?My Beautiful Souls,
Rise and Shine! Grab a cup of blessings, find an attitude of joy, and greet the day with a mindset of positivity!? I know for some it is not easy to move out of the covers and be fortified in the light. Depression is an mood changer and dulls our lenses due to our brains not receiving the right chemicals in manifesting emotional and mental stability.

I’m wondering how many in our tribe may suffer from depression or other type of mental illness. Statistics show in 2014 that 42.5M Americans have mental illness (18.2%) and about 9.3M adults, or approximately 4% of those Americans ages 18 and older experience “severe mental health”. This means they struggle with daily activities and going to work. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration)

These are staggering numbers, and yet it seems to be taboo to discuss mental illness in America. It’s no wonder people with mental illness go misdiagnosed and untreated because of the stigma it places them in. Mental illness, does, however, align itself with certain symptoms that assist doctors, family, and close friends in recognizing a problem exists in one’s life. Below I have listed depression criteria which are located on my website under depression, a mental illness.

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

In addition, I want to ensure you understand what mental illnesses or psychological disorders are and means.

The term psychological disorder is sometimes used to refer to what is more frequently known as mental disorders or psychiatric disorders. Mental disorders are patterns of behavioral or psychological symptoms that impact multiple areas of life. These disorders create distress for the person experiencing these symptoms.

  • Anxiety Disorder: Panic Disorder & Panic Attacks, Perfectionism, Separation Anxiety, Claustrophobia, Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Affective Mood Disorders- Bipolar, Clinical Depression, Self Harming, Bereavement
  • Autistic Disorder: Asperger Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Behavioral, Self-Regulation and Attention Deficit: ADD and ADHD, Attachment Disorder, Self-Injury
  • Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Binge-Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa
  • Personality Disorders: Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)
  • Substance-Dependence Disorder and Addictions: Cannabis Dependence, Cocaine Dependence, Hypersexuality
  • Self-Perception/Self-Identity Disorder: Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Depersonalization Disorder, Gender Dysphoria
  • Developmental Disorders: Asperger Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Intellectual Development Disorder
  • Stress-Related/Reactive Disorders: General Adaption Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Psychotic/Thought Disorders: Schizophrenia
  • Sleep Disorders: Insomnia, Sleep terror disorder

As you can see, many types of disorders to diagnose and comprehend by the medical field. They determine how each disorder impacts each individual, which can be compounded by past events, parental upbringing, memories, and trauma. I, myself, have experienced several of these, due to childhood abuse, compounded by rape, and later two severe car accidents causing two traumatic brain injuries. One never gets to by pass the various stages necessary when healing and recovering. It is a daily commitment, hard work, and truly choosing a life of glow where you discover who you want to be, explore your options, and create the unimaginable…?

You are all amazing individuals just as you are, where you are! Never forget that no matter what others may say to you. Loving yourself first gives you permission to shine, and in doing so, others may be unable to accept your light. Do not be dismayed, because as you find out just how magnificent you are, you may just fall down at your feet…!?

If any of my sweet tribe would like to share their thoughts surrounding mental illness, how we can gently change the system in making it less taboo and more an issue of discussion, please do so. If you need a hand to hold, or feel alone, please let me know that too. I am here for you.

In love and light,
Kimberly Lees, Ed.D.


photos: pieces of soul

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