#ClaireNotes – June 2017

New Beginnings?

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New beginnings… June was all about many changes in my life. A leap of faith, you may call it (will be doing a future post on this to go into further detail so eyes peeled for that one!).

I decided to take my physical and mental health more seriously than ever. With summer coming round, I had more time to kill, so I decided to rejoin the gym for three more month. And the progress is there but ever-so slightly.

I also took it upon myself to upgrade my blog plan from free to premium, which comes with more features, and will be working more on my blog than last year. We’re talking collaborations, guest writers, reviews and a lot more!

So you might ask why I have a question mark in the heading… Well, my job is on the line. As of now, writing the post and time of publishing, I still don’t know whether I will be employed for another year or not. It breaks my heart but has to be done (policies and whatever); fingers crossed I get chosen and spend another year with amazing colleagues!

Mental Health First Aid Course!

I have written about this a few days ago. I wanted to do something like this for the longest time, and I finally did it. For the next three years, I am a certified Mental Health First Aider!

The course was spread across two days, six hours each. For me, that was a short amount of time to cover mental health, so I hope the Richmond Foundation does more related courses in the future which are longer.

Summertime Happiness!

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Summer holidays started June 23rd at 1pm for me. I spent the whole day at a staff evaluation, where we engaged in a scavenger hunt around the beautiful city of Birgu in Malta. It was so much fun and we had a great laugh!

Some of the tasks we had to do included reenacting a marriage which featured a stranger as a bride or groom (in our team’s case we had two strangers for each role!), singing the Maltese national anthem holding the Maltese flag, taking selfies with as many strangers as possible and also doing the Harlem Shake.

We had points deducted from our team for arriving late at the meeting spot, and came in at second place. Sans the point deduction we would have been crowned winners!


So this was the month of June in a nutshell. Next month will be a special edition of #ClaireNotes because it will be all about LONDON! Really excited about this, and will probably be a whole bunch of places I’ve been to as opposed to sticking to just three goals, so stay tuned for that!

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Summer Survival 101

Summer… probably my least favourite season by a mile. The heat, the sweat, the chaffing of my thighs every time I dare wear a dress or shorts…! On the other hand, I get to do a lot of things I never get the time to do during Winter for various reasons: weather, time, money and a lot more.

Below are a list of things I do to survive summer, which I hope will help others. Sit back and enjoy!

Continue reading “Summer Survival 101”

Mental Health First Aid

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This makes it official, right?

Well…! I’ve finally done it! The first of many steps towards breaking the stigma surrounding mental health problems in Malta:

I am a Mental Health First Aider!

Confetti it’s a parade!

Celebrations aside, this has been something I’ve wanted to do since forever. And it’s finally done. 2 Saturdays. 6 hours each. Lots of laughs and new friends. Breaking the stigma, one person at a time.

Why should one take a mental health first aid course?

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My experience

Over the past two sessions, I learned a lot of things about mental health, and took note of them. Having been through mental health problems gave me a good background of certain things, but some things were new to me, including ALGEE:

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ALGEE – the life-saving acronym

Algee, the mascot of MHFA, is this cutie pie:

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Algee the koala

Despite having the MHFA manual, which was given to us free of charge, I still took notes of my own, and they will be listed down below…

