Good Mental Health

Old Apr 21st 2015, 3:32 am
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Default Good Mental Health

I'll kick off by saying I am looking at this thread for education and would hope it can stay sensitive to all readers and contributors.

I am looking for some input and experience of those that have anxiety or depression or live with someone living with these issues.

I have a daughter with anxiety that rears up and overwhelms her on many a day. She has many friends living with anxiety and depression, and even suicidal thoughts. She hasn't got that far (or admitted it anyway). Birds of a feather, but I don't know if they help each other with their empathy or if collaboration endorses their thoughts and allows them to normalize their thoughts.

My other daughter is in tears tonight as one of her friends has been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts.

They tell me I'd be hard pressed to find a girl at their high school who has not got issues with anxiety, eating disorders, you name it. I am a little bewildered and out of my depth as to how this is such a common phenomenon. I am examining mine and others parenting styles and feeling pretty crappy these days. I also feel the teachers put huge pressures on them on the academic side of things.

What scares me more is that I cannot see this when its in front of my nose. Magicians and masters of disguise, the lot of them, until they get to breaking point.

Any hints, tips, reading materials, advice or experience very gratefully received. I am exhausted.
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Old Apr 21st 2015, 4:31 am
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

Thanks for this topic, Ann.

I'm not very experienced but I can share an experience I had when I was very depressed once. I was so down that I thought ending it would be easier, and that's when I happened upon a technique which was to let that which comes come, abide, and then leave - without fear or pressure. It wasn't a fast fix: but it was real, and it was borne out of the principle that all will pass, if we let it. To not fixate too much on the sadness and beliefs that may come up in our minds. Over time, with this technique, it bears some strength.

It sounds too simple sometimes to be appreciated, but in any case, wishing you and your family well.
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Old Apr 21st 2015, 8:11 am
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

Is your daughter open to therapy? If so, I would suggest seeing a psychologist or certified therapist who specializes in patients her age, and also bring in the GP to see about a referral to a psychiatrist just in case one is needed, easier to get a psychiatrist in advance, then to find one urgently. And also good to have as more serious mental health issues tend to start to raise their head in the teen years up to mid 20's, and some start very subtle with only small chances like anxiety, depression and continue to progress, so a psychiatrist really is never a bad thing, and if you make it known upfront you want to try alternatives to medication most will comply with the patients wishes if there is no immediate danger to life.

My wife is bipolar and it reared it's head during her senior year of high school.

Therapy can work wonders for people, most is cognitive based, but there is also dialectal behaviour therapy which is being used increasingly by providers and has shown to work well for disorders and issues once thought to have no treatment to improve the lives of people.

Downside to psychologists and therapists is medical system generally won't cover their services, but psychiatrists are covered in all of the provinces however most will not practice therapy of any sort, and are mostly there to manage medication and make sure hospitalization isn't needed.

Those with depression and anxiety and such can hide it well generally, it becomes a survival strategy and it can be near impossible to notice until the breaking point as you stated. Keep an eye on her, and note any changes no matter how minor they may seem, try and keep an open line of conversation with her, (I know hard to do with teens at times.)

But if she is open to seeing a professional, that would be your best possible choice especially psychologists who are generally well versed in human behavior.

Lots of CBT and DBT based self help books out there as well, along with workbooks to help guide you through it.

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Old Apr 21st 2015, 3:28 pm
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

I had anxiety, 25 years ago, when my parents both died, somewhat unexpectedly. We didn't have the Internet then, so I didn't know it was anxiety, I just used to get panic attacks, when I was expected to sign my name...I thought it was bizarre, but I have since found it is quite a common symptom of anxiety - it was very difficult at the time. I was treated with Relaxation Hypnosis at a wholistic centre, and it was successful. I had no problems thereafter.

Since moving to Canada however, it seems to have returned, and I do get quite anxious about all sorts of things, I have seen a doctor, and he tells me it's very common here - I am looking to sort it out myself if possible...I will not resort to pills just yet.

How old are your daughters Ann? The kids at school with my son seem to have some big problems with depression and anxiety. I regret to say I know a number of teenagers that cut themselves and have eating problems. I think it is worse here than where we were before, as my son is still friends on Skype and Facebook with a number of his old friends and it doesn't seem that 'lots' of them are sad, but it really does here, and I don't know if it's just that they all seem to talk about it much more, and I can't help thinking sometimes that they almost 'encourage' it by talking it up.

Don't all teenagers have black thoughts to a certain extent? I know that I certainly did...isn't angst something that teenagers are meant to have on the voyage to independence? The problem is working out what is the 'normal' level of teenage unhappiness and when it's going too far.
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Old Apr 21st 2015, 4:00 pm
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

I'm sorry your daughter is going through this Ann.

I'm not sure if anxiety/dep is more common here or more diagnosed. I've found the culture here much more open to talking about this stuff and the health professionals I've met much more aware. I've had an anxiety disorder for years - since I was a wee kid - but it was never properly diagnosed until I came here. Now I control it through a combination of medication and regular exercise. It is remarkable how many people are suffering with these issues once you open up about them though - I went public on FB about a year ago and people stepped forward who I never would have guessed had the same issues as me. I only wish I'd been diagnosed sooner. I wish my parents had been more willing to do something about mental illness instead of blaming. So thank you for being that kind of parent Hopefully it will mean your daughter's path through life is a bit easier.

