THE MENTAL HEALTH REALNESS MOVEMENT IS COMING FOR YOUR CLOSET

Sure, buying a new pair of platform sneakers or bike shorts can give you a little hit of happiness in the moment. (Dopamine, I know what you’re up to.) But can fashion make a meaningful difference when it comes to improving mental well-being in the long term?

A small but growing contingent of brands are banking on it. While their aesthetics and missions are all a little different, each one draws on the lessons of the mental health realness movement—namely, they’re aiming to start a conversation around mental health concerns in order to normalize and destigmatize them.  more

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Electroshock therapy: How a new twist on an old method is helping a Triangle woman battle depression

One Triangle woman is crediting electroconvulsive therapy (shock therapy) for helping curb her depression.
Tiana, 19, said she suffered from depression for years after intense bullying in middle school.

“Because of all that bullying that happened in middle school, it took a lot for me to learn how to love myself,” she said.
She has an eye for fashion and makeup, but she said a mental breakdown left her at rock bottom.

That’s when she heard about electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Doctor Lawrence Dunn, of Holly Hill Hospital, said ECT is the best and quickest treatment for depression.
However, negative stereotypes of how the treatment was previously performed put it in a negative light.  more

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Teen opens dialogue on mental illnesses

The challenges presented by the prevalence of mental illness in society are numerous and complex. Victoria St. Jean, a senior at Pilgrim High School, is trying to make a difference by opening a door to conversation about the subject – from people who personally experience varying degrees of mental illnesses or disorders themselves.

“I think this is a topic that needs to be talked about more in society, because even though it’s 2019, with a lot of people it’s a touchy subject and they really don’t seem to want to talk about it,” St. Jean said. “It’s like any other disorder. Just because you can’t always see it on the outside, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter as much.”  more

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What Happens When You Mention Suicide in Therapy?

Mental health clinicians are trained to navigate discussions about self-harm.

The first time John came to my office for treatment, I asked him many questions about his background, his symptoms, his strengths, and his goals. And then I came to a standard question about suicide: “Have you been thinking you’d be better off dead or wishing you were dead?”

John hesitated, then replied, “No . . . Not really.”

“Not really?” I asked, sensing there was more to be said.

John looked away and sighed. He then explained that at his lowest points, he sometimes feels like maybe it’d be better if he were dead, and at times, he had wished he could go to sleep and never wake up. I spent some time assessing how serious the risk was that John might end his own life, and concluded that the risk was low. We made a plan for how John and I would monitor and manage his thoughts of suicide.  more

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Being Adopted Adds An Extra Layer To My Anxiety

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Following a long, harrowing job search after losing an even more soul-crushing job, I had finally landed my dream position. Yet, any time I saw co-workers having a conversation I wasn’t involved in, I was convinced it was about how they didn’t like my work, and I would lose my job again. I knew it was time to head back to therapy to address these irrational thoughts before they got out of hand, and I scored off the charts for GAD.

Like many others who receive unexpected mental health diagnoses, I wondered: am I “weak” — though, as I’ve learned, there’s nothing “weak” about needing support for mental illness — or is it just my genetic lottery? But as someone who’s adopted, I didn’t know “where” my mental health condition came from — or what may surface later in life.  more

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How to Know If Your Bad Mood Is Actually Depression

Four women share their depression journeys, including the specific symptoms that let them know they were dealing with a mental illness, not a rotten day.

You might know Ashley Wagner for her steely resolve on ice. The three-time U.S. national champion broke American figure skaters’ decade-long medal drought by taking silver at the 2016 world competition. But after failing to make the 2018 Olympic team, a “very severe depression” left her barely able to function day to day.

“At first I was just really disappointed in myself for letting one event in my life derail everything that I thought I knew was true about myself and how I saw my place in the world and how I felt about my own sense of worth and value,” the skater recalled in a recent Instagram video.  more

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Powerful essay about by being in the psych ward at age 14

Over at YR (formerly Youth Radio), Desmond Meagley wrote and illustrated a moving, sad, and ultimately hopeful personal story about being committed to the psych ward at age 14. From “5150’d: My Journey Through a Psych Ward“:

After I had a meltdown in the middle of my sixth grade class, my school gave my family an ultimatum: if I was going to be enrolled there, I also had to be in therapy. Just like that, my struggle to be heard was confined to dimly lit sessions with the school counselor and an outside therapist. I tried to be honest with them, but I was a little too young to grasp what was at the root of my mental health issues. I was also scared of what might happen if I was *too* honest.  more

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Veteran Traumas and how best to Help

After applying for DD214 online and receiving the document, it could be easy to think that the veteran has left everything to do with their service behind.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Many veterans suffer with mental illness after returning from duty and this affects everyone, including the service members and their families.

It is entirely possible that some people may not experience some of these symptoms until a few years after leaving the armed forces. They may also delay seeking help for several reasons, such as thinking that they can cope, fear of criticism or feeling that therapists will not understand.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is perhaps the most infamous mental health problem veterans face after returning from duty.  more

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The unexpected thing my psychiatrist did for my anxiety

During any given week I answer the phone no more than once — and I never make calls. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have this suffocating “phone anxiety” issue. It’s one of the more problematic ways my anxiety manifests itself, because phones are just an unavoidable part of life. Thankfully, most people are content with text messaging and email.

Still, some doctors are just stubborn, and they like their phones. But if I receive a call from my doctor’s office after 5 p.m., I know it is actually him calling — and I (try to) answer. That’s the only time though. Otherwise, it goes to voicemail — which I may or may not check.

During a particularly severe episode with depression (and suicidal thoughts), my psychiatrist asked, for at least the seventh time in a year, “What would it take to get you to see a therapist?” I laughed, because the question had become somewhat rhetorical.  more

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Against Their Will: Locked away in a mental hospital after voluntarily seeking help

An 11-year-old boy was locked in a mental hospital for a week after his mother took him there voluntarily seeking help. He’s not alone.

A note to viewers & readers

The accounts of people shared here should not dissuade individuals from getting mental health help. But, too often, experts say that for-profit, private facilities do not choose the “least restrictive appropriate setting” for therapy, as mandated by current law, and instead default to locking up people in more expensive inpatient care when it’s not necessary.
You can get help without getting locked up. Do your homework, and know your rights.

Imagine walking into a mental health facility voluntarily because you want help.

Then, the door locks behind you. You’re told you can’t leave. Stripped of your clothes, given a new bed. You have no idea when you’ll see your family again.

Now imagine you are 11 years old.  more

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