How I Cope With Depression & Anxiety

Hello there everyone! You guys have read a lot of different posts from me. I mostly post book reviews, author interviews and personal writing blog posts about my own work as an author. That’s what you’ve come to know about me over the years, but one thing you may have noticed as well is that I am very passionate about mental health awareness. There are many reasons for my increased passion for this topic, but today I’m going to tell you the personal connection I have to mental health awareness. You see…I suffer from depression and anxiety.

I’ve touched upon this briefly in old videos on my YouTube channel Avina Vlogs. However as I’ve had the pleasure of working with the amazing company BetterHelp on several guest blog posts, I thought I’d take a more hands on approach and work with the company to bring you my own personal mental health struggles.

You see, my depression struggles began when I was sixteen years old. At that time I was an active kid in high school, working hard in school and holding down a steady job, earning money for my future. I was studying, working, and gearing towards my future education in college. I was losing weight, hitting the gym hard and was living what society has deemed a typical high school life. Yet whether you want to call it fate or just a stroke of bad luck, the universe had other plans in store.

One night in November 2006, I was at the gym playing a pickup game of basketball when I landed on a slippery spot on the court. My legs gave out under me and I proceeded to tear a ligament in my ankle. That would be the night my life changed forever. To make a long story short my life got turned upside down. My ankle to this day after multiple surgeries never healed properly. After my injury, illnesses I inherited from my family began to crop up,. This stopped me from working out of the house, forced me to finish my high school career from home and set me on the course I’m on today.

Now while this string of bad luck allowed me to find my purpose in life, which was writing, it also set me up with a lifetime of health struggles that will never end. This has been the biggest contributing factor in my mental health struggles. Since then I have struggled with crippling depression and anxiety, especially and more specifically social anxiety. It’s a struggle to get out of bed each day and do what I’m capable of doing, knowing I’ll never be able to do what I once was able to. The struggle never stops, but there are ways I’ve learned over the years to cope. Some are more personal, while others may be able to help you as well.

  1. Talk to someone. This is the most important step you can take. Sitting alone with your thoughts in this state is dangerous, and if not for my amazing family I would have been alone. Speak to family, friends, or professional help. No matter what find someone to reach out to.
  2. Find a Creative Outlet. This for me has included various things, such as writing and reading, blogging, photography, videography, playing video games and so much more. Perhaps art or design is your outlet. Find something to occupy your mind.
  3. Health. Eat healthy food, exercising or moving in general can help with your depression.
  4. Seek Help. If the depression is overwhelming, seek help from a professional. Don’t let others tell you differently. Ignore those who support the stigma around mental health. Take control and find someone to help you. They can either prescribe the right medication for you, help you find natural ways of coping or talk you through the process. A great way to do this is to find a psychiatrist, which thanks to my friends at BetterHelp you can do by clicking the link here.    https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/psychologists/reasons-to-choose-an-online-psychiatrist/

Thanks so much everyone for listening. If you’d like to know more about my mental health journey or other’s who struggle with it and how they cope, leave a comment below and share this post on your social media sites. Thanks to my friends at BetterHelp for the link to this amazing resource, and I will talk to you all in the next post.

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Guest Post: Redemption by Author Mike Schlossberg

Note From Anthony Avina: 

 

Hi there everyone! I am thrilled to share with you an amazing guest blog post from an author I will be working with in the months to come. Please read and enjoy this post from author Mike Schlossberg on how he came up with the title for his book Redemption and how others can learn from it. 

 

 

My book is called Redemptionand it’s about depression, anxiety and saving the world. From the blurb:

Twenty young people wake aboard the spaceship Redemption with no memory how they got there.

Asher Maddox went to sleep a college dropout with clinical depression and anxiety. He wakes one hundred sixty years in the future to assume the role as captain aboard a spaceship he knows nothing about, with a crew as in the dark as he is.

Yanked from their everyday lives, the crew learns that Earth has been ravaged by the Spades virus – a deadly disease planted by aliens. They are tasked with obtaining the vaccine that will save humanity, while forced to hide from an unidentified, but highly advanced enemy.

