You are not alone

Bipolar disorder  is also known as “manic depression”  where the individual experiences ” high’s” (mania )  and “low’s” (depression) mood swings which can be short, last for a couple of hours or a few days, several weeks or even months.  The period of high’s and low’s varies from person to person.  For some they may recognize the severe moods, while others are not conscious that they have bipolar disorder.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Everyone has a variety of mood and feelings  that includes anger, fear, joy and frustration.  For some of us it may last for a couple of hours or several days.  For those who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder that experience manic episodes and depression.

The manic phase includes the following symptoms:

  • heightened sense of self-importance
  • exaggerated positive outlook
  • lack of need to sleep
  •  poor appetite and weight loss
  • racing speech
  •  changing ideas from one subject to the next
  •  lack of concentration
  •  increased activity level
  •  excessive involvement in pleasurable activities
  •  poor choices in finance
  • excessive irritability, aggressive behavior

The depression phase includes the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • lost of interest in pleasurable activities
  •  trouble sleeping ; early morning wakening
  • lack of energy and tired all the time
  •  low self-esteem or guilt
  •  negative thoughts about the future
  •  weight gain or weight loss
  •  talk about suicide or death

Military service can drastically affect service members which has a lasting effect on their performance while on duty.  As a military spouse and counselor, I have seen both sides of the fear of not reporting  and  the stigma affects everyone involved.  We have seen an increased in the amount of suicide rates, for instance in 2010,  the suicide rate was 22 per 100,000 in the Army while in the Marines it was 24 per 100, 000 compared to 18 per 100, 000 for the general population ( NAMI, 2014).

It has been recently been brought to my attention that several individuals fear the consequences of going to see a mental health professional which would affect their promotion. We must advocate and speak up to all the branches of the service and let them know that this not only affects the service member, but it also affects their families as well.  I also recall a mother-in law who was in tears because her son-in law committed suicide. He was a young man who was deployed and ended his life.

I volunteered at a food pantry that feeds the homeless and I meet several individuals that showed symptoms of several types of mental illness. Know that we are not alone and we need to educate everyone so that we can address mental illness. This is not going away and we have lost too many. So reach out and get help. Together we will help each other to cope.

Reference:

Bressert, S. (2007). Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression). Psych Central. Retrieved on October 15, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/symptoms-of-bipolar-disorder-manic-depression/000911

NAMI. (2014). Active-duty Service Members.  National Alliance on Mental Illness.  Retrieved on October 15, 2014, from http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Active-duty_Service_Members

How to deal with loneliness

There are several times that I have heard over and over again that someone is lonely and they feel isolated from the world. At times, some feel out of contact with people due to distrust in the past. It must be emphasize that loneliness is different than just being alone because a person will have a time when they chose to be alone vs the feelings of being alone. Have you recognize the way how you feel when you chose to be alone? You may need to recharge yourself and don’t really want to be around others or you may be sad because you don’t have anyone to talk to.

There are several ways of changing the feelings of loneliness such as we must first accept that we are lonely which can be difficult but its reality.  We can express the way how we feel by writing a journal, painting etc.  The goal is to express your feeling which will help you to find out the real cause of being lonely. It may be that you are sad, angry and frustrated which we can explore by investigating where are these feelings coming from?  As we begin to see the connections we will be ready to make a change. We must also become more active by calling the person who we are missing as well as writing a letter.  If we do not have someone to talk to  we could talk to a counselor. If we are lonely because we missed someone who have died then we must recognize the feelings of grief and begin to remember the memories with them. It is also important to get involved in activities such as walking to prevent suicide prevention, looking for local events in the area that include painting and other activities. So get out and get active in the community. Enjoy life to the fullest and smile more because you never know when it may help someone.

Students under pressure

My oldest has recently left for college and I wanted to assure him and others that we must manage our stress. At times we will feel the pressure of completing assignments or just trying to make the deadline of an upcoming projects. But it is important to manage our time. I remember feeling the shortness of breath which is the beginning of a panic attack and I knew I had to get things under control.  I notice my breathing and began to meditate. Help is there for all college students who are feeling the pressure of assignments etc so reach out to your college  counseling center for help. Unfortunately, several college counseling centers have a waiting list. According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH) reported that ” nearly 8 percent increase in the number of students seeking  mental health services” (Novotney, 2014, APA).

