Posted in Family, mental-health, Parenting

Why it’s imperative to Communicate with Your Teen about Mental Illness in your Family

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a weekend of picking out countertops, (yes, hubby and I have a home project) and fun stuff like laundry and housework.

I’m transitioning from running outside to running inside on the treadmill and I must say, it has been hard because running on the treadmill can be rather boring to say the least, but enough about that. I don’t want to talk about the treadmill today. LOL.

I was able to get some writing time in, but not as much as I would’ve liked. Sigh. There just aren’t enough minutes in the day sometimes, but enough about that, too. Today, I’d like to talk about the book I’ve been reading. “The Stressed Years of their Lives.”

 

It’s an excellent book and I recommend it for any parent whose kids are approaching high school or college age. It talks about how teen depression and anxiety is on the rise and how a mental illness can develop during this stressful period.

If you have a history of depression or anxiety in your family, it’s imperative that you communicate this to your children, so if they experience this type of reaction to stress, they’ll know what they’re dealing with. Sweeping it under the rug does not help them in any way shape or form. It only adds to their confusion and their shame.

Photo on Visual hunt

Sadly, when kids are experiencing anxiety or depression, they tend to lean toward self-medication or drinking and partying. When kids party too much, they can develop alcohol poisoning or even worse, OD. It’s because they aren’t experienced enough with drinking or drugs to know what their limits are. This leaves them vulnerable. When they pass out, they can be victimized by other intoxicated students who have impaired judgement.

Photo on VisualHunt

So, start talking to your kids now and tell them that anxiety runs in the family and it has many forms, like obsessive worrying, irrational fears, and perfectionism. These can all lead to an anxiety attack. Give them the information they need to identify what they’re dealing with, then give them the tools to help them handle the situation.

Unfortunately, we can’t prepare them for every stressor in life, but if we can help them develop their critical thinking, maybe they’ll have the tools to apply what they’ve learned from one situation to another.

In the book, it talks about how teens’ executive functioning skills aren’t fully developed yet, so that adds another dimension to the situation, because there’s no way to speed that process up. At least, not one that I’m aware of yet.

Photo credit: Daniela Hartmann (alles-schlumpf) on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

 

So, what it all boils down to is communicate with your kids, tell them if anxiety or mental illness runs in the family, so if they start developing symptoms, they’ll know to come to you for help or to seek out a mental health professional.

This book is pure gold for parents. I can’t recommend it enough. There is a lot to this book, so I’m going to be writing about it in a couple of different blog posts. So, stay tuned and let me know what you think! Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Family, friendship, Health, Parenting, Teen

Let’s pull Together and Do This!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work and writing. I finally nailed a scene I’ve been struggling with and it feels so good! 😊

But enough about that. I came across this meme on Facebook and it inspired me to write this post, so I thought I’d share it with all of you. It’s mainly for us women, but guys can help with this too, so keep reading.

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For years, women have been trained to search for their physical flaws and try to fix them. We’re bombarded by ads for makeup, clothes, and physical fitness equipment that shows us how to improve our appearance. This has made many corporations and plastic surgeons rich while tearing down women’s self-esteem. The message we’re receiving is, the only way you’ll feel good about yourself is if you use this product, buy these clothes, and get this type of plastic surgery.

It’s up to us women to pull together and say:

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

We’re a powerful force when we come together. A force to be reckoned with. So, let’s do it. Let’s pull together and create an environment of support against this onslaught that tears us down.

Instead of focusing on our faults, let’s focus on our health. Let’s exercise because it’s good for us, not to look better. We’ll look better because we’re healthy and we’ll feel better because we’re healthy.

 

Photo credit: Ed Yourdon on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Let’s focus on our diet, not to lose weight and try to be model-thin, but because we want to take care of our health. We’ll feel better if we eat healthier. The outside will take care of itself if we focus on the inside.

Photo credit: CameliaTWU on VisualHunt /CC BY-NC-ND

This same concept can be applied to our mental health. Let’s change our negative self-talk to positive. Let’s forgive ourselves for our imperfections because let’s face it, everyone has them. Let’s practice giving some of the love we give to everyone else to ourselves. Let’s teach our daughters that it’s okay to think of ourselves. To take care of ourselves. To set boundaries. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go, too.

Photo on Visual Hunt

Let’s make our health and happiness a priority. If we take responsibility for our own happiness and chase goals that we want to achieve, our relationships will be better. Our relationships won’t be the only source of happiness for us and it’ll take the pressure off our spouses. They’ll be able to work on themselves and pursue their own happiness.  Once we do that, we’ll find we’re happier and our relationships will be better. It’s like the ripple effect of tossing a stone in the water and watching the ripples float farther and farther away until they pass through the whole lake. We can do this. Who’s with me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Health

The Benefits of Forest-Bathing

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. We went on a quick vacation to Tahquamenon Falls and had a good time. We hiked along the river and got some great pictures. I love getting out into nature, it’s so calming and good for you, too! Experts are calling it Forest bathing.

