A story about Anxiety and Depression. What’s your mental illness story?

I have been blown away by the number of men this past year who have come to talk to me about mental illness, predominantly anxiety.

While 2.6% of the population experience depression and 4.7% have anxiety problems, as many as 9.7% suffer mixed depression and anxiety, making it the most prevalent mental health problem in the population as a whole. ~ Mental Health Foundation (UK)

We talk so often about inequality in gender and how women get a rough deal (We do.) but men so often get neglected in this equation. While society is telling me how to wear my face and what clothes horse I should become it still demands men should be (Grrr) men. Wouldn’t you say? Not cool.

Statistically the WHO recognises gender is a critical determinant of mental health and mental illness but more research is needed into the specifics. So, in the interim, we need to continue to breakdown The Stigma.

So, why not start today?

The following video is honest, brave, moving and deserves to be seen and shared. Will You help?

 

A Few Mental Health Statistics: Men & Women

  • Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men (29% compared to 17%).This could be because, when asked, women are more likely to report symptoms of common mental health problems. (Better Or Worse: A Longitudinal Study Of The Mental Health Of Adults In Great Britain, National Statistics, 2003)
  • Depression is more common in women than men. 1 in 4 women will require treatment for depression at some time, compared to 1 in 10 men. The reasons for this are unclear, but are thought to be due to both social and biological factors. It has also been suggested that depression in men may have been under diagnosed because they present to their GP with different symptoms.  (National Institute For Clinical Excellence, 2003)
  • Women are twice as likely to experience anxiety as men. Of people with phobias or OCD, about 60% are female.  (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001)
  • Men are more likely than women to have an alcohol or drug problem. 67% of British people who consume alcohol at ‘hazardous’ levels, and 80% of those dependent on alcohol are male. Almost three quarters of people dependent on cannabis and 69% of those dependent on other illegal drugs are male. (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001)

 You are not alone.

Further Links

First Published 2014/12/31

Kennet Radio Interview: Feel Good Friday

I did my first radio interview with the wonderful Carolyn Sykes.

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We talked about Guide Dogs, mental health, a bit of Woo Woo and more.

Check it out:

https://m.mixcloud.com/kennetradio/feel-good-friday-10-feb-2017/

 

 

 

Let’s Connect.

When I was ill I felt like I did not belong anywhere. I felt like a stranger amongst friends, and an outsider amongst strangers. Making connections felt impossible.

Feeling that disconnected is painful. I would have done anything not to live in that lonely place.

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Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection  ~ Brené Brown

To really feel connected we need to be our true selves. When I was ill I was fragmented without any idea of who I was. It stood to reason that making those precious connections was an impossible task.

Once I begun to heal and slowly recover I started to find my way back to authenticity. As I slowly learned to get to know, and then show the world, the real me, I opened myself up to being vulnerable.

Only when I started to connect to my true self could I begin to learn how it feels to connect to others. It takes time but we all have the ability to feel connected.

Are you prepared to reveal the real you?

I have now acknowledged that even though I pretty much like everyone (with about seven exceptions in my lifetime), I will not necessarily truly connect with everyone.

As you open up to becoming authentic, and allow yourself to be vulnerable, you will naturally gravitate to those who you really, truly connect with.

We all need to belong. To feel that we fit in. To find our place in the world.

Have you found yours?

First Published 2016/07/24

Releasing Attachment

Attachment for me comes down to two things – People & Stuff.

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Over time I have released pretty much most of my attachment to ‘things’. While my partner loves new, shiny things and the latest technology going, nowadays I would rather spend my money of making memories than buying the latest of this or that.

When I was younger I would place so much value on inanimate objects. I would become distraught if something happened to them. I remember I misplaced my St Christopher when I was at school, oh my goodness, you would have thought the world had ended.

My obsessive tendencies reinforced my attachment issues. It was painful and exhausting.

Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969). Attachment does not have to be reciprocal.

Whether reciprocated, or not, my attachment to people in my teens and twenties was totally out of control. As with a lot of my illness I mostly internalized these issues however, occasionally I am in no doubt my behavior was not acceptable, in any shape or form. Cringe.

Even creeping into my thirties, up until my diagnosis, I struggled letting go of my attachment to relationships. My heartbreak was excessive and unnecessary yet those feeling were real and painful to me.

Releasing attachment takes time, patience and an awful lot of work. It has taken me years not to place value on objects. As soon as I started reading more into Buddhism I immediately accepted I could never give up all attachment, however slowly and steadily my obsessive and extreme attachments became less and less.

Letting go of attachment for me involved being grateful for what I have, but knowing it may disappear at any moment.

I look around my home and at everything I own and love, and I remind myself that what I really want is inner peace. It is the love and laughter that keep it happy home, not the TV or pretty dresses.

Attachments are draining and hard work. While the latest in technology or a beautiful necklace bring pleasure, are they really what brings true happiness?

So, what’s the answer?

Have you tried Mindfulness ~ a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Use your breath, meditate.

Write it down, release you thoughts and feelings onto the page and journal it out.

Acceptance is often tough but very worthwhile. Things are what they are, unfortunately, even if they are not what you want.

Shift your focus. Be grateful for everything that you do have. And smile.

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What attachments do you want to release?  

First Published 2016/07/21

Yoga Camp with Adriene

A Bright & Beautiful New Year Awaits!

Last year a good friend of mine recommended 30 days of Yoga with Adriene I never got round to it. This year I was ready and raring to go to Yoga Camp

Yoga Camp  is a 30 Day home bootcamp for your mind, your body and your soul. Do it in the comfort of your own home, or anywhere you like!

Adriene Mishler leads Yoga With Adriene, a happy and successful online yoga community, which creates free creative content to inspire people of all shapes and sizes to connect to their body daily.

Adriene’s approach to health and wellness is relaxed and FUN! Her fresh offer invites you to build awareness, embrace individuality and connect to something BIG.

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I’m a vegetarian who likes BBQ sauce, bluebonnets, antiques and vintage clothes. I have an affinity for children and animals. I love Rumi and Rodeos.

Whether you’re a yogi or a beginner wanting to start their journey, Adriene’s videos will inspire you to be authentic, do your best and find what feels good.

Yoga Camp is about self discovery and self love. It’s about yoga asana, a tone and healthy body but it is also about checking your thoughts. It is about that “self talk” that is so important to your mental health and physical wellness. It’s about expanding your yoga to all areas that need your attention.

Yoga is really the art of waking up. Getting back to the true you. It can be that simple. Yoga offers up a way for us to see a world that is working for you instead of against you.

Though the goal is to bring you to your mat each day – Yoga Camp is more than just 30 Days of physical practice. Yoga Camp is about cultivating and practicing mental wellness via a gentle introduction to affirmation and mantra. We understand that to truly be HOT as hell, to truly be HAPPY, and to truly be HEALTHY – we need to tend to not just our body but our thoughts too.

Each day is different. Each week is different. Every video an opportunity to check yourself. Check in with your body, check your thoughts, create and connect to the body and the life you have always dreamed of.

Yoga reminds me that everything is connected so we must live, act, dance, breathe with awareness. If the journey really is the reward, then by golly I choose to enJOY the journey.

Are you ready to join her?

More at http://www.yogawithadriene.com
Twitter: @yogawithadriene
Instagram: @adrienelouise
Facebook: Yoga With Adriene

First Published 2016/01/03