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Substance Use: A Closer Look

By CMH Blog

Understanding Substance Use – A Closer Look 

Why do we use substances such as alcohol and drugs? Drugs flood the brain with feel-good chemicals and turn off the parts of our brain that worry and stress. For many people, and in small doses, this substance use never becomes a problem. But for a lot people, substance use can be a big problem. The brain starts to rely on the drug to feel better; and sometimes we can’t feel good, or even okay, without having the drug in our system. This is when substance use becomes more than just use: it becomes a way of life.

Why does addiction happen?

There are two prevailing theories on addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD): the biological theory and the social-emotional theory.

Biological Theory
In the biological theory, substances such as drugs or alcohol interact with chemicals, called neurotransmitters, that are naturally produced by the human brain. These neurotransmitters are responsible for our emotions, our stress reactions, and ultimately, our survival. When we use a substance, it either triggers or imitates some of the neurotransmitters already in our brains. This is why drugs can seem so effective: because they work just like we do! This is also why drugs can be problematic: because sometimes they work more efficiently than we do, causing us to prefer them, or because they change the way our brains produce these chemicals, causing us to rely on them just to feel “normal.”

Treatment from this biological perspective consists of abstinence from substances, cognitive behavioral skills to change thoughts and behavior related to substance use, and sometimes medication to give the brain a boost in restoring those neurotransmitters.
For more detailed information on the biological model, check out the book Never Enough by Judith Grisel, Ph.D. or watch her videos on YouTube.

Social-Emotional Theory
The second major theory of addiction is the social-emotional theory. This theory explains that we use substances to change the way we feel in any given moment. Using substances to change how we feel is a long-standing human behavior that we’ve been doing for thousands of years through different methods. Much of the time addiction develops when unpleasant and uncomfortable situations persist: physical and emotional pain, isolation, poverty, interpersonal conflict, or pretty much any situation you can think of that you wouldn’t want to be in anymore.

Treatment from this social-emotional perspective consists of the methods mentioned above, plus learning how to manage emotions, dealing with painful memories and feelings, and building community and fulfillment.

For a wonderful description of this perspective, check out the TED Talk by Johann Hari, Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong.

How can I change my substance use?

There are as many versions of recovery as there are ways to use. For some people recovery means achieving sobriety to meet conditions set by someone else in their life — a loved one, an employer, a case worker, or a probation officer. For others, recovery means using substances that do less physical harm to them and reducing the risk of serious injury or death. And for some people, recovery means understanding what reasons led them to use in the first place, resolving those reasons, learning new skills, and moving forward in a new life. There is no wrong way to recover if it’s what you want to do. No matter how you want your substance use to be different, help is available if you want it (and sometimes if you don’t. We’re persistent). Peer support groups, treatment options, and the recovery community are ready to welcome you and help you answer your questions.

How can I help someone I care about?

Talk to them. Tell them you’re worried about them. Offer support, even if you don’t understand what they’re going through, and you think you would do something different if you were in their situation. Being there, loving and accepting them for who they are right this very moment, is the best thing you can do for your loved one. That’s not always possible, and that’s okay. Be honest with yourself about how you can show up for your loved one, and then be honest with them about it. If you need to care from a distance, there are other ways to support them. Send them this post! Share some resources you think they might be interested in. Do your own research so you can grow your understanding of their perspective.

Feel free to reach out to The Center at 970.252.3200, or drop by a local meeting if that’s more your speed. If you’re looking for more information before you reach out, you can also check out findtreatment.gov or nami.org.

People participating in group therapy

Substance Use Disorder 101

By CMH Blog

What is substance use disorder?

Substance use happens when we use things like alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs to help us cope with something in our lives.  When that use gets out of control, has a negative impact on other parts of your life, or becomes less effective, causing you to use more, that’s called substance use disorder.  Substance use disorder, often referred to as SUD or addiction, is common and treatable.

What does substance use treatment mean?

Many people think of rehabilitation, or rehab, when they hear the word “treatment,” but in reality, that is just one of many kinds of substance use treatments.  You might hear some of the following treatment terms: outpatient, intensive outpatient, community-based, partial hospitalization, inpatient, residential, rehab, co-occurring, evidence-based, and individualized.  Sounds like a lot, right?  Here’s a breakdown:

Outpatient—is a term used to describe services that take place at an office location.  That’s it!

