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By Jade Jordan

Many Brits are feeling tired and it’s getting in the way of their everyday life. Brits are struggling to recharge and even dozing off on public transport. It’s no secret that a lot of British people work long hours and this is leading to workers becoming burnt out. The mental consequences of not getting a good nights sleep are critical over a long period of time. We often don’t take not getting enough sleep serious enough

What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?

You may just feel grumpy, de-motivated and notice that you want to eat more or struggle to concentrate. But, what goes on beneath is much more. Getting consistent lack of sleep can put you at risk of serious medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease and even diabetes. Naturally, it shortens your life expectancy as your body is not being given enough time to recharge and repair. In the below graphic you can see just a few knock-on effects not getting enough sleep has:

The UK’s most tired city

It’s no surprise that London is the most tired city in the UK. However, is it surprising that cities such as Liverpool, Carlisle and Belfast are much more tired than Manchester, the 3rd biggest city in the UK.

How does sleep affect your mental health? What is an ideal sleeping pattern?

This post was written by Jade Jordan at The Worsley Centre. They love to share their knowledge and advice through blogging so that they can help and answer questions of those further afield

The post Sleep Deprivation- Effects on Your body and Mind appeared first on Defying Mental Illness.

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Infographic provided by the Worsley Centre

The post What happens to your body & mind when you’re sleep deprived appeared first on Defying Mental Illness.

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April is Stress Awareness month. There is a lot of evidence to support raising awareness about stress in the workplace. Work is where majority of our time is spent when we are fortunate to be in employment. Stress has a variety of effects on us in the workplace and elsewhere. It’s often manifested in uncontrolled behavior of some kind often counterproductive.

We all

The post Stress Awareness at work appeared first on Defying Mental Illness.

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God hides things for us. We often mistake this as things being hidden from us. Imagine how we make provisions for our young children yet keep many of these out of their sight until they are ready for them. So, God also looks after those in relationship with Him.

Much like how we deal with our children when they have too many toys to play with , getting untidy and at risk of damaging valuable ones, God protects them from us by hiding things away. They are not hidden from us, they are hidden for us

When I started to think this way, frustrations I experienced at unexpected turn of events started to disappear. I became more conscious that all things worked together for good. Faith became more strengthened in me. Going through adversity did not phase me as much.

With the benefit of hindsight I could often see how things worked together for good. I began to be less fretful. I found myself giving thanks to God in challenging situations.

We hear some say, “fake it until you make it”. I prefer to look upon this as “see the unseen until it comes to reality in the physical”. We tend to value things that we have made sacrifices for more than those we have freely received. I am still learning to train myself to value and appreciate freebies as much as things I have got through sacrifice. One way I have tried to establish this is to give into anything that has been freely offered.

Being able to give without an expectation of a return has made me less fretful and selfish. This has reinforced my understanding that anything above food and shelter qualify as prosperity.

Attitude and character are our most important assets. As I realised that God hides things for us rather than from us, my attitude in adverse outcomes improved. This was recently reinforced as a watched a mother hiding some truly valuable gifts from her child who had received a flood of lovely gifts.

God hides some of His supply from us until we are able to manage them

The post He hides things for us [not from us] appeared first on Defying Mental Illness.

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Defying Mental Illness by Defying Mental Illness - 1M ago
By Tonya King

I was doing everything right. I was taking my meds as I was supposed to but, Wow! Did I run off the rails. I knew it, my family knew it, anyone within a 50-foot radius would have known it. No matter what I did, I couldn’t slow myself down. My thoughts were on fast forward, my spending was a bit uncontrolled, and I was the happiest person one would ever meet. But why? I knew the answer. A new medication.
I was put on a medication for nerve pain resulting from an injury that happened four years ago. I was on a heavy dose, but I didn’t take it because it made me feel like I was under water. A bit out of control. Well, I was having a horrible time with my pain and I took the medication, as directed, but it sent me into a mania. I was so “up”. It was ridiculous. I spent the day running from place to place, smiling, shopping, laughing. My speech was pressured and fast, my thoughts scattered, I was losing control. And then, I stopped the medication and as quick as I went up, I came down.
I was so very tired. The mania only lasted one day, but by Saturday morning, I felt as if I was trudging through sand trying to get a foot hold. I didn’t want to slip into a depression which usually follows a crash. I talked to my daughter on the phone early Saturday morning and I told her I was just trying to get a grip on myself.

