The Focus On You

*Self-Care & Lifestyle Blog*

Category: Mental Health (page 1 of 11)

The Connection Between Minority Mental Health And Belonging

As a Mexican-American, I naturally gravitate towards wellness issues that focus on people of color. Inclusivity is becoming more than just a buzzword and honestly, it’s nice to finally be invited to the party.

In lieu of spouting off statistics about the effects of depression and anxiety on people of color, I want to explore a problem with mental health that goes unnoticed.

Belonging.

Being seen.

Although there are layers of barriers that people of color face in relation to mental illness (inadequate healthcare coverage, citizenship, poverty, taboo subject in your home), having a feeling of being unwanted or unseen can be damaging to one’s core.

You see belonging relates to fairness.

Fairness is what our kids gripe about in their classrooms. Fairness is missing in our board rooms, where the majority of upper management are Caucasian males. Abused women and mothers want fairness in courtrooms for restraining orders and custody agreements. (Don’t ask me how many times I have seen the court give the kids to an abusive father because he earns more money).

When you’re treated unfairly and go “unseen” you develop a sense that you don’t belong. For minorities, every incidence of being passed over for a job, harassed by cops, having nasty glares from sales associates or pre-judgments about your intelligence builds layers of “I don’t belong” messages.

Imagine adding on years of these messages with a newly diagnosed mental illness.

For anyone with mental illness you may wonder, who will believe me? Who will dismiss your illness and claim you have to “suck it up?” How do you talk about anxiety and depression with elder family members who survived a dangerous migration, escaping a war torn country or extreme poverty?

Even when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I wondered how I would be judged? How can I complain about being tired when I have friends who are running non-stop with kids, career, mortgages and large families? And how do I describe fibromyalgia as more than being “tired?”

And as popular culture focuses again on the mindset behind suicidal ideations, many suicide survivors would admit that their thoughts cannot be trusted with loved ones. You can have the greatest family in the world but suicide is not a topic you can bring up comfortably without people shoving questions and doctors down your throat. So if you feel suicidal, where can you feel like you belong?

Luckily, social media is providing groups and websites chock full of resources, hotlines and chats that are opening up discussions about all these sensitive topics.

My wish? In this expansive web of social connectivity, I want people struggling with painful symptoms to find a safe spot where they know they belong, and will be accepted.

And my continued passion with this blog and future projects, is to open up the door for people of color to have these conversations and begin the healing process.

Resources:

Talkspace – Online Therapy

Project UROK: Resource for teens and young adults

Buddy Project: Project that uplifts young people with mental illness and pairs them with supportive friends. They frequently share Twitter threads full of resources (playlists, affirmations, etc).

Affirm podcast:  Podcast for women of color created by a mental health therapist.

To Write Love On Her Arms: Non-profit devoted to finding help for people dealing with suicide, self-harm and depression.

Tessera Collective: Online community and empowerment for girls and women of color.

PsychCentral: Mental health social network overseen by mental health professionals. Fabulous resource for ALL topics related to psychology.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Trevor Project Crisis Line (LGBTQ): 1-866-488-7386

 

 

The Benefits Of A Sober Lifestyle

Thanks to DrugRehab.com, a website and resource dedicated to promoting a lifestyle of recovery, they provided an informational article to share with my readers.

Even if your life hasn’t been destroyed by drugs and alcohol, eliminating or reducing, your substance use can only benefit your life. This article details the benefits of remaining sober, especially for recovering addicts. The piece I want to highlight is the fact that many people medicate with pills, marijuana or alcohol in the name of “self-care.” I have worked with people who are struggling to stay sober and these benefits are life changing. All the things we take for granted (our jobs, healthy relationships with our families, clean criminal record) are the things people in recovery spend years trying to rebuild.

This is why I’m so happy to partner with DrugRehab.com on this post and to put a spotlight on the resources they provide on their website. Follow them on social media, check out their podcast and read testimonials about how a sober lifestyle improved people’s lives.

The journey from addiction to sobriety is a taxing one, but sobriety offers numerous benefits that impact a person’s quality of life. The short-term wins include fewer hangovers and a clear memory of what happened the night before. Long-term, recovering addicts can experience a sense of mental clarity and build new, healthy relationships.

Although the road to sobriety will be a long one, there are so many blessings waiting for you at the finish line. Here are some highlights to look forward to once you reach your recovery.

Mental Clarity

Sober thoughts make for better decisions. When you’re under the influence, it can be difficult to think clearly. Research shows drug abuse can reduce cognition. In sobriety, without constant thoughts of planning your next fix and harmful toxins in the brain, you can use a clear mental space to turn problems into solutions. A clear mind will also benefit your education and your career.

Sleep

Ample sleep is a key strategy for remaining sober. Minimal sleep can be a trigger for relapse. Stress and a lack of sleep can reduce a person’s willpower and expose the potential for drug or alcohol use. We forget how much our bodies need rest until they shut down and force us to sleep. Drinking and frequent drug use affect normal sleeping patterns and can make you sick. More sleep equates to a healthier body and a healthier you.

Free Time

Substance abuse is all-encompassing, consuming your time to obtain drugs, use them and think about how to get more. That leaves little time to appreciate the small things and enjoy alternative pleasures in life. As an addict, you find it easier to choose substances over family, friends, reading a book or enjoying other hobbies. Sobriety will provide you with more time and mental space for productivity and fun.

Improved Personal Finance

Making the decision to get sober will not only benefit your health, but also your pocketbook. Compulsive users underestimate the amount of money they spend on a quick fix to sustain them for an entire night. Combine food, partying, drinking and binging on drugs, and you’re left with a lengthy bill and a trail of bad decisions. When you’re under the influence, trying to rationalize spending becomes a thing of little importance. Your newfound sobriety will limit excessive spending on drugs and parties and support budgeting, saving and other fiscally responsible habits.

New Friends

As you become sober, you will quickly realize it’s time to reevaluate relationships, including leaving some friends behind. People are one of the main relapse triggers, and in order to brave a new direction, you have to let go of people who encouraged your old habits. This may be emotionally straining, but it will make room for new friends who encourage healthy habits.

Support groups and recovery programs are prime opportunities to meet such people. There you’ll meet people sharing some of the same experiences and traumas you’ve encountered, who are actively participating in a similar recovery journey. They can support you, hold you accountable, and become the friends you may need to lean on.

Newfound Beauty

Addiction affects your outside as much as your inside, and sobriety may offer an opportunity to reinvest in yourself physically. Substance abuse can cause weight gain and loss, and even affect the skin and teeth. Eliminating these toxins from your system is the first step toward improving your appearance. Though it is important to maintain sobriety for all of the health benefits, knowing you’ll look great in the process can be a great confidence booster.

Reap the Rewards of Sobriety

Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction has numerous benefits, but can be difficult if ventured alone. If you are struggling with addiction or are worried your substance use has begun to negatively influence your life, resources such as DrugRehab.com are available to help you.

Sources

Benton, S.A. (2011, February 2). Recommitting is the Key to Long-Term Recovery from Alcoholism. Retrieved from

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-high-functioning-alcoholic/201102/recom mitting-is-the-key-long-term-recovery-alcoholism

 

Dray, T. (2013, August 16). What Are the Benefits of Staying Sober? Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/123504-benefits-staying-sober/ 

 

sobriety

Kiara Anthony regularly contributes to DrugRehab.com, along with other publications.

She earned her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications from Towson University, and her graduate degree in Communications from Trinity Washington University.

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