Problem Gambling Awareness Month and Our Guest is “Know The Odds.” Learning Signs of Problem Gambling, Resources, Advice, & Some Real Talk…

Problem Gambling Awareness Month and Our Guest is “Know The Odds.” Learning Signs of Problem Gambling, Resources, Advice, & Some Real Talk…


When we begin our recovery journey in early recovery, it can be a challenging time to digest all that we learn to help keep us moving forward. We begin to build our skills and learn the tools that will be there for us to use as try to fight off what seems like never-ending urges, cravings, and triggers. It is always difficult for myself to translate this to those I mentor. I tell them always, “Have a Little Faith in Recovery”…


The only pieces of advice is what my own experiences were when I began early recovery. As it seemed the only thing that really helped diminish the urges and cravings? ABSTINENCE. Once you begin to stay away from a bet and practice abstinence? Those triggers, cravings, and urges WILL start to disappear.


You then rely on the skills and tools you learn from either treatment, therapy, recovery group, gamblers anonymous, or whatever path you have chosen to break free from the “cycle” of addicted gambling. Many who know me well know I never sugar coat recovery or this cunning addiction. I will always share with Real Talk and Real Advice. First, we need to know what Problem Gambling looks like and what to look for if you think your loved one or friend you care about is gambling too much.

Here is where my guests from “Know The Odds.org come in. They share with us what problem gambling is and what to look for.






KnowTheOdds.org seeks to teach as many people as possible about problem gambling. We want people to know it exists and it affects individuals in our own communities, whether we see it happening or not. Our problem gambling resources are provided to help educate you about how addictions to gambling affects people, what support is available and how you can help prevent problem gambling from affecting those around you.
https://knowtheodds.org/resources/ Partner with http://www.nyproblemgambling.org/
We hope you learn from our resources, and use them to educate your family members, friends and loved ones.





RECOVERY FROM PROBLEM GAMBLING

As Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) continues, we want to embrace the importance of recovery.

What is Recovery?

Recovery is the journey that someone begins when they’ve decided to walk away from an addiction.  They start a new path of health and hope with the help of professionals and a supportive community. Recovery is a very exciting time for not only the individual who has made the choice, but also for the loved ones in their community.

What Does Recovery Look Like?

Just as every person is different, and just as every addiction story is different, every recovery journey from problem gambling is also different. There are two things they all have in common.  First, is the choice to live a different life. The individual struggling with a gambling addiction needs to make this choice.

A second thing they all have in common is a need for a supportive community.  It goes without saying that individuals who come from a history of gambling addiction also bring a history that has hurt the love ones in their community. It is important for this community of love ones to remember that what they’ve hoped for is for this person to get better. They’ve hoped for this individual to have a different way of life.

And they’ve hoped for this individual to rejoin a healthy lifestyle with their community members. That said, it is not always easy to go from an affected loved one to a supportive loved one. Just as it is not easy for an individual to go from a lifestyle of addiction to gambling to a lifestyle free from gambling in recovery. But, the community that the individual in recovery develops and sustains will be the lifeline as they drive their life down this road  of change.

Supporting A Loved One

To help support a loved one in recovery, a loved one also needs to be well. There are many resources and treatment providers available to help and support loved ones who have been negatively affected by someone’s gambling. To be a supportive loved one, that loved one also needs to work through their own anger and resentment towards the negative consequences of problem gambling.

To be a supportive loved one in an individual’s recovery community, everyone in the community must be educated. Within an individual’s recovery community, people need to understand what problem gambling is, who is affected by problem gambling and what are the negative effects of problem gambling. This community needs to be aware of the triggers an individual faces every day to avoid problem gambling. These triggers could be money, special events that include gambling activities, or any media or TV that the depicts gambling as exciting and fun.

This recovery community needs to be aware and supportive as the individual in recovery avoids these different triggers. Supporting a person in recovery can also mean a shift in language when talking about the person and their addiction. This reminder that people are more than their disease creates a shift in people’s view of recovery, allowing people in recovery to grow and reduce stigma around getting help for their gambling problem.  When we are able to reduce stigma, we create more space for people to build connections, leading to a more fulfilling and lasting recovery.

Hope

Hope it such an amazing word. Hope is an infinite feeling that things could be better. Hope is a beacon of light that helps individuals, families and communities walk towards a solution; walk towards awareness and offering support for individuals in recovery from problem gambling.  Hope is the driving force that keeps individuals away from acting on thoughts of suicide. Hope is the driving force that keeps loved ones holding on for a better tomorrow.

