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Lots of room

I’m supposed to write about “mental & emotinal health” (hence the blog name) and that leaves me lots of room to write. I could probably link anything to “mental & emotional health.” Let’s see how random this could get!

Apples: taste good, apple pie reminds me of Christmas, which does have happy memories for me
Books: cause stress if you buy too many, relaxes me before bedtime (can’t sleep unless I read a bit before sleeping), used as a teaching tool; school can cause stress
Cameras: want a new one, stressing about cost vs. productivity using a film SLR, want a digital SLR badly but the cost scares me shitless, love to take photographs so it relaxes me, makes me a happy woman
Doughnuts: food … mmm … tasty … improves mental AND emotional health when eating. Physical health? Now that’s a different story!
Easter: never been a fan of … don’t much care for ham; stresses me out to celebrate a holiday I don’t believe in
Fargo: this movie confuses me … my family is from Minnesota so I laugh when I hear all the soft “o”’s, but I just don’t get the movie. Should movies make you stressed about figuring them out?
Gould: my last name causes some emotional issues … I don’t want my maiden name back … but feel kinda strange keeping Neener’s last name because I’m not married to him anymore, maybe I should make up my own last name?
Help: I’ve asked for help … for my mental & emotional health! Yay for getting professional help! Love that Scuba Steve!
Igloos: snow brings on my Raynaud’s disease and while I like to ski in it (movement keeps the Raynaud’s at bay), I couldn’t imagine living in an igloo!
Jack-in-the-boxes: scare the bejeezus out of me, intense stress … never liked these things!
Kleptomania: absolutely releases endorphins when you enjoy it … stresses you out if you’re with someone who does it and you don’t like it.
Love: eating enough chocolate creates the same feeling as being in love, no wonder women enjoy chocolate so much! Maybe I need to think about this more often … just eat more chocolate!
Middle: this is the middle of the alphabet … middle children are in a unique position … they are continually “forgotten” about (unlike the firstborn and the youngest) and struggle to keep themselves in the limelight. Oftentimes middle children will be the ones who act out in order to get the attention their siblings are receiving.

I’ll be back to update N-Z’s “mental & emotional health” issues!

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HIV/AIDS & Depression

I am applying for graduate school for the September 2007 for a Master’s in public health. Eventually I’d like to do international HIV & AIDS education, and the social/psychological side of how HIV & AIDS affects sufferers – especially women, as we are still the fastest growing demographic to contract HIV.

Some of the main symptoms of depression, according to the NIMH include the following:

  • persistant sad, anxious or “empty” moods
  • feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplesness
  • loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies & activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • appetite and/or weight changes
  • thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • restlessness, irritability

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in three persons living with HIV also suffers from depression. This means, that since 1981, as many as 300,000 (of the 900,000) of those with HIV deal with depression. Not only is depression a mental illness, it has been shown that depression in an HIV patient can also inhibit their body’s ability to fight off the virus, leaving the patient more susceptible to AIDS.

Generally, anti-depressants do not interfere with HIV anti-virals or AIDS medications, however, St. John’s wort does. The NIMH writes that St. John’s wort “reduces blood levels of the protease inhibitor indinavir and probably the other protease inhibiting drugs as well.” HIV/AIDS patients should first check with their physicians before experimenting with both prescription & non-prescription drugs.

Remember that depression is treatable. There may be no cure for HIV/AIDS or a “cure” for depression, but both illnesses can be treated and managed. If you think you may have been exposed to the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) or think you may be depressed, please seek the advice of your doctors.

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Change

I’ve always been a fan of change. I change my clothes at least once a day, I change my toothpaste pretty much every time I buy a new tube, I change my hair three or four times a year, I change the color of pen I use (at work) at least a dozen times a day. (I should keep track of how many colors I use!) These changes are easy to deal with because they are my own choices. However, I don’t get to “pick” the change, the sudden switch can be traumatizing for me. I’d much rather be able to change by my own choice.

Change can be both a positive and negative experience; however, it’s ultimately what you make of it. No one can make you feel a certain way about a new (or old) situation. It is all in your head … pretty much. You can hear someone call you a bitch, and you can either feel empowered because bitches get things done, or you can be upset because men don’t marry bitches. You can take words, because they are just words, any way you want – and you can alter change (change change?) to fit you the same way.

The UC Davis website has a great essay written on how to cope with the stress of change if you are interested. I agree with each of the things they write, and although the article is over decade old, everything they have to say can still be applied to your life. If you’re going through a change, check it out and let me know what you think!

