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.

Compassion for Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

People who suffer from borderline personality disorder usually come from a traumatic and abusive childhood, where there was rejection, abandonment and an overall lack of feeling safe. People with borderline have an ingrained feeling of being worthless and unlovable. 

The idea of intimacy is frightening to people with BPD, because they never had unconditional  love in their early relationships with the adults who were supposed to be caring for them. They have a history of being betrayed at the most vulnerable level.

Why should someone trust a person, when they are sure that they are going to be hurt by making themselves vulnerable?

If you are dealing with a loved one with BPD, it is a good start to let them know that you understand why they would have trouble allowing themselves to be vulnerable.  You understand that they were conditioned by their past trauma, not to open themselves up to trust other people’s intentions.

Babies and children are vulnerable and cannot care for themselves. Parents and caregivers are supposed to create an environment where children feel safe and loved. 

Mental abuse in the form of  “I do not love you when you do that”  or  “I will only  love you when you do what I expect”  is very damaging to the psychological make-up of an impressionable child. 

Borderline personality disorder is usually a reaction to needing to survive in an unfriendly, unpredictable environment. One day certain behaviors were worthy of love and another day the very same behaviors were punished.

 Often the borderline child, was the result of a narcissistic parent. Narcissists change the rules as they feel it suits them. They demand complete obedience of the child and withhold love from their child, when the narcissist feels that the child is a threat of any kind

Narcissists perceive many things as a threat from their children and teenagers including:

1. refusal to obey rules

2. failure to know when the rules have changed, even if the parent has not made the new rules clear

3. The child having opinions that are different from the narcissistic parent

4. Acts of free thinking, independence and autonomy of the child or teenager

5. Interacting with friends that the narcissist has not approved of

6. Pointing out things that are unfair

7. Standing up for themselves against the narcissist

8. Anything that the narcissistic parent did not approve for them to do ahead of time

9. Anything that the narcissist perceives as disrespect

The borderline is usually  brought up in fear of retaliation of the parent. They were also brought up in fear of emotional abandonment, due to the silent treatment and other tactics of the parent.  They may also have been in fear of physical abuse, if the parent was displeased with them.

Unconditional love is difficult for the borderline person to believe and to trust.. They were brought up that love and affection is conditional, based on how “good” they were. 

There is also that feeling of being unworthy. This feeling of unworthiness comes from being made to feel that way, by the actions of the parent. The parent also may have told them that they were worthless, stupid, unlovable and a burden to the parent.

Jerold Kreisman, M.D. is the  author and developer of the S.E.T communications theory. She developed this method of helping borderline patients because the borderline people were not responding to traditional  Talk Therapy. They had trouble feeling that the therapist could be trusted because they have a general feeling that people do not want to help them.

Her theory is outlined in the book  I Hate You – Don’t Leave Me

“Essentially, the S.E.T. communication pattern was developed by Jerold J. Kreisman, MD and Hal Straus for their book I Hate You–Don’t Leave Me.(link is external)

It consists of a three step communications sequence in which the non-BP first offers support to their borderline loved one(“I want you to be happy”); empathy (“I can see how lonely you can get when I go out with my friends”); and the non-BP’s truth; (“At the same time, having friends around gives me great joy, and I need some time with them to feel fully rounded.”) Psychology Today

The SET stands for three steps.

The S stands for SUPPORT.  The E stands for EMPATHY. The T stands for TRUTH.

SUPPORT The idea of support is to reassure the person that you truly want to be supportive and helpful to them. You can remind them that you think they are worthy of care and compassion.

EMPATHY –  The idea of showing them empathy is to create a feeling of trust. The borderline does not feel heard or understood. You have to let them know that you realize that they have pain. Validate and empathize with them about whatever they are feeling. Perhaps tell them that you can understand how they feel and that you might have the same feelings, if you were in their shoes.

TRUTH This one is about helping the borderline person to see the difference between reality and things they may be feeling that are from trauma. It is also about helping them to see what their behavior is, if it is inappropriate or hurtful to others and what the consequences might be if they continue to behave this way.

This method is one of compassion and it has been helpful to some people. Everyone will not respond to this method. If they are too rigid and stuck in their black and white thinking , then it may not work. The person must be willing to try to see things in a different way.

