Tag Archives: depression

The Relationship Between Money and Stress: What Research Says


We all know the feeling: you’re sitting at your desk, scrolling through social media, when you see it. That friend from college who just bought a new house, or the coworker who just got a new car. And suddenly, the little voice in your head starts asking questions. “Why can’t I have nice things like that?” “What am I doing wrong?”. It’s unbelievably easy to get caught up in keeping up. Sometimes at our own very peril

Finances are one of the leading causes of stress in our lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a little bit of planning and budgeting, you can take control of your finances and reduce your stress levels. So let’s get started!

The financial burden: how finances cause stress
If you’re already struggling with other issues in your life, such as a divorce or dealing with a serious health condition, the last thing you need is to worry about money.

A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that 72% of Americans report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and 22% say they experience extreme stress about finances.

Financial stress can come from a variety of sources, including job insecurity, debt, unexpected expenses, financial planning and more. And it can have a major impact on our mental and emotional well-being.

When we’re under financial stress, we may experience symptoms of anxiety or depression, including trouble sleeping, irritability, lack of focus, strained relationships and more. This stress can also lead to physical health problems like headaches, stomach problems and high blood pressure.

Our relationships. Although money is not the root of all evil, it is a significant source of stress for many couples. Money troubles can cause arguments and breakups and divorce. It’s not limited to intimate relationships. Partners  feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed. When you borrow money from a friend or family member, and cannot repay on time, it can create strain. 

Our health. Money troubles can also take a toll on one’s mental and physical health. A 2013 study found that financial strain was associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety and sleep problems. A 2012 study found that people who were stressed about money were more likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The impact of financial stress on work is well documented. A 2016 survey by the American Psychological Association; fmoney is the top source of stress for Americans, with 72 percent of respondents reporting experiencing significant stress about money at least some of the time.

Work performance.  A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, found that workers who reported experiencing financial stress were more likely to have poorer job performance, more absenteeism, and more difficulty concentrating at work.

The follow up post will offer suggestions for each aspect of your lives. Let me know below if this post helped!

To Your Success,
Juan

 

 

 

Tips To Avoid Depression In the Winter


When the weather is cold and the skies are dark and cloudy, it’s easier to feel down and despondent. If you struggle with gloomy feelings during the winter, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, there’s help and hope available, without the use of medication. Of course, please check with your physician before making any changes to your health regimen. 

Spring is Around the CornerSome people start feeling down days into the season change. Don’t let this happen to you! To stay happy and peaceful during the winter, focus your time and energy on things that bring you joy. See the beauty that the winter months have to offer. However, if you are really struggling to see any beauty in the gloom of winter, I have a few simple ideas to jump-start your thinking in a more positive direction.

Let’s go!

  1. Buy a sun lamp. A sun lamp gives you the light you need even when it’s gloomy outside, and works much better to help your mood than just turning on all the lights in your house.
  2. Take a vacation. Travel to somewhere sunny and warmer each winter, even if only for a couple of days. Looking forward to your annual getaway will lift your spirits during the time before you go, too.
  3. Get outside. When the sun does come out, even if it’s otherwise cold, take advantage of it. When your body is deprived of sunlight, it has a harder time making vitamin D. If you can get some sun, though, you’ll feel better. Feeling better, helps you to make it through until spring arrives with its longer, sunnier days.
  4. Find activities that bring you joy. Read that book you’ve always wanted, engross yourself in a new TV sitcom that comes on in winter. Perhaps learning to ski or snowboard, can bring you the mental and physical benefits of exercising, while also finding a way to enjoy the winter weather. 
  5. Consider a dawn simulator. These are alarm clocks, that gradually produces light that increases in intensity, just like the sun. These clocks do not wake you with loud beeping sounds or music.
  6. Consider aromatherapy. Studies have shown that essential oils can influence the brain area responsible for lifting your moods. 
  7. If you have SAD, you probably have trouble sleeping; whether it’s falling asleep, or getting up in the morning. Try sticking to a regular schedule, eating on time etc. Yes, it’s fine to shake things up from time to time, however, with SAD, routine is the way to go.
  8. Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts, moods, and feelings is very theraputic. I find the best time to do so, is right before bed. A gratitude journal is also a great option

Depression is Treatable – Even if it’s Only Occasional. If your feelings of depression run deep, talk to your doctor about options best suited to your needs. If you’re only getting bummed out and unhappy during the winter, though, focusing on strategies that work during the this time, is the best way to shake the blues.

