My Mental Health Self Checkup

I thought I would write about what I have found myself doing quite often over the past several months. That being, I have been giving my mental health a self assessment.

Here is the list:

  • Change in appetite – loss or binging
  • Sleeping patterns – too much or not enough
  • Withdrawal from social interactions [at this moment this is very limited]
  • Shutting down my interests – reading, writing, or maybe even my music
  • Change in physical activity

It is a short list, but, my fluctuations in my mood has been like a roller coaster. I have caught myself even thinking that maybe I need to be in a long term care home.

So dear reader, maybe you can find some sort of help from this brief post.

How about you, do you perform a mental health checkup? If you do, what is in your list? How often do you find yourself doing the checkup?

Mental Health and Having A Budget

“Budgeting has only one rule: Do not go over budget.”
― Leslie Tayne, Life & Debt: A Fresh Approach to Achieving Financial Wellness


Several posts ago I wrote, “Mental Health and Finances“, but I have been thinking about mental health and having a budget. I do my level best to stick to a budget. It is what keeps me from going over the edge of complete lunacy.

The biggest thing that has helped me with keeping a budget and keeping track of my finances is, online banking. I can go into my account and see where I stand at any point in any month in my finances.

The other major breakthrough that I learned years ago, it was tough, was distinguishing between needs and wants. I need food, but I want a large screen television.

BTW, I am not a financial advisor, but I thought I would share my insights on the subject.

I recognize and have sympathy for those who are struggling in these very extreme circumstances. So, to you hearing about having a budget is far from your thoughts at this moment.

My Steps

  1. Pay my rent
  2. Pay my prescriptions
  3. Pay my phone/internet/tv provider.
  4. Buy groceries – never go shopping when you’re hungry. It is recommended, not always possible, never take children.

After all those things whatever I have left I try to set aside a small amount of money for incidentals, like milk and bread, that I will need throughout the month. That is basically how I manage from month to month.

For other difficulties that may come I do my best to ask for the privilege of making a couple of payments. It is difficult for many families to even handle a four hundred dollar emergency.

So dear reader, do you have a budget and if so, do you have any insight on how you manage? I would love to hear some of your tips on the subject.

Nighty Night!

“The minute anyone’s getting anxious I say, ‘You must eat and you must sleep.’ They’re the two vital elements for a healthy life.” – Francesca Annis


When I was in treatment, I think it was my first time here” there was one group session on the subject about getting enough rest and sleep. We went through all the do’s and don’ts on how to get a proper night’s rest.

There were many things that fall into both do’s and don’ts.

  1. Turn off the television. Make your bedroom so that when you put yourself into bed it signals your body it is time to sleep,
  2. Turn off the computer, cell phone, According to SCLHealth.org tells why:

Blue light is harmful to your eyes.

The blue light emitted by your cell phone screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle (aka circadian rhythm). This makes it even more difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day. The circadian rhythm seems to be especially sensitive to blue light since it has a short wavelength. Studies also show that exposure to blue light can cause damage to your retinas. 

Also:

Blue light is harmful to your eyes.

The blue light emitted by your cell phone screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle (aka circadian rhythm). This makes it even more difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day. The circadian rhythm seems to be especially sensitive to blue light since it has a short wavelength. Studies also show that exposure to blue light can cause damage to your retinas. 

3. It was also said to turn our digital alarm clocks backwards so that you cannot see the time. I have found this true, for when I cannot get to sleep I am constantly looking at the time.

4. When you cannot fall asleep get out of bed and find something that is soothing, something like a cup of herbal tea, read a book, or some type of craft. Some have found that there are some natural supplements to help induce sleep, our body needs melatonin for sleep. If you are not in favor of supplements, you can try to eat a sandwich of tuna fish.

5. If you are still not able to get a decent night’s rest, it may be time to speak with your doctor. For me at this present time I need a pain killer along with a sleeping pill. Also, I am able to handle my pain when I have had a good night’s rest and sleep.

Now everyone is different when it comes to the number of hours they need of rest. My best friend finds he can function with only six hours of rest. For me I find I need at least ten hours of rest.

So dear reader, rest and sleep are essential for your mental health and even pain management. I hope that you find something that will help you achieve a proper night’s rest and sleep!

What is your routine on how you achieve a proper night’s rest?

Mental Health & Government

“Regardless of who you are or what you do for a living or where you come from, it doesn’t discriminate, we all kind of go through it.” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Usually when I hear about government and mental health I automatically think, “here come more cuts to the mental health services”.