The idea is to get them to realize that it is possible that their perceptions are not always accurate, but they are based on past trauma. If they can accept this idea, then this method seems to be a very good one.

I personally like the concept of this method and I think it could be helpful in dealing with other mental illnesses. Anyone that sometimes has trouble telling the difference between reality and perceptions that are coming from past trauma, could be helped by this.

Blessing,

Annie

* please note that some people have borderline personality disorder,  and other people are co-morbid between BPD and NPD (narcissistic personality disorder).   If you are being abused by the person ,  and they have the red flags of narcissism, you may be best to protect yourself and get out of the relationship. At least do some research on abusive personalities, to become more aware of what you are dealing with.

Depression is not Just Feeling “Depressed” when the Duncan Donuts Made you the Wrong Flavor of Coffee

Depression becomes a disorder when your life becomes disorderly because if it. You can say to someone that you have depression and they will say, “yeah, I get depressed too. I was so depressed that  did not get that promotion last week, but it passes.”

That is the problem with having depression as a disorder. It does not pass. It is not just a sadness and disappointment of something not going our way. It is an attack of our brains that can render us unable to do the daily tasks needed to survive in a normal way.

It can interfere with work or even cause us to lose our jobs. It can keep us from getting things done for our kids that are important. It can keep us from taking proper care of ourselves. We can become financially devastated from the effects of depression on our lives.

We can lose relationships because of our inability to communicate with other in an acceptable way. A person with depression can lose their self esteem and their belief that they can make things better. Once the hope is lost for things getting better, there can be a loss of interest in everything.

Living with depression can cause such a detrimental effect on the quality of someone’s life that they feel there is no real purpose for continuing to live. Life is too hard, too painful and there is no reward. People with depression can become slowly more and more isolated from family and friends.

It is also difficult to get out of bed to go to therapy or to get on the phone to call for a mental health appointment. This is one of the most dangerous and most tormenting things. Someone needs to go get help but they have no energy to take the steps needed to get help. Phone calls. dealing with secretaries, sitting in waiting rooms, anxiety over leaving the house…sometimes it can be too much to bear.

Depression is not the same as

“I am so depressed that I did not get a raise, but I shook it off, why can’t you? ” or

“We all have problems but the rest of us get up and deal with them. Just forget about feeling depressed and you will feel better later”

The speakers in these statements had disappointments and frustrations. They did not have a disorder of depression. The very fact of them “shaking it off” and “forgetting about it later, once they were out with their friends having fun”  is not depression in the sense of a mental disorder.

A disorder is a disorganization in the brain that causes us not to be able to do the things that other people can do. If you have depression, you know it is different that what the people around you are experiencing. You know it is different because they do not understand you, or your behaviors.

People with a depressive mental illness have a real physical disorder of the brain. Often is was cause by some kine of trauma or abuse. Mental abuse can cause things in the brain to disorganize in a severe way. The brain does not just put itself back together easily.

Hopefully wordpress is a place where you can find validation and healing by interacting with other people who actually do understand you. You are not stupid, lazy or uncooperative, as people often perceive you to be. You have a serious debilitating condition which has physical organic components to it, just the same as someone with a physical disability.

Blessings and I hope this helps in some way.

It helps me to write about my experience and to reach out to others.

Annie

PTSD poem … Silent and Invisible

Who is left to hold us when the nights get dark

After we have watched them walk away one by one?

Thoughts of utter terror filling our hearts

Vulnerable and frozen from fear

Who is left to listen to our racing thoughts

After we have heard them all hang up,

one by one?

Because no one wants to be close to you now

When your life is ruled by fear 

and your mind is so tormented by trauma

Enter My Brain at Your Own Risk…Depression and bad thoughts

riskEnter my brain at your own risk

It’s not for the faint of heart

Thoughts that you should never think

And circuits just coming apart

Enter my world if you dare

No one would fault you for not

The ones who have entered before you

Did not always come back to stop

Sometimes we hesitate to reach out for real help from people because we do not feel that they will be able to handle helping us. If we were to be truly transparent to them, it would be too much of a burden. Especially when we are very depressed and thinking thoughts that are dark and disturbing.

