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Common Myths about Mental Illness
Myth #1: Mental illnesses are not true illnesses like cancer or heart disease.
Fact: A physical illness like a heart attack can easily be detected by some simple tests. In contrast, mental illness is an invisible disease which can’t be observed by the general public. This can lead to judgment and to prejudice.
Myth #2: People with diagnosed with a mental Illness tend to have a lower IQ.
Fact: Mental Illness affects people across the entire IQ spectrum. In fact, many extremely intelligent people have been diagnosed with mental illness, are able hold down powerful jobs, and carry a high level of responsibility.
Myth #3: Most of those who suffer from mental illness are violent.
Fact: Very few sufferers are actually violent. In fact, research indicates that they are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of violence.
Myth #4: It is mainly women who suffer from mental illness.
Fact: There are millions of people – both men and women - in all of the different mental illness categories.
Myth #5: Most people diagnosed with mental illness were abused as children.
Fact: Although the incidence of some types of mental illness is more highly correlated with childhood abuse, there are many, many people who have never been abused.
Myth #6: A lot of those who claim to be mentally ill are basically just selfish, or self-centred, individuals.
Fact: Many forms of mental illness have been shown to have their roots in chemical and neurological problems in the brains. They are not character defects.
Myth #7: People with mental illness can get better if they just work a bit harder at getting over their issues.
Fact: Although mental illness symptoms can often be managed successfully through a combination of medication and counselling, it is likely that suffers will continue to struggle throughout their life. It’s not just a matter of “trying a bit harder”.
Myth #8: Those who suffer from mental illness will never recover from their disorder.
Fact: Although many sufferers will continue to battle, or will find their symptoms resurface overtime, they can often manage these successfully. Thus, most of them will lead a fulfilling life.
10 Things you should give up to be happy
1. Give up your need to always be right.
2. Give up your need for control.
3. Give up blame.
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk, and your limiting beliefs.
5. Give up complaining.
6. Give up your need to impress others.
7. Give up your resistance to change.
8. Give up your fears.
9. Give up your excuses.
10. Give up on living your life to fit other peoples’ expectations.
9 Ways to Be the Person You Wanted to Be as a Kid
We may have dreamed of castles and flying carpets as kids, but what we really wanted was a lot simpler: We wanted adventure, possibility, fun, and a few good friends to share it with. Regardless of how your life looks now, you can have those things. It starts with how you choose to be today, and what you choose to do with what you have.
That’s how you learned back then. You explored and tried on different hats, and rarely said the word “can’t” unless your mom was calling you in for dinner. If something sounded fun, you were game.
Open up to fun again. Be silly, playful, creative, curious, excited, adventurous, and open. Give your overworked adult mind a break and enjoy experimenting. Finding new possibilities isn’t a cerebral experience. The only way to create a life that will bring you joy is to use your joy as a compass.
2. Invite the new kid to your table at lunch.
Okay, maybe you didn’t do this one. We all wanted to belong back then, and that usually meant staying with the group. But sometimes it backfired on you. Sometimes the new kid was fun. Sometimes the new kid was a great friend. Sometimes the new kid had parents who rented bounce houses for their birthdays.
If you only allow yourself to interact with people you know and trust, your world will remain small, albeit manageable. You never know what experiences new acquaintances might introduce you to—and you never know when an acquaintance may turn into a friend that feels like home.
3. Don’t ditch gym class.
It was in the curriculum for a reason: it’s good for you. Shocker, I know! Dodge ball was more than just an opportunity to knock your friends out and be the last kid standing. It got your blood pumping, gave you an energy outlet, and increased your overall health.
You can’t do anything in life if you’re too sluggish to get off your couch. This is nothing new—we all know that exercise is good for us. If you need additional motivation not to sit on the bench, consider these hidden benefits of exercise: research has shown even moderate exercise can boost the immune system and prevent chronic illness.
4. Don’t jump off a bridge just because your friends are doing it.
You don’t want to think of people you love as negative, complacent, or stagnant, but many of them probably are. Thoreau said the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation—and as bleak as that may sound, there’s some truth to it. The majority of people don’t do what they want to do, and feel most comfortable surrounding themselves with similar people.
Don’t be a similar person. Love and accept them as they are, but decide to do it differently. There’s no good reason to be quietly desperate when you can be boldly satisfied. That’s not to say achieving what you want will be easy; but you will respect and admire yourself more when you’re actively living out loud, if not yet in results, in the process.
