You Fight the Demons aka Samina the Brave


You fight the demons of the mind, the demons of the flesh

Daily, every morning, you wake up in a nightmare… burning, jagged, screaming, hellish thoughts

Daily, every morning, you take a deep breath, gulp in air

You douse the flames with the sweet spring water of your tears, you smooth the sharp edges of boulders with emery boards, your thudding heart drowns out the cacophony of fear

You ask the earth to go back into the path it orbited last night, you ask the world for some peace and quiet, just a tiny bit from its stores, do they still exist?

Every day, this is how it is, everyday, the nightmares seem more real than my comforter, my sheets, which I want to engulf me and hide and be nevermore

By the time the afternoon comes, the wraiths, the ghosts, the demons have evaporated

I am allowed half a normal day, by the time night time arrives, I am fully back to myself again, no fears, no horrors, just me, smiling and laughing

I look back at the day and wonder what was all that? But it happens again the next morning

They call it anxiety. Why every morning? How to explain this to anyone?

Some days I am lucky, oh so lucky, and the battalion of doom doesn’t turn up at my door

Those are the days I live for, aaaah the normal days, just the days without fear, doubt, misgivings, just peaceful days, quiet days, just days

Bravery? Yes, I have more strength than I ever thought I possessed. Unfair, yes, but who has time for the measuring, the weighing, the quantifying whose life is fair and whose is not

So just call me Samina the Brave and we can move on haircut

Scientists show a link between intestinal bacteria and depression and anxiety (!!!)

gut bac

Scientists from McMaster University have discovered that intestinal bacteria play an important role in inducing anxiety and depression. The new study, published in Nature Communications, is the first to explore the role of intestinal microbiota in the altered behavior that is a consequence of early life stress. “We have shown for the first time in an established mouse model of anxiety and depression that bacteria play a crucial role in inducing this abnormal behavior,” said Premysl Bercik, senior author of the paper.

“Exploring the role of intestinal microbiota in the altered behavior that is a consequence of early life stress

Scientists from the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute at McMaster University have discovered that intestinal bacteria play an important role in inducing anxiety and depression.

The new study, published in Nature Communications, is the first to explore the role of intestinal microbiota in the altered behavior that is a consequence of early life stress.

“We have shown for the first time in an established mouse model of anxiety and depression that bacteria play a crucial role in inducing this abnormal behavior,” said Premysl Bercik, senior author of the paper and an associate professor of medicine with McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. “But it’s not only bacteria, it’s the altered bi-directional communication between the stressed host — mice subjected to early life stress — and its microbiota, that leads to anxiety and depression.”

It has been known for some time that intestinal bacteria can affect behavior, but much of the previous research has used healthy, normal mice, said Bercik.

In this study, researchers subjected mice to early life stress with a procedure of maternal separation, meaning that from day three to 21, newborn mice were separated for three hours each day from their mothers and then put back with them.

First, Bercik and his team confirmed that conventional mice with complex microbiota, which had been maternally separated, displayed anxiety and depression-like behavior, with abnormal levels of the stress hormone corticosterone. These mice also showed gut dysfunction based on the release of a major neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.

Then, they repeated the same experiment in germ-free conditions and found that in the absence of bacteria mice which were maternally separated still have altered stress hormone levels and gut dysfunction, but they behaved similar to the control mice, not showing any signs of anxiety or depression.

Next, they found that when the maternally separated germ-free mice are colonized with bacteria from control mice, the bacterial composition and metabolic activity changed within several weeks, and the mice started exhibiting anxiety and depression.

“However, if we transfer the bacteria from stressed mice into non stressed germ-free mice, no abnormalities are observed. This suggests that in this model, both host and microbial factors are required for the development of anxiety and depression-like behavior. Neonatal stress leads to increased stress reactivity and gut dysfunction that changes the gut microbiota which, in turn, alters brain function,” said Bercik.