It is true that there are many people in our lives that could not handle entering into the world of our minds, at the times when our thoughts are the darkest. There are also people that would not understand,  because the kinds of thought patterns that can occur during severe depression, can be so unusual and unbelievable,  to people that have never had them.

Thoughts of why we should still be living. Thoughts about the worthlessness of our lives, and the pain that feels too much to continue. There many people who are so uncomfortable with hearing thoughts about life and death, that they would ask us not to speak of such things.

Working in healthcare, I have had patients that were suicidal or at least not wanting to live anymore. When they mentioned anything along those lines, the other workers would say the very things that should not be said to someone who is in that state of mind.

1. You don’t really mean that

2. Don’t talk like that

3. You are just trying to get attention

4. Everyone feels depressed sometimes and we don’t go around saying things like that

5. It can’t be that bad

6. It is not that bad

7. You have a good life

8. You would not really do that

9. Don’t say things you don’t mean

The list goes on, but you get the idea. People are so uncomfortable when people say they do not really want to be here anymore, that they say the very things that will shut them down, or worse.

Numbers 8 and 9 above, are almost challenges, to someone who already feels like they no longer want to live. The speaker is not realizing that the person may already have formulated a plan for suicide. The plan may have been acted out in their minds so many times that it would only take a “challenge” like one of those statements, to shift the person from thinking about suicide into the mode of acting upon the already formulated plan.

Suicide can be done quickly and on an impulse. Or it can be carefully planned. All people with depression are certainly not suicidal, but either way, people do not always know how to respond to dark thoughts of any kind, when they hear them.

Some people may react to your opening up to them, in a way that makes you feel shamed. It is like the thought of being worthless, and having no purpose to be here, is a bad behavior. It is an unwanted, outside the norm, unacceptable behavior. Family members may tell you that your saying things like that embarrasses them and not to ever speak of it again.

The problem is there. Sometimes you need to talk to someone about your depression, and no one wants to listen. People want to walk through life and pretend that bad things do not exist. They also do not understand much else than their own particular world will allow.

Severe depression is something that a person needs to talk about with another human. It needs to be heard and the thoughts need to be outside of the person’s head for once.  The longer the dark thoughts go around and around, the more alone the person feels. The lack of anyone to talk to, only increases the feeling that “I do not belong here in the world”

If you already feel alone and afraid then being rejected by someone about your thoughts, makes you feel more alone and more afraid. This is a very sad and lonely place to be. All alone inside your head, with frightening darkness. This is not the way it should be.

. I think that some people are not going to listen to it, no matter what. But everyone is not the same, and there are some people that can handle listening to someone in a deep depression.

I hope that if you are feeling the darkness of depression, that you can find someone who can handle listening to you, better yet sitting with you and listening in a personal way. When there is no one, then we have to find other ways of reaching out, like on wordpress or other online sources.

Depression can be very dark, and being alone in the darkness is  terrible place to be. My thoughts are with anyone who is feeling very depressed now. I wish for you that you can find a safe space to express the thoughts in your mind.

Blessings

Annie

Severe Anxiety About Moving Forward, Anyone?

Psychological problems come with thought patterns or tendencies, that are not rational but usually seem very real to us at the time. There are behavioral patterns that have been somehow instilled into our brains.

Here are some tendencies of mine that other people may relate to. I have also seen these tendencies in friends of mine that have mental illness or psychological damage from abuse.

Overgeneralizing :  When a single negative event occurs, my mind will process it as a pattern of defeat that may continue on and on, into the future. I feel like there will be no way out of my problem because the first attempt to fix it went badly.

This is a very difficult habit to break. I assume that it comes out of past situations, where one event was a catalyst for worse trauma to come. Efforts that were intended to make things better, actually made them worse.

We have to learn to differentiate circumstances in which we have some power and the situations in which we have no control over them. It comes down to the serenity prayer. “Change the things we can. Accept the things we cannot change. The wisdom to know the difference.”

Just because our first attempt to solve a situation does not work, does not mean that we cannot find a solution. It just feels that way. It is easier said than done to just “stop feeling like everything will end in doom and destruction.”  When the amygdala is active to a point of hyper vigilance then everything feels like an extreme threat.

