Categories
Interview

Victoria Nguyen.

Interviewed by Jada Atchu-Yudom


Do you think people get over a mental illness without medication?

No, medication is a common method to stop the negative effects of a mental illness, but people can also use coping mechanisms such as healthy distractions as focusing on said behaviors may allow for the person to not pay attention to the mental illness they are experiencing for the time being. Psychoanalysis may also be an option along with other forms of therapy. Those who are religious may also resort to prayer by asking a higher being to help them through difficult times.

Why might someone with mental illness need to have a routine?

Daily tasks are much easier to focus on when one has a routine. I believe people struggling with a mental illness prefer being in control of their life, meaning that they do not have to deal with any unexpected work that may cause them to get anxious or overwhelmed.

How do you deal with your own mental health?

I have symptoms of anxiety and depression, so whenever I feel as if I’m experiencing a panic attack, I work on my breathing through grounding methods that calm me down eventually. I breathe in for 8 seconds and breathe out for 7 seconds, repeating when necessary. I have also tried the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique where you list 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing I enjoy tasting. As for the moments when I am feeling depressed/suicidal, I try my best to distract myself through watching YouTube videos or shows and also by listening to sad music to cry. I also jot down my feelings in my Notes app to try to get everything out. However, sometimes these methods don’t work and I just lie down hopelessly. I would love tips if anyone has any!

Are there any specific psychological conditions that mean a lot to you?

Social anxiety disorder is one that intrigues me as I can somewhat resonate with it and can understand how difficult it may be to live life with this condition.

Do you believe that the stigma has decreased a significant amount in your community?

I believe that the stigma against mental health has somewhat decreased, but it is not at all gone. As an Asian American, I feel as if the stigma is practically engrained in my ethnic background because it is so common for parents and members of this community to dismiss how important mental health is, but I can see that some families are more accepting and understanding when it comes to this topic.

How do you think school affects mental health?

School definitely affects mental health negatively as the stress of maintaining a high GPA, studying, handling a heavy homework load, and participating in class takes a toll on most if not all students. Trying to live to such high standards for validation from whomever it may be (teachers, parents, friends, etc.) causes students to suffer from burn out as they may start to focus on school more than their mental state and well-being. Also, class participation being mandatory in many classes and schools is generally unfair, in my opinion, and may push a socially anxious/anxious student over the edge.

What self-care practices do you recommend?

I know that positive affirmations really are beneficial to bettering your mental state! This is easier said than done, but feeding your mind with positive things such as praises will make you feel better. Being grateful for at least one thing a day is also a great method along with journaling.

What do you think schools should do to combat mental illness within students?

Schools should have genuinely supportive staff that truly care about students’ mental health such as guidance counselors that are able to keep the information that students’ share to them to themselves and not relay what is said to the students’ parents. Teachers should also be more understanding about the issues that students may deal with on the daily. Once again, participation should not be graded/enforced in classrooms! Mental health should be spoken about and taught more in schools. Psychology should be mandatory for all students, and this course should discuss mental illnesses and healthy coping mechanisms.

At its core, stigma is caused by?

I think stigma stems from misunderstanding and being unaware of what mental illnesses actually are. 

What does that stigma look like?

Judging someone who has a mental illness and telling them to simply “get over it” because one does not know that overcoming said illness is extremely difficult.

What are some things that we can do to stop that stigma?

Education and discussion are the best ways to stop this stigma. Teaching about mental health in schools as well as parents speaking to their children about the importance of mental health.

Categories
Interview

Sophie Vu.

Interviewed by Jada Atchu-Yudom


Do you think people get over a mental illness without medication?

I don’t believe curing one’s mental illness needs to be directly attached to taking medication.  I think mental illness is different for everybody and there is no set “formula” that can be applied to every person perfectly to help them.  While many people may benefit from a combination of medication and therapy, some people work well with only medication or only therapy.  

Do you think people stabilize a mental illness simply with medication alone? 

Similar to my response to people getting over a mental illness without medication, mental illness is different for everybody and what works for one person won’t be perfect for another person as well.  In other words, some people may work well with medication alone and others may not.  Moreover, mental illness and one’s mental health include many different factors, and not all of them can be treated with only medication.