Intensive outpatient—these services also take place at an office location, but for anywhere from 9-15 hours per week.

Community-based—these services occur in your community.  Yup, this one is straightforward too.

Partial hospitalization—these services usually take place at a structured environment during the day only. Participants typically go home at night.

Inpatient—these services take place in a structured, hospital environment, and participants spend the night there.  These programs are usually 3-30 days long.

Residential—these services take place in a structured environment that is less medical in nature than a hospital.  These programs are usually 1-6 months long.

Rehab—short for rehabilitation, this term usually refers to either inpatient or residential programs.

Co-occurring—these are services that involve both substance use and mental health treatments.  Co-occurring treatments are often where the “why we use” stuff comes in.

Evidence-based— this term means that the treatment approaches used by a program have been studied and proven to be effective in treating the identified problem.

Individualized— this term means that treatment goals and programs are designed to focus on the unique needs of each participant.

Whew!  That’s a lot of vocabulary.  So, what does The Center for Mental Health offer for substance use treatment?

The Center offers a range of services in the different communities we serve.  All of our offices offer individual counseling; most locations offer group counseling as well.  At the Montrose office, we offer a co-occurring treatment program with different tracks for different stages of recovery; we also offer individualized treatments made up of individual and group counseling for substance use, mental health, and co-occurring specific goals.  Our team uses evidence-based approaches to help our clients meet their unique goals. Finally, the recovery community offers many types of support, from peer groups to sober activities and more.

I have questions… a LOT of questions.

That’s great!  Questions are welcome.  Feel free to reach out to The Center at 970.252.3200, or drop by a local meeting if that’s more your speed.  The recovery community is waiting to welcome you.

If you’re looking for more information before you reach out, you can also check out findtreatment.gov or nami.org. Also, check out our Peer Support Programs as well.

 

Group of teenagers

Welcome to Rainbow Space

By CMH Blog

Welcome to Rainbow Space: A Safe, Supportive Place for LGBTQ+ Youth in Montrose

Rainbow Space: A Safe, Supportive Place for LGBTQ+ Youth in MontroseSo, you’ve been hearing around town about this Rainbow Space, but you find yourself thinking, “What in the world is that?” Rainbow Space is a safe zone for LGBTQ+ youth in middle and high school to hang out and support one another. It is hosted at the Youth Access Center (YAC) every Wednesday from 4pm-6pm. Our mission is to offer a safe, nonjudgmental, and visible space for LGBTQ+ youth, families, and allies in our community.

Each week, we provide a place for teens to come together with like-minded others for fun, food, games, support, community guest presentations, and more! At Rainbow Space, teens can find a supportive adult to talk to, learn more about LGBTQ+ topics in a friendly environment, and find ways to deal with the stress of being a teenager.

Now you find yourself thinking, “Does Montrose need this? Here? Really?”

The answer to this is yes, and here’s why. Research shows that when LGBTQ+ teens form a relationship with a supportive adult, their risk of suicide drops from 57% to 4%. Further, their reported life-satisfaction increases from 33% to 72%. But those are just a bunch of numbers. What are teens themselves saying about Rainbow Space? Check out what they think in their own words:

  • “This is my favorite part of the week; I look forward to every Wednesday so I can come here.”
  • “Before Rainbow Space, I had never been around other LGBTQ people my age.”
  • “I was nervous to come because I am very anxious around new people, but everyone here is so welcoming and supportive, I feel like I have already made new friends.”
  • “I feel safe and supported here.”
  • “I don’t have any friends.” — “I don’t ever want to hear you say that again, you have friends now, and it’s all of us.”

So yes, Rainbow Space is important. It is helping teens to stay alive, to feel connected and supported.  Now that you’re on board, how can you help support Rainbow Space?

