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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Avoiding Depression Caused By Social Media.

New research suggests that comparing yourself with others on Facebook is more likely to lead to feelings of depression than making social comparisons offline. The finding comes from new research on the relationship between social networking and depression. In the review, Lancaster University researchers David Baker and Dr Guillermo Perez Algorta, examined a host of studies on the topic. The international review evaluated research articles from 14 countries including 35,000 participants aged between 15 and 88. Amazingly, 1.8 billion people participate in online social networking sites worldwide, with Facebook alone having more than one billion active users. Concerns over the effect on…

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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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Study: Vast Majority Of People Who Are Depressed Do Not Seek Help

“I lost more than 80 percent of my university friends,” recalls Jagannath Lamichhane. After silently struggling with depression for two decades, Lamichhane published an essay in Nepal Times about his mental illness. “I could have hid my problem — like millions of people around the world,” he says, but “if we hide our mental health, it may remain a problem forever.” Many of his friends and family didn’t agree with that logic. In Nepal — as in most parts of the world — there’s quite a lot of stigma around mental illness. That was eight years ago. Now 35-year-old Lamichhane is a mental health…

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The Aftermath of Bell Let’s Talk.

I think this is an insightful perspective into the impact Bell Let’s Talk day has on the mental health movement. I have to admit it is one of my favourite days on social media, it’s incredibly inspiring to see so many people open up for the first time and share their experiences or words of positive encouragement for those going through mental illness. However, it’s also incredibly sad and frustrating at the same time to see so many people suffering in silence and unable to find the resources they need to lead a meaningful life. Mental health treatment is expensive.…

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Spotting Addiction.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A former Ohio State University football player whose NFL career fell apart because of a painkiller addiction says he wants to become a college coach and help others avoid similar pitfalls now that he’s clean and has a degree. Shane Olivea told The Columbus Dispatch he was high every day following his rookie year with the San Diego Chargers. “At my height on Vicodin, I would take 125 a day,” said Olivea, who was briefly a Giant in 2008. “It got to the point I would take a pile of 15 Vicodin and would have to take them with…

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The First Steps.

To be honest, it’s crazy to think about how far my mental health journey has taken me over the past 4 years that i’ve been able to share my experiences. It hasn’t been an easy 4 years and I realize this is going to be a life-long journey in how I learn to manage, adapt, and cope with my depression and anxiety. It’s not easy being a student on top of everything. The amount of stress that is placed on me at times is incredible when it comes time to balance work, nursing school, finishing my master’s, community service, and…

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Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas to those celebrating today and Happy Holidays to those who celebrate other awesome holidays. The holidays can bring about things such as stress and depression for some individuals due to the cheeriness, business, and demands that come along with all the festivities. For others it can be reminders of loneliness, sadness, and grief. For those who may not have anywhere to go or anyone to confide in, know there are resources available to you. Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression (Mayo Clinic)  When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent…

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Big Bad Anxiety.

To be honest I never really understood what anxiety did to an individual until today. While out shopping I had one of the most embarrassing and scary moments of my life. I experienced a full on anxiety attack in the middle of the food court full of Christmas shoppers and other guests. I was all of a sudden flooded with overthinking recent events and thoughts of previous memories and slowly began to feel like I had tunnel vision in my eyes.I started to feel incredibly hot, constricted, and felt like my chest was tightening making it hard to breathe. Then I…

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Where To Get Help.

The holidays can be a tough time for many individuals struggling with various forms of mental illness. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868  all offer ways for getting help if you, or someone you know, is suffering from mental health issues. Don’t hold back and be afraid to reach out to get support.

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