He said that with this new research, “We are starting to explain the complex mechanisms of interaction and dynamics between the gut microbiota and its host. Our data show that relatively minor changes in microbiota profiles or its metabolic activity induced by neonatal stress can have profound effects on host behavior in adulthood.”

Bercik said this is another step in understanding how microbiota can shape host behaviour, and that it may extend the original observations into the field of psychiatric disorders.

“It would be important to determine whether this also applies to humans. For instance, whether we can detect abnormal microbiota profiles or different microbial metabolic activity in patients with primary psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and depression,” said Bercik.”

Brain Inflammation triggered by Chronic Pain Linked to Depression and Anxiety


Brain inflammation caused by chronic nerve pain alters activity in regions that regulate mood and motivation. This, for the first time, shows a direct biophysical link exists between long-term pain and the depression, anxiety and substance abuse seen in more than half of these patients.

These findings also point the way to new treatment options for those with chronic pain, the incidence of suicide in patients with chronic pain is second only to those with bipolar d/o. Therefore it would be wonderful to have new treatments.

Researchers found that that pain-derived brain inflammation causes the accelerated growth and activation of immune cells called microglia. These cells trigger chemical signals within neurons that restrict the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.

Morphine and its derivatives can be ineffective in treating chronic pain. This study explains why, normally morphine and its derivatives stimulate the release of dopamine, but in rats with chronic pain, administration of morphine does not cause them to produce dopamine, resulting in impaired reward-motivated behavior. However, when these rats are treated with drugs that inhibit microglial activation, they then start producing dopamine.

Next the researchers aim to look at human chronic pain, and determine whether pain derived behaviors might account for mood disorders in these patients.

This can also shed light on mood disorders that are not caused by chronic pain. Of course dopamine is an integral part of the neurotransmitter system that contributes to mood stability. It is also the main neurotransmitter involved in Parkinson’s disease. Hoping for good things to come out of this research.


Article reference below:

Microglia Disrupt Mesolimbic Reward Circuitry in Chronic Pain

Study links brain inflammation triggered by chronic pain to anxiety and depression

Brain inflammation caused by chronic nerve pain alters activity in regions that regulate mood and motivation, suggesting for the first time that a direct biophysical link exists between long-term pain and the depression, anxiety and substance abuse seen in more than half of these patients, University of California (UC), Irvine and UCLA researchers report.

This breakthrough finding also points to new approaches for treating chronic pain, which is second only to bipolar disorder among illness-related causes of suicide. About a quarter of Americans suffer from chronic pain, making it the most common form of enduring illness for those under the age of 60. The Institute of Medicine estimates that this costs our society more than $635 billion per year.

In work with rodents, Catherine Cahill, associate professor of anesthesiology & perioperative care at UCI, Christopher Evans of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute, and colleagues discovered that pain-derived brain inflammation causes the accelerated growth and activation of immune cells called microglia. These cells trigger chemical signals within neurons that restrict the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.

The study also reveals why opioid drugs such as morphine can be ineffective against chronic pain. Morphine and its derivatives normally stimulate the release of dopamine. But in research on mice and rats in chronic pain, Cahill and her colleagues learned that these drugs failed to stimulate a dopamine response, resulting in impaired reward-motivated behavior.

Treating these animals in chronic pain with a drug that inhibits microglial activation restored dopamine release and reward-motivated behavior, Cahill said.

‘For over 20 years, scientists have been trying to unlock the mechanisms at work that connect opioid use, pain relief, depression and addiction,’ she added. ‘Our findings represent a paradigm shift which has broad implications that are not restricted to the problem of pain and may translate to other disorders.’

The results of the five-year study appear online in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Next, Cahill and her team aim to establish that pain-derived changes in human brain circuitry can account for mood disorders. “We have a drug compound that has the potential to normalize reward-like behavior,” she said, “and subsequent clinical research could then employ imaging studies to identify how the same disruption in reward circuitry found in rodents occurs in chronic pain patients.”

