Saturday, December 17, 2016

Recognize Your Ego and 'Wake Up'

No matter how many words I write or how much philosophical pondering I do, I always come back to the same conclusions.  One of these conclusions is that basic human values hold the utmost importance to good mental health.   Without a core foundation to base our lives and purpose upon, we tend to submit to the chaos that our minds create for us.

Basic human values are the grounding force that keeps us balanced and at peace.   Living in a world filled with chaos is keeping us all off balance, and our basic human values become fragile.  When so much of what we see in society goes against our core beliefs, it is difficult to not walk around in confusion most of the time.  We don't see the confusion but it is being created in all of our minds each and every day.

Anything that pulls us off balance mentally is likely something that is going against the grain of our innermost value systems.   We see things all day long that we question with our own beliefs, without even knowing that we are doing it.  And let me tell you, these things add up to an overly confused mind that causes more and more fatigue and turmoil within us each day.  

Depending on your personal perception of the world, when people see swear words, porn, murders and other things that their value system tells us are wrong, we are bothered by what we are seeing, yet we ignore the majority of these things because there is just so many of them facing us.  If we have a fragile value system we may begin questioning our own morals without even knowing we are doing it.

Our ego thrives and grows with the rise of social media, and has us questioning our innermost values, causing ethical dilemmas and cognitive dissonance.  The people who like the world the way it is and are enjoying the way that society has become have given into their egos, and are controlled by it.  Those who are struggling right now to come to grips with the evils surrounding us are likely starting to recognize their ego for what it is.

Finding and following a set of core values and beliefs can be difficult, but we must assume that there is some standard set of 'human' rules which we are to follow.  The 'ego' is evolving for everyone, and while some will awaken to a greater understanding in the future, many will never be able to overcome their ego.  

Here is my theory on the evolutionary awakening and hopefully it will offer some indication of why there are so many mental health issues plaguing our planet.  Think of this stage as the last mile of a marathon.  Twenty six miles is long arduous run, but the last mile is the most difficult, and the most rewarding.  The hard part for us right now is that we can not see the finish line, and this leaves nothing to hope for.

Our egos need to evolve in order to bring humanity and civility back to the world, before we destroy our own existence.  Going through this stage has put us in a constant state of flux, and there is no place to find solid ground much of the time.  Many religious texts have predicted this change that is currently happening because it is inevitable.  This is a time of much confusion, but I believe that we are in the last mile of the race, and many of us will persevere.

If you are struggling with overwhelming thoughts and feelings right now it is because you are trying to get to know yourself better, and you are trying identify who you are, and what your purpose is.  Learn to recognize your ego and will start to lose its control over you.  Beyond the ego is great understanding which is clear and concise.  

The ego is the speaker.  When you are urged to speak by something within you, that is your ego trying to provide and answer to something.  You are not the thinker, the ego is.  You are the 'will' or the force that drives the 'thinker' and the 'feeler'.   Get to know that being and you will get to know yourself.  Get to know yourself and you will become who you really are, without anxiety, depression or other horrible manifestations of the ego.

Evolution continues whether we like it or not.  Let your ego disappear if you are searching for a more peaceful existence.  If you are looking for a thorough approach to understanding all of this, I recommend reading Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth.  He explains it very well, but because he is in a enlightened state, much of his information can be difficult to understand for the average person.

Much of this may sound odd or unrealistic, but I am quite sure that this is the source of many mental health issues people are suffering from in this day and age.  Here is the good news, the more suffering a person does during their time here on Earth, the more easily it is to recognize the ego for what it is.  The more you recognize the ego, the less control it has over you.  The ego is the root of most of our suffering, so if you have been suffering for a long time, it is my belief that it is coming to an end in the near future.

I could be wrong, but I am sure I am not.  All of our suffering has not been for naught.  We suffer because we 'don't fit in' this world, and we should be proud of this.  The world has become corrupt and evil in so many ways, and good people with good hearts are finding it a difficult place to live.  It is my belief that when enough people 'wake up', suffering will decrease, mental health issues will repair themselves, and life will improve.

Even if I am wrong, it is something to hope for!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Simplify The Way We Think By Thinking Simply

The more that I write about mental health, the more reflection I do.  I find myself digging a little deeper each day within myself looking for new thoughts to process.  My overthinking mind has reasoned out many of the conflicts I had and has been searching for new and interesting things to think about for a change.

The last time I went through a transition like this in my life I learned many things about finding true inner peace.  I started to explore thoughts that I enjoyed processing rather than being overwhelmed by thoughts that I could not control.  Each time I wrote and wrote until my overthinking slowed and came to a halt.

This is when I get to feel a little excitement while writing rather than simply trying to force the information out.  I remind myself at this point that I also taught myself something very important in the past that I had forgotten again, simplify the way we think by thinking simply.

An odd statement I know, but it will make sense quickly enough.  Consider the world we live in right now and the abundance of laws that we all must follow each day.  There are millions of words providing the rules in which we are allowed to live within, but nobody ever could truly understand and follow them completely.  Yet if we step outside of the lines of the law, ignorance is no excuse.

What a ridiculous system that has been set up!  This is one of the big reasons why people enjoy following sports so much.  There are set rules and guidelines that all participants must follow providing a fair arena for good competition.  It sure would be nice if life were that simple!

My thought is that life should be that simple.  If we begin to consider our own personal values and morals, we can start to identify the source of who we are.  If we don't get to live our lives according to our own values and morals because we have to follow external laws and rules, this will cause a lot of internal conflict when the rules, especially when the rules don't match.

For my own purpose, I will be sharing opinions are a variety of societal concerns over the next few weeks, in an attempt to move forward in my own thinking.  I have shared much of whatever wisdom I have about mental health over the past few weeks and now I would like to search for more solutions.

So when I say 'simplify the way we think by thinking simply', I came to my first conclusion today.  I have spent most of my life being nice to people.  It is in my nature to be friendly and nice to others just about everywhere I go, but living in a world where others take advantage of nice people much too often, I need to change the way think.

During meditation today I came to a conclusion at the root of one my personal values.  I need to change that one simple value.  I decided that I need to stop being 'nice' all of the time and change the representation of this root behavior.  I have changed that value to being kind instead.

Kindness quite often includes being nice , but it does not always mean that I have to be friendly and accommodating.  Being kind means doing the right thing in my thinking.  Doing the right thing is like being parent, we don't always have to be nice to our kids, but we should always use kindness when dealing with them.

This one major change in my simple value system has offered me a completely new outlook at life today, and my ego is not happy about it.. The ego wants control of our minds, and when we make changes like this, it loses some control.  The more we recognize our ego for what it is, the more it fades away, and negative thinking disappears.

We spend all of our lives conditioning our behaviors based on what we learn and experience, but sometimes we need to re-condition things we got wrong in the first place.  If you are looking to improve your own mental health, try looking to your root values and ethics, and simplify and confusion that is there.

If there are things you don't like about yourself, change them.  If you do nothing, nothing will change. I will continue with this train of thought tomorrow and identify some of the root values you may want to look at.  Most religions give a list of rules that they feel are the best root values a civilized person can have, and can be a good place to begin.  Once we have confidence in our values, we become who we truly want to be.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Stop Taking Things Personally-Part 2

After writing an article this morning, (Click here for previous article) about not taking things personally, it got me to thinking once again.  Most of us take things personally and can not simply stop, so what can we do in the mean time while we are practicing this skill?

I was driving my daughter to school and as we were pulling up to the front someone walked by looking in the window with a seemingly angry look on his face.  She said "what is he looking at?" and this reminded me of a lesson in perception.  If we take the look personally, then we will be wondering why he is mad at us or what his problem is with us.   If we take the look for what is actually is, the person was likely having some negative thoughts and happened to look at us at the same time.