This feeling of hope should be held on tightly as individuals and loved ones struggle through the journey of recovery.  It should be a feeling held tightly knowing that with love, connection and teamwork that recovery from gambling addiction is possible.

Recovery for Professionals

Professionals in the field of recovery are a treasure. They are the anchor for those starting or finding a rough patch in their recovery journey. We applaud their efforts and hope for an increase of recovery communities for those starting their own journey.


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I hope this post has helped and I would highly suggest you give “Know The Odds” a visit if you’d like to learn more and they have a wide range of resources to help if you know someone who may have a gambling habit or full blown addiction… RESOURCE PAGE:  Problem Gambling Awareness Month webpage for resources.

~Gambling Recovery Advocate, Catherine Lyon

I Welcome Back Tony Roberts Ministries and a Special Guest Post To Sum Up Our Week of A New America & New President.

I Welcome Back Tony Roberts Ministries and a Special Guest Post To Sum Up Our Week of A New America & New President.


Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)

~Tony Roberts


From Stone Cold Hearts to Hope Bearing Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

— Emily Dickinson  1830-1886

This post is about the Presidential Inauguration. I had not planned on writing about it. I didn’t even watch it. But something/Someone compelled me to listen to the program podcast then move to my desk where I finished composing this at the stroke of midnight, January— my psychoimposed deadline for Facebook posts.


You might wonder what a blog about faith and mental illness has to do with politics. politics. Hope, for one.

The sign above Dante’s Inferno read, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” Those who lose hope can forfeit their will to live. And one of the essential roles of public servants is to engender hope into the people such that we can become better angels rather than floundering flummoxes.

For the past four years and more there has been much hateful speech coming out of our nation’s capitol. I say more because Donald Trump did not invent vitriolic political rhetoric. For the most part, history is selectively kind to those who have served in public office. It is in the now that the fisticuffs have come off and hard blows are landing that does harm not just to our nation, but to our world. The patterns of the present that lead us to project a dystopian future that fuels fear gleaned for personal gain.

What hope do we have? Yesterday afternoon, I did not watch the Inauguration pageantry because I am at heart a skeptic and patriotism in its current form does not move me. So I took a nap. Sure, I felt a tinge of guilt particularly when I passed through Susan’s study and caught part of the Benediction where Rev. Silvester Beaman spoke of slaves building the White House on land indigenous Americans once inhabited and now people from generational European families to those just making vows would be one nation. I was touched, but not moved to take much interest or shed any tears.

I went about my day as usual. Writing. Reading. Eating. The usual. It was only as I was browsing for a podcast that I found the full inauguration address recorded.

I could listen to it before midnight and join my faithful compatriots who who have liveD and died for their nation, who care what happens not just in Washington, D.C., but in Wilmington, Delaware, Atlanta, Georgia, and yes, even Columbus, Indiana. My frozen heart of disinterest was not thawed by the pomp and circumstance but by the glimmer of hope in mind’s eye of those gathered, above the faces masked to protect from this invasive virus. This was no ordinary political event, it was a matter of life and death.

This hour was amazing, but let’s keep things in perspective. The challenge ahead is daunting. Over 400,000 people have died in the United States due to the Coronavirus. My own mother is one. More jobs have been lost since the Great Depression. We are destroying our planet at such a rapid rate our own children may not be able to inhabit it through their lifetimes.

But, there is hope. There was hope yesterday; there is hope today; and there will be hope tomorrow.

Poet Amanda Gorman


Our nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman lays out this vision of hope, one we can carry for generations to come

“The Hill We Climb”

“When day comes we ask ourselves,

where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry,

a sea we must wade

We’ve braved the belly of the beast

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace

And the norms and notions

of what just is

Isn’t always just-ice

And yet the dawn is ours

before we knew it

Somehow we do it

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed

a nation that isn’t broken

but simply unfinished

We the successors of a country and a time

Where a skinny Black girl

descended from slaves and raised by a single mother

can dream of becoming president

only to find herself reciting for one

And yes we are far from polished

far from pristine

but that doesn’t mean we are

striving to form a union that is perfect

We are striving to forge a union with purpose

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us

but what stands before us

We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,

we must first put our differences aside

We lay down our arms

so we can reach out our arms

to one another

We seek harm to none and harmony for all

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:

