anxiety, depression, health, health and wellness, life, mental abuse, mental disorders, mental health, mental illness, psychology, suicidal thoughts, suicude

Showing Kindness to Yourself About Your Mental Illness

your heartYour mental illness has caused some level of disorganization in your brain. What the cause of your mental illness is, could be a variety of possibilities, but the feeling of disconnection is there.

Disconnection exists at various levels within our brains and in our lives. It feels like having broken pieces, jagged edged that no longer seem to fit together the way they used to. Bits of pieces are over there…and bits of pieces are over there…

We are not entirely sure if all of the original pieces actually still exist, because we cannot fit enough of them together to check for missing puzzle pieces. Sometimes ot seems like we are being forced by therapists to shove all of the pieces back together again.

The problem is…these are not the original pieces of your brain, in the original form. You cannot just put things back together and miraculously be the same as you were once before.

The mind is like a stream. It is constantly in movement. You cannot step into the same exact  stream twice, because as soon as you life out your foot the water has changed again, before you place your into the water again.

The neurons in our brains are constantly adapting to our behaviors, including our emotional behaviors.  Every new experience creates new neuronal connections. The more times you repeat a behavior, the more solid the connections relating to that behavior become. But they can always be changed.

The original combination of connections from any given point in our past, cannot be recreated by therapy or anything else. The reason for this is that we have had new experiences since then.

We are at the place where we are. The connections that exist right now, in your brain are what you have at this moment. The reasons for the exact combination of connections are many.

The experiences that we have had, up until this very moment are part of our organic brains. They cannot be removed. You cannot suddenly become a person that was never abused, never hospitalized or never had a mental breakdown.

The things that happened are part of your past, and we have to somehow find  way to survive and thrive, in spite of the trauma we have experiences in our lives.

The feeling that things are disorganized and broken into pieces, is a very real feeling. If you have mental illness, or are recovering from mental trauma, you may have trouble connecting the parts of your brain together, needed to function.

The brain is made up of different parts that have different functions. There can be a failure of the parts to work together properly.

The mentally ill brain does not connect the halves of the brain, the frontal cortex , the nervous system and the other functions, in the way that they connect with other people. This is a reason for memory problems, feelings of severe depression when nothing is seemingly wrong, and feelings of a severe threat when no threat is imminent.

In a well oiled machine, the parts all move together as a unit and help each other. They each do their job to the highest level of function and each part is functioning properly.

missing a piece

Trauma can cause damage to certain parts of the brain, They become overloaded and do not know how to protect us from further trauma. In any mental illness, your brain will try to protect you from further mental trauma, in a ditch effort to survive.

When you are in danger of retraumatization, your brain will change the way it connects the parts together and the way the parts function. It is no longer working the way a “normal” brain works, during safe circumstances.

So, your brain is disorganized, and your perceptions can be altered. It is really that you just cannot tolerate any more pain and trauma to your mind. Stigma about mental illness is one of the things that can cause retraumatization. The need to hide the mental suffering from others, is very traumatizing.

We can rewire our brains to become healthier and more functional, over time, with kindness to ourselves. We have to be mindful about our limitations and not judgemental of ourselves.

Understanding that our brains are  really are not currently wired the same way as other people, will take a great amount of guilt, shame and anxiety off of us.

People with mental illness deal with stigma and judgement from others, but we tend to be hardest on ourselves.

 Feelings of shame, inadequacy and guilt actually serve to retraumatize the brain. Having the emotional behavior of self judgement, is something that will prevent healing. There is no positive result from shaming ourselves.

You are who you are today. You are functioning at the level of function that you are able to. You cannot do anything to change the moments that have lead up to this present time.

Forgiveness is something you offer to others. Why not offer forgiveness and tolerance to yourself?

You are no less worthy of patience, kindness and love from yourself, than anyone else. You matter. It is not your fault. Your brain is a little crazy but…..so what.

Often times what makes us crazier than most, also gives us gifts of understanding and empathy, that others do not have. We can keep these gifts and see the value in ourselves for having them.

You can be kind and patient with yourself today, just the same as you would be if you were interacting with a person outside of yourself, that was suffering.

6 thoughts on “Showing Kindness to Yourself About Your Mental Illness”

  1. Great post and read at the perfect moment of self-deprecation and anxiety over the realization this morning of how fatty an avocado is and having eating two yesterday . . . seems silly, I know, but for someone with an eating disorder and gaining weight because of meds, it’s a brutal reality check. Ah well, I exercise regularly. I can get back on track. Just need to be patient. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you feel better. It is easy to fall into feeling shame. It is a destructive pattern that is so much harder to break than people realize, who do not have mental illness.

      Here is something for you…this girl at work (I thought was my friend,…) calls to me from across a crowded room of residents and asks me if I have gained weight. I thought I must have mis-heard her so I asked her “what?” But then she said it again.”have you gained weight?”

      I did not know what to say. I was so embarrassed at being asked this question, across a room full of people. I said to her “Why, do I look fat?” wo which she replied “Only in your butt. It’s your butt that looks like you have gained weight.”

      I have no idea what she was thinking or why she did that. I have some eating issues of my own. Weird ones. I have gained a little but of weight but not in the past month or so. I am still a little upset about the whole thing. What does someone want you to do, in that situation. Are you supposed to say “YES. I am getting fat and I am very embarrassed. I am going to go back to my old pattern of eating only one half a slice of pizza per day, just because you think my butt is fat.”
      I just don’t know. People just do not think before they say things, I guess.

      Good job that you exercise, as long as it it not obsessive to the point where is it unhealthy. I hope you are ok today. Thank you for commenting. As soon as I read about the avocado, iI thought about my butt being fat, but not yours..LOL
      Take care
      Annie

      Like

  2. I truly appreciate reading your posts, as well as those of others, because I’m learning so much about mental illness in a way that we didn’t learn while going to school. It gives me a clearer picture and perspective of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading my blog and for the nice compliment. I am glad the blog is helpful to different people in different ways. I enjoy reading blogs about all different kinds of things. It is good to see how other people think and what their perspective is about life.
      Annie

      Liked by 1 person

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