Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mental Illness Myths

Mental illness is often misunderstood.  Fear related to misunderstanding perpetuates the stigma associated with it. 

1. Mental Illness affects others, it can not affect me.

Mental illness is more common than most people think.  1 in 4 Americans have a diagnosable mental disorder in their lifetime according to the National Institute of Mental Health.  Many people do not get the treatment they need because of the fear and stigma associated with seeking treatment.

2. Mental Illness means weakness or lack of intelligence.

People often do not seek help because they think that means they are weak.  Mental health diagnosis is like any other injury or illness that someone would want to seek medical attention.  Mental illness is no more a weakness than Diabetes or Leukemia. It also has nothing to do with intelligence or how smart someone is.

3. Mental Disorders are forever and if I go for help I will be labeled "crazy".

Research has shown that people with mental health problems do get better and many recover completely.  Family and friends would not label or look down on you if you were diagnosed with heart disease or cancer - mental health diagnosis is no different.  Appropriate treatments can help people live a full and productive life.

4. Therapy is a waste of time.

There are many misconceptions about therapy and often people think that they can just take a pill to feel better.  While there are many pharmacological treatments, there is no one size fits all.  Treatment for mental illness is often a combination of self-care, therapy, medication and support.  Often people think therapy is a long process of digging deep into childhood experiences to find an "ahah" moment. There are many other treatment methods such as CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, ACT Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and Solutions Focused which focus on helpful cognitions, strengths, mindfulness and collaboration.

5. People with Mental Illness are violent.

There is no data to support that people living with mental illness are more likely to commit crimes or hurt others than the average population.  The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent.

6. Children don't experience mental illness, it is a result of bad parenting.

Acting out for children can be a sign of an emotional or mental disorder.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health 50% of lifetime cases begin before the age of 14 years old. Mental illness can happen at any age and is not caused by someone doing something, rather it is a combination of internal and external factors such as biological, psychological, social and possibly genetic.  Early support and prevention can help promote emotional well-being.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Anaphylaxis Awareness Day 2015

Allergies suck!  Sniffling, sneezing, wheezing and itching has been the norm for so many of us this spring as a blanket of yellow covers everything in sight.

When most of us think of allergies, this is the image that comes to mind:

So what makes food allergies different?

For so many people the answer is not clear.  The risk associated with food allergies is often downplayed.  People living with food allergies can be viewed as overly cautious, even annoying to others.   Families living with food allergies often deal with increased anxiety and stress related to fear of anaphylaxis.  No matter how carefully we read labels and avoid allergens we know things can happen.  

Understanding how to identify and react to anaphylaxis could mean the difference between life and death.

Today, March 13 is Anaphylaxis Awareness Day.  If you know someone with food allergies and are not sure how to recognize anaphylaxis or what to do, I encourage you to take just a few minutes to click on the picture below for more information from the Food Allergy Research & Education website.

Increased awareness can save lives!

If you are new to food allergies and seeking support to deal with feeling overwhelmed or anxiety feel free to reach out to me for a free consultation to see if counseling or coaching is right for you.  Click  Maximize Wellness Counseling & Coaching to learn more information and to contact me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Can you shake it off?

Once upon a time there was a farmer who had an old mule.  The mule fell into a deep dry well and began to cry loudly.  Hearing his mule cry, the farmer came over and assessed the situation.  The well was deep and the mule was old and heavy.  He knew it would be almost impossible to lift the animal out.

Because the mule was old and the well was dry, the farmer decided to bury the animal in the well.  In this way he could solve two problems: put the mule out of his misery and have his well filled.  He asked his neighbors to help him and so shovel full of dirt after shovel full of dirt began to fall on the mule's back.  The mule became hysterical.

Then all of a sudden an idea came to the mule.  Each time they would throw a shovel of dirt on his back he could shake it off and step up! Now exhausted and dirty, but quite alive, the mule stepped over the top of the well and walked through the crowd!     source:anonymous

We can do the same!  
You will fall into holes and life will cover you with dirt. 
Believe in yourself, SHAKE IT OFF and keep moving.