That even as we grieved, we grew

That even as we hurt, we hoped

That even as we tired, we tried

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious

Not because we will never again know defeat

but because we will never again sow division

Scripture tells us to envision

that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree

And no one shall make them afraid

If we’re to live up to our own time

Then victory won’t lie in the blade

But in all the bridges we’ve made

That is the promise to glade

The hill we climb

If only we dare

It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,

it’s the past we step into

and how we repair it

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation

rather than share it

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy

And this effort very nearly succeeded

But while democracy can be periodically delayed

it can never be permanently defeated

In this truth

in this faith we trust

For while we have our eyes on the future

history has its eyes on us

This is the era of just redemption

We feared at its inception

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

of such a terrifying hour

but within it we found the power

to author a new chapter

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves

So while once we asked,

how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now we assert

How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was

but move to what shall be

A country that is bruised but whole,

benevolent but bold,

fierce and free

We will not be turned around

or interrupted by intimidation

because we know our inaction and inertia

will be the inheritance of the next generation

Our blunders become their burdens

But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might,

and might with right,

then love becomes our legacy

and change our children’s birthright

So let us leave behind a country

better than the one we were left with

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,

we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one

We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,

we will rise from the windswept northeast

where our forefathers first realized revolution

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,

we will rise from the sunbaked south

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

and every known nook of our nation and

every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it.” — Amanda Gorman 1998 –  _____

Yes, Amanda, there is hope for those of use brave enough to crawl through the dark ditches of despair towards the light of faith~Tony Roberts


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Stories to Cultivate Hope for Those Battling Mental Illness

This book by Tony Roberts is about mental health ministry. It’s not a “how-to” book. I can not tell you what will work in your ministry setting. Instead of answering the question, “How do we do mental health ministry?” I want to challenge you, “What difference can we make for those impacted by mental illness?”

To do this, I will tell stories of my own life and ministry. Statistics are essential, but unless they are enfleshed with stories, they won’t lead to change. ORDER NOW



(Make sure you give Tony’s website and blog a visit!)
Delightfully yours,
Tony & Cat

delightindisorder.org

Tips for Building a Support System During Recovery By Christine H. My Recovery Guest.

Tips for Building a Support System During Recovery By Christine H. My Recovery Guest.

“Addiction has an interesting effect on our interpersonal relationships. Even after we’ve gone through the process of becoming sober and repairing our lives after addiction, the scars of addiction can continue to impact the most important relationships in our lives.”

This is especially problematic considering how essential relationships are for ongoing recovery. In fact, some researchers have gone so far as to claim that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, but connection. Sociologically, addiction can have a powerful impact on isolation, and feel “cast out.”

Addiction can make it hard to integrate back into normal life: getting a job, going on dates, making new friends, and being yourself with close friends and family. However, it is possible, and the benefits of building up your support network of friends and family are absolutely worth the investment that you put into it.

A support network doesn’t just empower your recovery after addiction, it also brings you moments and experiences that help you know that recovery (and life itself!) is worthwhile. Here are some tips to help you on your way:

1: Friends who have also experienced addiction are invaluable… as long as they’re as dedicated to recovery as you are.


Often, the new friends that we make during recovery are individuals who have been through something similar to us. They might be friends that you make in group therapy, a support group, or in residential rehab. They might even be people that you just happen to connect with spontaneously when you learn about your commonalities.

However, it’s important to remember to protect your sobriety carefully. Maintaining friendships with people who are currently involved in addiction, without any attempts to change, can be damaging to your own wellbeing. Tread carefully, and trust the advice of professionals and sober friends who have helped you in your own recovery process.

2: Do what you can to build family relationships wherever possible.

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Family relationships are complicated. However, they’re also the best resources when you really need help. The family knows you best, and they’ve taken care of you in the past, and vice versa. That being said, sometimes those of us who have experienced addiction in our lives are more likely to have some family relationships that contribute to underlying causes of addiction, instead of healing them.
It’s important to utilize professional resources, in this case, to repair family systems when possible. Having an experienced third party looking at your family dynamics can help you to identify harmful patterns and communicate effectively, instead of falling into familiar, unfruitful arguments.


Besides utilizing professional help to repair family relationships, there are two things that you can do whenever possible in order to further support family connections. First, recognize when you’re responsible for something being difficult or hard for another person to bear, and apologize appropriately.

Second, express gratitude more often for the things that family members do for you. Many of these things will be small, and others will be large. No matter the size, show appreciation for those people closest to you that you’re otherwise likely to take for granted.

3: Some things need professional help.