Half a galaxy away from Earth, the crew sets out to complete the quest against impossible odds. As the enemy draws closer, they learn to run the ship despite their own flaws and rivalries. But they have another enemy . . . time. And it’s running out.

Now, here’s the question I keep getting: Why is it called Redemption?

First is the obvious: It’s the name of the ship. But it’s the name of the ship in the book for a reason.

Okay. So I wrote this thing not just to tell a science fiction story, but to tell a story of mental illness and give those who suffer hope. That’s sort of been my driving force, as an elected official and advocate for the mentally ill. And to be perfectly honest, that permeates just about every facet of the book. Including the name of the ship.

I named it Redemption because I think the idea of guilt – and seeking Redemption – was and is a big part of my depression. Guilt is a common symptom of depression. It’s something I certainly got to know in a very personal way. And I spent most of my life searching for redemption. I desperately wanted to be redeemed from some unknown sin. And I think that’s something that’s relatively common among those who have suffered.

The entire plot is, at it’s core, a redemption story, but not from a sin: From mental illness, from depression and from anxiety. It’s a redemption that I think we all strive for. In my experience, it’s almost not complete obtainable. Personally, I know I will never be completely free from mental illness. It will always be there, running in the background like an iPhone app. Recovery isn’t an end state, it’s a journey. And that’s a lesson I that I have tried to learn all my life, and a journey I try to highlight in Redemption.

As always, I’d love to have your thoughts. Is this an experience you understand? No? Either way, let us know in the comments!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C7M8WT8

https://mikeschlossbergauthor.com

http://www.twitter.com/MikeSchlossberg

http://www.facebook.com/MikeSchlossbergAuthor

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39896276-redemption

Summary:

Redemption Cover from Amazon

Twenty young people wake aboard the spaceship Redemption with no memory how they got there.

Asher Maddox went to sleep a college dropout with clinical depression and anxiety. He wakes one hundred sixty years in the future to assume the role as captain aboard a spaceship he knows nothing about, with a crew as in the dark as he is.

Yanked from their everyday lives, the crew learns that Earth has been ravaged by the Spades virus – a deadly disease planted by aliens. They are tasked with obtaining the vaccine that will save humanity, while forced to hide from an unidentified, but highly advanced enemy.

Half a galaxy away from Earth, the crew sets out to complete the quest against impossible odds. As the enemy draws closer, they learn to run the ship despite their own flaws and rivalries. But they have another enemy . . . time. And it’s running out.

Author bio:

Michael Schlossberg

Mike Schlossberg has been a writer since he wrote his first short story in eighth grade, a Star Wars fanfiction. While he claims it was terrible, the creative passion followed him into adulthood.

Serving as a State Representative in Pennsylvania, Mike has had the chance to make a difference. The problem closest to his heart is mental health, where he strives to break the stigma surrounding those who suffer from mental illnesses and give them hope. For Mike, this issue is personal, as he has been treated for depression and anxiety related disorders since he was 18. It was this desire to help which drove him to write Redemption, his first novel, but not his first book. That honor goes to Tweets and Consequences, an anthology about the varied ways elected officials have destroyed their careers via social media.

When not writing, Mike plays video games (both modern and old school), watches anything related to the Muppets (specifically Fraggle Rock!), reads, attempts to get to the gym, and calls his constituents on their birthdays.

Mike lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with his wife Brenna and his two wonderful children: Auron, born in 2011, and Ayla, born in 2012.

Bipolar Disorder and Creativity: Can You Still Be Creative on Bipolar Medication?

If you’re a creative type, the idea of bipolar disorder as a component of your creativity can keep you from getting the help you need. A common misperception is that treatment renders artists incapable of the kinds of thought that allow them to see the world in their own unique way. Is this true? Maybe and maybe not.

Artists Do Think Differently

Artists are typically better at two types of thinking. One, called janusian thought, is defined as actively thinking of multiple opposites at the same time. The other, called homospatial process, is defined as actively thinking of two or more different things or people occupying the same space.