Why Do So Many Women Have Anxiety Disorders? A Hormone Hypothesis (

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Hmmm, why do so many women suffer from anxiety? Is there a hormone connection? This researcher found that when women were in a menstrual phase in which their estrogen levels were high, their “fear extinction capacity” was much better, in other words “they were able to control their fear, or express much less fear, compared to the women that came in in the early phase of their cycle… when they had low estrogen.”

Since men have very low estrogen levels, why aren’t they really anxious? Because testosterone is converted to estrogen in the brains of mean by am enzyme!

Gosh, I have Premarin sitting in my cabinet, my psychiatrist prescribed it saying that low estrogen levels cause anxiety. I have not taken a single pill because the last time I used a hormone replacement therapy patch, it actually gave me panic attacks 😦 But the hormone replacement patch has progesterone and other components in it. Therefore the panic attacks may have been from the combination or from one of the other hormones.

Hormones are one of the fundamental substances in human development. Most importantly they are involved in the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as genitals, and body development. They are also involved in the development of the male and female reproductive systems. They are surely involved in trans gender individuals’ development. Therefore, they are of primal importance.

As in seen in PMS, PMDD, postpartum depression and mood and anxiety level changes after menopause, hormones are intimately associated with mood.

Sex hormones affect mood. Thyroid hormones affect mood. Mood disorders affect moods. Neurotransmitters affect moods and are affected by mood disorders as well. Complicated? Ummm Yes! Women, are we Effed? Umm yes!

Maybe I’ll try the Premarin one of these days. Just don’t want anything bad to happen, moodwise…

My last post, definitely PTSD


Ok, my last post, definitely PTSD. I react just as wildly as my son does to his problems. I react with the unbridled fear of losing him. There I said it, that is truly what I am terrified of, losing my beautiful, super intelligent, loving, compassionate son. I am terrified of the unknown. And the PTSD comes from the past, from the known, from losing my brother to bipolar 1. From the biggest tragedy in mine and my family’s life. Is it going to happen again? Unknown. And the unknown, mixed with a terrible, fearsome known, the past, is not easy to live with.

But although my son has an initially extreme reaction, he calms down and takes care of the troubling issue perfectly. And he has NOT been diagnosed with any illness 🙂 But that’s the thing with PTSD, it is not based on the present, it is based on the past and the fearful phantoms that memories and past thoughts conjure up. How do you get over this? Talking to my ecounselor about this pronto, no prontissimo! Life is really short, half or more of mine is over. I want to live it in peace and enjoying all the positive, fun things it has to offer, not in the black dungeon of fear.


My mood may also be kicking up. From the season, the increase in Synthroid, not enough Lithium, don’t know, but knowing that my mood IS getting too elevated is half the battle already won and I’ll take care of it. Do i have this? Yes, I think I really do. Breathe…

Great Tips for Reducing Anxiety from


Since I posted about anxiety, here’s an article which tells you how to lower anxiety levels. Great tips to use when anxiety is troubling you. The link to the article is above and an excerpt from the article is below. I think my favorite is the first one, to invoke the relaxation response when your flight or flight is activated.

Here are some ways to help prevent stress and anxiety in your life:

Use ‘the Relaxation Response’

Dr. Jason Evan Mihalko, a certified psychologist working out of Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., said that stress is one of the most manageable things of all.

“Many people know about the fight or flight response—a biological response to stress where our bodies become prepared to either run to safety or fight. What many people don’t know is that we have also designed an antidote to fight or flight: the relaxation response,” he said. “Through simple deep breathing exercises, visualizing a pleasant scene, or soothing ourselves through the five senses, we can induce this relaxation response.”

When we’re able to relax, many things happen, Dr. Mihalko said, including decreased metabolism, slower heartbeat, relaxed muscles, slowed breathing, lowered blood pressure, increased levels of nitiric oxide (an important chemical compound in protecting vital organs and Science’s Molecule of the Year in 1992), and our general sense of well-being and calm increases.


