Archives for March, 2012

By Chato Stewart of Mental Health Humor

Weight-Loss: 90 Days of Mindfulness Dieting

Weight-Loss is a Goal, Not a Resolution!
Weight-loss is a huge topic on January 1st. Many people make resolutions for the new year to lose weight or get more exercise, only to give up due to one circumstance or another before the month is even over. In fact, a new statistic shows the average lifespan of a New Year's Resolution is 18.3 days to 43.5 days.

Some New Year's resolutions are broken within 24 hours of being set - short-lived! 

But for me, losing weight had nothing to do with the New Year's Resolution. Rather, it's a new (long-term) life-style change that just so happened to coincide with the beginning of this year.  I made a commitment that in 2012, I would not gain weight and start working on "effective" weight loss techniques.

This includes my daily diet; changing it to be more nutritional and beneficial by adding more raw foods. I also added a dietary supplement to help with my digestion and assist in my weight loss and management ( Slender GR). I'm also getting up and moving more and exercising.

These were the plans I wrote down on January 1, 2012 - NOT resolutions, but goals. I did not want to put too much pressure on myself.  A goal will work just as well. So, let me share with you what these past 90 days of mindfulness dieting has taught me.
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By Chato Stewart of Mental Health Humor

Gary Larson in a Nutshell – Remembering Paul Boyd

I grew up reading Gary Larson's cartoon book over and over again until it fell apart.  It's not hard to see his influence in my drawings of cartoons. In fact, many of the single cell cartoons you find online are influenced by his humor and twisted look on life.

He was the first mental health humorist! For example, in one of his cartoons the caption went, "The Bluebird of Happiness long absent from his life, Ned is visited by The Chicken of Depression."  This cartoon in Gary Larson's "The Far Side" was published in 1988.

If you don't know this famous comic strip/cartoon syndicated Universal Press Syndicate, you must live in a cave! I guarantee that you've seen one of his thousands of cartoons online. Here is the sad part, almost all the cartoons you see online of Gary Larson's work...are stolen and fall into copyright infringement!

Gary Larson has not published any cartoons, to my knowledge, in a long time. He retired from daily panels of "The Far Side" on January 1, 1995. He did do animated films: "Gary Larson's Tales From The Far Side" I and II, then dropped out of site. 
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By Chato Stewart of Mental Health Humor

Using Social Media to Fight Stigma

I made some "noise" (using social media to fight stigma) early in February with a post entitled, "Kmart Stigmatizes Children With Mental Illness – Selling Offensive T-shirts." It took off through social media when a few big twitter peeps picked up the ball.

The retweets spiked with the image I took of the t-shirts. Thanks to the Founder and President and Host of The Coffee Klatch* who brought the problem right to the source...@Kmart!!

You can read about Kmart's response and see some photos of the t-shirts below. While I don't want to beat a dead horse; Kmart did remove the sale of the shirts from their website!

I also wanted to share an article from the Northern Illinois University Campus Northern Star newspaper
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By Chato Stewart of Mental Health Humor

Avoiding Professional Help for Mental Illness: Is it Over-Confidence Or Courage?

Mental Illness & Over-confidence
You've heard about it. Day after day, people making the news due to some horrific incident that usually ends sadly in someone's death, followed by words like: "he suffered from Bipolar/Depression/Schizophrenia" or "he/she has a long history of mental illness."
Many times, you hear the commentator go on and on about the "psychological" issues involved. They then interview friends who comment: " I never knew so-an-so was mentally ill" or (they may say) "he/she was always strange."  What happened?! Where did the ball get dropped with these peers?!
I, personally, was of the mindset that I could handle my moods. After all, I should be the master of my own domain, right?? For some, with mild cases of mood disorders (if there is such a thing?... a mild mood disorder...) this may be true. They may never have seen a doctor or never have stepped a foot into a psych ward.
For years, I knew I had "a" problem. However, I did not know what "it" was labeled/called. I just knew it was something in my head. Here is how I looked at it - in an article I wrote last year titled: I Can’t Be Depressed… I’m a Guy! Can you see the over-confidence? Or is it courage?
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By Chato Stewart of Mental Health Humor

Hypersexuality and Technology is A Dangerous Mix!

Hypersexuality & Technology: DSM-V
Isstead of sending a mass e-mail on the Hidden Dangers of Hypersexuality and Technology, you could choose to read Robert Weiss LCSW's, blog post on Hypersexuality and The DSM V to get a more rounded view and idea of what it is and its history as part of Psychiatric Disorders.
I've come to the understanding that during an episode of psychosis, dealing with symptoms of mania, a person can do things they would normally "never" consider in 1 million years. When I facilitated the Sarasota DBSA (Depression Bipolar Support Alliance), one member, who just a week earlier was arrested after streaking down town Main Street, regretted doing it, but only had "vague" memories of it; mostly from what was written in the newspaper.
She expressed her sorrow and disappointment because it was the third time she had done it! (Good thing YouTtube was not around back then!) Another person would lock herself in her house during periods of mania to avoid getting in trouble with her hypersexuality issues. Now, add social media and being locked in the house to avoid trouble...and it could be more harmful then helpful. Why?
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2012 Mental health Humor Cartoons

Hidden Dangers: Hypersexuality and Technology

Today,  many of us so intertwined with technology that, at times, we can reap some serious consequences when combined with psychiatric disorders. Yes, there is technology that can be beneficial and tons more that is just a waste of time. We live in an age that has an "app" for everything; one app can identify Depression by reviewing your text and sequencing your writing with an algorithm that can "conclude"  to what degree you may be depressed.