The University of Florida Counseling and Wellness Center launched its ” Therapist Assisted Online (TAO) program which delivers helps to students suffering from anxiety disorders. This consist of a several modules our a period of seven weeks that “teach students to observe their anxiety, live one day at a time and face their fears” ( Novotney, 2014, APA).  Students talk to the counselors for 10-12 min via video conference and complete homework through an app. They are also sent reminders via text messaging.

Education awareness

More counseling centers are reaching out to students and faculty via staff training and outreach programs that includes suicide, sexual violence and drug prevention programs.  For instance, at Aurora University has delivered presentations to the faculty on ways to detect distress among students and  ways to intervene while referring them for mental health services.  According to the Journal of Mental Health Disease, at least 78%  of the students with mental health issues receive help from their loved ones, friends and other non professional support.  It is important that colleges  work with other organizations that support mental health issues and help to remove the stigma.  For instance, the Active Minds is an organizations that dedicated to send 1,100 donated “silent packing via backpacks” which represents the number of students  who die by suicide every year. Finally, it is important that everyone from faculty, students realize that they need to play a role in mental health.

 

 

 

Reference

Novotney, A. (2014). Students under pressure. College and university counseling centers are examining  how best to serve the growing numbers of students seeking their services. American Psychological Association. Vol 45. No.8.

Prayer challenge for healing

Gods healing words:

In Proverbs 4:20-22 says, ” My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

Exodus 15:26 says, ” And said, If tho wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord they god,m and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that  healeth thee.

Some verses for strength:

There are times in our lives that we are face with uncertainty and we need to pray for strength to get us through the day.  This past week has been hectic because once again we seek to understand what is happening for those afflicted with cancer.  My heart goes out to a young man who is fighting for his life right now. My heart goes out to his family and I pray that my compassion flows from me. I pray that others see the light of God shining through me as I continue to walk in confidence, grace and strength during these times. We are called upon to do several things in life and when you answer that call we must be prepared for the challenges ahead. We must continue to pray without ceasing because our help comes from him who is our healer, protector, guider and comforter.

As we continue to pray for strength and guidance Isaiah 40:31 NLT says, ” But those who trust the Lord will find new strength, They will soar high on wings like eagles, They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Throughout the years, the lord has taught me to pray and my faith has grown from a small peas to a tree which takes some time to grow. Just know that I had to water that tree so that it can stay alive. I may have neglected it at times, but I am reminded that I must provide tap into the source through reading, mediation and listening to God. So remember that the walk with God will be a challenge daily, but rise up and do God’s work.

 

Philippians 4:13 says, I can do all things through Christ that strengths me…says the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 

Continue to pray for everyone…..

 

 

 2014-07-19 09.33.47

10 Ways Military Families can Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping

The Official USO Blog

(DoD photo by Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp) Photo by David H. Lipp/Courtesy of the Department of Defense

August and September mean one thing for kids across America: It’s time to head back to school!

But for many military families living on a tight budget, back-to-school translates into pricey shopping trips and unwanted penny-pinching. Luckily, we scoped the Internet and rounded up 10 tips to help military families save money as their kids get ready to hit the books.

225634593_221a752f65_o Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user leecullivan

1. Take advantage of the tax-free weekend (if applicable) in your state. While the participating states and rules vary, you can usually purchase clothing and school supplies up to a certain dollar amount completely tax-free. Check out this list from the Federation of Tax Administrators to see if your state is participating.

2. Wait to buy fashionable gear, like lunch boxes and pencil cases, until a few weeks into school. Chances are, kids will want…

View original post 441 more words

3 Tips to Keep your spirits up during a job hunt

3 Tips to keep your spirits up during a job hunt

  1.  Focus on Action–  Last year I graduated with my masters degree in Mental Health Counseling and once I was finished I worked for myself, but recently moved and the job hunt begins all over again. Instead of getting frustrated, I stuck to my plan of action. I will keep a diary of every job that I applied for and make sure I do one thing every day for my job search such as dropping off resumes, introduce myself to potential employer etc. By doing one thing a day it keeps the momentum going.
  2. Keep up your confidence– At times, you become really depressed, but in order to raise your spirits you can sign up for a dance class, join a running/walking group which will help to boost your confidence. Find something that makes you feel good and it will make your whole life better.
  3. Make your own luck – It may seem easy for a military spouse to get a job on base, but at times it can be hard. It takes time and volunteering is one way of developing relationships within the community.Job searches can take several months or years and it comes with a lot of hardships. But, with a little focus and involvement in the community around you. You will find a job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philippians 4:13New King James Version (NKJV)

13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.

