Graphic Info on Anxiety.

Below are some informative graphics on anxiety and the physiology behind it. You can see below how social anxiety is strengthened by long-held beliefs about one’s self. If you think you may have issues with anxiety or know someone who does, seek professional mental health services in your area or talk with a trusted friend, family member or clergy member.

What are anxiety disorders? (Information below copied from

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that cause people to feel excessively frightened, distressed, or uneasy during situations in which most other people would not experience these same feelings. When they are not treated, anxiety disorders can be severely impairing and can negatively affect a person’s personal relationships or ability to work or study. In the most severe cases, anxiety disorders can make even regular and daily activities such as shopping, cooking or going outside incredibly difficult. Anxiety disorders can further cause low self-esteem, lead to substance abuse, and isolation from one’s friends and family.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in America: they affect around 20 percent of the population at any given time. Fortunately there are many good treatments for anxiety disorders. Unfortunately, some people do not seek treatment for their illness because they do not realize how severe their symptoms are or are too ashamed to seek help. Furthermore, these disorders are often difficult to recognize for friends, family and even some doctors.

This chart is from a Help, Hope and Healing group started on Facebook to share information and graphics on different diagnoses, especially Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety disorders.

Depression: More than blues.

More and more depression is being recognized by the general public as a mental health issue needing treatment and understanding. The term “depression” is often used loosely to describe low feelings or passing moods, but the reality is clinical depression is an illness that affects a person’s mind, body and mood. It can be a slow, creeping chronic illness or appear as an acute episode that seems to come on quickly.

Many people dismiss depression as being “all in their head” or feel frustrated that a depressed relative or friend can’t “snap out of it,” but the reality is that depression is very real to those who suffer with it and about 15 percent of people with severe, clinical depression commit suicide.

Clinical depression does not discriminate on the basis of age, race or socio-economic class, but statistics show that those between 25 and 44 are more likely to suffer clinical depression.

Clinical depression can be treated with medication, psychotherapy, or both, and the success rate is about 80 percent. With early recognition and healthy support, most people are able to get on with their lives and overcome the burdensome symptoms of depression.

Breaking Through 3 Myths on Depression

1. Depression is a weakness, not a health problem.

In a recent survey, nearly half the participants believed that depression was a personal or emotional weakness one could just “snap out of.” The fact is that it is not a weakness. It is a mental health problem that can be treated. Untreated depression can lead to more serious physical health issues.

2. Depression is a normal part of aging.

Although aging can be accompanied by events that trigger depression, it can strike at any age, with or without events that could be concluded to be logical “reasons” for depression. Sometimes, depression simply “is.” This can be a tough reality for many loved ones of individuals with depression to understand. If they cannot see or find a reason for the depression, it is more likely to be excused as weakness or “all in their head.”

3. Depression is best dealt with by non-health professionals.

Although a healthy support group and family or friends are helpful to recovery, nothing can replace appropriate evaluation and treatment by a health care professional. The first step is a thorough physical exam to rule out other illnesses. Primary care physicians can help determine the best approach to treatment and refer patients to other health professionals, counselors or social workers.

Signs and Symptoms

The difference between someone who is sad and someone with clinical depression is the duration and severity of the symptoms. For the person with clinical depression, the blues do not go away after a long weekend, a happy turn of events or a favorite activity.

See your doctor if you experience five or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks:

Feel sad, anxious, irritable, nervous or empty.

Sleep too little or too much, trouble falling asleep or waking up.

Appetite and/or weight gain or loss.

Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.

Restless or slowed behavior.

Persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches,  chronic pain, or digestive disorders that don’t respond to treatment.

Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.

Fatigue, loss of energy.

Feeling guilty, worthless or hopeless.

Thoughts of suicide or death.

Change in work style – working slower than usual, missing deadlines, inability to complete tasks, calling in sick often, decreased involvement with work or interaction with co-workers.

If you suspect someone is clinically depressed, the most important thing you can do is to help him or her get appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The second most important thing is to offer emotional support. Be positive and sensitive while maintaining as normal a relationship as possible.

Causes of Depression

Family History: One in four or five people with clinical depression have a relative with a mood disorder, as do about half of those suffering manic-depression.

Environmental Factors: Clinical depression can be triggered by stressful events or traumatic experiences, such as death, severe illness, divorce or job loss. Difficult work conditions, poor supervision at work or an excessive workload, sexual or racial discrimination or an unsafe environment can also contribute to depression.

Chemical Imbalance: Brain chemical imbalances, which may be inherited or acquired, are believed to be the underlying causes of clinical depression. Changes in brain chemicals such as serotonin, nor-epinephrine and cortisol may influence a person’s energy level, emotions, and sleeping and eating patterns.

Psychological Makeup: Are you a negative person? Do you have a negative attitude toward life events? Low self-esteem? Are you easily over-whelmed by stress? These seem to make a person more vulnerable to clinical depression.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Some people with mood disorders try to “drown their sorrows” by drinking or using other substances that reduce pain or bring false feelings of happiness. Although they can bring temporary relief, they may make depression worse in the long run. Alcohol itself is a depressant, and one third of those diagnosed with clinical depression also have a dependency on alcohol or drugs. Called a “dual diagnosis ” this constitutes a more complicated problem that requires treatment to address both the depression and the dependency.

depression(Courtesy of Google images.)

Information for this post was gathered through a publication of the Wellness Councils of America . The information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider.

Please see your health care provider if you are experiencing any of these issues or talk to a trusted friend, relative or professional if you know someone who is.

You can find more information on clinical depression at:

Mental Health America (MHA)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 

Courage to continue.

Yesterday I posted a photo and quote from poet and author Sylvia Plath. Today Plath was featured in an article on the National Alliance on Mental Illness Web site celebrating national poetry month and shedding light on some of Plath’s own struggles with depression and suicide attempts. 

Today, more than ever, we must ask for and embody full courage just to go to work, to teach in our schools, to speak in our places of employment against injustice, against confusion, against hate and slow, creeping neglect of our attitudes, or our mindsets, of the degree of compassion that we display to ourselves and others around us. 

Yesterday’s explosions at the Boston marathon, little more than an hour from our home, reminded me of how close chaos really can be and is becoming more of a reality in this country. Though no discoveries have been made yet on the origin of these explosions, whatever anyone says, they are acts of terror. They have instilled fear, dread and emotional, physical and spiritual injury. 

Besides the obvious loss of life and great human injury that has occurred here, the very sad part is that many will shrug their shoulders, rant to friends, say “What is wrong with people? What is wrong with the world?” and then continue on as if nothing happened.

We must wake up and pay attention to our world, to our community, to our lives and those of our family. Be sober-minded, be thankful for life and all that is good – stay focused.

We continue on unaffected after such grand tragedies or attacks because on some level we expect the chaos and the drama and the absolute dark dread that comes with living. Or the shock of the news is so great that we have to “shut off” our mind and not process the great catastrophe. Maybe (yes, I do) we feel powerless against such great negative force. We think that somehow these things are set apart from us… that we aren’t participating in the world. That, maybe, we have nothing to offer the world? Is there nothing we can do to increase love? Is there nothing we can do to protect ourselves and stay focused on what is good and right and just? 

Lord, I pray believers in Christ  and others to react sensitively to the good in the world, to celebrate the lightness and goodness of your being

even when evil seems to dominate

Let believers hold one another up…

let us always encourage one another to do what is right and to live rightly

Even when it’s unpopular

Let us look always for your face

Let us always seek the courage

and wisdom

to discern what is truly good

what is truly lasting

what truth will endure and has endured.

“Let no debt remain outstanding,

except the continuing debt to love one another,

for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 NIV 

Creativity and mental illness.

“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy.

What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach.

Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”

– Charles Mingus –


(magazine collage by me 4/12/13)

The old adage says, “There is a thin line between genius and ‘insanity,'” but studies are now showing there are indeed connections with the creative mind and mental health difficulties. The following article below is copied from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which I have repeatedly plugged on SimplyEnjoy and it’s a fantastic resource for mental healthcare information. You can find descriptions on illnesses, treatment and support options. Consider checking it out and even making a donation if you or someone you love have been affected by mental illness or have had mental health difficulties.

Mental Illness: New Study Explores Link with Creativity; NAMI Events include Music, Drama and other Arts

~ July 1, 2010 ~

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is focusing on films, music and other creative arts this week-at the same that a new scientific study has found a possible explanation for the link between mental illness and uninhibited processing in the brain that allows people to think “outside the box.”

In Beautiful Minds: Creativity and Mental Illness appearing in the latest issue of NAMI’s Advocate e-magazine, NAMI highlights a Swedish study and other research exploring potential links between schizophrenia and artistic tendencies.

The Swedish study shows that highly creative people have a lower density of dopamine receptors in the thalamus. People living with schizophrenia also have been found to have low dopamine density. Other studies suggest that a genetic difference may be shared by creative people and those with psychotic symptoms.

In NAMI’s weekly blog, NAMI Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick discusses creativity as a “powerful” means for education about mental illness. In fact, “creativity is required by anyone whose life is touched by mental illness” in order to enhance education, support and recovery.

The 2010 NAMI Convention opening this week in Washington, D.C. includes many artistic elements, including a performance by Grammy-award-winning singer Susan McKeown. On Friday evening, award-winning poet and songwriter Michael Mack will perform portions of Speaking in Tongues, about his mother’s life with schizophrenia.

The Free at Last Players, a theatre troupe now in their 20th year, will speak openly in skits and songs about their experiences with mental illness and different forms of stigma and exclusion.

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month also begins this week and the NAMI Advocate Bookshelf feature recommends reading the newly-published novel Try to Remember by Iris Gomez as “a wonderful way” to observe it. Set in Miami in the 1970s, the book portrays a family’s struggle with mental illness from a Latino perspective. Their teenage holds them together in the face of her father’s battle with schizophrenia.. Fewer than one in 20 Latino immigrants with mental illness ever get help.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.


“Living creatively is really important to maintain throughout your life.

And living creatively doesn’t mean only artistic creativity, although that’s part of it.

It means being yourself, not just complying with the wishes of other people.”

– Matt Groening –


National Alliance on Mental Illness: Ways to give back.



At a special Congressional hearing this week, NAMI spoke on behalf of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

Through their stories, NAMI Executive Director Mike Fitzpatrick and three other families spoke to the need for Congressional action on early identification and early intervention, improved access to treatment and a commitment to families in need.

Commenting on a post about the hearing on NAMI’s Facebook page, NAMI supporter Rosie de Joy shared, “I watched [the hearing] on C-Span…very moving. Congress must start listening. Change needs to start NOW!”

If you have ever experienced a mental illness, been diagnosed or you know a friend or family member managing a mental health diagnosis, please visit Educate yourself, reach out to others and please consider making a donation to the organization. 

There are so many ways to help.


Valerie Rumfelt

An on mission writer with winning ways to follow Jesus

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