Good News

Well, for this post this is about good news for those who suffer with mental health issues here in Saskatchewan. Now, if you have similar things happening where you live, I would love to hear it.

The Sask Party has now established a help line aimed at helping people who are struggling with their mental health. This helpline is similar to 9-1-1. Now all you have to remember is the number, 2-1-1 and there will be someone on the other side of the call to assist you. It is totally safe and there is nothing to worry about, everything is totally confidential.

One more piece of good news here in my home province. Sask Party has created a portfolio and is dedicated wholly to Mental Health. The Sask Party MLA is, Everett Hindley.

So for this guy, I say, “Hats off to the Sask Party”!

p.s. : this is not an endorsement of the political party. Just some praise for something done right.

Affordable?

It’s critical that we lower the cost of prescription drugs and develop a health care plan that works for all Americans. Mike Braun

I am Canadian, but this could be applied to Canada.

I am not really sure when I started noticing the price of everything. Debating with a company over the cost of their services. Look through all of the flyers to see which store has the best prices. Is it something that happens when you grow older, I don’t remember noticing the prices of everything before buying.

The bill for the repair made on my furnace arrived in the mail. Glad that they will let me make payments. Then over the past couple of weeks I have been having a change with my pain killers and something to help me sleep better. I had to call my doctor and explain that I couldn’t afford the medications. I had to ask him to once again change my medications.

If a person cannot afford something, something like their medications, it could sit on the lowest shelf in the store, but, it would still be inaccessible. I am on assistance from the Provincial Government. I called my pharmacy that I deal with and asked if there were any exemptions available, the reply was, “no”. So, I asked about generic brands, turns out I have the generics. These medications have to be renewed every seven days. For a month of the prescriptions would cost me just under three hundred dollars.

My thoughts have been wandering all over the gambit. Thoughts about what I could change to afford the medications. Thinking about the prices doesn’t inspire a person to write!

I have read many reports about innocent people were given Oxycodone after surgery. They become addicted to the medication, a medication they cannot afford to keep on taking. So they turn to the streets, heroin for it gives the same euphoric high, but the cost is much cheaper.

I read a report about overdoses and how pharmacies are teaching people how to use naloxone, if they have people around them that use needles. The number of overdoses in a day is climbing and the stuff on the street is deadly. You are playing roulette with the stuff.

So, dear reader, this old guy has been wondering what the fix is, a fix to the cost of medications so that they are affordable!

#7776

I think that age as a number is not nearly as important as health. You can be in poor health and be pretty miserable at 40 or 50. If you’re in good health, you can enjoy things into your 80s. Bob Barker Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/good-health-quotes


While growing up I never once gave it much thought about my health.  I was physically active.  Even after breaking both arms, I still gave little thought about health.  I would walk across the city in my teen years to see my then girl friend. I walked to the farm where I picked tomatoes to earn money for the school year. Then once there would work a full day picking thirty baskets of tomatoes.
Lately however, I have been thinking about my health more often.  Getting around the house is somewhat a challenge. Walking with a cane, or my walker is an exercise of moving around obstacles.  My pace has become slower and trying to answer the phone is a challenge in and of itself.
My bathroom looks like ones you would see in long term care homes. Just taking a shower sends me into a mild panic. I cannot just step into the tub anymore. First, I take a seat on the bench in the tub.  Then I swing the right leg in, following lifting and slowly moving my other leg into the tub. Grabbing onto grab rails I begin to stand upright, panicking the whole time doing so.  Turning around causes a cold wave of panic for fear of falling.
I no longer cook for myself, not confident that I could handle an emergency, I feel I would not be fast enough to respond to something like a grease fire. So, I am thankful for my best friend for cooking for me. 
Today was different for me. The basics were the same, no major changes to my routine waking up and getting moving. No, it was different with me mentally.  For this time my thinking was about leaving my home and placing myself in a long term care home.  I was feeling like I could no longer truly care for myself.
More and more just doing the smallest and simplest things, getting up to warm up a cup of coffee is a fight that leaves me windless.
So dear reader, if you have good health, be thankful for it. Work to keep it that way, for it can be taken from you ever so slowly.  For those who already have physical challenges my sympathies are with you.
Always be thankful and grateful for good health!

Mental Health on Thin Ice

Howie Mandel

“There isn’t anybody out there who doesn’t have a mental health issue, whether it’s depression, anxiety, or how to cope with relationships. Having OCD is not an embarrassment anymore–for me. Just know that there is help and your life could be better if you go out and seek the help.”


