Category Archives: Life Education

Stages of Mental Health Deterioration

A few weeks ago I went through a huge range of mental health, so I want to document that experience here for your benefit so that you can use it as a reference for understanding your own mental health, for understanding the mental health of others, and so you know how to use that understanding to help yourself or others.

 

Stage 1. I felt so bad that I started hallucinating. In the shadows of the night I’d see faces staring back at me when I know there’s nothing there. But because my mental health is weak, then the part of my brain that separates fantasy from reality got blurred.

Stage 2. Then as I regained sanity, I could sense that I was unwell, but I couldn’t tell what was unwell. This is the stage where so many problems exist that no one problem can stand out as a singular one to work on. The problems that are critical that simultaneously exist are: sleep deprivation, emotional vulnerability and emptiness, malnourishment.  Unresolved trauma. Unresolved pain. Unresolved many things.  Lack of motivation. But the key point is: Lack of belief in a brighter future. I don’t think taking steps to improve my condition will eventually pay off, so that’s why I don’t take any steps at all.  I do NOT believe in a brighter future.

Stage 3. Then as I regain hope that there does exist a brighter future, I begin taking steps to get to that brighter future.  Then this stage is where I’m actively trying to make good decisions, but I’m too emotionally damaged to not give in to my emotions and make bad decisions due to sadness/loneliness/depression/etc. I’ll reach out to bad sources of feeling better that keep me stuck in a bad place rather than say sleep early, eat well, exercise, socialize, etc.

Stage 4. Then as I successfully take a step forward in sleeping properly, I regain some sense of control and decision making ability and I start making my bed every morning. I also start watching videos about self help and how to improve.  The process is beginning to take shape and become a habit for me: a habit to improve my situation.

Stage 5. Then I start organizing my life. I start keeping a schedule. I start setting goals for the day, tasks, and then completing maybe one of them.   I might complete 4-5 tasks a week, which is an extreme improvement from 0 tasks due to 0 belief in a brighter future and 0 motivation to take any step towards improving my situation.

Stage 6. As the steps forward and the task progress continues over weeks and weeks, I begin having the self worth and self confidence to face the world and reach out to friends to socialize.  To take walks and get the valuable exposure to nature/weather/sun/out doors/fresh air/new experiences/contact with other humans/etc.

 

Let’s revisit each stage now and see what you could do to help someone else if they were in that stage.

Stage 1 is they are hallucinating. Google how to calm someone down without saying “calm down.”  Be there with them, reach out to them heart to heart and pull them from the darkness that is a world where nightmares and reality have merged and they don’t know what’s stable ground to stand on anymore. Be that rock for them and remind them of the truths of the world.  Gently.  Again, google how to give feedback in a non-threatening way. (Non-Violent Communication Book).  Often just being there and shutting up is good enough.

Stage 2. They are sane, but they have 0 motivation to improve themselves.  In this stage DO NOT TELL THEM TO GO DO STUFF.  Or at least not directly.  Here you have to use persuasion and leadership.  Find a way to make them want to do so themselves, rather than have the motivation come from you.  Develop an intrinsic motivation within them. How? My method is to understand their situation: what do they think about the world that results in them concluding that there is no brighter future? Diagnose their world view and perspective by LISTENING TO UNDERSTAND and NOT to criticize.  Once you understand their point of view and make them feel heard, then you have earned their trust. ONLY THEN can you ask for their PERMISSION to guide them to a better way. This may take days and many sessions but you must go at their speed and be patient.

Stage 3. They have decided to improve their life and they are now on their way and they run into roadblocks with willpower or knowledge or habits or anything at all.  You want to be a supporter. again, NO criticism. Come with understanding, emotional depth of understanding, support, encouragement, and help. Check in OFTEN with them, daily if possible, to see their condition, NON JUDGMENTALLY, and then guide them. Give them the strength to do the right thing by helping them do it. They are very weak at this stage and will struggle without your constant support.

Stage 4. Start complimenting them on what they’ve accomplished, and constantly remind them of what they have accomplished. They are in this world where there’s so much work left to be done. Don’t be the person who makes that stress and pressure worse by piling on more demands and expectations. Give them the strength to face the work by appreciating the work they’ve already completed.

Stage 5. Start inviting them to events to meet in person and socialize or have fun or hang out.  Start feeding them some sense of a life as a normal person. No longer treat them as some kind of special case, but still check in frequently and offer and give help and support, just do so without this “I’m a care taker and you’re disabled” approach. It’s more a “we’re equals, and I’m gonna help you” attitude now.