Depending on our past trauma, we respond to different things with a physiological response of fear. The triggers to this can be situations, behaviors in others, sounds, smells, places, or anything else that our brain has created an association with of the original trauma.

If our brain has an association of fear with us not succeeding on the first try of getting out of a bad situation, then we will feel doomed to failure when our first attempt fails. If we have trauma associated with “trying to get out of a situation”,  then we will feel the threat before we even attempt the first try.

We feel that there is no way out and we are trapped in a box that is about to be dumped into a river. This is how I feel right now, about the situation I am in. I will post more about it later.

The situation is severely threatening to me,  but logically there must be a way out of it. I am intelligent and resourceful. It is easy for me to forget those two things, when I am in a state of post traumatic stress.

Fear conditioning is an associative learning process by which we learn through repeated experiences to fear something. Our experiences can cause brain circuits to change and form new memories.

For example, when we hear an unpleasant sound, the amygdala heightens our perception of the sound.

This heightened perception is deemed distressing and memories are formed associating the sound with unpleasantness. If the noise startles us, we have an automatic flight or fight response.

This response involves the activation of the sympathetic division of the peripheral nervous system.

Activation of the nerves of the sympathetic division results in accelerated heart rate, dilated pupils, increase in metabolic rate, and increase in blood flow to the muscles. This activity is coordinated by the amygdala and allows us to respond appropriately to danger. About Education site

You can read the rest the above article here.

“Should” Thoughts : Thoughts that we “should” be better or “should” have done things differently. We do not need to punish ourselves for what we did or did not do. We do not need to feel shame over the things that we have done or the things that have happened to us.

This type of “should” thinking causes us to become paralyzed and unable to make the changes that we “could” make. Focus on “can” and “I think I can” like in The Little Engine Who Could.

The combination of fearing failure and feeling shame because we “should” be in a better place in life or we “should” have done or not done something, is disabling. If we understand that our brains have wired themselves to create the anxiety responses in the body, then we can at least forgive ourselves for how we are.

We know that people without mental illness do not have these responses to situations. They do not become incapacitated to drive to work, or change jobs.

Sometimes the most basic problems can seem insurmountable to us. When I finally changed jobs in September, the process was actually fairly simple. But the anxiety surrounding it was incredible. I was sure I would screw things up, end up with no job, lose my rent money and end up on the street (similar to how I feel now).

Life is full of changes that are put upon us, and also changes that we need to make. Staying in the same situation, because we are incapacitated by the anxiety to make the change, is very bad for us.

Sometimes change is for the best and helps us to grow. If we can accept our brains and our feelings about doing things, then we can slowly begin to do the things we fear, in spite of our feelings. We may be able to find ways to get extra help from other people or other resources to deal with the anxiety.

The anxiety is there. Our brains seem to be wired the way they are, at this time.

There is no “should” or “should not.”  There is only “what is.”

Everything will hopefully not end in doom.  We have to make some slow positive additions and changes to our lives, in order to move forward. We cannot judge ourselves for our mental illness. For many of us, it was caused by abuse. For others, it is just the way the brain is wired to function.

Kindness towards ourselves, about our feelings of threat, failure, and fear will help us to move forward one step at a time.

blessings,

Annie

Comparing Ourselves to Others…Shame, abuse, mental illness

This was my response to one of the comments I got on a post. I will not say which person commented but they can feel free to comment here if they want to do so. The reason I am posting this, is because I feel that the concern they had was one I have heard many times from people with mental illness, abuse and psychological injury. 

People who have mental pain, have trouble in day to day situations, where other people seem to float right through. Everyone around us seems to have a better handle on just getting through life, than we do. It is so easy to become discouraged by watching other people do things that we either cannot do, or cannot do without mental anguish.

I wanted this reader and all of you, to understand that we are not being fair to ourselves when we compare ourselves to other people. If we are comparing ourselves to someone who has no mental suffering , then how is that comparison fair to us? 

This was my response to a comment that talked about feeling shame, and comparing ourselves to  other people.

People are good at things that they have had the background, the support, and the early wiring to be good at. Even the things we learn when we are older, are easier to learn if we were wired properly when we were growing up.

