adult children with alcoholic parents, aftermath of narcissistic abuse, alcoholic mother, anxiety disorder, Anxiety mental illness, anxiety ptsd, bipolar, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, disfunctional families, emotional abuse, emotional trauma, emotional wounds, healing from narcissistic abuse, mental illness, narcissistic parents, obesissive compulsive disorder, social anxiety, social anxiety disorder

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.

anxiety, anxiety attack, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, holiday anxiety, Holiday depression, mental illness

Mental Illness and Dealing with Holiday Pressure

Depression and anxiety disorders can become worse during the holidays.  If you suffer from depression the pressure of the holidays can make you feel overwhelmed and inadequate. It is hard to keep up with what seems to be expected. 

Keep in mind that you can rethink “expectation” and be flexible about how you do things. There are a few places where expectation is coming from and it can help to differentiate where you are feeling the pressure from. 

There are pressures that are created by the companies and perpetuated by the news and the other media. You do not have to live up to these expectations because it is just about the stores making money. 

Families force their own brand of expectation onto you. This has likely been being programmed into you for years. Use questions to see what is reasonable and what is not. Question the expectation that are in your mind. 

You do not have to adapt the expectations of others as expectations that you  have for yourself. Do what feels right to you. 

If you are feeling anxiety about having to do something then it is not something that supports your well being. See if there is another option. Different families have different expectations of their family members during the holidays and in general. 

If you have a history of depressive disorder then you need to make modifications to these “expectations.”  Just because you cannot (or do not want to) live up to the expectations of your family, does not mean that you are a bad …sister…daughter…brother…daughter in law,,,etc. 

Pressure from family can be draining and can lead to becoming more depressed. You have to take care of yourself. Your mental health matters. 

Try to remember that just because someone may tell you they are disappointed in you does not mean that you did anything wrong. People are usually upset because their own agenda has not been met. 

Do not lose yourself in other people’s perspective. You have the right to have your own perspective about yourself and about the expectations on you. Taking care of yourself is important, including being able to decide how you see yourself. 

If you struggle with mental illness then you have obstacles that other people in your family may not understand. If you need to do things (or not do things) in order to keep yourself okay then you have the right to do so. 

abusive relationships, adult children of alcoholics, adult children of narcissistic abuse', aftermath of narcissistic abuse, anxiety, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, c-ptsd, chronic illness, chronic pain, Chronic pain and depression, compassion, Dealing with difficult personalities, dealing with manipulative people, dysfunctional families, emotional abuse, gaslighting, Healing after abuse, healing from narcissistic abuse, holiday anxiety, Holiday depression, mental illness

Holidays for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

If you were brought up in a chaotic, dysfunctional, emotionally abusive or negligent childhood then you were taught not to focus on your own needs. As an adult you are at a disadvantage in taking care of yourself.

You might notice that other people draw boundaries and get what they want easier than you do. This is because they were taught that their needs matter and that you have to take care of yourself or no one else will.

Those of us with “People Pleaser Syndrome” were taught ..” if you cater to someone else then eventually that person will take care of you.”

You are supposed to keep sacrificing for others until they appreciate you for what you have sacrificed for them. Unfortunately people most often do not change from “being catered to” to “taking care of you.”

The problem is that the people around you get trained … “spoiled”…that you do not mind being the one they take advantage of. You are the one whobwill come through no matter how inconvenient or painful it is for you.

If you have C-PTSD from abuse as a child (including emotional / psychological) abuse then you are likely to have depression and anxiety disorders.

Many people that were not nurtured and guided to be independent adults now have C-PTSD and do not even know what is wrong with them. As much as you may want to forget your childhood ever existed, it is that early proframming that is still ruling your subconscious thinking, from behind the scenes.

You are not even aware why you make the choices you make. In fact many of your behaviors do not feel like choices at all. You are programmed to respond to people in ways that make you unhappy and even upset with yourself.

The holidays can be miserable for adult children that come from families that programmed them to ignore their true inner voices. But you inner voice is trying to tell you what you really need.

You have just as much of a right to enjoy the holidays as anyone else does. Let your conscious rational brain see when things are not balanced in your relationships.

Before you say yes to anything during the holidays, tell the person you need to think about it. Give yourself time to find out if the things you  are choosing are best for you.

Your first response to people within a few seconds is coming from your programming that other people installed directly into your brain hard drive. But you have the right to override it.

