplace. The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell have created the Employee Recommended Workplace Award to honour companies that put the health and well-being of their employees first. Read about the 2017 winners of the award at tgam.ca/workplaceaward. Does your mind sometimes create thoughts – ones that make you anxious or worried – that you’d rather not have? When our unconscious…

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The Times You Live In.

It’s been a chaotic few weeks to say the least. I’m grateful for having had the chance to get away for my reading week and take some time to focus on something other than school. I guess I would say the past couple weeks have been filled with a lot of anxiety and recurrences of my depression. Coming back into school to find out half my courses are cancelled because of a provincial wide strike was a bit much. I pay to learn and I pay to gain experience but yet half my courses including my clinical have been shut…

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Despite funding boost, advocates say Canada has a mental health crisis.

Frustrations over what some advocates are calling cutbacks to Afrocentric mental health services in Toronto came to a head last week in a town hall meeting in Scarborough. One by one, parents of Black youth stepped up to the microphone to share their experiences and voice their concerns over the lack of funding for programs. “We heard from a parent who spoke about basically having to refuse to leave the hospital because they were treating her 21-year-old son as just an angry Black man,” recalls Janelle Skerritt, a Black mental health advocate who moderated the town hall. “But she kept…

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Finding My Path.

Ah, finally I can sit in peace and focus on writing a blog post. I can’t believe i’m already back in schools ready for round 2. Summer seems like a blur and it’s probably because of all the schooling and work I had to undertake to get caught up. I’m proud to say i’m finished my Master’s (at least until Results day in November). All 14,998 words. I must say finishing my physiology course and having to jump straight into finishing my dissertation was a rough go. Why I thought it was a good idea to work 40-55 hours a…

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Ph.D. students face significant mental health challenges.

Approximately one-third of Ph.D. students are at risk of having or developing a common psychiatric disorder like depression, a recent study reports. Although these results come from a small sample—3659 students at universities in Flanders, Belgium, 90% of whom were studying the sciences and social sciences—they are nonetheless an important addition to the growing literature about the prevalence of mental health issues in academia. One key message for scientific trainees that are struggling with these types of challenges, write co-authors Katia Levecque and Frederik Anseel of Ghent University in an email to ScienceCareers, is that “you are not alone.” Beyond…

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For some students, the transition to university can be hard on mental health.

In a few weeks, more than two million students will step onto postsecondary campuses across Canada, roughly one-quarter of them in Toronto. It’s both an exhilarating and terrifying time for young people full of big hopes and even larger expectations. Many thrive and revel in their new-found independence. But others struggle and too often they struggle silently, because they’re afraid – or ashamed – to tell their parents, friends, or teachers that they’re anxious, depressed, or deeply unhappy. Seven years ago, Eric Windeler launched Jack.org to educate young people and their families on how best to advocate for their own…

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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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Trying To Understand ‘What Made Maddy Run’.

Madison Holleran ran track at the University of Pennsylvania. She was popular and beautiful — and raised in a big, supportive family in a New Jersey suburb. “By all accounts, Madison in high school was this young, happy, vibrant, wildly successful human being, who was destined — according to everyone around her — to do amazing things with her life,” says sportswriter Kate Fagan. And from the outside, Madison appeared to be thriving in college, too. But inside, she was struggling with anxiety and depression. Then, in the middle of her freshman year, Madison ended her life by jumping from…

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Depression and Art.

Why hello there! It sure has been awhile, but man has this summer flown by (thanks to full time work, summer school, running, and well more school stuff!). I haven’t had time to blog much or think about stuff besides physiology and finishing my dissertation. But luckily things are slowly wrapping up…just in time for more school to start…HAH! Luckily i’ve received word i’ve passed my physiology course but that gives me little time to celebrate since I still have to tie up the lose ends of my dissertation, prepare for my next runs and moving back to school…. Tis…the…

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Breathe.

Lately I have been anxious: unbearably anxious at times. Maybe it is all of the impending changes in my life. The next nine months of my life. Reflections of the past year triggering flashbacks. Or maybe it is just my damn anxiety disorder, but whatever it is I find myself on almost constantly on edge. My heart has been racing and my mind has been chasing after random thoughts and barely formulated ideas unable to concentrate on the tasks in front of me. I am afraid of a monster I cannot see, of a future I cannot predict, of the…

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Meet the ‘doctors’ who will talk to you whenever you like.

Could health apps and chatbots eventually replace your traditional doctor? “Let’s talk about how you’ve been feeling over the past 30 days,” says Joy. “This will help me get a sense for your current state.” Joy probes a bit deeper, asking a series of questions: Do I feel hopeless? Do I feel restless? When I respond that I’m a bit stressed, Joy offers me several de-stressing techniques. Joy might appear to be my counsellor or my life coach, but the conversation I’m having is actually with a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to track emotions and provide…

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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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Learning from Darkness.

I think we all feel helpless when grief and sorrow strike us or the ones we love. I’ve also come to accept that there is no time limit or one-step method to deal with this process. We all process grief or loss in our own unique ways and I don’t necessarily believe there will ever be a one size fits all method to deal with it. Oftentimes, we don’t know what to do with loss– how to work through it. And so we let it sit with us and cloud our vision and burden our hearts. But deep down what…

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