Mental illness and mental health

 

    Mental illness, or also known as a mental disorder is a topic that has been getting more media coverage in the last decade, but when it comes to the solution and general knowledge the “invisible” problem of all mental illnesses we did not really come that far. The words that best describe the circumstances of why it is important to dispute about mental illness and mental health are the words from Director-General of WHO: “Mental health has been hidden behind a curtain of stigma and discrimination for too long. It is time to bring it out into the open.”  (2003:3)  This essay will, therefore, try to address the problem and break the stigma that surrounds mental illness by trying to present importance of mental health to our everyday lives.

   The biggest misunderstandings and stigma about mental illness are due to the fact that it is not a visible sickness, a person can have depression, anxiety etc. and on the first look seem healthy and well. That is, why when dealing with mental illnesses, we have to be extra cautious to actually recognize signs of particular disorders. The importance of this lays in prevention and a lot of it has to do with suicide prevention, especially if we are talking about depression. Suicide prevention sometimes has more to do with people surrounding the person than experts in the psychology field since quite often patients do not ask for help directly and this is where the education about mental illnesses is crucial and to know about it means to talk about it, without stigma.

    In this day and age, it seems that mental health comes as a low priority on everyone’s lists, but to lead a healthy life the concept of mental health needs to be taken into the equation as one of the key factors. The World Health Organization defined mental health as:  “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. ” (2003:7) They also stress the importance of levelling the scales between physical and mental scale, something that the world is not thinking about enough. Mental health affects the whole society, not only those who have it impaired and that is why awareness about this situation is needed and some actions should be taken immediately.

   On the topic of prevention and education, we can also talk about preventing mental illnesses altogether. For example, training teachers and parents to recognize potential problems has proven to be effective in prevention (WHO, 2003). Depression is one of the most common mental disorders, affecting around 340 million people all over the world (WHO, 2004) and solely for that reason educating about positive thinking and improving problem-solving skills can better a lot of lives, as well as save them.

    In conclusion, mental illness is a universal problem that has been surrounded by stigma and not treated as a proper illness, when compared to physical illnesses. Mental health is a key factor in leading a healthy life and promoting it needs to be a measure taken by public institutions like schools which will lead to breaking the stigma of mental illness.

 

References:

World Health Organization, Preventing Mental Disorders: Effective Interventions and Policy Options, Summary Report, (2004) France

World Health Organization, Investing in Mental Health, (2003) Nove Impressions, Switzerland

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Exam Anxiety – How to keep it down

I haven’t post a while, but I do have a good reason for that. I am currently in the stage of studying for my finals (and as of today I did half of my finals). That’s why I didn’t really have any new ideas or even time to do something on here, but I said to myself listen make the best of your situation. So I decided to write a post about how to keep down your anxiety during finals or any exam therefore. I hope this post will help you to deal with your anxiety the best you can.


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  • Breathe, breathe, breathe!

    I cannot stress how important it is to breathe in and out calmly. Not only it helps you stay calm it also prevents hyperventilating. If you are walking to the place you are taking your test do this for most of your walk, if not then before you start writing whatever is in front of you (before you take a look at tasks). It really helps you gather all those positive thoughts you have and push all negative voices hiding in your head.

  • Always wake up with 30 minutes to spare. 

    Take your time getting ready, do everything you have to do calmly like you have nowhere to go. Also you never know, a panic attack could happen and you cannot be late. It is a good time to have little extra time.

  • Prepare you clothes and bag the night before. 

    You should do this ahead because you are calm at this stage and have less chance to forget something you need. Besides you can prepare that favourite shirt you love that brings you luck and comfort, since that cannot be a bad thing to have.

  • Make a relaxing song playlist.
    This can also be good if you are walking to the place in combination with breathing exercises, but if you aren’t walking then you can listening to it whilst getting ready and doing your makeup. I find music very therapeutic in dealing with anxiety and stress, so much that when I had at least one panic attack a weak I couldn’t leave my house without headphones.

  • Stop and have a talk with yourself. 

    This can be done however you like, vocally our with your inner voice in your head. You can combine it with some other techniques or just literally sit down in your house before leaving and tell yourself you got this, you prepared for it and it is going to be alright. This way you also prevent that little mean voice in your head that is always saying how incompetent you are.

  • Don’t skip breakfast and a glass of water.
    It doesn’t take a genius to tell that hunger plus dehydration plus anxiety equals catastrophe. So please take good care of yourself and eat at least a chocolate bar to give you some energy to fight off the stress.

  • Try not to go to bed too late.
    I know a lot of people pull all nighters before exams and that could work for some people, but I do not recommend that to someone who has anxiety. It is hard enough, but with sleep deprivation it is even harder to stay calm. Try to get a few hours of sleep and maybe a nice, quick shower in the morning. It really works wonders.

