Archives for the month of: July, 2011

Mind Your Mental Health

Most people take mental health for granted. They walk around under complete control over their emotions for the most part. They have healthy relationships with friends and family. They enjoy their lives.

Sure, they have bad moods every once in a while. Work may stress them out and ruin their day. They could have fights with their spouse or their parents. And they may even have those Blue Mondays when nothing seems to lift their spirits.

On the other hand, people who don’t enjoy mental health experience a far different kind of life. They seem to not have control over their emotions, even their thoughts. Their relationships are constantly frazzled, or nonexistent. And every day seems like a Blue Monday.

These people face a challenge just to get out of bed and head to work. Facing a crowd of people at the bus stop or in the office can seem impossible. Thoughts of harming oneself or others may even cross their minds.

The Sad Stigma

Throughout history, people who suffer from poor mental health have been regarded with fear, anger, and even hatred. Depression has been seen as a weakness. Anxiety has been seen as an excuse. Schizophrenia has been seen as demonic possession in some cultures.

The sad truth is that mental illnesses such as these are just that—illnesses. The people who suffer them generally have no control over their behavior or their thoughts and their emotions.

In many cases, it’s an actual physical cause, such as chemical imbalances in their brain, that bring on the mental illness. These conditions, like heart disease or cancer risk, can be passed down in families from one generation to the next.

Thanks to brave doctors, researchers, and mental health patients, these truths are being spotlighting. Mental health sufferers no longer have to remain in hiding. They can seek treatment without fear of being stigmatized or institutionalized.

A Proactive Approach to Peace of Mind

Many of us may know a relative or friend who suffer from mental illness, but we may not think we need any help with mental health ourselves. Though we may not have the chemical imbalances that can lead to serious mental problems, we do face the day-to-day stresses that can harm our mental health in other ways.

Take anger for instance. In today’s results driven, hectic business world, we are faced with constant pressure to succeed, to outperform our neighbors, and to come out on top.

It may be gratifying to win. But all of this stress can have a side effect on our personality: anger. You may not even know you have anger issues at first. Just like the stress that caused it, the anger can build up inside you until it has taken over your personality.

Not you, you say? Ask yourself these questions before you are so sure. Have you been increasingly impatient and irritable, even with loved ones? Do you take unnecessary risks, like drinking excessively or doing drugs? If so, you may have anger issues that need to be worked through.

Of course, anger could be just one emotion that is at the heart of your emotional problems. You be sad or frustrated about an unlikely turn of events in your life. You could feel helpless in the face of crisis, or overly confounded by life changes, such as marriage or children.

Whatever the root of your problems, you need to unearth it. Be honest with yourself about the direction of your life. Are you happy with it? What makes you unhappy about it? What could frustrate you with your life? Or infuriate you?

Sometimes, people need professional help to get to the bottom of the mental health issues. But remember. Just because you visit a psychologist or a psychiatrist doesn’t necessarily mean you have a mental disorder.

One on one counseling, support groups, and doctors help all sorts of people—moms, dads, cousins, sisters, friends, and neighbors. You may only need to visit a therapist once. Or you may enjoy it enough to attend session for years.

No therapy at all may be for you. In that case, you could expand your emotional and mental health horizons by taking up your old hobby again. Burn off some steam at the track or in the gym. Or start writing a journal to vent some of your frustrations or anger. There are many ways to release stress and cope with negative emotions that are positive.

The Greatest Anti-Retirement Video of All Time
Gary North
Aug. 7, 2010

I have a department, Retirement. I have a forum on non-retirement. Here is the best case for non-retirement I have ever seen. It’s from Canada.

Interview with a Blackhawk pilot in Iraq

Female Pilots Apache Helicopter!!

Pepsi Max Commercial – Real men don’t cry!

– even if it keeps me from being loved!I

Previous: UNDER-Trusting

NOTE: It’s very important to remember we are not to blame for being deeply mistrustful of everyone. We have experienced many, many betrayals by the important people in our lives – whether by family, friends, spouse, school, church or government. Some or all of these betrayals are so extreme that we may never be able to forgive, regardless of what the ‘gurus’ tell us. This is not to deny the benefits of forgiveness – just that if we are not able to do it (yet) but believe we should, ‘or else’, we unfairly add to our self-hate & sense of failure.
• The point to this post is to make it clear how we perpetuate the patterns set down for us by our trauma (see CDs: INFO & the Brain) so we can stop beating ourselves up or feeling ashamed, & instead try out new internal beliefs & external actions

