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Why Open Dialogue About Mental Illness Is Essential For Families (via The Upward Call)

There can be a silence among families (particularly intergenerationally) about mental illness.
Sometimes that’s done out of a sense of embarrassment or a well meaning desire to maintain privacy.
What it achieves are walls that mean when later generations experience mental illness they feel isolated in that it doesn’t always occur to them that their experience is a biological one shared with their family.
Rather it seems that they’re the odd one out.
Friends, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Knowing your parents and grand-parents struggle with mental illness doesn’t have to be an inescapable destiny, but it can help ground your own struggles (or the struggles of your children) is a wider context that opens doors of understanding and empathy.
This article, which appeared on The Upward Call observes the benefit of sharing your own mental illness stories with your children, and for families to acknowledge the mental illness experience of preceding generations.
This calls for sensitivity, nuance, and openness.

The concluding thought:

It’s lonely to struggle with anxiety and depression. I can testify to that. I was in God’s word daily; sometimes hourly. There were nights when I couldn’t sleep and I poured over the Psalms and the gospels. I credit that with keeping me from completely falling apart. But it didn’t cure things instantly. And I am thankful that I know about our family history. As a mother, it has helped me to discuss things with my children, and to be observant and attentive. We need to talk about mental illness. But more than that, we need kindness and compassion. And we definitely don’t need simplistic remedies that betray ignorance.

Read the whole post at The Upward Call.


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Practical Ways To Nurture Mental Health (via Amy Simpson)

Significant changes to eating (drinking), sleeping, and physical activity over the last eight or so months have had some noticeable effects on physical appearance, but they’ve also produced a more stable emotional and psychological state.
The black dog still comes sniffing, but I feel in a stronger place to deal with it.

This post by Amy Simpson provides a number of life-style changes that, while not being a cure-all for existing conditions or a replacement for other treatments, go some way towards building resilience that counter bouts of mental health problems

From her post:
…some of the things that can go wrong with our brains are outside our control—we can’t always do anything to prevent genetically inherited conditions, the consequences of trauma, or other forms of injury and disease.
At the same time, our mental health is not entirely outside our control. In fact, even when a genetic predisposition is present, or our circumstances are harmful, our lifestyle choices can prevent a disorder from developing, lessen its severity, or help us achieve better recovery. Regardless of our predispositions, experiences, or sense of health, it really doesn’t make sense for anyone to neglect the opportunity to protect and strengthen our mental health.
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Making choices like these won’t guarantee you never experience a mental disorder or emotional struggle. And they probably won’t be enough to “cure” a challenge you’re already living with. But in either case, they will help. So as you’re thinking about your health, give some thought to that powerful organ that sits above your shoulders. Consider the all-important function of your mind. And do something good for yourself.

Go here to see her list of practical suggestions.