In my younger years I was somewhat confrontational and likely would have asked him what his problem was, because I would have taken the look personally.  In my older and wiser years I actually looked over at my daughter and said with a smile "maybe he finds us interesting or simply thinks you are cute".

My point is that we can choose how to view any situation no matter what our ego tries to make us feel in that instant.  If we are going to continue to take things personally, then why not try to create a positive analysis of the situation.

By viewing that one instance in a from a positive lens I created no negative feelings towards it.  I did not take the angry look personally, but if I did then at least I walked away with a positive feeling about it.

Try not to take things personally, but if you find that you are always taking things personally, find ways to put a more positive spin on the situations you are viewing.   The more positively you start to view things in your world, the easier you will find it is when interacting with others.  You will see the world in a whole new light.

Be well and have a peaceful evening.

Stop Taking Things Personally!

This may seem easier said than done, but don't take anything personally!  Most of us spend our days letting our ego be in charge of our reactions, and our ego loves to take things personally.  Our ego likes to create illusions of reality and enjoys putting us right in the middle of that reality.  If we could stop taking things that others say personally, we would be much happier people.

Don't take things personally is one of the Four Agreements from the ancient Toltec philosophies.  I also see this often in Buddhist quotes as well.  It is excellent advice and helps to put us on the right track to be more content in our lives.  The problem is that in this day and age, people take everything personally, and look where it has gotten us!

Racism, stereotypes, discrimination and so many other concepts are steeped in taking things personally.  Here is the kicker, most of the time things said to us have absolutely nothing to do with us, but our ego want to take everything personally.  If your boss says nasty things to you, or your spouse is frustrated and lashes out, it is because of them and how their day is going, but we will certainly take the negative words to heart.

Our egos like to absorb sensory information, and use our knowledge and memories to create an understanding in our minds.  These stories that are created are completely based in illusion of reality, yet we believe the stories created to be true.  This is where stereotyping and racism begin.  Since we take things personally, anything that has been taught to us or that we have experienced in the past will become a factor.

If we have been wronged by a person of a certain color or race in the past, our ego will bring that information up when we are faced with a similar person.  This does not make us a racist, but the thoughts we have may be considered to be.  We took something personally in the past and now it is manifesting itself in our ego, and our perceptions will be based upon that.

If we stop taking things personally, we begin to realize that people act the way they do because of them, not because of us.  Even when a nasty comment is directed our way, it could be because of something we have done, but the comment is based in the wielder's view and not from ours.

We stop taking things personally as our empathy and understanding of others grows.  We learn that each person has their own struggles which cause their behaviors, and almost all of the time their behavior comes from within them, and has nothing do with us whatsoever.

If you have never read the Four Agreements, it is just over a hundred pages and definitely worth reading, especially if you are looking for self-improvement.  The four agreements are posted at the top of this article, and they simply make sense.

When you are out in public try practicing as much as possible to not take others actions personally.  The more you work at this, the easier it becomes.  I guarantee that when you stop taking things personally, you will be less stressed and a happier person.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tradition or Truth: Is Santa Claus Real?

As Christmas fast approaches here in the Western world, it moves me to ponder tradition once again, and how traditions can affect our mental health.  In particular, I was brought to thinking about Santa Claus.  I realize there are other names for him around the world, but the premise remains the same for the most part.  The question I ask myself is how does it affect children once they find out that their embedded tradition is all based on a lie?

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Christmas as a child and felt the excitement waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney.  I can also recall the devastated feelings of finding out that he is not real and that it was all some sort of fairy tale  I would have to consider that there is a small amount of trauma that comes with the new realization.  Should we be lying to our children as well?

Although we carried on the tradition as parents, but I always felt apprehension because in all essence, we were lying to our kids.  We believed that it was the right thing to do because everyone else was doing it as well.  We are all conformists at one time or another.

I was talking to a friend a little while ago and she has chosen to tell her kids the truth about Santa early in their lives.  This is a difficult thing to do, but I believe it is the right thing.  Unfortunately the children still go to public school and likely feel somewhat alienated at Christmas time when all their friends are feeling the excitement of the coming holiday.

Either way, she has chosen to be truthful to her children and I don't see anything wrong with that.  So is there any difference between children that learned the truth early and those who believed it for many years of their childhood?  There is no general answer I can provide because everybody's reaction will differ.

I am glad that I have the memories of 'believing' and I certainly enjoyed Christmas much more when I did believe in Santa Claus.  I think that when I learned the truth I became much more cynical unfortunately.  I started to ask more questions and tried to learn where the tradition came from in the first place.

I ended up learning a lot about Christianity at this point in my life since I wanted to learn the true meaning of what Christmas was all about.  I gained some excellent information that helped me to better guide my own life, and to find purpose.

Learning the truth did not traumatize me, but it does not mean that it does not have traumatic effects on others.  Does the good of the tradition outweigh the dishonesty of it?  I can't say for sure, yet I do know that children need inspiration to grow, and fairy tales help them dream and use their imaginations.

Once the business world got a hold of Christmas, the tradition began to die.  It has become completely commercialized and the reason and meaning for the tradition is no longer important.  Maybe it is time for a new tradition to be started, one that brings us back to the original values on which it began.

Should we continue to lie to the younger generation in regards to Santa Claus?  I would love to open this question up to discussion because I only have my one-sided answer to that question.  I don't believe that lying is ever the right thing to do, especially when it comes to our children, but I also would not want to take something as special as the Christmas holiday away either.

I think it is time to get back to the deeper meanings of our traditions and use them as the positive tools they were designed to be in the first place.  Teach the lessons and underlying meanings of the tradition to our young people while allowing them a sense of wonder and hope.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones...

I heard this old saying today and it got me to thinking about mental health once again.  If sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, then why does name calling hurt people so much.  This is a saying that I heard quite often as a child, so was it true 30 or 40 years ago, or was it always wrong?

We can break bones and they will heal if properly repaired and tended to.   Are we able to repair our ego or self-esteem as easily if someone calls us a derogatory name?  It would seem not!  When we are subject to physical harm, there are steps we can take to repair damage and heal ourselves.  We should be able to do the same thing with our mental well-being.  Likely there are steps we can take to heal ourselves but we simply have not figured them out yet.

With a physical injury we need to tend to it until heals, and we cannot simply suppress it and hope that it goes away, yet this is exactly what we do with mental wounds.  We take them and hide them deep within ourselves and hope that if we forget about them, that they will eventually heal and disappear.  We would not do this with our physical health, so we need to start looking at our mental health in a different way.

Sticks and stones will may break my bones, but words will always hurt me!  This seems to be a much truer statement in this day and age.  Many of us are afraid to say things nowadays in the fear that we will offend someone else.  Words are constantly changing, with new slang ones  being created all of the time.   At one point in history the word 'gay' meant something totally different than it does now.

So was the saying wrong decades ago, or have we just weakened as a society.  I believe that name calling has always hurt others, so the statement itself was always wrong.  It just sounded like an inspiring thing to say to young people when they were subject to mean things being said to them.

I also believe that we have weakened in this way though.  Too many people take too much offense for honest and well-intended comments that were never meant to hurt anyone.

Was our mental health stronger years ago and therefore we were able to take name calling better?  I don't think this is the case, but there is some merit to the question.  We all had much less information to process and understand each day before the internet came around, so we had less things to think and worry about.

Maybe our mental health has not adapted to the excessive speed of the world yet and is simply trying to catch up.  It could be why so many people are suffering from intense fatigue these days.  All that name calling over the years may be still weighing us all down, and is now manifesting itself in overthinking, depression and anxiety.

Either way, don't call people names, it doesn't do anyone any good.  If someone else calls you a name, it is likely because of some deficiency that they have, so try not take it personally.  Name-calling can do a number on someone's self-esteem, so remember that words can always hurt, so be careful how you wield them!