Later in the day, she came over, and brought me flowers (so sweet) because she said I sounded so sad on the phone. Apparently, my voice gave away my feelings. By the afternoon, I was feeling fine. No sign of a depression, no excessive tiredness that lasted all day. I was pretty much back to myself.


But, do you know what I did to bring myself back to center? I prayed! And I prayed hard. My God was the only one who could restore me. I needed His help. I knew form past experiences that when I crash off a mania, it can take a month or more to get back to a level place. I didn’t have that kind of time. I was supposed to begin babysitting my new Grandson on Monday. I had to get better and quick and I knew the only way to do that was to spend some serious time in prayer and meditation.


Prayer and meditation are always my go to’s when I feel out of control. The LORD restores me, he breathes peace and calmness into my spirit and calms my anxious heart. I went into my prayer room around 8:00 am and by noon I was feeling great. My God is so good. And He will be good to you as well.


If you feel out of control, depressed, upset, anxious, anything at all, take it to God. Allow Him to do for you what He did for me. Give Him the space and a surrendered heart and He will heal and restore. I’m not only speaking of your illness, I am also speaking about your life. If there is anything that you need to surrender and leave at the cross, don’t waste time, do It and do it quickly.

There is no need to suffer needlessly because you cannot find it in yourself to surrender. Surrender is where we find healing. Give Him your brokenness, your pain, your unmet expectations. Whatever is weighing you down. He can handle it and hold you up.


He will always be there, waiting for you to come and be vulnerable. He heals, and He loves like no other. Give Him all of you and I am pretty sure you will be mended and made whole.

Tonya King is a Writer, Speaker and Mental Health Coach. She is the
founder of Faithful in the Midst ministries
which is a ministry devoted to the healing and wholeness of mental illnesses
through faith in Jesus Christ. 

The post Mended appeared first on Defying Mental Illness.

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I once had a broken heart. It literally felt like someone had broken through my rib cages, ripped my heart out, stamped on it, torn it apart and left my heart bleeding. Ever felt like that?

When someone is emotionally pained, it can lead to depression or other forms of mental illness. The trauma can be a living hell.

Don’t despair. God has your back…and your heart. He says He makes beauty instead of ashes (Isaiah 61:3). Our loving Father can make things right. God can make you whole again.

Naomi, in the book of Ruth, has an interesting story. Let us look at her resume:

1. A Jewish refugee living among godless idol worshippers

2. A middle aged widow

3. Loses her husband

4.  Loses a son

5. Loses another son

6. Broke and broken

Life dealt Naomi a cruel hand, and with nothing except a faithful daughter in law in tow, she returns back to her country. Naomi says to her friends “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me”.  Naomi means beautiful, but this lady wanted to be now called bitter. Her life was in shreds. She was a wrecked woman. Where was this God of her forefathers?

However, God was not through with her.  Through the sacrificial selflessness of one person, her daughter in law Ruth, Naomi’s life suddenly changes.  Ruth marries a rich man and bears a child.

Maybe this was even a miracle for Ruth, as in her first marriage, there had been no children. Ruth’s son becomes famous (Ruth 4:14), was the grandfather of David, from whose line the Messiah came.

Here what Naomi’s friends tell her concerning her grandson “He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” (Ruth 4:15 NIV emphasis mine).

Talk about turning broken pieces into masterpieces. That is your story too today!

Thoughts for the day

God is the Potter, you are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). Let Him mould those pieces and make you for He says you are a vessel of honor.

The post To Heal a Broken Heart, Give God the Pieces appeared first on Defying Mental Illness.

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Defying Mental Illness by Defying Mental Illness - 2M ago
By Tonya King

I was having my prayer time with God the other day and I was talking to Him as I always do, and I brought up the fact that I am a bit judgmental.  I asked for forgiveness for that flaw and the Lord clearly impressed upon me this thought…

“the persons we judge most harshly are the people we need to pray for most fiercely and that person may be ourselves”.

Wow.  I had to sit and think about that for a few minutes. I do judge myself harshly and I do not pray for myself all that much.  I am in intercessor and I pray for those whom God places on my heart. I pray all the time.  I pray in the grocery store, in the car, in my kitchen, in my prayer room, basically everywhere. But the subject of my prayer is rarely myself.