Learn to Forgive Yourself Even if You’ve Hurt Someone Else
Forgiving yourself is far more challenging than forgiving someone else because you must live with yourself and your thoughts 24/7. Despite the challenge, emotionally healthy people must have the capacity to forgive themselves when they have made a mistake.
When you forgive yourself, you are not pretending as though it never happened. On the contrary, you are acknowledging that your actions have consequences. But the consequences need not include self-inflicted negative feelings.
Not forgiving yourself is like picking at an open wound; you are only making a bad situation worse. The wound is already there, but you do have control over your reaction to it, and you can stop it from getting worse.
1. Accept yourself and your flaws.
Know that despite your flaws, you are okay as you are. Your flaws, rather than making you “less” of a person, are what make you who you are. What you think of as a defect actually makes you far more interesting to others.
You are not perfect. You make mistakes.
But you are also on a path of growth. Your mistakes and failures help you improve. As flawed as you may be, you must accept yourself, flaws and all, if you are to make progress in your life.
2. Remember that you are not a bad person.
You can do something wrong while still being a good person. A lot of guilt or shame can make you feel like there is something wrong with you.
Realize, right now, that there is a very big difference between doing a bad thing and being a bad person. Even when you do something that you regret, you most likely had a valid reason for doing it at the time (even if that reason doesn’t make rational sense).
You didn’t do something bad because you are a fundamentally bad person; there was an intent, or valid motivation, behind your action.
3. Talk to someone.
Sometimes you just need to get it off your chest. Talking to someone else about what is bothering you can have serious benefits.
- Another perspective. When you are upset at yourself, emotions can cloud your reasoning abilities. A friend will often point out a reason why you deserve to forgive yourself that you never would have seen.
- Social support. You always feel better when somebody else has your back. Knowing that other people are less critical of you then you are of yourself can be encouraging.
- Therapy. Professional help may be necessary or at least a good decision in some cases. If your self-hatred seems insurmountable, you might want to consider this.
4. Talk to your internal voice.
It can be useful to “personalize” your internal voice. Imagine that there is some other entity that is thinking your self-critical thoughts and have a conversation with them.
It might sound silly, but you should give this entity a name, which will reinforce the idea that this voice is separate from you.
During your “conversation” I want you to ask your internal, critical voice what its positive intention is. This voice is saying what it’s saying for a reason. It might be to protect you, to prevent you from making the same mistake again, or to help you improve in some way.
When you realize that your thoughts of guilt or shame are intended for your benefit, it becomes easier to forgive yourself. You can find another way to satisfy that positive intent while reducing your guilty feelings.
5. Do the best friend test.
Imagine your best friend had done exactly what you did and then came to you for advice. What would you tell them?
You would reassure them and tell them not to be so hard on themselves. You would tell them that everyone makes mistakes. You would tell them that they deserve to be forgiven.
Why can’t you say this to yourself?
If you can forgive yourself when you make a mistake, it becomes easier for you to address the consequences of your action in a productive way.
The Seven Virtues
When Pope Gregory defined the seven deadly sins that we should avoid, he also included a counter-balancing set of values that we should espouse and adopt. These are:
- Faith is belief in the right things (including the virtues!).
- Hope is taking a positive future view, that good will prevail.
- Charity is concern for, and active helping of, others.
- Fortitude is never giving up.
- Justice is being fair and equitable with others.
- Prudence is care of and moderation with money.
- Temperance is moderation of needed things and abstinence from things which are not needed.
Approve of yourself.
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
If you don’t approve of yourself, of your behavior and actions then you’ll probably walk around most of the day with a sort of uncomfortable feeling. If you, on the other hand, approve of yourself then you tend to become relaxed and gain inner freedom to do more of what you really want.
This can, in a related way, be a big obstacle in personal growth. You may have all the right tools to grow in some way but you feel an inner resistance. You can’t get there.
What you may be bumping into there are success barriers. You are putting up barriers in your own mind of what you may or may not deserve. Or barriers that tell you what you are capable of. They might tell you that you aren’t really that kind of person that could this thing that you’re attempting.
Or if you make some headway in the direction you want to go you may start to sabotage for yourself. To keep yourself in a place that is familiar for you.
So you need give yourself approval and allow yourself to be who you want to be. Not look for the approval from others. But from yourself. To dissolve that inner barrier or let go of that self-sabotaging tendency. This is no easy task and it can take time.