Inspirational Songs

Here is a list of songs I found to be inspirational. If you have any songs to add to this list, please write them in the comment section below!

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More Mental Health Apps

Here is a list of some additional mental health apps:

More Mental Health Apps

Anxiety

Stop Panic & Anxiety Self-Help: Meditate, Sleep, Relax

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.excelatlife.panic&hl=en

Android Rating: 4 stars

This friendly app offers a range of self-help methods for individuals who are serious about learning to manage their anxiety. Established methods of self-help are provided in this engaging, flexible, practical resource.

Anxiety Reliever

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/anxiety-reliever-stress-anxiety/id1029839288?mt=8

iPhone Rating: 4 stars

This app consists of a collection of calming audio recordings, helpful guidelines, an insightful anxiety tracker, breathing tools, and supportive messages. Calming audio sessions are divided into categories such as De-Stress, Anxiety, Sleepy Time, Binaural Sounds, and ASMR. The built in tracker allows users to monitor their triggers, and habitual thoughts.

Relaxation

OMG. I Can Meditate!         

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/omg.-i-can-meditate-!-meditation/id920161006?mt=8

iPhone Rating: 5 stars

Android Rating: 4.5 stars

This app provides users with their own personal meditation coach, resulting in better sleep and de-stresses in a mere 10 minutes. Learn simple mindfulness and mediation techniques which bring happiness, calm, and peace of mind into your life.

Depression

MoodTools – Depression Aid

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.moodtools.moodtools&hl=en

Android Rating: 4 stars

MoodTools is designed to help combat depression and alleviate users negative moods. Assistance is provided through the research-supported tools within this app to aid users on their road to recovery. Some of the tools included are a thought diary, various activities, a safety plan, and helpful videos.

Depression CBT Self-Help Guide

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.excelatlife.depression&hl=en

Android Rating: 4 stars

This app serves as a wonderful resource as it contains numerous articles about clinical depression and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Depression Assistance Audio is offered to aid in comprehension of clinical depression, as well as a screening test accompanied by a graph to monitor severity of depressed mood. Relaxation audios are also provided to help deep relaxation.

Pacifica – Anxiety, Stress & Depression Relief

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/pacifica-anxiety-stress-depression/id922968861?mt=8

iPhone Rating: 4.5 stars

Android Rating: 4 stars

Psychologist-designed tools addressed through a Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy route are provided in this app. Mindfulness meditation, relaxation, and mood tracking are included. Tools which target stress, anxiety, and depression are provided to help break the ongoing cycle of negative thoughts.

Sleep

CBT-I Coach

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.t2.cbti&hl=en

Android Rating: 4 stars

This app is for individuals who are engaged in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia with a health provider, as well as those who have experienced symptoms of insomnia and wish to improve their sleeping habits. Users are guided through the process of learning about sleeping, developing positive sleep routines, and improving one’s sleep environment. A structured program is outline which teaches users strategies proven to improve sleep and aid with alleviating symptoms of insomnia.

Thought Record

CBT Thought Record Diary

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.moodtools.cbtassistant.app&hl=en

Android Rating: 4 stars

This thought diary will help you evaluate, understand, and change both your thoughts and feelings. Users can work to identify their emotions, analyze how and why they are feeling a particular way, challenge their beliefs, and change their thinking patterns for future situations.

Tomorrow is a new day, don’t give up

March 27th, 2016

9:00pm

I sit here alone

Feeling the darkness slowly rise

My mind encapsulated in fear

“Will this ever end?”

10:00pm

I sit here alone

Shaking with anxiety

Quietly preparing my medicine

“Why bother? It’s not working.”

10:15pm

I sit here alone

Feeling hopeless, crying silently

Pouring 60 pills into my hand

“Take them all. No one will miss you.”

10:20pm

I sit here alone

Fighting these darks thoughts

Rationalizing, contemplating, deciding

“Is this how it ends?”

11:00pm

I sit here alone

Gasping for air

Sobbing uncontrollably

“This will never end.”

11:05pm

I sit here alone

Finally swallowing my pills

Only taking an extra two

“I knew you’d chicken out.”

11:45pm

I sit here alone

Drifting into unconsciousness

Knowing better than to wish for a better day

“Everything would be better if i was dead.”

 

March 28th, 2016

7:30am

I am afraid

Of these disturbing thoughts

That still encircle my mind

“I wish I didn’t wake up at all.”

8:00am

I am afraid

That admitting these thoughts

Will land me in a place I’ll never leave

“You’ll never leave because you’ll be dead.”

