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Am I depressed?

You might be depressed if you experience 5 or more of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks. 

  • You lose interest for things you usually enjoy 
  • You feel sad, cry for no reason 
  • You are always tired, no energy 
  • You sleep too much
  • You have difficulty sleeping  
  • You have gained weight very quickly 
  • You lost you appetite 
  • You feel guilty, worthless 
  • It’s hard for you to concentrate 
  • It’s hard for you to take simple decisions 
  • You can’t stay still or you don’t feel like you can move 
  • You think about death and suicide   (please get help immediately) 

 

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1- Get help! 

In Canada you can consult your general physician, he will make the diagnosis and refer you to the proper channels. The Canadian healthcare system is well equipped to give you complete team of mental health professionals. One website that helped me was www.depressionhurts.ca/. If you live in Quebec, you should definitely go to a CLSC they were the most helpful. 

If you feel like you are loosing control or yourself, you have a suicide plan, please contact a suicide help line or CALL 911 

If you work, check with your employer (HR) if they have a help program for employees, it’s becoming very common.

Most school and Universities have Health care professionals on site. They are usually free. Remember that depression is an illness like any other one, it needs to be treated by a health care professional. 

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2- After the diagnosis 

So the doctor gave you the diagnosis, you have clinical depression (or major depression) what do you do next? 

Try to find a psychologist, register for a psychiatrist and look for a support group. You can find all these information online. There are many free mental health support groups they help a lot. You might have to wait to get psychologist, finding a psychiatrist will take even longer but in the mean time there is no harm in looking for support elsewhere. Online forums and blogs helped me a lot. 

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3- They prescribed you meds

Many times, when it’s a general physician who prescribed your medication, he won’t take time to explain what they are and what to expect from them. Do your research, ask questions to your pharmacist. 

When are your depression medications gonna start to work ? 

They usually take 4 to 6 weeks to kick in, so you need patience. You are not gonna feel high are super happy from them, the change is gonna be slight but it might make a big difference. They also might not work, it generally takes a couple of adjustments before they find the perfect combination of meds. 

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4-Schedule you days 

If you are depressed, your agenda is your best friend. Your memory probably sucks and you don’t feel like doing anything so you will need some extra help. 

-Make a list of what you like to do (or what you used to like) 

-Make a list of what you have to do 

Now schedule your days to do: 

1 chore per day (It might be just to do 1 load of laundry) 

1 activity you like (taking a nice bath for example) 

1 physical activity (In the beginning it might mean 5 minutes walk around the block) 

and try to get outside everyday. It will be hard to do  all of them at first but be compassionate towards yourself. 

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5-If you have trouble sleeping 

This is a huge reason why you are so tired when you’re depressed. The body can’t work properly when it’s sleep deprived. If you have trouble falling asleep here are some tips that  can help you: 

-Turn off all electronics when you are ready to sleep 

-Don’t go to bed before you’re sleepy 

-Avoid naps (very hard I know… I tried spending my days out of the house so I could resist) 

-Try meditation (You can find guided meditation to sleep videos on YouTube) 

-Drink something hot before bed 

-Do some relaxation exercises 

My biggest problem with sleep was that I had very bad sleep quality. I kept waking up. I had to take sleeping pills. Most sleeping pills are addictive when they are not taken properly and when you are not followed by a doctor. I was on them for about 3 months then he took me off them. I still don’t sleep but it’s a choice now. 

6- Journal 

Journaling is proven to help depression. This will help you keep your sanity. Most of the time, you won’t find people who really understand what you’re going through, and journaling is a great way to get out those feelings that are eating you alive. You can burn them when you finish writing, what’s important is that you stop ruminating. You can find online some websites that give you journal topics or you can just Google self help tools for depression and you will find plenty of tools to help you sort out your feelings. 

This is it for my how to guide for depression. I will explore the subject further in other mini posts. 

Kisses! 

 

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F for food

F for Food! 

I can’t believe I spent so much time thinking about what I was gonna write about and the answer was right before me. Food! We have a complicated relationship, I love Food, but food doesn’t like me sometimes. Why? Because I get too much of it, when I feel sad, and it’s not healthy for our relationship. I’m working very hard on rebuilding our relationship,it’s hard, but it’s worth it. I’m trying to enjoy it more, go for more quality time and eat only a quantity I need.

Tire a l'érable, S. Green

Tire a l’érable, S. Green

 

1) I keep a food journal : As you know, I write on my blog every day what I ate during the day, it helps me stay on track. Seeing how many calories I put in my body everyday, I make better choices.