Some people choose to just take meds and no therapy, do you think it is safe?

I have the feeling that taking meds alone without any sort of therapy or exterior assistance isn’t the safest option.  However, I cannot assume that everybody is in the same situation.  Some people’s situations may allow them to only take meds without therapy and for others that may be different.  I don’t think it’s my place to decide for other people what is the best option for them seeing that I am not a professional and I’m not fully aware of their circumstances.

How can you tell if someone has a mental health problem?

Mental health problems are internal and there aren’t many exterior signs to look out for.  While some mental health problems show exterior symptoms (for example, someone who has depression may show exterior symptoms such as changes in sleep or appetite), one cannot assume another person’s mental health just by looking at them, and some symptoms may overlap with other illnesses making it harder to distinguish a specific issue.  Simply put, one cannot really “tell” if someone has a mental health problem without being a professional in that area of expertise.

At its core, stigma is caused by?

Stigma is caused by society’s overall lack of knowledge/awareness and “accurate” perception of mental health and mental issues.  Although there are efforts aimed to spread awareness and educate others about mental health, there are still misunderstandings and misconceptions about it.  These misunderstandings or misconceptions usually view mental health in a negative light, bringing more stigma towards the topic.  

What does that stigma look like?

Stigma comes on a spectrum, and it comes in a variety of forms and manners.  On one side, stigma may look unacceptable, coming in the forms of bullying, harassment, or harsh words.  On the other side, stigma may be considered more “insensitive.”  Insensitive stigma may look like treating mental illness as something easy to cure: “Just try harder,” or “Think positive!”  

What are some things that we can do to stop that stigma?

Spread awareness, provide accurate information… Stigma was caused by a lack of knowledge, so it can be battled with education.

Why do you think mental health is stigmatized?

Stemming from a lack of knowledge and misrepresentation of mental health, some people may have certain ideas about mental health that are not only incorrect but may also be verbally harmful to others.

Categories
Study

Menstrual Depression

Disclaimer: we are NOT medical or mental health professionals. All our claims are based of off credible research studies. We do NOT recommend self-diagnosing and urge anyone who relates to anything we post to consult with a licensed professional.


Firstly, there are three main menstrually related mood disorders:

  • Perimenopausal Depression
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Perimenopausal Depression

Perimenopause marks the time in a woman’s life indicating that she’s no longer in a state of reproduction and is the period (no pun intended) before the last ovary shrivels up, drying all the blood.

Depression is one of the many symptoms related to perimenopause, alongside with anxiety and unstable emotions (not to get confused with Bipolar Disorder). Women transitioning into menopause are more vulnerable to depression, even if there is no history of depression.

Treatments include significant changes in dietary choices, HRT if indicated, and/or lifestyle and activity changes.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS, is a collection of emotional symptoms, with or without physical symptoms, related to a women’s menstrual cycle. The causes of PMS remains an enigma mainly because of its wide-ranging symptoms and the difficulty in making a firm diagnosis. Most evidence suggests that PMS results from the alterations or intersections between the levels of sex hormones.

PMS does not appear to be specifically associated with any personality factors or specific personality types. A number of studies have shown that psychological stress is not related to the severity of PMS.

Symptoms of PMS include, but are not limited to:

  • craving, acne, back pain, and headache
  • women can have PMS of varying duration and severity from cycle to cycle
  • anger
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • tension
  • urge to cry
  • PMS can also worsen symptoms of certain chronic conditions such as asthma and allergies, seizure disorders, and migraines.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD, is a severe case of Premenstrual Syndrome and is identified as a group of symptoms females experience before menstruation (period). The cause of PMDD is unknown, however it is likely that it’s the abnormal reaction to normal hormone changes that happen with each menstrual cycle. It can cause a deficiency in serotonin that can affect mood and cause physical symptoms.