9:30am

I am afraid

Waiting anxiously to see you

Hoping for relief from my own self

“You’re just another number. She doesn’t care.”

10:00am

I am afraid

Sitting in your office

Spilling out every little thing I’ve bottled up inside

“Just shut up. No one ever cared.”

10:10am

I am afraid

Uncontrollably shaking, sobbing

As i finally gather my courage

To admit my suicidal feelings

10:15am

I am afraid

Talking to campus emergency

Agreeing that the hospital is my best chance

“They don’t care. You’re a liability now.”

10:45am

I am crying

As I’m admitted to emerg

Feeling as if all eyes are on me

“You’re pathetic and weak.”

11:30am

I am crying

As i am sent back to the waiting room

For the crisis nurse to arrive

“She doesn’t care. Nobody cares.”

12:30pm

I am crying

As I’m walking to the other end of the hospital

To a place I fear I’ll never leave

“You’ll only leave here in a hearse.”

12:40pm

I am crying

As i answer more intake questions

Ticking off the mental illness being checked for

“They think you’re crazy.”

1:00pm

I am crying

Back in the waiting room again

Awaiting the arrival of the emergency psychiatrist

“They’re not coming. Why would they bother?”

2:00pm

I am shaking

As a strange man calls my name

Beckoning me into a small interview room

“There’s no going back. You’re never leaving this hospital.”

2:30pm

I am shaking

After talking to a man who has no interest in my issues

Who only sees me as another cry for attention

And another wasted hospital bed

3:00pm

I am shaking

As a new nurse tells me they have a bed for me

But it’s in the hallway of the department

I tell her I would rather leave than sit there in the open

3:15pm

I am shaking

As the nurse finds an empty room for me

Explaining no psychiatric beds are available at this time

Unless I’m willing to be transferred to Toronto

4:00pm

I am exhausted

Longing for sleep, eternal or not

Laying here alone

Not once being checked on

4:10pm

I am exhausted

Stirred awake by a volunteer bringing me food

Refusing it and telling her to take it away

“You don’t deserve to eat.”

4:45pm

I am exhausted

Still crying, still afraid, still alone

Having second thoughts about staying here

No one seems to care

4:55pm

I am exhausted

As I call a nurse into my room to talk

Asking to speak to the psychiatrist

Because I can no longer stay here

5:00pm

I am exhausted

Venting to this nurse, the only one who seemed to care

The one who says staying is best, but understanding the need to leave

Promising the psychiatrist will be by soon

5:15pm

I begin to wonder

After being here for 6 hours

Why no one had kept an eye on me

What if I had the means to end it all?

5:20pm

I begin to wonder

Had someone else been in my spot

If they had the means to end it here

How long until someone would notice?

5:40pm

I begin to wonder

Why I am here

As the psychiatrist berates me for wasting his time

“I was afraid of what I’d do. What else was i supposed to do?”

5:45pm

I begin to wonder

Whether I can keep holding on

Whether life really is worth it

And whether I have any strength left within to keep going

5:55pm

I begin to wonder

Why I was placed in a small, dim room

No windows, alone with my thoughts

Feeling more claustrophobic as the seconds tick by

6:10pm

I am calm

But still afraid

Somehow determined to keep living

Not understanding where this sudden change came from

6:20pm

I am calm

But still shaking

As I decide, for certain, to leave

Being told again that I’m making a big mistake

6:30pm

I am calm

As i sit outside waiting for a ride

Determined to prove him wrong

That this decision was right

7:30pm

I am calm

But alone

Facing my bottle of pills

“Don’t.”

8:00pm

I am calm

But exhausted

Fading into unconsciousness

“Tomorrow is a new day. Please don’t give up.” 

– Anonymous

Taking Time to Relax

As students we often feel as though we do not have time to relax, or feel guilty when we take a day off from studying. I know I personally do this. I will start watching a movie and feel as though there are 100 other things I should be doing. But sometimes we just need a break.

It’s important to take some time each day to relax. By doing so we reduce our changes of burning out and feel more refreshed once we go back to work.

Exams are creeping up which means everyone is stressed to the max! In order to keep sane, take short breaks while trying to review the entire semester in a few short nights. If you feel as though you can no longer be productive, it is definitely time to take a break. Have a nap, watch an episode or two of your favourite tv show, go outside for a walk, do something that makes you happy and relaxed. This will only help you accomplish more.

Best of luck on all your exams! Remember to make time to relax!

#smileforkyle

When I was in high school something tragic happened, a student named Kyle took his own life.