You can refuse to respond to people right away. Just tell them you need to think about it and you will gey back to them. This simple action will tell people that you are a person and that if you choose to what they want it was because you decided to figure it into your schedule.

People may be shocked and resistant to your changing methods but if they always get their way then it is your turn. If you have always done what they want you to on the holidays then you can take one year to do things differently.

Take time to think through what choices best support you. Then do not let people emotionally manipulate you. Other adults such as parents . siblings and in laws do not have the right to demand you to cater to them, especially if they do not care about your feelings and needs.

Taking time to respond will allow you to think about and remeber which people care about you as opposed to which ones manipulate and take you for granite.

The people that manipulate your time are taking your time away from people who you would be happier being with and who deserve your time more.

There is no rule against taking time for yourself or spending it differently than you usually do. Change can be good for the soul and it is also good for your cognitive functionling. When you always go on auto-pilot, your brain loses plasticity.

The plasticity of your brain gets less flexible when you stay in a routine that never alters. It makes it harder for you to rhink of possibilities and options. Making small changes in your behaviors can increase this plasticity and allow you to see more choices.

For every option you see, there is another one that you are not seeing yet, but you might see it if you give yourself time before you commit to things toobfast.

People are not in control over you as much as it feels like. When dealing with manipulative family members you just go outbof your way to please people who neve4 give you the love and acceptance you need anyway.

Allow time for yourself and for people who will appreciate you more. There may be someone you would like to make time for that you have not thought of because they are not the “squeeky wheel.”

Think of what you would actually like to do during the holidays. If things are triggering to your anxiety or depression then you can …

Blow them off…

Keep the time to a minimum and then go do something you want to do…

Change something about your behavior that makes it more bearable such ad not agreeing to everything right away ( remember…I need to think about it)…

Don’t cater to people’s emotions who are minimizing or neglecting you feelings, wishes and rights…

Leave early…

Take control back for some aspect of the events and activities (do not do everthing the way they expect you to)…

Let people know that you have as much right to enjoy ( or at least not be miserable) during the holidays as they do…

Say “no” and let them figure out their next step…

Take notes for yourself about what people say and do so that they do not change the truth around to manipulate your memory. …

Set you own time table as far as what times you are able to come and go…other people do just this

 

 

anorexia, anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, battered women, bipolar disorder, c-ptsd, chronic illness, chronic pain, Chronic pain and depression, Chronic pain and mental illness, depression, eating disorder, emotional abuse, fibromayalgia, fibromyagia, holiday anxiety, Holiday depression, holiday ideas, insomnia, mental illness

Thanksgiving Blog Meet-Up for My Followers

I am thinking of doing something on the holidays,  here on the blog, for people who find the holidays difficult.

There are many people who read my blog who need some extra support to get through the holidays.

I have seen other bloggers do blog parties where people connect through their blog throughout the day. I was thinking of a “holiday connection day” kind of idea…not so much a party but more like a get-together.

I have nevet done this kind of thing before so if you have any ideas let me know in the comments below.

I want people to have somewhere to connect with me and with each other, in order to be able to talk to other people who understand how difficult the holidays can be.

 

 

 

 

 

anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, mental health, mental illness, ptsd

Coloring for Mental Health – Mental Illness Anxiety Depression PTSD

Check out this web site for free coloring pages. There is a section for art therapy for anti-stress. There are other adult pages under various categories like Zen, Egyptian, Return to Childhood, Japanese and Tattoos.

http://www.coloring-pages-adults.com/coloring-zen/

Here are a few pages from the site so you can see what they are like. I have been getting into coloring myself and I find it very relaxing. Certain kinds of designs and pictures appeal to different people so choose what you feel good looking at. Do not worry about the category or if it says it is specifically for anti-stress. What works for you personally is what is best for you.

coloring-adult-india-elephantscoloring-adult-back-to-childhood-manga-girl-flowers

coloring-adult-precious-momentscoloring-adult-rosaces

coloring-great-wave-kanagawacoloring-adult-repetition

bipolar disorder, emotional abuse, invisible illness, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, mental illness awareness, ocd, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, stigma about mental illness

You are Not Your Mental Illness

you are not your mental illness

About 1 in 5 people in the U.S. and England suffer from some kind of mental disorder. Other European countries have similar statistics from about 27 percent to 30 percent.  Studies in South Africa say that over 30 percent of adults have suffered from some form of mental illness during their lifetime.