Symptoms of PMDD include but are not limited to:

  • mood swings
  • headaches
  • sleeping issues
  • anxiety
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • fatigue
  • breast tenderness
  • cramps
  • depression
  • intense anger

Treatments of Menstrually-Related Depressions

  • antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
  • hormonal treatments (progesterone or estrogen supplements)
  • oral contraceptives (aka birth control)
  • diet and excerise

Sources

  • healthline.com/health/depression/Perimenopausal-depression
  • health.harvard.edu/womens-health/when-the-arrival-of-menopause-brings-symptoms-of-depression
Categories
Perspective

YouTubers We’ve Lost to Suicide

Trigger warning: suicide, self-harm, depression, anxiety, and abuse will be mentioned.


1. Etika

YouTuber Etika died by suicide, medical examiner says - CNN
photo courtesy of CNN

Desmond Daniel Amofah, better known by his online alias Etika, was an American YouTuber, streamer, and model with over 130k subscribers on YouTube. On June 19th 2019, investigators have claimed that Amofah jumped off the Manhattan Bridge and died.

People have said that the last video he posted appeared to express suicidal thoughts. People have also said that his last video was an apology video in which he admitted to being mentally ill and suicidal.

The video has since then been deleted.

Etika had always been pretty vocal about his mental health. A few months before his passing, he had posted pornography on his channel which resulted in his channel getting taken down. Shortly after that, he literally wrote on a Reddit post, “And now, it’s my turn to die. I love you all…”

He was 29 years old at the time of his death.

2. Stevie Ryan

Actress and internet star Stevie Ryan dead at 33
photo courtesy of WXYZ Detroit

Stevie Ryan became a YouTube sensation with her series called “Little Loca” and her pop culture sketch called show “Stevie TV”. She also co-hosted her own podcast named “Mentally Ch(ill)”, in which her and her co-host, Kristen Carney, talked about various mental illnesses in hopes of reducing the stigma.

In an episode of Mentally Ch(ill), Stevie had revealed that she had stopped taking her mood stabilizer and started trying Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) — a procedure typically used after other depression treatments aren’t effective. In a later episode, she had also stated that her success with YouTube never made her happy. She said, quote, “When I was doing well in life, I was so lonely and depressed.” In a later episode that actually dropped only a few days before her demise, she revealed to the audience that her grandfather had just passed away– who she was really close to. In the episode she said, “I’ll meet you [her grandfather] in Percebo, soon…”.

Many years before, Stevie Ryans had states, “I don’t know if I can ever be happy. I’ve been sad for so long. Maybe this is just where my bar is set.”

Stevie Ryans was only 33 years old when she passed away.

3. Landon Clifford

Landon Clifford, of YouTube channel Cam&Fam, has died - CNN
photo courtesy of CNN

Landon Clifford was a YouTuber who ran the channel Cam&Fam with his wife. They had 1.2 million subscribers.

It’s not clear how he commited suicide because his death was initially ruled as a brain injury. However, his wife, Cam, revealed that he had actually attempted suicide then been declared brain dead a few days after he was hospitalized.

Cam & Fam on Twitter: "He liked it so he put a ring on it 💍❤️… "
via Cam&Fam on Twitter

Although Landon himself wasn’t very vocal about his mental health on the internet, his wife claims that in their videos you can tell because of his actions, such as apologizing a lot for little things. After he passed, Cam had revealed that he had suffered from ADHD ever since he was a child and that after she had gotten pregnant with their second daughter, he started suffering from depression and anxiety.

Landon Clifford was only 19 years old when he passed away.

4. Ethan Peters AKA Ethan is Supreme

Ethan Is Supreme: Beauty influencer Ethan Peters dies aged 17 | Ents & Arts  News | Sky News
via Sky News

Ethan Peters, also known as Ethan is Supreme, was an American beauty blogger and makeup artist. He had 130k subscribers on YouTube and even founded his own clothing brand called Hellboy.

Ethan was always open about his struggle with mental health, especially after he had gotten bullied online for being a guy and wearing makeup. He also suffered from drug addiction. His official cause of death is not confirmed but it is said to be an overdose.

Ethan Peters was only 17 years old when he passed away.