Desert, S. Green

Desert, S. Green

 

2) I prepare my own meals: Ordering food costs a lot, it’s very hard to control the portions and they are mostly fatty and sugary foods.

Entree, S. Green

Entree, S. Green

 

3) I look for new tasty recipes: It’s hard to eat healthy so it helps when the food taste good. So I try to have fun with it, and discover new flavors.

Appetizer, S. Green

Appetizer, S. Green

4) I reduce my portions: I eat in smaller plates when I don’t have salads for dinner, otherwise, I divide my plates in quarters, I put my salad in 2 quarters and the 2 others for meat and starch.

Dessert, S. Green

Dessert, S. Green

 

5) I avoid unnecessary calories: I think it’s what helps me the most. When I want to drink some coke or eat something sweet, I ask myself if it’s worth it. I do that also when they offer food or alcohol. I’m not a big fan of alcohol, I prefer water, so I choose water. 🙂

Orange, S.Green

Orange, S.Green

What do you do you do to have a healthy relationship with food? 

5 steps toward preventing a life of regrets

1-Think before you act: 

Life is made of a succession of choices, and each choice brings us to a different path, it important to think carefully before taking a decision. If we know that we are doing what is “right” in our book, whatever the consequences regret will be easily removed from the equation.  Avoiding a situation or missing an opportunity because of fear is also considered as an action. So before we let an opportunity slip trough our fingers, we should carefully assess the pros and cons.

“Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret.” 
–Robert E. Lee

“Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” 
–Miguel Angel Ruiz

 

2-Assume the consequences of your actions

We must take control of our destiny. Every action has his consequence, and they are caused by the choices we made. Nobody but us is responsible for our choices. If we act according to someone else’s advice, the consequence will be a result of our choice to listen to that person. We have to take responsibility (total or partial) for what happens in our life.

“There’s not a chance we’ll reach our full potential until we stop blaming each other and start practicing personal accountability.”
― John MillerQBQ: The Question Behind The Question

“Taking personal accountability is a beautiful thing because it gives us complete control of our destinies.”
― Heather SchuckThe Working Mom Manifesto

 

3-Don’t waste time and energy blaming others

Once we become adults, NO ONE is responsible for our well being. It might be difficult to admit but it’s the truth. Bad things will happen to us, and sometimes it will be completely somebody else’s fault, or worse just bad luck. It takes a lot of time and energy, to blame others and to try to understand the reasons behind their behaviors. Sadly not everybody think before they act, and even if everyone did, knowing the answer would not fix our problems. We can only work on ourselves, it takes time but it’s energy well spent.

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” 
― Theodore Roosevelt

 

4-Be resilient

As human our body allows us to be incredibly resilient. Our need of control makes us cloud our mind and prevents the brain from doing what it can do naturally, cure itself. By letting go, forgiving and staying positive, bring up our resilience level therefore we are less  susceptible to experience regret. We should take every failure as a learning opportunity. With experience, getting back up will become increasingly easy.

“Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future.” 
–Sivananda

 

5-Don’t look back

Keep moving forward! We should not spend a lot of time if any dwelling on our past mistakes. What is the most important is what we can do now to make our situation better. When we made a bad call, we can have a cry but start the repairing process as soon as possible. Mistakes we made when we were kids (including teenage years) ,should not be regretted, our brain were still developing. They stay in our memory to prevent us from repeating them. What is important is NOW. We must focus on what we can do today, live a meaningful life.

“Don’t let the past steal your present.” 
–Terri Guillemets

S. Green 

Laughter

       

I hope that quote at made you smile! 

Today I want to talk about laughter because it’s something that I haven’t done in a long time. I’m not talking about my nervous laughs, or the one I get when I watch something funny. I’m talking about laughing until I tear up, cramping, laughing until it’s hard to breath and when you stop, you feel light.

Now that I think about it it’s almost the same feeling you get after an orgasm…So great news people you don’t need to have good sex to get the benefit of an orgasm! Just laugh until you feel you’re going to explode! 

Now we have a slight problem… We need something to make us laugh that hard, the times I remember I have laughed like that was when I was in social settings, with people I absolutely adore. Maybe we should start socializing! I know for a lot of us it’s hard, but it is very important for humans to connect to each other. Man kind has survive throughout the years by using their ability to socialize and empathize. It is very hard for someone who suffers from social anxiety to be in public settings, try to find an activity that doesn’t require too much talking, or start by inviting someone you like over, or go get a coffee with them. We can also get involved in volunteering organisations, take an art class, dancing lessons or even get into a book club. 

