Light in Darkness

Step lightly and tread a gentle path

You never know what you are walking on

Until you are mindful of it as you go

Listen and see with watchful eyes

Your heart will speak the truth

Be open to seeing more than others

Tell you is around you because

There is always much more than

Your eyes can see if you rush

Breath in your surroundings to perceive

Without biases , without assuming

Things are what you are expecting

If you assume what is there…then

That is what you will see….

Presupposition can murder the senses

And dull your ability to see truth

Sometimes more beautiful than

The others can perceive it to be

And other times darker and more sinister

But see what you are able to see

Never allow others to do your seeing for you

Or give meaning to things without your consent

Your perception becomes your reality for the time you are perceiving it to be

You must see what you need to

And not let others influence you in a way that distorts your truth

Or tarnishes your vision

Walk gently and look freely

Choose your own meaning and feel your emotions

Your spirit is resilient but the mind can be interfered with …

If you are not mindful

Walk gently for you know not where you are walking

Or what you are stepping on

Unless you are aware as you go

Create your own manifestations, and build your own bridges to walk over the water

Until you can walk upon the water with faith…

And without fear

Do not bury your feelings or let others minimize them

Do not allow others to discount what you feel and what you know

Walk softly but speak the truth loudly when it is necessary

And speak the truth gently if it is harsh o

Have compassion when no one around you does

Believe in what is right when others turn their back

Always believe in yourself especially when others shun you

Believe in your intentions when others try to shut you down

What you see and what you feel is yours …and yours to value

Stand up when others have fallen

Stand up when others try to make you stay down

Live with kindness and speak with truth and light

If you let the darkness make you hard to see

The ones who need your light cannot find you

Your light is very important to the ones lost in the dark

Let fear be comforted by truth …

Not the truth of darkness…

But the truth of the light that is within you..

The light that sometimes barely breathes and flickers in the dark

But cannot be extinguished

By anyone

Let your light comfort and inspire

Allow it to flicker like a flame…

Next to fear and sadness

To give them hope

Your light is always within you

Even in the darkest of times

When it is hard to see

No matter how small it may seem at times

Your light has great power and strength

Compassion will flame the fire

 

Touch is a fundamental communication between people. It allows us to communicate compassion better that words or facial expression.

Touch is the most important element of bonding and compassion between humans.

There are neurochemical effects of skin to skin touch. Compassionate touch is critical for the brain and the body to be healthy. We need human touch to be well.

We need  human touch in order to have good mental health. People who are touch deprived can develop mental illness.

People with mental illness can become worse from a lack of pleasant  physical touch.

Compassionate touch reduces stress hormones, including cortisol. When someone touches your skin in a pleasant way, it makes you feel calmer and safer. Anxious feelings  can be reduced and your nervous system can be calmed. 

People deprived of pleasant physical touch  can develop high levels of stress hormones.

High levels of stress hormones on a regular basis will cause a condition of severe anxiety disorder. Depression is often a condition that goes hand in hand with anxiety disorders.

“When a person receives a pleasing touch, the hormone oxytocin is released in the brain. Oxytocin is linked with human bonding, socializing and maternal instincts. It helps alleviate anxiety and fear and is critical in trust-building. There is even a specialized part of the nervous system in our skin, known as tactile C fibers, that is specialized to pick up compassionate touch.” Pracha Touch

Physical touch can promote healing in the body and reduce the likelihood for disease and illnesses.

This includes both physical and mental illnesses. Insomnia can be relieved by the hormone balancing effect of skin to skin touch that is pleasant.

Some people with mental illness may have been touch deprived as infants and as children.

There is research about the necessity of touch for proper development and growth.

There was research by John Bowlby and Renee Spitz, during WW II, about the effect of touch on infants. Infants that were orphans, living in institutional settings were not held by the caregivers.

The lack of compassionate touch caused a 75% mortality rate. Also, the infants had a lower weight and length than infants of the same age. They did not develop properly due to the lack of being comforted. The compassionate touch of the mother is comforting to an infant and reduces fear and anxiety of the baby.

Babies need to have their nervous systems regulated by the mother. Infants do not  have the capacity to regulate their own nervous systems. Infants even regulate their breathing with their mother’s breathing. Babies that sleep with their mother have a dramatically lower incidence of infant death syndrome.

If the baby forgets to take a breath, the mothers breath on the baby’s face will cause the baby to draw in a breath. The baby will be calmed by the sound of its mother’s heartbeat.

