During my 3 weeks of work experience, my cousin invited my 2 sisters and I to her birthday dinner. It was at a restaurant in central Edinburgh, and she’d invited about 20 people. My youngest sister couldn’t go because she was working. I initially didn’t want to go as I didn’t know anyone who was going except my middle sister and my two cousins, and I DEFINITELY didn’t want to go out clubbing (which is what was planned for after the meal). However, I decided that I would go along to the restaurant in an attempt to face my fears.
Unfortunately, the entire evening, and the conversation going on around me, reminded me of the song (if one can even call it a song) that I took the title from (I definitely wouldn’t choose to listen to it, but I was subjected to it). I was really anxious throughout much of the evening, but my sister is the only person who knows about my anxiety (my cousins know absolutely nothing about my mental health problems), and isn’t usually particularly helpful/ supportive. I didn’t want to mention that I was anxious in front of everyone, so I texted her. She looked at her phone, gave me a couple of (probably condescending) pats on the shoulder, and then went back to talking/ boasting to our cousin’s friends. My two cousins were also obviously busy talking to other people, so I was pretty much sat twiddling my thumbs, wanting to leave, and trying not to have a panic attack, for most of the evening. My cousin’s boyfriend’s sister sat next to me at one point and attempted to have a conversation with me, but I was obviously too awkward for her, as she soon moved her chair over to a group of other people. So on one side, I had no one sitting next to me (which made me feel even worse about myself, and like an extremely weird and unlikeable person), and on the other, I had my sister constantly boasting to my cousin’s friends about university life, her boyfriend/ sex life, clubbing/ drinking, and so on. The weird thing is that my sister told me before we got there that she didn’t really like that particular group of people, yet she spent the entire evening trying to one-up them.
Maybe this is just me being really bitter and grumpy/ weird, but all the conversations going on around me seemed to be very superficial and vapid. Like I said, it seemed that most people were talking/ boasting about their social lives/ nights out, and about various things they did while drunk. Now obviously, as someone who has a virtually non-existent social life, perhaps I just interpreted it this way. But with my sister at least, she certainly did seem to be trying to make herself/ her life appear better than the lives of the other people she was talking to. I just found it all rather odd. Then there was the guy who kept loudly boasting about the fact that he’d once managed to take over a hundred selfies on another person’s phone without them noticing. I felt like saying to him: “What do you want, a medal?” I felt like a complete alien, being there.
At the end of the evening, people were trying to convince me to go out clubbing with them, but by then, I had had more than enough anxiety for one evening, and just wanted to go home. Thankfully, I had work experience the next day, so used that as an excuse for leaving early. I didn’t enjoy the evening at all, and spent most of it just waiting until I could go home. I can’t tell if I wouldn’t be able to get on with most people my age, or if I would be able to get on with more like-minded individuals. What I quickly realised is that I didn’t have much in common with those people. I feel so alienated when it comes to most people my age. And I think that most of them see me as being very weird/ antisocial. Oh well…at least I’ve learned (I think) not to force myself to go along to social events if I feel that I probably won’t enjoy them, and don’t have much in common with the other people there.
Moonroof Lyrics – Jass Manak. Jass Manak is doing an album which is age 19. He
Best Boiler Repair. I was asked to repair a Boiler for a customer who suffered from panic attacks but, I did not know this at the time of asking. I asked her, How Long Do Panic Attacks Last, i had a thought, i should change the subject. I starting talking about her boiler and how […]
I mentioned in a previous post that I was attempting online dating again and that I might be meeting up with a guy from one of the sites. Well we did end up meeting up, and things have gone really well so far. I’ll need to write about our first date at some point, actually, as it makes for a funny story, in terms of how mortifyingly/ hilariously (depending on how you look at it) awkward I am. We’ve been going out for almost two months now, and I now have a boyfriend (!!!) Trust me when I say that no one is more surprised than I am! I was thoroughly convinced that I would never be in a relationship, given my mental health issues, unattractiveness, and low self-esteem. I still can’t really believe it now. This is a very prolonged and elaborate dream that I’m having. I really don’t want to mess this up, but I’m worried that all my issues that I mentioned above will inevitably ruin things. He knows all about my social anxiety and history of depression, and has so far been extremely patient and understanding, but it is still a worry. I have zero relationship experience (and not even much experience with friendships), and, as I mentioned before, being in a relationship/ getting close to someone is the area in which my anxiety and low self-esteem are most intense. I am also absolutely dreading meeting his parents (he has already met all of my immediate family, but his parents live up in the Highlands, so it will be some time before I have the opportunity to meet them, if everything continues to go well), even though they seem like lovely people. Everything in a relationship is so new and daunting to me.