This past several days or week has been one of the most frustrating times I have had to deal with. It just wasn’t one event, but, it was the culmination of several events. My mind was screaming, screaming to take back control.

I have always had great admiration of those who are physically challenged. It has always amazed me when I would watch the Paralympics how the athletes could face the challenge of a ski slope, or play hockey sitting on a type of sled. I am not one of those, but, I have a physical challenge with one leg and hip that does not want to function. It screams every time I have to move it.

Then came a household emergency when my furnace decided to quit working. I had to think fast to find a solution. That emergency will set me back when I have to pay the bill. Also, one more financial stress moment when there was a misunderstanding in regards to a service that is offered, but, is totally an arm of the Provincial Government.

That brings me to last night while I am sitting on the side of my bed talking to my doctor. Talking while in the midst of a total break with tears streaming my down my face. He switched me meds that are meant to handle the pain and also try to give me a better rest when I sleep.

I came to realize this morning that my mental health was on thin ice. Thoughts of going to the emergency to speak with a Mental Health advocate and maybe admitting myself to the mental health ward.

The pressure cooker that I spoke of yesterday, “One of These Days Alice...”. Well that cooker boiled over, and thankfully no harm done. Just a reminder, my mental health needs to be attended to daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly!

So dear reader, take the time to nurture your mental health. Do not wait for a “thin ice” moment to remind you of that fact!

One of These Days Alice…(Ralph Cramden -The Honeymooners)

Intolerance is a thing that causes war, pogroms, crucifixions, lynchings, and makes people cruel to little children and each other. It is responsible for most of the viciousness, violence, terror, and heart and soul breaking of the world. – Betty Smith


Tolerance:

1 : capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina.

2a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.

b : the act of allowing something : toleration.


Acceptance:

1: the quality or state of being accepted or acceptableHis theories have gained widespread acceptance.

2: the act of accepting something or someone the fact of being accepted APPROVALacceptance of responsibility

3 law an agreeing either expressly or by conduct to the act or offer of another so that a contract is concluded and the parties become legally bound


Over the last couple of weeks my tolerance has been tested. I ask myself when do I draw a line in the sand and say, “that’s enough”.

Thinking about the difference between “tolerance” and “acceptance”. For this fifty-nine year old guy there are times I only tolerate something. I may tolerate it because just to keep peace. With acceptance it is the complete wholeness that I accept something flaws and all.

Before counseling years ago my tolerance level was not very high. I guess I was like an unwatched “pressure cooker”. I have learned the ability to express myself with tolerance without it turning into a shouting match.

This blog has become my steam valve in many aspects. I find after I have finished writing that my mind seems clearer.

This week I have been feeling like some take advantage of someone’s tolerance. They push buttons looking for a response. They pick at you, constantly asking questions repeatedly waiting for you to explode. If you explode or sound cranky their reply sounds something like this, “boy someone is certainly touchy”.

I am not sure how far a person can go with their tolerance. What has to take place to where tolerance goes out the window? That is what I am asking myself this last couple of days. Dealing with someone who seems to not understand what your concern or need is. It is those on the other end of the phone conversation that has been testing my tolerance.

So dear reader, how far does your tolerance go and what would push you over the edge? This curious guy would like to hear…lol

p.s. – Ralph Cramden was a character on a fifties tv show. When he and his wife, Alice, would have an argument, Ralph would tell her, “one of these days Alice, pow, bang, boom, straight to the moon.” (picture a man with fists clenched making a punching motion)

Belong, Belong To, Belonging

“You must get lost outside your comfort zone to find where you truly belong.”
 Debasish Mridha


Cambridge Dictionary: B2[ I ]to feel happy or comfortable in a situation:

To Fit In: Cambridge Dictionary: C1to feel that you belong to a particular group and are accepted by that group:

I have never felt like I belonged. I grew up feeling out of place. Not really a nerd and definitely not a jock. When I entered high school I only weighed ninety-nine pounds, really, I am not kidding.

I didn’t have many friends in school, come to think about it, I never really had lots of friends as an adult. It seems I would only have one close friend at any given time in my life. It still holds true to this very day!

Maybe, I may be mistaken, but I feel everyone wants to belong. Belong to a group, a team, or just a couple of friends. I once heard or read, that the loneliest place to be is in a crowd. There just might be some truth to it.

I keep thinking that maybe if I would get out more I would feel happier. Nah, I don’t like being with lots of people. I remember once while in high school when I was invited to a party. For some odd reason I decided to go. There was lots of kids I knew, but, I was feeling awkward so I left after being there for just over an hour.

