Environment is everything
Defining mental health.
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to download this app - we hope that you find some useful information on here and it meets your needs - it is a small guide to some of the more common mental disorders which include anxiety, depression and phobias that make up the great majority of mental health diagnoses in the UK. Common mental disorders cause considerable personal distress and are often highly disabling. They can affect people's ability to work, damage their enjoyment of family life and friendships, and reduce their capacity to function in the wider community. A person who is considered 'mentally healthy' is someone who can cope with the normal stresses of life and carry out the usual activities they need to in order to look after themselves; can realise their potential; and make a contribution to their community. However, your mental health or sense of 'wellbeing' doesn't always stay the same and can change in response to circumstances and stages of life. When it comes to mental health we know some of the obstacles you face for example, some people fear other people discovering they have a mental health problem or you my be one of those people who feel the pressure to always be strong . For many they simply find it difficult to verbalise (put into words) how they are feeling inside and, don't forget some won't even recognise their problems instead blaming others all the time for their behaviour.
Everyone will go through periods when they feel emotions such as stress and grief, but symptoms of mental illnesses can last longer than normal and are often not simply a reaction to daily events. When the symptoms become so severe that they interfere with a person's ability to function on a daily basis, they may be considered to have a significant psychological or mental illness disorder. This app is for those who want some more knowledge and tips that can help you or someone you come into contact with.
Stress comes in many forms.
Mental health problems are defined and classified to help experts refer people for the right care and treatment. The symptoms are grouped in two broad categories - neurotic and psychotic. Neurotic conditions are extreme forms of 'normal' emotional experiences such as depression, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Around one person in 10 experiences these mood disorders at any one time. Psychotic symptoms affect around one in 100 and these interfere with a person's perception of reality, impairing their thoughts and judgments. Conditions include schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Mental illness is common but fortunately 3 out of every 4 people recover or learn to live with the problem, especially if diagnosed early. The key to successfully overcoming any illness is getting the person the right support quickly and, that is why it is so important not to ‘bottle it up’ or keep things hidden. Getting help or support is not a weakness, if it will improve your own life or someone you care about it then it is the right thing to do. The stigma surrounding mental health costs lives, as young people can be too afraid to ask for help or support in case family or friends judge them or worse.
Thoughts and Beliefs
One of the most important things to know about the mind and reality is the difference between thoughts and beliefs. The difference between a thought and a belief is that you may have thousands of thoughts going through your mind but none of them have any power except those that are beliefs. A belief is a thought that you make real, or accept as true. You cannot decide to believe one thing this week and another, opposing thing, next week. You might think you can, but it really doesn’t work like that.
It is important to understand that is not our thinking that creates our circumstances, but the emotion that is attached to our thoughts. Thoughts can become something however not all thoughts do clearly, only the thoughts that are accompanied with strong feelings and emotion. For example, look at some of the questions below:
- 1. NAME. How important is a persons name to you?
- 2. GENDER. Are you satisfied with being who you are?
- 3. BODY. Are you satisfied with your physical appearance?
Did they get harder for you to answer? Did you notice which questions felt very powerful with all those emotions attached?
Thought is first a conscious suggestion, then it becomes a subconscious memory, working day and night. Thoughts may be conscious to start with, but they are subconscious as soon as they are set in motion. The subconscious mind is the seat of emotion and the storehouse of memory, therefore memory is tied to emotion. Emotion is energy in motion. The more emotion a thought has, the more it is able to move things. Weak thoughts have little emotion. Strong thoughts have much emotion, for example try these below:
- 4. PEOPLE. Who influenced you most when growing up?
- 5. MOTHER. What is your opinion of your mother?
- 6. FATHER. What is your opinion of your father?
Can you see how much more emotion is involved when your thoughts are stronger about certain people? People can have similar strong emotions towards places, certain situations, physical objects and more commonly with their pets.
Anxiety in a nutshell.
