12152017 Let’s Talk Mental Health, Mental Health

K. J. Rocazella

©2017 K.J.Rocazella

Let’s Talk Mental Health, Mental Health

April 24, 2018

 

 

*(The title should be read to the melody of “Let’s get physical”)

 


To start, my sincerest apologies in advance for the preachiness and potential boringness of this blog.  If you don’t want to feel as if you’re being lectured, I recommend not reading.  Go back and re-read that last line.  Did you do it? Okay, great. If not, … fine then.  

 

Additionally, if you don’t like to read articles based on science, again, highly recommend to completely disregard this blog. It’s going to be mainly factual based and sometimes these things can be tiresome. On a final note, the tone of this post is going to appear cynical but it’s just a topic that means a lot to me so my “voice” might sound more hostile than I intend for it to in your head.  But, I promise I adore y’all and am not trying to attack you, this time. Kidding. Again, this blog starts out opinion based but transitions into a more education platform.  I’ll label them as such so you can skip over my opinion if you don’t want to read about it. Okay, let’s get to it then, shall we?

 

 

 

 

 

OPINION SECTION THAT MOST PROBABLY DON’T CARE ABOUT BUT OH WELL 😊

 

Yay for opinions and platforms that allow each of us to express them. Moving on.  SO, let’s point out the obvious … it’s not mental health day, week or month but that shouldn’t matter.  To me, mental health awareness should be front and center daily, not strictly in October—it doesn't help that it's out-shadowed by breast cancer awareness. Also, not dissing breast cancer health, so relax.  Unfortunately, there is no “fun” way to discuss mental health but I’ll do my best to make it appealing, entertaining yet informative. Gooooooooo, team!

 

 

Alright, so, for some reason, as a society, whenever anything related to mental well being is broached—particularly, mental illness—the innate reaction is to become uncomfortable.  Like when a spider is crawling on you and immediately you shove it off and panic.

 

But, why is this the case?  Well, from personal experience, it's due to the idea that anyone with a mental illness is ... drum roll please ... "crazy."

 

Ah, there it is, one of my LEAST favorite words, crazy. For those of you wondering, there is equal disdain for the words, psycho, phlegm, curd, squirt and moist.  Ugh, reading those words in my head alone makes me cringe.  Anyways, as of late, I have noticed an increase in the use of said word, crazy.  Now, majority of the time it's used in friendly jest AND depending on the nature of individual relationships, this is okay.  However, how many times have you heard these questions/statements?:  

 

  • "They see a therapist? Heard it's because their crazy."

  • "Oh, you're acting emotional and crazy. Are you PMSing?"

  • “Oh, they attempted suicide? They must be crazy.”

  • “Homeless? For sure, crazy.”

 

Pretty often if I had to guess, yeah? If the answer to that rhetorical question was “not often,” well either you’re the one using it or maybe I need to reevaluate my perception of the word. 

 

Anyhow, “crazy” is just a word that we people of society toss around freely to label those we don’t understand; or people who have intense emotional reactions to situations, events, trauma, etc. Yes, I'm generalizing here but this shouldn't be shocking especially if you've read my other blogs.

 

There’s also the stark reality that the idea of “mental health” is both sexist and racist.  Ah, two words that instantly make people tense up because it’s usually followed by some intense view point.  Well, luckily for you, this post isn’t going to dive into either of those topics because NEWSFLASH MENTAL ILLNESS DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOUR OPINIONS ON ANYTHING BECAUSE IT DOESN’T DISCRIMINATE. IF YOU ARE A HUMAN AND YOU HAVE A FUNCTIONING BRAIN, YOU COULD/DO SUFFER FROM SOME SORT OF MENTAL ILLNESS AT SOME POINT IN YOUR LIFE.  Sorry, but not sorry for yelling.  Mainly sorry though, please don’t stop reading… 

 


Now, what most people fail to accept is that simply because the word “illness” is attached to mental, that does not mean one falls into either category of what I call the “Triple D’s” (it’s totally okay to laugh at that ha-ha):

 

- dangerous,

- deranged (aka crazy)

- disturbed. 

 

It’s normal to have some sort of mental issue and not be classified as one of the three “D’s.”

 

However, as you read the educational section below, you will see those words scattered throughout. In these cases, it’s appropriate to describe said mental illness as such.  Still, it should be noted that most mental illnesses can be aided with help and many people do live a healthy life regardless.

 

Before, I digress from my monologue from above, I’d like to be honest for those who are reading this post thoroughly. When I write these blogs, I feel like I should give you the reader something in return for taking time out of your day to listen to what I have to say, even when most of the time it’s not important.  My parting gift each time is simply, honesty. A trait I feel is hard to find these days.  So here is my gift to you today, an exposed and true fact about me.

