Category Archives: schizophrenia

Growing Up With Empowering Beliefs

When I was a kid we were driving to camp… my grandma was driving because my parents were away. When we had ten minutes left of the trip we decided we didn’t want to go. We were nervous and I had major butterflies in my tummy. We went anyway. It was really fun. We got to know lots of other kids. We got to sail, do archery, do crafts, swim, row, canoe and many other things. The best part was the wonderful camp-fires. Read the rest of this entry

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Yin and Yang; Stillness and Activity

Healing means coming to an understanding of an issue. Healing means living well despite problems. To me this involves consciously creating a balance in my life between activity and stillness.

The yin and yang flow is one of masculine and feminine. It is part of the day and night opposites of sunlight and moonlight. I want to discuss one aspect of this balance. This is the two states that include ‘change’ and ‘staying the same’ as they relate to wellness. The greater natural world around us finds a balance and so can we!

A chronic illness can cause too much pain. Improving the patterns of health can mean adapting to change. Sometimes people may feel better to stay at the level of health they find themselves in even if they are quite sick. At other times they may feel strong enough and hopeful enough to try and increase their stamina, endurance and strength.

When is it time for change?

A person may go from fairly inactive to active. A person may start replacing sugar snacks with fruit. A person might rest a lot and then join a new choir. A person may read a lot and then participate in an acting club. Change can motivate, invigorate and stimulate us. For the person dealing with illness change becomes a little more complex as aches, pains, moods and stamina have to be taken into consideration. Sometimes it’s all one can do to just stay the same.

Health returns in seasons….

If it is like a Winter season in your life it may be time to try and move more slowly to protect the gains you have previously made and not make any big changes. It is good to move slowly to help you settle and stay with the progress you have made over the past while. Concentrating on keeping to a routine at this time and accomplishing the regular tasks is important. There is a rhythm to this kind of living that gives nourishment and strength. When you have a bad day you don’t have to think too hard because you know your daily schedule, you know what lies ahead.

As we feel more able to do things it may seem more like Spring. We do want to enjoy some of the fruits of our labour.  Some of us have worked so hard to become more well with medicine, good food, rest and nourishment. At this time it’s nice to introduce more activity into your life. For some, this may be adding exercise to your routine. You have the possibility of going walking, biking, roller blading. swimming or you might find some gentle exercise like Tai Chi or yoga particularly healing.  It’s nice just to move around and find that the body likes this kind of exercise and can adapt to this new place of strength. Enjoying the exercise you do may help you stay healthier longer. This kind of change, at the right time, can increase your well-being.

Breaking up a routine

Other seasons of life bring their own demands. It is nice to be flexible and to accept the changes that make life better for you and for those around you. Spontaneity can bring excitement, hope and friendship. It can support a playful time period and give us a reminder that the universe is bigger and more generous than we think. Starting your day in a different way a couple of times a week could give you a wake up call. Things could be more exciting than you think. I love to call up a friend and right away meet for coffee. This to me is a wonderful freedom and shows the supportive miracle friendships can bring.

Whether to change or stay the same is the question.

The answer is up to you. Consider balance in your answer to this dilemma. If you have changed recently maybe now you will stay the same. If you’ve stayed the same maybe now you will try a change. Keeping in a momentum where we are gentle with ourselves and our changes helps us feel the continuity of our lives. When changes are prepared for, the change makes sense and can be incorporated easier. What kind of exercise is your favourite and is it the right season in your life to give it a try?

Schizophrenia

Schizo – what every you call it!

You might wonder what schizophrenia is and what are some of the issues that people with it might have. Today I want to dedicate this blog to issues and casual information about schizophrenia.

First of all, I’ll call it the ‘S’ illness because for personal reasons it would be difficult to say schizophrenia every time I had to say it. So the positive symptoms of the ‘S’ illness involve sensing things that aren’t there, or having body sensations that are not real, or hearing and seeing things that most people don’t. On the other hand what’s called the negative symptoms can involve a numbed out appearance, and emotions that are dull and a need to withdraw. All of these symptoms can come singley or several at a time and can really be a pain when you want to live a successful and productive life.

Ontario's provincial flower.

