Link – Understanding PTSD and its Effects on Marriage

“PTSD not only affects one’s mental health but it can negatively affect one’s marriage as well. The symptoms of PTSD can create problems with trust, closeness, intimacy, communication, decision-making, and problem-solving, often giving rise to the destruction of relationships. The loss of interest in social activities, hobbies, or sex can lead to one’s partner feeling a lack of connection or being pushed away. A PTSD spouse can feel isolated, alienated and frustrated from the inability to work through the problems and help his or her partner. Partners may feel hurt or helpless because their spouse has not been able to get over the trauma. This may leave loved ones feeling angry or distant toward their partner.”

Lots of good insight in this article, especially if your spouse is dealing with PTSD. Check it out and know what to expect!

Link – Spirituality vs. Mental Disorders: God Doesn’t Hate Medication

“One day, a Canadian friend, whose husband and daughter I had met in Honduras during a mission trip in 2011, sent me a Bible verse after learning of my anxiety. Jeremiah 29:11, which is a verse that I had read often, says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Upon reading that in the theme of anxiety, I began to realize where medication falls into place. God wants us to be happy, to be at peace. He wants us to live unmolested by turmoil, but the world isn’t perfect. If medication helps us get from point A to point B, if medication can give us peace, then where is the problem? The medication calmed me during rough patches and let me evaluate life clearly as opposed to a state of panic. That was the purpose of the medication: To give me a little more reaction time.”

It has always confused me that many believers who have no qualms about enjoying the many things that God created around us, somehow put drugs into another category altogether, as if the god they claim is so powerful couldn’t have placed those chemical compounds in to nature for just this very purpose.

No, mental illness is not a sign of weak faith any more than it’s is a sign of a weak mind or character. It’s an illness, period, and should be treated as such by whatever we have at our disposal.

Link – Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery

But healing and overcoming is possible.

Experiencing trauma in childhood can have a severe and long-lasting effect. When childhood trauma is not resolved, a sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma.

Childhood trauma results from anything that disrupts a child’s sense of safety, including:

An unstable or unsafe environment
Separation from a parent
Serious illness
Intrusive medical procedures
Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse
Domestic violence
Symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma

People react in different ways to trauma, experiencing a wide range of physical and emotional reactions. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to think, feel, or respond, so don’t judge your own reactions or those of other people. Your responses are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events.

Two things stand out to me here. One, as another article I blogged about recently stated, it’s not just physical abuse that causes trauma in childhood, so we should be looking at of the causes of trauma and how they leave children at risk for more trauma into adulthood because of a lack of skills to deal with stressful situations.

Second, everyone’s responses to trauma are different. That’s why I hate when survivors of child abuse start comparing stories and symptoms as if there’s some sort of “normal” reaction to child abuse. Of course there is no “normal” reaction, there’s nothing normal about being abused as a child, and there’s no one way to heal or overcome that abuse.

But healing and overcoming is possible.

Link – Violence is just one part of childhood trauma. So why are we focusing so much on childhood violence?

“There’s this notion in the public’s mind that physical or sexual abuse is somehow more harmful than verbal abuse or other types of trauma,” he says. “The scientific evidence does not support that. I think parsing out the impacts of different types of trauma leads to a kind of reductionism that may be neither necessary nor important for holistic treatment of children and families.”

This is something that, I think, is interesting. I do believe we typically think of physical violence, especially sexual violence, as being “worse”. The reality though, is that much of the damage done by that violence in terms of children growing up hurting and lacking the skills that allow adults to succeed in being adults, is also done when kids grow up in toxic environments, broken homes, victims of sever bullying and emotional abuse as well. All of them grow up with similar issues, and these are all things we should be trying to support children and adults through.

So yeah, we should be paying attention to all of it.

Violence is just one part of childhood trauma. So why are we focusing so much on childhood violence?

Link – Walking football: the sporting craze helping men to battle depression

“The impact the sport is having on those at risk of mental health issues has led several charities and health authorities to invest in its further development. Smith’s team play once a week and each month take part in a mini-tournament on the 3G pitch at Annan Athletic FC. “We’re seeing a transformation here with guys getting a new lease of life from the physical activity as well as the social interaction and the banter in café after each game.””

