Archive for April, 2013

Long Week

This is going to be a short post… I haven’t posted all week (even though I’ve really wanted to) but I’m still a little exhausted.

It’s been a really long week for me and usually when I have a long week I can tell myself that next week will be better and use that positivity to get me through it. Unfortunately this time, next week will be busier and the week after that will be even worse at work for me and since my work seems to be spilling into my personal life and affecting the time I spend with Don’t Lose Your Grip – that just sucks!

I was even considering writing a resignation letter on Wednesday, the only problem is that I actually care about my job; I care about the company I work for and the guys who work for me… if I just left, they wouldn’t be able to replace me immediately and that would destroy all of the work I have done over the last 2 years and I really don’t want to leave feeling like all of the effort and compromises over the last 2 years were about to be nullified in one foul sweep. So I’m sticking it out…

At least I have today off – sort of anyway – and I’m planning on making the most (or least) of it… Started with a bath and candles and cup of Nesquick and about to have a healthy fruit and green tea yoghurt breakfast. Planning lots of sitting on the porch and getting fresh air – even though I’ll be playing on my laptop… followed by a fun cooking endeavour followed by some of my favorite movies. This day belongs to me and I am the only one who can determine whether it will be a good one or a bad one… I have the power to make my life worth living.

So I guess I want to say: I’m sorry for not being on DLYG as much this week and I’m sorry for sulking but hopefully next week will be better and if it’s not, hopefully I can be better and make it better….

Feel free to share your opinions and views about your week in the comments below

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Autism Awareness

April is Autism awareness month. Usually I see these kinds of awareness campaigns as a little bit of fun for a good cause and hopefully somewhere along the line one or two people will be reached and that would be a successful campaign. This time around I pushed for a fairly simple project at work supporting the global call to ‘Go Blue for Autism’.

A simple process where all of our staff wear blue every Friday this month and we hand out flyers (which I also translated into Shona with some interesting results) and we educated our staff. I had a lot of conversations with idividual staff members about what exactly Autism is and what they can do to help. I was really amazed by how little all of them knew!! Sometimes I take my experience and education for granted.

So 13days into Autism Awareness month and it’s amazing how involved all of them are. They want to know more and they want to share it with their friends and families and they actually love being more informed. The biggest thing with Autism in Africa (and most mental health issues) is that no one talks about it. No one really seem to know much about it and more often than not, the person suffering is written off by their families and locked away; kept as a prisoner in their own home, simply because no one knows how to ‘handle them’. No has bothered to educate future parents on the very real possibility that their child will not be like every other child… that their child might be different. And by different I do not just mean have Autism or any other mental illness, I also mean that their boy mightlike playing withdolls and that their daughter might grow up not wanting to marry a guy… There is still a lot of forced rules placed on everyone and if your child or your family do not fit this mold perfectly, you must be ashamed? What kind of a world do we live in where a father might hate his own daughter for being gay or a mother writing off her baby because he does not respond like other kids? An uneducated one!

Awareness campaigns are so common right now that it’s easy to start thinking that they are just a way to kill time or make yourself seem more worldly but we forget that these campaigns exist not for those of us who are aware but for those who have never been informed. For all of those mothers who spent days crying because they could not bond with their child. For those kids who were abandoned because no one saw the potential behind their disorder. For everyone who has been made to feel worthless simply because they were not like everyone else.

So do yourself a favour and get involved! Talk about it! Share your experiences and be not afraid to teach others what you have learned…

PS: if you live in Southern Africa join us on twitter at DLYGzimbabwe where we are starting a campaign to talk about mental health instead of just allowing each other to suffer in silence

Paralyzed by fear

Finding fear in every thought… being worried about every catastrophe and concerned about every outcome… worrying about things that others hardly notice… It’s a little something known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

For the last 2 days I have been stressed out over asking my friend for a phone number of one of the guys who work for him. I just had to ask him one simple question that logically he would have no reason to say ‘no’ to so that I can call the number and ask his worker a question…. Sounds simple enough, right? But I couldn’t bring myself to do it! It it wasn’t for the fact that the guy happened to drive into our yard this morning, I’d probably still be experiencing shortness of breath and would have been able to look forward to another sleepless night…

So what is GAD? Well these guys can put it a lot better (or at least in a lot more words) than I can NIMH and my favorite Help Guide and just for good measure Wikipedia… You can also checkout what our followers thought about it on twitter via #TopicsToDiscuss

I’d rather remind you that as much as anxiety sucks and as much as the fear torments us, we are not alone… You are not the only one! And as long as we have the courage to talk about it, someone will be willing to listen. As long as we remember to fight through the fear and find the calm, there will be support and understanding.

You can set up your own ‘calm plan’ Something that lists all of the things you like to do and all of the things that remove the fear from your thoughts. Make sure this plan is accessible to you at all times because sometimes the fear and anxiety is so great that we do not even realize we are in a state of panic until it paralyzes us. Every step you take and every tip you try is one more weapon you have against your Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

So feel free to share your tips and even the things that did not work for you with us in the comments below. If you have any questions, you can also follow us on twitter and send us a direct message Who knows, maybe we can help each other…

 

Anxious on a whole new level

 What is Anxiety? Well, it’s when your heart pounds before a difficult exam or competitive match. That moment before a date when you have butterflies in your stomach. When you get nervous about stepping into your bosses office or you are concerned about family issues. These are all natural reactions… But when they reach a whole new level and worries, fears, or anxiety attacks seem overwhelming and are preventing you from living your life the way you’d like to, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Luckily there are ways you can ease the anxiety and control the attacks. You have the power to take back control of your life!

Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions rather than a single disorder, they can look very different from person to person. Like with most other Mental Illnesses. One individual may suffer from intense anxiety attacks that strike without warning, while another gets panicky at the thought of mingling at a party. Someone else may struggle with a disabling fear of driving, or uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts. Yet another may live in a constant state of tension, worrying about anything and everything.

Despite their different forms, all anxiety disorders share one major symptom: persistent or severe fear or worry in situations where most people wouldn’t feel threatened…

So tonight we asked our followers a little bit about Anxiety and the 6 types of Anxiety Disorders currently defined. First we started by asking them what Anxiety feels like to them? Which anxious moments have they faced?

  • A burglary
  • Facing the parents
  • Exams
  • Job Interview
  • High School graduation
  • Everything

We’ve all experienced most of these feelings… fortunately for most of us, these feelings pass relatively quickly. For someone suffering from anxiety, it generally lasts much longer – sometimes even after the person has left the situation that sparked the panic. So we asked our followers what they do in these situations to calm their nerves and breathe a little easier.

  • Excercise
  • Call a friend
  • Suck on a sweet
  • Coloring books
  • Think positive thoughts
  • Write
  • Listen to music
  • Breathe

These are all great self-help tips that can become life changing habits. In order to take back control of your life and actually enjoy it rather than live in fear of it, sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and face the source. Yes, I know… it’s not easy! But it is worth it! Imagine being able to do all of the things you once loved to do and spend time with those you love without constantly looking over your shoulder waiting for the other shoe to drop… this is possible. Most anxiety disorders are extremely susceptible to treatment.

In the next couple of #TopicsToDiscuss we will be taking a deeper look into the different Anxiety Disorders, namely:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder (Anxiety Attacks)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Phobia
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

And you are all invited to join us on twitter and share your views on all of these subjects.

Please also remember that  many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression makes anxiety worse (and vice versa), it’s important to seek treatment for both conditions. If you want to talk, we’re here for you and you can also check out this site to get a bit more info and support Anxiety Help Guide