Dispelling Negative Thinking

The one thing that comes with all invisible illnesses and mental health issues is negative thinking.  How do we dispel negative thinking?  It is the largest factor holding us in the pit.  The 'ego' looks for suffering and feeds off of it.  The more negativity we hold onto physically and mentally, the worse shape our minds will be in.

Although I spend most of my time with a positive attitude, negative thoughts plague me just like anyone else when life is not ideal.  I am not complaining because I am fortunate to have all of the essentials of life, but then again I don't ask for much.  My physical self does not always cooperate and has a way of pulling me down no matter how good my state of mind is.

When reading self-help style books I find a lot of suggestions to force positive thinking and to change my negative thinking through positive reinforcement.  Although this can be helpful on a temporary basis, I take issue with this method.  Negative thinking is not dispelled by simply forcing positive thoughts into their place.

We want to be able to think positive from the inside out, not the other way around!

Negative thinking is the result of something else, and until we identify and accept it, it will continue to come back over and over again.  Even when we are in a good mood the negative thoughts will try to find their way back to the surface.  We can not simply hide and suppress the thoughts and feelings and hope that they will eventually go away.

Negative thinking is often based in past events that have remained unresolved.  It can also come from worry about the future which manifests itself in anxiety.  Either way, the thoughts come from inner conflicts and we need to take a look at those thoughts so that we can problem solve.

Don't simply try to force positive thoughts in place of the negative ones.  Deal with the negative thoughts as they surface.  For me, I have difficult removing memories of psychological abuse because I am left without closure.  If you have ever dealt with someone who has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder(NPD) for a long period of time, you will understand the inner ramifications they can cause.

The deceit and manipulation is designed to take the self-confidence and self-esteem from their victim. I don't play the victim well but the effects were overwhelming for quite a long while.  A person with NPD, once they have turned on you, will do everything they can to ostracize the victim and make others believe that you are the person with something wrong,  Even to the point that they will have everyone else around turn on you as well.

I say 'shame on those people' for siding against the victim!

So how do I dispel this negative thinking when it is still affecting me on a regular basis? I need to accept it before I can move on.  Take some time and truly sit with the negative thoughts for a while and ask as many questions as possible.  Why is it bothering us?  What is the real source of the negative feelings?  Can I do anything about it?

Once we have asked the questions, we need to determine if there is a satisfactory answer.  Can we change our thinking or feelings towards the negativity?  If we can, then do something about it, don't wait and let the negative thoughts control your life.  If we can't do anything about it, then let it go.

I will never get an apology so I need to let things go, because it is only hurting me at this point.  If we don't let the anger and negative thoughts go then it remains as a poison within us.  We can't consume poison or toxins and hope that the other person will get sick, so we need to let go of the poison.

So what did I do this past weekend?  I worked at the thoughts until I had no more questions to ask, and now my mind is no longer plagued with the negative thoughts.  I let them go so that I can move on. My mind is clear because I have resolved the conflicts to a satisfactory outcome.

These negative thoughts get stuck in our minds because there are still questions to be asked, and answers are still needed.  Take some time for yourself and start asking yourself questions.  This process is not always easy since our egos love to remind us constantly of the unanswered questions we have.

Find the present moment and learn to observe your ego.  The more we watch our ego, the more control we take over our thinking.  The ego keeps our mind confused and fuzzy while trying to interact with the material world.  Find the present moment and be mindful of your own thoughts.  The questions are always right there, we just need to listen to them and find some answers.

For those who have treated us poorly and caused us inner turmoil, forget about them.  Those people do not matter.  Unfortunately we will have to deal with lots of evil people in the world, but how we let them affect us is our job.  Evil people have more inner conflict than the rest of us but they just can't see it.  It poisons them each and every day, and they will eventually be overwhelmed by their own issues

Karma is all the revenge you will ever need.  'What goes around comes around' is an old saying that should offer a little relief when we are trying to let things go.  When we have been wronged it is easy to feel angry and vengeful, but let nature take care of things for us.  We all answers for our actions at some point so all we need to do is continue to be good people, and to do good things.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Evolutionary Awakening

The concept of 'Awakening' is a favorite for me.  I wrote hundreds of thousands of words about this topic a few years ago, along with doing a lot of research.  At the time, there were very few people talking about the concept and it was just beginning to take hold of individuals around the world. Many of the sites and facebook pages of persons going through the awakening process were just starting to build their followings.

Most of them have many thousands of followers now and the awakening process is now widespread around the globe.  This is huge part of the 'mental health epidemic' we are in the middle of.  As we go through the awakening process we internalize our emotions and feelings as we observe the world around us with a new set of eyes.  It causes much dissonance within us and is likely the reason that mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, mood disorders and so many more are growing at such rapid rates.

Because most people have never been through an awakening finding your way can be quite difficult, and the journey can be a very frustrating one.  There are many prophets from our past and present who have walked the path of enlightenment, and people all around planet Earth are looking for someone to show them the way.

Be careful who you use to show you the path.  We have religious figures who have offered answers and solutions, as well as philosophers who have attempted to answer all of life's questions through logical reasoning.  I have used many ideologies from figures of the past, but who do we have in the present world that 'gets it'.  Although the Dalai Lama is one of the most enlightened people on the planet, Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra have shared a lot of excellent information with the world, from an enlightened view as well.

The other factor we need to understand is what the awakening actually is.  It has long been theorized to be a 'spiritual' awakening, and it is my belief that this where much of the confusion comes in.  Spirituality is faith based and subjective, and therefore finding facts can be difficult.  The spiritual awakening process is left open to subjective thinking and reasoning, and therefore finding concrete theories can be almost impossible.

I theorize that the awakening process is evolutionary in nature.  We are adapting to a much faster paced world with immense amounts of information being passed around each day.  Our brains need to function at a much faster pace just to keep up with day to day routines.  There is a common saying that we only use 10% of our brains.  If this is true then there is room to grow.  It is my belief that we are learning to use more of our brains out of necessity, and therefore are consciousness is becoming more aware.

If you are going through something that feels like a greater understanding of the world, you are not losing your mind, and may not have any mental health issues at all.  Our inner selves are looking for something more and we need to let it.  Being mindful and meditating to find the present moment work very well when trying to find that inner self.  Follow the teachings and practice of those who have been through the process already.

Enlightened people share only solution-based and positive information.  If someone is teaching goals that don't quite seem right to you, their path is probably not right for you.  My personal favorites are Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, Socrates, Eckhart Tolle and I also like to follow the Dalai Lama on social media.  Each one of these individuals is showing a path to being a better you.  You don't have to stick to one teacher, gain as much information as you can from an array of prophets, in order to find answers for yourself.

We may be in the midst of a spiritual awakening, and may learn answers that will amaze and astound us.  I think it is more likely that the awakening is evolutionary and we need to simply get through it.  Nothing good every comes easily, but an awakening of consciousness is well worth the effort and wait.

Blogging For Better Mental Health

Blogging or journaling can be great ways to reduce stress and calm your mind, as opposed to when we are reading.  Although reading can be a very relaxing activity, it can add information to a mind which is already full.  Blogging or journaling on the other hand helps you to take the thoughts down from your mind and put them in front of you.  As you are writing you will begin to empty thoughts from a likely busy brain.

People have been keeping diaries and journals since the beginning of time and they can be essential to our mental health.  Maybe you are able to share and trust another that you prefer to share yours thoughts with, but for the many of individuals that are social isolated, this can be the outlet you are looking for to ease your busy mind.

I am working on having a couple of individuals start their own blog so they can begin writing every day.  My first purpose is to help them improve their state of mind and become more content in their lives.  My second purpose is to monitor the process and see if, and how much it truly helps the state of mind.  I do this for my own mental health because I have many ideas that I can't let go of until I work them out for myself.  Mental relief follows every time.

