Our Staff’s Favorite Mental Health Podcasts and Audiobooks

Our Staff’s Favorite Mental Health Podcasts and Audiobooks

Are you listening? If you want to start 2023 with new ideas and motivations, consider plugging into a podcast or audiobook. It’s a great way to make time on the treadmill go by quickly. Double your efforts and give your brain food for thought while your body is getting stronger. We asked the Healthy365 Connection Center team to recommend mental health audiobooks and podcasts for your playlist. Check out some of their thoughts below.

“Unlocking Us” podcast by Brené Brown

Brené Brown is a New York Times bestselling author and speaker who focuses on the subjects of shame, vulnerability and leadership. For example, her TED talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the most viewed TED talks ever. “Unlocking Us,” a series of podcasts introduced in 2020, takes listeners on a journey of connection, courage, vulnerability and conversation. Brown tackles subjects like “Being Heard and Seen,” “Vulnerability and Laughter,” and “Grief, Gratitude, and Connection.” As a result, she focuses on helping her listeners focus on their self-worth and wellness.

“Therappuccino” by Bisma Anwar

Bisma Anwar describes herself as a “therapist, coffee lover, healer, helper, dreamer, and globe trotter.” She is a licensed mental health counselor who focuses on anxiety, cognitive behavior, stress management and depression. In her Therappuccino series of podcasts, Anwar discusses topics like “Holistic Nutrition and Mental Health,” and the “Impact of Media on Mental Health.” If you’re currently struggling with a case of the winter blues, treat yourself to her December podcast on “Winter Coping.”

“Straight Up” with Trent Shelton

Trent Shelton, a former NFL wide receiver, bills himself as bringing listeners “the truth you need to hear – even if it’s hard to take.” The former Indianapolis Colt has endured his own personal struggles and issues as he worked to make peace with the nagging injuries that ended his NFL career. He urges listeners to recognize their self-worth and greatness, inspiring them to live better lives in any circumstances. After all, he refers to his followers as “Rehabbers,” and offers thought-provoking podcast topics like “Don’t Quit on Yourself Because They Quit on You.”

“Love Your Whole Body” with Jessica Lacy

Who doesn’t need this message? As a holistic life coach, Jessica Lacey’s podcast series is for people who are “tired of a one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness.” Christina DeWitt, one of our Healthy365 support navigators, recommends giving “Budgeting For Your Body” a listen.

“The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD

This book digs deep into how scientists and therapists are working together to help survivors heal from the trauma of their past. Van Der Kolk explores how trauma can reshape both the brain and the body, affecting an individual’s ability to concentrate or develop trusting, healthy relationships. Van Der Kolk has extensive experience researching the effects of trauma on brain function, memory and treatment outcomes. This book may help listeners begin to heal and help their brain recover from years of struggle.

“What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing” by Bruce D. Perry, MD, and Oprah Winfrey

Yup, we’re talking about that Oprah Winfrey. This book takes a conversational approach that looks at how an abusive childhood can cause lifelong brain trauma. It goes on to explore the different ways survivors can create their path to recovery. Winfrey offers an honest recollection of her own childhood trauma and discusses its effects and treatment with Perry, a leading expert on childhood trauma. So many times a person is asked “What’s wrong with you?” when a better query might be “What happened to you?” By exploring these experiences and understanding their consequences, listeners may become more attuned to their own mental health needs.

“The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober: Discovering a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Alcohol-Free Life” by Catherine Gray

In this book, Catherine Gray describes her own sobriety journey. Listeners may relate to her experiences with a cycle of drinking, making bad decisions, swearing off alcohol and repeating the cycle when she starts drinking again. The book reads like a novel as listeners explore the benefits of sobriety.

Listen up! The new year is a great time to incorporate new habits into your daily routine. Adding a podcast or audio book may be just what you need to start your journey to a new and better you. Are you looking for more local resources for substance misuse and mental health treatments? Reach out to the Healthy365 Connection Center, and we’ll start this journey with you.

How Do Trauma and Shame Play a Role in Addiction?

How Do Trauma and Shame Play a Role in Addiction?

Trauma and shame are often intertwined with addiction and substance misuse. For many people, it’s an endless, frustrating cycle:

  • Shame causes feelings of pain, self-loathing, and isolation.
  • Individuals seek to numb these feelings with substances like drugs or alcohol.
  • Substance misuse leads to more shame, which fuels continued issues and insecurities.

Shame can be caused by several factors. These include traumatic experiences, personal insecurities, internalized negative beliefs and a lack of love and validation from others. Let’s dig deeper into the root causes of shame and how it can affect a person’s ability to ask for help.