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I mentioned it last week in a post and I thought I’d dig a little deeper. Forest bathing originated in Japan where it is called Shinrin-Yoku. Why is walking through a forest beneficial for us?

That is a very good question. The reason traipsing through the woods is good for us is because we inhale phytoncides when we breathe in the forest. These are antimicrobial volatile compounds derived from trees.

 

Photo via Visual Hunt

These phytoncides are released by the trees and plants as a defense mechanism against fungus, bacteria, and even animals. These compounds are good for humans as well. According to one study, they enhanced the destructive mechanism in our cells that kill the cell when its time has run out. It also enhanced the anti-cancer proteins production.  Now that is good news.

To put this in layman’s terms, breathing in phytoncides enhances our own natural defenses.  I think this is incredible. It supports the theory that we’re all connected, with each other, and with nature. Wouldn’t you agree?

Not only is forest bathing physically healthy it’s also psychologically good for us, too. It has been found to be advantageous to people who are dealing with chronic stress. I can attest to the stress-relieving benefits of walking through nature, but now I have scientific proof. Yay Me! For more info about this, check out this post from Huffington Post.

Huffington Post

It’s important in our hustle and bustle world that we teach our kids how to take care of themselves, and one of the things we need to teach them is how to decompress. Not only is forest bathing a great way to relieve stress, it’s a great way to reconnect with your family. It’s important to reconnect with our loved ones. It’s vital to everyone’s psychological health.

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

So get out into the forest and get moving! It’s good for your body and your soul. Thanks for stopping by, I’d love to hear your thoughts on forest bathing so leave a comment. Or maybe you have other stress relieving habits you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Health, Personal, Teen

Dreams are important to Our Mental Health

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I want to talk about focusing on your dreams. In my opinion, dreams are important to your mental health.

Why, because our goals and aspirations are what get us out of bed in the morning. Your goals can be small or big, but if you have a huge goal, you might want to break it up into a bunch of smaller goals to make it more manageable.

Achieving our dreams provides us that motivation we need to keep doing those small mundane tasks that are boring. However, if we have our goal in sight, we can grit our teeth and get through them.

This is an important part of the process, because every dream has those moments of perfecting our technique. For example, let us say you want to be a professional basketball player. Well, in order to do that you have to be good at making baskets. So what are you going to do? You’re going to perfect your shot. And not just one shot either, you’re going to perfect your jump shot, your layup, your hook, and your free throw shot, just to name a few.

I bet you know where I’m going with this, don’t you? You’re going to have to spend a lot of time in front of the basket, just shooting the ball. If you have your goal in sight, this isn’t going to be a problem for you. You’ll grit your teeth and get through it because it’s important to achieving your goal. You’ll look forward to it.

In addition, the thing you’ll have to remember is, even professional athletes still spend a lot of time practicing their plays and perfecting their shots even after they’ve reached professional status. Because once your there, you have to keep your edge.

Another thing about goals is this, when you’re going through a particular trying time in your life, for example, like me having to do chemo. I have to for my health. However, I’m able to focus on my writing, not as much as I did before, but enough that I feel I’m moving forward with it. So staying focused on my goals is actually helping me get through this period. It helps me to make sure I’m doing what the doctor says because I want to write. I don’t want to spend my time dealing with the side effects.

So if I manage my side effects, I get to work on my next book, or on editing the ones that are coming out soon. My writing goals help me to manage my side effects so that I can work on them. And that’s good for my mental health too. I won’t be slipping into a depression because my side effects have gotten the best of me.

So there you have it. Goals are important for our mental health.

On a side note, I’ve received some awesome news! My next book “Gideon Lee” will be releasing soon! Yay!

It’s the first book in the Starlight Chronicles and once I receive my galleys, it will be set up for preorder. So crossing my fingers that all goes well and I can tell you the release date very soon!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and if you’d like to leave a comment on why goals are important to you, please do. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health, Teen

Teen Depression: What it looks like and What You Can Do

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. Because we’re on vacation and I’m dealing with some health issues, I’m reblogging this post from a year ago. I hope you don’t mind and I hope it helps you with your teen! Happy Reading!

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you!

I’m back on track today discussing issues that affect young adults. Today I wanted to touch on a topic that affects many people, but it’s especially tricky to spot in teenagers. That issue is depression.

