Brains - Misfiring
How does that term hit you? What does it mean to be mentally ill? Does the word crazy come to mind? Does fear strike your heart at the thought? My goal in this hub is to take the mystery, preconceived notions, harmful labels and fear out of a diagnosis of Mental Illness.
There is a well known and respected organization called NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) that has helped many people and families to gain a clearer understanding of those who are Mentally ill. The link above will provide many resources and helpful information.
Find a brief description from NAMI below.
You need to research NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
What is Mental Illness: Mental Illness Facts
Description of Mental Illlness by NAMI:
"Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life."
The mind is complex, unpredictable, easily shaped and influenced. Some people struggle with chemical imbalances or, as I say, with 'minds that misfire.'
There are those who do battle with their minds on a daily basis. They struggle to find their equilibrium as their minds take on a life of their own sliding from irrational to far out and then back to clarity.
There are many symptoms and classifications of mental illness with categories ranging from pesky depression and anxiety's which come and go - to the devastatingly complex diagnosis of a clinical depression, bi-polar or schizophrenia.
Thank God we live in this day and age. Today mental Illness is widely recognized and the psychiatric community is making great strides in helping the mentally ill to live fulfilling lives.
Recent Mental Health News
Mental health is something most people take for granted but for those afflicted with a mental health disorder or illness its power to penetrate and disrupt every area of their lives can be life shattering.
For those who think mental illness is a condition one brings on themselves, consider the following scientific evidence.
In Recent Mental Health News on depression the National Institute of Mental Health conducted the largest study ever done in the US using brain imaging. The study revealed that when there is a thinning of the cortex (outer layer) of the right hemisphere of the brain it predisposes one to depression. When the left side of the brains hemisphere is also thinned the studies reveal that it throws the predisposed into depression or anxiety.
Researchers have studied those that have ADD and those with loss of memory. Results showed that they also have thinning on both sides of the brain’s outer layer. The original studies of families with a history of depression were carried into this study using brain imagery. The results show that the thinning is hereditary and passed down from one generation to the next. It is hoped that finding the root cause will lead to early intervention of progression of the mental health condition.
Thoughts and Depression
For those who experience bouts of depression allow me to suggest that there is a direct connection between your thoughts and a depressive state of mind.
Many people who experience non-clinical depression have not made the connection that their thought life is the problem. All of us have thoughts running through our minds on a daily basis. Most of us do not take the time to target our thoughts or even acknowledge them. They are subconscious but never-the-less very powerful. "As a man thinks in his heart ... so is he." Proverbs 23:7
In order to take control of your thoughts we must first become aware of them. Have you ever caught one of those thoughts and wondered .. where in the world did that come from? Ever had a thought like ... your life is over, you are useless, you have no value, you'll never make it, you're such a loser or what an idiot? All of these self defeating, self hatred statements can combine to create a serious depression in your mind and brain.
THE GOOD NEWS: You can change the way you think! Only you can do it. The key is to replace every negative thought with a positive one.
I am a believer in God, His son Jesus and in His word. I believe His word is truth. Unlike any other book the Bible is alive and God breathed. For the believer it is like a sword to conquer attacks that assault and damage us. This holy book has the power to change lives, I am living proof of this fact.
I use the word of God (as a sword) to wage war against unhealthy, defeating or dishonoring thoughts. Allow me share some powerful tips I have learned along the way.
When lies come into my thinking and threaten to steal my joy, I visualize myself grabbing the lie and laying it at the foot of the cross - I give it to Jesus. Now, it's important to replace the lie with HIS truth and to speak the truth (out loud if possible) as many times as needed until it sinks in and brings back peace.
NOTE: A thought is just a thought. You add value to it or you deal with it as a lie.
Let's consider some thoughts that may invade your thinking when in a depressed state of mind:
Thought: I'm such a loser, I'm not good at anything. I might as well never have been born. Replace that thought with Truth.
- "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14
- "The very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows." Matthew 10:31-32
THOUGHT: I will never pull out of this depression. I am useless. Replace that thought with TRUTH
- "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
- "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Phillipians 1:6
Follow this example for the intruding thoughts that plague you. Look up Verses about whatever it is you are thinking.
Example: Search Google: Bible verse, I feel like a loser.
If you are diligent about this process you will eventually find yourself pulling out of your depression and into a place of peace.
Nutrition and Mental Health
Most people are not aware of the connection between food and the state of their mental health.
Research on the connection between mood instability and food intake is still early on but the results thus far do suggest a very real link. In fact one study found that a lack of Omega-3 Fatty Acids was a contributing factor to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and ADD and ADHD.
A person who is malnourished will experience moodiness and lack of energy. Changes in your nutritional intake will affect your brain chemistry, specifically the levels of the chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters work to take messages from one nerve to the next nerve cell. Neurotransmitters affect your moods and your ability to think clearly. They can even interfere with healthy sleeping patterns if not working optimally.
The brain requires 20 to 30% of your body’s energy or calorie intake. Make sure you get all of the food groups to maintain strong brain functioning.
The core food groups that your brain requires to maintain mental health are as follows; Healthy Grains, Protein, Vegetables and Fruits, Milk and Healthy Fats.
If you experience depression or mood swings, you would be wise to pay attention to your calorie intake and eating habits. For instance when you eat refined sugars on an empty stomach do you end up on the couch afterwards?
Do you snap at your husband or children? If you see a connection between eating sugar and your behavior you need to know that this indicates a reaction from the fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Sometimes people have allergies to certain foods. When you experience mood changes go back and consider what you have just eaten to see if there is a connection.
Do your research, conduct a self study and you will find the connection between healthy nutrition in connection to maintaining balanced brain functioning and health.
Don't Give Up
This hub is in no way the complete answer for those who deal with mental health issues. I have learned that for many health and mental health conditions there are healthy alternatives.
Just know that there is a connection between healthy eating, negative thinking patterns and mental health.
For hard-core depression, schizophrenia, bi-polaIr and other major mental health conditions, we can thank God we live in this day and age. There are medications, available today, which provides the chemicals needed to balance the brain.
I have been privileged to work with many who have been diagnosed with mental illness. In every case, with perseverance and determination, these people are living fulfilled and productive lives.
Don't ever give up on yourself or a loved one. There are treatments and many resources available today. Ask lots of questions, do your homework - use the internet and research and learn everything you can. You WILL find answers as you go forward and persevere.
- Mental Illness Borderline Personality Disorder
Mental Illness does not hold the stigma of days gone by. More and more people are being hit with depression and more serious mental illnesses. Find encouragement and many resources here.