What is shame?

Shame is often used as a synonym for guilt, but these two emotions are very different. Guilt implies a feeling of despair or sadness over something you did. Your moral compass is telling you that you should not have done something. Shame, on the other hand, is an internal emotion where you focus on your whole self, rather than an action. It may not be related to a behavior or event. Instead, your brain is telling you that you are somehow inadequate and unworthy of love and acceptance.

Trauma is sometimes – but not always – a contributor to shame. A child who is abused at home or bullied at school may internalize these messages and believe they are inadequate as a person. An adult who has been mistreated by someone they love or trust may blame themselves instead of holding the other person responsible. These feelings of shame can take over, manifesting as low self-esteem or even self-loathing. Over time, these can lead to isolation or insecurity, both fertile grounds for addiction and substance misuse.

How can shame and trauma lead to addiction?

Shame can permeate the spirit. It has been linked to depression, mental illness and addiction as its victims struggle to cope with their feelings. While some people may be able to enjoy the subtle warmth and calmness that can come with a glass of alcohol, a person who is dealing with shame may grab onto alcohol’s numbing qualities like a life preserver in a turbulent sea. Unfortunately, the waves keep crashing and they find themselves reaching for that life preserver again and again. To continue the analogy, the life preserver or substance is never enough to stop the waves, and the shame of needing that life preserver leads to additional negativity and isolation.

Shame can also stand as a barrier between a person and the help they need. A person struggling with the potentially volatile combination of shame and substance misuse may feel they don’t deserve to be helped. They may build a wall around themselves, afraid to be vulnerable and honest with others. They are afraid others will reject them for the very reasons they reject themselves.

It is a vicious cycle. But help is available. With the correct intervention and therapy, mental healthcare professionals can help people break the pattern.

Healing from shame

When someone is seeking help for substance misuse, they also must address the shame that can derail any progress they make. This is not an overnight strategy – healing from shame takes time and often requires the assistance of a counselor or mental health professional. Working together, they may be able to uncover the root causes of shame, whether it came from a traumatic upbringing or a combination of internal and external factors.

People who are dealing with shame and trauma often have a hard time caring for and about themselves. The compassion and grace that are so easy to disperse to other people may be difficult to apply to their own hearts. A counselor may be able to help.

Addressing substance misuse shame

The shame of substance misuse presents its own challenges. The very shame that is fueling substance misuse can be the force that sabotages successful recovery. Trained mental health professionals can help people develop new practices and skills to address substance misuse while also treating the shame that accompanies it.

Everyone deserves to be happy and loved. Read that again. Everyone deserves compassion, even when they believe they are unworthy or inadequate. The Healthy365 Connection Center is here to help anyone who reaches out, whether it’s online or at our offices at 120 W. McKenzie Road in Greenfield. When you reach out to Healthy365, one of our trained support navigators will listen without judgment and work to connect you with local resources. Our free and confidential services are available to all Hancock County residents.

As we venture into the new year, resolve to take care of yourself. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance misuse or other mental health issues, reach out now. You are not alone.

Tips for Managing Seasonal Depression

Tips for Managing Seasonal Depression

As we move into the winter months, you may be experiencing what’s known as seasonal affective disorder. You may know it by other names, like the winter blues, seasonal depression or the aptly named acronym SAD. December is Seasonal Depression Awareness month, and it’s no wonder. Shorter days and a lack of sunshine can throw our bodies into a winter funk that is hard to shake.

Let’s look at what we know about seasonal affective disorder and how it can be treated at home and by your medical professional.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depressive disorder triggered by the changing seasons and lack of sunlight. It causes signs and symptoms similar to major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, but it is limited to certain months of the year, particularly the winter months. It occurs in .5-3% of the general population, although it is more prevalent among those who are already diagnosed with major depressive or bipolar disorder. Common symptoms include:

  • A loss of interest in normal activities
  • Low energy
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Carbohydrate cravings and weight gain
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness

There’s also a milder form of the condition known as subsyndromal seasonal affective disorder or seasonality. These individuals may notice milder symptoms and can also benefit from the strategies listed below.

Professional treatment

If your seasonal affective disorder symptoms are starting to interfere with your ability to work and live your daily life, make an appointment with your doctor. Seasonal affective disorder responds to various treatments, including:

Light therapy can mimic the sun and promote changes in your brain chemistry that lift your mood. Your doctor can help you decide if light therapy is a good option for treating your symptoms. You can buy a light box without a prescription. Keep in mind that these devices are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so talk to your doctor and do your research before you invest in one.

