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.

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!

PTSD in Children and Teens

We talk about PTSD in adult quite frequently in this blog, but adults aren’t the only ones who can suffer. Children and teens can develop PTSD after a traumatic event too, but they might show different symptoms.

 

So how can you tell if your child has PTSD? There are various signs to look out for.

 

If your child is between 5 and 12 years old, you might notice them behaving differently. They might start reenacting the event through play. For example, if they witnessed a shooting, they might be drawn more to shooting games. They might also start avoiding certain things if they see a pattern of events. This because the child thinks that they can predict when another bad thing is about to happen, based on things that happened before the traumatic event.

 

If your child is between the age of 12 and 18, they might begin acting impulsively and aggressively. You might think this is typical teenage behavior, but don’t be fooled. The older they are, the more similar their symptoms will be to those of adults with PTSD, but don’t overlook their impulsivity and more aggressive behaviors.

 

If the family has gone through trauma, it’s always a good idea to get the entire family into therapy. If you know or even think your child has gone through some trauma, it’s always best to get them into therapy too, even if you’re unsure of what caused their odd behavior. It’s important to catch PTSD early on in childhood and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Edna Foa – a Huge Influencer on the Treatment of PTSD

When you think of who would be the most influential in this world, who do you think of? Maybe it’s one of the presidents, a celebrity, or even a well-known scientist. Time Magazine has composed a list of the Top 100 Influential people in the world, and while it does include those kinds of people, it also has one name that you might not expect. Her name is Edna Foa.

 

Edna Foa, MD, is a huge influence in the world of mental health and PTSD, and she has been a  big success in finding ways to help those that struggle with trauma. So much so that she’s earned a spot in the list of 100 most influential people in the world.

 

If you suffer from any mental illness, especially PTSD, you should know her name for how much she has given us. She first began by studying post-rape trauma. It was a good field to be in, and there was a lot to learn there. In 2000 though, when she when on sabbatical with her husband, was when she really found her calling. They went to Israel, and just 5 days after getting there, the second intifadeh began. This encouraged Foa to begin focusing on combat-related PTSD.

 

Edna Foa then came to create a form of therapy called Prolonged Exposure, or PE, and the results of this technique were incredible. They just couldn’t be ignored.

 

PE therapy works by first figuring out what thoughts and situations trigger the PTSD patient. Then, the patient is slowly exposed to their fears so that they can work on overcoming them. This starts out by first dragging up the memories that the person carries, and going through them bit by bit and unraveling everything that’s beneath the surface. Once this is done, they eventually begin to face their fears by being physically exposed to them. These fear can be certain places and even specific circumstances.

 

The results of this treatment just couldn’t be overlooked, and PTSD sufferers usually felt better within just 12 weeks. No other form of treatment seemed to be this effective. PE has made a hugely positive impact on the way that we now treat PTSD, and more and more people are able to get the relief that they need from it. Even the military has picked it up and uses it to treat combat-related PTSD, those that have suffered in war and battle.

 

If you’d like to know more about Edna Foa and what she has done for the treatment of PTSD and other mental health issues, she has many published books and articles that you can check out. A great one is “PTSD: Treatment Efficacy and Future Directions”  for Psychiatric Times. She has truly made a big difference in this world, and it has earned her a spot on the list of Top 100 influencers in the world. PTSD is a serious illness to have to battle, but healing is more possible than ever thanks to people like Edna Foa.

 

Are Narcissists Incurable?

Are narcissists incurable? It’s a question that man of us must ask ourselves when faced with the dilemma of having a loved one in our lives who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It’s a question that we may not actually want the answer to, because it’s more complicated than it seems. So what is it that makes a narcissist seem so incurable? Lack of reasoning and feeling, plus the distortion of memories are all factors.

 

Lack of Reasoning – In order for someone to receive help and benefit from it, the person must first realize that there is a problem to be dealt with. If you think you have everything under control, you don’t need help. This is the mindset of the narcissist. They always believe that they are superior and better than everyone else, therefore, it must be everyone else who has a problem. When finally confronted with the issue at hand, they will still most likely refuse that anything is wrong, and this is because they lack reasoning. They are unable to see past their own ego and look at the logic of everything before them.

 

Lack of Feeling – Secondly, narcissists lack a lot of feelings. Even if they are able to realize that they are the problem, they probably won’t feel any guilt or remorse for it. They don’t care that they are causing problems for other people because the narcissist isn’t the one getting hurt. They don’t feel empathy for others, and this issue alone can stop them from ever being cured.

 

Distorted Memories – Thirdly, narcissists can have distorted memories. This means that their memory can be changed in their mind so that it was them that was victimized. The narcissist always thinks of themselves, so much so that they begin to distort the memory in their mind to make it seem as though it was actually the other person who was attacking them instead. This is also due, in part, to their lack of the ability to properly reason. This is a serious thing because it can, in the narcissist’s mind, reinforce the idea that the narcissist did nothing wrong. They truly believe they are innocent in all matters because that is what their memory tells them. How can a narcissist begin to get help for what they have done if they don’t even remember what happened? The narcissist will think “What? I didn’t really say that. I would have remembered it if I had.” But their memory has blocked out the bad parts about themselves so that they can continue on living in a distorted bliss and hurting everyone in their path.

