Happy New Year!!!

Sometimes it feels like a whole year has just flown by. But in truth, a lot happened last year; you experienced more, learned more, and became more.

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With the start of 2016,  I am wishing you a great year filled with blessings, lessons, growth, peace and joy.

If you have a blog, may this be the year that you work out new ways of engaging with your audience and meeting their needs. If you are a reader, may you discover endless ‘mind riches’ through all the blogs you follow and those that you will discover.

To all those focused on mental health, may you learn more about the subject and about yourself. May you gain valuable insights that may help you help those who are experiencing mental health problems. I hope to play a role in that journey.

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Life is going to throw a lot of surprises at you this year; some good, others bad. But all in all, the most important thing will be the state of your mind and how well you take care of it. Please do not forget to also look out for the well-being of others.

All the best to you in your lifelong pursuit of happiness.

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World Mental Health Day: Key Points From Social Media

Today is World Mental Health Day!

It is a day to raise awareness on mental health illnesses. For others, it is celebration of triumph over diseases and conditions that strike at the heart of our being.

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Many people probably didn’t notice this day or even know much about it. That sounds eerily similar to the indifference observed when it comes to issues of mental health.

But you know what, that’s okay. Sometimes, unless you have been touched by a situation, a person, a condition, or a disease, it is unlikely that you will care a lot (or at all) about a certain issue. That’s why it is important to speak up and let others know what’s going on. Here is where social media comes in.

Key Points from Social Media about Mental Health

The interesting lesson from today is that a lot of people DO CARE about mental health issues. Just browsing around social media, you realize that you are just one voice among many; hoping that other people will awaken to the reality that mental illnesses are among us and there are those struggling everyday with such issues.

Here is a list of some of the key points that people shared:

  1. Mental Health is just as important as Physical Health

One of the greatest frustrations for those who know about mental health issues is that people don’t think it matters as much as physical health. Check your blood pressure; check your heart beat. But no one is wondering about the mind.

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The brain can get sick just like any other part of the body.

Just look around the internet and you will see more “work out your body” pieces and few “mental workout programs”. It’s just not as important.

We are here to say “Mental Health is Very Important”.

  1. Mental Illness does not discriminate

It does not matter who you are, what you do, where you are from, who you know or how much you workout, mental illness can affect anyone.

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Knowing this should make people stop all the name calling, shaming and stigmatizing because mental illness can affect you as well as your friends and loved ones.

  1. People should stop trivializing Mental Health

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Have you ever heard a statement that sounds something like this: “I didn’t have anything to do today; I’m sooo [sic] depressed”? This is just one of the things people do. They don’t understand that there is a world of difference between simply being sad (or bored) and being depressed.

There were other comments on social media such as “Bipolar disorder is not being moody”. These are just a few examples of how people trivialize issues that affect many lives. If people had any idea what others go through – how much pain and sadness others feel as they are struggling with mental illnesses – then they would show more compassion.

  1. You are NOT Alone

I’ve said it before but when you are going through a mental health issue, it is easy to feel that you are the only one suffering; That life chose to punish you.

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The reality is that there are many other people from all over the world going through their own version of pain. Like you, they have had to suffer in silence. When they tried to raise their voices, they were shamed. People just don’t understand until they have walked a mile in your shoes.

But fear not; you are not alone. There are many people who have a sense of what you are going through. There are many organizations and groups geared toward raising awareness and helping to find solutions for mental problems.

  1. Take care of your health

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Another point was that people need to take responsibility for their health. Go for check ups, analyze your family’s mental health history, take the medicine prescribed to you for your mental illness and educate yourself on mental health.

  1. There is a lot of support out there

Who do you turn to when your life is in turmoil? As I have said before, it is good to have a support system around you.

The beauty of our interconnected world means that you can join support groups online and you can meet people going through similar mental illnesses and exchange ideas.

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It was also great to see comments from people who have had mental health problems encouraging others and saying things like “You are not alone” and “Things get better eventually”.

Take heart and believe that you will find a way to manage your condition or cope with a loved one’s struggle with illness. It will not be easy, but you can find a way.

Takeaway

It is great to see a lot of people united in spreading the message of love for those with mental health problems. No matter what problem you have, do not be ashamed; it was not your choice to become mentally ill.

We love you and wish you well.

Call for Help: Counselling Resource

Any time you are struggling with the obstacles in your life, you might look around and ask yourself, “Who has got my back?“. It can be particularly depressing to discover that you are overwhelmed but there is no one willing to give you just a few minutes of their time so that you can share your problems with them and possibly find a solution.

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The team at Counselling Directory believe they can be of assistance.

According to one of the team members, Carl Burton, in “2005”, he “watched a close friend struggle to find the information they were looking for when they were in
desperate need of emotional support”. “This was when we realized there was a need for a service bringing
together the information required to help individuals find a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist in their local
area.”