You can choose to be joyful. Focus on things that matter to you and bring you happiness. Winter is only a season, and you’ll have spring, summer, and fall to enjoy the sunshine. Remember, anything you can do when it’s dark outside, you can do on a gloomy winter day. If you have hobbies that lend themselves to indoor activity, you’ll have more to keep your mind occupied as you move through the winter. The cold days will pass more quickly if you have something to do to occupy your time, and spring will arrive before you know it. 

During this month, we have touched on a lot how depression affects every facet of our lives, and hopefully, you have found the tips and strategies most useful. Use this FREE Depression Recovery Worksheet.to help you heal

To Your Success,
Juan

Depression and Food: What Studies Show


Depression and Food

Not all antidepressants come in a pill. A new study suggests that food can dramatically enhance your mood. Researchers at Deakin University in Australia, tested the theory on a group of participants with unhealthy diets who experienced moderate to severe depression. Half were asked to switch to a modified Mediterranean diet and nutritional counseling, while the other half continued their usual eating habits.

After 12 weeks, the Mediterranean-style diet group had significantly fewer symptoms, and 32% were in full remission. The other half, who received only social support, showed far less progress. While these results are dramatic, you don’t have to be clinically depressed to reap the benefits of eating more produce. Another study at the University of Otago in New Zealand, found that extra servings of vegetables and fruits boosted the psychological wellbeing of healthy young adults in just 2 weeks.

See how changing your diet could cheer you up. Run through this list, then plan a  visit to your local grocer or farmers market.

Fighting Depression with What You Eat

  1. Focus on whole foods. Fill up on natural foods that are full of nutrients and fiber that your body needs. Aim for at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits each day, along with plenty of lean protein and healthy fats.
  2. Limit processed fare. The other side of the equation is to cut back on junk food loaded with empty calories and sugar. That includes beverages as well as solid food.
  3. Toss a salad. Leafy green vegetables contain folate, which may relieve depression, as well as reducing your risk for certain cancers. Add a handful of beans or shrimp to your salad to make it a balanced meal.
  4. Ferment it. Probiotic and prebiotic nutrients are gaining a lot of attention as scientists learn more about how intestinal bacteria affect the brain. Sample fermented dishes like miso soup and kimchi dumplings.
  5. Go fish. Omega-3 fatty acids can also lift your spirits. You can find them in fatty fish like tuna and salmon, as well as soybeans, spinach, and walnuts.
  6. Enjoy chocolate. What could be easier than eating chocolate? Dark chocolate contains serotonin and antioxidants that help reduce stress. Be sure to watch portion sizes and check labels for actual cocoa content.

Fighting Depression with How You Eat

  1. Cook vegetables lightly. Cauliflower and carrots are even more nutritious when you prepare them quickly in minimal water. Try steaming or microwaving.
  2. Seek variety. Different produce contains different vitamins. If you eat a variety of colors, you’re likely to wind up with a good balance.
  3. Eat in. It’s easier to control what you’re consuming if you’re doing the cooking yourself, because restaurants tend to add more fat, salt, and sugar. Brush up on your kitchen skills and bring your lunch to work.
  4. Treat yourself. Forget about forbidden foods and allow yourself an occasional indulgence. It will make it easier to stick to your diet in the long run.
  5. Keep a journal. Strong feelings like depression or happiness can affect your food choices. If you struggle with emotional eating, write down what you eat and what’s going on at the time. You’ll be able to spot your triggers and figure out alternative approaches.
  6. Make friends with food. Strict diets can make you feel deprived or guilty. Remember that food nourishes your body and mind, and eating can be a lot of fun.

If you think you have signs of depression, it’s important to talk with your doctor who may recommend talk therapy and medication, in addition to any dietary changes. If you just want a little more energy and happiness, extra broccoli and blackberries may be all you need.