 

These are the qualities of the narcissist that make them seem completely incurable. In order for them to make the much needed changes, they will have to face these facts and come to terms with them. In order to do that, they will need to have a deep trust in the people that are willing to help them, if the narcissist can ever accept that they need help.

Are Narcissists Capable of Feeling Empathy?

If you’ve ever had to deal with a narcissist, you know that they are very good at manipulating you and putting on a show for others. Everything always has to be about them, and it seems as though they never care about you or anyone else. The problem is that for those that suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), they tend to lack empathy. But can they help this? Is there hope for narcissists to be able to relate and feel empathetic towards others? The answer might have to do with their level of NPD.

 

Just like all mental health disorders, the severity of narcissism can vary. For those that have been clinically diagnosed with NPD, they are more likely to be volatile and unpredictable and refuse to see the problems and seek help. Subclinical NPD, on the other hand, can be much more manageable. This type is more common, and many with subclinical NPD even go on to live normal, successful lives.

 

In various studies involving subclinical narcissists, it was made clear that these narcissists didn’t show empathy when exposed to a saddening story – such as a harsh breakup or domestic abuse – while non-narcissists did.

 

Except! – when the narcissists were prompted with a comment such as “imagine how they feel in this situation,” or “put yourself in their shoes.” When subtly ask to do these things, the reaction of the narcissists changed.

 

When the non-narcissists were prompted with the same comments, they didn’t react because they were naturally inclined to put themselves in the other person’s shoes in the first place. This did not come naturally to the narcissists, but when prompted, they were capable of doing so.

 

This shows that, at least for those with subclinical narcissism, there is hope that they can learn to feel empathy towards others. We can see that this is especially true because our bodies physically respond to feeling empathetic as well. Your heart rate changes and increases when you feel empathy for another person.

 

During the studies and experiments with the non-narcissists and subclinical narcissists, we might’ve expected the empathetic responses from the narcissists to only be external, as narcissists have a tendency to be manipulative and say what they think others want to hear in order to reap the benefits. But monitoring heartrate disproved this, and we could see that what they were feeling was true and honest empathy for the people in the sad stories.

 

So the answer is yes – many narcissists are able to feel empathy. They just might need some help to get there. Giving them support and encouragement can go a long way in helping them learn to recognize when they should be empathetic, but the first step is for them to realize that they need to work on things and be willing to receive the help they need. A great option is to get therapy, as a therapist is going to be more experienced with narcissistic behavior, and know the right way to approach the entire situation.

PTSD In Partnerships

Dealing with PTSD can be really difficult, but not just for the one with the diagnosis. If one person has it, it can cause friends and family to struggle too – just in a different way. If you are dating someone who has PTSD, you know that it can cause some tension in the relationship. This is especially true for people who suffer from Complex PTSD.

 

Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)  is very similar to normal PTSD, except the victim is unable to escape the stressful environment that is causing it. With time, people that suffer from normal PTSD can learn to cope with the event in the past and overcome the fears that arose from it. But with C-PTSD, there is no break from the event to give the sufferer any relief or time to heal.

 

Your partner having PTSD could be something you’re just now finding out about as you go further into the relationship. This can be upsetting and hard to deal with, especially if you feel that it is something that they have tried to keep from you. But remember that them admitting their weaknesses to you is a big sign of trust from them, regardless of how long it took them to come to you about it. For those that suffer from PTSD, problems like trust issues, anxiety, and paranoia are all part of the disorder, so the thing that they need most from you is your loving support and understanding.

 

The PTSD diagnosis could have also been given to your significant other during your relationship. If this is the case, remember that this is all scary, if not scarier, news for the sufferer than it is for you. Go to them with open arms, but also remember to give them the space they need too.

 

PTSD can be the root cause of many relationship problems, as it can make the sufferer feel less understood, which can fuel unnecessary arguments. Many PTSD sufferers also experience emotional outbursts, as they are unable to keep their emotions in check. Sometimes, these bursts are taken out on the person nearest to them. That person tends to be their significant other, which can cause even more fights. More fights can mean more time apart and even isolation from each other, causing a downfall in the relationship.

 

At least with normal PTSD, there is some hope that by getting proper treatment, the relationship can be restored and the two of you can go back to being normal and happy again. But when your partner suffers from C-PTSD, it can feel as though there isn’t an end in sight. Your partner likely feels hopeless and worthless, and understanding this can go a long way in keeping a relationship alive. Try to practice open communication, and always be there to offer support and motivation. Encourage them to seek help, and maybe even try couple’s therapy if you feel that things are just getting to be too much. Remind them that the pain is only temporary, and whatever is causing their C-PTSD is bound to be put to an end eventually.