Artists also tend to think in nonlinear and nonconventional ways. The treatment you choose needs to allow you to continue doing that.

Effects of Medication on Bipolar Disorder

People who create art need to be careful to get the right medications for them. Finding the right medication regimen may make a huge difference in your creative output. The right medications for you also allow you to stay mentally healthy enough to produce quality art.

Creativity and Lithium

Lithium may not be a good choice for artists, as it suppresses janusian thought and homospatial process.

It’s also easy to confuse the effects of going off lithium with a return to creativity, which may prompt you to quit taking it.

What actually happens is that you become energized and hypomanic or manic after abruptly stopping a large dose of lithium. The effects on creativity, if there are any, don’t last. Instead, you may become too ill to create anything at all.

So, What Medications are Better?

A few medications have been used successfully to treat bipolar disorder without causing effects that impair creative thinking.

So far, anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine, valproate, lamotrigine, gabapentin, and tiagabine are excellent choices for artists. Channel blockers like verapamil have also shown favorable results in a few cases.

Is Therapy Better than Medication?

The wrong kind of psychotherapy can indeed suppress creative ways of thinking. However, therapy is a treatment of choice when the therapist understands your need to remain creative while overcoming the harmful effects of bipolar disorder.

Even though you might prefer therapy to medication as a treatment, you might need to take medications to be well enough to attend and learn from therapy. Therapy helps you deal with anxiety, bipolar depression, and mania by encouraging you to take medication as needed (adherence).

What You can Do

You do have control over your own treatment for bipolar disorder. Taking charge of your care helps you get the right treatments for you. Here are some things you can do to protect your creativity while getting treatment:

  • Find an understanding psychiatrist and/or therapist.
  • Emphasize the importance of preserving your ability to think creatively.
  • If you are worried about side effects of any of the possible medications, such as lithium carbonate, ask your psychiatrist to choose a different medication for you.
  • If you do take medication, take them as directed, and don’t discontinue them abruptly. Talk to your psychiatrist if you are experiencing any difficulties with your medication.
  • Call on your creativity during therapy to better understand how to deal with your bipolar disorder.

Both medications and therapy can help creative people with bipolar disorder. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stick with treatment until you find the right combination for you!

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy

 

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie-Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Dealing with Anxiety in a Fast-Paced World

It seems like just when we get used to our phone or computer, another one comes along that is better and faster. Everything is faster and everyone seems to want to move at the speed of sound. What happened to slowing down and relaxing? I bet none of the teenagers now would even understand if we told them to stop and smell the roses. Well, they could actually just Google it but they still would not really understand what it actually means. Why is everyone in such a hurry?

Why Are We in Such a Hurry?

In the beginning, nature pretty much went along as a slow pace, moving at nature’s schedule when time was only noticed by the passing of the seasons and the cycles of the moon. Until humans decided they wanted to change time (daylight savings time) and move along at their own schedules whether it went with nature or not. In ancient times, when it got dark, it was time to go to sleep and when the sun came up, our days would start. That is not true anymore! Now some of us get up and work or party all night long and sleep during the day. Some people barely sleep at all because they are too busy with technology, gaming or talking on Facebook or Twitter all night long. We have disconnected from nature’s nice slow pace and tried to adapt to living under our new unnatural time pressures. Talk about some stress!

Anxiety Disorders

So, it should come as no surprise that we end up in our doctor or therapist’s office trying to figure out why we are so anxious all the time. Many experts are calling this condition time poverty and it is actually recognized as a psychological stressor. Trying to keep up with society and pushing ourselves to catch up when we fall behind is causing a great deal of anxiety in many people. In fact, anxiety disorder is the number one most common mental health condition in the United States. In fact, about 40 million American adults, which is over 18% of the population. On a more global note, approximately 1 in 13 of the world’s population suffer from anxiety.