We use one part of our brain to form and write our words, but another part to read and absorb what we have written.  Writing our thoughts helps us to work out our inner conflicts inside of a physical platform.  Writing down your thoughts is similar to taking marbles out of the bowl like in my previous article.

I write each day for several reasons.  I like to help others and feel that the common sense approach that I use is hopefully helpful to those I share with.  I have helped many others one on one so I am hoping this platform will do the same.  I also write for my own mental well being.  I have a barrage of thoughts going on in my head at times just like you do, and working them out in a common sense style helps me to remove a lot of the clutter in my brain.

If I feel I have been rational in my thinking, then I publish the article in the hopes that my own successful step will offer you the possibility of the same success.  You are smart and can rationalize things any time you try.  Give it a shot and see what happens.  It has been a successful tool for many and can be for you.

Peace to all

p.s.  Two new blogs have been added to the right of this page.  Check out their writings over the next few days by clicking on their links under New Blogs.  Hear real stories from real people!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Climbing Out-Part 3 'Think' to 'Feel' Better

I have slowed down in my writing over the past week due to health issues.  Every once in a while I go through physical relapses that sap all of my strength, and I am unable to complete simple tasks that I would normally do.  It is quite frustrating because my inner drive wants to do things, but my physical abilities are almost non-existent.  This is the plight of invisible illnesses.

We often get pegged as lazy or unmotivated, and all this does is make the situation worse.  On top of that, others attempt to comfort and tell us everything will be okay.  Although I am able to stay mentally strong for the most part, it is almost impossible to fight the negative symptoms, and keep a positive attitude.  I am thankful that I have spent years fighting my anxieties and staving,off major depressive states, because it has given me the resiliency to make it through the relapses.

I am developing 'Climbing Out' as I work my way back out of my own pit.  I can see the path like many others can, but taking the steps required are especially difficult when our physical state of being is not accommodating us.  Our sensory feelings and overwhelmed emotional states keep our physical being down, while also pulling our mental state down with it.  This is where the challenge of our past struggles give us the ability to strengthen our resolve.  Every day we struggle, the more we can endure.

For me, it creates a fog in my brain.  When I am suffering a relapse it is difficult to focus on things I would normally do because the symptoms keep dragging me backwards.  Mentally I continue to push forward each time until something improves.  I am able to control my anxieties for the most part and use them as fuel to find some forward movement.  My body continues to tell me what 'i can't do', while I constantly remind myself what 'i can do'.

When we are in a 'down' state of being, it is simple to focus on what we can't do.  This is why I start 'Climbing Out' by getting better control of our minds first.  We can learn to control our thoughts and create a positive attitude, but we can't control our feelings, we can only affect them with our thoughts.  So if we want to 'feel' better, we need to think better first.  I may not be able to do much physically at the moment, but I can spend time trying to improve my thinking.

I can see my barriers so i will come up with solutions to overcome them.  I will use a 'can do' attitude and see where it goes over the next few days.  I have been practicing the first two steps of mindfulness and taking control of my thinking, so now I can start forcing better thinking processes.  I can only assume that better thinking will lead to stronger mental health, and better mental health will lead to a more balanced body.

Every time we fall down, we can start with these steps to climb back out again.  I hope you will see the results of my attitude change over the next few days as I try to take the third foothold in my journey out of the pit.  I want to show how these steps can be used by anyone who is stuck in the pit as well.  This process takes time and determination, but because it our health we are talking about, it is worth all of the effort.

If you are having a difficult time trying to determine which voice to listen to inside your head, try screaming at yourself quietly.  Observe where logical reason is coming from and which voice is providing solutions.  If your body is suffering, it will likely be forcing negative thinking into your mind, so listen to the voice that is trying to be reasonable.

Use that voice to find solutions to your inner issues, and work on having a 'can do' attitude.   Taking these three steps will help you to 'feel' better, and to have better control over your emotional states.  As we begin to feel better our strength will increase.  As our strength increases the next steps will become more natural and effortless.

Again, practice these steps until you can do them easily.  They will help us gain the initial footholds to pull ourselves back out of the pit each time we fall.  What can't we do?  Control our feelings and physical illnesses.  What can we do?  Improve and better control our thinking processes.  Improve our thinking processes and we improve our overall state of being. `

Building perseverance comes from this process and will be the next step.  Use solutions and a 'can do' attitude and build on your strengths a little at a time.  The more we work at this, the quicker we will be able to see the top of the pit again.  Seeing the top of the pit provides hope and can re-energize our inner resolve.  Don't stay stuck at the bottom of the pit anymore.  Take on the challenge and reap the rewards!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nothing Good Ever Comes Easily

If you want anything good to happen in this world you have to work at it.  It would be easy to tell you that there are quick fixes and cures for all of the ailments plaguing the world right now, but I can't do that.  I will continue to tell you that if you want better health, either physical or mental, you will have to work at it.  I also realize that most people say that they want the truth, but really most people want at the very least, a sugar coated version of the truth, or to hear what will make them feel better.

So we continue to enable poor behaviours and actions of others by 'being nice' and not really telling others what they need to hear, only what they want to hear.  Who does this feed?  It feeds the ego and not the soul.  It feeds those that want power and gain for themselves  It feeds the sociopaths and narcissists that run the business world and governments.  Telling people what they want to hear feeds the wrong people.  We should be feeding the spirits of those other good people who are trying to improve themselves and make the world a better place.

Mental health issues are rooted deep within and are often the result of something that happened early in our lives.  The things that we learn through our childhood become the platforms that we base further learning on as we age.  If we have learned things wrong during the early stages of our developmental growth, the misinformation carries forward.  If you learn that a fish is a tree and nobody ever tells you differently, you will always believe that a fish is a tree.

Our mental health issues are similar to this.  For example, if a person is physically abused for years, they will believe the behavior to be normal until learning otherwise.  If we have deep rooted fears or sadness from our younger years, this can be projected throughout the rest of our lives.  Because these behaviors and beliefs are deep rooted within us, they are difficult to change, but they can be with effort.

The world is somewhat chaotic and is a difficult place to live each day.  All we have is ourselves.  The better our state of mind, the easier it is to deal with the negativity that surrounds us all.  If you feel the need to push yourself to get out of the pit, then start with putting effort into yourself.  Take the deep rooted misinformation and start to correct it.

Use your own wisdom and experience to correct values and ethics that you learned incorrectly in your youth.  Be a realist and look at the world from an objective standpoint.  You will make better decisions and start to work out the cognitive dissonance that is berating your mind.  Be good and kind but don't let others take advantage of your goodness.

I apologize if I am a little off track today in my writing.  I have been struggling physically for a few weeks now and focus is not always my friend right now.  I am still 'selling' the idea of blogging for better mental health because I can look back at my posts from the past few weeks and clearly see which days were good, and which ones I struggled through.  It certainly keeps the mind clear during the low times!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Climbing Out-Part 2

Would we not consider that if we create a pathway out of the pit with our calm and rational minds, that we could use it over and over again?  Anyone can come up with a few tricks and find their way out of the pit, but often will just fall back in again.  The 'pit' has become part of who we are and that is why we choose to live there.  Yes, believe it or not, we are 'choosing to stay there, not because we have to, but because it is where our feelings of stability lie.

We don't even realize that our 'ego' has made us believe that we need the darkness to survive.  We are stuck in the pit of despair of our own making.  So if it of our own making, can we unmake it as well?  There is no simple answer to this, but of course we can!  Can we find our way out of the pit and stay there?  Absolutely!