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New Books

I just ordered some new books from Amazon and they are supposed to get here tomorrow. I am looking forward to working through them, in hopes of finding the base of my issues; and I have issues. These are both books that I have been recommended by Scuba Steve and other friends who live with depression and anxiety. One they arrive I will write more about how it is working through them.

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, Fourth Edition by Edmund J. Bourne excites me because I’m a dork an enjoy doing actual workbooks. Have any of you used this book? Anyone ever heard anything great about it? I’d love to have feedback before I open the box tomorrow. 🙂

I also got The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Mary Beth Williams, Soili Poijula upon recommendation from Scuba Steve. I was diagnosed with PTSD about a year ago and I’ve done a lot of reading about it since then. This book has been recommended by more than just this psychiatrist, and I am really hoping that this book shows me a lot about myself.

The next few books I get will be about intimacy issues. Scuba Steve wants me to look at my intimacy issues myself before he and I try to delve into them, so we’ll see how that goes. Do any of you have suggestions on a book you, or someone you know, has used to help wade through the fear of intimacy? I’d be up for opinions!

Then I shall review them; to share my opinions and encourage you all to learn more about yourselves any way that you can!

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Forever and Ever?

I have a hard time going to wedding now-a-days. Now that my wedding has failed me, I have a hard time being in a purely celebratory mood while at weddings. I occupy myself shooting photographs to add to the couple’s gift, but once I’m “done” taking pictures, I’m spent and have to physically control myself from throwing up or crying. Weena’s brother Kwan got married today. I lived with Kwan’s wife Lamb my sophomore year of college, and while we didn’t exactly get along, we’ve gotten over any hard feelings we had. I wanted, so badly, to be thrilled for them while they said their vows and kissed the bride, but I couldn’t.

The minister spoke of what love really is (Biblically), and I couldn’t keep myself together. All of a sudden my nose practically exploded in my lap and snot was everywhere. It was sad. What she explained love as was never what I thought love was. That made me cry. I wasn’t crying becuase I was joyous of their marriage, I was crying because my marriage, although similar words were spoken, failed. My heart would break all over again if Kwan and Lamb weren’t able to make their marriage work. If their marriage doesn’t work, there is no hope for anyone; and that would be depressing.

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Eating Disorders

Eating disorders afflict millions of people in the United States. Thousands of these individuals will die from them each year. It may seem to be a funny obession when we hear kids talk about “losing ALL my weight” or “eating like a bird”, etc. Like any other addiction, eating disorders multiply like mushrooms in the secrecy of the dark. Those places can be in the bathroom, in the bedroom, in the kitchen after everyone else has gone to bed, etc.

Parents must be alert to the first warning signs of any eating disorder. Here are the four eating disorders that we are going to be discussing:

  • Anorexia,
  • Bulimia,
  • Binge Eating Disorder,
  • Compulsive Overeating.

I am not going to go into detail on any of these in this particular blog because there is far too much to discuss. This initial information is general in nature but vital for your bank of information.

You may be a parent who is seeing the signs of one of these eating disorders in your daughter. Girls are more vulernable to the eating disorders but an increasing amount of men are joining their ranks currently.

You may be a friend who knows someone at the office or just on a friend basis who has one of these secret eating problems. There is a lot of information to be had and dependent on how severe or how advanced the disorder is, there is help. Sometimes with encouragement and information an individual can turn his or her situation around. More times than not, however, professional help is required. There are facilities where help is available and these eating disorders can be reversed. Lives can be saved, but time’s a-wasting so let’s talk.

Anorexia and Bulimia are classified as starvation eating disorders. Binge Eating Disorder and Compulsive Overeating are referred to as excessive eating disorders. Studies have shown that both groups of individuals have an emotional link that is missing. It may be missing from childhood or from the teen years. For girls, the most influential parent figure is a dad. Many times there was an excessive amount of criticism and ridicule from a dad that left a girl feeling unloved, not-good-enough, and dispondent. Unfortunately, this lack of emotional acceptance followed this dear girl as she slipped into further and further into eating disorders.

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Levels of Mental Health

When I first started writing on this series, I was thinking of mental health vs. mental sickness. To me, health is feeling good, strong, and energetic. The other side to that is sickness. However, I’m finding out that everything that has to do with health or sickness is referred to as “health”. He has “bad health.” She has “good health.” It’s all referred to as health. Also, those with mental sickness may think that they have good health because they’ve never known anything else so it is normal to them.

