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stigma fighters | Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet| depression help

Be A Depression Stigma Fighter ( #StigmaFighter  #NotAlone)

We’ve all know that breaking depression stigma is important. We know stigma is used to keep certain parts of society under control, or annexed from the rest of the population. But why is stigma still a problem when it comes to mental health? After all, isn’t mental health part of a person’s complete health? Shouldn’t talking about your mental health be as socially acceptable as talking about your trip to the dentist? Shouldn’t you be able to ask your doctor to examine your mental health with the same ease as you do when you ask for a full body checkup?

Stigma in depression is used to portray someone in a negative stereotypic way.

People have always been afraid of what they can’t understand. Mental health has historically been a charged issue. Prehistoric people didn’t understand how the brain functioned, so anything weird or odd about someone meant they were possessed by supernatural forces, had bad fluids in their system, or had eaten something that made them crazy. In fact, the words crazy or insane were used to describe people who simply were different, people who were maybe bipolar or even psychic.

If you happened to be a shaman or seer, you might get away with anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder only because you could provide some valuable insight to those in power. However, having psychic abilities was always risky. The infamous witch hunts and trials of Europe were fuelled by fear and hatred of anyone who was smart or psychically talented.

Throughout the ages, anything that pointed you out as mentally different from your neighbours or family members was not good. You were either incarcerated in mental asylums or locked away in some hidden room in your family’s house. Or you had holes bored into your skull to relieve you of the bad spirits.

Depression Stigma is dangerous and hurts.

Stigma is dangerous and hurts in any situation. When it comes to mental health, stigma can be deadly. Not everyone who is depressed will choose suicide, but those who choose suicide are all depressed.

Many people are afraid of talking about depression, anxiety, or mood disorders because of the stigma. In parts of the world, people who admit to being depressed will be shunned by family. They will be abandoned, thrown out of the house, or even threatened with physical violence.

Men in particular have a tough time with depression. Stigma means that a man has to ‘suck it up’ when it comes to being depressed. You have to go to work, support the family, be the man for the wife and kids, and never ever have a sick day. Emotions are a weakness. Crying is forbidden. Talking about how you feel with the guys is weird. Feeling tired all the time just means you need to get more sleep. If you sleep lots, then you’re lazy.

At work, if you’re depressed and get time off to go see a psychiatrist, the rumour mill will have it that you’re mentally ill. Technically you are mentally unwell, but stigma puts a cruel twist on the words. People will avoid you. Work projects will taper off. The company might not fire you, but they will make it very unpleasant for you to continue working with them.

Depression stigma is rejection of you as a person.

And that hurts. I used to wish I had cancer or some disease instead of depression, because at least then I would have sympathy. Instead, I used to be called lazy, crazy, or useless. I was expected to be the same person I was before. But I couldn’t be that person, because I was in so much pain and despair. Friends and family said I wanted attention. When I got help, I was being hysterical about my symptoms. When I stopped asking for help, and tried suicide, I was called a drama queen because I survived. Yeah, figure that one out.

So imagine a young person who is depressed. Imagine the fear and anxiety the young person has about telling anyone. Try to appreciate the questions the young person has about how to get help, how to get out of depression. Would you want your daughter or son to suffer, maybe even die, because stigma kept her or him from getting help?

There’s no place for stigma when it comes to mental health.

There shouldn’t be any stigma about asking for or getting help when it comes to mental health. We should all be #StigmaFighters and challenge those whose thinking and attitudes hold back those needing help. Society has to move forward. Create change in mental health. Help future generations be able to talk about mental health like we do today about dental health.

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depression | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

 

We need to get more depression researchers and depressed people into a healthy relationship. People with depression help move research forward.

It’s not easy for a depressed person to function some days, much less be involved in research. But you might be surprised how many depressed people actually want to create change and are ready and willing to work with researchers.

Depression research

I’ve worked with Canadian mental health researchers to improve the outcomes of people suffering from depression. The researchers I know are dedicated and highly motivated. They want to make changes to the way depression research is done so that depressed people have an equal voice. These researchers understand that depressed people want to get better, that we are looking for alternative therapies, and we want to be respected and not face stigma.

Giving back the depressed person’s voice.

One of biggest things that depression does is stifle a person’s voice. It’s tough to talk about depression. When it comes to depression research, especially the way its done via the old system, the depressed person’s voice can be non-existent.

