Showing posts with label Mental Health awareness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mental Health awareness. Show all posts

Monday, 15 January 2018

Just Another Manic Monday...

 Today is Monday! 'Blue Monday' apparently?!
Like, who actually comes up with these 'trends'? Well, to answer my own question, and hopefully yours, Blue Monday was actually part of a marketing plan from a 'Travel Company' as an incentive to encourage people to book holidays.  Relatively smart marketing yes, but a disregard for those of us who already struggle through tough, tarnished weeks upon weeks of mental torture.What about our hashtags and formulas?! Have you one for my O.C.D? Or my friend's P.T.S.D?
  This pseudoscience was argued to have been discovered through using a "scientific formula"...



"The formula uses many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. (By some fella Arnall in 2006).


Let me introduce you to Natasha, Counsellor, Mother, Mental Health Warrior and part of the Replenish Tribe. 
Natasha speaks candidly about her struggle with her mental health and how she manages through all those days that nobody has a hashtag or marketing strategy for.


What Natasha has to say to you...

When I am having a 'bad day' (don't you just love that label by the way? How I wish it was confined to one day - I'd skip off to bed that evening, safe in the knowledge that tomorrow everything would be ok again), which sometimes turns into days & worst case scenario a week or longer, my confidence plummets.

When I DO find the courage to look in the mirror I mostly don't recognise the woman looking back at me. Where did my vibrant, assertive, funny, confident self go? The girl who loved concerts, nights out in the City, travel?
On the bad days those things mostly fill me with fear. How will I get out of a concert in a venue I'm not familiar with, if I need to? People on nights out who have consumed too much alcohol peak my anxiety as they can be unpredictable, argumentative, aggressive. Travel means airports, security, confined spaces. 

I can only manage it with people I feel 'safe' with.
When I feel low & anxious I feel worthless, like I have nothing interesting to say to my friends, family, colleagues. Especially colleagues & customers, people who know me the least.
The paranoia is relentless, persistent and exhausting. The internal dialogue usually goes something like 'they think I'm boring/stupid, they wish I'd hurry up, they think I'm weird because I don't go on work nights out or drink, I'm the only one who makes mistakes' and on and on the list is endless.
When I'm having a 'bad day' I see no point in anything, there's no colour, everything is messy & dis-organised. I just want to stay in bed. I feel like I am merely going through the motions, functioning at the lowest level necessary, existing. NOT living.
That is what anxiety does to you. It robs you of your personality, robs you of your confidence and robs you of your identity.
My own experience caused me to feel as if my emotions and feelings had disappeared. I could not feel the highs of love that I used to feel, the intense happiness & excitement of seeing my favourite band, I couldn't grieve the loss of both my Aunts. Emotionless! This is exactly how I feel on a 'bad day'. Nothing anyone could do or say could make me happy. I feel numb and detached and there are times when I think I might never smile again.
My only thought can be HOPE. Recovering from the way I feel on those 'bad days'. I can tell those of you who feel like this that your emotions do come back in recovery. Your confidence and personality gradually return in little strips, building up in layers, until eventually you feel like the person you were before you became ill.
It takes commitment & tenacity. It takes speaking up, confiding in your 'tribe', being honest with yourself and with them. Totally honest! If you can't say it out loud, technology is your friend - put it in a text, just start the conversation.
Everyone's self-care is different. For me it's taking quiet time out, detaching, re-charging. My work is busy, both physically & mentally demanding, so quiet time is vital for me. I like to spend time with people who are close in my circle, people I feel safe with. Movies, pamper time, naps, meditation - these are all things I enjoy and I make time to incorporate them into my life. It's absolutely vital for me.
I read a lot about anxiety & obsessive thoughts.
Meeting Caroline has been an absolutely pivotal part in my recovery. Finally I felt like I could speak about how I was feeling, without fear. It was absolutely liberating. I drove home exhilarated after my first group session - I WAS NOT ALONE!