Categories
Perspective Study

COVID-19 & its Affect on Mental Health

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a type of virus called a ‘coronavirus’. The novel (new) coronavirus was first discovered in China in November of 2019. In January of 2020, health and human services declared a public health emergency for the United States.

Fear and anxiety about an unknown disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both adults and children. The COVID pandemic has brought many changes and uncertainties with it. It has altered daily routines, financial stability, and social wellness. You may worry about getting sick or how long you have to live this way and what the future will bring.

There are a lot of rumors and misconceptions going around, making you feel uncertain about certain things regarding the virus. This is why it’s important to stay practicing self-care strategies. Here are a few:

  • get at least 8 hours of sleep a night
  • eat healthy
  • stay active and don’t let your mind get lazy
  • avoid substance/drug abuse
  • limit screen time
  • even if you are isolated, stay in contact with people–it’s important.

Always remember that this pandemic isn’t going to last forever. With that in mind, try your best to stay focused on being positive and remember–self care is NOT selfish.

Categories
Perspective

New Year Resolutions.

2020 was an…interesting year, we’ll say that! It was full of self discovery, evaluation, fright, and possibly heightened anxiety. However, it was an important year. It gave many people a new look on life itself and made people realize how important being a community is and how selfishness would get a nation nowhere. With all this said, new year resolutions are getting even more attention this year because everyone wants 2021 to be way better. A “new year resolution” is a term that means making decisions to become better at something or different in the upcoming year ahead. It’s great and all but did you know that less than 8% of people actually stick to their new year resolutions? Furthermore, resolutions are oftentimes motivated by physical change, however it’s important to know that mental health is important as well. Here are a few new year resolutions we recommend and we hope you are motivated to stick by them throughout the year. 

I will spend more time with loved ones. 

Being physically present with loved ones creates a strong emotional support to buoy you up through life’s challenges. Helps children perform well academically. On average, kids who spend more time with their parents tend to do better in school. They learn communication skills and the importance of education.

I will do more of what I love.

If you are doing what you love, it most often won’t even feel like ‘work’. You will be more focused and capable of living in the present moment, because your mind won’t be wandering off dreaming of something ‘better’. Your smile and conversation will be more genuine and in-turn you will attract other happy people.

I will make the most of my days.

Because, YOLO.

I will start counting the things I love about myself, not hate.

When we love ourselves we’re more likely to be happy and enjoy life, because we feel happy in ourselves. You’re not always striving to do more or think you can do better. This is really a form of internal criticism, as you’re saying what you are now or what you’re doing isn’t good enough in some way.

I will accept my shortcomings and grow from them.

If you can embrace your flaws you can start being more true to yourself by accepting that you are not perfect. It allows you to measure things with the right perspective. In a more general sense, you are framing your reality more soundly and not based on a false notion of self.

I will not overwork myself.

Working long hours tends to reduce your level of fitness, play havoc with your diet and put stress on your mind and body. The result? Poor circulation, increased weight, heart problems, higher cholesterol levels, lack of energy, poor sleep, bad concentration, nervous conditions, depression, and so on.

I will learn to let go.

Holding on to the past can hold us back in so many ways, from self-destructing behaviors to anxiety, fear or anger. On the other hand, letting go means letting in happiness, and is the key to your healing, growth and development throughout life.

I will prioritize my mental health. 

Because that’s the least you could do to prove to yourself that you love yourself. 

Happy holidays from Revive. Hope you all have a great 2021! 

Categories
Event

Kindness Card Event

Creating kindness cards of encouragement was one of the reasons Revive actually came to be. Before it was founded, we had volunteered with small NPOs that focused on sending cards of encouragement (either digitally or physically) to anyone going through struggles in the world. If you think about it, the world is so big yet so small thanks to social media. There is really no reason to not be supportive of others. That’s why we teamed up with Wiki Mind and the LEP chapter of Paper Bridges to give our members a platform to be supportive and kind.

Categories
Perspective

CS1: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Case Study 1: The Thin Line Between Alter Ego and Split Personality: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Spoiler alert. Trigger Warning. We are not mental health professionals. All our claims are backed up by credible research, which we provide at the end of every article. This post is not meant to be interpreted as expert mental health advice. If you relate to anything below please consult a licensed professional. 