Something else we can do that doesn’t require socializing is to watch funny videos! (Eureka! ….Not). Since I’ve discovered that I could actually study on Youtube I’ve been exploring that platform and it never ceases to amaze me. I’m not into goofy videos so I rarely watch the viral ones but if you know what you are looking for you will find something that corresponds to your humor. 

Remember, even a fake smile releases endorphin. 

 

Endorphins (“endogenous morphine“) are endogenousopioidpeptides that function as neurotransmitters.[1] They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise,[2] excitement, painspicy food consumptionlove, and sexual activity,[3][4] and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.-Wikipedia 

 

I KNEW IT! HAHA YAY for my theories! I’m writing this as I go excuse my excitement. Do you see what I see? Endorphins are produced also produced when you engage in sexual activity. So from now on in my head LAUGHTER=SEX! (I hope you don’t take me too seriously). 

Studies have demonstrated that laughter has short and long term benefits. It stimulates organs such as your heart, lungs, muscles and brain (That’s a lot of organs, although I’m not sure is muscles are considered as an organ). It also activate and release you stress response (cf. D news video on laughter) and sooth tension. I think the long term benefits are even better; your immune system get improved (yes it’s true, because your body releases neuropeptides), it relieves pain (Special note to my fibro friends), increases personal satisfaction and improve your mood.

 

So what was the point of all that scientific talk? I am depressed, I have heard too many times about laugh therapy and I thought bureaucratic BS. Now that I have done my own research, it looks like they had a point (Not that I would ever go to a laugh therapy session…let’s not push it).But I can make myself laugh! I will make a list of things that make me laugh and add it to my resource journal (t’s actually an email where I keep replying to myself) in case of crisis. I will also try to have a good laugh at least once a day. 

The advice of the day

  • Make an action plan to socialize more
  • Make yourself laugh everyday 
  • When you are sad force yourself to smile, in front of a mirror,satisfaction guaranteed! 

Kisses! 🙂 

 

Ref: 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-relief/SR00034

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuropeptide

 

 

 

 

                    

Stop being who you were and become who you are !

My psychologist referred to the last sentence of that quote in one of my early sessions. It stayed in my mind during the process of discovering who I really am and affirming myself. It’s still a work in progress, I feel like I’ve been in a huge spring clean up this year. It is for the best, being more honest with myself and getting rid of what didn’t add value to my life was largely profitable. 

This quote reminds us the value of selflessness.It seems highly contradictory to be selfless and self aware at the same time. How do you let go while restraining ourselves? How do we fulfill our need for support when we should not expect support? This idea of complete inner peace is an utopia but if each of us was selfless,emphatic compassionate and forgiving, we would receive support without asking it or expecting it. It becomes a virtuous circle.

Think about it….let me know if you have different insights about the quote or may understanding of it! 

Forgiveness

Good morning! I’m drinking my coffee and watching videos, the person who was suppose to come visit at 3 cancelled, more time to clean! I’m almost done but I can take my time now. I’m talking to A. about forgiveness. She felt betrayed by a friend and she was very hurt.She wont be able to completely get rid of her friend because she is in her close surrounding and hey have a lot of friends in common. I told her to no focus on what she did wrong but to work on herself, to see figure out how to let go off the grudge so when she see her she doesn’t suffer. A. is an amazing friend who is very emphatic and ready to help others the problem is that she expect her friends to return the favor. Sadly a lot of people are selfish and wont make sacrifices for other people.

“Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time-just like it does for you and me.” – Sara Paddison

 

I found that quote online and it remind me of what my psychologist told me last week. Accepting that you cannot change people or expect they understand what they have done wrong is the key to happiness. Hurtful words and behaviors tell more about the person who commit them than the victim. Assessing our feelings and allowing ourselves to be freed from the pain others have caused us is beneficial. It’s not easy to stop hoping for apologies or admittance, but when we do we take control of our lives. We won’t have to wait for someone else,which is not even guaranteed, to deliver us from our burden. We can take introspect, find out why we are affected and manage our emotions and reactions accordingly. One of the ways I find very effective is by being compassionate. Admitting that the person did not know better and their affects and intellect are not built the same way ours are.

Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself -Tony Robbins 

So give yourself the gift of forgiveness for the Holiday! Kisses!

 

 

Maslow,mental health and compliments

 

I’ve been going through the comments on my blog and I saw how good I felt when I read positive comments and reviews about my blog. My self esteem goes up a bit, I’m starting to believe that maybe I’m good at this writing thing..People are actually interested in what I have to say and share. What a great feeling! So an idea came up! I’m going to collect positive things people say about be and whenever I’m down, I will read them and remember that some people think I’m awesome :). It’s crazy how it’s hard for us to accept our talents and know how much we are worth. This constant need of approval destroys our self esteem. 