To Your Success,
Juan

Prenatal Depression: Protect You & Your Baby


prenatal depression

Pregnancy is a time of hope, love, and joy. However, for many women, it can also be a time of prenatal depression, it is common and occurs more often than you might think. It can even happen to you! Please do not to ignore the signs and symptoms. Your life and the life of your baby is worth it.There is LOT of talk about post natal depression, due to many high profile stories in the news, however,  there is not enough attention being given to the period before While one post offering a summary of prenatal depression, the hope is that it will serve as a reference, and open up more discussion

Here is what  you need to know:

  1. Understanding prenatal depression. It’s estimated that one out of every four women will experience depression. Prenatal depression occurs during pregnancy and can be triggered by many factors.
    • In many cases, both patients and doctors ignore possible symptoms because hormone changes is often the focus. However, this type of depression can be dangerous for both the mother and child.
  2. Common signs: thoughts of death and suicide.
    • The pregnant woman may have ongoing and recurring thoughts about killing herself or others. She may also have thoughts about harming the baby, the father, and even try to do something violent. Other signs of prenatal depression include never-ending feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety and guilt
  3. Depression triggers. Some medical experts believe that hormone and body changes during pregnancy can trigger depression, but there are other causes as well.
    • Relationship issues are also a common trigger, because the mother may feel she isn’t getting enough support. She worries how the child will change the relationship after birth
    • Complications during pregnancy can also trigger depression. If the mother is on bed rest or worried about losing the baby, it leaves the door open for feelings of depression to creep in. The joy of carrying the child is replaced with anxiety, worry, and fear.
  4. Potential issues for the baby. Although some mothers are able to continue to take care of their bodies during depression, others struggle to eat healthy food or avoid alcohol and other harmful substances.
    • Suicidal behavior is another major risk for the baby. A woman who suffers from prenatal depression is more likely to try to kill herself or the child.
    • Drinking and smoking are also concerns because some women will turn to them for comfort.
    • It’s important to recognize that a woman who has prenatal depression may not be making the best decisions for her baby.
  5. Treatment options. These will vary, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor.
    • Women with prenatal depression can find help through therapy.
    • Both individual and group therapy sessions may be necessary. Discuss these options with your doctor and work out a schedule that fits your needs. Find sessions that welcome pregnant women.
    • You may also benefit from some medications, but there are restrictions because drugs can affect the baby.
    • Support groups have helped some women with prenatal depression.
    • In addition, reducing stress and eliminating issues causing anxiety can help.
    • Adjustments to diets, exercise, and lifestyles is also helpful.
    • The most important step is to seek help and not ignore the symptoms. Doctors and therapists can determine the best treatment plan on an individual level. 

Prenatal depression is a real issue and shouldn’t be ignored. If you or someone you love show these signs, seek treatment right away. Medication and talk therapy can help, after weighing the medication risks with your medical provider. If your insurance does not cover treatment, there is usually free resources available. Though not always easy to find, the effort is worth it. 

Untreated pre natal depression leads to a host of issues, including but not limited to, missing important check ups, problems during labor and delivery, poor nutrition etc.  No one should have to suffer alone and fight without help. Call 911 right away if immediate harm to the mother or unborn baby is obvious.

Learning about prenatal depression could save a life – or two.

To Your Success,
Juan 

Spot Hidden Signs of Depression In The Ones You Love.


Depression isn’t always easy to spot in loved ones, especially if they are hiding it on purpose. Last month, when I began this mental health series, I mentioned the importance of checking in on your loved ones, the strong types, who often need support, but don’t ask for it. Pillars of strength,  at the first sign of trouble, they are the ones we seek out first. Sometimes, in our own self serving world, it’s easy to miss what’s being hidden. 