Our school community was devastated. Walking through the halls like zombies were numerous students who not only knew Kyle, but were close friends with him. I remember seeing a girl I know who was best friends with him in the hall the day after it happened. I could tell she needed comforting so I simply walked up to her and gave her a big hug, letting her cry on my shoulder. Another one of my close friends who knew Kyle very well and was devastated by his death. I made sure to let him know that I was there if he wanted to talk and gave him a comforting hug each time I passed him in the halls.

It was truly amazing to see our school community (students, teachers, parents) come together and support each other in this time of grief. All throughout the school you could witness students being comforted by each other. Counsellors were available for those who desired them, and the Chapel was open for anyone who needed space.

I only wish that someone would have been able to see that he was struggling. That someone was able to save him.

Kyle always had a smile on his face and appeared to be extremely happy. Students at my school began using the hashtag #smileforkyle and so many tweets were made that the hashtag was trending on Twitter. We all hoped that this would raise awareness on how serious and real suicide is. Each day we remind each other to smile for Kyle.

Someone to Talk to

It is so important to find someone you feel comfortable talking to. Someone you can tell anything to and know they will support you. Someone whose always ready to listen, to ask if you’re okay, to see if you are drowning.

I am so thankful that I have found 2 of these people. I know that both my best friend of 10 years and my boyfriend of 2 years are there for me when I need them. I can tell them anything whether it involves stress, my mental health, school struggles, family issues, or anything else which may be bothering or worrying me at the time. They have both shown to me that they are listening when I open up by asking meaningful questions, checking in on me when they know I am going through something difficult, and most importantly asking me “Are you okay?”.

Sometimes when we open up to someone and tell them how we are feeling or what we are going through, it seems as though they aren’t really listening. They aren’t really hearing what we are saying. Perhaps they are and they just don’t know how to respond. But we can’t always determine if this is the case.

It can be difficult finding someone you are completely comfortable with and can talk about anything to, but once you do life becomes much easier. I used to always bottle up my feelings and then cry when no one was around. Hiding your feelings and tears is a lot harder than just letting them out once in a while.

I hope that all of you are as fortunate as myself in that you have found someone to talk to when you are feeling anxious, depression, or stressed. And if not, I hope you feel safe expressing your feelings and thoughts on this blog, knowing that we are all here to listen.

Booklist

Here are some recommendations of books for enhancing and strengthening your mental health:

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (by: Brene Brown)

This novel by Brene Brown, focuses on whole-hearted living and the tools for developing worthiness, which Brown classifies these as courage, compassion, and connection. Personal stories are provided as examples of how these concepts work together in real life. The book follows ten guide posts relating to the importance of accepting one’s imperfections. Brown engages reader’s minds, hearts, and spirits through this easy read best-seller.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (by Brene Brown)

In this best-seller, Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotion, such as fear, grief, and disappointment, and the source of love, innovation, and belonging. Common myths regarding vulnerability are debunked, allowing readers to see how deep vulnerability truly is. Brown argues that our vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage and explains the ways in which it can be used to transform our daily lives.

Rising Strong: The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution (by Brene Brown)

Each one of us is going to stumble and fall at some point in our lives. The process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage becomes tested. Rising strong after a fall is how we develop wholeheartedness, which is an ongoing process. Brown teaches us that this process is where we discover the most about who we are.

Eat Pray Love (by Elizabeth Gilbert)

Eat Pray Love tells the story of a young women who seems to have it all, yet is not happy. Rather she is filled with panic and confusion. The story follows Elizabeth as she leaves behind her outward marks of success, and sets out to explore three different aspects of her nature. Through this journey, Elizabeth aims return to a health state in both her mental and physical health.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (by Elizabeth Gilbert)

Readers are encouraged to tackle what they love most, embrace their creativity, and face down what they fear most. Attitudes, approaches, and habits for living a creative life are discussed in this best-selling novel. Gilbert encourages readers to uncover the “strange jewels” which are hidden within each of us and learn how to infuse our lives with more mindfulness and passion.

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (by Malcolm Gladwell)

This novel will change how you think about obstacles and disadvantages. A new interpretation of what it means to endure various setbacks is offered by Gladwell. Readers have said that this book serves as a constant reminder that no matter what the circumstances, anyone can succeed. This novel truly is an eyeopener.

Luck is No Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in Your Life and Career (by: John Krumboltz and Al Levin)

Unplanned events and experiences often play a huge role in our lives, sometimes more than all the things we carefully plan. Luck is No Accident actively encourages readers to create unplanned events on their own, to anticipate changing their plans regularly, and to take advantage of chance events when they come up. This book has an easy style which encourages readers to make the most of what life has to offer, with personal stories which help bring the ideas into focus.

