Archive for October 2017

How to Fight Depression on Halloween

Depression on Halloween?  You might be wondering, “Who’s depressed on Halloween?”  That’s a good question. The answer: Many people are depressed on Halloween.

The truth is that during the holidays (pick your holiday), many people struggle with depression.  The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 6.7% of the U.S. adult population will experience some form of depression each year.

Depression can be caused by life experiences, such as postpartum, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or the death of a loved one.  Countless factors of varying degrees can contribute to the onset of depression, as well.

One key factor that plagues those who suffer from depression is loneliness.  If you anticipate being alone this Halloween, here are 7 great ways to fight those familiar feelings of depression: decorate for the holiday, decorating your living space can be a lot of fun.  Getting up and doing something physical will also release endorphins, which are the hormones that help fight stress and pain. They also make us feel better and more energetic, dress up or get in costume, pretend to be someone (or something) else for a day. Come on, it’s Halloween. Be a kid again. Lose yourself in this fun tradition, welcome Trick-or-Treaters let the excitement and wonderment of trick-or-treaters rub off on you, invite a guest share the experience with a friend or co-worker.  Eat dinner. Watch a scary movie.  Make a memory that you’ll reflect on for years to come, dress your pet. If you are a pet owner who gets a kick out of a dachshund in a hot dog costume, then get Fido dressed and take him for a walk.  Pets are great at soothing our emotions and altering our feelings. They also create healthy opportunities for us to interact with others, go where the people are. If you haven’t made party plans with anyone, chances are you’ll spend the night alone.  Make plans to be where people are.  Malls, parks and other public places often attract interesting and entertaining Halloween activity, and play it safe. This isn’t the night for making spontaneous or irrational decisions. Try new things, but never put yourself in compromising or potentially dangerous situations.  Have fun, not regrets.

Believe that you can have a great time this Halloween, even if you plan to spend it alone.  Make a plan and commit to it – no dropping out at the last minute.  And don’t be disappointed if things don’t go as planned.  You’re not a failure if things don’t turn out the way you hoped they would . . . and have a Happy Halloween!

What to Do When a Child Endures Racial Bullying in School

Racial bullying in school should be taken as seriously, if not more so, than other forms of mistreatment children endure at the hands of peers. Parents don’t have to sit idly by while a bully chips away at their child’s self-esteem. By learning to identify bullying, who’s at risk and how it can be stopped, parents can take action.

What Is Bullying?

Want to end race-based bullying? First, it’s necessary to outline exactly what bullying is.

Bullying may consist of physical violence, such as punching, shoving and hitting; or verbal assaults, such as spreading gossip about a classmate, calling the classmate names or teasing the classmate. In the electronic age, bullying also manifests in mean-spirited emails, text messages or instant messages.

Additionally, bullying may involve excluding a classmate from group activities or ignoring the classmate. Sophisticated bullies are another matter entirely. Instead of abusing a person directly, they enlist their friends to gang up on a classmate for them.

Studies on bullying indicate that 15 to 25 percent of U.S. students are bullied frequently. What’s shocking is that both bullies and their targets suffer from the practice. Students who bully have a higher chance of dropping out of school, abusing substances and committing crimes than others. On the flip side, up to 160,000 targets of bullies skip school annually to avoid abuse.

 Who’s at Risk?

Make good grades or have a cute boyfriend? A bully may target you. That’s because bullies pick on those they envy as well as those who don’t fit in. Because students of color in predominantly white schools stand out in the crowd, they make convenient targets for bullies. It requires little imagination for a bully to insult a classmate because of race.

 A racist bully may leave racially tinged graffiti on school grounds or verbally single out a minority student’s skin color, hair texture, eye shape and other distinguishing features.

Hit 1996 film “The Craft” has a storyline in which a white character named Laura racially harasses an African American classmate named Rochelle. In one scene, Laura and Rochelle are in the locker room after gym class, and Laura says, “Oh, God, look, there is a pubic hair in my brush. Oh, no wait, wait, that’s just one of Rochelle’s little nappy hairs.”

When Rochelle asks Laura why she relentlessly teases her, Laura responds, “Because I don’t like Negroids. Sorry.”

Rochelle is clearly hurt by the remark and her performance in gym class suffers because of Laura’s constant teasing. Targets of bullies not only suffer academically but may have trouble sleeping and eating. Their moods may change markedly as well.

As the only black student in an exclusive Catholic high school, Rochelle finds herself in a clique of other misfits, including a new girl from out of town with magical powers. To stop the racist bullying, Rochelle enlists the help of the new girl to make Laura’s hair fall out. Too bad magical spells can’t stop bullying in real life.