Useful strategies to help you discover if your loved one is suffering from depression:

  1. Why people hide their depression. It’s easier to hide the issues than face them head on People hide their depression because they’re scared and don’t want others to know what is happening to them. They are worried about losing their jobs or kids. Embarrassment is another reason. Depression still comes with a stigma, and they don’t want it attached to them. 
  1. They may overcompensate. To hide their depression, they overcompensate by being more outgoing than usual. Studies show they force themselves to be more outgoing and give fake smiles. It’s important to them that others think all is well.
  1. They have eating disorders. Issues with food are common among those with depression, including changes in appetite. They may eat too much or too little. Their diets may be out of control. If you notice these changes,  consider why they’re happening. Food can serve as an emotional trigger, often used to make themselves feel better or worse. 
  1. They have angry outbursts. These outbursts can become more frequent as the depression gets worse. An occasional angry outburst over a terrible situation is normal for everyone. However, if you notice frequent and strange angry outbursts, then consider this as a possible cry for help. 
  1. Their sleep patterns change. Unhealthy sleep patterns are an issue for those with depression. Sleep patterns that change for no reason may be a sign of a deeper issue. They may sleep too much or too little, and may complain about not getting enough sleep, yet refuse to go to bed. 
  • It’s important to look deeper into sleep issues. Why are they having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Or, why are they staying in bed for so long? Insomnia is frequently linked to depression. 
  1. They turn to addiction. Addiction and depression are often linked together. Addiction can come in many forms; food, drugs, alcohol, gambling or other behaviors. Risky behavior is an issue for people who suffer from depression.  It’s important not to ignore their cry for help. 
  1. They hide their feelings by keeping insanely busy schedules. Work, family, and volunteer activities can fill up the day and stop them from addressing their depression.This keeps them busy, provides a distraction from thinking, and helps to keeps us from questioning them.
  1. They have trouble thinking clearly. People who suffer from depression can often make bad decisions, refuse to reach any decision, and have trouble with their thoughts. They may also show difficulty in focusing on easy things. 

? I hope these tips helps you spot hidden depression in your loved ones. If are concerned a loved one is hiding Depression, dont wait for them to approach you and initiate a discussion, it might never happen. How you approach the conversation is crucial. Don’t pretend to be a know it all. Don’t start off by telling them “ I think you might be Depressed”. Start with love, let that lead you. Think how you might want to be approached, if a loved one tried to talk to you about Depression.

To Your Success,
Juan

Warning Signs of Suicide


Suicide

I was married to a man who threatened to commit suicide if he didn’t get his way.  More than once. In our very short marriage, the emotional rollercoaster took everything out of me. You cant imagine what this does to a person’s psyche. I didn’t know it at the time, but came to realize, he was a Narcissist. His behaviors were extreme. This blog has some amazing resources, if you suspect you are in a relationship with a Narc.

Suicide is incredibly serious. Since Miss USA Cheslie Kryst’s death, I have watched several interviews with people in her circle. No one saw it coming. Almost all expressed dismay, at the thought of possibly missing the signs. Depression and Suicide are closely linked. In my line of work, we are required to ask about suicidal and homicidal ideation and intention, during every substantive encounter. 

Sadly, Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US. Stats show nearly 50,000 suicides, and more than a million attempts. It appears that 70% of suicides are committed by white males, but more women attempt suicide than men. In general, the younger someone is, the less likely they are to commit suicide. Even so, there seems to be an onslaught of young people now taking their own lives. While some suicides are out of the blue, very often there are warning signs. Unfortunately, these warning signs often go unnoticed or worst, ignored.

Be aware of these common suicide warning signs, and you may save a life:

