3 Ways You Can Improve Your Mental Health Right Now

Being diagnosed with a mental illness can be a lot to take in. But even if you don’t have a diagnosis, everyone goes through struggles and deals with high stress at times. Getting professional help and the right medications are sometimes necessary in order for you to get the relief that you need, but if you’re looking for a quick solution, there are a few things you can try. These tips won’t make your problems go away, and are certainly not intended to take the place of professional help. But they can help you improve your mental health little by little. Here are 3 ways that you can improve your mental health right now:

 

  1. Breathe

Have you begun to start breathing more heavily than normal? Maybe you’re even holding your breath without realizing it. You might not be able to control the things that are going on around you, but you can control your body and your breathing. Try some different breathing exercises such as inhaling and exhaling in beats of 4, as this will help you feel calmer and more in control.

 

  1. Think on the Bright Side

Look around you, think of all of the good things that could come out of the situation, and focus on that. You can also try repeating positive affirmations to yourself.

 

  1. Practice Self Care

The body and mind go hand in hand, so make sure you are taking care of yourself by eating healthy, getting lots of sleep, and practicing good hygiene.

 

These might all be minor ways to help with your mental health, but all of those little steps can add up and go a long way in making a difference in your life.

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3 Positive Affirmations to Get You Through Each Day

Life can get pretty hard sometimes, and while you can’t always change the events that occur in your life, you can change the way that you handle them. It’s a well-known fact that thinking more positively can actually improve your mood and even your mental health! With daily affirmations, you can rewire your brain, training yourself to think more positive, adding overall improvement your life just with your focused thoughts. Repeating positive affirmations to yourself can even help fight issues such as depression and anxiety, so I’m going to give you 3 positive affirmations to help you get through each day!

 

  1. Today is going to be a great day!

This is a great affirmation to start the day out with. When getting ready, smile at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that yes, no matter what gets thrown your way, today is going to be a great day. You get to decide how your day goes and you are deciding that it will go great!

 

  1. I can accomplish anything!

Everyone is faced with doubt at some point or another in their lives. Who doesn’t have a few doubts every now and then? But the key thing to remember is to not let those negative thoughts get to you. Brush them aside and replace them with positive affirmations instead! Don’t let yourself start thinking “I can’t do this” or “I can’t take anymore.” Turn those thoughts around immediately and tell yourself that you can do it and you can accomplish anything. That goes for things like getting out of bed, as well as things like working towards your career goals. This affirmation works for just about anything you want or need to do.

 

  1. I am enough.

There are going to be times that you feel hopeless and worthless. But you are enough. While it’s great to have big goals and try to achieve them, sometimes we all need a break. Don’t feel bad for taking a day off every now and then, and don’t let yourself start thinking that you’re not good enough for something or someone. Whenever you feel those negative thoughts creeping up again, stop them in their tracks by reminding yourself that you are enough right where you are and just as you are.

 

Feel free to also come up with your own affirmations to get you through each day. If you struggle with self-confidence, maybe try something along the lines of “I am beautiful just the way I am,” or whatever you feel works for you! If you just went through a break-up, consider telling yourself “I am strong, independent, and deserving of love.” The key is to choose affirmations that you feel are the best for you.

 

Just keep thinking positively and reminding yourself that you’ve got this! Having the right mindset will open up so many more great opportunities for you and even help you get through all of the bad stuff. Soon, you’ll be on your way to feeling better and accomplishing more than you ever imagined!

Could Mental Illness be the Cause of your Divorce?

We now live in a world where divorces are a common event, and unfortunately, it occurs more now than it ever has before. You might think that your divorce was only caused by falling out of love or some conflict between the two of you that could never be resolved, and while these are common causes for divorce, you might be interested to hear that it could have all been influenced by you or your partner’s mental health state.

 

At some point in our lives, we all face difficult times. Stress can cause lots of problems in all areas of your life, and that includes your marriage. It can bring on mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. Any one of those things can make you foggy-headed and irritable, making it more difficult to communicate the issues that you’re facing. When this happens, you might find yourself getting upset and arguing with your spouse more and more often. Regardless of whether it is you, your spouse, or both that is struggling, it’s no doubt that when stress levels are high, the tension between others grows more too.

 

Sometimes though, we later find out that the mental health issues were not caused by stress or trauma alone, but by a personality disorder such as narcissism or borderline personality disorder. Being married to someone with those kinds of mental health issues can be a real and constant challenge.

 

If you are the one suffering from any sort of mental health issues, the best thing to do is to try to get some professional help. It can be hard for your spouse to have to handle everything all on their own, and they shouldn’t have to.

 

If you are the one supporting a spouse that is struggling, just remember to be calm, patient, and understanding with them, but do not accept any sort of abuse. Your partner is likely going through some difficult stuff and could use all the support that they can get. Give them your shoulder to lean on, but don’t let them drag you down either.

 

If both of you are dealing with stressful situations or have experienced trauma together, you might want to consider getting couples therapy or marriage counseling. It can be difficult to be a support for someone else when you need lots of support too, and marriage counseling can go a long way in ensuring that there is proper communication going on about each other’s needs.

