Mental Health Monday: mindfulness, soldiers with autism, and treating schizophrenia with weed

Buenos tardes. Happy Monday, winnerperson. We hope your belly is full and your elbows are ash-free on this fine day, and that you're resting easier knowing that Janet just gave birth to the most talented child the Jackson family has seen in decades. That alone should make your dreams at least 12% sweeter. Anyhow, whether you're chillaxing or pursuing luchini on President's Day, you can take at least a quick moment to breathe, so we've got some guided meditation videos down below. And: stories about the mental warfare that happens when you've got both anxiety and depression, what it's like to live with autism, and a new perspective on weed's usefulness in decreasing symptoms of schizophrenia.

Also, a friendly reminder that Alex is compiling a database of Black mental health professionals, fitness/reiki/massage/herbologist/bootcamp folks, and agencies and programs, so if you are or know a Black therapist or counselor, or know of a resource that would be helpful for someone in need of mental health care or support, please have a gander at and fill out this form to be included. Thank you kindly.


On her podcast, A Different Perspective, Dr. Amber Thornton's dedicated an episode to Black psychology, the special relationship between Black patients and Black psychologists, and why we need more Black folks as mental health professionals. She also spoke on how she went about becoming a psychologist.

"Empty and Anxious: Life with Anxiety" [NAMI]

"Life with anxiety is being afraid to talk to a person face to face. I don’t know what to say especially when it’s a new person. Should I just introduce myself like “Hey, my name is Desirae and I suffer from depression and anxiety”? No. Then I’ll probably run them off. But if I get past that part without saying all that mumbo jumbo then I freak out about what I should say next. Because you know you don’t want to seem rude and just walk off but you start to panic because you don’t feel comfortable, then these thoughts start rushing through your mind and you don’t know what to do. It’s like your fight or flight sense kicks in and your mind is telling you to run, run as fast as you can."

And so you can get your calm on, here is a five-minute mindfulness meditation video, "Mindfulness Bell." And a mindful breathing exercise.

"Depression may be our brain's way of telling us to stop and solve a problem" by Kevin Loria [Business Insider]

"But there's also a theory that instead of being purely a disorder, depression might be a specific behavioral strategy that we've evolved — a biological adaptation that serves a purpose. As Matthew Hutson explains in a Nautilus feature on the potential evolutionary roots of depression and suicidal behavior, that purpose might be to make us stop to understand and deal with an important problem."

"The Cannabis-Schizophrenia Relationship Is Not What You Think" by Lauren Maul [Merry Jane]

"So, what happens when someone with schizophrenia becomes intoxicated with actual cannabis? A 2006 study found that patients who self-medicated with cannabis reported fewer negative symptoms than those who did not. Less avolution (general lack of drive to perform activities or pursue meaningful goals) and fewer apathy symptoms were detected in patients with schizophrenia who used cannabis than in those patients who did not partake."

"Are you considering suicide? Here’s messages from people who’ve been there!" [Brett Francis]

" When My Day Starts With a Battle in My Head Between Anxiety and Depression" by Heather LaSalle [The Mighty]

"On a regular weekday morning, I start my day with a battle in my head. My depression tells me not to get out of bed at all because it’s not really worth the energy it takes to get out of bed. Then my anxiety chimes in and begins to argue. My depression often has a laid-back kind of voice, while my anxiety talks fast. Those of you who know me can probably tell when my anxiety is high because my outer voice begins to sound like the anxiety voice I hear inside my head. It rushes and is sometimes hard to understand." 

"Local high school students create suicide prevent PSA" by Christina Tetrault [Your Central Valley]

"The video explores the daily struggles teenagers face and encourages viewers to reach out when feeling pressure or having suicidal thoughts. The video was published on The Feather, the school's student-ran online newspaper.

"The title of our video is 'Hope: Let's Talk' and I really think that's what I wanted our message to be," said Fresno Christian High Senior Jarrod Markarian. "I just wanted to make sure that was a message that you're not alone in this big world," he said."

"My Journey With Autism" [NAMI]

"I then joined the Marine Corps Infantry, not only to serve my country, but to get people to respect me. I went through three tours and a good deal of abuse for my condition that I didn’t even know I had. I left with an honorable discharge and returned to the civilian world an emotionally and psychologically broken human being. I enrolled in college again. My peers, who I hoped would respect me more for my service, couldn’t understand how such a strange individual could make it through something like the Infantry and gave me even less respect."

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