My first clinical placement in a mental health-focused community pharmacy and why it had such an impact on me

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

When my mental health issues first started to manifest at the age of 15, I had no clue how radically my life would change in the coming years. I had no idea I would hit multiple rock bottoms, be hospitalized time and time again, and that I would develop a string of medical problems stemming from the inability to take proper care of myself. Yet these experiences, even though they were painful beyond belief (both mentally and physically), also made me stronger and helped me understand myself and the world around me in profound ways.

My mental health journey helped…

“The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear. “ — Prasad Mahes

Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

In a society where we are becoming increasingly addicted to instant gratification, the temptation to multitask is stronger than ever. The most effective way to tackle multitasking and bring it down to manageable levels is to practice mindfulness.

According to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) principles, there are six core components to mindfulness, divided into the HOW skills and the WHAT skills. This article will review both types of skills and provide some guidance as to how to use them, as well as providing a little creative take on the perils of multitasking at the end!

The three HOW skills of…

There are many effective ways to cope with being sensitive and soft-hearted in a harsh world, but radical acceptance is the place to start

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Highly sensitive beings suffer more but they also love harder, dream wider, and experience deeper horizons and bliss. When you’re sensitive, you’re alive in every sense of this word in this wildly beautiful world. Sensitivity is your strength. Keep soaking in the light and spreading it to others. — Victoria Erickson

Stepping Into the Softness of the Soul

As my toes tickled the edge of a great height,
from which I could either fall or take flight,
I realized I was scared of both extremes,
so I searched for a gentle middle stream.

Although I feel lucky to have sensitivity
because it serves to expand my creativity,

Practicing one-mindfulness will help to build your mental power and foster self-growth, but small doses of multitasking can enhance creativity

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Why Is Multitasking So Common?

Given all of the distractions present in today’s society with the boom of technology and the internet, the temptation to multitask is literally everywhere. Living in a first-world country with SO much privilege around us means our imminent concerns are not about survival (i.e., physiological needs such as food, water, and clothing), and the mind (plus our time) is freed up to perform higher-level tasks. Those who live in developed nations also generally have more access to technology and more time/energy to succumb to the temptation of multitasking.

As the saying goes, to do two things at once is to…

Thinking about eternity can be scary, but this phobia can be managed using radical acceptance and exposure

We think of infinity as a really big number, but it’s not. It’s endlessness. Endlessness is a really strange idea in a universe that is defined by its endings.
― John Green

© Athena Milios (photo taken by the author)

Understanding Forever

As my mind runs in endless circles and loops
I attempt to center my focus and regroup.
With all the stray bits and bobs crawling,
the plaster of my mind’s walls starts falling.

Although I am trying so hard to understand,
this madness doesn’t have a particular brand.
It is simply exasperating to try to make sense
of the concept of infinity, for it is far too dense.

Our journey through life is like a bowling ball — we’ve got to keep our path straight and plan ahead for potential changes along the course.

Photo by petr sidorov on Unsplash

When the wheels of life begin their motion
it is easy to get lost in the resulting commotion.
To let go of the fears that threaten to run us over,
we must cherish each moment like a four-leaf clover.

Our journey through time is like a bowling ball —
when we first veer off course it’s barely a crawl.
But as we get further from the starting line,
it becomes more obvious if we’re on a decline.

Once we leave the safe hands that raised us,
handling hardship feels like a horrible fuss. …

An integrated perspective from a psychiatric researcher and mental health advocate

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Introduction: A Deadly, Complex, Often Chronic Disorder

Anorexia Nervosa is a debilitating psychiatric disorder that also happens to be the deadliest mental illness there is. It tends to have a chronic course and affects virtually all of the body’s organs and systems, especially the heart, brain, digestive system, and musculoskeletal system. Anorexia has a wide spectrum of causes, including neurobiological, genetic, and psychosocial — this also means it can be very challenging to treat.

Anorexia Nervosa shares many similarities with addiction because of the changes that take place in the brain the longer an individual engages in the behaviors associated with the disease, all of which have…

DBT teaches me to enjoy each moment as it comes while also inspiring my creativity

© Athena Milios

I am a drifter, and as lonely as that can be, it is also remarkably freeing. — David Levitham

Just Keep Swimming Through Each Moment

As my body gingerly comes up for air,
the fresh ocean breeze caresses my hair.

With every wave I catch, my heart soars.
The ocean’s beat brings me to heaven’s doors.

The glistening saltwater takes my breath away,
keeping even my ugliest fears of change at bay.

I visualize chucking my negativity into a ditch,
so I can accept the present moment and become rich.

Each anxious thought threatening my inner peace,
I toss into the water so I can feel a…

A transformative experience in the home of my roots

© Athena Milios (the pomegranate tree and old outhouse on the lower level courtyard of the ancestral home)

In a small town in the Peloponnese of Greece lies my family’s majestic ancestral home. My maternal grandmother and my two maternal great aunts (my surrogate grandmothers) were born and raised there. As a little girl, my mother spent big chunks of her childhood there too, whenever she had time off of school and wanted a reprieve from the sometimes intoxicating, overwhelming big city of Athens. …

The imperfections we perceive in ourselves are not inadequacies, but reminders we’re growing and moving through life together.

Photo by Greg Shield on Unsplash

What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think — or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am? — Brené Brown

Some days when I glance in the mirror I see
a strange somber creature staring back at me.
In those glistening eyes, I see my past mistakes,
and in my body, all I see is its flaws and breaks.

I fear I will never be satisfied with what I see
in a society that imposes unrealistic ideals on me. …

Athena Milios

Canadian PharmD student, researcher, and mental health advocate with a B.Sc. and M.Sc. (in Psychiatry). I write short stories, poetry, and creative non-fiction.

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