One thing I've read & utilise now on the daily is this :
'Never say yes when you mean no, and never say no when you means yes'
Simple but effective. Try it.
I was a people pleaser even to my detriment on most occasions, but now I realise I also need to please myself.
I often think to myself 'who am I kidding?'. I rarely stop thinking. I wonder about my internal dialogue. Would I speak to other people the way I speak to myself? Would I allow other people to speak to me the way I speak to myself? Absolutely not! Why then do I re-enforce the negative automatic thoughts? Example: 'You're useless/ugly/incapable/a laughing stock.....the list is endless'.
I've started challenging these thoughts when I have them and try to list facts to support the thoughts. The majority of the time they are unsupported.
I often feel tired of being tired. Obsessional thoughts are exhausting. Sometimes I just don't lend the energy to it. I concentrate on getting tasks done and nothing else. The more you learn to accept and let go, the more your body will respond to a new way of thinking.
I am the most impatient person, this I know. With everything in my life, not just wanting to be well. Recovery, I am told, will come in time. There is no time limit or magic cure. Everybody is different and some people will recover more quickly than others. Medication and therapy which works for one person might be totally ineffective for you - as I've discovered. Yes, it's frustrating - please trust me, just be patient and your body will take care of itself in its own time.
Remember this: you deserve to BE WELL. If you are struggling to be taken seriously by health professionals then be aware that you can take an advocate with you to help speak with you. I took Caroline with me to get the ball rolling. It started my journey towards reclaiming good mental health & has given me confidence to speak up to my GP since.
 Go easy on yourself x 



     



Remember

You do not have to be alone as you deal with your mental health. Replenish is developed by people with mental health issues who are compassionate about helping others who are similar to us.

Get in touch with us on:
or find out where your local 'Replenish Tribe' is.

Replenishyourmind@gmail.com


What the media doesn't tell us is how to manage those Blue Mondays after they've created a unnecessary hype.

However, it's a hype that does bring more global awareness to mental health.
See what we had to say in our YOUTUBE video/Podcast here: 

Monday, 18 December 2017

Making Waves

2017 was the most fulfilling year of my life. Period. 

I didn't earn any huge sums of money, I didn't invest in property and I didn't buy Bitcoin. 

My year was quite the opposite of the superficial meaning of 'success', actually.

For the first time in my 28 years on this planet I felt part of something. Here's why:

January 2018 will mark 1 year since I created Replenish: Acting on Mental Health,  my Mental Health organisation
I launched Replenish as a response to the lack of ground level and non-clinical mental health support and care that I experienced whilst growing up. The concept of Replenish was my way of creating just that exact kind of support. Replenish is a refuge for those enduring the crippling isolation that our mental health can bestow upon us, making us feel like we're in the barren wilderness.

I started as myself, just me, as it has always been.
Today, I have a team of professionals who work with Replenish to provide their care, advice and support. These are people who share the vision of Replenish. They help and facilitate people to 'act on their mental health'.

To illustrate how Replenish has grown exponentially, and exceeded all my expectations, let us go back to October 10th, World Mental Health Day.

For World Mental Health Day on October 2016 I created a documentary with the help of University of Ulster students looking at how mental health was perceived and understood in the city of Derry.
(Watch Here)

So for 2017 I knew I had to move up the scale and do something a bit bigger and a lot more effective.  And that we did.

We developed an output of speakers, advice and activities in a way that demonstrated how good mental health wellbeing and recovery isn't down to one solution, but many small accumulative actions. Oh, and we also made a short film, 'Unfiltered Water' (Watch Here)

We demonstrated action planning with an Occupational Therapist, a Yoga Session, Nutritional advice, Pharmaceutical information, Complementary Therapies, discussions and panels surrounding workplace mental health and maternal mental health, and the benefits from massage. We proved  how inclusive, uplifting and empowering acting on your mental health can actually be.



Yasmin, Occupational Therapist



Sophie Dechant of Pole Infinity Derry




Michele Jones of Shipquay Townhouse & Spa



Michele explaining her role as a Heartmath Practitioner. 

Michelle Harkin of MacCaffery's Pharmacy


George Hutton, Personal Trainer 


Riadh, The Feel Good Nutritionist

George, Emer and Myself. 'Unfiltered Water'


Megan Robinson of Pearl Healing Corner

Incredible Women, Emma & Natasha 

The Team 


What's your One Word?


Replenish 'Snapchat' Filter


You will see that it doesn't just take one person to make a change, it takes a lot of selfless people to contribute to making big changes and creating a revolution in mental health awareness and culture.

Since World Mental Health Day, October 10th 2017, I was able to take my existing 6 week Workshops and enhance them by incorporating the work of the professionals that you've just seen. They are now an integral part of Replenish and reason why we've been able to make waves, even in our infancy. We've been to Letterkenny, Buncrana, 5 times in Derry, Limavady, Sligo and in 2018 we're going further afield.