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If you’re leaning on your friends for weekly intensive, introspective discussions to support your ongoing recovery, it can be a lot for them to handle. First of all, your friend might not have the experience and education they need to really be helpful.

Second of all, a little help from a friend might turn into a lot very quickly. Make sure that you utilize professional resources where appropriate, including group and individual therapy, sobriety coaches, and sponsors (which aren’t professional, per say, but are still specialized.)

4: Make new friends too.

It’s important to recognize that during this period, you might be rather needy. Don’t rely on just one person to provide all that you need, or you could burn them out fast. After addiction, it’s easy to withdraw and only rely on a few trusted individuals who understand the whole story and have shown themselves to be supportive of you. And you don’t need to get into codependent relationships.

However, being active supports a sober lifestyle, and you will probably need different friends for different purposes. Go out and meet new people. They don’t all need to know your whole life story; some will simply be acquaintances. But acquaintances who encourage you to go out, be active, and do things that you love are also invaluable.

5: Give as much as you get.

I mentioned gratitude towards family members above; it’s important to infuse gratitude in all of your interactions with other people. When we recognize all the ways that others help us, it motivates us to help them, too. No friendship is a one-way street, and you’re never the only person out there who needs a helping hand. Acknowledge that most of the people around you are also going through something hard, although their challenges might look different from yours.

Find opportunities to be a true friend to them, just as they are to you.

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What to Expect from Your First Few Days of Rehab by Alek Sabin. My Weekend Recovery Guest.

What to Expect from Your First Few Days of Rehab by Alek Sabin. My Weekend Recovery Guest.

Fighting against addiction is not an easy process, as it is a behavioral disease that can take over every aspect of your life and actions. However, every recovery begins with a simple step: getting help. For many addicts, this means going to inpatient rehab.

If you’ve never been to an inpatient rehab facility, then one can seem very intimidating. The images in your mind may flip between something resembling a prison or a judgement panel of doom doctors. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. To help one get comfortable with the idea of inpatient rehab, here’s an honest take on what to expect from your first few days of inpatient rehab…

Intake process

First of all, every patient goes through an intake process, where there is a full examination of the addict that includes a comprehensive medical exam, as well as an interview about their personal history and past of substance abuse.

Before this happens, you’ll have already packed everything that you’ll need for rehab, and are ready to spend anywhere from 30 to 90 days in this new home. These examinations will determine if you need to go through a detox process, which is absolutely necessary for people who have developed a dependency to alcohol, heroin, or other extremely addictive substances.

First Days Rehab 3

Detoxification

If you’re in inpatient rehab, then you likely will need to undergo the detoxification process, where harmful drugs are eased out of your system in a safe medical environment. This may include treatment with naloxone or other types of medically administered drugs that gradually wean the body off of a substance.

Trying to quit cold turkey on a drug like heroin can be incredibly dangerous, as vital organs may need it to keep going, and the mind is unable to produce certain chemicals on its own. This process typically lasts 2-3 days under constant medical supervision.

First group meetings are always awkward

After your body is clean of a certain substance, next comes the healing of the mind, which is a significantly more complicated process that takes time and effort. One of the scariest aspects of this new experience is the first group meeting that you go to. Even though other participants in the group will be used to each other, you will pretty much feel terribly awkward, and that’s a guarantee.

Sharing deep emotional feelings that are difficult to bring up with total strangers isn’t something that you can just do on your first go, but it’s something that you’ll get used to and come to love and appreciate, as it is necessary to create a lasting recovery. Make sure that you look for a good peer to get help and advice from, during this time.

Get ready to be searched

When you first come to a treatment facility, you probably aren’t that removed from the last time you used an illicit substance (or you wouldn’t be there in the first place). For this reason, the facility you are at will need to routinely search you and your belongings to make sure that there are no harmful substances in their place of recovery. This is in the interest of the addict, as well as everyone in the facility, who is there to avoid temptation and make personal progress.

Time away from loved ones is rough

Eventually, your friends and family will be able to come and visit you during the treatment process, but the first few days you will probably be on your own. This is to help an addict transition into the inpatient rehab lifestyle, and allowing friends and family to visit too early can make it difficult for a person to dedicate themselves completely to their treatment. Your loved ones will understand this, as they want to support you and your recovery.