The statistics that have been gathered are similar is most countries with mental illness affecting about 1 in 4 to 1 in 6 people. This is based on information that has been able to be gathered but keep in mind that many people never seek treatment.

People have reasons for not seeking mental health diagnosis due to fear of stigma, lack of enough mental health facilities, lack of health insurance and other personal reasons that deter them.

A mental disorder does not mean you cannot function, keep a job, be a good parent, or that you are not as good as other people. Something is defined as a “disorder” when it interferes in your life in some way. This varies from person to person as to how your life may be affected.

Many people with a mental illness need medication in order to attain their best functionality and their best quality of life. Others are able to manage their mental illness with therapy or other intervention type treatments. Some people choose to use holistic or spiritual methods to deal with their mental illness.

There are many different mental disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and anxiety disorders such as PTSD and C-PTSD, Everyone is not born with mental illness and all mental illness does not have a genetic factor.

The brain can be affected by trauma and by abuse. Disorders such as PTSD and C-PTSD are caused by abuse or trauma. Other disorders like depression and severe anxiety disorders can have roots in abuse including emotional and mental abuse. There is also a high number of people with other disorders that also either had abuse during their childhood or domestic violence as adults.

Mental and emotional trauma can be caused by violence upon or around a person. It can be caused by being in a traumatic event or witnessing a traumatic event. Other things like living through a natural disaster, living in poverty, the loss of a child, wartime exposure, and many other things.

invisible illness

The brain creates associations related to what it has experienced. Associations in the brain can cause emotional responses that arise from connections in the neural pathways. Different parts of the brain are affected by different mental illnesses. These can be seen in CT scans which were done to study the brains of people with bipolar. depression, OCD and other mental disorders.

If you or a loved one suffers from mental illness you are not alone. With the percentage of mental disorders being around 30 percent most people have friends, family members or loved ones that have a mental disorder of some kind. You may not know about mental illness in all of your friends or family because some people keep it a secret from others.

Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. The stigma about mental illness makes the problem worse by causing people to fear seeking help or to talk to anyone about it.

You are not your mental illness. Neither is your friend or family member. People with mental illness are not usually dangerous. There are only a few mental illnesses that predispose people to violence. Most people with mental illness are suffering within themselves and not causing harm to others at all.

Suicide rates are high in every country. There many death related to suicide and the feelings of hopelessness, shame, guilt , fear and worthlessness that people live with. People who suffer from mental illness are not all the same. People are people and they are all individuals.

Please do not see yourself as your diagnosis or as a label. You are unique and no one is just like you. Each person was born with value and worth that is innate. If you suffer from mental illness you should not have to feel shame about it. You just have an illness that is just as real as any physical illness.

People with physical diseases and illnesses are more likely to be recognized and less likely to be judged as a person, in regards to their diagnosis. Just because mental illness is invisible does not make it any less real or the suffering any less.

bipolar, bipolar disorder, depression, life, mental disorders, mental health, mental health blog, mental illness, mental illness blog

Depression Feels Like it Surrounds You – Some NLP Techniques Might Help

stormy sky

Depression can feel like there are dark storm clouds all around you. They feel like they are closing in and there is no way out. Depression can feel like it is coming in at you from the outside, although we know the feelings are being generated from the inside. 

storm drving 2

There is no way to see the sun or any hope beyond the heavy feeling of the depression piling on top of us. This depression can feel like an ominous being that had captured us in its clutches. It can feel like the clouds of darkness are choosing to surround us rather than the people around us. 

storm writing prompt

It can feel like the depression is settling upon our home, our bedroom, our brain, our heart or around our body. It is perceived differently by different people. But there is often this feeling of the depression being around us, on top of us and putting weight in us that makes it feel hard to move our bodies in space. 

One idea that sometimes can help is to take ourselves out of the depression clouds by changing our point of view and perception just for a few minutes.

We can detach from this picture we have of the depression surrounding us by taking ourselves out of the “first person” of our story. 

We all tell our own story every day. There is a kind of narrative playing in our brains. Each thing that happens in our narrative had a meaning to us. 

There is a type of NLP technique that we can try which is to make ourselves the observer of this narrative.

Picture that you are watching the story from the outside. You are watching it as you would watch a tv show or a YouTube Video. For this few minutes you are in within the clutches of the depression all around you, but you are without ….you are outside of the entire story all together. 