We already know that a  calm mind and body will give us the first major foothold to climbing out.  With a cool and rational mindset we will make better choices and decisions for ourselves, this part is not in question.  The next step takes a little more work or may feel somewhat uncomfortable, but that is why we need to start from a peaceful state of being.  We need to start experiences our senses and feelings in relation to our thoughts.

No matter how calm we feel, when we are in the pit there are numerous negative thoughts that will continue to try and keep us down.  If the negative thinking were not there we would not be in the pit in the first place.  We need to identify what the negative thoughts are so we can more forward and add another foothold.

Start with simple questions of yourselves in order to take control of the negative thoughts.  Ask how you are going to get out the pit and identify the feeling that comes with it.  The thought could come with anxiety or depressed feelings and we need to learn how to identify and differentiate them.  Anxiety will provide us with worry or fear of some impending future possibility, whereas depressive thoughts will drive you to more negative thoughts and feelings of sadness.

If I am feeling anxiety then I need to find out what my worry is.  If I am feeling depression I need to identify what past event is causing the negative reaction.  So what is my next foothold that will create a pathway out of the pit?   It is taking a modicum of control over my thinking so that I can begin rationalizing information in a positive way.  If we reason things logically then we are starting to control our thinking rather than allowing it to control us.

Taking control of our thinking forces us to react more closely with our feelings, and this is tough to do.  The feelings we are experiencing are what keeps us down in the first place.  The feelings and emotions are in reaction to learned thought processes and need to be altered.  If we ask ourselves a simple question and get a fearful feeling, we need to sort out why it is causing us fear.

Start to take control of your thinking because it will make you more mindful of the present moment. Taking control of your thinking will provide you with the next foothold on your path out of the pit of despair.  This will work every time you fall back down, because we will fall down a few times before being successful.  The important part is to keep getting back up because it is for you!

Every time you hit the rock bottom you can start your journey back out by using the same pathway.  First you will want to find as much calmness and peace as you can muster up.  Then we will work on taking control of negative thinking.  Ask deep questions or things that interest you, and force your thinking to positive things if need be.  Once we can rationalize and direct our thoughts, we are well on our way to developing a plan and path.

How are thoughts relate to our feelings and emotions will be the next foothold.  We need to change our thinking in order to change how we feel about things.  It will also help us to get better at controlling our thinking.  We are two steps out the pit and hope is growing!

Mental Health 'Professionals'- What Is A Professional?

There are thousands of counselors, therapists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals.  I like to think that they all got into their profession because of their empathy and understanding for others, but this is not always the case.  This is a profession where compassion and empathy are crucial to being a good helper.

In order to be a good helper, it is my belief that person doing the helping needs to have some experience in what they are providing help for.  Our system is filled with young people with little life experience trying to help others 'get better'.  I applaud them for their education and drive, but theory alone is not going to help someone who is suffering.  You need to know what it feels like before you can truly understand it.

Our system here does not put nearly enough weight on experience in what they are teaching to others.  Would you want someone who has never swam before to teach you how?  If are learning to play a sport of any kind, do you want to learn it from someone who has never played the game before?  Of course you wouldn't!  So why would you want mental health professional teaching how to suffer less when they have not truly suffered themselves yet?

I am not saying that young people have not had their share of suffering.  In this hectic and chaotic world of ours, young people experience much more suffering each day than ever before in history. But until you have lived life as an adult, or have been a parent, you have not really experienced life yet.  Young people are easier to train, but what they are being taught protects the system more often than the individuals.

The societal system here teaches 'confidentiality' in everything and causes professionals to almost stress over it.  I agree that clients and patients have an absolute right to confidentiality but it needs to be clarifies.  In any office setting, all personal information should always protect the privacy of every client, but the 'client' needs to be taught something different.

As someone who is experienced in life and also has an education in mental health, I have formed my own opinions.  My opinions are based on what I have experience in life and what I have learned from books.   I create theories and practice them in my everyday life.  My opinion is that we need to teach people to be open about their mental health issues.

The more we talk about them and bring them into the open, the better chance that others around us will become more understanding and empathetic of us.  The less we hide, the less we suppress.  Suppression is what holds the anxiety and depression inside.

I have thrown a few ideas out here and now will bring them all together.   Anyone who has lived life, suffered, and learned lessons is already a mental health 'professional' in their own rights.  Don't be intimidated by the 'system' just because it does not consider you a professional.  If you have suffered through an invisible illness and found the other side, then you should be able to share your 'professional' advice with others who are suffering the same way.

Only be a 'specialist' in things you have lived through and truly know about.  If you have created coping mechanism or have simply found things that work for your illness, share your words with others who could use the help.  Tell them you understand because you have been there.  Anyone in the 'pit' will appreciate help from someone who truly 'gets it'.  We may not show our appreciation at first, but a hand up from someone who has been there is always worth the effort.

This is like a 'call to action'.  Educate yourself about your mental health issues or others close to you.  Use your experience to give others a hand up, and be a mental health 'professional' yourself.  Share your background so others will be at ease with you.  I hope to get people helping each other all around the world.

If you have been depressed and have good ideas to share, share them with a depressed person.  If you suffer from severe anxiety, but have created successful coping mechanisms, then share them with someone else you know who is also suffering.  Become a Mental Health 'Professional' and make the world a better place on sufferer at a time.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Climbing Out Of The Pit-Part 1

Everyone needs a little inspiration now and then.  I am inspired by an idea at the moment that I believe will be quite helpful to my inner self, and hopefully others as well.  I am an avid reader and I am often inspired by theology and philosophers from the past.  my current inspiration comes from an enlightened individual of our time, Mr. Eckhart Tolle.

He writes about the concept of 'living in the now' and how we can learn to live in the present moment.  The present moment is where enlightenment exists and is wonderful place to be.  By learning how to experience the 'now' or the present moment, we become more mindful of our environment and begin to let go of the past.  It is an inspiring idea and Eckhart is brilliant, but unfortunately some of his language can be difficult to understand.

I plan to work through the concept in simplistic terms while explaining how it relates to 'hope'.  If you have ever had a daydream, you have experienced the 'now' but did not realize it.  Your mind feels as though it is elsewhere while your body is immersed in the present moment.  It is an odd feeling at first which is why so many of us have a hard time finding it.

Mindfulness training, meditation, yoga and other forms relaxation techniques are all ways of trying to find the 'now'.  Often when we get close to that moment we back off and never get to truly get to experience the purity of peace.  The present moment is where peace and stillness exist, which should be our natural state of being, but it is not.  We have become 'human doings' rather than 'human beings'.

Our ever progressive world promotes anything but a peaceful existence.  The present moment is all we truly have, yet we rarely get to find it.  Buddhist monks spend years trying to find this moment and many never really succeed.  So it can't be easy can it?

If you suffer from depression then unfortunately your mind is stuck in the past.  If you struggle with anxiety issues then you mind worries and fears the future.  Find the present moment and both of these disappear.  Sounds easy but we know that it is not!

To exist in the present moment our mind needs something to cling to so it does not feel out of control and unattached from the world.  "Attachment leads to suffering" is something Buddha said and widely believed to be absolutely true.  If attachment leads to suffering then we need to remove it before we can move forward.

The Pit
We are now in the dark pit with seemingly no way out!  Invisible illnesses drag us down into this pit quite often, and we need to find a pathway out.  People can be stuck in this pit for days, weeks, months and even years.  Depression, anxiety, mood disorders, CFS, Fibromyalgia and so many other illnesses can tie us down and keep us in the pit for long periods of time, and often it is a place where hope no longer exists.

My theory is that if we can find 'hope', we can continuously find a way out.  Have life needs to be respected all by itself.  We were given life in order to experience the material world and learn to be the best us we can be.  The pit is not inescapable, but it is certainly filled with twists and turns, confusion and often much darkness.  We are already feeling low so the added difficult of navigating the twists and turns is increased dramatically.