  1. Feeling hopeless. If someone is miserable and doesn’t believe there’s any hope of a better existence, suicide can be a logical conclusion for them. One possible cure for hopelessness is to prove that the ability to alter the future exists. For example, set one small goal; five pushups or to lose two pounds. Accomplishing a small goal is a way to prove that the future is alterable.
  2. Lack of interest in activities that were once pleasurable. This is one of the primary signs of depression. For instance, if you, or someone you know, has always loved to watch baseball, it would be unusual to suddenly lose interest in that activity.
  3. Talking about suicide. Many people that are considering suicide mention it at some point. If you know someone that seems interested in the topic of suicide, that’s potentially a serious warning sign. They might ask you how you’d commit suicide, mention it in the news, or even ask your opinion of people that have done it.
  4. Intentional isolation. People who drastically reduce their social interactions are often also contemplating suicide. When people are miserable, they tend to isolate themselves from everyone else in the world. If your normally sociable friend rarely makes an appearance, there could be an issue.
  5. Giving away possessions. People considering suicide can still be concerned about who receives their possessions when the smoke clears. They often start giving away their tools, furniture, pets, and anything else of value.
  6. Depression. Depression is a primary warning sign of suicide. Remember depression is treatable. There’s no reason to suffer passively, when there are so many treatment options available.
  7. Strong feelings of guilt or shame. People who commit suicide are frequently overwhelmed with feelings of guilt or shame. The best way to deal with these two emotions is therapy. Fortunately, there are many free resources available for this issue as well. An online search will turn up several good possibilities. 
  8. Saying goodbye to friends and family. Committing suicide is like taking a very long trip that you never come back from. Most of us wouldn’t leave on a long trip without saying goodbye. If it feels like someone is giving you a farewell for no apparent reason, that could be a warning sign of an impending suicide.
  9. Stating that others would be better off without them. Many people consider suicide, but decide against it because of the harm they realize it could cause to others. When someone believes that others would actually benefit from their death, that’s a serious warning sign that they intend to harm themselves.

Be on the lookout for these warning signs. Given the prevalence of suicide attempts in this country, you may know someone that will attempt suicide. You’ve likely known others that have considered it, whether you realize it or not.

Suicide is a significant cause of death. If you know the warning signs, you might be able to stop yourself, or someone you know, from ending their life needlessly. Ask, listen, and encourage them to seek help. The number for Suicide and Crisis Hotline is 1800 273 8255. 

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, use this Depression and Loss worksheet, to help you work through your feelings

To Your Success,
Juan

Types of Depression


Types of Depression

The word Depression is often used to describe the disorder, and while the symptoms are classic, it goes beyond the cookie cutter diagnosis. In this post, I will identify the types of Depression, as they vary from one person to the next and on the DSM. One in five people will suffer from depression during their lifetime, and it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. 

The good news is that depression is treatable. There are several forms of depressive disorders.

Major depression—severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes.

Persistent depressive disorder—depressed mood that lasts for at least 2 years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression, along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for 2 years.

Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances. They include:

  • Psychotic depression, which occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs or a break with reality (delusions), or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).
  • Postpartum depression, which is much more serious than the “baby blues” that many women experience after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during spring and summer. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but nearly half of those with SAD do not get better with light therapy alone. Antidepressant medication and psychotherapy can reduce SAD symptoms, either alone or in combination with light therapy.

Bipolar disorder  also called manic-depressive illness, is not as common as major depression or persistent depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes—from extreme highs (e.g., mania) to extreme lows (e.g., depression).

Dysthymialess severe type of depression, dysthymia (or dysthymic disorder), involves long-lasting symptoms that do not seriously disable, but keep one from functioning well or feeling good.

Source: National Institute for Mental Health.

As always, please speak with your medical or mental health provider to confirm diagnosis and get the help you deserve. Next up, we will look at Suicide, as Depression is the leading cause. Suicide is a heavy topic, but I cannot fail to address it in a mental health series.

To Your Success,
Juan 

What Is Depression?


March babies, how are you?!

Wishing you a year filled with happiness, contentment, and more joy than you could ever hope for.

Let’s continue the mental health series, this month the focus is on  Depression.

Shortly after Mss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst’s death, her mom April Simpkins, released a statement which reads in part “While it may be hard to believe, it’s true. Cheslie led both a public and a private life. In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone — including me, her closest confidant — until very shortly before her death.” Are you, or someone you know suffering from high functioning Depression? Given all that’s happening in the world, now is not the time to sweep things under the rug. Cheslie’s suicide is a wake up call. Should be.

If you ask a group of people who suffer from clinical depression to define the illness, you’ll get a variety of answers. Depression is a very personal experience, faced by millions. Different people manifest different symptoms. One thing remains clear: depression is a difficult illness, that can destroy your life if left unresolved.