Mindsight (created by Wendy Stanyon) http://mindsight.uoit.ca

Mindsight is an excellent resource created by a professor here at UOIT. The aim of the module is to reduce stigma by promoting awareness of mental illness, as well as providing a greater understanding of the basic signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses. Self-help strategies and those for helping friends, peers, and/or family members are provided. Community resources are also available through this resource. There are 10 different sections to this training: stigma, depression, anxiety, substance use, suicide, self-harm, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, psychosis, and trauma. Once all the training and quizzes have been completed, a certificate of completion can be requested.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (by: Miguel Ruiz)

The Four Agreements reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that frequently create needless suffering. Ruiz provides readers with a powerful code of conduct which can rapidly transform your life to a new experience full of freedom, happiness, and love. The Four Agreements are: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and to always do your best.

The Secret (by: Rhonda Byrne)

This novel focuses on the laws of attraction providing historical examples of its application. A three-step creative process (Ask, Believe, and Receive) is outlined for making dreams manifest. Gratitude and visualization are highlighted as the two most powerful processes which can help make one’s desires manifest. The manner in which to use the law of attraction in various areas of life such as wealth, relationships, and health is discussed, allowing readers to understand how it relates to one’s life and the world.

The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (by: Jack Canfield)

The Success Principles will teach you how to increase your confidence, live with passion and purpose, as well as tackle daily challenges. Readers will learn to realize all their ambitions, through numerous principles which have proven successful throughout history. The fundamentals laid out in this novel are the same for all people, no matter how large or small their goals. Through learning these basics, you can move on to tackling the important inner work required to transform yourself into the person you want to be.

Strengths Finder 2.0 (by: Tom Rath)

This assessment is designed to help readers uncover their talents and learn numerous strategies for applying individual strengths to everyday life. Readers are informed of their top five themes and provided 10 strategies for building on each. A personalized action planning guide is laid out for applying your strengths in both the immediate and long-term future.

If there are any additional books you have found helpful regarding your mental health, please leave the title in the comments below!

book

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Recently I watched the movie It’s Kind of a Funny Story. For those of you who have not seen this movie, it is about a clinically depressed teenage boy named Craig, who checks himself into the psychiatric ward of a hospital after contemplating suicide. There were quite a few things I learned from this movie:

  1. People think mental illness can be cured almost instantaneously. In the movie Craig check himself into the hospital in hopes of being given a quick fix to end his suicidal thoughts. He learns that this is not going to happen as depression can’t be cured overnight.
  2. A lot of people may not accept or understand your mental illness. Craig’s father is aware of why he checked himself into the hospital and about Craig’s constant struggle with depression, however he still places a lot of stress on his son. He does not realize that one of the reasons Craig was suicidal in the first place was because of this constant stress.
  3. Not all mental illnesses look the same. When Craig’s friends find out he is in the hospital, they are both shocked and confused. It was not apparent that Craig was suffering from depression and would consider ending his life. On the other hand, when Craig first enters the psychiatric ward, he sees another patient talking to himself about what seems to be nothing. He is quick to question who this man is, and informed that he suffers from schizophrenia.
  4. It is important to find escapes or activities which make you happy. While in the hospital Craig attend an arts and crafts class in which he begins to draw a map. He realizes that this is something he loves to do and plans to continue drawing once he is released as it helps him forgot about all his problems and worries.
  5. There are people who love and care about you. When seeing the hospitals psychologist Craig reveals that he did not actually attempt suicide because he knows he has his friends and family who love him. Throughout his stay he comes to realize how important these individuals truly are.

funnystory-2

How can I help?

One of the most frustrating things can be trying to help someone who refuses your help. My brother has needed help regarding his mental health for years, but has always refused. When he was younger my parents took him to various psychologists and counsellors in hopes that someone would be able to help him, or at the very least get him to open up. But every time it was the same thing. An hour would pass and he would walk out of the room having not said a single word. He would then repeatedly tell my parents how much he hated them for forcing him to see a “shrink.” We also tried family counselling, but here my brother felt as though he was being integrated and threw a fit. We left the session early and never returned.

Once my brother got a little older it became impossible to get him to even go to his appointments. And now that he is an adult he still refuses to seek help. He has been told by numerous family members and close friends that he should talk to someone and get the help he needs, but he still refuses. It has gotten to the point where myself, as well as my parents have stopped trying to convince him to speak to somebody, as it is too frustrating of a task and always ends the same way.

If anyone has any suggestions as to try and help someone who constantly refuses help, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear any and all suggestions you may have!

how-can-i-help