Here’s another example of something that may seem a bit silly, walking football, really being about getting out of the house for a little physical exertion, and social interaction can have a huge effect on a section of the population that normally struggles with opportunities for just those things, and also struggles with depression.

It won’t cure all cases of depression, but it sure can help some, and maybe even prevent some as well.

Link – Depression is NOT Sadness

“As someone who has been through a major depressive episode, I can assure you that depression is nothing like sadness.  Sadness is a normal emotion that people feel at times.  Sadness comes and sadness goes.  At times, sadness is the least of the feelings or emotions that someone in a depressive state may be experiencing.  In fact, I believe that one small part of the lack of understanding is the way people overuse the word “depression”.  People use it synonymously with the word “Sad”.  How many times have you heard someone say, “This weather is depressing?” or “I missed the show, I’m so depressed”.  This significantly diminishes the severity and debilitating nature of depression.  Would we ever describe the weather as “Cancerous”?”

A legitimate question. There is a wide gulf between feeling sad, and suffering from depression, despite have casually people throw the word around. It’s like having the common cold and describing how you feel as “having the plague”. A cold is irritating, annoying, and can make you feel fairly miserable for a few days. The plague is a much more serious problem that requires medical attention.

See the difference? That’s sadness and depression.

Depression is NOT Sadness

Reviews Elsewhere – Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania

From last year, but a review and profile of the author Andy Behrman appeared on the Every Day Health website.

“I knew if I didn’t get better, I would get worse,” he says, “and if I got worse, I would probably die.”

He spent two years trying to find the right medication with the help of a psychiatrist, but eventually underwent electroshock therapy. A nurse referred to him as “electroboy,” which became the title of his autobiography.

Today, the father of two has found the right combination of medications to curb the mania and has refocused his life toward helping others with mental illness.

Link – Paul Gascoigne’s struggle is not entertainment. Mocking him only adds to the mental illness stigma

“So let us be clear at exactly what is happening. A national newspaper has reported the struggle of an ill celebrity and a legion of social media users are now mocking him for exhibiting signs of that illness. Would they be quite so quick to do so if the illness was a physical one? If it was a sports star in a wheelchair, or with MS, or going through chemotherapy? I don’t think so. I certainly think there would be less jokes or pseudo-sympathetic photo-sharing lighting up the Twittersphere.”

This is what mental health stigma on the internet looks like. Mocking a public figure who is clearly struggling sends a message to all those people around you who are not public figures that the world would say the same things about them if they did something as crazy as asked for help.

And yes, that list of people very likely includes people close to you, who are afraid to tell you they struggle just the same as that guy you’re mocking.

Link – Pokemon Go’s mental health benefits are real

pokemongo photo
Photo by edowoo

“Twitter is flooded with stories about Pokemon Go’s impact on players’ anxiety and depression, with thousands of people lauding the game for getting them out of the house and making it easier to interact with friends and strangers alike. These simple acts are crucial milestones for anyone struggling with depression, Grohol says.

“The challenge has always been, if you’re depressed, your motivation level is nonexistent,” he explains. “So, you want to go out and get some fresh air, or even take a shower, and it can be a very difficult thing to even comprehend, much less do. I think the impact of something like this, this game, can really be beneficial.””

Mock it if you will, but seriously, if something as silly as Pokemon can get people to go outside, walk around, and interact with others as they play the game and that can help with the symptoms of depression and anxiety, then it can’t be all bad.

I still worry a bit about the addictive personality folks, but really, there are a lot worse things to be addicted to than a game that makes you get exercise. Just be careful in traffic and don’t trespass, OK folks?

Link – Survey – Parental Responses Following Child Experiences of Trauma

The aim of this study
We are conducting a research study looking at how children cope shortly after being involved in any kind of frightening experience. We hope that 300 parents whose child has experienced a frightening event will take part.
Parents are usually the main source of support for children following frightening experiences and we want to learn more about the ways in which parents support their children. This will help us gain a better understanding of things parents do to support their children which may help us to provide better information about child coping to families and professionals in the future.

I’m not a parent, so all I can do is pass this along to anyone who might be interested in sparing 10 minutes to help them with this research study.