Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Remember: Look After Yourself

Self Care Update

I thought I should do a little update on my self care regime/practice since my last post. In this time I've also been redefining what self care is. And a little spider diagram like this helps:
Self care is anything that in the long term is good for you, that is looking after you and your mental health. Whether you take some time away from social media, watch your favourite film, or just brew a cup of tea, self care is one of the most important aspects of ensuring your mental health remains just that - healthy.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Important things that happened at this year's Oscars

Sometimes, the winners are the only thing that make the headlines. But sometimes they're not the most important things that happened. And the most important things to happen at the 87th Academy Award were about starting conversations, not picking up trophies.

So let's look at how the Oscars stage was used to tackle inequality, defeat stigma, and show unity.

Patricia Arquette and Women's Rights

Yeah, yeah so many women don't feel insubordinate to their male counterparts. But many do. And the reality is that a woman in this 2015 world does not earn equal wages or the same recognition as a man does for doing the exact same job.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

To Therapy or not to Therapy?

Someone asked me recently if I should go back to therapy and counselling.

My reaction? To snap back. To shout 'NO!'

I'm ashamed to say that I took it as an insult. 'Oh, you think I'm not okay? How dare you? Well I'm just fine!!' It hurt that someone else was interpreting my actions as that of someone who should be seeking professional help on a regular basis.
Yes, I had been down. But I also like to think that I've had my fair share of counselling down through the years.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

They'll tell you I'm insane

It's almost Valentines Day (bleugh) so I think now is a nice time to reflect on Relationships and Mental Health. Mental Health is a difficult subject when it comes to relationships. It's also not often spoken about.
Before I begin to analyse why mental ill-health in relationships is difficult for both parties involved I want to clear a few things up. I am not a relationship expert. This is not an accurate commentary of your very happy relationship. Or a satire of failed past romantic liaisons. I've wanted to write on this topic for the past two months, and I finally have my thoughts gathered together enough to give it a go. So drop your expectations and hear me out.

A friend of mine recently said that for his next relationship he was looking for a girlfriend who was emotionally stable.
Fair enough. I mean you cant argue against that, can you?

But how do we classify who is emotionally stable or isn't? Are we doing background checks? Looking at medical records?
Medical Dictionary

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

That Age Old Anti-Depressant Argument

Pills don't fix everything. But for many people, it's a start.

In the Guardian today, Ranjana Srivastava raises the point that prescribing anti-depressants is often an easy way out for doctors:
"...signing a prescription for an antidepressant would take merely the flourish of my pen, and constitute decisive action. You could say that in this moment, the promise of a solution provides a glimmer of hope for the patient and therefore, a temptation for the doctor." 
It's an interesting point. And not one without merit. Last year, Peter Gotzsche claimed:
"...more than 53m(illion) prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in 2013 in England alone. This is almost the equivalent of one for every man, woman and child and constitutes a 92% increase since 2003."
It's a shocking statistic. But it's made to shock. Despite what he's saying, 1 for every man, woman and child actually doesn't work out at all that much when you consider people on anti-depressants take them DAILY and often have more than one drug at any given time.

But Gotzsche isolates the issue of medication. He views it as an industry (which is it of course), and one in which doctors want to support without consideration of what is best for their patient. He cites three main reasons for the rise in mental health related medication use:

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling

What a lovely weekend!

My mood is on top form after the past few days. On Friday night my wonderful work/housemates and I had our belated Christmas Dinner. We hit Tippenyaki in Rathmines, an Asian themed restaurant that brings the cooking right to you. Not only were we treated to amazing dishes (I went for prawns, salmon and shrimp!) but fantastic entertainment too. I cannot recommend this place enough. And I will more than happily go with anyone who's up for it!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Depression is Quiet

This comic captures perfectly how I felt over Christmas. I'd been hiding my Depression for so long. Faining an 'I'm fine' while emotion after emotion were piling up unaddressed. And when I finally opened up and admitted that I wasn't okay I was greeted with support. It's incredible to think back to a time less than a month ago where everything felt different. I felt so alone. That nobody cared. And in reality I was surrounded by people who cared about me. I had just doubted how anybody could care when I couldn't even care for myself.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Bad Habits of Unhappy People

I do a regular read of things mental health related on the internet. It's partly for my own mental health, but mainly because I like to know what's going in the field, both in Ireland and internationally. This brings me to a lot of blogs. Some are breathtakingly poignant pieces about personal experiences that bring me to tears, some are scientific, and others, like this one, are meant as self-help guides.
Steven Aitchison is a writer and blogger on mental health and positive thinking. He believes that if you 'change your thoughts, you change your life.' He makes it sound so easy...
With contributing authors, the blog discusses all things mental health related.

What I'm interested in writing about today is how bad habits affect your happiness. Steve Roy wrote this post 'Ten Destructive Habits Unhappy People Have' on the site. The idea, is that you can class who is happy or unhappy by how they act/think. In turn, by changing these habits, you can become happy.

I decided to go through his list and try to prove that not all 'unhappy' people share the same traits. Also, I consider myself to be quiet a happy person. This is not conflicting with my depression; I believe you can be generally happy and still have depressive episodes. So here's the list: