Tomorrow when things calm down
I will get my act together
Tomorrow when things get back to normal
I will find my purpose
Tomorrow when my sadness lifts
I will find authentic pleasures

But tomorrow is not promised

So today I will get my act together
And tidy the cupboard
Today I will find my purpose
And connect with those I love
Today I will find pleasure
In a cup of tea

Not today!

Kindness and love are the answer
But not today

Gentleness and calmness are the answer
But not right now

Serenity and peace are the answer
But not in this moment

In this moment
Anxiety and edginess are the answer
In this moment I am messy and disorientated

Just for today
Right now
In this moment
I am bewildered

I know

How happy are you right now
Do you even know?
The loss of a child is the opposite of happy
– I know.

How happy are you right now
Do you even know?
You have children who love you
– I know!

How happy are you right now
Do you even know?
Our children have their own journeys
Sometimes without us
– I know…

The mirror

I washed my face
And looked in the mirror
Who is she, I asked?
A mother so sad, tired and lost

I washed my face
And looked in the mirror
Who is she, I asked?
A mother exhausted and incomplete

I washed my face
And looked in the mirror
Who is she, I asked?
A mother, downhearted

I washed my face
And looked in the mirror
Who is she I asked?
A mother who has lost

10 Tips to BOOST your Mood!

Of course, we can’t always be in a good mood. Bad moods strike often for perfectly good reasons. It would be counterproductive to insist on always feeling upbeat and in a good mood. We need the once off bad mood to remind us how good it feels to be upbeat, positive and joy filled. While you can’t simply tune up the happiness dial or crank down the sadness lever, we can build in small habits to switch our attention and focus to a happy positive action.

When we develop this side tracking tool we increase the odds of shifting our mood and improve our ability to manage and shake off bad moods. I’m not always self-aware and sometimes catch myself having a pity party for one. A friend of mine calls these “zombie moments.” She says that she (for no apparent reason) wakes up grumpy, doesn’t want to brush her hair; she completely shuts down, isolates herself and switches to auto pilot.

Over the years she has learnt to find ways to distract herself from her “zombie moments”. She has a created her zombie antidote which includes putting on bright orange lipstick and wrapping herself in a large fluffy blanket and listening to her favourite playlist of uplifting songs.

I suspect we all have “zombie moments” from time to time. And I do believe that finding our own antidote could be life saving. I think it’s important to give ourselves permission to not always be happy, and to know that there are simple ways to improve our mood when we’re feeling down. I have compiled a list of 101 things that have helped me boost my mood, I am sharing 10 of these with you today.

I invite you to pick one or more of these ideas and try them out. Of course, customize them to your life and circumstance. But commit to making them a habit. I am confident that you will easily and effortlessly start to find meaningful improvement in your mood.

Tip 1
Wear socks that don’t match.

Tip 2
Re-read a favorite book.
My all time favorite is Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes

Tip 3
Call a good friend to just catch up.
Mine lives in Cape Town, South Africa and whenever we chat, if feels as if it was yesterday that we were carefree and spending time together

Tip 4
Wear colors that make you happy.
Even if it that mustard yellow top with purple polka dots that you have had forever – pushed to the back of your cupboard. Wear it!

Tip 5
Turn off your cell phone for an hour.
It’s so easy to get sucked into the messaging and what’s going on in the virtual world that we lose track of what’s happening in our real world. Set 1 hour aside to catch up with humans

Tip 6
Tell a joke.
My ‘go to’ joke is…
What is pink and fluffy? Pink fluff
What is blue and fluffy…pink fluff holding its breath (hahaha)
Laughter can cheer us up —and the best news is it doesn’t have to be genuinely funny to have a positive effect. So even when it seems like there’s absolutely nothing funny in all of this world, bursting out in contagious laughter might just shift your mood

Tip 7.
Lie on the grass, face upwards towards the sky – dream and drift away

Tip 8
Color in.
That’s right, get hold of some wax crayons and colour in to your heart’s content. I even have my own set of scented crayons!

Tip 9
Get some sun.
A boost of vitamin D can help keep the blues at bay. Head outside for a 20 minute break. If that’s not possible, find a spot near a window (and ignore stares from family members and or co-workers)

Tip 10
Send an “I appreciate you” message or thank you note.

Bonus Tip 11
Tickle yourself. (Thank you to Cares Crous for this fabulous addition).
Just be silly knowing that you now have more than 10 tips on how to boost your mood easily and effortlessly

Mental Health Checklist for Moms:

1. I don’t remember the last time I laughed
2. I no longer look forward to things or activities
3. I blame myself unnecessarily when things go wrong
4. I am anxious or worried for no good reason
5. I feel scared or panicky when it is time to leave the house
6. Things have been getting on top of me
7. I have been so unhappy that I have had difficulty sleeping
8. I feel sad, miserable or unworthy
9. I feel so unhappy that I cry all the time
10. The thought of harming myself has occurred to me

If you or a loved one have answered Yes to 3 or more of these points on the checklist – you most probably will benefit from making an appointment to see your medical practitioner or medical service provider.

Along with the right support, medication, and therapy, you are able to manage your feelings of sadness, distress and worry. You can learn to live a joy filled, purpose driven life. There is help available to support your Mental Health, contact your medical practitioner of service provider today!

What is Psychosis or Psychotic disorder?

Psychosis or a Psychotic disorder is a group of serious illnesses that affect the mind. They make it hard for someone to think clearly, make good judgments, respond emotionally, communicate effectively, understand reality, and behave appropriately.

In a Psychosis or Pschychotic disorder a person may expierence hallucinations where they see, hear, taste, feel things that are not real, while a person could have a delusion which is a belief that is not real or correct. Both hallucinations and delusions are disturbances in reality. When caused by a mental illness, hallucinations and delusions often occur together.

Brief psychotic disorder: People with this illness have a sudden, short period of psychotic behaviour, often in response to a very stressful event, such as a death in the family. Recovery is often quick — usually less than a month.

Delusional disorder : The key symptom is having a delusion (a false, fixed belief) involving a real-life situation that could be true but isn’t, such as being followed, being plotted against, or having a disease.

Examples of Delusional Disorders:

Erotomanic: The person believes someone is in love with them and might try to contact that person. Often it’s someone important or famous. This can lead to stalking behavior.

Grandiose: This person has an over-inflated sense of worth, power, knowledge, or identity. They could believe they have a great talent, are superior or made an important discovery.

Jealous: A person with this type believes their spouse or sexual partner is unfaithful.

Persecutory: Someone who has this believes they (or someone close to them) are being mistreated, or that someone is spying on them or planning to harm them. They might make repeated complaints to legal authorities.

Somatic: They believe they have a physical defect or medical problem.

Mixed: These people have two or more of the types of delusions listed above.

Shared psychotic disorder (also called folie à deux): This illness happens when one person in a relationship has a delusion and the other person in the relationship adopts it, too.

Substance-induced psychotic disorder: This condition is caused by the use of or withdrawal from drugs, such as hallucinogens and crack cocaine, which cause hallucinations, delusions, or confused speech.

There are different types of psychotic disorders, including:

Schizophrenia: People with this illness have changes in behavior and other symptoms — such as delusions and hallucinations — that last longer than 6 months. It usually affects them at work as well as their relationships.

Schizoaffective disorder: People have symptoms of both schizophrenia and a mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder.

Schizophreniform disorder: This includes symptoms of schizophrenia, but the symptoms last for a shorter time: between 1 and 6 months.

Doctors don’t know the exact cause of psychotic disorders. Researchers believe that many things play a role. Some psychotic disorders tend to run in families, which mean that the disorder may be partly inherited. Other things may also influence their development, including stress, drug abuse, and major life changes. These conditions usually first appear when a person is in his or her late teens, 20s, or 30s. They tend to affect men and women about equally.

If you or a loved one are experiencing severe symptoms and you have trouble staying in touch with reality – please make an appointment to see a Psychiatrist or relevant medical practitioner who will support your mental health care.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a long term mental disorder that involves a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion and behavior leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings. There is a withdrawal from reality into a world of fantasy, delusion or false belief.

Schizophrenia affects the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality and relates to others. It is often hard to spot because there’s usually no specific trigger and the exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown. Paranoid schizophrenia or schizophrenia with paranoia is often the complex disorder that is more easily recognized. People with schizophrenia or paranoid schizophrenia have an altered perception of reality. They believe in conspiracies, that they are being watched or relentlessly tracked, they may see or hear things that don’t exist and speak in strange or confusing ways.

There is a myth that Schizophrenia refers to a “split personality” or multiple personalities. Multiple personality disorder is a different and much less common disorder than schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia do not have split personalities; rather, they are “split off” from reality. This “split off” from reality may cause relationship problems, disruption in daily activity such as bathing, eating, working and the completion of simple tasks. In many instances people with Schizophrenia withdraw from the outside world, acting in an eccentric, confused, angry or fearful manner.

Researchers have uncovered that genetics play a role in that when Schizophrenia runs in families that there is a greater likelihood to have Schizophrenia passed on from parent to child. The environment is a contributing factor such as exposure to viral infections, toxins, drug and substance use such as marijuana or highly stressful situations.

Schizophrenia symptoms are referred to as positive, negative and cognitive. The reference to negative symptom doesn’t mean “bad.” It notes the absence of normal behaviours like, lack of emotion or a limited range of emotions, less energy, less speech, lack of motivation, loss of pleasure or interest in life and poor hygiene and grooming habits.

The reference to positive symptoms doesn’t mean good. It refers to added thoughts or actions that aren’t based in reality. They’re sometimes called psychotic symptoms and can include delusions which are false, mixed, and sometimes strange beliefs that aren’t based in reality. Hallucinations, these involve sensations that aren’t real with hearing voices and or sounds being common. Or even a condition called catatonia, where the person may stop speaking, and their body may be fixed in a single position for a very long time.

Cognitive symptoms refer to when a person has trouble understanding information and using it to make decisions or experiences a sudden decline in working memory.

While schizophrenia is a chronic disorder, many fears about the disorder are not based on reality. Most people with schizophrenia get better over time, not worse. Treatment options around the world are improving all the time. Schizophrenia is often episodic, so periods of remission are ideal times to employ self-help and care plan strategies to limit the length and frequency of any future episodes.

Along with the right support, medication, and therapy, many people with schizophrenia are able to manage their symptoms, function independently, and live a joy filled, purpose driven life.

Anxiety – it feels like I am dying!

Come on, you can do this. Just keep it together. You’ve been practicing all night, you’ll be fine. This room is too small. Oh no! it’s happening again. Your heart is racing, your chest is tight and your throat is closing up. You can’t speak, you feel about to faint! You feel like you are about to die!

The physical symptoms of anxiety don’t seem to get as much attention as the mental and emotional effects. The overwhelming worry and fear that characterize anxiety can be debilitating.

Anxiety can wreak just as much havoc on the body as it can the mind. Every system in the body from head to toe can be impacted just by the nature of your body releasing a lot of stress hormones. You have your fight-or-flight response to thank for your physical anxiety symptoms. Typically, it’s supposed to help you survive a threat by escaping or fending off the threat. In way-back-when, in cave people days, that threat might have been something along the lines of a lion.

If you have anxiety, though, your fear and worry are that threat, your body reacts the same as if you were about to be attacked by a lion. This prompts your sympathetic nervous system to react, which controls involuntary processes like your breathing and heart rate, to kick into high gear. This leads your adrenal glands to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

This domino effect is behind anxiety’s physical symptoms. This means that when you are experiencing anxiety, it’s essentially the fight-or-flight system kicking in and saying, “Danger!”, this is why you feel you are about to die.

Physical symptoms include trouble falling or staying asleep, muscle tension, clenching your jaw, tightening your muscles throughout your body, chronic indigestion and self-doubt. You may experience self-consciousness, blushing, trembling, nausea, sweating and difficulty talking when having to interact with others, even a small number of people.

In most cases of cases of anxiety disorder, a combination of medication, talk therapy and alternative remedies can help you manage your anxiety.

5 Ideas that may help manage your Anxiety

Sunlight: Getting plenty of direct sunlight, even short 20-minute breaks in the sun per day may have significant benefits for your mental health.
Warm Baths: After a long anxious day, a warm bath helps by increasing body temperature, and regulates mood and anxiety. Add an essential oil, like lavender to enhance the experience.
Exercise: Weekly exercise is essential for a balanced and healthy lifestyle. 20 minutes of stretching or walking 10 000 steps per day will help release feel good endorphins.
Improve your diet: Leave out alcohol, artificial sweeteners and processed food. Double up on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Add supplements such as Lysine and Omega 3 to your diet: Lysine is a powerful tool in the fight against anxiety. Omega-3 is an important element to support overall mental health.

Now on the bright side, anxiety is treatable. If anxiety is getting in the way of your life – contact your medial practitioner TODAY to discus treatment options.