  • Attend – If you are a middle schooler or high schooler in Montrose or the surrounding area, come out and join us. We meet every Wednesday from 4pm-6pm at the Youth Access Center (YAC, inside of CASA) at 147 N. Townsend Ave., Montrose.
  • Promote – Tell your friends, your kids, your kid’s friends: we want everyone in town to know about us!
  • Follow Us Online – We are on social media! Be sure to “like” and “follow” our pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat for the latest info.
  • Volunteer – We are always accepting new adult mentors. Please reach out to us at RainbowSpaceMontrose@Outlook.com to find out more about our volunteer process.
  • Donate – We are always accepting financial donations to support our group. If money isn’t your thing, we also accept donations of hot meals to be served at our community dinner. Please reach out to us at RainbowSpaceMontrose@Outlook.com if you would like to donate.
Girls drinking coffee at Christmas

4 Things NOT to Say to Those Coping With Substance Use

By CMH Blog

4 Things Not to Say to Someone Who Struggles with Substance Use Over the Holidays (and 4 Things to Say Instead)

The holidays are a challenging time for many of us. This is especially true for friends and family who may be struggling to overcome addictions or with the unhealthy use of cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol. Below are ways to start conversations this holiday season that are more productive and are less painful to those struggling with addictions.

Use the following suggestions to get those conversations off on the right foot.

1. Rather than asking, “Why haven’t you stopped that already?”
Try this instead: “I can see that you’re trying to make some changes. I’m happy for you!”

For many people, recovery from using a substance is a long journey. Whether it is cigarettes, alcohol, or heroin, it’s rarely easy to change. Substance use is more than just a behavior that we can choose to start or stop. Substances have an impact on the way our brains work, forcing us to change our brain chemistry AND our patterns of behavior when we stop using them. This isn’t easy! If you have a family member who is trying to change their substance use, this may be a big challenge for them, and they need your support. Recognizing that someone is making an effort can have a big impact.

2. Rather than saying, “That’s disgusting.”
Try this instead: “I appreciate that you’re trying to cut back. Let’s catch up some more inside when you have a minute.”

Some substances can be pretty unpleasant. For example, not everyone enjoys the aroma of cigarette smoke. The loved one who is using knows this and they’re not trying to be disrespectful. If being around it bothers you feel free to move away, but make sure your loved one understands that it’s not them you’re moving away from, it’s the substance.

Substance use can be perpetuated by feelings of shame. Telling someone they are gross, or that they smell, or that they are a failure for still using will not help them to change their use. In fact, it can make that use worse.

3. Rather than saying, “You know, my coworker’s nephew’s neighbor’s roommate tried hypnotism / acupuncture / medication / therapy / dancing naked under the full moon and it worked great for him. You should try it!”
Try this instead: “How can I support you?”

There are tons of different options for treating substance use. There are medical interventions, evidence-based therapy practices, alternative medicines, peer recovery programs, and more. Unlike those ugly holiday socks, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for substance use. What worked for your coworker’s nephew’s neighbor’s roommate might work for your family member, or it might not. You certainly don’t want them to feel like a failure if they have already tried that hypnotism/acupuncture/medication/therapy option and it didn’t work for them. The best thing you can do is offer support for your loved one. It’s best to offer suggestions only when asked.

4. Rather than saying, “Don’t come over until you’re off of that stuff.”
Try this instead: “I want you to know that I care about you. Want to get some coffee?”

Maybe you’re really not comfortable with any substance use, or you have a child with an allergy to cigarette smoke. There may be any number of other reasons that you’re not ready to open your home to your loved one who is still struggling. It is possible to set a clear boundary and still be supportive. If the boundary means spending time together outside of your home, then that’s fine! Just be sure to follow through. If you say you’re going to get some coffee, then get some coffee. Show your family member that even though you don’t accept their use of substances, you still accept them as a person.

Want more information? Visit findtreatment.gov and nami.org for more resources for family members. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to The Center for Mental Health to learn more about the treatments we offer at 970.252.3200 or visit our website at centermh.org.

Happy person with arms up in field

Let’s talk… about hope, help, and suicide prevention

By CMH Blog

Kate Hurley, Staff Writer

Note: September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Suicide affects every one of us — whether it’s someone we know or someone in our community, whether it’s a completed suicide or an attempt, whether we hear about it on the news or worry that someone we know and love might be in danger of hurting themselves.

Personally, I have been impacted by suicides like my high school boyfriend’s dad; an ex-boyfriend; a dear friend. Even though it was years ago, I still remember the death of my boyfriend’s dad. It devastated the family and the community, and it created shock waves that continue to ripple today. We all wish we could have prevented a suicide and wonder if we missed signs or could have done more.

A friend of mine and a suicide-survivor, Randy*, recently shared his story with me. Not only was it a powerful wake-up call for me about the need to learn the risk factors and warning signs for the risk of suicide, it gave me hope that help was out there, that I could actually do something.

