Why peer support is so damn useful for mental illness recovery.

We could also call this: Recovery is like rowing. You’ll be bad at both until you’re not. And then...

Overcoming anxiety at work and on the job hunt.

Recently, Daniela posted over on the Everybody has a Brain Tumblr about some anxiety challenges she tackled after getting...

Order The Mind Workout in the UK

My book, The Mind Workout, all about the steps anybody can take to get comfortable with the stuff in...

Scott's story so far...

I think back to when I was a pre teen and there was so much happening, not only physically...

How I Finally Recovered From OCD

I had watched Mark’s videos over and over again, especially my favorite one, “How to Deal With Intrusive Thoughts“. The...
Be yourself, Personal
Why peer support is so damn useful for mental illness recovery.
Be yourself, Eat
Overcoming anxiety at work and on the job hunt.
Books
Order The Mind Workout in the UK
Be yourself, Testimonials
Scott's story so far...
Be yourself, Testimonials
How I Finally Recovered From OCD
My name is Mark and I have mental health (because I have a brain), but it took me a long time to realize that. By the time I did, I had a bunch of mental illness labels stuck on me. It didn’t have to be that way. I could have saved enormous amounts of pain, energy, and money, if I’d taken a more proactive, preventive approach to mental health much earlier in life. The focus of the work I do now is on helping people learn skills to overcome mental health challenges and prevent them from happening so they can do what matters to them. Learn more about Mark
Be yourself, Personal

Why peer support is so damn useful for mental illness recovery.

We could also call this: Recovery is like rowing. You’ll be bad at both until you’re not. And then you’ll just push harder.

If you’re working with a personal trainer on your physical fitness, it’s not strange if you expect to work with somebody that’s in better shape than you, that practices the skills you want to learn, that’s reached the same goals you want to reach. In the mental health sector, however, involving people with lived experience of recovery from mental illness in providing care is still rare. As a society, we don’t expect mental health professionals to share how they’re implementing the intense exercises they tell patients to do. That’s weird because evidence-based care for mental illness is about you making huge changes every single day. Mental healthcare isn’t all lobotomies and tranquilizers. It’s a big lifestyle change, as complex as pursuing any physical fitness goal. It helps to work with people that know what it’s like to implement, sweat, and sustain those changes.

I’ll offer five ways below you can leverage peer support when you’re working on your mental health, similar to how we tap into peer support when we’re working on our physical fitness. And to do this, I’ll share some insights I learned from working with one of my trainers, John Soco. Let’s row some boats…

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Be yourself, Eat

Overcoming anxiety at work and on the job hunt.

Recently, Daniela posted over on the Everybody has a Brain Tumblr about some anxiety challenges she tackled after getting laid off, then searching for a new job, and then at her new workplace. Her story was such a great example of all the skills we’re always talking about, and it includes vomit! It’s so useful to talk about overcoming these challenges and often that means overcoming very real physical symptoms, like nausea. So I wanted to share Daniela’s post and throw in some comments to connect her examples to some of the recovery skills you’ve probably seen me talking about before. Let’s dive in:

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Books

Order The Mind Workout in the UK

My book, The Mind Workout, all about the steps anybody can take to get comfortable with the stuff in their heads as they do more of what they care about in life, hit bookstore shelves in the United Kingdom on June 1st. You order it on Amazon here: http://bit.ly/themindworkout If you’re not in the UK, you can get it shipped for an extra fee, but there will be other languages coming out in the months ahead AND this summer I’m working on a different version of the book for North America that will also

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Events

Internet addiction workshop in Toronto, May 15th

I’m teaming up with Mind Matters to do a workshop at The Drake Hotel in Toronto on May 15th, at 6pm, all about techniques for cutting out online compulsions and learning how to make the internet work for you (instead of you just clicking away on a mouse for little hits of dopamine like you’re in some start-up’s lab experiment).

Tickets are $45 and you can get them here: www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1472846?utm_medium=bks Space is limited so grab tickets quickly.

I had so many online compulsions when I was struggling with mental illness but they weren’t things we touched on in therapy because internet addiction wasn’t very well understood or even accepted as a real issue at the time.

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Be yourself, Testimonials

Scott’s story so far…

I think back to when I was a pre teen and there was so much happening, not only physically but also mentally… That’s when I first recall OCD happening to me–I was around 12 years old and I began to count and touch doors, handles, count my steps, turn off the TV at the “right time”. I had no idea what was happening, it all seemed innocent to me back then, just a little quirk I had. I just wanted to get that “right feeling”, no big deal.

As I got older, into my later teen years, I will never forget this feeling… ever: I woke up one sunny morning and it was like I was hit by a bus (Which I actually was years later, lol!!). I had this feeling of anxiety/sweating/tightness in my whole body… All from one single thought: Am I homosexual because I did that “thing”?! Prior to this thought I had never been attracted to the same sex, ever. It was just a thought in my head, that’s all. But for some reason it would not leave me. It hung around for months on end, every waking minute it was there. I would try and resolve it by looking at men out in public to “check” if I was attracted to the same sex but that just made matters worse. I would sit and look at magazines with pictures of men to see if I was attracted to them. It was all so confusing and scary and stressful. Before this thought my life was going along fine. How could a single thought turn my life upside down for months?!

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Healthcare, Personal

So you want to work in mental health…

I was part of a panel discussion at the University of Toronto recently on community engagement work in the mental health sector. It was exciting to see so many people interested in working in mental health. The questions and comments from the audience made it clear that they understood the need for patient-centered innovation and they wanted to create change in the sector. But with innovation, there’s turmoil, in any industry. So here are five things to consider if you’re looking at a career in mental health as the sector undergoes transformation:

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Be yourself, Testimonials

How I Finally Recovered From OCD

I had watched Mark’s videos over and over again, especially my favorite one, “How to Deal With Intrusive Thoughts“. The end of the video was always my favorite part, it seemed to sum up what you need to do for OCD recovery (and really, recovery from any anxiety disorder) really well: Accept all the stuff in your head while DOING the things you really care about. When you focus on the things you actually care about, all the worries and uncertainties your brain was giving you (because it was trying to help you by thinking you should solve them) eventually dissipate.

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Eat

Is that juice cleanse just another compulsion?

I often get questions about the “right” foods to eat for mental illness recovery: What are the best foods to prevent intrusive thoughts? Will eliminating gluten lower my anxiety levels? Can a detox fix the chemical imbalances in my body?

But if you’ve struggled with your mental health, be very careful about searching for a magic solution by drastically restricting or changing your diet, even if it’s temporary. Before you get started on a detox/cleanse, consider these three questions:

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