  • Mental health problem – not diagnosed but displays symptoms
  • Mental health illness – diagnosed
  • Image result for spectrum of interventions for mental health
  • NEVER leave a person alone if they need help!
  • Say you went through a “similar situation” NOT “same thing”
  • Image result for thoughts emotions behaviors triangle
  • Attack the behaviour not the person
  • Make sure of the following:
    • You care and want to help
    • Empathy
    • Help is available
    • Thoughts are very common
    • Encourage the person to do most of the talking
    • No threats/guilt
    • NEVER KEEP SUICIDE A SECRET
    • There are ways to address specific problems
    • Involve the person in who to be told about the problem
  • When person is in crisis – first aid
  • When person not in crisis – ALGEE
  • Panic attacks are
    • frightening but not dangerous
    • not all triggered
  • When in doubt, assume person is experiencing a panic attack, NOT a heart attack
  • When person says they’re having a panic attack and recovers – no intervention
  • Slow breathing helps BUT focusing on breathing can become an emotional crutch leading to difficulty with eventual treatment
  • Panic attack – not more than 10 minutes
  • Types of traumas:
    • Individual
    • Ongoing
    • Mass
    • Witnessing/hearing
    • – (I didn’t get the last one unfortunately)
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder = Multiple Personality Disorder but NOT = schizophrenia!
  • Psychosis = loss of contact from reality
  • Neither confirm nor deny someone with psychosis!
  • Schizophrenia should be diagnosed early – teens to early 20s
  • Borderline Personality Disorder NOT = Bipolar!
  • Schizoaffective – schizophrenia + bipolar/depression (mood disorder)
  • Helpful actions: *
    • Seeking help
    • Offer tea
    • Didn’t go inside
    • Good memories
    • Friendship to help
    • Calm + firm tone
    • Gave options
    • Showed concern
    • Seated
    • 90-degree angle
    • Listened/emphatic
    • Minimal reaction (present)
  • Unhelpful actions: *
    • Sarcasm
    • Judgemental
    • Showed fear
    • Tone of voice
    • Remained standing
    • Arguing with delusions
    • Anxious
    • Insane
    • Calling help behind his back
    • Speaking about Peter in front of him
    • Facial expressions
  • What is affected by substance use disorders? The 4 Ls
    • Livelihood
    • Love
    • Liver
    • Law
  • Three types of substances:
    • Depressants
    • Hallocages
    • Stimulants

* Points taken during a video about MFHA: Psychosis taken from the MHFA Australia DVD


So these were all the points I jotted down throughout the 12-hour course, including some pictures used during the presentations. As a disclaimer, I would like to point out that despite this certification, I CANNOT diagnose ANYONE, but simply ASSIST the person in case of mental health problems. For a diagnosis, please seek professional help (GPs, psychologist, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, etc.)

 

Why I Still Go to Therapy… and why it’s OK

This is probably one of those posts where I had a thousand of ideas, and yet I never really knew how to form those ideas in a decent post. That, and I found it really difficult writing this post. Because the stigma surrounding mental health is still there. I was told by my family not to write about this, but I refuse to be silenced.

I am recovering from depression and anxiety. I’m happier than I ever was, and am in a good place, both physically and mentally.

Yet I still go to psychiatric therapy. And I still take my medication.

And it’s okay.

Continue reading “Why I Still Go to Therapy… and why it’s OK”

20 Signs You Love TV Series More Than People

Another relatable list of things you know you are and cannot help admit to but it’s okay because we are all these kinds of people who makes us human so it’s okay.

Did I say it’s okay?

Continue reading “20 Signs You Love TV Series More Than People”

The Leibster Award!

I was sick since Wednesday, which is why I was MIA on all my social media – that would be my Facebook page/group/personal profile, Instagram and such. But I’m feeling better because, guess what? I got nominated for my SECOND blogging award, the Leibster!

I got nominated by the lovely Tracy (hint: if you’re into book/series/video game reviews, give her a follow!).

Rules are simple: answer 11 questions, come up with 11 questions of your own, nominate 11 people. But I’m ignoring the last part.

So without further ado, here are my answers to Tracy’s questions!

Continue reading “The Leibster Award!”

#ClaireNotes – May

Juggling Things

No, I’m not joining a circus as a juggler. This month, life really took a toll with the amount of things that have been happening in my life: courses, personal matters, work stuff, family stuff, assignments, training for a new job and so much more.

But I got through it like a champ, I reckon.

Exams

6 exams. And two assignments. I haven’t had an exam since last year for my VET Secretarial Course, which was just one exam, but having SIX in a matter of three weeks is too overwhelming for me.

As at the time the post is published, I’ve only done 3 out of 6, and received an assignment result… a C! Which for me is… WOW.

One Year of Blogging!

12th May was my blog’s first birthday. I celebrated it with a few special posts – three to be exact.

My 1st Year of Blogging in Numbers

What I’ve Learnt during my First Year of Blogging

How I get Traffic on my Blog

I was also nominated for my first blogging award!