This thought niggled at me all day.  Why do I judge myself so harshly?  One reason… I feel like a bit of a failure because I am unable to do simple things that others take for granted because of my illness.  I cannot work, I cannot handle a lot of stress, whether good or bad, I do not react well to time changes so that means I cannot travel.  There are many things that I just cannot do, and I judge myself based on these things, on the “cannot’s”.  Do you do the same thing?  I am sure you do. We all do.  And I found that people who do not have a mental illness judge themselves on the cannot’s of life as well.  So, what does God ask us to do? Pray.

We need to be praying for ourselves. We need to be praying for self-acceptance.  For the ability to stop looking at the “cannot’s” in our lives and focus on the “cans”.  We are able to do more than we give ourselves credit for.  We are special in the eyes of the Lord.  We are not “less than” to Jesus.  So why do we beat ourselves up?   I think part of it is the stigma associated with mental illness.  In society, we are already judged, regardless of who we are, but because of our illness.  Society says that we are not acceptable as we are. That somehow, we should change. 

We listen to these false truths, which are nothing more than lies of the enemy, and we judge.  I think it is high time we start praying.  We need to call down the authority of God into our lives to dispatch the enemy from our minds. Prayer is powerful!  Prayer changes things! We need to be praying for ourselves and to stop judging ourselves so harshly. We are perfect in God’s eyes. 

We need to see ourselves as he sees us…beautiful, treasured, sacred, His.



Tonya King is a Writer, Speaker and Mental Health Coach. She is the
founder of Faithful in the Midst ministries
which is a ministry devoted to the healing and wholeness of mental illnesses
through faith in Jesus Christ. 

<img src=”file:///C:/Users/ANDRE_~1/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.jpg” alt=”http://www.defyingmentalillness.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/tonya-king-headshots-41541557019.-150×150.jpg” width=”150″ height=”150″ border=”0″>

In 2003, Tonya was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and has been
advocating to include faith in Christ as part of treatment and wellness
plans.  She has been walking with the Lord most of her life but has drawn
very close since her diagnosis and truly lives her faith. 

Tonya lives in Perry, Ohio, USA with her husband of 31 years, Kevin. She
has four children, two girls and two boys.  She is available for
speaking and coaching engagements.

Read more about Tonya

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the
author and do not necessarily reflect all or some of our beliefs and
policy.  Any links on this page does not necessarily mean they have
been endorsed by Defying Mental Illness.

 

The post We are His appeared first on Defying Mental Illness.

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Defying Mental Illness by Defying Mental Illness - 2M ago
By Tonya King

So many times, during the up’s and downs of my illness, I would say “I wish I was normal”.  Being normal (without symptoms, without stigma) was a goal I sought after.  I didn’t like feeling different from everyone else and I was ashamed that I had an illness that I could not control.  I didn’t want to tell anyone about my diagnosis because I didn’t want them to think about me differently.  But it was obvious to all around me that I was different.

Early on in my diagnosis, I would search Scripture on healing.  Being healed was my number one priority.  But, while searching the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit kept drawing me to verses that told of Jesus’s story and how he was different.  Jesus didn’t fall into the norm of His day.  He stuck out.  He did not try to conform to the world, He stayed separate.  He was in the world but not of the world.  So, if Jesus wasn’t “normal” why should I strive to be “normal” as defined by the world?

Well the answer is “I should not”.  I began to realize that Bipolar Disorder was my cross to bear.  I didn’t ask for it, but we all have something.  My illness set me apart from the world and yours does too. 

We tend to view ourselves as “less than” but really, we’re special.  God allowed our illnesses to set us apart and to make a change in this world concerning mental illness.  We as Christians who suffer have a platform to bring about change as to how we are treated.  We can tell all that God is our strength and hope and that, like Jesus, we are not the norm because we are not supposed to be.
Christians without mental illnesses are also set apart from this world, to be a light in the darkness.

So, on one hand, we are special because we are different, and on the other, we are special because we are like Jesus, made in His image! Set apart for a purpose.  I suppose you could say that we are fortunate because our illnesses send us to the feet of Jesus for strength to overcome. Maybe, having a mental illness is what brings us closer to God and for that we can be thankful.  I am not sure I would be as close to Jesus as I am without carrying this burden.  Being healed would be terrific but, as long as I have Bipolar, I will stop striving for normal and stay in the realm of special, just like Jesus!

Tonya King is a Writer, Speaker and Mental Health Coach. She is the
founder of Faithful in the Midst ministries
which is a ministry devoted to the healing and wholeness of mental illnesses
through faith in Jesus Christ. 

In 2003, Tonya was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and has been
advocating to include faith in Christ as part of treatment and wellness
plans.  She has been walking with the Lord most of her life but has drawn
very close since her diagnosis and truly lives her faith. 

