Archive for Mental Health

Inspirational Song Of The Day

First you hear the melody and your fingers start to tap… Before you know it, your head is nodding in rhythm and you start to smile as the first line of your favorite song is blasting through the speakers!

As you sing along, every word of every line seems to have been written just for you about your life. In that moment you know that you are not alone! Whatever you are going through, someone else has also been there and they survived to sing about it. And so can you…

We had this amazing friend Lacey Crawford who was incredibly talented and loved pouring her heart out in we music and we will always remember her laugh… Sadly she was suffering from depression and her internal loneliness overwhelmed the love surrounding her, which prevented her from seeing her options clearly and in November 2010 she took her own life. We have dedicated the Don’t Lose Your Grip account to reminding everyone (including ourselves) that life is worth living and there is always someone who loves you, you just have to hold on a little longer…

If you ever need to talk, just message us on twitter and will be there in a heartbeat

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Sticks and Stones

Just snap out of it! You lazy so and so! You’re all dangerous! You’re making it all up, just get a grip! <~ These are just a few of the things that the people in our world believe about the mentally ill… This is a stigma! This is hurtful and dangerous. More alarmingly is the number of people who believe it…

We all know the old addage: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” But this is sooo NOT true! Words are extremely powerful! Every sylable carries the weight of a thousand thoughts and every letter the judgement of those who do not notice the pain. We really do not give words enough credit. We use thousands of words every day; we express exactly what we intend and we do it so carelessly… Half of the time it’s like our mind has a direct line to our tongue that bypasses all logic or filters or even compassion. Most of the time we can get away with it because calling a pen that won’t write “stupid” doesn’t really matter… slamming a door while muttering hateful things under your breath can go unnoticed but when these words come out without a compasion-check, that’s when everyhing starts falling apart. At first you may not notice… you may not see the dissapointment or fear of judgment on the face of the person whom you’ve just hirt more than any stone ever could. And then again, maybe you do. Maybe you notice their sadness and regret the words that fell out of your mouth but then what? What do you do about it? Pride gets in the way of most apologies. Shame prevents us from acting honourably and admitting to our mistakes outwright. So instead we change the subject saving ourselves from the awkward moment while the other party is left to ponder the words that we just dropped on them; the words we were too afraid to apologize for; the words we can never take back.

But we can always try. Always! It is up to change the weight of these negative words into something more managable… something caring and heartwarming… something we can actually be proud of. You and I have the power to filter our words and change those little voices in our heads into positive ones. To be confident enough in our own abilities to see the best in others and not feel the need to use their weeknesses against them. It is up to us to change the way we perceive those who are different and those who are asking for help. Instead of seeing each other as attention seeking competition, we need to see each other as support in this hectic struggle known as life.

We are the difference…

You Matter

Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in all of the mundane things that make up our lives. And somewhere along the way, we start to forget who we are and the value we add to life. You start to loose little pieces of yourself… at first you don’t notice but one day you’re staring at your computer and you ask yourself “What’s the point?”

When you suffer from depression, this question is one you ask pretty much every day. And finding an answer isn’t always easy. But then again, easy doesn’t make for a very interesting life. So every day I focus on one #ReasonToSmile. just one little thing about the day that is completely me and makes me smile… even just for a while. Whether it’s drinking chai tea out of my favorite mug or playing fetch with my overly ball upsessed dog or watching my favorite 90’s TV shoew re runs… it may not seem like much but when the rest of your day is filled with dispair, that one little moment is everything…

Like all things, if you do them repeatedly they become habit and feel more natural, so eventually these little moments of happiness becomes normal again. These little moments all make up the little peices of you that matter. As long as you keep reminding yourself of what makes you happy – even if it is just for a minute – you will never loose yourself completely.

If any ever tries to convince you that you are not worthy of happiness, know that they are wrong! You matter! Noo one can tell you otherwise, not even that little voice inside of you… We are own biggest critics but we can fight back against the mean things we think about ourselves and change the voices in our heads to make them like us instead (best line ever written in a song paraphrased!) You deserve to be happy!

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