Antidepressant therapy may lift your mood by increasing the level of certain chemicals in your brain. Your doctor can talk to you about the benefits and drawbacks of these medications. You may need to try more than one medication to find the one that works best for you.

Talk therapy is always a good idea when you’re having trouble coping.

At-home strategies

Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do at home to relieve the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. You don’t have to try to do everything at once – even small changes may have big results.

Exercise. Yes, we know. Oversleeping is a symptom of seasonal affective disorder, and we understand that you’d rather stay in bed. But, if you can pull yourself out from under the covers and add daily activities, you may notice it gets easier each time. Walk the dog. Do some jumping jacks. Sign up for a fitness class at the nearest Hancock Wellness Center.

Be social. Isolation can lead to increased depression, which is the last thing you need to add to your winter burdens. Make sure you’re having regular human interaction. If you can’t meet in-person with your favorite people, try a video call. If holiday parties suck the life out of you after a while, consider inviting a friend to go to a movie or grab a quick dinner.

Set a schedule. You may be sleeping too much in the morning, which leads you to hours of staring at the clock at night. When you finally fall asleep, you’re back to your mixed-up schedule that doesn’t fit with your family and work commitments. Sticking to a schedule is the first step to making your days and nights more predictable. This includes eating at regular intervals, rather than grazing throughout the day and night. Check out more healthy sleeping tips here.

Avoid alcohol and other substances. ‘Tis the party season, but misusing alcohol and other substances can exacerbate your depression.

The good news? Most seasonal depression lifts in the spring, as the days become brighter and longer. In the meantime, we have plenty of coping strategies. People rarely “snap out of” depression, but you may find your symptoms gradually lifting.

If you are struggling with addiction or a mental health condition and don’t know where to turn, reach out to the Healthy365 Connection Center. Our trained support navigators can help you find resources that guide you to a healthier, happier and well you, no matter what season we’re in.

Understanding a Medication Called Narcan®

Understanding a Medication Called Narcan®

You may have heard about a medication called Narcan®. Narcan, also known by its generic name naloxone, is a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Used quickly, it can literally save a person’s life. Find out more about Narcan and how the Healthy365 Connection Center can help you obtain this valuable medication.

Opioid overdoses

When a person takes too much of an opioid medication – including heroin, morphine, fentanyl or certain prescription medications like Percocet®, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone – their body may not be able to safely process the substance. This can lead to something called respiratory depression, which includes weak or no breathing and a loss of consciousness. Opioid overdose is a growing problem, with more than 100,000 people dying from an opioid overdose in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control. During that same year, an estimated 2,755 Indiana residents died from drug overdoses, with about 85% of those deaths due to fentanyl. Substance misuse can affect any family, regardless of wealth, status, race or ethnic group.

Signs of an opioid overdose

When a person uses an opioid medication like morphine or fentanyl, the medication attaches itself to certain receptors in the brain called opioid receptors. This can cause important body processes to slow down or cease completely. A person experiencing an opioid overdose is usually unconscious and cannot be woken. You may notice very slow or no breathing or a gurgling sound coming from the unconscious person. Their body will be limp, and their pupils are often small and constricted. The person’s lips may be blue or grayish due to a lack of oxygen. Left untreated, the person may die. That’s why it’s so important to understand Narcan and be able to administer it quickly.

How does Narcan work?

Narcan, which contains the active medication Naloxone, is what is called an opioid antagonist. It seeks out the opioid receptors in the brain, attaching themselves and blocking the opioids and their life-threatening effects. Narcan may be able to restore normal breathing within two to three minutes after it has been administered, although a person may need more than one dose, especially if stronger opioids like fentanyl are involved.

Narcan is available in an easy-to-use nasal spray form. By administering the medication quickly and following up with a call to 911, you may be able to block and reverse the effects of the opioid medication. It is critical that you obtain medical assistance as soon as possible after administering or receiving Narcan.

Narcan education and assistance

The Healthy365 Connection Center can provide Narcan training in our office to the general public and in turn, we can issue Narcan free of cost. This program is possible through our partnership with the Hancock County Health Department. Simply come to our office during regular office hours.

Substance misuse is a complex condition that affects more than 40 million American over the age of 12. Substance misuse is a serious medical problem that does not reflect weakness or a lack of willpower.  When you come to the Healthy365 Connection Center, you will be met with compassion and a desire to help you and the person you love. Narcan may not be able to “cure” substance misuse, but it can keep you or your loved one alive to begin the journey back to recovery.

If you want to learn more about Narcan, or if you are seeking support for substance misuse in yourself or someone you know, contact a Healthy365 Support Navigator today at (317) 468- 4231 or visit the Connection Center at 120 W. McKenzie Rd., Suite G in Greenfield.