My healing journey: Forgiveness

Teaching on Healing

How do we begin to heal? At times our mind is not with our body such as when we drive our car to work our mind may not be thinking about driving at all, but we still reach our destination. This is known as store consciousness and at times anger, hurt,sorrow, joy etc rest in our store consciousness in the form of a seed “(bija)” (Thich Nhat Hanh, 2010). At times, we feel the tears streaming down our face. Some of us dont even know how to release the hurt, anger, frustration etc. We tend to bottle it up inside of us which boils up for many years and as we continue our lives we wonder how did I ever get here? What is really going on? We blame others for the way how we feel, but the truth is we need to face our own emotions and release it. When someone get us angry, “the seed of anger will manifest in the mind of consciousness as a mental formation of anger” (Thich Nhat Hanh, p. 10). We become depress at times when we tell ourselves things that are burden to us and our thoughts ruminate with feelings of “I am not good enough”, ” I am weak”, ” I do so much for others” etc. When the seed of angry comes up we need to recognize and take care. Be gentle with ourselves and embrace our emotions. We must also become aware of our breathing “so that we can continue to generate the energy of mindfulness, and the seed of mindfulness in us will become strong”(Thich Nhat Hanh, p. 11).

The function of Mindfulness

We must recognize the function of mindfulness and not fight it. As we process how we are feeling, we need to aware of the inner child that have been wounded for years. According to Thich Nhat Hanh , “All we need to do is to be aware of the child within us. When we recognize the wounded child for the first time, all we need to do is to be aware of him or her and say hello” (p.14). Once we recognize the inner child, we must embrace him or her and instead of fighting our emotions, we must take good care of ourselves. The difficult emotions will still be there, but we will not suffer any more. As we begin to embrace the inner child within us, we then “soothe our  difficult emotions” (p.15). This reminds me of times when we feel the gentle embrace of our parents and they gently hold our hands and reassure us that everything will be alright. When we begin to embrace these emotions, the truth shall be revealed. We will recognize where our suffering comes from and as we begin to see “the root of things, our suffering will lessen”(p.15).

If we want to reconcile with our family and friends, we must take care of ourselves first and “if we are not capable of listening to ourselves”, how can we possible listen to others? (Thich Nhat Hanh, p.36) We must know how to recognize our own suffering so that we can bring forth peace and understanding into our relationships.

Recognizing and Calming painful feeling

The best way to heal is to become present with ourselves and let our body, mind and spirit heal itself. As we begin to notice our breath, we become relaxed, but we dont fight the painful feeling because this is a part of us. Give yourselves permission to feel the pain which reminds me of the pain that I felt when I saw my son getting treatment for the very first time. I felt a knot in my stomach and my womb was in disarray. No mother wants to see their child getting chemo treatment.  I felt the tears surface and I allow myself to cry. Then I immediately began to notice my in and out breath and  I called on the name of Jesus! I had to release and let go so that my son could be healed! We must nourish our hearts and know that we will experience ups and downs in life. If we do not practice this in our daily life this will die out so recognize your pain and let it go!

We must acknowledge our suffering and do the following:

“Breathing in, I know that the feeling of suffering, despair, unhappiness, fear is in me.

Breathing out, I embrace the feeling of suffering in me.” (Thich Nhat Hanh, p. 52).

Nourishment

At times we use food and entertainment to run away from our sufferings and we feel so lonely, sad, empty, frustrated or afraid that we try to fill up that feeling with a movie or food. We suppress our pain and use the movie or food to replace the way how we feel. The more we feed our body and mind with these things the more it gets worse. We must not feed the suffering and give ourselves the chance to transform. Understanding and compassion will emerge to heal us and help us to heal others around us as well.  We must accept life as it is and know that we are not alone. . Dealing with suffering is not easy, but call on his name Jesus and he will guide you through this. Jesus forgave our sins so why are we having a hard time forgiving others? Ponder on this for a bit and know that we need to transform our suffering by simply recognizing it and letting it go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Thich Nhat Hanh, (2010). Reconciliation healing the inner child.Parallax  Press