Many people with depression, describe it as a sense of despair, that engulfs everything they do and feel. If you think being depressed is akin to feeling sad, because your favorite team just lost the championship game, you really have no idea, what suffering from this debilitating mental illness truly is. Depression is much deeper, more invasive than sadness or frustration.

Depression takes everything away from you; saps your energy, focus, concentration, and especially your joy. You don’t care about anything; nothing matters, and even people you love can become unimportant. If you’ve felt  depressed for a long time, you become accustomed to the feeling, and any other emotion becomes unfamiliar, and frightening. 

Physical Concerns of Depression
Depression doesn’t only take its toll on your emotions, and mental state; it can cause serious physical problems. You can lose your appetite or eat incessantly. It zaps your energy and motivation. When you’re depressed, you tend to become inactive. This alone can lead to a number of problems, but when added to other physical side effects, it’s easy to see why depression should always be given the care and concern it deserves

In addition, depression can lead to:

  1. 1. Lack of sleep. Insomnia strips the body of the necessary sleep, needed to function properly.
  2. 2. Poor nutrition. When depressed, many people fail to take in proper nutrients. It takes too much effort to plan and prepare a meal. 
  3. 3. Aches and pains. If anyone tells you that your mental state has no effect on your physical state, they are wrong. When you’re depressed, the chemicals in the brain that signal pain, and happiness, are affected in the same way. Physical aches and pains increase, sad feelings kick in, repeating the cycle.
  4. 4. Hygiene issues. Someone suffering from depression doesn’t have the energy or the motivation to be concerned with self-care.

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

  •  Constant and severe sadness about everything
  •  Hopelessness
  •  Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  •  Irritability
  •  Trouble concentrating
  •  Loss of interest in things that once interested them
  •  Feeling worthless, useless and strangely guilty for no reason at all
  •  Serious change in weight, one way or the other
  •  Lack of energy and fatigue

Depression is a serious condition and should be treated as such.
As depression progresses, it feeds on itself like a rolling snowball. The longer someone is depressed, the worse it gets, until they see no way out.  It is not uncommon to resign yourself  to being miserable all the time. Depression can be caused by a certain event, change of seasons, loss of someone close, or even a chemical imbalance in the brain. Treatment usually involves counseling or medication that helps alter brain chemistry. 

If you know someone who is depressed, one of the most important things you can do, is to be his or her friend. Talk to them and help them through this period. Help them seek medical care to treat their illness. If you think you may be depressed, talk to a health care provider. Depression doesn’t have to ruin your life! With support, you can move past it, and go on to live a joyful life. 

Download this  FREE copy of a Depression Checklist. Take it with you when you visit your medical provider, especially if the feelings have laster more than two weeks

You Your Success
Juan

Anxiety and Fear are Cousins


Welcome Back,

Pleased to have you. Thanks for stopping by!

Do you feel anxious before a medical/dental visit, or starting something new? Full disclosure; I get very anxious years in the Dentist office. I crumble into a million little pieces. I am constantly amazed at how quickly it happens! I start sweating profusely. My bladder starts filling up again, doesn’t matter if I went minutes ago. My body is wound so tightly, I have to force myself to relax. Recently, the Dentist finally suggested I take Valium. My PCP agreed.

Have you gotten the jitters before speaking in front of a large group, or sweaty palms when thinking about the future? These are common reactions, when faced with something that’s scary or unfamiliar, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. However, some people suffer from a more severe form of anxiety, that causes more serious physical symptoms. To better understand if your anxious feelings could be a sign of an anxiety, or panic disorder, let’s do a deep dive:

1. If your heart is racing, and you can’t breathe correctly, this can be a symptom of anxiety that is severe, enough to get professional help.


2. Some people have uncontrollable fears of things like crowded places, driving, or germs that cause complete avoidance of places or situations.


3. The consistent inability to concentrate can be a symptom of anxiety. This must be consistent behavior, not just on those occasions when you lack sleep, brought on by hunger, for instance.


4. Nervous behaviors, such as walking around the same area, over and over again, or twitching your fingers or toes repetitively, can be another indicator.


5. A feeling of doom that something will happen to you, such as an accident, heart attack, or even death, can be symptoms of an anxiety disorder or panic disorder.