Emotionally Detach From What You are Watching So You Can Observe

In order to detach from feeling too much negative emotion while watching yourself in the story, you can control the volume, the vividness of color and the distance this “tv” or “Movie screen” you are watching this on. Reduce the volume, make the colors different, and push the screen away from you until you feel more detached like an audience, rather than the main character in the story.

From this outside, detached point of view we can see what meaning we assign to different things is our story. Let’s say that in our story we lost our job or were yelled at by the boss. As an outside observer of the story we can see what meaning the main character (that is us) is attaching to these events of losing our job or being yelled at.

Look at the main character as if you are not emotionally attached to them. You are seeing yourself as a neutral character in a story. But observe how this character assigns meaning to these events. 

What meaning did she assign to losing her job? Does she feel this means she is worthless? Does she feel this means she will continue to become more financially devastated and that it was her destiny to become financially devastated?

What meaning does he assign to getting yelled at by the boss? Does he feel he is inadequate? Does he feel that he was yelled at because he cannot fit in with other people?

Once we see what meaning we are assigning to events in out story, we can question these meanings. Did we assign meanings to these events that are accurate? Are we sure these meanings can be proven? Can they be disproven? Has there ever been any evidence in this main character that they are not useless?

Has anyone ever told this main character that they were useful, wanted or skillful and intelligent? Is there any way we can counter the negative meaning the main character in our story has assigned to different things?

This practice of coming outside of our narrative can help our brains to get out of certain learned behaviors. Our brains will go into the usual behaviors that they are used to but these are not always helpful behaviors for our brains to do. These are learned behaviors and are sometimes developed out of post traumatic stress. 

Our brains are designed to scan for danger and to take us away from what the brain perceives as danger. When that danger seems to be all around us, our brain has  no where to take us but deep inside of ourselves. There is no where else to run away to.

So this practice of mentally removing ourselves from the “first person” in the story and taking the point of view of the third person, can make us an audience to our own brains and what our brains have been wired to do. It is good to ask questions about what thoughts our brains are thinking.

Sometimes thoughts are reactive, which means they are reactions to triggers.

These are learned brain behaviors almost like an addiction. The brain has been used to thinking certain kinds of thoughts in response to certain kinds of triggers and feelings of threat.

Practice this technique for five to ten minutes, a few times a day. Ask questions about the meaning that you attach to events and other things in your life. If you are living below your desired living level..what meaning does your brain assign to this? Then ask if it is necessarily true? Why is it true? What other meaning might you be able to choose to assign to this?

This practice is cognitive work. This cognitive work can take you out of the feelings of depression while you are doing it. The brain cannot focus on more than one thing at a time with a lot of power.

There is a primary focus of the brain. If your primary focus is on this cognitive kind of practice then some of the fuel will be drawn away from the emotional overload that the brain was caught up in.

The more we question our own thoughts, the more we can seek truth. The truth about ourselves is that we have innate value. Other people do not assign value to us. They have no control over our actual value. 

Our actions and accomplishments do not determine our innate value either. So question the meaning you have been used to assigning to things in your life. Things that happen do not take away the fact that you are valuable and special because of the person that you are.

Blessings,

Annie<3

bipolar disorder

My Prayers are with All of You

 I was getting ready to turn the computer off when i saw that post from our friend in the ER. So now I am still up for a little while. The statistics are that 30 percent of people with bipolar disorder will commit suicide.

Our friend has survived this attempt and she seems to be okay at the moment but also not wanting to stay in the ER.

I feel very weird that I was  writing that silly post while she was being worked on by the hospital people to get her vitals stable. They won’t move her until the vitals are normal.

I guess you never know what it going on somewhere else with another person, at the same moment you are doing whatever it is that you are doing. 

There are 1.8
deaths every second; that equates to 155,520
deaths a day.  quote from the Daily Cheese blog article by David Western

Suicide Statistics Chart for US

My thoughts are with everyone. It could have been any one of us. It is scary and we never know what will happen day to day. I love all of you and wish you peace.

bipolar disorder, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, suicude

Please send prayers and love to our blogging friend in the ER

Please say your prayers and send a supportive comment if you feel so moved to bipolar for life adventure …she is in the ER after a suicide attempt.  She is blogging from her ER bed right now. Let’s let  her know we are glad she is still with us.

Blessings,

Annie