In my case, there appears to be a strong genetic tendency to mental illness in my family. I've started doing some digging into the family past and found some interesting and previously hidden facts that may explain some of that tendency/history. Like, ancestors who were brought up in workhouses (with all the abuse/lack of attachment that would have entailed). There's some growing research in the area of epigenetics - the idea that traumas in the past actually change the way DNA expresses and these changes are then inherited through the generations. In other words, traumas or events from generations ago could still be effecting us now.

Another indicator is the ACE score - people who score over a certain level tend to be more prone to mental health issues as adults.

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My guess is, Ann, if you go back in your family history you might find a pattern. You can't blame yourself too much, you do the best with what you know.

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Old Apr 21st 2015, 4:13 pm
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

Oh, I'll also echo what jsmith said about having a good therapist/psychiatrist.
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Old Apr 21st 2015, 5:46 pm
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

A lot has been written about mindfulness lately...

Mindfulness 'as good as anti-depressants for tackling depression' - Telegraph

With teenagers, I am sure there are genuine cases of depression and anxiety, but I also wonder how many cases are simple learned behaviours or immature minds. Peer pressure even. That's not to say it's not a incredibly serious problem, but it might impact the treatment method.

Therapy is incredibly useful if available, but had been noted on here by JS, it often isn't available.

Why are you feeling crappy on your parenting style, Ann ? Do you feel you have been doing something which might have triggered your daughters issues?
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Old Apr 21st 2015, 6:35 pm
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

Many thanks so far for all you input - I do appreciate you taking the time.

My daughter has been lucky enough to have access to a psychologist through the Children's Hospital, who has been very good, but she cannot keep my daughter on her books really (as she is a specialist in another area) - so we have started some sessions though our local Mental Health Clinic. That has been a bit hit and miss so I'm keeping my eye on that level of service.

I have been advised to take any help offered up to age 18 because after that they can fall through the whole system and it can very difficult to access resources.

She has experienced several physical symptoms ranging from panic attacks, and esophageal spasms and even lost the ability to walk after a concussion due to an overloaded and anxious brain going haywire. Rare generally, but more common in over-achievers!

As a mum, I don't want this to be the path for her whole life. She's got diabetes to deal with anyway - and that's a barrel of laughs. My desire is that we give her tools to identify her triggers and deal or circumnavigate her trigger-points, but the more I learn, it's not so easy to do. I don't want a life of depression for my beautiful daughter. Obviously.

It's a dilemma for sure. I see this capable, often confident, funny, bright, friendly young lady - adults love her and say how mature and articulate she is. And then she will be floored by something or someone - it is unreasonable and illogical and totally out of perspective. And she knows this. And she is obsessive.

I've found it difficult to draw the line between teenage hormones/angst and an defined issue. And yes, as many of you say, they talk about it A LOT here - it's almost de rigour to be diagnosed with something. None of our UK friends, with all the teenagers we know have had any issues except for the odd meltdown over volume of homework on a Sunday night.

So Shard, yes, I examine my parenting; I wonder if coming here did something to my super confident 9 year old. I wonder if lack of extended family had anything to do with it. I wonder if those child safety courses I made them take got into their heads more than I anticipated. At 17, she won't answer the door or the phone. I wonder about a lot of things these days. But none of this relates to all the other teens at school so is it a generational thing? What the hell has my generation done to the next?

My husband and I are both very practical people - see a problem and work it out. I am sympathetic and have learned to be very careful in my responses, but I can't see this problem - it's floating around in another person's head, and I know they have to work it out themselves. I have had friends with manic phases, depression, medication and some come out the other side OK and one became an alcoholic. This is not the path we would choose for them. Nor they for themselves.
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Old Apr 21st 2015, 6:57 pm
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

You didn't examine your parenting when she was diagnosed with diabetes, there's bo need to either for a mental illness. We are what we are. I've had what I niw recognize as anxiety since I was a teenager and it's only recently that I am able to get to grips with it. I've found counselling and CBT a great help. There's a very good website I think it's called getselfhelp.uk. I'll check that and post as an edit.

Here it is
Www.getselfhelp.co.uk

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Old Apr 21st 2015, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

Ann, sorry to hear you're going through this. A person I know very well (an adult, not a teen) suffers terribly from anxiety and depression, and has had long periods of feeling very down and just overwhelmed by everything. Social situations (and not just "parties" - even meeting a couple of friends for coffee) became extremely difficult, so this individual shut themselves away into almost complete isolation for weeks at a time.

This person eventually (after encouragement from myself and other friends and relatives) went to a GP and was referred to a psychiatrist, who in turn recommended Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. By all accounts this is quite hard work, and requires a significant commitment of time and effort between sessions on the part of the patient, but has worked absolute wonders. The hardest part was getting to the point of acknowledging that this was a recognisable (and not all that uncommon) set of circumstances and that therapy could actually help. The person was also prescribed antidepressant medication, which has made a significant difference to getting out of the immediate foggy zone that was threatening to spiral out of control (it's all awful --> there's no point trying --> it's all awfuller --> there's even less point, etc etc).