The irony in depression research is, that while the research is about helping depressed people, often there isn’t any outlet for depressed people to be active collaborators in the project. Depressed people aren’t always consulted by clinicians and researchers. Concerns and ideas aren’t heard. When depressed people are consulted, they don’t have any positions of authority in the project.

When you are depressed, its hard to advocate for your health and wellbeing. Doctors may not believe you. Clinicians may think they have the best answers. Researchers may only want answers to questions they have. It seems like no one in the system is listening to you. No one wants to hear your ideas on how to make the system work better for someone depressed. Nor does anyone want to listen to ideas you have about what might make you feel better, or what really does make you feel better. Things like alternative therapies, herbal supplements, yoga, spiritual guidance.

Researchers come up with questions of interest to them.

Researchers tend to be isolated. They come up with research questions that they are interested in, or know will get funding. The last group a researcher may ask for input is people with depression. So ideas on how to treat depression, or where research should be focused, may not have room in the current research project. Most depression research uses pharma products and cognitive therapy. What about the lethargy, or the physical pain that comes with depression? Could some alternative treatment help? Does climate or location affect depression?

Then there’s the way researchers are trained. In the old method, a researcher spends years learning and doing research. There’s lots of “hammering down the nail that’s different” when it comes to presenting new ideas to fellow professionals. You do things the way it’s always been done, because it’s the proven way to get funding and be published.

Even if you are enthusiastic and want to revolutionize depression research, there is so much pushback from people higher up in the department that you will feel like you’re hitting a brick wall. Fortunately, times are changing and new researchers are being taught to use people with lived experience as partners in research. These partnerships are proving valuable as they give new insights into depression and encourage ground breaking strategies.

Big money speaks.

Funding gets projects off the ground. If a group of depressed people want research on some herbal remedy, a researcher usually insists the group comes up with the money before even considering the project. And we’re talking BIG money. Most of that money is spent on the research, not on compensating people with lived experience involved in the project.

When researchers get money, they like to be in control of how its spent. They would rather have volunteers than have a paid position. Sure, there is a trend developing to pay for travel, meals, and hotels for people with lived experience. But we’re talking pennies per mileage, exact costs, and always having to prove your expenses with receipts. It’s doesn’t quite give value for the person’s time and experience. If you take time off work to help out with research or to speak at a conference, you want to be shown that your time is valued.

People with lived experience need to be compensated more than pennies and dollars at a time. There needs to be a salary, paid flat fee, or some bursary. The money should be a true reflection of the person’s value. Some have suggested giving a few hundred dollars every time the person meets with the research group. But this has serious pushback from researchers. Why? Because that money could be spent buying publication space in magazines.

Researchers spend thousands of dollars on publications.

It’s amazing how much money a researcher needs to get published. In research, you don’t get noticed or get grants awarded unless you publish. Lots! Science magazines know this. They have a pretty good scam going too. Magazines charge thousands of dollars for publishing an article. The researcher knows this, so the researcher will ask for and get millions of dollars in grant money. The magazine won’t even look at a research article unless money is first received. And then it will take months for anyone to look at the article, and a few more months before its published.

You can understand why researchers don’t share lots of information between each other. And why there’s that “publish or perish” attitude ingrained in their culture.

Research needs the voice of the depressed.

When depressed people have a chance to share what works and what doesn’t, and how they can be in control of their lives once again, depression research really moves forward. Young researchers are reaching out to depressed people to form equal partnerships in the hope of new breakthroughs.

Let’s help depressed people and researchers get into a healthy relationship. Contact your local university or college, and find out what type of depression research is going on. Be an advocate for paying people with lived experience. Be active on a research board. There are a lot of ways you can help improve the relationship.

 

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Twitter  @tereziafarkas

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tiger lily healing properties | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

Did you know that Tiger Lilies healing properties can help depression? Maybe that’s why my garden is full of different types of Tiger Lilies. They are a bright, colourful flower that brings joy to the heart. But there’s more to a Tiger Lily than looking beautiful!

What Is A Tiger Lily?

Tiger Lily belongs to the family Liliaceae. It’s a specific type of lily that’s not as poisonous as its other family members. The Tiger Lily has large, fiery orange petals covered with spots. It reminds one of a fiery tiger in the green jungle. The flowers can grow up to three inches in width and are very easy to grow. In fact, Tiger Lilies are sometimes called the Ditch Lily because they are found in or near ditches of America.

Tiger Lilies can be eaten by people, but they are poisonous to cats and dogs. Other lilies are poisonous to humans. But a Tiger Lily, not harmful to humans, is used in Asian and Native American dishes.