It’s just lately I find myself feeling like I am in a hamster wheel. Sorry hamsters, that wheel is all you have to exercise with. Really though, my days seem to meld and if it wasn’t for certain t.v. programs I would have to ask what day it is.

So dear reader, I wonder if the feeling of wanting to belong is all that it is cracked up to be!

A Re-blog:PANIC ATTACK VS ANXIETY ATTACK — Healthstead Global limited

***I found this post and thought it was well done. Visit the blogger and let the blogger know if you like the post.***

__________________________________________________________________________________________

PANIC ATTACK VS ANXIETY ATTACK.There is much more fear behind an anxiety attack on the other hand, panic attacks are unpredictable major stressors. PANIC ATTACK; The symptoms are more intense and can cause a major disruption in your day.They are characterised by the following symptoms.☆ Heart palpitations☆ Excessive sweating☆ Trembling or shaking☆ Sensation of shortness […]

PANIC ATTACK VS ANXIETY ATTACK — Healthstead Global limited

Pain and Mental Health

“Those of us with chronic pain have something unique to offer, not in spite of our pain, but because of it. It’s okay to grieve the losses of chronic illness. It’s okay to be broken; everyone is in some way. Just because we’re unfixable doesn’t mean we’re worthless.”
― Allison Alexander, Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness


In the past several weeks I have not been writing with any consistency. It has been hit and miss. It is not because I have nothing to write about, my desktop is full of shortcuts linking to writing ideas. Series that I have started, like the “Myths” about mental illness and also suicide.

For example, last night I wasn’t able to get an unbroken sleep. Each time I moved I would wake up because of pain. This pain also keeps me from sitting for any amount of time that would allow me to write.

Depression on it’s own can rob a person of sleep, it is the same with pain. Put the two together and you have a walking disaster.

When in treatment the advice for when you couldn’t sleep, was to get up and do something that was calming. That advice works well when only you are dealing with depression. It doesn’t work that way because just getting your feet on the floor can be an ordeal.

So dear reader if you are experiencing chronic pain that is affecting your mental health my sympathies are with you!

***sorry if this seems disjointed, my brain has gone blank***

Helplines See Spikes in Calls – Covid-19 Lockdowns

Trigger Warning: This post contains subjects and issues that may be upsetting to some.

Editor Note: I saw a news report some time ago and it has been on my mind. I thought it is an issue that needs to be addressed. This issue falls under Mental Health, which is sometimes shoved to the back burner.


Over the past several weeks I have been hearing that helplines are seeing a spike in calls over abuse.

A former officer once told me that the worse times for calls concerning abuse was during the holidays.

According to a CTV News article “Calls to Canadian domestic violence helplines jump during pandemic”  that certain helplines are seeing a spike in incoming calls.

The executive director of Battered Women’s Support Services based in Vancouver said that “the urgency and severity intensified”.

Relating what the calls are saying is, the situation of being in lockdown has created a pressure cooker environment, one that has no release valve.

The United Nations has said that the abuse that is happening would be considered a shadow pandemic.

One form of abuse is that women who have tested positive with Covid-19 being kicked out.

The calls from women are heart wrenching. Wondering if they go to a shelter will their abuser take them back.

This is a familiar story that I have heard for most of my life. Women are afraid to leave their abusive partner. They have been told they cannot make it on their own.  Others stay in the abusive relationship because of the children. They are afraid to go through the court system fearing that they may lose their children. For any mother those fears are real.

Also, in the CTV News article, they state that in British Columbia at the time of this report, the Battered Women’s Crisis line received more than 1,800 calls. That is double the number from the same month last year.

Women abuse is something that goes on silently. It is due to fear of finances, accommodations, custody of children.

In every city there are halfway homes for battered women. The homes are never listed, they are in neighborhoods with no sign giving away their secret.

Other Reports:

A crisis mental-health hotline has seen an 891% spike in calls in year over year. CNN- Amanda Jackson – April 10, 2020

“Floods of calls and texts to crisis Hotlines reflects Americans’ rising anxiety”NPR – Yuki Noguchi – May 4, 2020

Laura Meyer, director of PRS CrisisLink in Oakton, VA., which also takes calls for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline told the NPR reporter this:

“It’s a difficult decision because we do know that by sending them into an overburdened health care system, they may or may not get the treatment they need.  The resources may or may not be there, and we’re exposing them to the illness”


So dear reader those are some factors in the issue of battered women and the spike in calls to helplines across North America and around most western countries.