 

If you have suffered through a divorce that was caused by mental illness, regardless of whether it was you, them, or the both of you that were going through a rough time, just know that it is not your fault.

 

A lot of things can happen to you in this life that you have no control over. But you can control how you deal with it. There are a lot of things that you alone simply cannot fix, and it is important that you don’t dwell on those things. Instead, focus on yourself. Your only responsibility now is to focus on growing stronger and getting better. You are strong and capable of achieving anything you set your mind to!

Your PTSD Might Be More “Complex” Than You Thought…

Do you feel like you might be suffering from PTSD, but the events that have caused it still aren’t over? Are you still having to face the issue that is making your mental health decline? If so, you might have what is called Complex PTSD. Complex PTSD is what happens when a person can get no escape from whatever is causing their trauma. If you think this is you, then read more below to find out if you fit the symptoms.

 

Feeling Alone

Those that suffer from C-PTSD can have a really hard time trusting other people, and not being able to trust means not letting anyone in, and never actually being able to connect with others. This can also be fed by the victim feeling outcast for their differences. They can feel broken and useless, making them shy away from others and leading to aloneness.

 

Having Emotional Flashbacks

There are different kinds of flashbacks that people with PTSD can suffer from. One of them is emotional flashbacks, and this is where emotions from the past are triggered by something more minor. You might find yourself getting intensely emotional and overwhelmed for irrational reasons, and you can blame this on emotional flashbacks. This kind is the least understood of all flashbacks but is pretty common among those with C-PTSD.

 

Being hypervigilant

Hypervigilance is when you are extra aware of things and people. Many tend to scan a room upon entering it or sit with their backs against a wall. For those with C-PTSD, they can be hypervigilant about people. You might find yourself watching people for signs of lying or hurting you, such as watching their body language and movements, and their tone of voice.

 

Feeling Hopeless, Ashamed, and Depressed

When things seem like they’re never going to get better, it can bring on lots of feelings of hopelessness. Many even lose faith in their religious and spiritual beliefs. For physical and sexual abuse victims, they can be made to feel ashamed of who they are. They might feel dirty, disgusting, and worthless for how they’ve been treated. These kinds of thoughts can lead to depression and even suicidal tendencies if they continue.

 

Trying to Lean on Someone Else

When so much keeps going wrong, those with C-PTSD try to find relief by searching out someone to lean on. This desperations usually results in being in another toxic relationship that will cause even more trauma in the long run. For those that dealt with childhood trauma, they can have a hurt inner child, and this could mean seeking out a parent figure to take care of them.

 

Dissociating

When we are faced with never-ending trauma, sometimes the only way to be able to escape and cope with it all is to completely dissociate. A certain level of this is normal, and can even be healthy. But there comes a point when it can become very unhealthy and even turn into Dissociative Identity Disorder.

 

Staying Tense

Many people carry stress in their shoulders and necks, but for those dealing with C-PTSD, they carry it in their entire body. They can tense up and stay that way for long periods of time without even realizing it, waiting for the next attack to hit. This can cause unexplained muscle soreness.

 

There are a lot of symptoms that those with C-PTSD must face and deal with every day. Remember, there is hope for those that suffer, but it takes strength to get through. If you haven’t reached your happy ending, then it’s not the end yet.

The New Jersey Fire Massacre – How Holiday Stress Can Easily Get Out Of Hand

The holidays can be a stressful time of the year – you have finances, gift-buying, traveling, and family relationships to worry about. There’s a lot going on, and it can be difficult to get through. But you don’t expect people to fly off the handle and go on a killing spree.

Unfortunately, that seemed to be the case for the Caneiro Family, in New Jersey. Paul and Keith Caneiro were close brothers. They kept a close relationship, worked together, and even lived close by to each other. Being only 11 miles apart they could rely on each other for anything. But just two days before Thanksgiving, Paul murdered Keith and his entire family, then set the whole house on fire to cover it up. If that weren’t bad enough, he then went and set his own house on fire with his family in it to try to show that someone else had targeted and was out to get the Caneiro family.

This tragic event will leave survivors and bystanders struggling with PTSD, and you might ask yourself why someone would do something like this. But when we step back and look at the bigger picture, it reveals a struggle that’s much deeper than what we can see. The Caneiro brothers worked together, which leads us to believe that the reason behind this horrendous crime could have been related to financial stress and blame towards Keith. It was also right before the holidays, adding even more stress to the situation. Paul was unable to express or control his emotions and struggles, and ultimately, it got the best of him.

While a massacre like this is rare, struggling with day to day life isn’t, and there can be consequences when we don’t face what’s in front of us. As the holidays get closer, know that you’re not the only one having problems. It’s a difficult time of the year, but you’re not alone in it. While most people don’t actually desire to kill their loved ones, they can still get frustrated or irritated, and acting on those feelings can always make matters worse. So before you say something you’re going to regret, take a deep breath, recognize what you’re struggling with, and try to openly communicate it.