Exercise

There are many things you can do to deal with your anxiety in this high-tech world. The one that seems most obvious is also the hardest to do, which is to just unplug. Turn off your cellphone, put down your tablet, and get off the computer. Get outside and do something physical such as taking a walk, bike riding, hiking, swimming, jogging, tennis, baseball, whatever you want to do. Exercise is good for both anxiety and depression and it is also good for your physical health. The “feel good” chemicals in your brain (serotonin) increase during and after exercise, making you feel more relaxed and satisfied. It can also help keep your mind off your stressors and keep you too busy to worry about checking your email or updating your Facebook status.

Talk to Someone

Another way to relieve stress is through talk therapy or cognitive behavior therapy. Both of these can be done from home on your electronic device for those of us who are just too busy to set an appointment. In fact, BetterHelp has more than 2,000 licensed professionals that are available to help you right now.

 

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie-Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

What Is Depression? (Guest Post with BetterHelp)

Hello there everyone. This is Anthony Avina. I am honored to be working with BetterHelp on this guest post regarding depression. I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness, and I hope this will be the first of many guest posts working with this amazing company to bring awareness to these very serious topics that affect so many people. I hope you guys will enjoy this article and if you or anyone you know is suffering from any sort of mental health disorder, please be sure to go to this website and find the necessary resources and support systems you need to help you or those you love. Now here is BetterHelp with a look at depression.

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How to Live with Depression

For those of us who suffer with depression, we know that life is not as easy for us as it is for other people. What makes it worse is that depression and other mental health conditions are “invisible” diseases so nobody can tell what is wrong with you just by looking at you. While some may think this is a good thing, it also makes it hard for others to understand why we may not feel like getting up and going to the beach with the gang or how it takes everything we have to just get out of bed on some days. In fact, I am sure some of you have heard “you are just lazy,” or “quit being so dramatic,” or my favorite “it is all in your head.”

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that is very common in both adults as well as children. In fact, it is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects one in six people at some point in their lives, which is almost 17% of the American population. It is not just feeling sad or grouchy for a while or being upset because you lost a loved one, although that can trigger it. Depression is a group of symptoms that include:

  • Feelings of sadness that lasts for more than two weeks
  • Lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy
  • Sleep changes (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or sleeping more than usual)
  • Extreme fatigue or listlessness
  • Feeling empty or lost
  • Crying for no obvious reason
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Slowed speech or movement
  • Thoughts of suicide

Who Is Most at Risk?

While anyone can suffer from depression, it is more common in some people than others. For example, women are twice as likely to have depression as men. Other risk factors of depression include:

  • Hereditary – Mental health conditions such as depression can be hereditary so if someone in your family has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, you may be more susceptible.
  • Chemistry – Many experts believe that a chemical imbalance (too much or too little) in the brain is a major cause of depression.
  • Previous mental health disorders – If you have had trouble with anxiety or depression before, you are more likely to have another bout of one of these mental health disorders.
  • Environmental situations – Many situations such as abuse, neglect, extreme poverty, or exposure to violence can make you more susceptible to depression.
  • Physical ailments – Certain major chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes can cause depression.

What You Can Do

The first thing you need to do is talk to someone. Even if you do not have a doctor or therapist, there are experts who are available to you that can help. In fact, you can talk to an online psychologist without even having to leave your home or make an appointment. These therapists are licensed and trained in dealing with depression as well as many other disorders. There are other things you can do in the mean time to make your life easier to deal with such as:

  • Exercise – Force yourself to get out of bed at least once a day and move around. Even if it is just to get up and take a shower and walk around the house.
  • Smile – According to experts, even a fake smile can make you feel happier.
  • Break things up – Do things a little bit at a time so you do not get overwhelmed. Thinking about all the things you have to do that day can be a major block but if you break things up into smaller tasks, it is much easier.
  • Talk about itTell people how you feel. Even if they do not seem to care, talking about it helps you understand your illness.
  • Goals Set some small goals for yourself. Talk yourself into doing at least one thing from that goal list every week.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore it and do not try to hide it. There is nothing to be ashamed of and it is more common than you think. Talk to someone. Today.

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Marie Miguel Biography

Marie-Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.