If you or someone you know is suffering abuse please seek professional help, call a crisis hotline!


Myths About Mental Health #3

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” Glenn Close

Myth #3: Mental illnesses are just an excuse for poor behaviour.

According to The Canadian Mental Health Association[CAMH] believe that people’s behaviour’s do seem strange when suffering with a mental illness.

I did not choose to suffer with mental illness and sometimes my behaviour may seem weird to others at different times. There have been times while having someone visiting that I totally blank out and have to ask the person what we were talking about. So, I just chalk it up to mental illness.

I have a relative who suffered with schizophrenia and there were many times that the person would do something strange that was not part of the current situation. There were times that a statement would be made with no connection to the current conversation. It wasn’t their fault it was the illness. When they would stick to their medication regiment they would show nothing strange. Also housework and hygiene would change without the medications.

I now can see the importance that was stressed while in treatment about taking a shower or a bath. Getting dressed each day, keeping your clothes cleaned. All these things to help you maintain a regimen in your daily life.

So dear reader, mental illness is not an excuse for poor behaviour!

© d. m. bourne

Twitter: @BipolarRts

Mental Health and Mental Exercise

There will always be obstacles and challenges that stand in your way. Building mental strength will help you develop resilience to those potential hazards so you can continue on your journey to success.

Amy Morin


Mental acuity is sharpness of the mind. Things considered in determining a person’s mental acuity are memory, focus, concentration, and understanding. An elderly person with Alzheimer’s has decreasing mental acuity. He is less likely to remember exactly how or when something happened than he was in his youth.


Growing up and singing at church was a highlight each and every time. My grandfather played the guitar and he would have his grandchildren learn Gospel songs. He wasn’t in favor of taking printed words up with us to sing, we had to memorize them. To this very day I can recall many of those songs without much trouble.

There were a couple of years that my family spent at least a week at a Bible camp. There was always a place for children to go so that the adults could enjoy the evening services. It was at those places for the children that we were taught how to quote the Books of the Bible. By the end of the week I had learned all sixty-six books. I still can quote them, maybe not as fast, but still can manage reciting them.

Memorization I feel is one way to strengthen our minds, end result being a sound mind.

“All things seek for comfort and no one wants discomfort. A sound mind does not just improve speed; it increases efficiency and joy, and bond the body and the soul perfectly as well!”
― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

The Canadian Mental Health Association gives some things that can be done to strengthen our mental health.

  1. Exercise
  2. Eat well
  3. Watch what you eat
  4. Watch what you drink

They have much more things to do to build and strengthen mental health!

Ever have trouble remembering the name of someone. I learned a little insight on how to improve the memory of people’s names. Try to use the person’s name within ninety seconds after hearing it. You can also try association to remember a name. Maybe, if the name brings to mind a certain food, like cheese, use that association to remember the name.

So dear reader my physical body is in need of repair, I can still work with exercises to strengthen my mental health.

Mental Health and Physical Fitness

Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted. Denis Waitley

In researching this I found that all the major institutes that focus on mental health agree that mental health and physical activity go hand in hand. The World Health Organization in their constitution defines “health” as such:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Growing up I was always active, I would walk everywhere, I worked part time starting in grade seven. In the summer I would work in the tomato fields picking them. It was quite the distance to walk there and back, but I never gave it a second thought.

I can see now how that physical activity correlate with great mental health. This year has been stressful for me in that regards. In the beginning of my hip problem I was still able to get out of the house to do my shopping. Still able to take care of household chores, or to walk across to go visit at my best friend’s house.

Now I do not have the ability to do my own shopping, to do the little things around my house. It really has been a struggle to keep my mental health from deteriorating into a black hole.

The Mental Health Organization United Kingdom writes this:

Physical activity in any form is a great way to keep you physically healthy as well as improving your mental wellbeing. Research shows that doing exercise influences the release and uptake of feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Even a short burst of 10 minutes brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. Read the Let’s Get Physical report for more on the positive health benefits of physical activity.

Physical activity means any movement of your body that uses your muscles and expends energy. From tending your garden to running a marathon, even gentle forms of exercise can significantly improve your quality of life. For more tips on the ways in which you can build physical activity into your routine, download our Let’s get physical booklet.

So dear reader, please accept my advice, do not take your ability to do physical activity, even just walking a dog, is a great tool in keeping your great mental health intact!

Myths About Mental Illness # 2

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” Glenn Close


Myth # 2 – Mental Illnesses will never affect me.

