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Our Mental Health Blogs

Staying Sober in a Bar When You’re an Alcoholic

Staying Sober in a Bar When You’re an Alcoholic

How does one go about staying sober in a bar if you’re an addict? Recently, my travel writing job assigned me an article I probably should have declined–review the five best sports bars in Indianapolis. This is a problem for me because I am an alcoholic, and I’m putting myself in temptation’s path (What Is Your Reason To Stay Sober?). So recently I’ve been thinking about staying sober in a bar when you’re an alcoholic.

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I’m Mentally Ill and I Am Not Ashamed

I’m Mentally Ill and I Am Not Ashamed

Sometimes I feel strange and different from healthy people. Perhaps we internalize stigma because we feel a deep sense of shame. We’re offbeat, eccentric, weird and ashamed.

Shame makes me want to hide the real me. I don’t want others to see the real me, the one who is embarrassed to be thought of as mentally ill. I don’t want HealthyPlace readers to know it either because I’m afraid they might stigmatize me the other way, perhaps get angry with me because I still sometimes succumb to the disconcerting voice of stigma.

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Don’t Wait: Prepare for Mental Health Triggers Beforehand

Don’t Wait: Prepare for Mental Health Triggers Beforehand

Last week brought me a lesson in the need to be prepared when mental health triggers come, as they inevitably do in our recovery. These triggers can be dangerous because they can instantly transport us to a place of emotional turmoil and intensify our symptoms. In order to manage our illness, we must be prepared at all times. We never know when we can be triggered and we need to take steps to ensure we and others around us are safe.

This past week, there was a national firestorm with the release of American POW Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan. I had not known the story prior to this, but when I heard the circumstances of his experience, I was triggered in a way that hasn’t happened in a long time.

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Noise Sensitivity: When The World Is Too Loud

Noise Sensitivity: When The World Is Too Loud

Noise Sensitivity and Mental Health

Noise sensitivity can be likened to nails on a blackboard. The constant buzz and whir of music, technology, the buzzing of Facebook notifications, ringing phones and loud conversations can be overwhelming.   This sensitivity to noise is known as hyperacusis, a condition that arises from a problem in the way the brain processes noise.

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When Physical Illness and PTSD Triggers Collide

When Physical Illness and PTSD Triggers Collide

Let’s face it: Depression and mental illness hurt. The exhaustion, the effects of tension upon the body, the headaches, the list goes on and on. Mix in the flu or virus and between the two, it can feel as though you are boxing shadows. I recently experienced this and while I feel a bit better, there are observations that I made that I hope will help others.

I developed a case of the sniffles and some sinus fun a couple of weeks ago. I began treating it as I always do, with morning and evening rounds of nasal rinsing, lemon/ginger tea, rest and OTC sinus medicine. Things appeared to be improving until the coughing and wheezing appeared. Things culminated with a trip to the hospital this weekend and being admitted for 24 hours for breathing treatments, testing for influenza and other infectious lung diseases. I ended up having a positive result for RSV, a highly contagious respiratory virus.

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Halloween: More Trick Than Treat for Those With Mental Illness?

Halloween: More Trick Than Treat for Those With Mental Illness?

Halloween and Dia De Muertos (The Day of the Dead) can be child’s play. Ghosts, goblins, superheroes, Disney princesses and more bring both smiles and horror. For those with a mental illness, PTSD or panic, Halloween can conjure up very intense negative responses.

Sometimes horror flickers on the TV screen or in the movie theater, sometimes horror is found behind a mask, sometimes it comes to visit wrapped in “Trick or Treat!” Potential triggers lurk everywhere: black cats, oversized spiders, masks, horror movies and even costumes that perpetuate mental health stigma, domestic violence and much more. Ahhh, the midnight hour.

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PTSD Triggers: Rewriting Our Truth Lessens Their Power

PTSD Triggers: Rewriting Our Truth Lessens Their Power

PTSD triggers. For those of us with a mental health diagnosis (diagnoses), the definition of a trigger is far more than a level with a catch or means of releasing it. Triggers are a response to stimuli and a result of past trauma. PTSD triggers can include certain odors, a particular tone of voice, certain objects, places and so much more. The brain creates a physiological response: increased heart rate and respiration, sweating, a need to escape, a need for silence, sleeplessness, hyper vigilance and so much more. Responses to triggers are unique to each individual. No cookie cutter responses here!

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