Healthy Byte: Mental Health Awareness Month

“The mentally ill frighten and embarrass us. And so we marginalize the people who most need our acceptance. What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation.”

Glenn Close

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May is mental health awareness month and with as with anything, many fails to acknowledge that there is a range in severity of symptoms.

Not everyone who has a mental illness is disenfranchised homeless on the street. Many are very high functioning and successful.  So it’s important for us all to not only be aware of the reality of mental illness among our family, friends, and coworkers, but to understand that similar to diabetes or high cholesterol or hypertension just because we can’t see the physical symptoms, that it doesn’t exist.

Here are a list of startling Mental Illness factoids from National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI):

Prevalence of Mental Illness

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.7 million, or 18.6%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—13.6 million, or 4.1%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.2
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.3
  • 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.4
  • 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.5
  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.6
  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.7
  • Among the 20.7 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 40.7%—8.4 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.8

Social Stats

  • An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.9
  • Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition.10
  • 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.11
  • Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year.8
  • Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.12
  • African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.13
  • Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.14

Consequences of Lack of Treatment

  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.15
  • Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.16
  • Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.17 Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.18
  • Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14­–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.19
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.,20 the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–2421 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.22
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.23
  • Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.24

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Day 990

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“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”

~ Robert T. Kiyosaki

In ten day’s time I will be embarking on the ranks of the coveted four digit milestone of how long I have been logging my exercise and food. Oddly enough, the impending success plagues me with fear that I will ultimately fail. Like that pesky nat annoyingly fluttering about, the wariness gnaws at me in the back of my mind. The fear of failure persists because the fact of the matter is, although I have reach my weight loss goal and thus far fended off falling prey to the statistics, there is still a plethora of opportunities for failure every single day, for the rest of my life.

Let me explain. I recently came across an article in “Women’s Health” on the 90s Canadian-American alternative rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and actress Alanis Morissette. The interview expounded her years of battling with eating disorders and how she’s getting along now. One of the things Alanis mentioned expresses perfectly my perpetual fear of failure:

“The big question for me around eating-disorder recovery is, ‘What is sobriety with food?’ We know with alcohol, you just don’t drink it and don’t go to a bar. With heroin, you just don’t go near it. Whereas with food, you have to eat, so how can one go from, in my case, bingeing and purging, starving, overeating, the scale going up and down—how can I go from that to a ‘sober’ approach?”

Alanis’ question is a good one because our relationship with food is indeed complicated; especially for those who have succumb to its alluring effects for years and with great effort have quell it. It’s unlike any other obsessive behavior because we can’t go ‘cold turkey’, ‘tough it out’, or just avoid food. Similarly just because I have reached my goal and maintained, it doesn’t mean that I am struggle free. And the struggle often goes unrecognized by those in my immediate environment largely because they don’t completely understand why I continue my vigilance when I have reached goal.

This discrepancy of their perception and my reality often exposes me to feeling quite isolated, segregated, and a little bit like a social leopard. My saving grace has been building a support system online and it has remained my sole source of support as I have lost all my friends and the family is unable to differentiate toned & fit from an unhealthy anorexic thin. It’s a frustrating existence and I can’t help but to question why has my quest to become healthy driven people out of my life. Having never commented on what others chooses to eat or their weight, I simply am baffled at what I did wrong to end up to be such a social outcast. Then I came across this article on “Food Pushersand it shed some light on my misery that I thought I’d share.

Your Healthy Habits Makes Others on a Different Path Uncomfortable:

When you start living a brain-healthy life and losing weight, it can make those around you uncomfortable, especially if they are overweight or have a lot of bad brain habits of their own.

Deep down, some people—even those who love you the most—don’t want you to succeed because it will make them feel like more of a failure.

For others, their habits are so ingrained that they simply don’t know how to react to your new lifestyle.

It’s just mind boggling that my choices for me can put off so many people without me uttering one word. It’s an odd social phenomena and a rather unexpected side effect of pursuing a healthy lifestyle. As successful maintainers have all come to realize and accept, there is no finish line. So in order to continue to fend off from undoing all the work, I have to remain conscientious of my diet hence perpetuating my own social quarantine. It’s a hefty price to pay but one I would not seek a refund on.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Despite what people say, size does indeed matter! … especially when it comes to portion size. In order for me to not be size envy of other’s larger portions when we eat out, I balance it visually to minimize the difference.

For example: the other evening both the Hubs and I had the Chicken Carbonara from Piada Italian Street Food. He ordered the ‘regular’ size while I ordered the ‘small.’ As you can see from the two photos below there is a noticeable size difference and it’s easy for me to psychologically still be hungry afterwards even though I may not actually be.

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LEFT: Regular RIGHT: Small

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TOP: Small BOTTOM: Regular

JEDI MIND TRICK: My equalizer is to add a bunch of healthy fillers to make the entree overall seem more substantial. And I typically give myself free reign when it comes to vegetables used as fillers. (Meaning I don’t measure it)

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HEALTHY FILLERS: Diced Cucumber, Rainbow Chard, Leaf Lettuce, Spinach

And TA-DA! Now THAT’S a nice big bowl of chicken carbonara! I had plans to have desert after but I was SO full that I had to pass. A good problem to have.

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Small Chicken Carbonara 2/3 Fresh Chopped / Diced Vegetable Filler

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