The Importance of Reaching Out

By: Theresa Groenewaldt (Student Intern Clinical Psychologist)

Not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry alone.

Common thoughts:

“I don’t think my problems are important or big enough to talk to anyone about…”

“I’m worried I might be labelled or that people might judge me…”

We all go through mental health challenges and the best way to deal with it is to reach out to someone and talk about it. Although it can be awkward to reach out to someone at first, once it is done we will find that it was the best decision and most likely to feel relieved once it is done.

How to reach out:

To start a conversation can be difficult at times especially when we reach out for help; here are a few ice breakers for starting a conversation and reaching out:

“I don’t know if you can help me, but I’m hoping you can help me to find someone who can.”

“I have a tough situation; it’s really bugging me… Can I talk to you about it?”

“I can’t seem to get past the feelings I’m having. I wanted to reach out before things got worse.”

Sometimes reaching out to someone in person can be anxious and overwhelming. However, there is always an option for reaching out to someone telephonically first, which will also aid in helping you take the first step to reaching out.

What will happen after reaching out?

After sharing with an entrusted person with what you are going through:

It may take time to feel better afterwards. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better, but it’s important to work through to past pain to be able to move forward on your journey of healing (this time without the past baggage coming with you). It is important to remember that it is a process and healing takes time.

The person you reach out to may not be able to “fix” the problem, but they may be able to connect you with someone who can support you better.

They may need to set up an appointment for you to see someone else that can help you.

If you find that your problems seem to be unresolved after seeking help, don’t give up. Keep trying. You’ll find someone who can support you and let you know that you are not alone.

Importance of Time Management

By: Malan Chatevuka (Occupational Therapist)

What is time management?

There always seems to be so much to fit in one day, and never enough hours in the day. How do some people seem to have it “all together” while some of us just don’t get past half of our to-do list?! We all have the same 24 hours right?

The answer to that may lie in good time management.

Time management refers to the way that one organizes and plans how long you have to spend on specific activities. The aim is to get more done in less time, even when demands are high and time is limited; to work SMARTER, rather than HARDER. Remember, being busy does not necessarily mean effective.
Failing to manage time or poor time management skills can result in:

  • Missed deadlines and appointments
  • Procrastination and lack of focus
  • Lack of professionalism
  • High stress levels
  • Strained workplace relationships
  • Work and life imbalance

Benefits of time management
In one’s life, time management can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Greater productivity and efficiency
  • A better professional reputation
  • Less stress
  • Greater opportunities to achieve important life and career goals

Steps for better time management at work

Below describe four ways that you can practice time management in an effective manner; namely using the 4 D’s

The 4 D’s of time management

  1. Delete it

Check whether the task requires your attention and is worth your time. If it does not, then simply delete it. An example is deleting spam emails on it.

  • Delegate it

Is it necessary that YOU do the task? Is it your responsibility to do? If the answer is no, then delegate it. Just make sure you delegate it to someone that can do the task right!

  • Do it

If a task can be done in a few minutes, just do it- provided it’s not a task that needs to be deleted, delegated or deferred.

  • Defer it

There may be some tasks that come across your desk that you may not be able to deal with straight away. Examples might include an email relating to a family holiday- it is not part of your work day, but needs a reply.

A great way to implement is to look at your to do list and lacing each tasks according to one of the D’s. Then also do that with each task that you come across your desk during the day.

You might find that some tasks keeps being moved to the next day- ask yourself if that task is really important for you to do. Chances are it may not be. Thus again by deleting or delegating, you can free yourself from the task that might just be sucking up your time. Similarly it may be a task that you are procrastinating on- try to get to the root of what is keeping you from doing it.

By practicing good time management skills, it should allow you to strike a balance between the three aspects of life namely work, leisure and self-care.

Bipolar Mood Disorder

By: Markus Kalipa (Nursing Manager)

What is bipolar?

Is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

“when I was high, I was high as the sky, but when I was low, I was as low as a snake’s belly.”

This quote was taken from a patient diagnosed and treated for Bipolar Mood Disorder in her 80’s. it illustrates the oscillation of mood between mania and depression that can all encompassing and disruptive of normal daily activities for the affected individual with bipolar.

How do I know I have bipolar mood disorder?

Knowing whether you have bipolar mood disorder or not, is not as easy as knowing that you have a high blood pressure or any other medical condition. Therefore, you need to see a qualified psychiatrist, psychologist or any health personnel with sufficient knowledge in mental health field to make a proper diagnosis. At Bel Esprit Mental Hospital, we can help you know whether you are suffering from bipolar or not.

What causes bipolar

The exact causes of bipolar disorder has yet to be determined. Scientific evidence supports a chemical imbalance in the brain, although the cause of the imbalance remains unclear. These are few causes

  • hereditary factors (research shows that this disorder runs in family already known with bipolar)
  • environmental triggers (stressful life events) are influential (Soreff & McInnes, 2008).
  • Biochemical (Early studies have associated symptoms of depression with a functional deficiency of norepinephrine and dopamine, and mania with a functional excess of these amines).

Signs and symptoms suggesting that you have bipolar disorder

Common signs and symptoms of mania include:

  • Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable
  • Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
  • Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
  • Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
  • Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
  • Highly distractible, unable to concentrate
  • Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
  • Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
  • Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)

Hypomania symptoms

Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. In a hypomanic state, you’ll likely feel euphoric, energetic, and productive, but will still be able to carry on with your day-to-day life without losing touch with reality. To others, it may seem as if you’re merely in an unusually good mood. However, hypomania can result in bad decisions that harm your relationships, career, and reputation. In addition, hypomania often escalates to full-blown mania or is followed by a major depressive episode.

Symptoms of bipolar depression

Include:

  • Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty
  • Irritability
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Physical and mental sluggishness
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Sleep problems
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms of a mixed episode

A mixed episode of bipolar disorder features symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression. Common signs of a mixed episode include depression combined with agitation, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, distractibility, and racing thoughts. This combination of high energy and low mood makes for a particularly high risk of suicide.

What is rapid cycling?

Some people with bipolar disorder develops “rapid cycling” where they experience four or more episodes of mania or depression within a 12-month period. Mood swings can occur very quickly, like a rollercoaster randomly moving from high to low and back again over a period of days or even hours. Rapid cycling can leave you feeling dangerously out of control and most commonly occurs if your bipolar disorder symptoms are not being adequately treated.

The different faces of bipolar disorder

Bipolar I Disorder (mania or a mixed episode) – This is the classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Usually—but not always—Bipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.

Bipolar II Disorder (hypomania and depression) – In Bipolar II disorder, you don’t experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.

Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression) – Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder that consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression.

Treatment for bipolar disorder

If you spot the symptoms of bipolar disorder in yourself or someone else, don’t wait to get help. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away; in fact, it will almost certainly get worse. Living with untreated bipolar disorder can lead to problems in everything from your career to your relationships to your health. But bipolar disorder is highly treatable, so diagnosing the problem and starting treatment as early as possible can help prevent these complications.

If you’re reluctant to seek treatment because you like the way you feel when you’re manic, remember that the energy and euphoria come with a price. Mania and hypomania often turn destructive, hurting you and the people around you.

Treatment basics

At Bel Esprit we follow “A Biopsychosocial Model type of therapy”

This is model involves the combination of both;

  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Life style changes
  • Social support