Tonya lives in Perry, Ohio, USA with her husband of 31 years, Kevin. She
has four children, two girls and two boys.  She is available for
speaking and coaching engagements.

Read more about Tonya

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the
author and do not necessarily reflect all or some of our beliefs and
policy.  Any links on this page does not necessarily mean they have
been endorsed by Defying Mental Illness.

 

The post Set Apart appeared first on Defying Mental Illness.

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Defying Mental Illness by Defying Mental Illness - 2M ago
By Abigail Brooks

If you’re like me, your ideal climate involves sunny skies and balmy temperatures. Most of us enjoy those golden days full of basking in the sun, pool parties and picnics.

We spend most of the winter wishing it were spring already and groan about how tired we are of the gloomy, cold weather. Winter days are typically short and overcast with limited exposure to sunlight. Most people spend much of their time indoors due to severe weather and snow.

Overtime, this takes a toll on the body and can cause the development of a disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Your winter blues could be the sign of a deeper problem indicating this common ailment.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms include continuous sadness, loss of interest in favorite activities, lethargy, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite and weight, trouble concentrating and even suicidal thoughts (“Seasonal Affective,” 2017). Although I have never been diagnosed, I feel about 90% confident that I suffer from this myself as I have personally experienced some of these symptoms.

 This a very real form of mental illness that should not be passed off as fake or understated. Fortunately, SAD is treatable. Doctors recommend getting exposed to as much natural light as possible (Goldberg, 2018). Since outdoor light levels are often low, artificial sunlight can be an effective alternative. Risk of this disorder may be higher for someone living far from the equator due to decreased access to sunlight and summer. People with a family history of depression are more prone and those with other mental health problems may be more susceptible (“Seasonal Affective”, 2017).

Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder

Consider purchasing a phototherapy light, a lamp that emits artificial UV rays and can be set up in an office to provide you with natural light. These lamps can be bought for around $50.00 and are easy to use. Another option is to make regular trips to the tanning bed in the winter, although it’s important to be aware of the risks of developing certain types of skin cancer. Excessive exposure to tanning beds can significantly increase risk of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer.  

Your body needs adequate amounts of vitamin D which is naturally obtained by exposure to sunlight. Consider buying a supplement to ensure you receive enough of this essential vitamin.

 If you feel that your symptoms are severely impairing your ability to function, consider seeing a doctor. They may prescribe an antidepressant or cognitive behavioral therapy to ease your symptoms. Some opt for natural options such as aromatherapy. Certain smells have been linked to better mood. Lemon oil is known to be an invigorating scent (Orenstein, N.D.). Aromatherapy is a safe natural way to treat seasonal depression and works quite well for many people. Make sure you’re not allergic to any of the oils before you try this.

Like other types of depression, physical exercise can help by releasing endorphins into the body and combating weight gain associated with SAD. Try to spend as much time outside as possible. Living and working in rooms with windows can help too (Orenstein, n.d.).

It’s also important to stick to a regular schedule. This helps to calibrate the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Additionally, you should aim to have meals at a set time every day. Doing so will help set the internal clock within your body, helping you keep off weight and enjoy overall improved health. 

It may be a good idea to choose to take that annual vacation during winter if possible. Choose an island or coastal get away where you’re sure to find some sunny rays. Waiting to take that much needed vacation until winter can provide you with a splash of summer during the coldest part of the year.

If you or someone you love is suffering, be encouraged that there many things you can do to get relief. Remember to connect with friends and find healthy ways to distract yourself from the symptoms. It’s important to get your mind off how you feel and find ways to experience joy. Socializing with others can create positive feelings of connection and belonging. Try to go out with friends on a regular basis even if you don’t feel like it.

Try a new hobby or joining a book club can help (Hickman, 2017). There are many enjoyable indoor activities such as reading, cooking, playing an instrument and much more. Try to find something everyday to laugh about and take adequate time to relax. I find that in winter I enjoy reading and journaling. Some people enjoy watching tv to relax.

In conclusion, it’s important to remember that this disorder should be taken seriously and treated as a real mental illness. However, don’t forget that It’s highly treatable. These tips should help you finally beat those dreaded winter blues.

 I’m interested, what are your thoughts? What do you do to lift the winter blues? Feel free to share your favorite methods for clearing those winter blues.

The post Understanding Seasonal Depression appeared first on Defying Mental Illness.

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