Stage 6. Continue Stage 5 for another 6-12 months.  Be extra sensitive and don’t start treating them normally until many months after they start appearing to be normal. They will be acting normal, but inside they are still weak. So if you criticize them like you would criticize someone who hasn’t just come through trauma, you will re-injure them and make their condition worse. Just like if you’ve just had surgery, you’re going to “recover” in a few days/weeks, but you won’t REALLY recover for many months.  Emotional recovery is the same. Sure the scar has healed and the stitches are gone, but re-injury is going to be very easy and that wound is very weak so don’t disturb it again for some time. Give it time to be strong once more.

 

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Retirement Intelligence 101 Part 2 What you need to Retire

In Part 1 we said we need $64,000 per year to retire. In Part 2 I’ll discuss some options for how to get this without working.

To my knowledge in 2018, these are ways you can make money without working:

  • Licensing deal: you help someone else’s business and in return they pay you for that help for the rest of the life of that business. An example might be you create a new toothbrush holder. Someone with a business like Walmart will buy your creation from you, then manufacture and sell the toothbrush holder you designed and for every one they sell, they give you some of the money they get. Another example is you work in a movie as a lead actor. Then every time someone buys the movie, you get some of that money.
  • Investing: just by having money, you can make money. This is a big topic so I’ll just stop at the main point.
  • Business Ownership: Similar to investing, you buy or create a business that hires employees to work for you so that you don’t have to work yourself in order to make money.

Each of these options has a varying range of success.  A key point is that Licensing and Business gives you money because of work you did in the past, and your future earnings is dependent on the success of the work you do.  Investing is much safer, because it’s dependent on the success of the world. Eventually, you want your core income to come from a reliable source, and investing is that reliable source.

The current term for this idea of being financially independent and retired early is called FIRE and there are multiple resources on this that go into more detail so I’ll leave a few links for you to read if you want more detail, and just cover the basics here.

https://twocents.lifehacker.com/the-basics-of-fire-financial-independence-and-early-re-1820129768 

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/29/how-much-do-i-need-for-retirement/ <- $4 per $100

What is investing? It’s making money out of money. It’s magic. It’s breaking the laws of what you think is allowed.  But capitalism strongly supports this: if you have money, the system is designed so you can get more of it by investing.  If you live in capitalism, investing is its core.

How much money can you get from investing? The real answer ranges from 0 to infinity, but there are specific strategies geared for retirement that you can hire someone else to do for you.  So given that you hire someone else to do it for you, how much can you get from investing? Well, roughly for every $100 you invest, you can get $4 per year to spend. (For the purpose of simplifying investing, we will go with that. The second article above can go into more detail as it is a complicated subject.)

Doing some math

x * ($4 / $100) = $64,000
x = $1,600,000

we find that for the Average American to retire in 2018, they would need to have $1,600,000 cash.

Some of you may look at this and go: that’s never gonna happen. $1.6 Million?? How can I ever get that much money when I barely make a fraction of that?  The answer is financial discipline, tax saving, and leverage. And we will get into those topics in part 3: how to achieve financial independence and retire early.

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Retirement Intelligence 101

Welcome to Retirement Intelligence 101, a series on how to retire.  We will first define what it means to be retired by listing a few details that describe the state of being retired.  Then we will define what you will need in order to be retired.  Then we will discuss what you can do to get what you need in order to be retired.  1. How to get 2. what you need 3. to be retired.

As a Legal Disclaimer: None of this is financial advice so don’t sue me.  Evaluate what you read with your own judgment. I am just sharing my thoughts and opinions.

Let’s dive into Step 1.

What it means to be retired to me is you have the following taken care of for the rest of your life:

  1. Necessities (Food and water, Shelter).  You will never have to worry about being able to afford some form of this in order to stay alive (quality of food/water/shelter is not guaranteed)
  2. Emergency Protections (Insurance premiums paid for, budget for emergency expenses). You are unlikely to have major expenses come up like going to the hospital and getting a large bill, but if they do you are prepared for the bill because insurance will pay a lot of it and your emergency savings fund will pay for the rest of it.
  3. Inflation.  You don’t have to worry about becoming poorer over time due to inflation. (Google for “Inflation” to learn more)
  4. Your life improves over time. You won’t be stuck in the same lifestyle for the rest of your life.  As you age, you get more money and you can buy more and better things.
  5. Budget for fun. You have money to do what you want, and over time you get more money to do what you want.

And the key point is all of this is possible without you doing any work as an employee. 0 work as an employee, you get this. For the rest of your life. That is retirement. It’s also financial freedom.

We can add up the budget for all 5 categories to come up with the total amount of cash you expect to be able to spend per year.  Let’s say it’s about $51,000 based on the spending of an Average American (article here) which is $64,000 per year before taxes.

To retire you will need to somehow get $64,000 per year before taxes.  Without working.  How do you get money without working?  Stay tuned for the next post where I tell you that answer!

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