A lot of the people you are comparing yourself to had parents that helped them to follow the normal development stages and they also had the mental stability to process all of the stages properly, in order for the neurons in their brains to be set up to do these things.

There are chemicals involved in every process we do. The chemicals in our brains are dominating our feelings and our feelings affect how well we can do things. We have behavioral patterns and they are also linked to the organic connections (neurons and chemicals) in our brains.

If there is any trauma, abuse, neglect during childhood / teenage hood, we can end up with things that are not wired properly. We also end up with the chemicals sending the wrong signals and we feel depression, anxiety and worthlessness about ourselves.

Your feelings of not being as good as other people are conditioned behavioral patterns of your brain. Past trauma, abuse or neglect may have caused these patterns. Your inability to things that other people do, may be related to feeling inadequate to do them, feeling depressed, anxiety etc. This is not your fault that you have these chemical, neurological responses to doing things.

If you feel anxiety about something and someone else does not feel that, then of course they will be able to do that thing, better and more easily than you can. It is not fair to yourself to compare your brain on depression or anxiety with their brain that is functioning perfectly well. It does not mean that you can never learn to do it, but it means that it is much harder for you to do things, than it is for them.

When we have mental illness issues, it is more fair to us, if we so not compare ourselves directly with people who do not have any mental illness or trauma in their background. I have recently come to believe this is true

I spent many years wondering why I felt so inadequate to everyone and why I felt so out of place. I had so much trauma in my back ground that I could not keep up with the people that had brains that functioned normally. It was not that I was not as smart, but it was because my brain was and is so traumatized.

I am learning that we have to be kind to ourselves. In order to be kind to ourselves, we have to understand and feel compassion for the fact that trauma, abuse, neglect, depression, anxiety and any other mental issues, does cause us some disability. We cannot always compete with the other people.

We can learn to heal and to slowly rewire our brains. But mostly we have to talk to ourselves like we would talk to someone else that we knew was having trouble feeling as good as everyone else. You are as good as everyone else, whether you can do everything they can do or not.

We all have gifts and are good at things. You might be good at something that those other people suck at. I bet you are better are being compassionate for another human that feels depressed and worthless. The ability to be compassionate is not a gift that a lot of people have. Compassion is a lost art these days. People who have mental suffering can often also be compassionate to others who have depression and anxiety. That makes you better than them at something.

You are also probably better are being introspective and analyzing things.  Many people  just go with the flow of what everyone else is doing and they do not think for themselves. If you can think for yourself then you are better at that too.

I think that we are just better at different things than most people are. There is room for us in the world too. The world cannot be ok, of all of the people just follow the crowd and are all good at the same things.

I hope this helps a little. You are a unique, independent person that can think, care and love. That makes you special and no one is better than you.
Blessings,
Annie

Once we begin to forgive ourselves for how we are, then it gets easier to live with ourselves. People with psychological trauma usually end up with some kind of post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, OCD or other mental disorder. These disorders can be permanent , because the trauma never goes away. But we can learn to shoq kindness to ourselves.

We can learn to be functional, compassionate people. There are plenty of things we can be good at. If we cannot answer the phones for a job, because we have social anxiety then so be it.  If we cannot work at certain types of jobs because we are constantly triggered onto post traumatic stress there, then so be it.

A person with an eating disorder may not be able to work in a bakery. Well if they cannot do that, it does not make them less than anyone else. It just means that they cannot do that activity safely  because of their disorder. Someone who has a phobia of open spaces cannot work in the mall. So, what of it?

We are ok the way we are. We are trying to heal. We are trying to connect with others. If there are things we cannot do, then so be it. It is not because we are less than anyone else. They did not grow up, or have the adult past that we have had. Someone else may not have survived your situations as well as you did. How do they know what it is like in your world?

We all need a break from feeling shame, inadequacy, and worthlessness. We need to show ourselves some kindness and compassion in our thoughts about ourselves. We are doing the best we can with what we have to work with. We have to work with our brains being the way they are, right at this very minute.

Blessings to all,

Annie

Drones

Why do they target me,

Because I am different?