It’s human to feel overwhelmed when there are a million things to do at once—work, school, kids, marriage, friends, family, etc. can all lead to worry. Coupled with the unpredictable nature of bipolar disorder, anxiety can create havoc inside your mind.

The key to preventing stress and anxiety build up—with or without bipolar disorder—is determining which is the most important and what can be done first. We often lose focus of why we’re doing so many things, so concentrating on what’s most important can be an easy way to eliminate clutter in our lives.

It’s important that your therapy for bipolar disorder remains a main priority. You may think you don’t have time for it, but know that if you skip on treatment, you’re only making things worse for yourself.

Lists are a great way to keep track of what you should be doing and what’s the most important thing to do first. Lists are a great way of tackling some of the quick and easy things first, allowing you to cross tasks off your list and gaining a sense of accomplishment.

Here’s an example of what a list might look like:

1. Take medications
2. Email boss about vacation
3. Pick up dry cleaning
4. Meet Shirley for lunch
5. Buy groceries

Limit Yourself

Even super heroes can’t be everywhere at once. You can spend all day, every day attempting to do it all, but that won’t leave you with enough time or energy to stop and enjoy life. Plus, the stress generated by attempting to do it all could only aggravate your mood.

You may want to work full-time, prepare a good dinner every night, volunteer with a local charity, organize events, and do more, but there’s a good chance you’ll only stress yourself out, lose sleep, lose your temper, and create more problems for yourself.

Instead of trying to do everything, focus your energy and attention on doing a few things well. If you can afford it, hire some help around the house to do a little cleaning and the laundry. If you can’t afford it, ask everyone to help pitch in.

Think of your tasks as things you are buying with your time. You can try to buy a 120-bedroom house, but they’re all going to get dirty and broken down without regular maintenance. Besides, you don’t need all that space. You can afford (with your time) a nice two-bedroom house and make it the best one you’ve ever seen. In essence, don’t buy more than you can maintain.

Break Away

No matter your responsibilities, you need time for yourself. You need time to be able to collect your head, think things through, or even let your mind wander. This is especially important if you’re feeling manic and can’t concentrate.

The occasional weekend getaway can do wonders, but even being left alone for a few minutes when you get home can clear your mind. Let people know you need a moment to unwind and clear your head before getting down to business.

Some easy ways to sneak a moment to yourself is going for a walk, reading in a quiet place, going to the park, or just laying down in bed for a minute. No matter how you want to escape, make sure you can when things get to be too much.

Find Support

Friends and family can be the best listeners. They can be your greatest ally against welling stress and anxiety when coupled with bipolar disorder. They also provide a more objective insight into your problems and can help you spot stressful patterns. If all else fails, they can help you get a good laugh in when you need it most.

Therapists are trained listeners, and there’s no shame in seeing someone to help you talk through your problems. There are numerous types of therapy available, and the right one can help you express your emotions in a constructive way.

Take Care of Yourself

Mental health is directly related to physical health. Eating a balanced diet—void of sugary, deep fried, high fat, high sodium, and other harmful foods—can help your body get in shape to handle stress better. If your body is already under stress from harmful substances, it won’t be as ready to handle outside stress as well.

Be wary of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs as a way to relax. They may take the edge off for the time being, but they’ll only create more health problems down the road.

Learn which foods to eat (and avoid) to help your body deal with the stress of anxiety.


Sleep is one of the first things to suffer under a busy, stressful schedule, but it should be the first thing that gets attention. We often skip sleep to tackle our to-do lists, but by doing that we’re robbing our body of rest, which leaves it more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and illness.


If your mind won’t rest when it’s time to get some sleep, you should incorporate some exercise into your day. Even if you’re snoring the second your head hits the pillow, exercise is a vital way to not only handle stress, but to keep your body in tune to accept any challenge.