Next on this blog, I’m going to take various mental illnesses or mental conditions and explain them and maybe contrast them to good mental health vs. poor mental health.

There are many conditions and levels of health and sickness. I would think that everyone would like to feel strong and healthy rather than sickly and weak. As you read about these conditions, and perhaps even have experienced some of them, make a decision what level of health you want.

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Mental and Emotional, What?

Health, Brother and Sister, it’s Health!!! I know that it seems that there is more sickness that health today but I want to show you that there is a way to have mental and emotional health. So in order to understand what mental and emotional health is, I believe we need to look at some mental and emotional disorders.

So since I believe that we need to look at these disorders, I did a google search and found a website with 46 Emotional and Mental Disorders. WOW!! sounds like we are going to be together for quite awhile if we’re going to discuss all those. I am going to list a few of these below and if I do not discuss one of the disorders that you are interested in, you can send me a comment asking to discuss it.

  • Agoraphobia
  • Antisocial Behavior
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Explosive Behavior
  • Grief and Loss
  • Sleepwalking
  • Obsession and Compulsion
  • Panic Attacks
  • Paranoia

These are going to be some of the disorders that we are going to discuss. Let’s look a bit more at health. People, children, teen, and adults, with good stable emotional health are in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. included in this behavior is an individual feeling good about themselves and having good relationships with peers, with co-workers and people who have even hurt them. They manage problems by keeping them in perspective.

A little side bar — people with emotional health do have emotional problems or illness at times. However, emotionally health people keep their focus on coming out the other side.

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Don’t Be So Emotional!

I bet you’re smiling now, right? I’m sure you heard this from a co-worker, your husband, your boyfriend or whoever else is close to you. For some reason people think that we are to be stoical and a little bit happy or a little bit sad or a little bit anger.

Guess what? I’m giving you a lightbulb moment — “GET EMOTIONAL!” If someone hurt you or you were disappointed, cry, cry hard. You will feel so much better afterwards. Cry is a passage to emotional health.

Who has hurt you in the past? Have you ever cried about it? I hope so because healing has taken place. Today, are you sad? Did someone offend you? Did your sister or brother wrongly accuse and thus reject you? If you covered it up and said, “Oh, it’s ok, I’ll just forget it,” then your emotions are bruised and not as healthy as they could be.

“Be emotional!” This goes for men and women alike and I can just see you men out there say, “No way, I’m the man. I wouldn’t cry for anything or get emotional. That’s the very thing I tell my wife not to do.” Well, maybe she’s been right all along.

So what is emotional health? “…the ability to express all emotions appropriately.” If we break the word down, it is “e-motion”, implies motion or change. Emotional health is not simply the lack of emotional dysregulation or psychiatric disorders. Emotional health is not just the absence of negative emotions.

We are dialoging about mental and emotional health here but health is a compartmental issue. “Optimal health is defined as a balance of physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health.” (healthpromotionjournal.com). All of these aspects have a bearing on the whole man or the whole woman.

Be emotional!

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What Is “Mental”?

Has anyone said to you recent, “Are you mental, or what?” They were probably referring to some of your crazy behavior. I looked up a definition of “mental” and it was not defined alone. Either it is mental health or mental disorder, mental math or mental impairment, mental illness or mental health professionals…yes, they’ve got a doctor for the “mental” situation.

However, mental refers to an individual’s cognitive and emotional capabilities. Now isn’t that funny! I thought that I was going to be writing about 2 different things “Mental Health” and “Emotional Health” It looks like they are tied very closely together. So is “mental” your mind or your brain or is it more of a certain state of being?

Well, we will be having a dialog on all the ins and outs of the topic of Mental and Emotional Health and the illnesses connected with these two concepts. We’re not just talking about “being mental” or “being non-mental.” We’re talking about Mental Health or Mental Sickness.

Then there is “Emotional Health”. There again, “emotional” is NOT defined. Emotional health, illness, intelligence, etc. is defined. Emotions are feelings. They may be happy feelings or sad feelings, peace feelings or feelings of fear. All are emotions and all are OK. Sometimes we need to feel the emotion of anger. Tomorrow we may need to feel the emotion of joy. We need all the emotions to be whole healthy people.

Mental health problems can be the outcome of many different kinds of experiences such as chronic illness and experiences that undermine an individual’s self confidence. So, now that we have this “baby on the road”, let’s start talking.

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