 

 

I have suffered or am currently living with some sort of mental illness listed below.  It’s not easy and some days the entire world feels like it’s on my shoulders.  I feel tired majority of the time even if I’ve gotten 12 hours of sleep.  Assuming, I'm even sleeping at all.  If it wasn’t for my amazing therapist Juicy J (that’s not their real name) and my wonderful support system, I’d probably not be as well off as I am today.  Also, I’d like to name the individuals in my support system because I don’t feel like I do enough to express how much they mean to me. How much they help me … but I’m still unable to find the words and naming them would be a disservice to their anonymity. So, for those of you who know who you are, thank you and I love you.

 

 

With all that being said, if you are someone who is reading this and feel like you need someone to talk too please don’t hesitate to contact me.  If you have any questions regarding my personal experiences or if you have any question on mental health period, again let me know! Answering questions is one of my favorite hobbies on top of talking to people.  *insert Toy Story “you’ve got a friend” in me song here*

 

 

 

 

THE EDUCATIONAL SECTION FOR THE NERDS OUT THERE THAT LOVE INFO <3

 

Alrighty then, congrats to those of you who made it this far!!!  I’m proud of you for being able to stand hearing my words in your beautiful mind. Here are some invisible gold stars for your effort. 

 

As a reminder, this next section is FACT based.  Scientific. Logical. Tested. Studied.  I’ll give you a hot second to decide once and for all if you want to read the below … ONE.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

 

Well, well, well. Here we are discussing mental health, specifically mental illness which is a VERY large category.  There are approximately 200+ forms but they are grouped into five “main” categories.  Below I’m going to list the five categories and a brief definition of the most commons sub-categories. 

 

Side-note: all the information below comes from the National Institute of Mental Health, Mental Health America, and scientific psychology journals (which personally I LOVE) that you don’t want to read for those of you who were curious, which should be all of y'all.  Basically, I’ve taken all the fun details and condensed them into the most laymen terms so anyone can understand.  Also, don’t judge that I used the phrase “fun details” when referring to scholarly journals. Okay, you can judge a little.

 

Let's get to it then! Low key, I'm super excited to share all the information with you. AH!

 

 ^me right now

 

WAIT. As a warning, if anything looks weird the format changed a tad when transferring this post from word to wix so sorry in advance. If you have slight OCD and you notice things well ... I'm extra sorry and there's nothing I can do now. But uh, if it makes you feel better to let me know then go for it.

  1. Anxiety Disorders

    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

      • excessive anxiety or worry for months

    • Panic Disorder:

      • recurrent unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, pounding heart, sweating, trembling, feeling of impending doom.

    • Social Anxiety Disorder:

      • marked fear of social/performance situations in which they expect to feel embarrassed, judged, or rejected

  2. Eating disorders

    • Bulimia

      • People with recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes.This binge-eating is followed by behavior that compensates for over eating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives, fasting, excessive exercise or combinations of the above.These people usually maintain a health/normal weight unlike anorexia nervosa.

    • Anorexia Nervosa

      • People who may see themselves as overweight even when they are not. They typically weigh themselves repeatedly, severely restrict the amount of food they eat. This mental disorder has the highest mortality rate from starvation or suicide.

    • Binge-Eating

      • Lose control over eating.This is not counter balanced by purging.People with this disorder tend to be overweight or obese. It’s them most common eating disorder in the US.

    • Other Specified Feeding/Eating Disorder (OSFED)

      • A person with OSFED may present with many of the symptoms of other eating disorders but will NOT meet the full criteria for diagnosis. This makes up about 30% of the people seeking treatment.People with OFSED commonly present with extremely disturbed eating traits, and/or distorted body image, and intense fear of gaining weight.

        1. Orthorexia: It is not recognized as a “real” disorder but is popping up more frequently.Basically, it is similar to anorexia nervosa but instead with an obsession of “pure” or “healthy” food, so extreme clean eating.Healthy may mean cutting out food seen as unsafe and feeling highly anxious/guilty when healthy food is not available.

  3. Mood Disorders

    • Major Depression

      • Condition characterized by an inescapable and ongoing low mood often accompanied by low-self-esteem and loss of interest or pleasure in activities that person used to find enjoyable. Symptoms last for minimum 2 weeks.

    • Bipolar Disorder

      • Characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood and energy.Please note the word extreme.Contrary to popular belief, bipolar does NOT mean a person is highly emotional but rather refers to someone who experiences extended periods of mood and energy that are excessively high and or/irritable to sad and hopeless with periods of normal mood in between (mania).

    • Cyclothymia

      • Rare mood disorder which has similar characteristics of bipolar disorder just in a milder and more chronic form.

    • Persistent Depressive Disorder

      • Refers to a longer lasting form of depression that lasts minimum 2 years.

    • Seasonal Affective Disorder

      • Disorder involving symptoms of depression associated with varying levels of sunlight during fall/winter months which subsides during spring/summer.

    • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) [Not strictly a “mood” disorder]

      • Normal Stress Response

        • When healthy adults who have been exposed to a single discrete traumatic event in adulthood, experience intense bad memories, emotional numbing, feelings on unreality, being cut off from relationships or bodily tension with distress.Usually recover within weeks.

      • Acute Stress Response

        • Characterized by panic reactions, mental confusion, dissociation, severe insomnia, suspiciousness, being unable to manage even basic self-care, work or relationships.

      • Uncomplicated Stress Response

        • Persistent re-experience of the traumatic event, avoidance of stimuli associated with experience, emotional numbing and symptoms of increased arousal.

      • Comobird PTSD

        • Much more common than the above.Comorbid is usually associated with at least one other major psychiatric disorder such as depression, substance abuse, panic disorder, or another anxiety disorder.

      • Complex PTSD

        • Found among individuals who have been exposed to prolonged traumatic circumstances, especially during childhood.These individuals are often diagnosed with borderline or antisocial personality disorders or dissociative disorders.

        • They exhibit:

          • behavioral difficulties (impulsivity, aggression, sexual acting out, eating disorders, substance abuse, self-destructive tendencies)

          • extreme emotional difficult (intense rage, depression or panic)

          • mental difficulties (fragmented thoughts, dissociation and amnesia).

  4. Schizophrenia/Psychotic Disorders

    • Schizophrenia

      • Characterized by disorder thinking and behavior, which often includes delusions and hallucination.

    • Schizoaffective Disorder

      • Chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia but also includes mood disorder such as mania and depression.

    • Catatonia

      • Abnormality of movement and behavior arising from a disturbed mental state. It may involve repetitive or purposeless over activity or catalepsy, resistance to passive movement.

    • Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome

      • This is not recognized as a true mental disorder yet.However, it is a complicated mental illness that is still not completely understood.It causes clinically significant distress and is distinguished by the onset of mild, psychotic-like symptoms that do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for the listed above.

      • Attenuated means “weakened” hence the name

  5. Dementia's

    • This by far has the most sub-categories but I’m just going to go into a few “mainstream” ones for time sakes. I know you’re probably thinking, “now you’re worried about time?”

    •  Alzheimer’s Disease

      • In the early stages, it’s difficult to remember recent events, names, and conversations. Eventually this escalates to being unable to communicate, disorientation, confusion and loss of the physical body.

    • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

      • Symptoms include rapid memory, behavior and movement changes. It is thought to be triggered by prion proteins. Prion is not a virus nor bacteria but it can cause a disease.An example is mad cow disease.

    • Dementia with Lewy Bodies

      • Lewy Body: clumps of proteins in the brain that develop in people with Lewy Body Dementia.

      • Outward appearance is similar to Alzheimer’s however it includes, sleep disturbances, visual hallucinations and unsteady walking patterns.

    • Frontotemporal Dementia

      • Involves a loss of nerve cells and can trigger changes in how people behave and relate to others along with language and movement issues.

    • Parkinson’s Disease

      • This is a motor system disorder with the number one side effect being trembling especially in the hands.

    • Huntington Disease

      • This is a genetic disorder from a defect on chromosome 4.We each have two copies of this chromosome. It causes mood changes, abnormal movements, depression and an ongoing decline of thinking and reasoning.

    • Vascular Dementia

      • Post-stroke dementia.This is when there is bleeding or vessel blockage in the brain. It affects a person’s thinking and physical movements.

    • Mixed Dementia

      • Basically, the name says it all.It means the condition has more than one cause. Ex: Lewy body dementia combined with Vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s.

    • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

      • When an excess amount (buildup) of cerebrospinal fluid applies pressure to the brain.It can cause memory loss and the inability to control urination

    • Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

      • Occurs from a chronic deficient of vitamin B-1 or thiamine.

        1. B-1: this vitamin helps the body convert food into fuel.

      • Most commonly found in those that abuse alcohol.

      • Impaired memory, long-term memory gaps which a person may try to fill in with incorrect version so what they think happened and this unintentional lying is known as confabulation.

 

 

WOW, THE EDUCATION SECTION IS FINALLY COMPLETED. WHAT A FUN RIDE THAT WAS AM I RIGHT?

 

Alright, so I know this blog post was long but truly, for those of you who read any part of it, thank you.  Even the idea that one person is reading these means the absolute world to me.  In the end, the main take away from this is education.  My goal is to hopefully educate you even just a little on a topic that personally holds great value to me.  I think that should be everyone's goal in life, to educate themselves on all topics. Because to even attempt to understand something is 10x better than joining the masses which potentially could hold a very ill-advised opinion.

 

As a final note, here are some numbers that I feel everyone should have on the off chance they are needed personally or for others. 

 

 

 

 

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