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First Days Rehab 2

The rewards are great

If these events and steps seem awkward and scary, it’s because they are, at least at first. However, the honest truth is that inpatient rehab presents the best possible environment to reclaim control of your life and make a lasting recovery. When leaving, make sure you have aftercare and support waiting upon your leaving so you have the best chance at making your recovery journey an open door to Living a Balanced Happy Life You are Worthy Of!   ~Alek Sabin

Dual diagnosis in gambling addiction and mental health disorders. Special Guest Post By, Nicola Smith.

As a dually diagnosed person myself, my recovery friends know it has been difficult for me to put into words how it feels to live and maintain my 10+years in recovery from gambling addiction while having mental health challenges.

So I enjoy having special guests here when I can that can write and explain it a “wee bit better” than I can. I welcome Author, Nicola Smith, and special thanks to Maegan Jones of Healthline.com for putting us together!
Catherine Lyon “-)

How to Help Depressed Loved One 2

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual Diagnosis is a relatively new concept in the addiction recovery field. Up until the 1990s, people experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder such as anxiety attacks, depressive episodes, delusional behavior or mood swings were often treated separately to people who sought treatment for addiction. In some cases, when conditions overlapped people were required to get clean or sober or overcome their gambling addiction, for example, before they could be treated for mental illnesses.


Mental health illnesses associated with gambling addiction


With recent findings that 
substance abuse and addiction are often driven by underlying mental health illnesses, people with a Dual Diagnosis have been unable to get the help they needed in decades’ past. The Office of Applied Sciences at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s Administration (SAMSHA) within the United States Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2002 that only 12 percent of the 4 million American adults suffering from a Dual Diagnosis received treatment for both conditions.

Patients with a Dual Diagnosis are referred to as having a co-occurring disorder. The most common mental health illnesses associated with gambling addiction are depression and anxiety, as outlined by Dr. Jon Grant — Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago and supervisor of an outpatient clinic for those with an addictive-impulsive disorder. Symptoms of being impulsive and risky are also seen in those with gambling addictions, according to Dr. Grant.


Mental illnesses that often co-occur with gambling addiction include depression, bipolar disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety. In cases of people addicted to gambling who also experience depression or anxiety, the hope of fun that rolling the dice or spin of a slot machine can make depression and anxiety worse over time.


A recent survey of more than 43,000 Americans found, that 76 percent of people with a gambling addiction suffered from depression while 16 to 40 percent experienced lifetime anxiety. Also within the group, 24 percent had a 
lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder and 20 percent had symptoms of lifetime prevalence of ADHD.

Which occurs first?

The finding that many people with gambling addictions also have other mental health conditions has raised questions among healthcare professionals — which occurs first? Is it that pathological gambling occurs as a result of a person experiencing another condition and turning to gambling for an escape? Or, could a person suffer financial and relationship problems due to excessive gambling consequently developing depression?

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A recent study of 10,000 Americans found that gambling addiction occurred before the onset of another disorder 25 percent of the time while a gambling disorder occurred after another disorder was already present 75 percent of the time. Although further studies are needed to clearly determine the order between gambling addiction and co-occurring mental health illness, the connection between the two indicates that Dual Diagnosis treatment is one of the most effective approaches to recovery by treating addiction and mental health illnesses concurrently.

How does treatment work?


Dual Diagnosis treatment involves a combination of the most effective treatments for mental health illnesses and addiction. Where there once would have been a line drawn between mental health and addiction, these conditions are now treated as part of a continuum. With the recent rise in Dual Diagnosis treatment, healthcare professionals who work in addiction treatment can now undertake training and certification in the treatment of co-occurring mental health illnesses. Dedicated facilities are now also offering recovery services specializing in treatment for Dual Diagnosis people.

Treatments such as medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support for Dual Diagnosis patients with an addiction to gambling and mental health illnesses recognize and treat the person’s addictions and illnesses with a continuum focus, putting them in a better position to make a full and long lasting recovery.

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Helpful and Informative Resources:

An Introduction to Co-Occurring Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorders, 2015, Office of Applied Sciences at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s Administration (SAMSHA), https://newsletter.samhsa.gov/2015/03/03/


Dual Diagnosis Treatment, 2017,
DualDiagnosos.org,
http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/dual-diagnosis-treatment/


Kessler RC, Hwang I, LaBrie R, et al. DSM-IV pathological gambling in the National Comorbidity 
Survey Replication. Psychol Med. 2008;38(9):1351–60.

Petry NM, Stinson FS, Grant BF. Comorbidity of DSM-IV pathological gambling and other psychiatric disorders: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. J Clin Psychiatry. 2005;66(5):564–74.