Ontario’s provincial flower. c 2012 Kelly Babcock

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Solutions Verses Problems In Mental Health

lightenIt is the season for mental health advice. There are blogs, self-help books and magazines all around. It looks as though most of the information is about problems. The description of problems often includes labels and their definitions of different mental illnesses. They don’t even know exactly what mental health label each of us is dealing with?

Peter Pan convinces the children to fly by thinking happy thoughts. Maybe this fairy tale has a grain of wisdom in it. I think happy thoughts are beneficial to the child in all of us because even though we don’t physically fly, we can lighten our burdens with a positive outlook. It is my suggestion that people talking about positive thinking should talk about mental health problems less often and about mental wellness more often.

A Light In The Distance

When I began using coping skills to deal with mental health dilemmas I became smarter and funnier and more present. It occurred to me with my new skills there could be names for genius levels of thinking and problem solving and brain storming. Names to describe the good mental health. I’d like to call a person who looks at things differently, a person with advanced perspectives in wellness. I’d like to call a person with skills in brain storming, a person with advanced idea generation abilities. These are just a couple of the ways skills could be identified. Focusing on what we do well may indeed increase our abilities to do those things even better.

Striving towards something is satisfying. We can set our goals and priorities and stick to the course with our wellness. Yes, I’ve found this works, but we have to be careful when we travel this road. Different issues can come up even when we have a more positive outlook on mental health. We have to try not to get ahead of ourselves! The body assimilates information and emotions and learning in ways that all work together. If the person is not ready for advanced knowledge emotionally, their system may break down.

Balancing Mental Health

This is where I had trouble. I tried to become whole and complete and full of assimilated growth all at once in ways that were interesting but weren’t very practical. I had the courage to try something new. I had the positive thinking to get me through the activities. What I didn’t know was my limits, or how these things would affect me. Brain gym was one thing I tried. Too much, too fast, led me on quite a journey of major ups and downs and a lot of disappointments. Visualization led me to increased energy in dreaming and not the experience of putting things into everyday life. Counselling led me to have neat discussions but left me wanting to feel fixed after I expressed myself. Now that their isn’t the pressure of taking part in the actual therapies I can look back and use some of the beneficial parts of these therapies.

Identifying problems is important to some people. With clear ideas of the problems there can be an understanding and even a compassion that allows that problem to dissipate. Many people are glad to finally know what is wrong with them.

Wouldn’t it be nice to finally know what is right with us? How about Getting A’s in the area of mental health that could lead to motivation and inspiration across groups of people. Just what do we do well? Are you organized? Are you good at stress release? Do you care about other people?

Learning Never Ends

Talking about solutions can be pretty motivating in itself. Seeing a difference from one month to the next because of solutions put into practice is even better. Improving skills might feel too much like school, but what if we get to design our courses? It could be fun. We could excel in these courses because we were interested in picking them.

We could even build on our knowledge from when we were kids in school. We could study some more Shakespeare, try our hand at some mathematics and learn some new songs to sing. Who says education must only be for the youth? We could take a night school course. Or just remember the things we liked, keep learning about them.

Mental Wellness

Solutions, positive thinking, goals and education are all ideas for now and the future. They have been used before and can be used again. Let’s not talk as much about mental health problems that make people feel inferior but let’s talk about genius areas of mental health. Let’s face it, a depression or a bout of hallucinations can kick in some pretty amazing skills to help us face those symptoms. Just what are those skills we are learning? Can we take pride in those newly learned skills?

Some of the people I’ve been privileged to know with mental illness have shown these wellness skills. Some are extra-compassionate and excel at curiosity. Self-care is also an area of expertise for others. Humour is a skill some have and use as a great way to reach out.

I’m going to talk to some of my friends about their positive characteristics. The things that help them get through every day life and the things that they are admired for. These are solutions to problems. Our strengths help us with our weaknesses! It is time to listen, look and act on solutions, so more people can feel better and find relief from the focus on mental illness. Let’s talk mental wellness!

Pros and Cons of Affirmations!

I think healthy thoughts every day

I think healthy thoughts every day

Pain and Pleasure

Affirmations aren’t talked about as much these days. Don’t you think affirmations are still a good idea! Instead of focusing on problems look towards the positive statement that can guide you towards a happier future.  I am getting happier with every sentence I write. Okay that might be taking it a bit far. Honestly, we have to be careful with our reprogramming of our beliefs and emotions. In some ways we may feel more confident and have less psychological and emotional pain. Let’s remember though that pain and pleasure rely on eachother. I for one wouldn’t want to have less pleasure in my life so maybe I have to face a bit of pain and tough it out.