2017 saw Replenish deliver workshops in Workplaces and Schools and we are already booked for 2018, and we want you to get involved. Whether it's volunteering, sharing your professional expertise or simply being part of the Replenish movement, we would love to have you.



Speaking at The Villa Rose launch of 'V SPA'

Seasonal Affective Disorder article in The Belfast Telegraph 


The Derry Journal
Launching World Mental Health Day on the Radio

Speaking in Antrim at the Health & Safety Executive of Northern Ireland's 'Build | Health' conference. 


Speaking with the Youth at the Donegal Youth Service for the 'Shape of You' Body and Image Initiative. 


Derry Post


Speaking for the Endometriosis Association of Ireland in Dublin 


Speaking at St Mary's College



So you can imagine the excitement for Replenish 2018.

For now, we want you to know that we are developing a 6 Week 'Steps to Self-Care' programme that is specific to developing a plan that empowers an individual to act on their mental health with accessible, non-clinical and compassionate professionals.





To book the upcoming 'Steps to Self-Care' Workshops beginning in January please go to the  Replenish Wesbite or message me on Replenishyourmind@gmail.com


Thank you for supporting, taking part in, believing in and helping us in making waves in mental health.

To be part of the Replenish Tribes, which are support groups that are continued after the 6 week workshops, you can join here HERE

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Steps to Self-Care


Steps to Self-Care

Self-care is something that should be taken so seriously.  It’s as important as our need, and right for food and water to sustain us.

Self-care is not about ‘looking good’ as social media may suggest. You have to actually enrich the energy that resides within you.
Our society glorifies ‘busy’, and it’s a trend that we’re all trying to keep up with, much to the detriment of our mental health and overall wellbeing. We’re simply not taking the time out that we need, irrespective of whether or not we think we deserve it. 





The fact that ‘Replenish: Acting on Mental Health’ is just under a year old and yet booked by numerous companies and businesses to deliver ‘Mental Health in the Workplace’ workshops is suffice to indicate that the need for, and recognition of, self-care is becoming more prevalent.  After all, how can a business be prolific in its output of services and goods if its workforce isn’t in optimum health?





On a Personal Level

For myself personally, self-care is a sacred factor in maintaining my wellbeing. Living with a mental health disorder alongside being a therapist means that it’s not a choice, but a necessity. 
After all, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. 
So whilst I am on medication for my mental health, AND as knowledgable in the field of mental health care and support as I try to be, I still am very conscious of the fact that my mental health can still be quite precarious and inclined to deteriorate if certain steps are not taken and efforts maintained.
So a few of the Replenish team have compiled a list of the steps that we all should take to ensure optimum wellbeing because mental health wellbeing isn’t dependant on ‘one solution’, unfortunately. It’s the realisation that wellbeing and recovery is comprised of smaller pieces that accumulate to make up a customised and personalised jigsaw of wellness.   




As I go through these steps you’ll see why ‘Replenish’ is made up of various professionals of various fields that are conducive to acting on mental health.

Each steps is written by a professional within Replenish and you will be able to contact as they've listed their contact details below. 

To begin with, Yasmin will detail the importance of her role as an Occupational Therapist in developing a lifestyle conducive to good mental health.





Occupational Therapy

Yasmin Leake ||Occupational Therapist ||
Helping you Balance

As an Occupational Therapist, one of our main focuses is understanding the importance of and creating a balance between a human’s occupations. 
Occupational balance is a way of being, cultivated by a multitude of self care, productivity and leisure occupations.  Balanced engagement in such occupations should promote feelings of positivity, satisfaction and achievement. 
I am therefore a firm believer in working with my clients to review their current daily routines and find strategies that will achieve a balance in their daily routine. 
By investing time in balancing your self care, productivity and leisure occupations, you are likely to benefit from an increased sense of well being and able to manage stress more effectively. 
There is no quick fix to managing your mental health, instead focus on making your whole health a priority every day and you will see positive changes. 
One of my favourite habits I practice every day is going for a 30 minute walk. I try to do this in the morning time when I first wake up, it’s my ‘me’ time, it allows me to be in nature and calm my mind before my working day commences.  It could also be an idea to incorporate an after dinner walk in the evening as an opportunity to unwind and distress from the day. 
If you would like any additional tips/help in creating an occupational balance please contact me at:
yasmin.leake@gmail.com   


--



Step 1
Medication

Michelle Harkin || Pharmacist||


Taking medication for mental health is only one of many tools. It can help reduce symptoms enough to enable a person to pursue and receive benefits from lifestyle changes, support groups and counselling. As a pharmacist,  I am aware that most people don't particularly want to feel that they need medication for any illness, but if appropriate, taking care of yourself in the best possible way is always a good thing and is not a sign of weakness.
---- 





What Caroline has to say...