Hitting the gym or going for a run after work is a great way to beat stress, as well as give you time to think. Start incorporating it into your routine and see how quickly you can become addicted to good habits.


There will always be unforeseen circumstances, but when you plan in advance, you’ll know what’s next and how to prepare for it. A day planner, smart phone, or email reminders are great ways to keep yourself accountable while giving your mind a second to concentrate on something other than what you’re supposed to be doing next.

About Anxiety

Aral's closet Aral's closet

Something I realized about anxiety, it’s the god of small things. When we think about each little, minute detail, and of course in our anxious state, we invariably think every single thing is going to result in disaster, that is anxiety. It is fueled by an anxious mind, reinforced by our anxious, negative thoughts, and so goes the circle, round and round. What I have found gets you out of this anxious spiral is to look at the bigger picture, and then we realize these minute, little details don’t really matter. They are just what our mind is clinging to in our anxious state and it’s a snowball effect. In fact, in the big picture, everything is fine and will be fine. The big picture pulls us out of this anxiety ridden, panic stricken state. For example, my anxiety is ALL about my son. We’ve been through very difficult times with him, as we have generally because of my illness, and the resulting circumstances in my (nuclear) family. But we all made it, my little family is still intact. Of course my son has flown the coop now and I miss him terribly. That’s why I am in Buffalo every month 🙂 He is doing very well, knock on wood. Of course, as is sometimes the case, he is messy, and of course my anxious mind takes it to: He is dysfunctional, that means he is mentally ill (he is not) and all kinds of disasters are going to happen because of this. It doesn’t mean anything of the sort. It just means he is messy, and if that is the worst of it then it’s really nothing to worry about! That’s just one example, and now that I have written it down, I know why it is called catastrophizing!!! I do this with hundreds of things everyday. But if I look at the bigger picture, all’s well.

All’s well.

Men & Depression: NHL Goalie, Clint Malarchuck


This is an interview that Clint Malarchuk did for ESPERANZA Hope Magazine. I’ve been looking for it and finally found it. It’s a brilliant interview. Very worth everyone’s time to read.

The former hockey goalie shares his story on confronting his depression and anxiety.

By Linda Childers

There was a time when the face mask Clint Malarchuk wore as protection against hurtling hockey pucks mirrored the façade he donned to get through the day. In a rough-and-tumble sport where players are valued for their “manly” ability to get physical and play aggressively, the award-winning goaltender became a master at hiding the inner turmoil of anxiety and depression.

“Goalies are the guy everyone looks to for confidence,” explains Malarchuk, who began his professional hockey career before he turned 21. With his high-pressure job plus the stress of keeping up appearances, he says, “I felt that I had to be twice as strong.”

Over 14 years, Malarchuk tended the crease for the National Hockey League’s Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals, and Buffalo Sabres before finishing out his playing days with the Las Vegas Thunder of the International Hockey League. When he was out on the ice, immersed in a game, he was able to find some peace. Off the ice, not so much.

“In the locker room, I was the easygoing clown of the team, yet inside, I felt like my brain was on fire,” he recalls.

From puck drop to final whistle, Malarchuk was focused on “the save”—keeping the puck from entering the net. Nowadays “save” has a different interpretation for him—as in, keeping others who grapple with mental distress from feeling alone and hopeless.

He’s a powerful role model for other men. When he speaks in public, Malarchuk tries to stress that depression isn’t just a “woman’s disease” and how important it is for men to confront their depression and seek out treatment.

“I always knew I was physically tough, but I believed I was mentally weak until I started talking to other men and finding out how many of them also suffered from depression,” he says.

At a recent event, Malarchuk recalls, he was approached by a father and his teenage son.  Malarchuk told the young man something he wished someone had shared with him at an earlier age.

“I emphasized how there’s help … not only in the form of medication, but also in therapy, and in talking openly with others.”


