Frontline Psychiatry

Working in a psychiatric environment can at times be very challenging. This is not only because it is a job which requires a high emotional input, but also because, by the time you meet the patients, they have already been through hell. The closest person they come into contact with at that moment in time may just be the person onto whom their anger and frustration gets released.

But, that being said, these environments are also places of hope. Where the hope (that you may have felt was lost forever) returns. It is a place where your faith in humanity gets restored. It takes a very special type of person with a real passion to pick up that responsibility, whether you are a classic mental health care worker such as a doctor, nurse or therapist, or if you are working behind the scenes to make sure the system keeps running smoothly. Each of these people, through their care, is able to change people’s lives.

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Speak the truth in love

Communication is important in all relationships, whether it is an intimate relationship, a friendship or between colleagues at work. We might never know that we’re doing something to offend another person unless someone points it out to us because according to our way of thinking, we’re not doing anything wrong.

Let me give you an example.  Three of us at Vista Clinic were invited to a school for an appreciation lunch.  I offered that we should all go in my car.  Firstly, I have to say that I am still a loner.  I hardly ever have passengers, even though I have a family car.  But on this day, two of my colleagues were in the car with me and on our way back, one of them said: ‘Deon drives like the busses in Mauritius.  He pulls away with great speed and my head is against the seat, but when he stops my face is on the dashboard!’  The two of them laughed, but I looked at them and asked: Really?
I didn’t know this until she pointed it out to me.  I started to concentrate on what I do while driving, and discovered that it’s true! Now that I am aware of it, I can work on my driving habits in order to become a safer driver.

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How to be the best Valentine this Valentine’s Day.

It is Valentine’s Day… Whoop whoop! So here are a few steps to make sure that you are the best “Valentine” this year.

Step 1: Know it is Valentine’s Day.

Okay, so we have already nailed step one. By this time, your Facebook, e-mails and phone has probably reminded you that it is V-day. If you forgot – no worries! You know now, and the next few steps will help you be the most awesome “Valentine” ever.

Step 2: Forget what you think you know about Valentine’s Day.

The nay-sayers will tell you that Valentine’s Day is only a holiday invented by the greeting card companies and chocolate manufactures to make more money out of you. Furthermore, if you Google Valentine’s Day, you will be surprised by all the legends, tall tales and half-truths. But, the point is, it is about love and celebrating connectedness, so don’t get caught up in the past of what it means or the retail gimmicks – see it for what it is: a celebration of love! And this includes all types of love, be it parental love, friendship, or romantic love.

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let it go!

The first step in letting things go is being able to accept that you need to let them go. For most, this is the problem: we hold on to things so tightly because of an uncontrollable fear. We fear that if we let it go, we would have no idea how to cope anymore. Take anger, for example: every day I work with people who have pent-up anger which they are so eager to get rid of, but when given the opportunity to let go of the anger, most of them don’t. The reason is fairly simple: because when we are angry, we have something to hold on to. It is much like a life raft that keeps us connected to the pain in our life and we believe that by letting it go, we are telling others that what they did to us was okay.

STOP! Letting go does not mean you are weak or you are now somehow putting an “okay” sticker on others’ hurtful behaviour. Letting go means we allow ourselves to move forward. So here are some things you should let go of in 2017.

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Why are you backing down?

In primary school we played a very popular game that we called ‘open the gate.’  Everyone who played along would stand in a row at the end of the field except for one person who would stand in the middle of the field.  If this person called your name, it was up to you to ‘open the gate’. You had to run past him without being caught to the other side of the field. Once you were past him, you had opened the gate for all the others to also run to the other field.  But if you were caught, you also stood in the middle to help catch the others as they ran to join the group in the middle.

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Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated

It is the beginning of the year and, for most people, their motivation is still sky high. You probably have big plans for 2017 and have set New Year’s resolutions up to the kazoo. There is nothing wrong with this, but if the ‘beginning of the year feel’ is the only thing that you are counting on to help you achieve all those goals, well… Then your tank is going to run empty pretty soon, as we are already entering February! So, let’s take the time to look at some ways in which we can keep ourselves motivated, at least for a bit longer than the end of January!

  1. Stay healthy

Something most important to stay motivated is ENERGY, there is no way you will be able to determine your goals when you are always tired or sick. Therefore, make sure that you get your 8 hours of Z’s, drink enough water, keep active, and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Cut down on those energy drinks, sugars, alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes, as all of these are major energy takers.

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5 Reasons it is so hard to quit smoking!

“Quit smoking” is probably the number one new year’s resolution across the world.  A survey has found that 80% of smokers would like to quit the bad habit, but less than 5% are able to quit on their own. So if the desire is there, then why is it so difficult to stop? Here are a few reasons why so many people find it hard to kick their smoking habit.

  1. Discomfort

Because nicotine hi-jacks the dopamine system, it is highly addictive. However, the greater problem with the addiction is the withdrawal. Typical nicotine withdrawal symptoms include: flu-like aches and discomfort, irritability, sleep problems, fatigue, and cravings. It is these uncomfortable feelings which deter people from wanting to actually stop smoking. Most people would rather keep smoking than experience these uncomfortable feelings.

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The mudslide that is depression.

Miekie, a friend of mine is a true athlete.  During his school career he was always  one of the top athletes in the school.  He is always on the lookout for a new sport to practice.  Triathlons and races like the 94.7 is old news to him.

Currently, he participates in ‘warrior races’.  Naturally, he falls in die epic category, which is for the strongest warriors.  The track is only 20 kilometers long, but has obstacles like swinging across a monkey bar, climbing up with a rope over a frame and down again, and dragging tyres around his waist across a field.

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How to create a budget!

Three of the most common new year’s resolutions are losing weight/being healthier, quitting smoking (don’t worry, we will tackle this one a bit later!) and achieving financial goals. These financial goals may vary from paying off debt, saving for that dream vacation or just being more in control of your finances. If achieving financial goals is your 2017 new year’s resolution, then it is time to put your money where your mouth is. It is nearing the end of the month and your first paycheque for 2017 is in your near future. This means that there is no more hiding – it is time to act! So today we are going to talk about how to create a budget.

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10 Signs that you have too much debt

It is a new year and the perfect opportunity to get your finances in order. Research has found that up to 70% of individuals stress about money on a regular basis. Furthermore, these studies have shown that 20% of people think about their financial status from time to time and only 10% never think about their finances. However, debt is a huge stress factor in our social functioning and when left unaddressed, it can lead to some serious health problems, such as anxiety and depressive disorders, as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. But before we can just jump in and start saving (I know it is probably one of your New Year’s resolutions) we first need to identify where we stand and what the indicators of debt are.

So here are the 10 signs that you have too much debt:

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