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Old 31-10-2015, 09:16 AM
KD Langer KD Langer is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 31,840
Default Your Mental Health

Been reading the various posts by some on the various alcoholism threads and it's kind of inspired me to write this, because while I may disagree with some of the philosophies I absolutely admire their willingness to share and try and help others who may be suffering.

I've written about my own depression on here before, so I'm not going to go into detail except to say it's nearly two and half years since I was released from GF ward in the CUH.

Since then, I've learned a few things. I don't however mean to come across as preachy, it's just my own experience and I realise everyone is different. But I feel sure there will be something for anyone suffering from mental health problems in this post.

Personal Responsibility: My mental health is my responsibility. Your mental health is your responsibility. If you're reading this and you're feeling depressed right now, I realise this may seem harsh to you. But I am not saying you have to do it all yourself.

When I was in the depths if I had had to do it all myself I would have given up. But I didn't have to do it all myself. I received a lot of help, for which I will be eternally grateful. There is lots of help out there . But you have to take that first step yourself and ask for it. Admitting you need help is not a weakness or a fault, EVERYONE needs help at some time in their lives. There are lots of organisations out there ready to help. The Samaritans (1800 477 477), Pieta House (021-4341400) and Aware are just three of many.

If you're in crisis go to your GP or south doc if outside GP hours.

Mental Fitness: In the gym a few weeks ago I read a slogan "fit is not a destination, it is a way of life". I suddenly realised the exact same slogan could be applied to mental health. We try and take care of our bodies by giving it exercise, nutrition and rest, and in the same way we need to take care of our mental health. Now the thing about mental health is what could be good for your mental health could be different from my mental health but I'm going to share what I have found to be good for mine and hope it helps somewhat.

Therapy: When I was first released from hospital I went to therapy once a week, then once a fortnight, now once a month. I stopped "needing" therapy a long time ago, but I realise the benefit of discussing feelings with a skilled person. I think I will continue going to therapy for the rest of my life now, because it is an excellent way to discover things that I am not even aware of about myself and help me to remain grounded.

Therapy can be expensive, but there are places where you can get therapy/counseling cheap.

SHEP: (021) 466 6180
Westgate: 021-4873648

are two organisations that offer low cost counseling services based on your ability to pay. If anyone else knows of others, please post them up.

SHEP and Aware also offer excellent short to long term courses on various aspects of personal development for anyone interested in this. They are free or very reasonably priced in most cases.

Meditation/Relaxation: Because of recent advances in Neurosciences, scientists are now able to observe what goes on in the brain during meditation.

Without getting too technical, it basically helps people to become more relaxed. Meditating regularly helps us to carry the calmness with us.

Below is a decent article for anyone interested in the technicalities of why meditation works


You tube has thousands of videos on meditation and relaxation if you're unsure where to start.

JOn Kabat Zinn and the honest guys both have some great videos with guided meditations.

Exercise: Particularly aerobic exercise has been shown to release endorphins which lead to a sense of well being. You don't have to join a gym or do triathlons like brezzy, but 30 minutes of brisk walking (with the added benefit of fresh air) can help enormously.

Be careful what you ingest:I'm not talking about food, although eating a healthy diet is important. What I'm talking about is the books you read, the music you listen too, the television you watch.

Just going by myself, I was a current affairs junkie. Newstalk always on in the car, the news after work, prime time, the vincent brown show etc. Right smack bang in the middle of the worst recession in years. I was taking in negativity from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep.

Now current affairs may not be your thing, but other things like soap operas, jermey kyle, sad music, violent novels etc might. I'm not saying give them up, but do limit your exposure to them. The brain is always working on an unconscious level and if you're always taking in negativity it will have an effect.

While I was recovering I gave up current affairs completely. I now watch some, but I am never going back to the 6-7 hours a day I used to gorge on it.

Nothing is permanent: Very obvious but very hard to accept in reality. This is something I got from reading various Buddhist texts.

Our emotions also are not permanent. If you're feeling high, low, in between just know it will not last.

Don't try and cling to the high.

Don't run way from the low.

If you're feeling low try this. Just sit for ten minutes with it. Breath gently. Notice how you're feeling. Again this is just my own experience, but from learning to do this, I've found that feelings dissipate very very quickly when you sit with them. I think it was Jung who said "what we resist persists". Your emotions are there to guide you. There is nothing wrong with feeling happy or sad, glad or angry, elated or depressed etc. The emotions "just are".

Learning to let them guide you and inquiring into them can be hard work, but it is worth is. Trust me on this.

Reading, comedy, uplifting music are all other ways to help lift our spirits and if you have any to share please do.
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