Recent Facts and Statistics on Dual Diagnosis, 2017,
Michael’s House, http://www.michaelshouse.com/dual-diagnosis/facts-statistics/


Roads to Recovery from Gambling Addiction, Volume 2, 2019,
National Center for Responsible Gambling, http://www.ncrg.org/


What Clinicians need to know about Gambling Disorders, Volume 7, 2012,
National Center for Responsible Gambling, http://www.ncrg.org/
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Nicola Smith's Profile Photo

About The Author:

With a keen interest in holistic health and wellness, Nicola Smith works with heart-centred female entrepreneurs in the health and wellness industry, providing copy that engages to help grow their businesses. Her goal is to help women increase their impact on the world, build the business of their dreams, and inspire others to simplify their lives, pack a suitcase and book a ticket to somewhere they’ve always wanted to visit or live. You can also follow her adventures and join her FB Group on Instagram @luggagelifestyle 

How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

Hello and Welcome Friends and New Visitors,

Many of my regular friends here know I am living with mental health challenges along with maintaining my recovery from addiction. Many suffer in a variety of ways and depression seems to be a popular disorder affecting more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

Persistent depressive disorder, as I have, or PDD, (formerly called dysthymia) is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years or longer according to “The Anxiety and Depression Association of America” Alek has written a great article for us to help those we know who suffer from depression. I hope it helps friends…
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“How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed”

It is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love go through depression. Depression is a disease that doesn’t operate within the normal bounds of reason. The chemical imbalances in the brain of a person who suffers from depression put them into a different mode of existence, where little things might seem like the end of the world, or it might be difficult to get excited about the big things, at all. Indeed there’s a reason that depression can be so closely linked to substance abuse. According to some studies, as many as half of the people with depression may also struggle with a substance abuse or addiction disorder at some point in their lives.

However, this doesn’t mean that a depressed person has to be resigned to living a life of sadness and repressed emotions. By using effective coping skills and learning to manage their mind, people all over the world live fulfilling lives, despite the effects of depression. Here are some key things that you can do to help a loved one who struggles with depression…


Don’t use shame to fight depression:

Shame is a tool that is too often utilized when it comes to our intercourse with mental illness. What makes this a real shame is that it doesn’t really work. You can’t shame someone into getting over the way that depression makes them feel. Phrases like “just be happy” don’t do anything to actually mitigate the effects of depression, which are caused by real and tangible chemical imbalances in the brain, and instead, work to make your loved one feel like they are understood, not more alienated. As you can imagine, this doesn’t work towards improving healthy habits that are able to help them cope with depression.

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Small acts of kindness go a long way:

We don’t need a big sweeping gesture that shows the people we love that we are willing to help in their struggle with depression. Instead, it’s important to remember that little acts of kindness can build up to make a person feel respected and appreciated. Don’t only offer these kind gestures towards your loved one, but encourage them to do the same for other people.
There are studies that show that small acts of kindness actually are able to increase the happiness of the person who carries them out.

Encourage professional help:

It can be hard for people to determine when depression requires the help of a professional. However, it’s important to realize that someone who is severely depressed will never seek the help of a professional themselves. That’s just the nature of the disease; when you’re in it, you can’t find hope that it will get better. Do whatever you can to urge your loved one to seek help, since you know that there are numerous ways today that we can help to manage the symptoms of depression.

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Don’t undermine their experiences

Even though the overwhelming feelings of a person with depression may be caused by the actual chemical effects of depression, rather than external factors, it is still important to understand that those feelings are still real, whether they are rational or not. Depression can be a part of a person’s existence, and even though it is important to learn coping skills to deal with the weight that depression can be on a person’s shoulders, it is also important to not undermine these experiences. Instead, just listen or give them their space. You don’t need to fix everything at every moment.

 

Encourage healthy habits

Because depression has to do with brain chemistry, it is very beneficial for a person with depression to be engaging in healthy behavior that improves brain balance, such as dieting, exercising, or eliminating the toxins in their body. This can be difficult since depression, by its very nature, can get in the way of doing important life things, including just eating at all. What you can do, as a person who loves them is encourage the healthy habits that are going to make them feel better, in the long run. While depression can undermine the desire to do such things, be persistent and know that it will help them.

Don’t expect quick fixes

If you are looking for a quick fix to get rid of the effects of depression, then you should probably hang up the cape right now and save yourself the time. Combatting depression takes time and is a battle of a bunch of little things, rather than any one big thing that gets rid of the entire problem.

