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1. Read the Student Mental Health Services Blog (https://uoitmentalhealth.wordpress.com/)

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Contest closes on March 13. A winner will randomly be selected from the comments and contacted using the information that they provided.

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Restraint and Control – Anger in Addition to Depression and Anxiety

A side effect of depression and anxiety is irritability. By side effect, I mean a very common occurrence for many suffering with either. As someone with both, I struggle to control myself with it in all situations. I get overwhelmed extremely easily. At work, I get frustrated and angry at the drop of a hat with things as simple as hangers. I look at myself in the mirror when I’m home alone, screaming at small things that have me worked up and think “What is wrong with me?” But I know what’s wrong.

I often feel like I have little control over my emotions. My partner will be the first one to tell you he finds my intense frustration at inanimate objects highly annoying. We could be in the middle of a grocery store, I could go to pull a box of cereal off the shelf and bring two with it, and I would have to grit my teeth to prevent myself from screaming or throwing something. Believe me, it’s not something I’m proud of. My mother has been one of the few who has seen how angry I can get. She used to tell me as a kid she wanted to put me in anger management because I would blow up at her, my brother, my step-father quite often. As I got older, I learned to quell the rage surges by not saying anything, breathing a little, and trying to rationally think. However, it’s not as easy as some may think.

I believe a lot of my pent up anger is due to a lot of my issues from childhood. I suffered from bullying at school, familial and relationship abuse, and emotional neglect from my parents. I won’t go into details as I am private regarding those times, but I attribute my current mental state to those times. I can’t blame it all on that, as I have come to terms and resolved many issues from that time. But why I am so angry still? Because I still deal with depression and anxiety everyday? Because I don’t sleep enough? Because I’m frustrated with other aspects of my life? Maybe it’s a combination of the three.

In reflection over the past couple of months of life, I often worry people will hear me groaning, whining, or growling under my breath at work or in public. I’m really not proud of how easily I am frustrated, to the point I worry about snapping at the people I cared about the most. The other week, I was having a particularly bad week at work and I felt I snapped at my supervisor (she felt I really hadn’t snapped at all, I was frustrated with myself and having a panic attack that day as well). But my self control has improved considerably since starting at my retail job. I enjoy my job enough to not feel the urge to pull my hair out, but it has its downfalls just like any other job. Though I work with a great team, so I don’t *always* feel like I’ll lose my mind at work.

In retrospect, I feel like I still have quite a bit of work to do with trying to internalize my frustrations and anger. On my birthday last week, I literally felt my self control devolving after spending 3 hours in the heat and public, but I kept it mostly to myself. I hope if you take anything away from this, it’s that frustration and anger come and go, but to hold your tongue when the situation is most pressing, and to remember that things are not as bad as they feel. I hope I continuing improving my ability to keep calm and reduce my anger further.

Good luck and much love.

My Autistic Experience: Push Against Fear And Shelter

So recently I came across this:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/

Looking through it, I see it as an excellent opportunity to talk about an issue that I have wanted to talk about for a long time. It is a sensitive topic but it is near and dear to me, given my immersion in university life and education. However, I’d like to begin by tying it to my autistic experience. If I do not, there is no reason to talk about it here in this blog.

When I was little (and even still today to a lesser degree), I had what I call my strong literal sense. When I hear something, my first instinct is to take it literally. Jokes and euphemisms generally went over my head as I took the literal meaning of what was said. Also, in my sensitivity it was really easy for my feelings to be hurt. Perhaps that was okay when I was little, but adults carry certain expectations of each other.

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Continue the Conversation: Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato did a speech for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) back in September of 2014, where she spoke about her struggles with Bi Polar disorder, and eating disorder, and depression. She spoke about how mental illness has no prejudices, and anyone can be touched by it in their life time. “Mental health matters,” she said during her speech. “It needs, and must, be taken seriously.”

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Continue the Conversation: JacksGap

Normally a travel vlog on youtube, JacksGap took a moment a couple of months ago to talk about mental health issues. “Mental illness is a thing,” he said during the candid 3 minute long video. “It exists, in fact 1 in 4 people are affected by it.” He went on to say that if you don’t know someone who’s suffered from a mental illness, than they haven’t come forward because of the stigma that surrounds mental health.

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Tips for Friends: Self Harm

According to a google search, self harm is the “intentional, direct injury of body tissue most often done without suicidal intentions.” A person who self harms will explain their behaviour as a way of dealing with situations out of their control and feelings toward difficult or painful experiences. Most self harmers attempt to keep it hidden, and it may also become addicting as a release for some.

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My Autistic Experience: The Glass Orbs in People’s Heads

I’ve said in the past that my autistic nature has given me difficulties when it comes to socializing with other people. Much like using the back of a screwdriver to hammer a nail into a wall, my clever mind is an acceptable tool for socializing with others now that I am grown up and increasingly intelligent. However, my mind is not a natural fit with the social abilities of those without my condition.

This is perhaps where empathy comes into play. I can be made to understand an emotion that is described to me, or if a person explains why it is they are feeling a certain way. However, if empathy involves being able to look at a person and know how they feel from that, then my empathy is only so capable. Over the years I have been able to develop this skill, but reading the emotions of a person with no verbal cues is not a skill I like to rely on.

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Exercise – Mental – Physical – Emotional

I have read the previous post about writing, art, music and poems to escape depression; however, I am surprised to see that no one has blogged about exercise.

Today I attended a presentation by Dr. Jonathon Fowles from Acadia University on Exercise Prescription in Primary Care. I have been a fan of fighting depression with exercise since a young age so it was an interesting opportunity for myself. It was interesting to learn today from Dr. Fowles that regular physical activity can decrease depression as effectively as medications or behavioral therapy. One initiative that Exercise is Medicine Canada is trying to implement is for Health professionals to give clients exercise prescriptions and referrals. I believe this medical care would highly increase health in Canada and would most certainly decrease depression and anxiety rates.

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My Autistic Experience

So let us begin.

I am an autistic individual who attends UOIT. Through this forum, I hope to share my experience with my condition and to provide insight to others. I am particularly lucky that despite my condition I am able to interact with people in a normal fashion. No one would be able to guess at my condition by observing me (the only way anyone would know is at my say so).

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