If you do lash out and snap at a loved one, don’t try to make up excuses or pretend it didn’t happen. When Paul tried to cover up what he had done, he made things so much worse by catching fire to everything around him, hurting even more people in the process, and earning him life in prison. Don’t let this happen to you. If you do or say something you didn’t mean, apologize and make sure you don’t do it again.

While it may seem like there is no end in sight for stressful situations, how you deal with them can make a huge difference. Don’t let the stress get the best of you during this holiday season. Acknowledge what you think and feel, and practice open communication. It’ll make all the difference.

Do You Qualify for Disability?

Battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious matter.  PTSD is a medical condition that can affect every aspect of your life, making it difficult to function in a normal and productive way.  Sometimes the symptoms become severe enough that you struggle to get out of bed, take care of yourself, or hold a job. When your PTSD is this bad you may become eligible for Social Security disability.  

 

Social Security disability is designed as a safety net for those who, through no fault of their own, are not able to work due to some sort of medical condition.  While it may be easy to see someone with a physical condition and understand why they struggle to find work, there are many people who struggle to make ends meet while they fight against real and severe mental and emotional disorders.  But, while PTSD can cause a real need for disability benefits, it can often be difficult to prove.

 

If you feel you may need the help of Social Security disability, it is important that you file as soon as possible. You can find information on the Social Security Administration website (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/apply.html) as well as an online application. But before you file, you should make sure you have all of your documentation in order.  Make sure you have spoken to your therapist and can document your severe PTSD symptoms. For most people, PTSD will fall under the Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders section of the Social Security Administration guidelines.  In order to qualify for disability in this section you will need to document the following:

 

12.06 Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders (see 12.00B5), satisfied by A and B, or A and C:

Medical documentation of the requirements of paragraph 1, 2, or 3:
Anxiety disorder, characterized by three or more of the following;
Restlessness;
Easily fatigued;
Difficulty concentrating;
Irritability;
Muscle tension; or
Sleep disturbance.
Panic disorder or agoraphobia, characterized by one or both:
Panic attacks followed by a persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences; or
Disproportionate fear or anxiety about at least two different situations (for example, using public transportation, being in a crowd, being in a line, being outside of your home, being in open spaces).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, characterized by one or both:
Involuntary, time-consuming preoccupation with intrusive, unwanted thoughts; or
Repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety.
AND

Extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning (see 12.00F):
Understand, remember, or apply information (see 12.00E1).
Interact with others (see 12.00E2).
Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace (see 12.00E3).
Adapt or manage oneself (see 12.00E4).
OR

Your mental disorder in this listing category is “serious and persistent;” that is, you have a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least 2 years, and there is evidence of both:
Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder (see 12.00G2b); and
Marginal adjustment, that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life (see 12.00G2c).

 

Once you have your documentation in order, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Disability is there for you as a way to live and survive with this debilitating disorder.

Struggling with Suicidal Thoughts During the Holidays

The holidays are here! Thanksgiving is behind us and now we get to spend the next month or more listening to Christmas carols and hearing about how great humanity is and how happy everyone should be.

 

Unfortunately, not everyone can feel so bright and bubbly. For many of us, this marks another special day alone. Another memory missed with our children or loved ones. The days are getting shorter, the nights longer, and we sit here thinking about all that we’ve lost – all that’s been taken from us. The happy music and promises of peace feel like a slap in the face when you’re dealing with abuse and alienation.  

 

For some of us, this will mean more days of sadness, depression, and anxiety. But for some, it can mean something even darker. It can be difficult to find a reason to go on. Suicide can sound like an easy way to end the pain.  

 

Crisis workers report that they see a dramatic increase in depression rates and people reaching out for help during the holidays, because of all the stress and loneliness. Those who are already prone to depression and suicidal thoughts – people like those who suffer from PTSD – are at an even higher risk.

 

No matter how bad things seem, suicide is not the answer. If you are having suicidal thoughts or feelings, STOP.  Remember, feelings – even these horrible feelings you have now – are temporary. They will go away and it will get better.  

 

Here are some action steps if you have any suicidal thoughts or feelings.

 

  • Promise not to do anything right now. As bad as it is, realize that suicide is permanent. Give yourself time to let the feelings pass.  Even if you just promise yourself a day or a week – don’t act in the moment.
  • Remember that suicide doesn’t stop the pain – it just transfers it to someone else. You may feel like you’re alone and there’s no one who cares, but they do. If you kill yourself, the pain and anguish you feel are just put onto them. Don’t put your loved ones through that.
  • Give yourself a safe space. If you feel like you’re starting to struggle, get rid of anything that could make it easier to commit suicide. Remove medicines, knives, guns, and anything else that could be harmful. Or go somewhere else where you feel safer. Sometimes a change of scenery can help anyway.
  • Most importantly, talk to someone. If you have a therapist, call them. If not, turn to your friends or family, let them help you. You can also call or text with a crisis hotline where they will talk you through what to do and how to face those feelings. But whatever you do, don’t try to handle it by yourself.  

Suicidal thoughts and feelings are very serious. Don’t wait until you start to act before you take steps to deal with them.  For more help, go to http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to a crisis counselor today.