According to The Canadian Mental Health Association (CAMH) one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness.

If I am remembering correctly the first real dealing with mental illness in my immediate family is my aunt. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The next was with myself when I started experiencing panic attacks, then an attempted suicide.

So dear reader mental illness can attack any person, regardless of race, nationality, financial status, gender, and age.

A Re-blog: We Do Matter — One Step Forward

My sister sent me a link to a website today (www.wedomatter.org) and they are looking for stories from people who have experience in the mental health system- either as a patient, worker or even family or friend of a patient. If you happen to want to find out more please go to the website and […]

We Do Matter — One Step Forward

Mental Health Lessons From Renovating

“The work of restoration cannot begin until a problem is fully faced.”
 Dan Allender


Stress Management

Back in 1997 when I agreed to buy my trailer I knew nothing about them, how to maintain them. I am not handy with a hammer and nails. When it comes to all things with carpentry and plumbing as am useless.

I lived in here for a length of time and I really wanted to replace the windows. The original windows were single pane, drafty, and they did not open to allow fresh air in. I secured financing through a program that gave first time owners a forgivable loan. So, I send for the application, fill it in, and send it off in the mail. Several weeks latter I receive a letter of approval.

I set about looking for a reputable contractor to work on the windows. A couple I know had just had their windows replaced. I went to see them and asked who did the work for their windows. They gave me the name of the contractor, I contacted him and set a time for him to look at what needed to be done. Afterwards he came back with an appraisal and from there I hired him.

All of this taught me about how I handled stress. It was frustrating at first with my routine being upset with people in and around the house. Sawdust and other debris created from the new windows being installed. After about a month I found that I learned how to manage my stress through understanding.

Knowledge

It is amazing what a little bit of knowledge does to eliminating stress. I became comfortable with the contractor and the other carpenters to ask questions. I found out things like the building code for how many windows per square feet. Later when having a wheelchair ramp installed it was how much the incline was to be per foot.

Patience

The windows and wheelchair ramp were only two of the things that I wanted done to the place. The next big things for me was to take up all the carpets and replace them with a nice wood looking laminate. For me to do this work would mean it would have to be done over a lengthy period of time. I began to look around for something that I liked. I found some that I considered I wouldn’t mind to have put down. Over several months I purchased the materials for the new floor. Have had the bathroom floor finished just at the end of last month. This leaving me with my bedroom and laundry room.

So dear reader that is three takeaways I learned from the renovations of my trailer!

Mental Illness – Alzheimer

By Peter Holley
2004

“It really is the long, long goodbye,” she told Wallace of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

“When you come right down to it, you’re in it alone, and there’s nothing that anybody can do for you,” she added, her stoic eyes turning watery. “So it’s lonely.” – Nancy Reagan speaking about President Ronald Reagan.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Source: Alzheimer Society Canada

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that destroys brain cells, causing thinking ability and memory to deteriorate over time. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, and is irreversible.

Alzheimer is now the most common type of the disease, dementia. Like the dementia that I wrote about that was in Lillian, my best friend’s mother, it also changes the personality of the person. It’s target is the brain changing how the person thinks, acts, and feels. It is a slow acting disease that in the end leaves it’s target just an empty shell of once somebody that was vibrant with a twinkle in their eye.

The Alzheimer’s Society lists the different stages and the progression of the disease.

Early stage: Symptoms are mild. A person at this stage is fully aware of their condition and only needs minimal assistance, if requested.

Middle stage: Symptoms start becoming more noticeable. More assistance will be needed to help the person living with Alzheimer’s accomplish daily tasks.

Late stage: Once the person reaches this stage, they will eventually become unable to communicate verbally or look after themselves. Quality of care is important to ensure that the person has quality of life.

End-of-life: Cognitive decline has progressed to the point where the person needs 24-hour care. The focus shifts to palliative care and comfort to ensure quality of death.

Source: Alzheimer Society

Just recently my daughter wrote about her mother and how she is now living with her. It is my understanding that she is declining in her cognitive and physical.

I have not met a person who suffers from this form of dementia. Having watched Lillian decline over a couple of years was so difficult at the best of times. Alzheimer is no different, it robs it’s target and those who love them. It brings about a time of extreme stress giving the onlooker feeling helpless. If caught early, it is my understanding, that there are things to give the person a somewhat better quality of life.

So dear reader, again like I closed the previous post, I hope I live long enough to see some type of treatment to fight all the various forms of dementia mental illness!