What is the first thing we should do?  Sit down and relax.  Calm yourself until you can start to find the present moment.  Anxieties are high because the problem is so overwhelming, but if we breathe deeply for a few minutes, they will diminish.  Anxiety is worry and fear of future events, and I don't know anybody who can clearly see the future, so none of it is real to begin with.  As we convince ourselves of this point we begin to realize that our anxiety is all made up in our minds in the first place.

The more anxieties we remove while sitting quietly, the closer we will get to the 'now'.  The present moment is where clear thinking exists.  We need clear thinking at the bottom of the pit if we are ever going to get out.  Once we have calmed ourselves somewhat, calm yourself some more.  If we stand up and look around at all of the perceived problems facing us, we will likely feel overwhelmed and this will certainly 'fog' our thinking.

If  we have been in the pit for a while and expect that we may be in here for a while longer yet, then we can take ten minutes now and find a peaceful platform to begin from.  Think of the anxieties you had at some point when taking a test of some sort.  The anxiety only clouded our thinking, but the more prepared we are for the test, the less anxious we feel.  Anxiety feeds depression and other invisible illnesses, so it is best to remove as much of it as we can before doing anything else.

Take some time right now to close your eyes and quiet your mind and body.  The more we practice this the better we get at it.  Some people are able to meditate for hours, but it likely took them a lot of time and practice to get there.  Learn some mindfulness techniques, they are easy to find online.  There is no sense of setting out on our journey out of the pit without having a clear head.

The first step is always most important, but it is usually the most difficult.  It sets the scene for all of the other steps.  Think of this as carving out the first foothold in the pit that we will eventually use to launch us up to the next one.  If the footholds are built properly they will still be there the next time we hit the bottom.  Practice reducing anxiety for few minutes at a time and do what you can to experience the present moment where you can.

To be Continued...

Friday, November 25, 2016

Hope May Be The Solution

It is easy to talk about problems because they are right there in front of us each day.  I spent the past few weeks discussing an array of mental health issues and did my best to identify some of the more pertinent problems being experienced currently.  A lot of the focus has been on different invisible illnesses because there are simply so many of them, and so many people are suffering from them.  I plan to move forward and begin offering ideas and solutions.

I have decided to write an ongoing saga about 'climbing out of the pit of despair'.  What I have learned is that so many people share similar feelings of desolation and despair, and have no idea where to start climbing out of the darkness.  Even when you are climbing out it often feels like quicksand keeps pulling you back.  I am going to start at the bottom of the pit and construct a plan to get out, and move on with life.

I like to believe that we all have something in common; we know what 'rock bottom' feels like and don't want to spend any more time there than we must.  When we hit the bottom, or are close to it, it is very difficult to take the first step, but we must if we want things to improve.  No matter how desolate and alone we feel there is something we can always turn to for solace, hope.  It is hard to have hope when we are at our lowest points, but we can choose to give up or choose to have hope.

Hope is where I will be starting the saga and will use it to find a way out of the pit.  I may get somewhat philosophical and I love to use metaphorical language when describing things, but I will do my best to write a simple narrative that gets the point across.  I will do my best to use words and descriptions that all can understand easily, and also keep things as grammatically proper as possible.

I will use a logical fallacy of opposites to begin this philosophical journey of greater understanding. Another thing that all of us have in common is that we will eventually cease to exist here on Earth at some point.  When have completed our journey here, there are only two possibilities, we blink from existence forever, or there is something else.  If you are an atheist, you believe there is nothing else.  If you are a person of any faith, you believe there is something else.

I will attempt to offer some theories of what that 'something else' could represent, but mostly I will focus on what it signifies instead.  I believe the idea of 'something else' comes with hope and faith in something.  I simply can not convince myself that we blink from existence, and there is no hope to be had in the ideology anyhow.

We will take the idea of hope and run with it for now.  We can determine possibilities and learn to have faith in something better than we have right now.  This is what religions have offered for thousands of years, but unfortunately corruption has ruined many of them.  If you are at or near the bottom of the pit right now, choose hope and use it like a rope to pull you out.  We can choose nothing, or we can choose hope, so choose hope and begin searching for a way out of your own pit.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

You Think My Pain Is Fake?

Chronic pain comes hand in hand with many invisible illnesses including Fibromyalgia, CFS, and depression.  It is a paralyzing affliction to live each day with continuous pain, but we must do our best.  The hardest part of having chronic pain and an invisible illness is the lack of empathy and understanding from others.  Take a good read of the picture above and it will give you an indication of how a sufferer feels each and every day.

Imagine waking up one morning and your body simply does not respond to your will.  This has happened  to millions of people and most suffer each day in silence.  Would you tell a paralyzed person in a wheelchair to 'get over it' or ask them to stand up?  Of course you wouldn't!  People with invisible illnesses and chronic pain need the same sort of understanding.  If we could simply will our bodies to do what we wanted and when we want, we would.  It is not a case of not trying, it is that we just cannot do it.

Just because the symptoms are invisible to others, they are very real to person suffering.  I have personally been suffering more the past few weeks physically, but at least I can keep myself busy and my attitude positive through writing.  What does someone do if they don't have a passion for something non-physical in nature?  The struggle alone is much more of a detriment to the sufferer at times than the affliction itself.

Be more understanding of others around you because you don't really know what is going on inside.  Even when we do know some of what is going inside, often we don't have the time or interest to care.  We can all improve our empathy and understanding in this world, and understanding people with invisible illnesses is a great place to start working harder at it.

Understand what they have lost and have had to give up in their lives, and show more care in choosing your words.  The sufferer has something terribly wrong within them and cannot simply 'get over it'.   We are not lazy or unmotivated, we are sufferers and survivors at the same time.  For those who are struggling I will try to offer inspiration where I can.

I know you can't 'get over it' so I will suggest that you move forward.  Even if it is only an inch today, maybe it will be a foot or a yard by next week.  I share your suffering and understand how hard life can be every day.  All we can do is choose to live life for the little things.  Search for little things that make you happy or causes inspiration, and you will start to see good things in the world much more easily.

Live in the present moment as much as you can and be mindful of your actions.  Stop worrying that others think our invisible illnesses are fake.  The people who matter will find the empathy required to stay in your life, and you will find better relationships this way.  Look for those people who stay around during your lowest points because they are the ones that truly care.  Pay attention to positive things when you can, and ignore negativity where possible.

Maybe you can't do what you used to love doing, but you can find new things and new people to love with what you have right now.  Your pain may not go away, but we can learn to ignore it.

Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia

Have you ever woke up in the morning and not been able to get out of bed?  You will your body to move but it does not react.  This is a reality for millions of people around the world, including me.  We have all had a flu or cold in the past and felt this upon awakening in the morning.  Now imagine feeling like this every single day.  Hard to imagine isn't it?

Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia are 'invisible' illnesses, yet they have very real symptoms.  They can be quite crippling while destroying the lives and happiness of many people and their families.  The biggest problem is there is little information about these illnesses and there appears to be no cure.  Now imagine what this does to the mental health of the sufferer.

It is quite possible that both of these afflictions begin with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, but the worst part is that they both cause these mental health problems to worsen each day.  When your physical being is always in a state of illness, it has detrimental effects on your mental state as well.  It is vicious cycle that seems to have no end.

The hardest part for the sufferers is that those around them cannot see the problem and often don't believe the person who is suffering.  They may call you lazy or unmotivated, but on the inside many of the sufferers are terribly motivated people.  This then leads to more anxiety because we cannot perform the duties each day that we would like to, feel that we should be able to.  The longer this goes on, the more depressed the sufferer becomes, and the downward spiral continues.

