Stages of Mental Health Conditions (Part 2)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 @ 11:07 AM
Author: Chato Stewart
Stages of Mental Health Conditions

Stages of Mental Health Conditions

Stages of Mental Health Conditions


Stage 3
Symptoms Worsen with Relapsing and Recurring Episodes Accompanied by Serious Disruption in Life Activities and Roles
At Stage 3, symptoms have continued to increase in severity, and many symptoms are often taking place at the same time. A person may feel as though they are losing control of their life and the ability to fill their roles at home, work or school.

 Chato Stewart says: At this point, I’m locked away in my room, it’s been a few weeks since I have shaved or showered.  I look bad and smell bad!  I am in a battle in my head with myself, dealing with my negative critic telling me to hurt myself.  I’m still trying to be in control and trying every coping tool I have in my arsenal. Or utilizing techniques like drawing, walking, trying to get out of the house (even if it’s to go shopping or to get the mail). I will play video games for days at a times.  Yes, I will play video games to try and get my mind to focus on nothing but the game.  Sometimes it works for me, but only as a pacifier at best for my depression. At this point, I know what’s coming and I’m sinking – If I have a moment of clarity at this point, I would call 911 and ask for help, but it’s too late.

Stage 4
Symptoms are Persistent and Severe and Have Jeopardized One’s Life
By Stage 4, the combination of extreme, prolonged and persistent symptoms and impairment often results in development of other health conditions. This has the potential to turn into a crisis event like unemployment, hospitalization, homelessness or even incarceration. In the worst cases, untreated mental illnesses can lead to loss of life/premature death, an average of 25 years early.

Chato Stewart says: I am not me, my depression has crippled me and if my psychos has kicked in, then it gets scary.  Because a very cold and callous me takes over.  In my mind, it is me at the age of 17 for some reason.  I start doing things I would never do.  Am I dangerous? Yes. A danger to myself mostly.  But if confronted in this state of mind, it could easily be a “danger to others.”

In Stages 3 and 4, the danger here is suicide, and to friends and family.  This can be with both verbal and or physical dangers.  If we are hitting “STAGE 4″ unprepared, our marriage, relationships, family bonds may weather the storm, mostly we “OURSELVES” may not survive the storm.

Here in Florida, each year, we prepare/get ready starting in June for Hurricane season.  We know there will be storms brewing, some will be stronger than others, but we hope they miss our area completely.  And if they come, we prep for them the best we can, get out of the path.

The same can be done for our mental health perception. We know there will be triggers, there will be “stages” we reach.  How we prepare for them can determine how we weather them, the storm and if they will reach “Stage 4.”

Maybe all that is needed is a medication adjustment, or someone to talk to…to get you through a difficulty or emotional strife or stressful situation.  

Something Joan and I did when I first got diagnosed was set up a “Safety Plan.”  This was a way out for her and the kids, in case, I went off the “deep end.”  Something we/she would never need.  Yet, Did she use it?

© Copyright Mental Health America 7/02/2015 b4stage4

Stages of Mental Health Conditions (Part 1)

Monday, July 6, 2015 @ 04:07 PM
Author: Chato Stewart
Stages of Mental Health Conditions

Stages of Mental Health Conditions

Stages of Mental Health Conditions

Stage 1
Mild Symptoms and Warning Signs
At Stage 1, a person begins to show symptoms of a mental health condition. However, he or she is still able to maintain the ability to function at home, work or school—although, perhaps not as easily as before they started to show symptoms. Often there is a sense that something is “not right.”

Chato Stewart says: For me this feels like a cold creeping up on me sometimes.  I get more emotional.  I start to “feel” every emotion of a song or movie or t.v. ad commercial…OH, this is funny, when I cry/get teary-eyed over a Budweiser commercial!  The takeaway:  mild symptoms can quickly turn into something much worse; prepare accordingly. As my symptoms go downhill, I make an appointment to see my doctor…

Stage 2
Symptoms Increase in Frequency and Severity and Interfere with Life Activities and Roles
At Stage 2, it usually becomes obvious that something is wrong. A person’s symptoms may become stronger and last longer or new symptoms may start appearing on top of existing ones, creating something of a snowball effect. Performance at work or school will become more difficult. A person may have trouble keeping up with family duties, social obligations or personal responsibilities.

Chato Stewart says: At this point my bipolar symptoms are kicking in.  I should have an appointment to see my doctor soon…going will depend on how downhill I go.  My fuse is short, I’m shutting down, and closing off family and friends.  It’s now that I make my attempts to save myself from getting worse.

To Be Continued

© Copyright Mental Health America 7/02/2015 b4stage4

Recovery – Walking – Stage

Thursday, July 2, 2015 @ 04:07 PM
Author: Chato Stewart

I am just like you, maybe a little further along on my road to recovery then some or not so far as others. But in the end, I like you want to make living with my diagnosed psychological or neurological or addiction “condition” livable!

We fight, for years and decades, an unseen battle that many never even fathom. Whether it’s through depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, borderline personality disorder or other mood disorders.

Many times we are undiagnosed or worse–people live in denial and they suffer for years as I suffered due to fear of ridicule, fear of this stigma (discrimination) of a mental illness label.  For example, when I was in my 20’s and newly married, my wife Joan Winifred and I knew there was something wrong with me.  Something was very OFF!  We were so ignorant and uninformed about mental illness.  The discrimination (mental illness stigma) kept me silent about what the real terrors that in my head, they day-in-day with suicidal ideation the sleepless weeks the depression and manic work days… It all seem normal after, normal chaos.