© d. m. bourne

A Slow Decline

I met her shortly after becoming acquainted with my best friend. It was his mother, Lillian. She was a vibrant woman in her eighties who loved doing crossword puzzles, baking, and enjoyed a good laugh.

Every Christmas Eve I would have her and my best friend over for a small meal. I would sit and visit with them. One time my best friend was looking through some pictures of Lillian and myself when he noticed that in every picture his mother had a smile and others you could tell she was laughing.

I am not sure when things really began to change, but, I feel it was when she started losing her sight because of macular degeneration. She no longer could do her crosswords, bake, or even watch her favorite soap opera.

The time soon came that Lillian could no longer live on her own. The family had to place her in a long term care home. She really didn’t like it, of course I feel most don’t, but there were signs that something more was happening in Lilliam. She didn’t have the zip in her talk and she was having trouble recognizing people. I wasn’t long when she did not know her son, but, when I would go to see her, I would say, “hi mum”, she knew who I was.

There were days when after visiting Lillian that my best friend would come over and cry. His mother in her good days would never use expletives, but the Lillian in the care home would curse at the nurses, at her son. One time she bit a nurse who was trying to help her.

Dementia is a mental illness that many have never had to experience with, especially with someone they love. It seems that hollywood has no qualms about making fun of it, there is nothing funny about the disease. It slowly robs a person’s ability to be themselves, in their place it leaves a person hardly recognizable.

So dear reader, I hope that I am alive when they find an answer that can bring about some type of a cure for the mental illness.

Myths About Mental Illness

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” Glenn Close


According to the Canadian Mental Health Association they list ten common myths. I am going to some posts about each of those myths.

Here is the list:

Myth # 1 – Mental illnesses aren’t real illnesses

Myth # 2 – Mental Illnesses will never affect me.

Myth # 3 – Mental Illnesses are just excuses for poor behaviour.

Myth # 4 – Bad parenting causes mental illnesses.

Myth # 5 – People with mental illnesses are violent and dangerous.

Myth # 6 – People don’t recover from mental illnesses.

Myth # 7 – People who experience mental illnesses are weak and can’t handle stress.

Myth # 8 – People who experience mental illnesses can’t work.

Myth # 9 – Kids can’t have a mental illness like depression. Those are adult problems.

Myth # 10 – Everyone gets depressed as they grow older. It’s just part of the aging process.


Over the course of looking into the facts about each and every myth let’s have a conversation about mental illnesses and the myths that are floating around the subject.

So dear reader along with this series I am still looking into the Suicide Myths. I hope you will join the conversation!

Three Top Posts

For this post I have decided to share three posts that many have liked over time.

For some of you these posts are new, for others you may remember them. If not, take time to read them.

As always take some time to visit the other blogger’s. You will find so much fine written posts. Posts covering a multitude of issues.

ENJOY!


The Interview With Mental @ Home

Excerpt:

  1.  Apart from your bio on your blog what is something that maybe others would love to learn about you? 

I’ve shown some of this in blog posts, but I did a lot of travelling in my 20s and 30s.  I’ve been to 4 continents besides my own, and I’ve been to 37 countries, if I recall correctly.

Read more at: The Interview With Mental @ Home

You can read Ashley L. Peterson’s Post at: Mental Health & Home


First Guest Post: Letter To Self #MILLENNIALLIFECRISIS

Excerpt:

Letter To A Depressed Self

Dear Self,

So, this is depression.

This is complete and utter, downright sadness day in and day out.

This is heartbreak and heartache and consistent anxiety about everything that happens.

So this is the new normal. This is what I get. This is who I am now. I’ve tried to hide from it for a long time, but the truth is, running has done me no favors.

Read more: First Guest Post: Letter To Self #MILLENNIALLIFECRISIS

You can read more of Vee’s posts at: Millennial Life Forces


Mental Health & Finances

Excerpt:

I feel everyone reading this will relate to parts of what I am about to write. Why, because money is the one area of our life that can either make life easy, or it can enslave us till our death.

Read more: Mental Health & Finances

You can read more of my posts at: rts-Facing the Challenges of Mental Health


The Interview- Overcoming OCD – Mark Wester

Excerpt:

Mark for the readers and myself tell us something about yourself that is not on your blog.

I have been telling a lot about myself on my blog so it’s actually pretty difficult to think of something that’s worth mentioning and that I have never talked about but let me try. I was raised in a very multicultural family – I am of Hungarian, Romanian, German and Jewish origin – and I think it’s because of my family background that I love learning foreign languages and I am addicted to traveling. I have been to most of European countries and my dream is to travel the whole world – obviously, only when the pandemic is over.