Randy had gone to a bridge to commit suicide. He walked back and forth for hours. Tourists streamed past him, but nobody stopped him to ask if anything was wrong. Finally, he raced to the railing and jumped over. And as soon as his hands left the railing, he was filled with regret.

Eventually, he realized that his pacing back and forth was actually a silent plea for help. He thinks that if just one of those people who passed him on the bridge that day had asked if something was wrong, he wouldn’t have jumped. It moved me to realize one small act or word from even a stranger could have changed his life’s story.

How many lives could we save if we all knew the risk factors and warning signs of suicidal behavior?

Risk factors don’t cause or predict suicidal behavior, but people suffering from them may be more likely to consider or attempt suicide. The following is a short list of some of the risk factors associated with the possibility of suicidal behavior:

RISK FACTORS FOR SUICIDE (courtesy of suicidepreventionlifeline.org)

  •  Mental health issues
  •  Alcohol and other substance use and abuse
  •  History of trauma or abuse
  •  Major physical illnesses
  •  Previous suicide attempt(s) or family history of suicide
  •  Loss of relationship(s), job, or financial loss
  •  Lack of social support and sense of isolation or hopelessness
  •  Stigma associated with asking for help
  •  Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
  •  Local clusters of suicide or exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the 05media and Internet)

Knowing the warning signs may help you determine if you, a friend, or loved one is at risk for suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the following warning signs, please call The Center for Mental Health Crisis Line at 970.252.6220 (locally) or Colorado Crisis Services at 1-800-493-TALK (8255) (statewide).

SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS (with thanks to suicidepreventionlifeline.org)

  • Expressing the desire to die or to kill themselves
  • Researching ways to kill themselves
  •  Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, in pain, or having no reason to live
  •  Expressing concern about being a burden to others
  •  Behaving recklessly
  •  Increasing alcohol and substance use
  •  Sleeping too little or too much
  •  Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  •  Extreme mood swings

Randy experienced major behavioral changes before attempting suicide. He talked about wanting to die and feeling hopeless. He began drinking heavily, often blacking out; he also acted recklessly and took major risks. Looking back, he realizes his behavior was a cry for help.

And there is help.

The Center for Mental Health can help by phone, online, or in person.

By phone
If you are in crisis, please call our Crisis line at 970.252.6220 or text TALK to 38255 to connect with a crisis counselor.

Online
Using our confidential, free, and quick self-screening tool, you can assess your own mental health situation online.

In person
The Center for Mental Health has locations across the Western Slope — you can make an appointment or walk-in for help.

The Crisis Walk-in Center in Montrose provides urgent behavioral health to anyone in our region. If you think you or someone you know is in danger of hurting themselves, walk in 24-hours a day, 365 days a year for help. No insurance is needed. It will open on September 16, 2019.

Know the risk factors, know the warning signs, know where to go for help, and together we can all help prevent suicide.

Resources

*Name changed

Mom soldier embracing little girl

Moral Injury

By CMH Blog

The daughter of a U.S. Marine veteran didn’t understand why her father kept hiding his Honorable Discharge in a drawer. “He earned it on Guadalcanal” she said. “He’s a hero.” Her father had been known in the community for helping people in need for forty years. But with his daughter in the other room he whispered, “I’m a fake. Everybody thinks I’m good, but they don’t know what I did.”

The U.S. Marine veteran could be suffering from Moral Injury. Moral Injury occurs when a person acts in a way that they think is wrong, watches someone else commit wrongdoing, or fails to prevent a wrong.

Looking out the window at some unseen thing a thousand yards away, the marine remembered: “One night I was separated from my squad. To stay alive, I fired on anything that moved.” After pausing he continued, “There were other marines in the jungle.”

No evidence exists that he harmed anyone, friend or foe. But with a moral injury it isn’t evidence that matters, it is belief. The marine believed he had harmed or killed other marines. And he believed that doing so was unforgivable. Once home, he had tried to sweep away his guilt and shame by helping other people. Those he helped told him he was the nicest person they ever met. At times he almost believed them. Until the sun dipped, shadowing a bush like Guadalcanal. And he remembered the other marines in the jungle.

Common symptoms of moral injury are:

  • Reliving the event when something triggers the memory.
  • Experiencing disruptive feelings like guilt, shame, fear, anger, and anxiety.
  • Avoiding situations and places that resemble the person, place, or experience.
  • Having trust issues.
  • Substance abuse—which can either be long term, or occasional benders.