Since we are human, and we cannot get rid of our need of belonging, I say, let’s make the best of it. We deserve to celebrate ourselves (Not to the point of being self centered), to remind ourselves that we were put into this hearth for a reason. Maybe we haven’t found it yet, but with a little digging, some experimentation and by accepting failure eventually we will be in the path of self actualization (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). 

I’ve been looking for a video that correlates Maslow hierarchy of needs with mental disorders but I haven’t found one yet that doesn’t make me snore out of boredom. Why does information about mental health as to be so plain. No wonder reaching out to ”normal” people is so hard. Even I don’t want to watch a depressing video about depression.

My theory is a person suffering from a mental illness is generally deprived of his basic needs. These are the ones sited in the 3 first steps of the pyramid such as : health, employment security,family, friendship and sexual intimacy. It becomes more of a problem when they live in countries where those needed are supposedly fulfilled and the majority is reaching for the 2 last steps of the pyramid which are Esteem and Self Actualization. No wonder there is a barrier between the mentally ills and the mentally healthy , between the poor and the middle class and up. They don’t speak the same language.

A person who was raised in a stable family, had always have healthy relationship , who has never suffered from a mental illness wont understand why these needs are so important some someone who suffers from depression for example. For them these are already acquired needs that became their normalcy, now they are striving for high self esteem and creativity.A lot of people suffering from mental health are very creative and spontaneous. These are needs at the top of the pyramid, a person who had already acquired these qualities but lack of  basics necessity become unstable.

Take myself as an example I feel like I have met all the needs in the self actualization category (morality,creativity,spontaneity,problem solving,lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts) but In 3 other categories (Safety,love/belonging and esteem) I fail miserably. The good news is that it can be fixed and we don’t even have to do it in the ”right” order. The need of safety can be resolved with a concrete in rational plan so it should be easier to solve than the others. I think love and belonging goes with esteem. From my perspective, if we work on our self esteem, respect others,believe in ourselves and achieve the goals we set to ourselves, having a sense of belonging and making meaningful relationship should follow. This is great news, i just rationally proved to myself how I can improve my life! 

So my suggestion are :

  1. Look at the pyramid, select the needs you have already fulfilled and put them as your assets then find the ones that need to be addressed and find different ways you can work towards satisfying them.
  2. Write down the compliments people give you and read them from time to times to remind yourself that despite every reason you can find to hate yourself somebody else thinks that there is some good in you. 

That’s all for today’s advice. Please tell m what you think about my theory,there’s nothing scientific about it so feel free to question it, I love a good debate.

Enjoy your night! Or… your Morning!Kisses!  

Hey guys I need your advice

Tomorrow I’m seeing my psychologist, I’m in trouble :(. I’m gonna have to tell her about what happened Saturday night… I know she wont judge me but I feel like a kid who had a bad grade. On the upside I’ve worked on myself a lot this week so I’m gonna be able to share the insights with her.

I have a problem… I don’t know what to do, maybe you guys can help me. There is that girl who use to go to the depression and anxiety support group with me. We became friends pretty quickly and we got close. I haven’t heard from her in a month now… and I’m worried.I sent her a text message in October and she told me that she was busy with her kids and that her allergies were tiring her. She didn’t answer any other text message from me after that. I don’t know what to think…Did something happen to her or maybe she just doesn’t want to talk to me. 

She has two kids, a three year old girl and a 5 year old boy who’s autistic. She has been suffering from depression almost all her life and her relationship with her boyfriend wasn’t going well when I used to talk to her. The guy was emotionally abusive and he seemed to enjoy the fact that she had no self-esteem. He got mad when she decided to apply for university and every time she talked about leaving him he would tell her that he would leave her without a dime. She doesn’t work because the guy asked her to stay home about 5 years ago, he is making enough money to take care of both of them but he doesn’t declare all his revenues in his tax reports. She felt trapped and was getting more and more anxious about her situation. But every time she decided to leave him, he would promise her the world to make her stay and she would believe him. The last time we talked about her relationship, I referred her to a lawyer since she was eligible to get a free one. She went to the appointment with all the information then she told me that he started changing so she was going to stay. I said Okay and even though I was skeptic, I was actually pleased about the progress the guy was making hoping that they would get in a happy place. Since the group ended I haven’t heard from her. I know his boyfriend did not like her relationship with me so I’m wondering if it’s why she doesn’t talk to me anymore… But I’m also scared that she harmed herself because she had no support system and her family was her primary source of stress.

I don’t know what to do …. Should I try to call her or should I just let it go and let her live her life? I hope you guys will help me see clearer in this situation. 

Kisses