Standing Up to Bullying

How do you stop bullying? Ending it will likely require action from parents, students and schools, alike. By talking with children, parents can pinpoint when bullying is most likely to happen and act to prevent their children from being targeted at such times. For instance, if a student is bullied before or after school, parents can arrange to have the child driven to school or picked up afterwards to prevent the child from being alone with a bully.

Parents may also enroll their children in an assertiveness training course to give them tools to stand up to bullies. If a child is subjected to physical violence by a bully, parents may provide self-defense lessons as well. Reaching out to the family of a bully may also stop the abuse. However, one of the reasons children bully is because they witness bullying at home or have chaotic home lives.

The bully may be picking on minority classmates because of racist attitudes they’ve been exposed to by family members. Given this, the bully’s family may be of little help in ending the abuse.

Parents may also opt to discuss the bullying with school officials and enlist the help of administrators and teachers to end the mistreatment. As violence on school campus increasingly makes headlines, schools take bullying more seriously now than ever. When reaching out to school officials, let them know that you want your child’s role in having the bully punished to be a secret. Because bullies often up their abuse when found out, it’s important that their targets are protected from acts of retaliation.

Does your child attend public school? Academic institutions that receive federal funds are mandated to prevent students from exposure to racially hostile environments. Should a school fail to take action to thwart racist bullying, parents have the option of filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, which investigates such matters.

OCR typically resolves such complaints by requiring schools to adopt anti-harassment policies and procedures, train staff and students and address the incidents in question, according to its website. To boot, schools and teachers can reduce the likelihood that racist bullying will occur by pairing students of different races together on projects, holding diversity workshops and encouraging students of all races to sit in the cafeteria together.

Damage Control

Racist bullying may give children a complex about their ethnic background. To counteract the messages of a racist bully, help children feel good about their racial heritage. Celebrate important cultural events, put up images of individuals from diverse backgrounds around the home and allow children to socialize with peers from diverse backgrounds. Expose them to literature, film and music in which people from their ethnic group figure prominently.

ADHD and Self Esteem

The term ‘Self esteem’ means to respect and have positive opinion of yourself. Your self esteem is entwined with your self confidence and sense of self worth. Unfortunately, adults with ADHD tend to have low levels of self esteem.
Here is a list of 15 things that having low self-esteem can result in: anxiety, stress, loneliness, depression, problems in relationships, underachievement, drug and alcohol abuse, procrastination, lack of assertiveness, body image problems, making decisions, unable to ‘own’ your achievements, feel helpless with no control of their life, feel undeserving of being happy, and blaming others.
Our self esteem begins to form during our childhood. The reason so many ADHD adults have-low self esteem is because their behaviour is different from the ‘norm’. Your high energy, impulsivity, perhaps poor social skills, was likely to receive negative
messages from the adults in your life. Rather than receiving lots of positive reinforcement that creates a healthy self esteem, you received negative comments which causes low self esteem. The good news is that it doesn’t matter how low your self esteem is, you can start to improve yours right now.

Here are five tips:

1) Replace your negative self talk with positive. After years of getting negative feedback you internalise it. The negative chatter in your head can be very debilitating and result in anxiety, constant worrying, and a sense of hopelessness. When you catch yourself saying something negative, counteract that with something positive or neutralise it. For example, ‘I can never do anything right’ remind yourself of some of the things you have accomplished. Or, ‘I still haven’t tidied my desk’ to ‘I haven’t tided my desk yet’
2) Set yourself up for success. Break your big goals into small very do-able actions. When you achieve them, give yourself a few minutes to enjoy that feeling of accomplishment and congratulate yourself.
3) Give yourself daily rewards. After achieving a task or tasks reward yourself. Make the mental connection that you are having this reward because you did____ task. This gives you positive enforcement. The rewards don’t need to be complex, watching a movie, seeing a friend, listening to a new CD are all great examples.
4) Take a realistic inventory of yourself and your life. Are there things that are bothering you? Are you a little over weight, do you wish you have a tidy and clean house? If yes, then get proactive and make those changes.
5) Break out of your comfort zone. Do something that scares and excites you. Go on a trip on your own, speak in public, do a parachute jump. Whenever you break out of your comfort zone, you grow and develop and your self esteem increases.
While most of these suggestions are based on actions and ‘doing,’  you are already an awesome person. When your self esteem is low, it’s hard taking that on board. So trust me on this one, you are a magnificent human being.