While I’m of course really happy about finally having found someone I really like (and who apparently likes me) enough to be in a relationship, I am having huge issues with cognitive dissonance. For example, I can’t believe him when he says that he really likes me or that he finds me attractive, because most of my previous life experiences have taught me that I’m unlikeable/ unlovable, and that I’m hideously unattractive. Therefore according to the sum of my life experience and conditioning, he’s lying. And then I get suspicious and start to worry about what else he might be lying about. Stupid brain. All of this has made me realise that low self-esteem is my biggest issue/ obstacle. I’m currently reading a book on self-compassion in an attempt to address this. Another thing that I’m worried about is that I have intense anxiety/ issues around physical intimacy (I find it really difficult to talk about that kind of thing, but will hopefully write about it in more detail at some point, as I imagine it’s quite a common issue in those of us with SA). Even though he’s been super patient and understanding about this so far, I worry that my issues with this will eventually cause his patience to run out. Anyway…negative rant over.
It feels so great to finally have someone special in my life. I thought that romantic relationships would only ever be something that happened to other people, not to me. I’ve been so lucky to find someone so caring, patient and understanding when it comes to me and my mental health. I had the courage to be open with him about my issues, and he has accepted me, anxiety and all. I feel like this is someone that I may actually be able to trust and open up to completely. Although there are a lot of things about getting close to someone that make me really anxious, I have become so much more comfortable around him already (probably like a different person compared to how anxious I was on our first date), so I am hopeful that I will continue to improve and won’t let my anxiety get in the way of this part of my life. Even if things ultimately don’t work out, I’ve still really enjoyed our time together, and have some new happy memories to add to my collection. Any friendship or relationship that I have in my life is very precious to me. I won’t take this for granted, and I will certainly cherish this far more than most people.
New research has confirmed that smartphone apps can be an effective treatment option for depression.
Depression is the most prevalent mental disorder and a leading cause of global disability, with mental health services worldwide struggling to meet the demand for treatment.
In an effort to tackle this challenge, researchers from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), Harvard Medical School, the University of Manchester, and the Black Dog Institute in Australia examined the efficacy of smartphone-based treatments for depression.
The researchers reviewed 18 randomized controlled trials that examined 22 different smartphone-delivered mental health interventions.
The studies involved more than 3,400 people between the ages of 18-59 with a range of mental health symptoms and conditions, including major depression, mild to moderate depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and insomnia.
Published in World Psychiatry, the study found that smartphone apps significantly reduced people’s depressive symptoms.
Lead author of the paper, NICM postdoctoral research fellow Dr. Joseph Firth said this was an important finding, which presents a new opportunity for providing accessible and affordable care for patients who might not otherwise have access to treatment.
“The majority of people in developed countries own smartphones, including younger people who are increasingly affected by depression,” he said.
“Combined with the rapid technological advances in this area, these devices may ultimately be capable of providing instantly accessible and highly effective treatments for depression, reducing the societal and economic burden of this condition worldwide.”
Jerome Sarris, NICM deputy director, highlighted the importance of the findings for opening up non-stigmatizing and self-managing avenues of care.
“The data shows us that smartphones can help people monitor, understand, and manage their own mental health,” he said. “Using apps as part of an ‘integrative medicine’ approach for depression has been demonstrated to be particularly useful for improving mood and tackling symptoms in these patients.”
According to the study’s findings, the apps may be best for people with mild to moderate depression.
The researchers found no difference in apps that apply principles of mindfulness compared to cognitive behavioral therapy or mood-monitoring programs.
However, interventions that used entirely self-contained apps — meaning the app did not rely on other aspects, such as clinician and computer feedback — were found to be significantly more effective than non-self-contained apps.
The researchers suggested this might be due to the comprehensiveness of these particular stand-alone apps rather than the combination of therapies.