“Counselling Directory is a confidential service that encourages those in distress to seek help. The directory
contains information on many different types of distress, as well as articles, news, and events. To ensure the
professionalism of our website, all counsellors have provided us with qualifications and insurance cover or
proof of membership with a professional body.”

Here is the link to their website: http://www.counselling-directory.
org.uk.

I am not affiliated with Counselling Directory in any way and I haven’t personally tested their service. Carl says they are willing to help, therefore, I will leave you to do your own research and to make the decision whether you want to try them out.

If you have been suffering for a while, please do not give up. Life can be difficult at times but there is hope that the future will be brighter than your struggles of today.

I hope you get well soon. All the best.

What is the Point of Living?

There are many reasons why people start considering suicide. It all starts when a series of questions play out in the mind:

Why are you here? Why are you alive? Why are you the only one who survived that accident? What about all the people we have lost? Are you more special than others? What is the point of living?

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These are the questions that engulf someone who has lost a piece of them inside. There are times when the pressures of life can weigh you down. There is a feeling of uselessness; an indifference to any activity; feelings of hopelessness; and an overarching feeling that perhaps life isn’t what it is drummed up to be.

The people who have lost a loved one or a cherished friend know these thoughts and feelings all too well. Of all the billions of people in the world, why did the one I love have to be the one to die? It’s truly a sad place to be. The questions abound in the mind thus leading one to make peace with the turmoil in their world and choose to continue living; whatever living is anyway.

So what’s the point of living?

Why bother waking up every day? Are humans just machines programmed to complete some tasks and interact with others in a certain way before returning to ‘re-charge’ in the beds again? There has to be more to life. There just has to be.

The happiest people in the world aren’t the ones without any problems. They have got to a point where they can cope with issues better and they choose to react positively to any setbacks. Perhaps this is the important thing to note. This ability to choose how to react to situations could be what separates humans from machines. Or maybe that’s a hasty conclusion.

Humans are programmed to respond to situations in a certain way. Programmed? Like machines? The brain is the ultimate machine. The thoughts that go through it reformat this machine to fit the reality of the host. Thus the brain of the happy person is wired differently from the brain of the depressed person. Nevertheless, it takes only one moment of chaos in a person’s life to make them question their purpose for living.

There has to be someone who has figured this out. Is the sum total of life being born, then going to school, getting married, ultimately having kids, then the soul departing from the body? Do people have to bear the madness seen on television where people go around shooting each other, politicians making promises they know they won’t keep, musicians making soulless music or hearing about how banks have crumbled and all the money in there is lost? Was Friedrich Nietzsche right when he said that to live is to suffer? Is that all there is? What is the point of living?

Some Perspective

There is an intriguing statement that parents always make no matter where they are in the world. “I’m living for my kids”, they say. With this statement they wake up at odd hours, work double or even triple shifts, queue in line for hours, and do just about anything in their power to make sure their kids have everything they need. Seeing their kids happy makes them happy. Can making others happy be the reason for living or is that a way to escape focussing on one’s life?

Everyone has their reason for not wanting to die. Maybe it has to do with fear. But mostly, people talk about their life flashing before their eyes and how they thought about the people they love. It’s the reason some people hold on to their lives even when they are suffering. They just don’t want to let down the people who love them. They want to be there with them and share their lives with them.

Or maybe it’s just one’s pride that keeps them from taking their lives. Perhaps the soul feels that there is still much that can be accomplished.

Maybe there is a God who is planning people’s lives and filling them with the desire to live and make some impact on the world.

Whatever it is, there is a reason why humans are here. Ultimately, one has to decide for themselves what their reason for living is.

Interesting Quotes on Life and Suicide

There are people who, by virtue of their knowledge or experience, have made statements with a profound impact on society. Through their own life experiences, they have been able to share their thoughts on aspects of life and their views on one’s responsibility to that life. They are not afraid to talk about suicide. They have discussed their beliefs with regard to suicide and what life entails with a quality of speech that is not readily copied.

With a lot of people feeling disillusioned with life and thinking about suicide, perhaps some words may inspire them to see the world with different eyes. Here are some of these thoughts on Life and suicide:

On Suicide:

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Phil Donahue

To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.
Aristotle

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.
Albert Camus

“But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.”
Albert Camus

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”
Seneca

“You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be.”

Chuck Palahniuk

“Suicide sometimes proceeds from cowardice, but not always; for cowardice sometimes prevents it; since as many live because they are afraid to die, as die because they are afraid to live”

Charles Caleb Colton

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”

 Ben Okri


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On Life:

Leo Tolstoy

Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life is impossible.

Thomas Edison

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Nelson Mandela

The greatest glory in living lies in not ever falling, but in rising every time we fall.

William Dempster Hoard

Happiness doesn’t depend on what we have, but it does depend on how we feel toward what we have. We can be happy with little and miserable with much.

John Quincy Adams

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

Franklin D Roosevelt

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

Don Quixote

Sanity may be madness but the maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be.

Peyton Conway March

There is a wonderful law of nature that the three things we crave most in life – happiness, freedom and peace of mind – are always attained by giving them to someone else.

Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Feel free to add your favourite quote and share!

Sources

http://www.brainyquote.com/

http://www.goodreads.com/

Suicide: When is it the Right Moment to Die?

Whenever someone dies, we often hear people say, “He’s gone too soon” or “She died unexpectedly”.  With so many people considering suicide, is there a particular time when it would be considered the ‘right moment’ to die?

Websites such as www.death-clock.org and www.deathclock.com use a variety of factors such as lifestyle, weight (BMI), age and gender, date of birth, alcohol consumption, and smoking habits, to make a prediction on an individual’s life expectancy. According to these websites, I’m expected to die about 36 years from now. Is this even possible? Can we make predictions on the fate of our lives? Do we have control over the exact moment when we die? Can we even trust ourselves to know the right moment to die?

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People from the ancient past used to try out a variety of options in their quest for immortality. Some of them dedicated their entire lives to search for the elusive ‘elixir of life’. On the other hand, some people believe that immortality is a concept that focuses more on spiritual living as opposed to extending the life of the physical body. In our time, though, no one expects to live forever. Yet, no one expects to die either. It always comes as a surprise even when people die after living long and fulfilled lives, well beyond the life expectancy rate.

So when is the right moment to die? Those people going through various struggles in their lives would say that committing suicide would solve all their problems. For them, that is the right moment to die. That is their justification. Those suffering debilitating illnesses can choose to die instead of living in pain. In their minds, they would believe it is the right thing to do.

But perhaps we are looking at this the wrong way. Maybe it’s not about choosing the right moment to die. Possibly, it’s about being ready for the moment death comes calling. When patients are informed by their doctors that they have a few months to live, they set out to get their affairs in order, in readiness for that expected day. Though the dying patients are sad to leave their loved ones behind, their moment of death is expected. It is a moment that is not accepted but will occur nonetheless. It is this insight that we should focus on.

In a pivotal scene in the movie “The Last Samurai”, actor Tom Cruise was asked by the Emperor to describe how the Samurai leader had died. He took a pause, and then responded by saying, “I will tell you how he lived”. That’s what is important: Living.

Ask anyone how the great heroes of the past like Einstein or Galileo died and most people won’t have the answer. Ask them how these heroes lived, though, and their achievements will be listed with a degree of excitement. Death is an uncomfortable topic, filled with memories of those we have lost and the anxiety of our expected end. We must all face that day eventually.

Chief Tecumseh once said, “Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home”.

Perhaps it’s not the right moment to die that is important. Rather, it is right way we live that counts.

11 Million People Seriously Considering Suicide

In 2009, 8 million Americans wanted to take their own lives. Fast forward to 2014 and that figure is now over 11 million people. Why do so many people want to die?

Statistics should always be taken with a caveat. Nevertheless, a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2012 showed that one out of every six students in high school thought about suicide. These kids are supposed to be the future of the nation and the world, yet they have already given up on life.

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It is easy to write off teen statistics in suicide as being linked to their young years and inexperience. However, this goes to show that young people are suffering in silence, with parents and leaders failing to spot the signs of a struggling child. For those kids, there doesn’t appear to be anyone who can give them direction and encouragement. Perhaps we can do more.

Of great concern is the fact that, this year, over 150,000 young people have been treated in hospital for self-inflicted injuries. Were they planning to take it further and commit suicide? Was this self-harming meant to create a painful physical wound to distract from the pain felt inside?

Young people are suffering physically and mentally. The internet brings with it a new set of global bullies that can overwhelm a young mind. The parents, teachers and leaders in society need to provide guidance and encouragement to the young people that life is worth fighting for. But wait, older people are committing suicide too!

While the youth are facing bullies, falling grades, and increasing unemployment, older people are faced with the realities of bankruptcy, recession, mortgages, mental health illnesses, marital woes, and social and networking pressures. The recent suicide by actor and comedian, Robin Williams, highlights the pressures that even successful people may be facing in silence. And according to a report in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the rate of suicides rose by 10,000 during the recession.

These are just some of the problems that older people are going through. Are we getting weaker in spirit? Where is the resilience that unites us in dark times? Where are the people who lend a helping hand even when it’s not been asked of them? Or is it that we have isolated a select few, who, feeling abandoned, have tried to face their battles on their own and failed, thus resorting to suicide?

Whatever the answers to those questions may be, it is clear that we have a bigger problem than we care to admit. With the increasing threat of wars and economic constraints, the increasing toll on relationships and life in general can lead to a greater desire for people considering suicide to make it a reality. When entertainment no longer provides an escape for the tortured mind, suicide will become an enticing possibility.

Life can be hard at times. At other times, life can be extremely difficult. Within those moments of pain and hardships lies a greater meaning and lesson that we must try to learn or impart on young people. Those who have overcome their thoughts of taking their lives feel stronger for what they went through. We can overcome. We just need to change our mindset. As Phil Donahue once said, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”.

Let us stand with one another and try to overcome our problems.