If someone you care about has these symptoms once a month or once a year, they may have a moral injury—even if they didn’t go to war: training accidents and illegal orders happen in times of peace. You don’t have to be a veteran either—law enforcement, first responders, first receivers, and corrections staff, are all at risk for moral injury every time they go to work.

Moral injuries hurt. Beliefs about bearing pain in silence, about suffering being part of atonement, and thinking that what someone experienced “wasn’t that bad” can cause the injured to deny treatment. They may think that they aren’t injured. But symptoms don’t lie. You don’t have to live with moral pain.

Life can get better, much better. With help, you or your loved one can learn how to respond to negative thoughts and emotions. You can learn what to do when painful or troubling memories disrupt the peace. There are ways of coping that don’t involve passing out in a puddle of vomit, having a screaming fight, or quitting your job.

Moral anguish disrupts a person’s narrative and blurs the sense of self. Healing starts with the injured exploring their beliefs about who they are, and what they believe about the world they live in. The Center for Mental Health is here to help.

The Center for Mental Health has several professionals on staff who have been specially trained in effective treatments for moral injury, as well as PTSD. Call us at 970.252.3200 to find a provider or email info@centermh.org and we will reach out to you directly.

Hindered – A Poem

By CMH Blog

Hindered

The sky was layered in a thick blanket of billowing mass.

The world surrounding was concealed in a lonely blackness.
The moon, saddened by its silencing.

Utter darkness.

Not the type of dark that comes
When the moon rises
And the sun elegantly creeps away.
The type of dark that intertwines with the grass,
the shivering branches,
And the very air intoxicating a perky lung.

This heavy mass, inky black,
The deep corner of a gloomy junkyard
And I was the rusting locket
Long lost and buried in the chaos of fading memories.

Once mocking, the stars lingering in the heavens
Hindered.
Like a wild candle light
Smothered and suffocated under a bushel.
Their  unwavering bliss and streak of danger
Deafened.
As if the lungs of the glowing balls of fire
Violently gasping for breath,
Were my own.

I was the army of angered luminosity,
illuminating the limitation of Earth
And I was the darkness smoldering over their being
I was the light fighting to be seen
And I was the thick mustering cloud
stubbornly adhering

I was the moon
And I was the sun.
I was the stars
And I was the clouds.

I was my own darkness
And I was my own light.

-Haylee R. Curry

 

There is always hope, and we’re here for you. Reach out, get help. 
Our 24-hour crisis line is available 7 days/week at 970.252.6220 or 844.493.8255
Colorado Crisis Services
Center for Mental Health Crisis Services

depositphotos.com

5 Facts Every Resilient Person Knows

By CMH Blog

Resilience, or our capacity to withstand painful and disruptive life experiences (and even catastrophes), is taking on more importance than ever in the uncertain world we live in today. Surviving dysfunction, disappointment, and devastation in love and work has always been a part of our lives. But these days, the day-to-day news cycle seems to create a never-ending barrage of anxiety and sadness. The foundational belief that we live in a relatively safe, sane, and predictable world has been shaken to the core.

Let me be clear about one thing: Resilience doesn’t mean you don’t feel devastated or that you’re not affected deeply; it means you can handle the losses and pain life delivers, recover, and thrive again. For decades, researchers have wondered about resilience. After thousands of studies and years of research, we have found five essential facts about the quality of resilience.

1. Resilience can be learned.

We know that there are several components to recovery after a painful event: Remembering who you are even as life falls apart, having a strong support system, and being able to imagine life getting better even if it isn’t so great right now. Resilient people believe we are a part of something larger than ourselves, whether we call that humanity, nature, or give it a religious name. Resilient people know how to bend but not break, how to ask for help, and how to remember that who they truly are is not what happens to them. Rather than numbing themselves to their pain, they find positive ways to manage their distressing emotions and feelings: meditation, exercise, proper self-care, pets, family and friends, and pursuit of their passions.

2. Having a larger community base and support system builds resilience.

Years ago, there was a lot written on the phenomenon of “super kids,” or children who had every imaginable problem at home but who still found a way to thrive. The single quality they all shared was having at least one person in their lives who believed in them. It could be an aunt, a coach, or a woman who lived down the hall, but that person reminded them that they were more than the poor cards they were dealt. Research continues to support the theory that people with better relationships have higher emotional intelligence, think more creatively, and are more likely to ask for help. Being a part of a community also means we have other people to pay attention to, nurture, and remind us that we are not the only ones who are suffering and rebuilding.