Medication isn’t for everyone. It’s not needed by every person who has anxiety and or depression because depending on the severity of your condition, you can manage it without pharmaceuticals. However, I have a clinical diagnosis of O.C.D, the “tenth most debilitating disorder in the world” according to the World Health Organisation. So basically, I need my medication to help me function and to live a ‘normal’ life. 

When I think a client could benefit from an natural aid to promote calm I always recommend ‘C.B.D. oil’. I wish I had this oil when I was a teenager rather than the placebo of ‘Kalms’ and ‘Quiet Life’. 

So what is CBD OIL?
CBD hemp oil is from the Cannabis plant, however it is legal because it doesn’t have THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient that gives that ‘high’. 

What does it do?
All humans have what is called our ‘Endogenous Cannabinoid System’  that regulates our mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, pain, and immunity response.
However our lifestyles can cause stresses that interfere with our mood, sleep and all those other important elements of health. So taking CBD oil regulates any imbalances in our already existing cannabinoid system. 

Buy CBD oil HERE

 What else can it be used for:
Whilst I myself use if for hormonal times, it’s often used by many to help with:

- Anxiety
  - Epilepsy    
      - Cancer pain
       - Chronic pain






--
  Step 2
Diet & Supplements

RĂ­adh Egan || Nutritionist||

Nutrition and supplementation for your mental health

Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets premium fuel. This is why adequate nutrition is so important for our mental health. Eating high quality food that contains lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress - the “waste” produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells. 

Your brain can be damaged if you ingest anything other than premium fuel. If substances from “low premium” fuel (such as those you get from processed foods) get to the brain it has little ability to get rid of them. Diets high in sugar are harmful our brain and promote inflammation and oxidative stress. 


Vitamin Supplementation 

Vitamin B complex 

The B complex vitamins include 11 vitamins essential to mental health and well being. They cannot be stored in our bodies therefore we must depend on our diet to supply them. They can be destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, caffefine and niacatine. 

Oral contraceptives in women can deplete the body of vitamins B6. this particular nutrient is needed for normal mental health functioning. In such cases vitamin B6 can improve mood. Deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause depression and in B6 can disrupt the formation of neurotransmitters in the brain.

According to a study reported in neuropsychobiology, supplementation of nine of these vitamins improves mood in both men and women. This mood improvement was particularly associated with vitamin B2 and B6.


Folate 
When we hear folate or folic acid we usually think of women in pregnancy or trying to conceive. But actually it is something I recommend for individuals with a mental health illness. 

It has been observed that people with depression have blood folate levels, which are, on an average, 25% lower than healthy controls.
Low levels of folate have also been identified as a strong predisposing factor of poor outcome with antidepressant therapy.

 Folic acid can enhance the effectiveness of antidepressant medication according to studies. 




Vitamin D 

Also known as the Sunshine Vitamin as we get it from the sun. Living in Ireland or any other country that really only sees the sun a couple of months in the year, means that the majority of the population can be deficient in Vitamin D. 

Buy 'The D' Here HERE 


Vitamin D receptors have been found in many parts of the brain.
Some of the receptors in the brain are receptors for vitamin D, which means that vitamin D is acting in some way in the brain. These receptors are found in the areas of the brain that are linked to the development of depression. For this reason, vitamin D has been linked with depression and with other mental health problems.


Exactly how vitamin D works in the brain isn’t fully understood. One theory is that vitamin D affects the amount of chemicals called monoamines, such as serotonin, and how they work in the brain.5 Many anti-depressant medications work by increasing the amount of monoamines in the brain. Therefore vitamin D may also increase the amount of monoamines, which may help treat depression.