That would be all I have to say folks. These things keep my anxiety down and help me to concentrate and give my best. If you have some of your tips please do write them down, so I and others can read them! Thank you for your attention once again.

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Cliff

There is a cliff. One that I walk by everyday. It is so near where I live and I usually pass by it with my little dog right beside me.

There is a cliff. One that is very high. It gives a spectacular view on the sea that I learned to cherish as a child.

There is that cliff. One that always stood there, since I remember. It didn’t change but I did.

There is that one cliff. That one which, when I walk by it, shows me how well I deal with my life.

You see on some days I childishly admire the view and on others I admire the fall.

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Messy thoughts

In what do trust?

Some people trust in God, some in their queen/king or whoever. Others trust in science, truth and facts. Some, on other hand, do not trust in anything or anyone. Were they born like that or were they burned enough times to know better than to trust? And were the people who trust in something born like that or is it just luck that they were able to live a good life or that they are more patient and prone to repeat the same thing expecting a better outcome.

As a guarded person, trust was always a very hard thing to me, which of course affected and still affects all my relationships. Personally, I find it very tough to trust in people, because they (or better said;  we) lie, cheat, make mistakes and usually look for something they (we) will benefit from.

Still, there is one big problem when it comes to not trusting. Is there love without trust, I wondered quite a lot. I came to a conclusion that love is a complicated emotion, it is a potion made of many different ingredients, trust is just one of them.

For me falling in love for the first time, really and fully was an adventure. It meant to let myself trust the person that I love, let myself be vulnerable and let myself be hurt. Now, imagine jumping over a huge hole that is so deep that you cannot see the end of it, nothing but just black void. Falling in love and trusting for me is like doing just that. Only blindfolded. Falling in love with you showed me how brave I really am and gave me an opportunity to learn you need to trust yourself first then give that trust to people around you that deserved it the most.

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Anxiety and Panic Attacks

The next text you will read is going to a post that I did for Italian Hurricane back in July! It was a part of her guest posts in Psycho Tuesday. The reason I decided on posting this on my own blog is that I personally think that it is helpful and I want more people to read it, because I wish I knew these things before my panic attacks and anxiety started.


Today I am here to raise awareness. As a person who has anxiety (not normal anxiety you get before tests, speaking in front of people etc.) and panic attack, I strongly feel that we should talk about these things, explain it, learn it and UNDERSTAND IT.

I am 16 (and a half, but who cares about that) and I had my first panic attack when I was about 12. I don’t remember the exact incident because in that period of my life I had at least two panic attack per week. I was scared because I didn’t know what was happening. The feeling of high level anxiety would come rushing through me, climbing up my body from my toes to my head. My heart started to pound so fast I thought it was going to jump out of my skin, I was shaking, my hands numb. And all of that happened to me while I was making my bed which is not something you normally feel anxious about.

Over the course of next few years I had panic attacks in a lot of situations, and my anxiety would get so high that I would shake. Sadly, those things have had affected the way I live. As a dancer I had a lot of performances and I was, let’s say fine, with public watching what I do, but now just walking across a hall full of people, or being in a small drugstore is a problem sometimes. It’s the simple things that are a bit difficult, but you know what – I learned. I learned how to make my panic attacks easier, I learned how to deal with anxiety in public, and the most important thing I learned how to talk to people about it.  Not just about my anxiety and panic attack, but I learned how to take my problems and experience with it and use it to help others with same problems, who might haven’t understood everything.

So today I am going to give you a few tips about surviving panic attacks and anxiety that have helped me. If you don’t have them you can simply use these tips by having them in mind when you are helping someone with them.

1. You are not alone. Not even when you don’t have anyone by your side, someone is always just a phone call away.

2. Learn what makes you feel at peace. For me that is some music blasting through my headphones, or someone talking about places thy have travelled to.

3. It useful to learn some breathing exercises or even how to do yoga. Meditation is awesome.

4. You are most definitely not making any of your friends in your presence embarrassed. They are there because they care about you and because they want to help.

5. When you feel you are going to have an attack prepare yourself mentally for it. Don’t start to panick about having it, try to convince yourself that you got this and you can get through this, because you can!

6. It is a good idea to tell people you are close with about your panic attacks and/or anxiety and also tell them what they can do to help you, just in case.

7. You should not be embarrassed about this. Own it and talk about it and it might help you and others in the future.

8. Keep in mind that what you are feeling won’t last forever. Panic attacks usually never last longer than 30 minutes, even though mine are mostly 5 minutes.

9. I know it can be scary to go to a crowded space, especially if you have social anxiety, but at least try to do it, and give the best you can.

10. Be open to accepting help. This step is usually really hard for me because whenever I need help I put my guard up and don’t let anyone in. I have to realize that asking for help is braver than denying you need it.

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SO GOOD BYE FOR NOW, MY FRIENDS (if anyone is even reading)