Read more: The Interview – Overcoming OCD – Mark Wester

You can read more of Mark’s posts at: Overcoming Ocd


I Can Handle This

 “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” — Joshua J. Marine”


In the late eighties I was a passenger on a motor bike going home from work. It was a bright August day in Ontario, Canada when the driver rear ended the car in front of us. The impact sent me flying causing me to land on my backside. I couldn’t move and I probably would have been hit by the cars passing by on the highway, but an ambulance stopped to help get me to the side of the road. Another one came placed me on a backboard to transport me to the hospital.

After the usual tests, x-rays and such I was admitted and taken to my room. I really do not remember much of the first night, but on the next morning a nurse was coming into the room with a tray of things. I moved to look at her, I shocked her and she dropped the tray. I asked her what was the matter. She said, “Mr. Bourne I just came from report and it says that you would be a quadra paraplegic”. When the physician came by he explained to me about my back, he told me that everything was ripped away from my spine. He also was amazed that I was moving around.

I told that to say this, it is a scary time again around here the positivity rate of Covid-19 is on the rise. Governments are trying to get a grip on things. I haven’t left my house lately not even for a doctor’s appointment.

I been thinking about an upcoming surgery for a hip replacement. At times I get concerned about it, questions coming to mind, like, “will I be able to walk afterwards?”. Things like that, things for the most part will never happen, so really there is no need to fuss about it.

Faced with a myriad of things sometimes it is difficult to find something positive to fixate on. Bad news seems to permeate from all corners of the world, not much good news out there. Oh, yes, sometimes there may be a story of human interest that makes me feel warm inside, but, they are few and far in between.

So dear reader, I remind myself I have been through some very tough times and lived to tell it about it. So, I will once again make it through to the other end of the tunnel.

I leave you with a final thought. Anne Murray sang a song some time back, “A Little Good News Today”. I have included it here. Hope you enjoy it! It is needed at this time!

Ode To Depression

Reader, I am trying something for the first time. I am not sure what to call it, so I will just call it a form of poetry.


It’s there peeking around every corner,

Waiting for an invite to be my buddy again

I remember the feeling,

Allowing me to wallow in self pity

With power to make it vanish,

Red pill, blue pill, yellow pill, thrown in my mouth

With water to chase them back

Like the wicked witch these pills scream,

“I’m drowning, I’m drowning…”

So with that said,

I will close with this,

Good bye my old friend, good bye!

© d. m. bourne

The Crippling Panic Attack

“No amount of me trying to explain myself was doing any good. I didn’t even know what was going on inside of me, so how could I have explained it to them?”
― Sierra D. Waters, Debbie.


Back in the early nineties I was working in a fast food chain as a morning manager. I was going through a rough time. I didn’t know what was happening within me at that time, but a sudden rush of complete panic would wash over me. It was like a was staring at the meanest guard dog and frozen in my tracks.

There was a walk -in clinic just around the corner from where I lived and went to see a doctor. I explained to him how I was feeling and he gave me a prescription for Prozac. They seemed to work but they left me feeling dazed all the time.

I quit the job and moved back into the Kitchener area into a bachelor apartment. A new grocery food chain had opened just down the block. Since I was having trouble coping in crowds I decided to have a friend take me there around midnight. I was doing fine with the shopping and was nearing finishing up. Then a horrible panic attack hit me, the worse I have had to that time. The “fight or flight” kicked in, I turned leaving the cart full of groceries and ran back to my apartment.

For those who have never suffered a panic attack would find it hard to understand. I am not sure I even have the words to describe it fully. They seem to come from out of nowhere, no rhyme or reason, they just hit you like a medicine ball taking the wind out of your body. They leave you frozen on the spot with nerves jumping at every movement around you.

Here is what Anxiety and Depression Association of America writes about Panic Disorder:

Panic Disorder Symptoms

A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself) Listen to this podcast.
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of dying

I have learned over the years on how to handle a panic attack should they hit while I am out doing shopping. I just stop wherever I am at, start concentrating on my breathing with deep breaths then exhale. I do this until I feel calm again. I do not stop to consider what others may be thinking about what I am doing.

Panic attacks though not seen, except from a person’s reactions, are so very real. They bring on a sense of danger, horror, even feeling like you might die of a heart attack.

So dear reader if you or someone you know suffers with Panic Disorder you have my sympathies! For those who do not suffer, but, know someone who does, please be patient with them, try using calming words to help them focus and bring themselves back to calm.