Malarchuk, 53, details his own struggles in his new memoir, A Matter of Inches: How I Survived in the Crease and Beyond (titled The Crazy Game in Canada). Take that “survived” literally: In a horrifying 1989 incident—witnessed by a nation of TV viewers tuned in to a Buffalo Sabres game—Malarchuk nearly lost his life when a skate blade slashed his neck.

The accident left Malarchuk with post-traumatic stress disorder—although it wasn’t diagnosed until years later—and deepened an emotional maelstrom that began during his difficult boyhood. He got a very different message then from the one he now promotes.

“From childhood, I was taught to cowboy up and move on,” says Malarchuk, who was raised on a ranch in Edmonton, Alberta.

His mask was already in place as he struggled through school and spent restless nights at the mercy of his anxiety and fear. “I remember thinking I was the only person on the planet who felt like their head was always spinning,” he says.

When he was skating, hockey stick in hand, the spinning stopped. The ice was his refuge, and the ebb and flow of the game would override his troubled thoughts. Malarchuk threw himself into the sport—and into obsessive conditioning. He would run 12 to 20 miles each day, lift weights, and box.

The “man up” message also drove Malarchuk to less healthy ways of coping: drinking heavily and erupting in anger.

“I don’t get angry anymore, but in the past, my drinking would often lead to me picking fights and being verbally abusive. I wasn’t even aware of some of the things I said when I lashed out,” Malarchuk recalls. “When I relapsed, I was angry at myself for not being strong enough to control the feelings I thought I had put behind me.”

After working with the team’s doctors and then a psychiatrist who diagnosed his obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression, Malarchuk finally found medication “that helped tremendously.” It also helped with shame and self-doubt when the psychiatrist “compared taking antidepressants to a diabetic needing insulin,” he recalls. “The doctor was the first to explain that my OCD and depression were the result of a chemical imbalance.”

While medication didn’t erase all Malarchuk’s symptoms, it did serve to quiet his mind. He continued his hockey career as a goalie and, after hanging up his jersey in 1996, as a coach.


Learning to manage his depression has been an ongoing enterprise. After a serious relapse in 2008, Malarchuk finally sought out talk therapy. He was challenged to face unresolved emotions related to his traumatic neck injury years earlier.

“In therapy, I had to … cry, and to acknowledge my feelings,” he admits.

He also learned more about overall mental wellness.

“I’ve tried to change my habits and focus on staying in the right emotional, mental and spiritual state,” he says.

Malarchuk relapsed again while writing his memoir, turning back to old coping methods as old anguish resurfaced. He was goaltender coach for the Calgary Flames at the time, and team administrators offered to send him to a treatment center. Part of the month-long rehab involved targeting the underlying causes of his alcohol use.

Malarchuk says he learned more about tools like self-talk, personal time-outs, problem-solving and relaxation techniques.

Last summer, Malarchuk began a new chapter in his life. He retired from hockey to live full-time on his ranch in Nevada, where he’s been raising emus for years. He is devoting himself to a second career as an equine chiropractor and dentist.

Malarchuk is living the dream, part 2. As a teen, he worked as a ranch hand during summers and thought about becoming a veterinarian. Throughout his hockey years—the dream, part 1—he maintained a love for horses, ranching, and rodeo. (Thus his nickname “the cowboy goalie.”)

“Being around horses comforts me,” Malarchuk says. “The smell of the barn and the horses, even watching them eat calms me.”

(He also gets some animal therapy from one of the house dogs, a Yorkie, “who senses when I’m anxious or upset,” Malarchuk says. “He’ll come up to me and want to nuzzle close to my neck and offer comfort.”)


Where playing hockey was once his escape, now the barn is Malarchuk’s refuge. His office is there, and a gym space where he lifts weights and works out every day he’s home.

“Sometimes when I start to feel down or anxious, I’ll tell my wife, Joanie that I need to take some time out and go to the barn to meditate,” Malarchuk says. “Joanie has been very supportive and is great about encouraging me to do whatever I need to, in order to stay healthy mentally.”