Good luck. There does seem to be a lot of it about, especially amongst teens, and especially amongst teen girls.
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Old Apr 21st 2015, 10:53 pm
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Do either yourself or your husband have access to EFAP through your benefits? It may be worth double checking and that would allow you to access services and resources.
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Old Apr 22nd 2015, 8:34 am
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

Also be aware that a good amount of mental health conditions cannot be diagnosed until after the age of 18, as prior to that as you have said, teenage hormones may be the cause behind some of it.

Have you talked to your GP about her anxiety and such?

Most GP's can't take on active treatment of mental health stuff, but they can refer to a psychiatrist if she hasn't seen one yet, I would suggest getting a referral as they can do an in-depth evaluation and see if there are any underlying issues.

Sometimes the anxiety or depression and so on, are just the symptoms of an underlying mental health issue, but sometimes they are not, but that is where it's very useful to have a psychiatrist.

They can also rule out any physical causes of it as well since they are medical doctors.


It appears your town (if the one on your profile is the right one) has a DBT based therapy centre, so might be worth calling them.

http://www.bluestonetherapy.ca/?page_id=85

Don't be put off by the majority of DBT places talking about borderline personality disorder, DBT was originally designed by a doctor at the University of Washington to treat borderline patients as up until then there was no known useful treatment, but since then, the method has proven to work with most mental health issues and has branched off from being just used for borderline patients.

It basically combines several forms of behavioural methods such as CBT and combines them with mindfulness and teaches one how to live the moment, and not be in the past or the future but just concentrate on the moment.

That is the basic easy to understand way I can describe it. I am only in a very basic short program funded by the government, but I've noticed some improvements. I am just saving the money so I can go into the private program in Vancouver which is more indepth and long term.

CBT is also good, but focuses more on just turning negatives into positives. DBT you get the best of many different sciences into 1.

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Old Apr 22nd 2015, 8:43 am
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

This is the doctor who founded and developed DBT.

The Linehan Institute | Home
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Old Apr 22nd 2015, 11:14 am
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

Originally Posted by ann m View Post
So Shard, yes, I examine my parenting; I wonder if coming here did something to my super confident 9 year old. I wonder if lack of extended family had anything to do with it. I wonder if those child safety courses I made them take got into their heads more than I anticipated. At 17, she won't answer the door or the phone. I wonder about a lot of things these days. But none of this relates to all the other teens at school so is it a generational thing? What the hell has my generation done to the next?

.
It's natural for a parent to look at the environment they have created and wonder if it, in some specific way, has contributed to issues. My opinion is probably not. Many kids deal with absence of extended family, parental divorce, and other issues and it does not necessarily result in anxiety. Child safety courses, again probably not, kids take that stuff with a pinch of salt; if they didn't there would be no kids bungee jumping or skiing at breakneck speed. I think it is somewhat generational, however. Teenage angst is nothing new, it's just that the social connectivity, digital photo sharing and entertainment backdrop has made the stakes that much higher.

I recently read an article in the UK press making the same point about most teenage girls in most British schools suffering from the same type of mental/emotional issues that you have in your region. I think it's a reflection of our times rather that our places.

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Old Apr 22nd 2015, 11:19 am
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Default Re: Good Mental Health

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
Also be aware that a good amount of mental health conditions cannot be diagnosed until after the age of 18, as prior to that as you have said, teenage hormones may be the cause behind some of it.

Have you talked to your GP about her anxiety and such?

Most GP's can't take on active treatment of mental health stuff, but they can refer to a psychiatrist if she hasn't seen one yet, I would suggest getting a referral as they can do an in-depth evaluation and see if there are any underlying issues.

Sometimes the anxiety or depression and so on, are just the symptoms of an underlying mental health issue, but sometimes they are not, but that is where it's very useful to have a psychiatrist.

They can also rule out any physical causes of it as well since they are medical doctors.


It appears your town (if the one on your profile is the right one) has a DBT based therapy centre, so might be worth calling them.

INDIVIDUAL

Don't be put off by the majority of DBT places talking about borderline personality disorder, DBT was originally designed by a doctor at the University of Washington to treat borderline patients as up until then there was no known useful treatment, but since then, the method has proven to work with most mental health issues and has branched off from being just used for borderline patients.

It basically combines several forms of behavioural methods such as CBT and combines them with mindfulness and teaches one how to live the moment, and not be in the past or the future but just concentrate on the moment.

That is the basic easy to understand way I can describe it. I am only in a very basic short program funded by the government, but I've noticed some improvements. I am just saving the money so I can go into the private program in Vancouver which is more indepth and long term.

CBT is also good, but focuses more on just turning negatives into positives. DBT you get the best of many different sciences into 1.
This is really informed advice JS. You ought to make a small website providing guidance on the options for people with mental issues in BC and other provinces. It might lead somewhere careerwise too. Just an idea.
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