According to Familyfirstaid.org, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young adults between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four. I don’t know about you, but I found this statistic staggering!

The most common cause of suicide is depression. That being said, I’m deducing that since suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among teenagers that many teens are depressed, but only 1 in 5 teenagers receive help for this ailment. So, my theory is that if we start treating the depression in our young people the suicide rate will drop.

According to Helpguide.org, occasional bad moods and acting out is normal…

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Posted in Health

The Price of Fame

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I want to discuss the price of fame. It seems to me, in the last couple of years there have been a number of accidental deaths due to overdoses. I blame fame for the deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger, and Michael Jackson.

This photo courtesy of Justin Hoch
http://www.flickr.com/help/photos/#2265887
Link to license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

The reason I blame fame is simple. When you become famous, your privacy’s gone. To me, an outsider looking in, everyone wants a piece of a celebrity. Reporters hound them. They take pictures of their families when they’re having some down time. Just going to the market becomes newsworthy and photographers follow them for the one shot that’s going to make millions. How would you feel if you were running to the market in your sweats, to get your kid some cough medicine, and a mob of photographers were chasing you?

All of this because they’re a great actors or musicians. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to meet George Clooney or Brad Pitt. I’d also love to sit down with Steven King and the members of Rush just to get to know them and pick their brains. However, I would never dream of camping outside their homes just hoping for a picture.

That’s where fame turns ugly, when reporters and photographers make money off a famous face, boundaries get blurred and violated. I understand how some celebrities get so angry; they get into physical altercations with the reporters and photographers who follow them.

Not only do celebrities have to deal with paparazzi following them, they also have to deal with the pressure from the industry. Pressure to look good all the time. Pressure to be better than their last stellar role or album.

It seems like, when you’re a celebrity there’s no time to relax. They work ungodly hours to get a scene right or adhere to a tour schedule. That’s when the need for medication rears its ugly head.

They need it to keep them awake and then they need it to help them sleep. It turns into a vicious cycle. After a while, they’re hooked and in some instances, they need to take more of it to get the same effect.

Their dependency spirals out of control and they’re taking stronger and stronger drugs. In my opinion, this behavior leads to addiction to drugs such as meth and heroin.

So, instead of attaching labels to these people and assigning blame, why don’t we solve the problems that create the addictions in the first place? Why don’t managers create a schedule that allows our celebrities to maintain their health? Why don’t we pass laws that keep the paparazzi away? I know it sounds like a simplistic solution to a complex problem, but it would be a start.

Of course, then there would be the reporters screaming about free press and the public’s right to know, but what about the celebrities’ rights? Don’t they have a right to privacy as well?

Thanks for reading my post today. If you would like to share your ideas regarding this post, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Teaching our Kids to be Self Focused

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m a huge fan of Zig Ziglar, so when I saw this post on my Facebook page, it inspired this blog post. 🙂

I don’t know about you, but when I was younger (many moons ago. ;)) if a friend, co-worker, or boss didn’t see my value, I would make it my mission to prove them wrong. I would spend time agonizing over their opinion and become frustrated when they couldn’t see how incorrect they were.

Of course, I’m older and wiser now and I know better, but what would’ve happened if I had figured this out earlier? I probably would have used all that energy to focus on accomplishing something, or maybe just enjoying my life a bit more.

This is an important lesson for our young people to learn early, and that is to be internally oriented and self-focused. Being self-focused is different from being selfish. I think I need to make this distinction. Being self-focused in the context in which I’m writing about anyway, means that a person focuses on his or her own set of internal values and desires. So when they encounter a negative or toxic person that person won’t have a huge impact on them, because they’re busy working on their own goals and aspirations.

As a parent, I worry about this. I don’t want my kids growing up with this kind of insecurity. So how am I going to raise them to be internally oriented? That’s a good question. I thought about it for a while and I’ve decided that this is the best way for me to do it.

The best way to do this is by being an involved parent. I have to remember that my kids are experiencing many things for the first time. What that means is even though I may think what they’re going through isn’t a big deal. It is to them. They don’t have the life experience that I do, and because of that experience, I’m supposed to be a guiding force in their lives. I shouldn’t use that experience to belittle the event they’re dealing with. I should use it to help them through it and give them some guidance on how to deal with it.

Often times, we adults forget this and try to brush off our child’s feelings because we’re trying to put food on the table, are worried about our jobs, or one of the other million things that parents worry about besides our kids.

If we focus on our kids, that also gives them permission to focus on themselves. It teaches them that we value them. This is important because then they learn to value themselves and they won’t fall prey to the toxic people that they’ll inevitably encounter in their lives.

Thanks for reading my post today. I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts, so leave a comment!