PATTERNS* of Mistrust
* All of these are being generated by the WIC in an attempt to protect us from further harm, but are totally unsuccessful, since they prevent us from getting the closeness & love we need. And all are forms of control – which is always based on trying to prevent being abandoned in P.M.E.S. ways

a. FAKE ME – we clearly got the message that who & what we were as a child was unacceptable to our parents. So as adults, when interacting with others, we try to ‘improve’ our personality by twisting ourselves unnaturally into something we think this present-day person or group is going to want
• We spend a lot of time trying to figure out “how I should feel”, “what I should wear”, “what I’m going to say”…… & never get it quite right, because it’s artificial. Of course, if we are being run by our WIC, we don’t know who we are or how to relate from a place of empowerment, so it is very hard to be healthy and safe at the same time

b. LABELING – some of us decide at the beginning of a relationship (potential friend or lover) what kind it’s going to be, without having enough information about the other person or giving it enough time to develop organically. We may think:
• “This is just going to be a friendship” • “This one is just for sex”
• “This one isn’t going to last” • “This is just casual”
• “This is permanent” • “This is the one I can’t live without”

Again, this is trying to control the outcome and be prepared for the inevitable abandonment we expect. Preconceived notions may –
– actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy of loss because we prevented it from growing into something positive
– shock us with unexpected results, if we have illusions about it
– severely disappoint all unrealistic expectations
– occasionally surprise us by turning into something better than hoped for

c. PARANOIA – because we were so often hurt as a child, we conclude that for the rest of our lives everyone will inevitably do us harm, sooner or later. So we assume the worst of everyone we meet, men & women, altho’ some of us may be more afraid of one gender than another, depending on which parent was crueler. This is our reaction even with people who have proven to consistently treat us well, making it hard to benefit from anyone who can be there for us – in healthy ways

d. MIND-READING – we’re always trying to figure out
– WHY they did or didn’t do something (“Why hasn’t he called me back?”, “Why did they leave?”…) because we think that if we can figure it out, we can fix ourselves so they won’t leave us, or so they’ll come back
– WHAT they are thinking in general, & specifically about us, so we know where we stand, what they want from us, how we should behave ……. Our co-dependence makes us assume that if they like us we‘re allowed to live, but if they disapprove or are angry at us we should be dead! & this happens over & over with each person, so we’re like emotional yo-yos

e. OVER-TRUSTING (recent post) – everyone tells us about themselves, subtly or not, yet we ignore all the unhealthy things we hear & experience in people we ‘need’, staying too long at the party & getting trampled! Then wonder why we can’t trust

f. BACK-DOOR – at the same time we build-in a defense strategy in relationships to manage our FoA by automatically looking for flaws in others, which we can use as an excuse to escape the minute we feel disappointed (they failed our test) – by not reading our mind, not rescuing us, not symbiosing with us…. It’s our ‘fear of commitment’, so we never quite have both feet firmly in the relationship, BUT then complain that we can’t connect / don’t feel close / aren’t valued….
• an extreme version of this is when we really do want to get out of a relationship but don’t have the right or the courage to do it directly — we create drama (fights, an affair, constantly pressuring them….), pushing the other person away in order to force them into doing the leaving. BUT then we feel abandoned & unloved – & angry!

g. TESTING – on the one hand we have created a set of rules for others to follow (no matter what kind of relationship), often unconsciously AND which we don’t tell the other person about. Our rules:
– are the good ways we wish we could be treated, but are not allowed to ask for directly or do for ourselves
– represent our demand that others be the good parents we didn’t have
– are the measuring stick we use so we can know what to expect – so we won’t be conned & to not feel so vulnerable
• Then we wait to see how many rules they fulfill or which ones they violate – & when they fail the test we can feel justified in our anger & disenchantment with them – & all of humanity!

h. The THIRD DEGREE – on the other hand, we may try to be safe by asking endless questions, probing to see what’s really going on, to see if the situation is safe, what do they like, want, need…..
NOTE: Information about who people are is legitimate & necessary – but here we’re talking about frantic, incessant interrogation because of not trusting or believing in our perceptions, or letting things unfold slowly

i. PREEMPTIVE STRIKES – verbally attack or threaten physical harm ahead of assumed danger, especially if someone has inadvertently pushed one of our old buttons, like accusing us wrongly or acting needy
Exp: One young woman threatened each new lover with bodily harm on the first date if he ever did or said anything to scare her
Exp: Another young woman reacted with great anger when a new boyfriend would innocently ask if she cooked. She’d spit out “I wouldn’t be caught dead cooking!”