The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a gothic psychological thriller novella written by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and was first published in 1886. It revolves around Dr. Jekyll, who is an old friend of the narrator, Mr. Utterson. After Utterson gets curious about the odd behavior Jekyll has been displaying, he investigates these manners and comes to the conclusion that Mr. Hyde, a very creepy and indifferent man who is also Dr. Jekyll’s “assistant”, is out to kill Jekyll to gain his possessions. Later it is revealed that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are two different personas of the same person. Dr. Jekyll had always had a desire to be evil, but knew it wasn’t socially acceptable since he was a well-respected doctor. Therefore, he decided to create his own alternative ego by inventing a potion that, after being consumed, would transform him into Hyde–a sinister murderer. However, things get out of hand and soon Hyde takes full control over both personas. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a great example of instances where an alter ego–minus the fantasy potion aspect–can turn into split personality, also known as disassociative personality disorder. Hereby we will refer to the disorder as “DID”. In our very first case study, we will be analyzing The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde closely to try to pinpoint where exactly Jekyll lost control over his alter ego.

Firstly, let’s discuss what was happening in the world of psychology when this novella was first published. As mentioned earlier, this story was made public in 1886, almost twenty years after the first record of a patient with DID. DID was formerly known as split personality or multiple personality and was often denied of existence by professionals such as Sigmund Freud. Duality and divided mind had been a source of perennial fascination for literary artists and especially for novelists, and this is particularly true for the Romantic generation and their later 19th century heirs. After much research and many more case studies, the disorder was accepted and many years later we know that DID occurs when an individual unconsciously experiences two or more distinct personalities within themselves and is typically caused by childhood or youth trauma. Alternative (“alter”) ego, on the other hand, is when an individual purposely chooses to shift between their natural personality and their self-created one. The individual is in full control, hence alter ego is not recognized as a psychological disorder. Shifting (no pun intended) the focus back, this story took place in the Victorian Era. To fully understand this story, we have to look at the social norms during the time period it was set in. There was sexual repression, low tolerance on crime, strong social ethic, and all in all, this era was very strict in what you could and could not do in order to not be judged. As we discussed earlier, DID usually gets triggered by trauma, which is exactly what seemed to happen to Jekyll. Jekyll was part of the middle class and therefore had to keep his name and status up to fit societal norms. He had always had an exaggerated evil side to him and had often wanted to let it out. So, he created Hyde, his alter ego, so that he could do all the bad things he wanted without getting judged or paying the consequences for them. 

This is when things get complicated. 

It is said that Hyde was Jekyll’s alter ego, however the more accurate relation is that Jekyll was Hyde’s alter ego. Let that sink in for a second. Most of Hyde’s personality was already deep within Jekyll, hidden by a mask of a well-respected doctor who no one would think could ever do anything bad. Jekyll was who Hyde wanted to become, which is what the purpose of an alter ego usually is, but couldn’t because the evil in him overpowered the goodness. After all the goodness washed away, Hyde took complete control over his alter ego, Jekyll, now shifting personalities whenever he wanted to instead of when the sane Jekyll did. Hyde usually came out at nighttime and committed crimes as sinister as murder then was nowhere to be found when the sun came up because he shifted back to the doctor. Obviously, the alternative personality that was Jekyll integrated the shadow that was Hyde, which is typically not the case since the alter personalities are usually the ones to be triggered, not vice versa. If Hyde had initiated Jekyll, the conscious would have become a slave of the autonomous shadow.