Tiger Lilies have a strong, sweet lily smell. I love the smell of Tiger Lilies in my garden. It’s a soothing, calming aroma that helps relieve anxiety. And the Tiger Lily colours – ranging from deep heart-throb red to sunny yellow – bring an uplifting feeling to your heart and soul.

Spiritual Healing Properties of Tiger Lily

A Tiger Lily is used for setting protective boundaries. It helps you connect spiritually to yourself and find your inner strength. Once connected, you can set your protective boundaries and stand firmly within the protected sphere.

Tiger Lilies help with the acceptance of new ideas and concepts. It also helps with emotional release. You can break away from unhelpful or negative beliefs and patterns that you grew up with, or that have been passed down through generations. It allows you to think in broader terms and concepts and see the value of new ideas.

Eating Your Tiger Lily

I didn’t know this, but you can eat parts of a Tiger Lily. The flower buds, roots, and shoots taste bitter but are safe to eat. The buds have to be soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes before using them. That’s to soften up the fibres.

You can enjoy a Tiger Lily in salads, soups, and teas and more. Asian dishes use the Tiger Lily because it enhances the flavour of salads, rice, and dishes like hot and sour soup. When baked, Tiger Lily buds taste like potatoes. Tiger Lilies can be cooked with meat, and the dried parts go well in scrambled eggs and omelettes. In Kyoto, Japan the bulbs traditionally are boiled – they supposedly taste like parsnip – and combined with pickled plum puree to serve at New Year.

Tiger Lily Health Benefits

Tiger Lilies have anti-inflammatory properties that target women’s health. For example, Tiger Lily tinctures help with neuralgic pain and nausea from uterine-neuralgia during pregnancy. They also help reduce vaginal and pelvic inflammation, and relieve pain from menstrual, fibroids, or menopausal symptoms.

The mental health benefits of Tiger Lilies are relieving stress, anxiety, and depression. Most of the healing work is done with setting personal boundaries, connecting with one’s inner and higher self, and letting go of old belief systems.

Tiger Lilies also work on the physical symptoms caused by anxiety and depression, such as heart disorders and palpitations. Tiger Lilies are cleansing agents, meaning they have astringent properties that shrink tissue or blood vessels. This is good for relieving pain. Tiger Lily soup or tea work best, while perfumes or sachets can be used to calm or suppress anxiety.

So maybe you’ll want to plant a Tiger Lily in your garden and enjoy its many benefits! Tiger Lilies are easy to grow and self propagate, meaning you don’t have to worry about seeds. They are good in all types of soil and can tolerate dry conditions. Bright, sunny location is a Tiger Lily’s friend. So go ahead, enjoy a Tiger Lily!

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self care | Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet | depression help

What are your self care habits when you’re away travelling with work?

Many people have great self care habits. But these same people fall short with their self care habits when away travelling with work. Why? Usually its because self care habits are left at home when travelling. Work takes over.  Things are prioritized. People are demanding of your time. There’s no time to take care of your self, or to manage those emotional storms that work can create. Or so you think.

Self care can happen while you are away working. Self care doesn’t depend on where you are, but on what you can do or are willing to do to take care of yourself. The most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself. Self care is self love. By taking care of yourself, you are also making sure you are in a good position to take care of and love others.

Self care habits are portable. You don’t need to take along stuff to make you feel good. Self care can be as simple as daily meditation, prayer, or taking a long bath. It’s a good idea to create a self care tool kit that is personalized with all your self care accoutrements. This self care tool kit should be easy to take as luggage. For example, you might have a beautiful bag filled with self care tools like mp3 players, lotions, essential oils, candles, portable massagers, or a journal. Self care can be easy and cheap. Here’s some self care habits you can do when you’re away travelling with work.

Take time out.

Taking time out is important. It might even be the most important self care tip for travelling with work. Time in your room is yours. Use it to unwind. Use the gym or pool to physically unwind.

Emotional time out means recognizing the emotions the day has left you holding. Those emotions need to be sorted out. If you feel like screaming, do it. At the worst, you’ll have to explain to a hotel attendant that you were just releasing some pent up emotion.

Be aware of your self talk. Self talk is usually negative, so it’s no surprise that after a work meeting you’ll come away even more negative about yourself. But are you really that awful, or is it someone projecting their own insecurities, failures, and illusions upon you? Recognize the negative people in your meeting and realize that, while you can’t avoid these people, you can certainly ignore most of their personal attacks.