Without knowledge of what to look for as a basic guide to the stages of mental health conditions. There was basically on 2 bad and really bad! Instead of getting help, I suffered years of self-hate, emotional tsunamis till it almost swept me away.  I was fortunate, my wife stuck with me and supported me even when I was at my deepest depths of despair.

Joan and I did not have the tools that we have today. If we did have early warning signs or awareness, may be I would have walking my road of recovery sooner.

In May it was National Mental Health Awareness culminating locally Charlotte Behavioral Health Care (CBHC) walk.

Charlotte County community raised awareness of mental health as they walked in the Healthy Minds. Healthy Community Mental Health Awareness Walk on Saturday, May 30th.” 



This year theme was for #b4stage4-get-informed.  This got me thinking, it would be a great time to review the 4 stages.  So I drew a chart for the next post based on the 4 stages of mental health conditions.


Peer Consumer Ambassador
Chato Stewart

Listening to Gut Instincts: “Gut Feelings”

Friday, June 26, 2015 @ 11:06 AM
Author: Chato Stewart
Do you listen to your gut? All of us, at one time or another, feel so strongly for or against something… we have what is commonly described as a “gut feeling” about the matter.
Sometimes we “readily” listen to or obey our gut feelings, other times we don’t. I’ve heard it expressed after a decision that turned out poorly–“should of listened to my gut on that one.”
Did you know? Some scientists strongly believe the brain has a direct impact on the gut. Please notice this excerpt from an on-line article from Harvard Medical School, “The gut-brain connection”
“The brain has a direct effect on the stomach. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected — so intimately that they should be viewed as one system.”
Stress, anxiety, depression…have physical symptoms that may affect some this way: heartburn, abdominal cramps and loose stools. There is a definite connection between emotional distress and gastrointestinal distress… our gut reactions can be embarrassing.
Do you have a sensitive gut? Small dietary changes, reducing stress, and digestive enzyme supplementation has been effective for some. Of course, check with your doctor about your tummy troubles and thoroughly research for yourself all treatment options. (Cautionary point: What may work for one person may not work as well for another. Find out what works for you!)
The New York times on-line published an article about possible bacteria in our gut affecting our moods… here’s an interesting excerpt from “Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?”
[…] The digestive tube of a monkey, like that of all vertebrates, contains vast quantities of what biologists call gut microbiota. The genetic material of these trillions of microbes, as well as others living elsewhere in and on the body, is collectively known as the microbiome. Taken together, these bacteria can weigh as much as six pounds, and they make up a sort of organ whose functions have only begun to reveal themselves to science. Mark Lyte has spent his career trying to prove that gut microbes communicate with the nervous system using some of the same neurochemicals that relay messages in the brain.
“Inside a closet-size room at his lab that afternoon, Lyte hunched over to inspect the vials, whose samples had been spun down in a centrifuge to a radiant, golden broth. Lyte, 60, spoke fast and emphatically. ‘‘You wouldn’t believe what we’re extracting out of poop,’’ he told me. ‘‘We found that the guys here in the gut make neurochemicals. We didn’t know that. Now, if they make this stuff here, does it have an influence there? Guess what? We make the same stuff. Maybe all this communication has an influence on our behavior.’’

Brain Awareness

Thursday, June 11, 2015 @ 11:06 AM
Author: Chato Stewart

We all have them, we all need them, our brains! What a vital organ or organization depending on your perspective.

Every minute of every day, the billions of cells in our brains send and receive signals that influence everything from the memories we form to the emotions we feel. Upon receiving new information, a nerve cell transmits an electrical signal, triggering the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters at special locations called synapses. These chemicals act as messengers, passing along instructions that switch nearby cells on or off. By studying the everyday chatter between nerve cells, researchers hope to better understand communication breakdowns that might contribute to brain disorders. New tools and technologies in molecular and cellular biology are helping scientists track cell communication. Ongoing studies in animals and humans are linking deficits in neurotransmitter production and release to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. excerpted

Should I say “talking heads” or talking brains?

Brain scans are now starting to peer down to the molecular level, revealing what brain cells are telling one another, researchers say.

This new technique could illuminate the behavior of the human brain at its most fundamental level, yielding insights on disorders such as addiction, the scientists added.

[…] The research team is now working on sensor proteins that bind to other neurotransmitters such as serotonin. However, there is currently no way to use several of these sensor proteins at the same time to track multiple neurotransmitters simultaneously. Essentially, these sensor proteins all look the same to fMRI, so researchers have no way of distinguishing the effects of one from another.

“You can think of them as not being different colors, but all the same color, so you can’t tell them apart if you use more than one at once,” Jasanoff said.

The researchers now aim to improve the sensitivity of their technique. “This can’t be used on humans yet,” Jasanoff said.

Ultimately, “we hope to use these sensors to study and help develop better models of the brain, such as models of how the brain behaves when learning a task, or better models of addiction,” Jasanoff said. “Once we have better models of addiction, perhaps we can test treatments for addictions to different drugs.” Excerpted

What is your brain telling you? Something positive?

Any of us, peers, coping/overcoming addictions and our loved ones–would do well to read “proven” research on our brains. Any accurate information that can offer us practical insights and help is worth our time and effort to read and study. We, individually and collectively, need greater/progressive insight to make wiser decisions that lead to better brain health. (May be we need more brain books?)

All of us can enhance our intelligence the most natural way: reading! Read well (and often on topics of health interest)…is mind food to live well!

What can you do today to stay brain healthy? What can you do today to encourage family and friends to stay brain healthy?