A father of three, with one teenage daughter still in the nest, Malarchuk tries to be open with his children about his depression. He recalls one occasion last winter when depressive symptoms arose and he began to cry. Instead of hiding away, he asked his daughter to come sit with him.

“I asked if she had ever felt depressed, and I told her that no matter what she was going through, that she could always talk to me,” he explains.
Malarchuk hopes he can be there for his own children the way his mom, Jean, has been there for him.

“My mom and I are very close,” he says. “She has always supported me through good and bad, and I don’t know what I would do without her and Joanie in my life.”

In recent months, Malarchuk and his wife have been traveling across North America to promote his book. At book signings and in emails, other men often thank him for “being honest about my feelings because it has helped them to be more open and to better manage their own depression,” Malarchuk says. “I also get e-mails from women who thank me for helping their husband or their son realize that depression is a true illness.”

In the past, Malarchuk’s honesty has opened him up to attacks that he’s somehow weak. He’s heard taunts—“Hey, Malarchuk, pop another pill.” He recognizes that depression can be hard to understand for someone who hasn’t been through it. That’s partly why he’s so passionate about speaking out.

“I used to think my purpose in life was being in the NHL as a player and then a coach,” Malarchuk says. “I realize now that playing hockey gave me the platform for my real purpose—to raise awareness of mental illness, and to help reduce the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety so that no one has to feel alone.”

Sidebar: How Clint copes

By looking outward: Malarchuk has learned that focusing his energy on helping others is an antidote for his own depression, whether it’s caring for horses or answering e-mails from people who write him about their struggles.

By looking inward: Malarchuk practices his own form of meditation. “I lay down and read a book of daily reflections, and I meditate on the reflection,” he says. “I also use this time to pray about the things in my life that I have control over, and that I can take charge of, while releasing the things that are beyond my control to a higher power.”

By looking beyond: When Malarchuk begins to feel anxious or depressed, he searches for the root cause. He was experiencing symptoms after a recent trip and determined that he hadn’t been sleeping enough while traveling. “I’ve learned that it’s important for me to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night in order to feel my best,” he notes.

Clint Malarchuk’s Amazing Commitment to Getting and Staying Better!

clint cowboy clint cowboy

My second interview with Clint Malarchuk, posted on 2/24/15 (link below*) is pretty amazing all on it’s own, in it’s full length! In this post, I have chosen some things that Clint said that struck me as quite profound and just talked a little about those passages. Clint is amazingly intuitive, intelligent and insightful. He is also incredibly committed to doing everything in his power to stay healthy. I have learned a lot from him in just the two interviews I’ve done. I hope this post will be helpful and insightful for many. I hope he writes more books, I sincerely believe he has a lot more to tell us and teach us. Thank you Clint for doing the interviews. Best Wishes and Happy Trails 🙂

“Like stress, when I start getting stressed out, that’s when I have to take the extra time to check in with myself. I’m not sure if I told you last time, my tools are a 12 step program, I meditate and pray everyday and I try to exercise. I have a workout routine that I try to do every day. Those things keep me balanced.”

This is pure insight and introspection and an amazing commitment to his health. This is just so impressive, it is clear that he is going to stay healthy. Every avenue you can think of that one can take in the quest for good mental health, Clint is taking here.

“I find that my animals, I have a little dog, and she is my emotional support. When I meditate, I lay down and the cat lays on my belly and the dog curls up beside me, it is very relaxing.”

They have depression dogs now, it seems Clint knew all about the healing power of animals before they were being given little sweaters and allowed on planes. I observed to him that animals pull out the love from inside of us, and Clint conceded, he said “Yes you can call it love, it simplifies things.” Doesn’t it though.

“I’m really in to animals. And people have always said that, when I work on horses for my business, the horses that no one can really get close to, I just walk up to them. And people say “How did you do that, what are you doing? This horse is always afraid of people!” I believe in your energy, we all have it. We’re animals just like they are, so I really believe that my energy is really confident with animals, so they respond to me.”