Just be there

Sometimes, you don’t have to actually do anything. Feeling like you have to constantly be “fixing” this person because of their depression is just going to have the opposite effect that you want. Sometimes, just being there and not doing anything counterproductive is going to mean the world to them.

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“Presented by Recovery Starts Here!  ~ Author, Catherine Lyon” 


Is Being Diagnosed With Mental Health For Men More Difficult Than For Females? Guest Post From NAMI…

Is Being Diagnosed With Mental Health For Men More Difficult Than For Females? Guest Post From NAMI…

So? Is mental illness more difficult for men than women?  Can they learn to cope and come to acceptance of a diagnosis?  I came across a great article from my friends at “The National Alliance on Mental Illness” and they help many find treatment, advocate, raise awareness and educate the public on a growing topic impacting thousands. Mental illness and disorders in the society we seem to live in today is affecting 1 in 5 people each year. So is it harder for men? Give this article a read to learn more…

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Depression is an Illness, Not a Weakness

By Joshua Beharry and Dr. John Ogrodniczuk | Apr. 21, 2017  NAM

While growing up, boys learn what it means to “be a man.” Unfortunately, some of these “manly” teachings can be downright harmful like “big boys don’t cry,” “suck it up,” “tough it out,” and more.  Most boys are taught to ignore or dismiss their feelings—internalizing vulnerability and asking for help as a weakness. Boys then grow into men, without ever being in touch with their emotions or knowing how to identify or describe what’s bothering them.

For these reasons, many men find depression a difficult topic to discuss. They feel ashamed that they need help and are too embarrassed to ask for it. “For a long time, I’d been pushing things away, hiding my emotions and pretending that everything was okay, but it was getting to the point where I was afraid that I’d drifted too far and I wasn’t going to come back,” says Joel Robison, concept photographer and mental health advocate.

Starting the conversation is the first step towards recovery. For many men who have overcome depression, the turning point came when they reached out to a friend or family member for support. It’s usually something they wished they had done sooner rather than later. Here are specific things any guy can do to start a conversation about mental health:

Talking to a Friend or Family Member

 

If you don’t normally talk about your mental health or feelings, it can be hard to know which person in your life is best to talk to. And you may be worried about the reaction you’ll get if you reach out. Just keep in mind that the conversation doesn’t have to be perfect, and you should only share what you’re comfortable with. Try easing in:

  • “I’ve been getting pretty stressed lately.”
  • “I’m going through a tough time right now, and I think something might be wrong.”
  • “I think I may be depressed, have you noticed me seeming more down lately?”

Be prepared for different responses—in particular, don’t be deterred if you don’t find the support you were hoping for right away. But if things go well, you can talk more and ask for more specific support, like working out together or helping you keep up with chores. Most people are happy to be given a chance to lend a hand in a time of need. When you’re doing better, you can return the favor.

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Talking to a Professional


Depression
is a serious illness. It can make your life miserable if it’s not treated properly. When you break your arm, you go to the doctor. If you have ongoing serious pain, you go to the doctor. If you think you may have depression, you go to the doctor. That’s how simple it should be. When you talk to a doctor, you’re talking to someone who knows about depression, and whose job it is to help you. That’s why it’s essential to get their input.

If you’re hesitant to see a doctor because you think they’ll just throw medication at you, know that medication isn’t the only treatment for depression. Your doctor can give you advice about certain lifestyle changes and different treatment options that may or may not include medications.

Once you’re at your appointment, it may feel a little awkward getting started. Be as honest and as specific as possible about how you’re feeling and the impact it’s having on your life. Here are some examples:

  • “I can’t sleep at all.”
  • “I’m too tired to go to work, but I keep going out drinking.”
  • “I don’t want to see my friends anymore; I’m sick of everyone.”
  • “Sex isn’t interesting me like it used to and it’s getting harder to perform.”
  • “I’ve been gaining (or losing) a lot of weight recently.”

Depression is one of the leading risk factors for suicide. It’s a real and serious condition that affects millions every year. Talking about depression is never easy, but men everywhere need to start talking about their mental health. There are effective treatments and there’s no shame in seeking support. In fact, reaching out could very well be the smartest and bravest thing you could do. It could save your life.

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Joshua R Beharry — Since recovering from experiences with depression and a suicide attempt in 2010, Joshua R. Beharry has become a passionate advocate for mental health. Josh is currently the project coordinator for Heads Up Guys a resource for men suffering mental illness.