Create a sense of the familiar.

Work travel can take you to all sorts of exciting and new places. But, if you do a lot of travelling, you might be going back to the same places over and over. Being familiar with your surroundings is a great stress buster. Knowing the city you are going to helps take down anxiety levels. Know your favourite hotels, even rooms. Book the hotels and rooms you know you like. Visit the places in the city you liked. These give will give you comfort and a sense of the familiar. It adds to a sense of routine.

Hotel rooms, however familiar, are designed to be generic. Make that cookie cutter room feel a bit more like a room you want to go to at night. Have some familiar magazines in your room. Take a precious photo and put it on the desk so you can easily see it. If you journal, have your book waiting for you like it does every night at home. Play music that is familiar and relaxing. Take your shoes off and put on some woolly socks or comfy slippers.

Continue with routines.

Routine is important when travelling. Unfamiliar places naturally create stress. Work related travel creates extra stress that can lead to anxiety and depression. If you maintain a routine, you have something familiar in your life that you can relate to when the day gets stressful.

Routines don’t need to be elaborate or expensive. Do you have an exercise or meditation you do every day? Keep up with your yoga, prayer, walks, or jogs. Continue with routines that you would do at home and can easily fit into your work schedule abroad. Do you eat a healthy snack before going to bed? That little action will give you great comfort when you’re alone in your hotel room. Do you read a book before going to sleep? Have a mp3 player with some of your favourite music or meditations. Relax with some essential oils, or a calming fragranced candle if that’s what you normally do when stressed.

Stay connected with family.

It can be emotionally hard leaving family for work related travel. There are anniversaries, once in a lifetime events, and family get togethers you may be missing by going away to work. A self care habit includes staying connected to your family while you are away. Family reminds you that you are loved, that people care about you.

Staying connected with family can be easy. Family routines are wonderful for balancing your day of work related stress. If your used to talking to your kids and wife each night, or sitting down together for dinner, try to put aside some time in the evening when you’re alone in your hotel room to call your family. You can share a video dinner together. Or read your child a bedtime story. There are plenty of apps and social media platforms to stay connected and keep the family routine going.

You can also share your day by sending texts or photos of what you’re doing. Gifts are always a good idea because the act of shopping focuses your mind on the people your heart loves.

Treat yourself.

Treating yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as cheap as a chocolate bar, or sitting outside on your hotel balcony and enjoying the fresh air. Take that walk on that hill you saw. Enjoy a spa treatment or massage. Maybe get some reiki. Been wanting to try that lobster meal? Have one and enjoy it!

The idea of treating yourself helps you learn to accept gifts from yourself. Throughout your life, you’ve given others gifts. Now its time to give a gift to yourself. The best gift you can give anyone is love. Love is the best gift you can give yourself. Be kind and gentle to yourself after a hard, stressful day. You don’t need to repeat the mean words you heard spoken about you, or relive in your mind’s eye the day’s events. Find something that will give you a bounce. A feeling of happiness or love. That is your treat to yourself.

Love your body.

Remember to take care of your physical body. Skin gets dry in hotels. Your skin is your largest organ and needs TLC. Dry skin creates an irritable feeling you don’t need on top of a stressful, busy day. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water during the day. Have water by your bed at night so when you’re thirsty you can quickly hydrate yourself. Go to sleep at a reasonable time.

Eat wisely. It’s easy to indulge in sweets or to overeat because of stress. Choose meals that are high in proteins and carbohydrates, low on saturated fats, and won’t dehydrate you or put too much sugar into your system. Vegetables and fruits are great sources of water to keep you hydrated. Try not to drink too much alcohol.  Alcohol dehydrates. Drinking too much can create its own ugly mess. It can be difficult to abstain, as many business lunches seem to require the obligatory drink with co-workers. But it’s your right to refuse alcohol and choose to drink water.

You don’t have to sacrifice or neglect your self care habits when you’re travelling with work. Self care doesn’t depend on where you are, but whether you’re willing to invest in yourself. Self care is self love. Take time out after your business meeting to emotionally, mentally, and physically recoup. Beware of any negative self talk or negative thought patterns. Stay connected with family and loved ones. Routines are great to keep you mentally and emotionally balanced when you’re in an unfamiliar setting. Treat yourself well, and enjoy some relaxing moments. Take care of your physical body. Most of all, love yourself!

Find me on Twitter  @tereziafarkas

Visit my website http://www.tereziafarkas.com

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