Clint observes, and quite rightly so that humans are animals, so horses respond to our energy, actually the energy of confidence. Who knows, maybe that’s how people choose their mates, sensing their energy and if it is compatible, well then they are the chosen ones for each other.

“Well I’m a big proponent of you are being treated because you’re sick. You’re not weak. And if you’re chemically imbalanced, whether it’s your pancreas/diabetes or if it’s your brain/serotonin, it doesn’t matter.”

How’s that for profound? People, mental illness is a physical illness. It involves your brain and it involves imbalances in your neurotransmitters. So don’t sweat  it, go see your psychiatrist, get your medications, and get better! No stigma, no shame, no hiding. Just do it!

“Yes, right. But don’t forget, it takes a long time to be on those medications before they either kick in if they’re going to work, or you figure out “Oops they don’t work, I have to try something else.”

This is quite another gem, don’t forget it took a long time for the medication to work. So if you have to come off it, it’ll probably take a long time for the withdrawal symptoms to go away. How insightful is that!

“I have to be kind to myself and remind myself I deserve to be happy. “

This is indeed profound. Who doesn’t need to learn this lesson? How many people, mentally ill or not, are self loathers? Shouldn’t compassion start with oneself? If you can’t be kind to yourself, then how can you genuinely be kind to another?

“I think that growing up in turmoil that anxiety was the norm for me. And sometimes, if I’m not feeling anxious, I feel like I have to think of something to worry about, to get anxious.”

This is truly a gem! Why is there always a nagging voice inside my head making me anxious, even when there isn’t anything to be anxious about? Yes it could very well be that I grew up in a very anxious environment. When things are calm, you miss the anxious adrenalin rush. This is also the definition of an anxiety disorder. So which came first, the anxiety disorder or the anxious environment? No matter. We have to realize that we are in a way, addicted to anxiety. That our minds/brains search for reasons to be anxious. That is probably the beginning, the birth of peace and calm. And not just realize, but really stay on our medication. Again, Clint says just that.

“Helping each other, that’s what it’s all about!”

Such truth in this statement. What else is life about if not helping each other? Are we here to amass diamonds? They’re just glittery stones. Are we here to build ourselves gigantic mansions? How much room de we need to live in? Are we here to be in exclusive clubs. communities, wear exclusive clothes? Well, at least in my book, we are here to be inclusive and just like Clint says: “Help each other.”

Also, how committed he is to his health is astounding! He exercises, meditates, prays, goes to AA  (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, checks in with himself as to why he is feeling bad or anxious, and he sees his doctors regularly and takes his medications. If this isn’t the recipe to Mental Health, I don’t know what is.

“To me it’s like a course in life. Because it’s not just about not drinking. The 12 steps are a lot deeper than that.”

That’s what Clint says about AA. He also believes, as they teach in AA, in a higher power. You have to admit that you are powerless against ____, fill in the blank, it’s your substance of abuse. Or for me Clint suggests it could be “Life” or “Moods” that I am powerless against. Then if you follow the 12 steps, allow your higher power to assist you, you will be victorious over your addiction/illness.

“So I have to communicate that to loved ones that this is what I need to do.”

Also when you are doing all these healthy things, communication with your loved ones is crucial! And not only communication, but their support for the healthy things and for the essential things you are doing to keep yourself healthy. When we have our loved ones’ support, aren’t we more likely to be successful?  And if they love us, then why wouldn’t they give us support?

“And that’s the creatures of habit! If we’re going to change habits, we have to replace them with other habits.”

This one is extremely powerful. In order to get rid of old bad habits, you have to replace them with new, healthier, good habits. How many of us try to do this but end up going back to our bad habits, because we did not replace them with new healthy habits. We may know this and have forgotten it, or we may be seeing this for the first time. Thank you Clint!

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