Feel Good Foods for your Mental Health 
 Spinach 
Avocado 
Strawberries 
Pineapples 
Green Tea 
Almonds
Tomatos 
Dark Chocolate 
Asparagus 


Should you need any information on nutrition or supplementation please free feel to get in touch. 
Phone: 0863529366

--
Step 3
Yoga

Sophie Dechant || Yoga Instructor ||

Are you really Breathing? 
I know you’re breathing .. about 25,000 times a day. 
But are you really aware of all these breaths you take? 

Stop Right Now

  • Place both hands gently on your belly EXHALE all of the air out of  your lungs through your nose.

  • Now inhale (through your nose) slow and strong right down deep to your belly, pushing your hands softly outwards.

  • Exhale again. 

  • Inhale thoroughly. Keep moving your hands with your breath. Up and down. Up and down.
-
                                           
 Now you’re breathing. 
This is abdominal breathing, the first way yoga students are taught to breathe.
Breathe properly and you send oxygen flooding into every cell of your body...yes, your cells breathe. Breathing is important because our cells need a constant supply of oxygen so they can produce energy. Without oxygen cellular function is impaired and and cell death is possible.
So we can see that breath is the very essence of life. In yoga we call it Prana, which is known as 'life force'.
Breathing calms the autonomic nervous system and induces a sense of calm and relaxation. 
It helps us deal with unnecessary impulsive reactions and reduces our stress levels.
Starting with simple abdominal breathing will benefit you physically and mentally


--


Step 4

Self-Respect and Self-Awareness
Natasha Clyde Mulhern || Counsellor ||

When I feel low & anxious I feel worthless, like I have nothing interesting to say to my friends, family, colleagues. Especially colleagues & customers - the people who least know me. The paranoia is relentless & persistent & exhausting. The internal dialogue - 'they think I'm boring/stupid, they wish I'd hurry up, they think I'm weird because I don't go on work nights out or drink, I'm the only one who makes mistakes' and on and on the list is endless.

When I'm having a 'bad day' I see no point in anything, there's no colour, everything is messy & dis-organised. I just want to stay in bed. I feel like I am merely going through the motions, functioning at the lowest level necessary, existing - NOT living.
That is what anxiety does to you. It robs you of your personality, robs you of your confidence and robs you of your identity. 


My only thought can be HOPE. Recovering from the way I feel on those 'bad days'. I can tell those of you who feel like this that your emotions do come back in recovery. Your confidence and personality gradually return in little strips, building up in layers, until eventually you feel like the person you were before you became ill.

It takes commitment & tenacity. It takes speaking up, confiding in your 'tribe', being honest with yourself & with them. Totally honest. If you can't say it out loud, technology is your friend - put it in a text, just start the conversation.

Everyone's self-care is different. For me it's taking quiet time out, detaching, re-charging. My work is busy, both physically & mentally demanding, so quiet time is vital for me. I like to spend time with people who are close in my circle, people I feel safe with. Movies, pamper time, naps, meditation - these are all things I enjoy & make time to incorporate them into my life. It's absolutely vital for me. 

I read a lot about anxiety & obsessive thoughts. Meeting Caroline has been an absolutely pivotal part in my recovery. Finally I felt like I could speak about how I was feeling, without fear. It was absolutely liberating. I drove home exhilarated after my first group session - I WAS NOT ALONE.

One thing I've read & utilise now on the daily is this :
"Never say yes when you mean no, and never say no when you means yes"
'




Simple but effective. Try it. I was a people pleaser even to my detriment on most occasions & now I realise I also need to please myself. 
I've started challenging negative thoughts when I have them and try to list facts to support the thoughts - the majority of the time they are unsupported.
I am the most impatient person, this I know. With everything in my life, not just wanting to be well. Recovery, I am told, will come in time. There is no time limit or magic cure. Everybody is different and some people will recover more quickly than others. Medication & therapy which works for one person might be totally ineffective for you - as I've discovered. Yes, it's frustrating - please trust me, just be patient and your body will take care of itself in its own time.
Remember this - you deserve to BE WELL. If you are struggling to be taken seriously by health professionals then be aware that you can take an advocate with you to help speak with you. I took Caroline with me to get the ball rolling. It started my journey towards reclaiming good mental health & has given me confidence to speak up to my GP since.

---

Please feel free to join our Replenish group for more vital information on how you can Act on your Mental Health:

Work with us: Replenish
 



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