I am trying to make a difference

I am trying to create magic

To try something new

To make things  better

To change the

Same old,

Same old ways

that are…

static

inflexible

uncreative

I want to light up

The eyes and the hearts

Of the ones who are suffering

They need a new start

But

the drones

feel so threatened

They reject anything new,

Creative,

Innovative

They want to hush me

Put me in the corner

Threaten me

punish me

scold me

humiliate me

Because

I can’t conform

To the ways

that are

Boring !

Boring!

Lacking spark

I can’t make magic

I can’t make art

Not around them

No, not around them

They don’t like that I’m different

And try to innovate

They just want…

boring drones

boring drones

that repeat

that repeat

regurgitate

regurgitate

and reenact

The same old,

same old play

With the same old,

Same old lines

Drones who

do the minimum…

Just slide by

Collect their pay

That’s the conformist way

Watch what you wear

and watch what you say

It must match their

Damn  formula

Etched in stone

As if it were

The ten commandments

Brought down by Moses

Follow the social laws

Repeat and review them

Don’t try to add to them

Or subtract

what is…

Obsolete

Incorrect

Inhumane

What is most important

to them

Is that

We are all the same

Depression and Difficulty with Taking Care of Yourself…Be Your Own Nurse

Depression wears you down and drains your energy. The amount of energy required to get it together and take a shower is tremendous, nevermind doing anything with our hair and make-up. It feels like we have to literally drag ourselves around to do anything.

Making dinner is an effort so we often don’t eat or just open a can of something or other. We deprive ourselves of proper nutrition because it is too confusing to keep track of that when our own thoughts are consuming us.

Besides the lack of energy, we don’t really see the point in taking care of ourselves. We feel hopeless and worthless and it just seems like it is not worth the effort. It is not like we are trying to impress anyone. There does not seem to be any hope of anything improving in our lives.

We will neglect our personal hygiene like taking showers, brushing our teeth and brushing our hair. We do not feel up to going to the beauty parlor.

We may have some vague recollection of feeling attractive, but we do not feel that way anymore. It feels like we can barely get through the day, Our minds are occupied with running thoughts that are extremely painful to keep listening to over and over.

Time passes differently and we are not even aware what time of day it is or how much time has passed sometimes. I have had times when three hours had gone by and I thought it was a half an hour  at most. This time confusion also makes it hard to figure out what to do and when to take care of our basic needs.

When we are in a state of severe mental torment, caring for ourselves just seems like a waste of energy. There is confusion in our minds and we have problems remembering things. A simple thing like organizing our day or making ourselves lunch, feels like a difficult task.

Our appetites are low and we do not feel like eating. or we overeat to make up for feelings of emptiness inside. Either way, our diets become unbalanced. We starve ourselves of proper nutrition and also exercise.

We do not feel good about how we look in the mirror.   The mirror tells us we are neglecting our personal care and basic needs. The mirror tells us , but we do not know what to do about it.

The problem is that when we neglect our personal care and our diet, it makes the depression worse. Our self esteem about how we look goes down. Our self esteem goes down regarding our ability to function normally like others do.

Bad nutrition will make our bodies and brains weak and less effective. Our thought processes will be slowed. Our ability to fight off infection is lower. All of these things will increase depression.

The chemicals in the brain are affected by the intake of nutrients from food.  When we do not eat properly,  our brains become more chemically off balance, as we continue to neglect eating proper meals.  It is a spiraling cycle into deeper depression.

It is very difficult to begin taking care of ourselves if we have been out of the habit for a long time. It requires “baby steps” to get back on the right track. We have take small steps to take care of ourselves and nurse ourselves back to health.

Think of yourself as a patient in the hospital. Your bed is a hospital bed. You also have to play the role of the nurse.

The nurse will encourage the patient to take a shower because you will feel better if you do. The nurse will bring food to the patient at regular times and encourage them to eat because the body needs to be strengthened.

Play the hospital game and pretend you are a wonderful nurse, taking care of a favorite patient. Encourage yourself to eat a few bites of healthy food. Have some nice soup  hot chocolate.

Think of what you would order , if you were in the hospital.  Encourage and be kind to yourself about personal care. Get out of bed for fifteen minutes an walk around the “hospital” a little bit.

Be your own  nurse and see how it helps. 🙂

Blessings,

Annie

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