Then, there are apps and websites all about support and recovery that could be very beneficial to the newcomer and/or the veteran of mental illnesses - such as the writers here at Psych Cental!  Yet, every one of these so-called technological improvements can be abused. Especially if you're dealing with mania and/or dealing with  hypersexuality (sex addiction) too.
Hypersexuality and "FAILED" technology
Here's an email I received the other day that is a perfect example of a "FAILED" technology.  It's from someone who obviously admires me and from all the X's and O's I would think she is in love with me. She expresses it by saying:  "I want you so bad you are my only wish!"

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Chato B Stewart

My “Negative Emotions” Are Doing Cartwheels In My Brain!

What's more balanced, me, a 353 lbs. man, doing a cartwheel or my negative emotions?  It almost sounds like an oxymoron..."balanced negative emotions." Nonetheless, there is a way to keep them in check!

Hey, if I can, at age of 41 and weighing in at 353 pounds,  still do a cartwheel then there is no reason for me not to be able to balance my negative emotions, too. Just doing a cartwheel is a huge self-esteem booster on its own.  Considering not long ago, I could not even stand for short periods of time without being in serious physical pain.

Due to my weight, I was almost housebound. Due to my mind, I was trapped with negative thoughts that swiped at my self-image like a whip with shards of glass and bones woven into it.  I had the case of the "UR's!" (The UR is text talk abbreviation for "you're.")

In my case, in my head, it sounds like: You're Fat! You're ugly! You're worthless! You're stupid! You're a piece of  ....!  On and on and over and over again.  It's like water-boarding the mind. Sooner or later, you're going to give into it; believe the negative, torturous thoughts.
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By Chato Stewart of Mental Health Humor

Weight-Loss: Mind – Body and Cannibalism (Part 2)

Once your mind is in the game, it's time to get serious about making the changes that you can enjoy and stick to. DO NOT go at weight loss to just lose weight! I've found that this too is a sabotage. I've been on and off diets in the past (like most of us) with the yo-yo diets we know don't work.

We also know that exercise is a HUGE key factor. Yet, if you're like me and pushing 400 pounds, any type of exercise that is over done or not done right, can have devastating effects on our body and our mind. Nothing can halt your progress to make you give up, willingly or unwillingly, like physical injury because of exercising. For this reason, I've been taking it very slow.

In January, I started adding a few minutes of dancing to a favorite song every time it came on the radio. First time I did it, I could hardly stand for the whole song; let alone move. With my work, I've lead a sedentary lifestyle sitting in front of my computer most days working. Now, each day I try to move.

I've added one-hour workouts 2 to 3 times a week. Last week, I overdid it and I hurt my knee, so remember to listen to your body! It's taken me many years of total disregard of my health to get to 383 pounds... losing it is not going to be overnight!
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By Chato Stewart of Mental Health Humor

Weight-Loss: Mind – Body and Cannibalism (Part 1)

In this three-part series, I will discuss how weight loss affects the mind and the body and cannibalism... okay, I'm sure you understand cannibalism (no pun intended), but is is a tongue and cheek attempt at humor. Like what my son said once:  "I know Cannibals are good people, because inside of them they have the heart and souls of many people."

Yeah, my boy has the same twisted humor I do!  However, there is nothing funny about pushing 400 pounds.

March 10th marks a very special day for me. It's  the 70th straight day I've been committed to changing my physical health.  NO,  I'm not "on a diet" - being on a diet only means you can go off a diet! Nope, what I'm doing and have been doing the past seventy days is to overhaul the way I eat. Rethinking proteins, fats, dairy and starches.  I'm finding out what works for my body. In 2003, I weighed 230 pounds - In 2010, I maxed out at 383 lbs.
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2012 Mental health Humor Cartoons

Move On from Self-Absorption And Social Anxiety

Jon Press, a friend and fellow blogger, wrote a blog post for BP Hope magazine on March 6th titled: "It's all about me."  That got me thinking.  Since thinking is not one my strongest attributes, it's best to pay more than the usual attention before I lose my train of thought.

Jon wrote what he came to "resent most is the way bipolar can promote self-absorption."

YES, it's so true that living with a mental illness like Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Depression or any mood disorder or psychological trauma can turn us inside out. It creates tunnel vision.  We worry non-stop about our OWN recovery.  We become a group of  worrywarts with a self-inflicted anxiety disorder of sorts.
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2012 Mental health Humor Cartoons

Weight-Loss: Is It The “Pandora’s Box” Of Mental Health?

I'll be forty-one soon. Of the past forty-one years, only eleven of those years were years I was not overweight!  That means for 75% of my life I've been overweight.

I've always been able to hold the extra weight in a way that did not make me look as "PHAT" as I was.  I remember when I was 260 lbs, my doctor could not believe it. She thought the scale was broken and 50 pounds off. That was 20 years ago.  After that doctor visit, I started Weight Watchers and in 9 months I lost 51 pounds and peeked at 209, I felt good and LOOKED GOOD!

I opened my own Pandora's Box - reflecting back, I'm now realizing I was dealing with an uncontrolled mania roller coaster in and out depression.  I was a wreck and I screwed up a LOT!!!  That lead to periods of deep depression, self- injury and cutting and burning, and constant suicidal thoughts. I kept all that to myself and my wife had to suffer through it. My spastic behavior should have sent HUGE red flags up, but my wife and I just dealt with it the best we could.  My weight loss opened that Pandora's Box and the fear of a repeat has sat in the back of my mind ever since.

In December, my emotional eating and thinking, combined with medication and constant apathy had me pushing 380 pounds.  I had to admit to myself that I'd been committing "Food-icide" with every bite.  What is "Food-icide"?  Besides being a word I just made up, I think of it as suicide-by-food.  So in December, at a Sam's Club, I got a wake up call after getting an in-store free blood sugar and A1c check.
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