What exactly is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion. When people describe anxiety, they tend to use words like worry, nervousness, fear, panic, tension or even dread. Most people will feel nervous at some point in their lives for example, starting a new school or job, performing in a school play or going on a first date. It is normal for us all to experience nerves in new situations or that mean a lot to us personally. It is also normal for us to worry about certain things or people depending on the situation for example, if a loved one was taken severely ill suddenly. When people are faced with life threatening or dangerous situations it is normal to feel fear, in fact fear triggers a series of events within us that allows temporary physical changes to be able cope or escape dangerous situations.
Living in the land of giants.
Cast your mind back as far as you can to when you were so small and everybody else seemed like giants. No? Instead let’s imagine we are living in the dinosaur age and you’ve just turned around from the cave entrance and you’re face to face with a predator. Would you a) defend yourself and fight back, b) sprint back to the safety of the cave or c) stay absolutely still hoping the predator passes you by without incident? This is known as the fight, flight or freeze response which all humans have built in to protect us, but what does this all have to do with anxiety? Ok so imagine you have to go to a party later tonight. In theory it sounds easy however what if as the day goes on you start to imagine what might happen at the party. What if you start to think that really bad things will happen to you if you go? If you don’t think you will be safe at the party then your fear response will kick in. As your body naturally produces different chemicals to cope with fearful situations this in turn can cause stress to your system that can overwhelm you. If you get stuck in a habit of always fearing the worst from social situations or people this change or stress to our system can mean that we always feel stuck in the fight, flight or freeze response – as if it is permanently on. This is what we call anxiety.
Four components of anxiety
Anxiety can strike you in four main ways: Cognitive, Physical, Emotional and Behavioural. Here are some examples of each area however please remember that this is not a complete list – just several to demonstrate the differences for you. Cognitive can affect the memory, affect your concentration levels, fill you with many negative thoughts of self-doubt, many ‘what if’ or ‘I can’t’ thoughts, self-harm or even suicide. Physically you may experience sweating more than usual, headaches, dizziness, nausea, a shortness of breath, rapid heart beating. Constant worry, low mood, low in self-esteem, feeling trapped, no motivation are all indicators that you are emotionally troubled. Lastly, people can also display anxiety in their behaviour and some typical signs can be someone who constantly seek reassurance, who needs strict routines, constantly checking for signs of danger, skipping meals, binge eating, acting irritable or aggressively towards people or even complete avoidance of people or places. As you can see from the examples some people may be experiencing anxiety in one or more of the areas that makes it become very complicated for those suffering from anxiety. Common anxiety disorders that you may have heard of before or affect someone you care about are Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Attacks, Phobias, Complex Phobias like Social phobia (also known as social anxiety), Separation or health anxiety or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
You’re not on your own.
One national survey discovered that nearly 5% of all 11-16 year olds have some form of anxiety disorder whilst the NSPCC’s own study reported 34% of young people worried all the time about something.
My Anxiety Questionnaire.
How often do you feel anxious? Most of the time? Sometimes? What if we asked you how long have you felt like this? Would you answer for as long as you can remember or only recently? What are your physical symptoms like? Do you ever act irritable towards people (especially at home) or self-harm? Do you focus on negative thoughts until they overwhelm and disturb you? If you ever want to really beat your anxiety then you must learn what your own triggers are. Simply divide a page of A4 into 4 boxes and list down all your sources of anxiety or triggers. Some suggested headings for your zones to consider would be: people, places, situations, things about you or objects.
Do you see any patterns or main triggers for your own anxiety? Many people suffer in silence with anxiety. Now that we have discussed how common anxiety is we hope that you can recognize how people and qualified health professionals can support you through difficult or stressful situations if you need support. What you must do is be proactive instead of reactive. Get yourself some support and make sure your emotional needs are being met before it becomes complex.
Our in-house panic attack tips - try this guide:
Breathe in and out slowly, focusing on counting to 7
when you breath in, and 11 when you breath out.
Close your eyes and think about your heartbeat, try and hear it or feel it, and only think about this, and your breathing.
Clench your fists as tightly as possible, tensing all of the muscles in your harms, push your fists together, staying like this for one set of breathes and let go.
Repeat to yourself ‘I will be okay’ in your mine (or out loud) and keep doing this until you feel calm enough to talk to someone.