The blog index provides an overview of some of the posts that are part of major recurring themes on Mental Health @ Home, to serve as an easy starting point to explore the site.
The weekly blog schedule is:
- Guest blogs may show up on:
- Wednesdays are mental health book reviews
- Fridays are posts from the What is… Insights into Psychology series, which looks deeper into the meaning of a variety of psychology-related terms
- Saturdays are weekend wrap-ups, a look at what’s going on in my world each week
- Sundays are for info and discussions about all things blogging
The resource pages go into depth on some of the major areas of focus on MH@H and contain a variety of info, tools, and other resources.
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Conceptualizing Chronic Mental Illness
The ways in which we conceptualize our illnesses influences how we relate to them. The following posts discuss this issue:
- Getting spoonie with it:
- Rainbow Model of Mental Illness Functioning: a way of conceptualizing the complexity of mental illness symptoms and functional domains
- Is “Chemical Imbalance” a Useful Simplification of Mental Illness?: Depression and other mental illnesses are often described as a chemical imbalance, but that’s not really accurate. Is it still useful as a simplification?
My latest book, Managing the Depression Puzzle, covers a wide variety of different strategies that might be helpful in managing your own unique depression puzzle. It covers medications, somatic treatments like ECT, psychotherapeutic approaches, mindfulness, self-care, and more.
Symptoms of Depression
The mix of symptoms can vary from person to persona and from one episode to the next.
Different types of depression have their own typical patterns, including:
- Anhedonia & motivation
- Decreased positive & increased negative affect: depression can involve the loss of positive feelings (as in anhedonia) and/or increased negative feelings
- What depression takes away
- Compensating for Depression Brain
- I’m Actually Getting Stupider: The THINC-it Test: THINC-it a research tool that measures common cognitive effects of depression
Decreased energy: When taking a shower is like climbing a mountain
Irritability: “You can be a real bitch” – Is it me or my depression?:
Effects on movement:
- How depression affects movement: decreased energy, psychomotor retardation and leaden paralysis
- The possible biological basis of psychomotor slowing
- What Is… Psychomotor retardation: slowing of movement and thoughts
Potential causes for depression
- Is depression anger turned inward?: Freud’s belief about depression
- Is there ever only one explanation for a mental illness? Or does saying it’s all one way exclude a set of people?
- Should we be looking for a root cause for depression? Or is it just too complex?
Depression Treatment Options
- Botox: Botox in the frown line area may help with depression
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT):
- Somatic treatments for depression: treatments that involve applying energy to the brain, including ECT and TMS
- This one flew over the cuckoo’s next: ECT in real life: my experience getting ECT in hospital
- Supplements that actually work: vitamins don’t cure depression, but there are some supplements that research has shown can be helpful
Negativity & Toxic Positivity
Mental illness can be really hard, and expecting that we should just “choose happiness” is ludicrous.
- Book review: Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich
- Happiness is a choice, my ass: it can’t be a choice if mental illness takes it off the menu entirely
- It gets better… or does it?: some things do get better, but some just don’t
- Pessimism vs. realism: is negativity pessimistic if it’s actually realistic?
- Positive psychology: is it a good fit for mental illness?
- “Should” you avoid negative people?
- The “toxic person” label
- You don’t need to be positive: other emotions are just as valid
I’m pro-medication as an option, but decisions should be made based on an individual weighing of risks and benefits. Treatment-resistant depression means that my meds no longer get my depression into full remission, but there are some things they still do help with.
More than any other kind of medication, though, we often have complicated relationships with medications. There can be a lot of stigma and a lot of moralizing, but no one else can know better than you do what your mind and body are telling you they need.
My book Psych Meds Made Simple has plenty of info about psych meds all in one place. The book and these posts draw on my training and experience as a mental health nurse and former pharmacist.
Other treatment options:
- Ayahuasca: Does it have a role in mental illness treatment?
- Cannabis and Mental Illness: What does the research say?
- Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression
- Naltrexone: studies have shown that this opioid blocker has more uses than just addiction
- Do I Look Fat in this Seroquel?: psych meds and weight gain
- Living with Psych Med Side Effects
- Meds that can make you crazy (literally): medications with psychiatric side effects
- Suicide risk with antidepressants – the real story
- Visible Side Effects: some side effects are hard to hide
Evidence-based treatment guidelines can’t tell you what will work for you, but they can tell you what’s most likely to work given what the research evidence has to say.
- Anxiety disorders: evidence-based treatment guidelines
- Bipolar disorder: CANMAT guidelines
- Borderline personality disorder and medications: they can help, but only so much
- Do antidepressants work? – answers from a recent meta-analysis
- Pregnancy and medication use: balancing risks and benefits often isn’t easy
- STAR*D study: a large study looking at antidepressant use in real-world conditions
- Treatment-resistant depression: when what’s supposed to work doesn’t
What is mental illness recovery?
- Is Mental Illness Recovery a Choice?
- The Moving Target of Recovery
- Finding Recovery in Spite of Mental Illness
- What Is… Recovery?
- What Would Recovery Look Like?
Ways of framing recovery and wellness
- Mental Illness Treatment vs. Wellness Promotion
- Taking a holistic approach to mental illness and wellness
- What We Can Learn from the Medicine Wheel
- Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
- How Music Affects the Brain and Mood
- Painting as a Mindfulness Activity
- It’s International Day of Happiness
- Book Review: The Happiness Diary
- It’s Random Acts of Kindness Day
- There Are No Small Acts of Kindness
The post mental health workbooks has links to a broad range of sites that offer free therapy-based workbooks and worksheets.
- Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT)
- Psychotherapy alphabet soup: an overview of several types of therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Work, Disability, and Workplace Bullying
I’ve faced negative attitudes at work related to my mental illness, and I’ve also experienced workplace bullying. It’s important to talk about these things since they can be so isolating.
Know what your rights are based on disability laws in your area. Workplace Strategies for Mental Health has some useful information on supportive performance management.
- Adapting ambition: changing career goals as a result of mental illness
- Adventures Applying for Disability
- Disclosing mental illness at work: the good, the bad, and the ugly
- Is that my career going down the toilet?: getting closer to being unable to work due to mental illness
- Managing working (or not) with disability
- Mental illness and the dreaded job interview: mental illness can create some significant challenges when approaching a job interview
- The Benefits of Universal Basic Income for People with Mental Illness