Even if you can't see the illnesses, we can certainly see the very real symptoms they produce.  I woke up feeling exactly the way I described above, but after years of dealing with this, I have learned a few coping mechanisms and strategies to get on with my day.  Some involve simple stretching that begin in a sitting position and progressively move into some yoga type stretches on the floor.  Meditating and improving my thinking helps as well, and gives me the ability to push myself beyond the limits of my pain.

Many sufferers have not hit this stage yet and simply have no choice but to lay in bed until they can find the will to push through the pain and fatigue.  What I can tell all of the sufferers of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia is that we must start somewhere.  Likely the physical suffering is too much too handle much of the time, so I suggest working on your mental health strengthening a little at a time.  Remind yourself that there is hope.

People are learning ways to improve their quality of life through these illnesses each and every day, and many of them are sharing their stories on the internet in the hopes that they can reduce the suffering of others.  You are not alone!  Read some of these success stories so that you can find ways to help yourself from people who have suffered from the same afflictions and truly understand how you feel.  Give yourself some hope and begin to build yourself some goals.  Baby steps are all it takes to get started.

You matter and your life matters!  Start resolving some of the mental issues that are holding you back and find ways to reduce your anxiety each day.  There are tons of tips and strategies to get you started all over the internet.  I gave you a few to get started if you want to click the link here:  and there is so much more information than the few links I have listed.

 I feel your pain and understand how hard even brushing your teeth can be some days, but I will tell you that with some effort each day, you can improve your quality of life.  Improve your mental health and your physical health will begin to see some relief, and you can stop that downward spiral.

Be well and have a peaceful day!

Straight Talk About Mental Health

I have talked about the purpose of this blog and that I am trying to help people learn more about mental health issues so you will gain a better understanding of yourselves, and those around you.  I expect that parts of it will evolve and change as we move forward here.  I am considering changing the name of it but not the purpose.  I want to help increase mental health literacy levels but it is a pretty boring name.

I am considering something like Straight Talk About Mental Health or something in that realm of thinking.  I am attempting to share some matter-of-fact information and conversation about mental health in the hopes that it gets others to better understand the issues and to relieve some of the stigma attached to mental health.  I will continue to write honestly and briefly about issues which I think are important to many, and things that I can truly relate to.

I am hoping that we will start some discussion about certain topics as well.  Knowledge is power and the knowledge needed to acquire better mental health is out there and accessible.  I am not going to share research and statistics or 'educational' style articles.  I do like writing them but most people don't like to read them.  I just want to provide some brief reads each day which will help push you forward in your own learning.

Don't hesitate to comment at anytime, and especially if you have a good idea that you would like to share about the name.  I have a knack for helping youth and young adults understand things they need to learn because I do my best to speak at a level that everyone can understand, and I do it with an abundance of empathy.  I simply care about other people.  I am not sure what caused my urge to want to help others in life, but I am surely not complaining.

I believe some of us were put here on Earth to ease the suffering of others, and I also believe that if we can create a community of caring people who have the same calling, we can begin to make positive changes in the world.  I hope you are enjoying the straight talk provided and that you are able to take something positive and helpful from the articles you reading.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you in the future!  If you find this blog at all helpful please share it on your facebook page or whichever social media you use.  A few shares will help to get others talking about mental health as well.
Be Well

Mental Health Literacy

We learn language, math, geography and other subjects in school because these help us to understand and function better in society and in the current world as a whole.  The more education we receive, the higher our literacy levels become.  The need for improved literacy skills in certain areas spring from a need to better understand how to function better in our immediate environments.  The need for Mental Health Literacy is growing each and every day.

We seem to be in the midst of a mental health epidemic, and while our current systems are doing what they can to head this problem off at the pass, the problem is much too overwhelming to be tackled without the support of everyone involved.  It is time for us to play our part in improving our knowledge about these problems which are affecting all of us in one way or another; whether it be from your own personal issues, or maybe a family member or friend is suffering from anxiety, depression, Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue syndrome, or some other common disorder.

Yes, I used the word 'common' disorder to make the point that those issues have become quite common in our society, and you are not alone.  Because these issues are much more common, there is now an abundance of research and information out there to help us deal with our own issues.  We can now learn coping strategies that others have used successfully and also find well researched information which can provide help in just about any area you can imagine.

By increasing your Mental Health \Literacy levels in the proper areas, you can grow your understanding, and help yourself improve your quality of life and help others do so as well.  As your literacy levels increase, you will gain a better skill for observing behaviours and symptoms you are feeling or seeing, and then use this information to begin learning how to work on repairing our own negative symptoms and behaviours.

If you need a diagnosis, you will want to see a doctor or psychiatrist, but it you are simply looking for some answers to your own woes right now and are not ready to take that step, start doing some of the research yourself.  You don't have to be a professional to identify some of your own symptoms, and if you are reading this then you have the ability to learn and access information.  My hope is that this organization will eventually have other caring professioals and paraprofessionals who will comment with good information as well.  

Help people who are socially isolated and are not ready to take the big step of going to see someone, or someone who is on a long waiting list to get the help they need.  Think of it as a mental health triage service that can help people to move in the right direction so that by the time they are ready for professional help, they are already educated about some of their own issues and not having to start at square one.   Many of the smaller issues we deal with will not require help from others, but if you want to improve these issues, the information is out there if you want it.

If I can fix or at least learn to cope with my own mental health issues, then so can you.  Start reading good information about things that can help your situation.  If you need help to get started, email me or comment at the bottom, and I will do my best to point you in the right direction.  I also ask that if you like the information you are reading and find it helpful, please share it with your friends and family.  

The more people who understand these issues the better we will all feel.  The more educated and experienced people who follow this blog, the more connections we will be able to make between helpers and those who need help.  Anyone who is in the 'helping' profession got into it to help people and my hope is that we can all help each other improve our mental well being.

Be well

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

You Don't Have To Control Your Thoughts...

Here is a quote that I see often, and feel the need to better understand whether it is good information or not.  I don't simply assume something is correct until I have understood it for myself.  It also reminded me to clarify some other points that were brought to mind.

When I am writing a blog post it may seem that I am writing to an audience, but essentially I am really writing the articles for myself and my own understanding.  When I have thoughts come to mind I feel the need to write down my reasoning in order to process the thought, and remove it from my active mind.  I share my logical reasoning with others to both help you take control of your thinking processes, but also to explain things to myself.

I truly try to 'practice what I preach' when I am reasoning things.  So I will dissect the quote above and gain a better understanding for both of us into its meaning, and whether the information is correct.  I can start by simply agreeing with the secondary part of the statement, "you just have to stop letting them control you".  Our minds and thoughts are in continuous control of us for the most part, and by letting them go, we have the ability to take control back.

I have written quite a bit about removing negative thought processes from our active minds, and it is a great way to remove pressure from our clogged minds.  When we do this we gain the strength needed to stop letting our thoughts control us.  If we don't take control of our thoughts at this point then we are leaving a gap open for our thoughts to take hold once again.

I will take a stance against the first part of the statement, "You don't have to control your thoughts", because I believe we should have control of our thinking processes to bring order back to our often confused minds.  Remember that I could be wrong here, but as long as I can reason the problem to a satisfactory result for myself, I will be able to put this one away and move onto others.

We don't need to have complete control over our own minds, but some control is essential.  When we take no control and just let things be, we already know what the results are, a confused and clogged mind.  There are very few people who can live in the present moment all of the time because I minds constantly draw us elsewhere.  If we have control of our thought processes we are able to pick and choose the things we want to think about.  We can't simply let go of control and hope that all will be well.

I will choose to disagree with the overall quote above, but I am thankful to have read it because it helped me to clarify things in my mind, and made me do some deep and controlled thinking in order to get answers.  My mind is more calm after this exercise, and you will reap the rewards in your mental state when you try similar thinking.