There are many metaphors present in the novella, which play a key role in representing what exactly Jekyll felt of Hyde. One of the major ones that portrays Jekyll’s character is when Utterson was reading the letter that Jekyll wrote to Lanyon, an old friend of his. In the letter, Jekyll asked Lanyon to go to his cabinet and bring its contents (contents were everything that turned him into Hyde) to Cavendish Square as they were. Then he told Lanyon that a man [Hyde] would come to him and he must give the man all the contents of the cabinet. Finally, Jekyll goes on to say, on page 37, “…and that by the neglect of one of them, fantastic as they must appear, you might have charged your consciousness with my death or the shipwreck of my reason.” This means that Jekyll wanted Lanyon to witness what the man did with the things that were in the cabinet, and if he chose not to, Jekyll would die without a purpose. Another metaphor that depicts Dr. Jekyll’s personality occurs when Jekyll sees, for the first time, what Hyde looks like. Instead of having a feeling of disgust, Jekyll feels welcome to the look of his evil, true self. On page 45 he states, “The drug had no discriminating action; it was neither diabolical nor divine; it shook the doors of the prisonhouse of my disposition…”. This shows how Jekyll felt thankful that his true self was now getting let out so that he didn’t have to hide behind a mask (“prisonhouse”) anymore. 

The author of this novella, Stevenson, was inspired by Darwin’s studies for Hyde’s character. The studies concern man’s relationship with the animal world, hence why Hyde was created to resemble an animal rather than a human. This story shows the double nature (again, no pun intended) of society, with its antithetical yet judgmental values. This novel is a criticism to the respectability of society, represented by the restraint of Jekyll, that, however, is unable to dominate his human’s instinctive aspect. This novel also gives a great insight into the world of personality disorders and alter ego, which is surprising for the time period it was written in. Much like Jekyll, we all have an alter ego hidden deep inside of us. It’s important to use caution when dealing with another personality because just like Jekyll in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde showed us, Hyde can take control anytime and create a mess.

Categories
Interview

Naomi Porter.

Interviewed via form.


1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do.

“I am a sophomore in high school from Los Angeles, California. I am an activist for entrepreneurship, mental health, and gender equality. My most recent work, as an intern for Girl Scouts of the USA focused on mental health. Through months of research, conducting focus groups, and analyzing data our team developed a research report. This report will be shown to the National Council as Girl Scouts decides what direction to go in every three years. This project was conducted by girls, for girls because we realize how important mental health is, especially for this generation.”

2. What does mental health mean to you?

“Mental health is something that needs to be normalized and talked about. Especially with Gen Z we are some of the most driven and passionate people on the planet. However, if we don’t take care of ourselves that could be our hugest downfall. So let’s have these conversations. Let’s talk about mental illness. Let’s normalize therapy. Let’s practice self care. Let’s check in on each other. Because if there is anything 2020 has taught us, is that we’re stronger when we work TOGETHER.”

3. How do you deal with your own mental health?

“Mental health is something that affects us all even in ways we can’t see. That’s why I stick with the mantra “choose people that choose you”. Choose people that bring you joy. They may not be the most popular, the most well known but it doesn’t matter. If those people make you feel safe and a better person- go find them. For me mental health starts with self care. Only then can we begin to care for others. Self care is a journey and I’m certainly not perfect- but if we TRY really TRY then we can in turn care for not only ourselves but others.”


Check out Naomi Porter!


Categories
Interview

Kriti Mukherjee.

Interviewed via form.


1. Please introduce yourself.

“I’m Kriti, 15 year old from India. I’m an advocate for mental health. I love to sing and watch movies haha. I faced some struggles previously and I had to bear them all on my own. That was tough. So I started spreading awareness,joined a lot of organisations and now I’m an advocate for mental health :)”

2. What does mental health mean to you?

“Mental health to me, is something that should be given the top priority. It is something that controls our emotions and actions. It’s so strong yet so fragile. It needs to be in good health. Oir everyday activities, our happiness and a lot of other things depends on our state of mental health.”

3. How do you deal with your own mental health?

“I get frequent breakdowns at times. I usually talk to someone I absolutely trust or I go out for a walk and give myself a treat. I listen to music that’s calm and refreshes me. I also, write about anything I want at that moment. In general days, music is my sanity :)”

4. Any particular psychological condition/disorder that means a lot to you?

“Anxiety disorder and Aneroxia. Anxiety ruin things. Things that mean to you a lot, anxiety can ruin that in a minute. It’s terrific how anxiety can kill a person’s spirit if it’s left untreated. As for aneroxia, you’ll suffer a lot. Your body will be no more than a skeleton.”


Check out Kriti!