“In some of the most dramatic new findings, premature infants who were massaged for 15 minutes three times a day gained weight 47 percent faster than others who were left alone in their incubators – the usual practice in the past. The massaged infants also showed signs that the nervous system was maturing more rapidly: they became more active than the other babies and more responsive to such things as a face or a rattle.” Daniel Goleman New York Times

The United States is one of the most touch deprived countries in the world. In studies, we come up second to England

In the 1960s, psychologist Sidney Jourard, studied the conversations of friends in different parts of the world. He observed friends as they spent time together in a café.

In England, the two friends touched each other zero times. In the United States, there was an average of 2 touches during the conversation. But in France, the frequency of touch was 110 times per hour. And in Puerto Rico, the friends touched each other an average of 180 times!

It is possible that the mental health crisis in the US has something to do with the fact that we are a “No-touch” culture.

Depression and Difficulty with Daily Tasks

If you are in depression then it will be very difficult for you to keep up with day to day things. You probably want to stay in bed and forget that things need to get done.

Forgetting does not really work and soon you will be attacked with anxiety on top of the depression.  The combination of the anxiety and depression can be torturous.

So, you have to forgive yourself for not being able to get everything done, and scale down the tasks to the minimum.  Just do the most critical things and break them up into smaller bits and pieces. Some things require several steps, so you can write out the steps and then do one today.

I know what it feels like to just want to leave everything undone and crawl back into bed. You may only be able to do 15 minutes or 30 minutes at a time. If it is only 10 minutes then that is the way it is today.

People will probably complain to you because they do not understand. Sadly that is something that most people with mental illness have to endure, on top of the suffering we are experiencing. 

Everything does not have to be done at once, or back to back. Take breaks in between to do something therapeutic for yourself.

You have to be your own nurse, parent, nutritionist and physical therapist.

Try to eat a little out of each food group. If you can’t then perhaps try Ensure or Boost drinks. It is important to keep your strength up with vitamins.

Get some exercise even if it is sitting on the floor and doing stretches. The limited mobility will make your muscles stiff and uncomfortable.

Write a list of things and then taper it down to just very necessary things. Do them one at a time and take care of yourself in between.

Depression is a real illness. It is just as real as any other disease or illness.

Take care of yourself.  Try to get a bit of sunshine.  It will help regulate your your sleep / wake cycles. This will combat insomnia.

Blessings,

Annie

When we Go Into in our Cave for Self Preservation

Human connection is needed for each of us. There are times when there is an urge to self isolate, but there the need for connection does not leave.

At times we feel injured in some emotional way. Sometimes it helps to be around people and talk about what caused the injury.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding a mental, psychological and emotional injury, we do not always get relief from interacting with others.

There are things that happen sometimes that affect us deeply, due to both the nature of the injury and also the past injuries that are triggered by it.

It is really a unique injury to us and we do not see any way to share or express the pain.

The worst thing is for someone to minimize our feelings and tell us that it does not seem that bad to them. That can have the result of retraumatizing us and aggravating the psychological injury even further.

Everyone does not have the same past, or even a similar one. One person cannot judge how any incident or ongoing trauma can affect another person. Two people from different pasts may have very different feelings and triggers from the same situation.

If we fear being retraumatized by people, then we will go hide in our cave…be it our house, our bedroom or our bed itself. We become reclusive and isolate ourselves from people and most or all interactions.

This cave retreat-time can be helpful, if we use it to rest, restore and regain our strength and self esteem. How long is okay to stay in the cave, depends on the person and what kind of damage we sustained.

We cannot stay in the cave forever and eventually we have to venture a toe outside the door. If we self isolate too long it can lead to more mental illness and a decrease in ability to interact.

The act of re-entering the human world is not easy. If we have been by ourselves most of the day and night, for a period of time, then we have to re-acclamate to the social world.

This can be difficult and energy consuming. If we have been self isolating for a while then it may take a lot of our energy to start to interact again.

Thus has to be done slowly and at the person’s own pace. Trips back to the cave, for a couple of days at a time may be necessary.

Do not let other people put demands on you or tell you they know what you cam handle. Truthfully you are the only one that can truly know what you can or cannot do.

The cave can feel safe for awhile but you need human interaction also. Blogging is a good way to get some human interaction because you do not have to physically leave the safety of your bed, in order to connect with other caring bloggers.

I just wanted to acknowledge those of you that are in the cave right now or that have had to do that before, due to some traumatic emotional injury or mental imbalance.

It is not an issue that is openly talked about, but maybe it should be. There are times that call for the retreat to the cave.

These are usually painful times that require an entire overhaul of our reality, and our mental and emotional state.

Just because you retreat to the cave does not make you weak. It does not make you stupid. It also does not make you inconsiderate, in spite of how some people may try to guilt you.

Be well. Build your strength through rest, self care and learning. Feeding the brain can be as important as feeding the mind, at times like these.

Blessings,
Annie

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