3. The more we feel all of our feelings, the more resilient we are.

The focus on “being positive” has gotten a lot of press recently, but we are hardwired to remember painful experiences and negative events. We need those memories for protection. We also need ALL of our emotions. Repressed grief, anger, and fear lead to both psychological and physical problems.

People who are resilient know how to grieve their losses, express their anger and fear, and rebound from those feelings by going through them rather than denying them. Through doing this, they can truly embrace ways to find the gifts of compassion, wisdom, and inner strength that painful events have to offer.

4. Resilient people don’t deny their human responses to loss and pain.

We know many stories of heroes and heroines who have gone through unimaginable losses and come out with tales of wisdom learned and a deepening of soulfulness. It is easy to think they went through their experiences almost smiling. This is not true, of course, and it’s normal to feel like giving up, to doubt one’s ability to recover, and to wonder if you will ever have a night free of sorrow and sleeplessness. Passages of birth and death of any kind are full of excruciating moments, exhaustion, and momentary losses of faith in our own recovery. Resilient people can accept this as a part of the whole, and they know when to reach for the phone, grab an inspirational book, or go to the gym. They do this even when it doesn’t seem like it will help.

5. Yes, you can grow your resilience.

Since we have identified many of the qualities that cultivate and contribute to resilience, we can all find ways to grow, learn, and practice those qualities. Stress and challenges will not go away, but our capacity to mitigate their impact can grow. We can each learn to feel sadness and loss but not let them define who we are, rebuild our lives after painful events, and live happier and healthier lives.

We never find total closure; the scars become a part of who we are. As author Daniel Gottlieb said, “that’s what happens in our hearts. The holes do not disappear, but scar tissue grows and becomes part of who we are. As our hearts grow larger, and we learn that scar tissue is not so ugly after all, we accommodate what we had thought would be unendurable. And we realize that the wisdom we have gained would not have been possible without the losses we have known, even those that seemed impossible to bear.”

 

By Linda Carroll, M.S. via 5 Facts Every Resilient Person Knows, According To A Psychotherapist

 

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing a mental health crisis, please visit our Crisis Services page

If you would like more information about the services the Center provides, please visit our Services page

If you would like to complete a free, anonymous mental health self screening, please visit centermh.org/help.

Unspoken

The Unspoken, by Brianna Parcell

By CMH Blog, Guest Blog

The Unspoken
A real and relatable description of the unspoken pain within

People think depression is sadness. People think depression is crying. People think depression is being “emo” or dressing in black and being a moody loner. But people are wrong. Depression is the constant feeling of being numb. Being numb to emotions, being numb to change, and the world around you. Being blind to everything that is beautiful, important, and unique about you. You feel nothing, and everything is gone, but the emptiness still feels heavy, and the silence is too loud.

Even the simplest tasks become painful, and things that used to bring you joy are worthless. You begin to lack motivation because why would you keep on trying if it means nothing? When you start to believe that life won’t go on for you, you suddenly stop caring for yourself. Sometimes the most joyful and confident looking people are hurting the most. You wake up in the morning and just want to go back to bed, but then once you try to sleep the thoughts keep you awake, and you lay for hours either crying or staring at the ceiling, leaving you feeling empty. The emotional distress of this state tires you physically. Everybody just pushes away the uncomfortable conversation of how you are doing because they only want to think about your future. But how am I suppose to worry about a future if I don’t know for sure that I will even survive through tonight?

Days don’t feel meaningful; they are just annoying obstacles that need to be faced. And how do you face them? Through medication, through doubt, through drinking, through drugs, through cutting. Self-harm is a way of expressing your self-shame on your own body; almost like punishing yourself for being this way. While it can simultaneously release all of the pain that builds up inside from the external and internal hate. It can be a punishment, while it also makes you feel better and begins to cradle and comfort you in these times. Every cut lets out all of the tears and pain that build up in your throat making you unable to breathe or think. Then there is one cut that goes too deep, and maybe you weren’t ready, or perhaps you let it happen, and you are free from the fight. Words always hurt, and we have scars to prove it. But then you feel like you cannot hide your story when it is carved into your body and engraved into your skin, so the whole world knows, “oh, watch out, she is unstable, and she must be a sad girl.”