Despite the promising results, there is no evidence to suggest that using apps alone can outperform standard psychological therapies or reduce the need for antidepressant medications, the researchers advise.
Jennifer Nicholas, a Ph.D. candidate at Black Dog Institute and co-author of the paper, said now that it’s confirmed that apps can be effective for managing depression, future research must investigate which features produce these beneficial effects.
“Given the multitude of apps available — many of them unregulated — it’s critical that we now unlock which specific app attributes reap the greatest benefits, to help ensure that all apps available to people with depression are effective.”
Lets talk about Peppermint! First cultivated in 1750 near London, as an experimental hybrid between watermint and spearmint. Like most mint plants, It’s really effective…
A newly developed universal blood test can help to predict if a person is at high suicide risk. Indiana University researchers say the test is unique as it can be given to everyone. The scientists also report the development of personalized blood tests for different subtypes of suicidality, and for different psychiatric high-risk groups.
Researchers explain that two apps — one based on a suicide risk checklist and the other on a scale for measuring feelings of anxiety and depression – have been designed to be used in conjunction with the blood tests to enhance the precision of tests and to suggest lifestyle, psychotherapeutic, and other interventions.
The scientist have also identified a series of medications and natural substances that could be developed for preventing suicide.
“Our work provides a basis for precision medicine and scientific wellness preventive approaches,” said Alexander B. Niculescu III, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and medical neuroscience at IU School of Medicine.
The article, “Precision medicine for suicidality: from universality to subtypes and personalization,” appears in the online edition of the journal, Molecular Psychiatry.
The research builds on earlier studies from the Niculescu group.
“Suicide strikes people in all walks of life. We believe such tragedies can be averted. This landmark larger study breaks new ground, as well as reproduces in larger numbers of individuals some of our earlier findings,” said Dr. Niculescu.
There were multiple steps to the research, starting with serial blood tests taken from 66 people who had been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, followed over time, and who had at least one instance in which they reported a significant change in their level of suicidal thinking from one testing visit to the next.
The candidate gene expression biomarkers that best tracked suicidality in each individual and across individuals were then prioritized using the Niculescu group’s Convergent Functional Genomics approach, based on all the prior evidence in the field.
Next, working with the Marion County (Indianapolis, Ind.) Coroner’s Office, the researchers tested the validity of the biomarkers using blood samples drawn from 45 people who had committed suicide.
The biomarkers were then tested in another larger, completely independent group of individuals to determine how well they could predict which of them would report intense suicidal thoughts or would be hospitalized for suicide attempts.
The biomarkers identified by the research are RNA molecules whose levels in the blood changed in concert with changes in the levels of suicidal thoughts experienced by the patients. Among the findings reported in the current paper were:
Source: University of Indiana/EurekAlert
To say that I have mixed emotions with regard to Theresa May’s very well publicised speech yesterday, is an understatement. On the one hand, mental health received a shout out on TV. Amazing! The stigma and problems surrounding it were formally recognised. I also like the prospect that every secondary school will receive mental health first aid training, to help teachers identify symptoms and students who may be developing issues. […]
A new comprehensive literature review by an integrative medicine specialist suggests dream loss is at the root of many of the health concerns attributed to sleep loss.
The review by Rubin Naiman, PhD, appears in the “Unlocking the Unconscious: Exploring the Undiscovered Self” issue of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Naiman is a sleep and dream specialist at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
The paper details the various factors that cause rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and dream loss. Typical sleep follows a pattern in which deeper, non-REM sleep is prioritized by the body. Only later in the night and into the early morning do people experience dreaming, during REM sleep.
“We are at least as dream-deprived as we are sleep-deprived,” noted Dr. Naiman, UA clinical assistant professor of medicine.
He sees REM/dream loss as an unrecognized public health hazard that silently wreaks havoc by contributing to illness, depression and an erosion of consciousness.
“Many of our health concerns attributed to sleep loss actually result from REM sleep deprivation.”
The review examines data about the causes and extent of REM/dream loss associated with medications, substance use disorders, sleep disorders and behavioral and lifestyle factors.
Naiman further reviews the consequences of REM/dream loss and concludes with recommendations for restoring healthy REM sleep and dreaming.
Source: University of Arizona