6. Numbness in your hands, fingers, toes, and legs or feeling like you can’t stand are  common.


7. If you have trouble swallowing, or unusual dry mouth episodes, these may be indications of anxiety.


8. Fear of people around you, and the desire to be alone, are feelings many anxiety sufferers face.


9. The inability to leave your home, can be a symptom of a severe anxiety or panic disorder.


10. If your normal activities become overwhelming, you could be suffering from anxiety or a panic disorder. More than fifteen years ago, I worked the front desk of an animal clinic. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a panic attack, later confirmed by EMS personnel. One of the worse experiences of my life. My Doctor surmised, it was related to working and attending school full-time. 

Certain cultures rarely openly acknowledge mental health issues. More than ever, I hope to reach this demographic. Being born and raised in the Caribbean, I can attest to this.  The good news, is that these symptoms and conditions, are no longer considered taboo in mainstream society. The COVID pandemic, has shed a huge light on the burgeoning mental health crisis.

If you suffer from anxiety, please do not do so in silence. Many mental health clinics, and hospitals offer affordable support, if you’re on a lower or fixed income. Your health insurance can help you get treatment, they cannot reveal your diagnosis to your employer. Medications, meditation, and relaxation techniques are also beneficial. Understanding your condition, can help alleviate the stress and fear caused by panic attacks.  Living life in fear of another panic attack will hold you hostage.  Get the treatment that can put you back on the road to peace, health and happiness. You’ll be glad you did!

If you are experiencing a crisis, and need to speak with someone immediately, please contact the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline, at 1800 273 8255.

Here is a FREE Anxiety Self Test worksheet to help you sort things out.

Up next, surprising facts about anxiety.

To Your Success,
Juan

 

Pandemic Within a Pandemic


Readers,

February is here already. Yikes! Can we talk about mental health for a bit? Almost two years into the pandemic, we know someone who either contracted the disease, or died from it. Another troubling trend, is the urgent need for mental health support. Millions are now coping with increased anxiety, depression, panic attacks, PTSD, insomnia, stress eating, loneliness, paranoia..etc. I believe we are in the middle of a pandemic within a pandemic. Sadly, some saw no way out, and took their own lives. The past two years have been TOUGH. 

A few days ago here in NYC, media outlets broke news which quickly spread; Miss USA 2019, Chelsie Krist jumped to her death. She made history, part of a trio of black beauty pageant winners, who for the first time, held the titles of Ms USA, Teen USA, and America. Just about every comment echoed the same sentiments “ No one saw this coming. She looked like she had it all. A Lawyer who fought for reform, mental health advocate, and successful television personality, heartbreaking”.

The thing is, we need to stop judging others on appearances. That strong friend who never complains, constantly smiling, appears happy is most likely the one silently asking us to check in on them. My blog’s content calendar was planned before this tragic news broke. You can expect the next few months to be all things mental health. 

Most of my clients are anxious about the future. Best laid plans have been shattered. I have bouts of anxiety too. To help them, I’ve had to quickly shift and pivot. I cannot pour from an empty cup. What issue in your life has been amplified because of COVID? I can only imagine your list has gotten longer. We may not know each other personally, but I understand where we are. Over the next few months, when you visit this page, you can expect to find mental health related posts, hoping to be a source of light as we work our way through uncertainty. 

A bit about my background. I have spent the past 5+ years working with the homeless and formerly homeless, on the grimy streets of NYC. My clients struggle with persistent mental health disorders, some have a history of suicide attempts, drug addictions, in patient psychiatric hospitalizations, etc. The job is not easy. In 2011, I graduated from the University of Essex UK, with an MSc in Psychology. Barry University in Florida, provided the background with a BSc in the same field.

I am also a Reiki Master. I continue to  actively seek out other mental health related certifications. When I lived in Miami, I worked in the medical field for about six years. I won’t always get things right. The upcoming posts  are not meant to treat or diagnose from behind a computer screen, simply to share my knowledge, experience, and guidance.  Always follow the advice of your medical and mental health providers.

We will begin with anxiety. Hope to see you soon.

To Your Success,
Juan