When you’re depressed, you grasp onto anything that can get you through the days, which are filled with the words “slut” “dumb” and “ugly,” and to make it worse, the people saying this is who you thought were your friends and supporting peers. Then when you stand up for yourself, they brush it off saying it was a joke and that you are too sensitive. The vicious cycle of trying to be strong, getting shut down, and then feeling like the only way to cope is to take it out on yourself, never stops. When in this state of mind you feel as if you have a million people that you can tell, but not enough that listen. When they may be “listening” nobody knows what to say or how to respond to the heaviness. Why am I blaming myself for what you said? Well, you should have thought of that before you opened your mouth. The most interesting thing is that these days it is funny to tell people to kill themselves as a “joke.” Really? Are you serious? You are so funny! Take a trip to the hospital and tell the kids on the 6th floor with scars up their arms and liver damage your jokes.

Depression is like watering flowers that are already dead. Depression is like the rotting flesh hiding underneath the soft, pretty velvet. It is a suffering so profound it will never show; I’m dying, and they will never know until I’m lying 50 stories below all they are gonna have to say is “what a shame, she was so beautiful.” This is not a choice; it is a plague and a disease that has no at-home remedy. It is impossible just to flip a switch and be happy and see the world in color again, which is what most people that you open up to ask you to do, assuming it is that simple. That’s what depression is, not sadness or tears; it’s the overwhelming sense of numbness and insignificance through all aspects of life. The whole world seems like it hates you, and convinces you to hate yourself too.

Love,

Brianna Parcell

 

There is always hope. If you’re experiencing any of the feelings that Brianna wrote about, or any other mental health crisis, we’re here for you. Reach out, get help. 
Our 24-hour crisis line is available 7 days/week at 970.252.6220 or 844.493.8255
Colorado Crisis Services
Center for Mental Health Crisis Services

 

Anxiety

Changing Colors

By CMH Blog

As supple greens turn to mesmerizing golds, the changing of colors and seasons can also bring a change in people’s moods and emotions. Some look forward to autumn and welcome the cool weather with a smile and a cozy sweater. But for others, their pumpkin spiced beverages are topped with a sense of anxiety.

These anxious thoughts and feelings can arise from shorter days and longer lists of what needs to be accomplished. Or, a sense of loneliness may begin to build due to less time scheduled to see friends. Perhaps there is a realization of the ceasing time to go on summer adventures. Others may have an unwavering discomfort and distaste for change altogether. No matter what an individual’s reason may be, anxiety can begin to take its toll this time of year. It can be easy to miss the true bliss and beauty of the season.

To keep thoughts focused and controlled, try taking a moment to identify what and why something is triggering anxiety. In anxious ridden moments, acknowledge those feelings. However, be careful not to let the anxiety take control. Get to the root and face it head on. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself a break and realize these thoughts and feelings are valid. Being anxious can be the body’s way of signaling that something may not be quite right. It is important to pay attention. Once the reasons become a little clearer behind why anxiety rears its head, it may allow for better preparedness the next time an attack begins.

If anxiety attacks become debilitating, perhaps reaching out to a professional or another trusted individual may help ease some of the suffering. Sometimes, it takes a little more than internal reflection to find a way to cope and overcome. It may be helpful and beneficial to speak about the anxiety. Saying the words out loud, even if it is difficult to identify the reason, could lead to some relief. This method may help in dealing with those anxious moments. With the help of another, there could be guidance and coping mechanisms which were not obvious alone.

The Take Away

The most important thing to remember is that support is available. Take a deep, steady breath. Be forgiving. Show patience to yourself and others during this beautiful, autumn season. Acknowledge thoughts and feelings to see if finding the root of anxious moments is possible – this may lead to an unforeseen solution. Reach out to a trusted individual if feelings of anxiety become overwhelming and incapacitating. Anxiety doesn’t have to be something someone must suffer alone. Even if anxiety is not personally familiar, there are sufferers all around. So it is important remember that a kind smile every season can make a difference.

Follow this link for additional help or for more information about services that are available www.centermh.org/services/

If you are interested in a self-screening regarding mental wellness, please follow this link www.centermh.org/services/self-screening/

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from a mental health crisis, please call 970.252.6220 or visit this link www.centermh.org/services/crisis/

Here’s to a happy and healthy autumn,

Ashley