For more help and exceptional resources for mental and emotional illness, please visit my friends of  NAMI Today!.

Recovery Guest Author Article. I Welcome Author: Andy Andersen!

Hello and Welcome All Recovery Friends,

Well, summer is not yet over, so I wanted to share a Guest Recovery Author to gives all some helpful summertime vacation tips while you pack up the car to go traveling. This is an important part to of having a well balanced recovery life. I do myself remember back in the days when I traveled.

It seemed we couldn’t go to any destination that didn’t have a Casino near by. So happy those days are over! It is such a waste when a vacation is a bust when you have any kind of addiction. Heck, I didn’t travel for a long time because my addiction made us broke! But not anymore.

So lets read what Andy has put together for all of us to help make your travels go much smoother in Recovery!
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Tips for Traveling While In Recovery
Author: Andy Andersen

Addiction recovery is a delicate and critical time for everyone involved. For an addict in the early stages of sobriety, traveling long distance has its pros and cons. To help you figure out if you are ready to travel, read this first. If you do plan to travel while recovering from addiction, here are a few guidelines to help ensure your sobriety and make your travels an inspired part of your post-addiction journey:

Pick Your Destination Wisely

Some travel destinations are more conducive to sobriety than others. For recovering alcoholics in particular, selecting a popular vacation spot that doesn’t revolve around alcohol can be difficult. Examine your travel plans carefully and think long and hard about where you’ll be travelling. Some locations will inevitably be safer for you than others. For example, going camping or visiting a national park may be far more suitable for an alcoholic than a city-based vacation spot where nightlife is part of the equation. Though there’s no guarantee of complete safety from your addictions, being selective about your travel location can go a long way in giving you a strong buffer.

Golf ball on course with beautiful blurry landscape on background

Golf ball on course with beautiful blurry landscape on background

Ground Your Travels in Routine

One of the most challenging things about travelling as a recovering addict is losing a sense of routine. For some, this can easily cause anxiety that leads to relapse. That’s why it’s best to take control of your travel schedule early on and make sure that you have some sort of routine to rely on every day. Even if your vacation has you constantly on the go, you can commit yourself to small daily tasks that ground your travels in routine. Have a friend or sponsor that you can call once a day at a set time to check in. Schedule your meal times strictly. Have a planning session every evening where you go over your itinerary for the next day. There’s really no end to what type of routine you can come up with, even while you’re travelling.

meditation

Seek Out Relaxing Activities

Not all vacations are relaxing ones. In fact, even the most fun-filled vacations can cause more stress than they’re worth. Be sure to seek out activities and travel spots that are relaxing to you. Over scheduling or oversaturating your travels with a lot of excitement can be too much stress too soon. Give yourself ample time each day to relax, depressurize, and find peace.

Explore New Interests That Will Help Your Recovery

One way to make travelling worth your while is to seek out new interests and hobbies that you can continue after your vacation. One of the great benefits of traveling is discovering new cultures, new ways of life, and new activities. If you discover an interesting craft, trade, or hobby during your travels, continue researching it after your vacation and utilize it as a source of comfort, power, and stress relief as you continue your recovery.

Avoid “Special Occasion” Thinking

The real danger of traveling or vacationing while in recovery is stepping out on the reality of your life back home. Temporarily forgetting the worries of your normal life while on vacation isn’t dangerous for most people, but for recovering addicts, it can lead to relapse. It can be far too easy to justify a relapse moment as a “special occasion” while travelling. Avoid this type of thinking like the plague. Execute your travels as part of your recovery instead of taking a break from it.

Rafting on the Bhote Koshi  in Nepal. The river has class 4-5 rapids.

Rafting on the Bhote Koshi in Nepal. The river has class 4-5 rapids.

Travel With People You Trust

The best way to avoid relapse while traveling is by maintaining a strong support system. Travel with loved-ones or close friends who understand where you are in your recovery and who are willing to stop at nothing to support you. Better still, bring a sponsor or a designate one of your travel companions as the watchful eye who will make sure you’re still actively engaged in your recovery.

Find Sober Communities Wherever You Are

There are support groups, 12-step meetings, and other forms of recovery communities almost everywhere. As you travel, research and find these communities and attend whatever gatherings are available to you. Not only will you meet new people who know exactly what you’re going through, but you will be turning your travel time into a bona fide addiction recovery program of your own making.

*I’d like to thank Andy for this helpful article. So recovery friends, as summer winds down, remember to have FUN and Live In The Moment!*
*Catherine*