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Feel the Connection – Youth and Adults Part II

Remember the silver lining.

Remember the silver lining.

This is Part II of a blog regarding a Canadian Mental Health Association program called, Lets Talk, which I worked on with coordinator Jackie Ralph in the high schools. We attempted to educate about mental health. We taught about ways to meet stress face to face by embracing relaxation and rejuvenation.

In part I, I displayed the reasons for such a program. I further discussed some of the reasons that teens feel extra stress. These reasons for their stress touched my heart and made me realize that young people care a great deal!

In part II, I share more of my personal involvement with the program. Read the rest of this entry

Feel the Connection – Youth and Adults Part I

We are social creatures like penguins.

People and penguins… youth and adults?

This is Part I of a blog about a program that I worked on with teenagers a couple years ago. It would be a waste to not share what knowledge we gained. In this part you will discover why we created the program. You will also learn some of the things we accomplished with our talks. The intriguing information of what makes some of our teenagers moody and sad is revealed. It’s not easy to work with teens but they are important people that, as you will see, can express themselves if given a chance.

Differences Between Adults and Teens

As an adult I have my own style of living that youth aren’t likely to have due to societal norms for each age group. There are also of course school rules and parental guidelines. Youth, however, are better at some things. Youth are good at creating, important tight friendships and neat social circles that aren’t part of my adult experience. Youth are trying to have their voices heard, and yet fit in at the same time.

Friendships in the teenage stage are important but even  friends have problems, and they need a shoulder to lean on. This is a song that friends of mine, arm and arm sang together when we were teenagers, “Lean on me, when you’re not strong, And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.” by Mr. Bill Withers. Where can people nowadays find that shoulder to lean on, but more importantly where can youth find people to lighten their burdens?

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New Year’s Resolutions – Part 1

Keep practicing and meet the goal of learning ten new songs.

I think I can. I think I can. Practice makes perfect.

Directions for living your life more successfully in this New Year are important. The map to get to where you want to go this new year may include making some very essential resolutions that assist you with knowing how you want to improve your life. Whether it’s exercise or healthy eating you want to focus on – resolutions could lead to increased happiness, to more accomplishments and to greater success.  Knowing how you want to change things for the better is something that only you know as your life is original.  What resolutions will you make?

After making resolutions we can attain them by following through. As coaches will tell you it’s the follow through that matters. Give yourself enough time to do this and make the resolutions fairly simple and easy to achieve. Making a goal to drink more water is not futile. Drinking more water can enhance your health and may affect your performance in achieving other goals, yet it is simple and straight forward.   You may feel that picking such an easy goal is cheating but it is more like ‘being realistic with your vision.’ Read the rest of this entry

Is a change as good as a rest?

037aSome say a change is as good as a rest. After some exploration, I will share my own opinion as to whether there remains truth in this old adage at Christmas.

A change in Pace

Christmas is a great example of a time of change. It is a time when some people are off work. Groups and meetings are cancelled. During the holidays the pace of life changes.

People are out and about getting ready for Christmas. People that don’t celebrate Christmas will prepare for their own celebrations and rituals. Eventually the feasts and gift giving will take people’s attention at this festive time.  Is this better than a rest? Read the rest of this entry

Whether tis better to Accept or Deny Mental IIlness

sunup

Acceptance can show the way

To accept an ill state of mental health is a difficult thing to do. First of all who wants to lose. I mean, who wants to be the one with the short straw. Don’t pick on me! Don’t call me the sickest!

The Grief Cycle

Acceptance doesn’t mean believing less of ourselves but it does mean being honest and logical about the situation we are in. I think other stages in handling grief are important in coping with illnesses. This involves anger, bartering, depression and yes finally acceptance and then going on to teach others. These stages educate  us by forcing us to use tools so we can gain strength. Acceptance on the other hand is more of a stabilizing part of the cycle. We can stay in this place for longer. Through using skills learned from the grief process we can come to a place of homoeostasis in our acceptance. Read the rest of this entry

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