Question everything until you get answers you are satisfied with.  Otherwise your brain and mind will continue to live in its present state with no wonder of the world around you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Education Is Key-Improving Mental Health

We are creating an organization of 'paraprofessionals' to educate people about mental health issues.  It is our belief that through education and understanding we will be able to help set people on a better path in life.  The goal is to help people who are struggling with mental health issues to start helping themselves, and not to wait for some else to.  The information is at our fingertips but a little guidance is needed to find the correct path, and to find well researched information.  We can help you find that path!

Our network will begin by sharing what we know, what we have learned from educational institutions, and what our experiences have already taught us in life.  Anxiety (including social anxiety), depression, psychological abuse, and chronic pain issues are huge issues in our society today, and we will begin by helping people find their path in improving these issues.  Not only will we educate, we will help people find the resources they require to get the help they need along the way.

If this sounds like something that could help you find your path to a more peaceful existence, please follow our blog, Facebook page, twitter account, and any other resources we post.  Our main goal is to help those who are struggling and especially those who feel alone and isolated.  Feel free to comment and let us know what other areas we could target and where people need help the most.

Join us on this journey and let us all find inner peace!

Is Depression or Anxiety Curable?

While checking out a few support groups online I was seeing the same question being asked, "Are depression and anxiety curable?"  I have no doubt that they are curable, but I saw lots of different viewpoints.  We can definitely tell the sufferers from the non-sufferers for the most part.  Especially long term sufferers had a very negative view on the subject.

It is very difficult to keep a positive attitude when you have been suffering for a long period of time. Hope tends to wane after years of discomfort and feelings of failure.  Remind yourself that what you see as failures others see as success and survival.  Every day you survive your struggles is another day of mental strength building, although it often just feels like another day of exhaustion.

So are they curable?  With hard work and determination they are curable.  If you are looking for a quick fix or short term solution, the system is filled with all kinds of these.  If you are looking to take control of your inner self and remove feelings of depression and anxiety, you likely have a lot of work in front of you, but the challenge is worth the effort.

If you were in a car accident and broke a bunch of bones, you will need time to recover and rehabilitate.  This can take months and even years depending on the severity.  Now think about how long you have been suffering from your invisible illness.  How much rehabilitation do you think you will need?   Seeing a therapist weekly or spending a little time here or there will not solve your issues.  You need to want to change

Depression and anxiety are horrible afflictions to live with, but we can take control of them.  I have taken control of both of them and thank goodness I have, or I would not be able to deal with my physical issues as calmly as I do.  Try working through the steps in my 10 step program to better mental health if you are looking for a way to get started.  The key is to get started and then to continue working at it every day.

Try some meditation, mindfulness, blogging/journaling, deep thinking, or any other method that will calm your inner self, so that you can begin to take control of your thought processes.  Your affliction is only curable if you want to go through the recovery of it.  There is no quick fix or specialized therapy that will heal you, you will need to take on the challenge yourself.

Finding Peace Within Can Be OverWhelming

Trying to calm ourselves within can be a very difficult thing to do.  We will often say that we wish we had five minutes of peace during the day, or something to that effect, but finding that peace can be overwhelming at times.  We can usually find the time if we really want it, but trying to make those moments peaceful is another story completely, especially if you suffer from anxiety or depression.

If you struggle with your mental health, sometimes the hardest part in overcoming your issues is getting started.  When we close our eyes and try to focus on one or two thoughts we can be overwhelmed by a flood of thoughts once' the gate are open'.  This is a common issue, and how we deal with it and view this feeling can be a crucial part in setting ourselves on a successful path.

I often use analogies and metaphors when explaining these things to others and I will use one here that has helped often.  Think about your brain and mind as a bowl of marbles.  Imagine there are a thousand marbles in the bowl and these are your thoughts and perceived problems.  If I asked you to remove all of the marbles at once without dumping the bowl, it would be an overwhelming task.

When we look at our brain/mind and see all of the thoughts we are presented with immediately, we automatically shy away since it is just too much to bear, especially if most of these thoughts are negative in nature.  At this point you will want to try and focus on one or two of the marbles, imagine that those ones are a different colour if this helps.  These marbles will signify the first thoughts that come to you, or at least a unfulfilled task that is bothering you because it has not been completed yet.

Everything that causes us conflict or is left unresolved, even the smallest things, are placed in the bowl until a resolution can be found.  The fuller the bowl is, the more overwhelmed we become when presented with problems in day to day life.  Take those one or two marbles now and spend today trying only to focus on getting those tasks fulfilled or the problem resolved, because once the issues is fixed then you can throw the marble away.  The emptier your bowl becomes, the more room you will have to deal with the things that are thrown at you each day.

We can't fix a thousand things today but we can solve a few.  Take a few marbles out of the bowl each day and begin resolving your inner conflicts a little at a time.  In a few days or weeks you could empty out a lot of that bowl and I guarantee that relief will follow.  Don't let yourself be overwhelmed by a flood of 'marbles', take control and deal with them one at a time.  You won't be so overwhelmed and you will start moving forward.

As I said before, if you want better mental health you will have to work at it.  It is worth the work though.  It is similar to want to get in better shape physically.  You have to take steps and time working at consuming better foods, getting more exercise and working on specific areas that bother you the most about yourself, and find ways to live a healthier lifestyle.

Don't try a 'diet' by attempting to empty the bowl as quickly as you can, take the steps you need to resolve the problems and start living a healthier lifestyle from a mental health perspective.  If you only have a small amount of energy at your disposal each day, use most of it on yourself because you deserve to be healthier and feel better.  Once you start feeling better, life will get better and become easier each day.

I hope you can remove a few marbles today and find some relief for yourself.  Check out a few pages while you are here and let me know if my perspective at least gets you thinking about better mental health.
Be Well

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pathological Liars

Pathological Liars

How they have affected my life.....

I have lived my whole life around Pathological Liars. I have known a few to be very close to me at one point in my life, and have also known a few to be temporary acquaintances.

For those who do not know the full depth meaning of a Pathological Liar... A Pathological Liar is someone who compulsively tells lies or fabricates information. They believe the lies they tell others and tell them to provide themselves with attention or personal gain.

To spot a Pathological Liar, look for frequent inconsistencies in their stories and watch for subtle changes in their body language. (Ex: excessive eye contact).

So, like I said before, I have known a few throughout my life. It's been difficult to open up to people as I move on and move to different towns. I feel like as I get closer to certain people, I observe and realize they aren't who they say they are. I am the type of person, when sitting in a crowd of people, will sit and listen to conversations around me and not interact much (which makes me the "shy" one), but I find myself not always listening to enjoy the conversation, but to hear the inconsistencies and pinpoint the lies within the conversation. :(

The reason I have decided to finally speak about Pathological Liars is because I lived with one for my childhood and when he left he never stayed away long enough for me to heal. He used to call them "White Lies", but I knew better at a young age because my mother always taught me that "White Lies" are not meant to hurt, they are meant to hide surprises --> like Christmas Gifts for example. I would catch him in lies then and I still do now. He is no longer apart of me anymore.

I recently met an acquaintance whom I thought I could become very close friends with, but unfortunately the more I got to know them, the more stories I hear, and the more lies I catch them in, the more it drives me further away and less social with them.

No matter how much these people try to hurt me and interfere with my life and family, the more I feel pity for them. They are so far in their lies that they believe their own crap and will do anything to make it true as they see it.

One thing they will never do to me or my family again, is get too close and hurt us. That being said, I will not let them control my life anymore or make me afraid to call them out on their bullshit. The only reason why I have not fully let go of one particular person in my life is because they are associated with people I care about and I worry about the people I care about very much to let them get hurt again.

To anyone who has ever been a victim of Pathological Liars.....Call them out on it....don't let them run you like their lies have been running them!!!