Retreating to the Bed During Depression

The desire to set up camp in your bed often goes along with depression.

Some people wonder if they are depressed or if they have an actual “disorder” of depression. A disorder is just what it sounds like. Your life has become disorderly…unmanageable.

You want to do things like set up camp in the bed.  and only come out of bed for necessities. The bed is familiar thus the brain perceives it as safe.

Your brain wants to keep you safe. Your subconscious brain leads you away from anything it associates with pain or danger. This could be any kind of danger incuding emotional trauma.

If you have mental illness then there are some things that are a threat to you but would not be a threat to other people. For example, if you have a severe anxiety disorder, depression or PTSD then going out to the mall can be riddled with possible threats.

An uncontrollable environment like a store, or driving in holiday traffic, can be triggering to those associations in your brain.

There are images, feelings and emotions associated with the sights, sounds and situations all around you. It feels safer in the bed, because it is a more controlled environment.

The holiday season makes it harder to go out and deal with the uncontrollable, unpredictable environments like the crowded stores.

The fear center of the brain is on high alert. It may even become too much to be in fight or flight mode and then your brain may throw you into a derealization/ depersonalization state.

This is that detached from reality state. You float through the motions as if you are watching a movie or you are in a dream. Your brain has become so overloaded with pain that it pulls your conscious state away from reality

The bed can feel like the only safe environment to be in. It is comforting and it is your personal space.

You are not alone if you ten to retreat to your bed when you are experiencing depression or severe anxiety. I have done it many times.

If you are stuck in the bed now, take time to get some nutritious food to eat. Just think about the food groups and eat a little something from each one.

The nutrition is critical for your brain function snd your physical strength. Your immune system needs to be supported by foods and perhaps vitamin supplements.

Be compassionate with yourself. You do not have to be judgemental of yourself. The inner tapes of negative thoughts about yourself were put there by others.

Show kindness to yourself. Offer self love and acceptance. The holiday season is very difficult for people with mental illness.

 

Reducing Holiday Stress

Much of the stress during the holiday season is due to expectations. If you can question the expectations in your head, then you can help yourself deal with the anxiety. 

The first thing to realize is that all of the expectations that you have for yourself were not originally your own. You can make a list of the things that you expect yourself to be able to do and then question each one. 

Take them one at a time and ask yourself if the expectation is reasonable. Then question the expectation as to whether it was your own picture of how the holidays “should” be or if it was programmed into you by someone else.

Some things were programmed into us by our parents from when we were very young. This does not mean that you have to keep it. For example, if you were taught that you have to make dinner and have all the relatives at your house for dinner …ask yourself if that was your desire or of that was someone else’s desire. 

On the other hand, maybe you were taught that you have to travel out of state to have dinner with your mother in law on Christmas. Maybe you have faithfully done this every year for 15 years now. 

There is not rule that says you have to do the same thing every year just because you are “expected” to do it this way. You should get a turn to do something you actually want to do. 

What is the point of the holidays if you get extreme anxiety preparing for them, no one realizes just how much you sacrificed and then you are relieved when the whole thing is over. 

It can be like a torturous chore that has thankless results. Even the people that have expectations of how you are going to so things, will not really appreciate it. 

Holidays are about peace , happiness, connection and showing others that you care about them. So find the ways that you can show your loved ones that you care….without causing yourself depression and anxiety.

You may come from a family that always buys gifts for each other, but you are a craft lover and would much more enjoy making the gifts yourself. Or maybe your family expects home made gifts but it would be easier with your time constraints, to order them on Amazon. 

Other people are not living your day to day life and they do not know how hard things are for you. The chores of the holiday season can be way too much, on top of your already hectic schedule. 

You can tell people that you are making a few changes this year. Think about what you always do and see what things you do not want to do that way. Think of creative ideas to do things differently this year. 

People may fuss at you. That is true. But you have to weigh dealing with someone else being upset, against all the anxiety you will go through …just for them to complain anyway….

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. 

Be Yourself

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Who are You Spending Thanksgiving With

This is where we can let each other know who we are spending time with today, either out of choice or under duress. 

If you are spending the holidays alone. that is okay. You do not have to feel alone. Check in with us here and let us know what you are doing. Netflix can be better company than a lot of people I know. 

I live with 13 other people in the house that is owned by the parents of my ex husband. His parents live here and he also lives here on a different floor than the kids and I live on. 

I am on the top floor which is kind of like an attic with slanted places in the ceiling and closets that are for elves. I have a shower but it does not work so I use the one that is one floor below me.

My two daughters are usually with me on the holidays and today I was missing the older one. My 18 year old daughter went to help at a soup kitchen to serve food. That is great that she has compassion and I was pleasantly surprised to find out she was doing that.

The 12 year old actually did very well at dinner. The anxiety she had been anticipating and talking about in therapy seems to have been more worrying ahead of time than it actually was. Or maybe the therapy was helpful in her dealing with the relatives today.

She is still downstairs but I made a run for it after dinner. I probably should have stayed to help clean up but there are always twists and turns to their conversation and I end up on the losing end of things, so I bailed as soon as possible.

My ex husband is probably in his room now. He and I are thinking of taking our daughters to the movies later on today. but it might have to be tomorrow due to the older daughter being out.

My ex brother in law took my older daughter to the soup kitchen so he was not here for dinner. My guess is that he strategically arranged to avoid his parents and made a great excuse by taking her to the charity thing.

His wife was here with the kids. The two of them live in the lowest floor of the house , which is actually one of the nicest areas of the house. They have 6 children, including the little baby who I enjoyed holding just before I came up here.

One of their daughters, my niece who is 15, wanted to escape the room and grabbed me to go look at something with her. I helped her to make a break for it by going along with her needing to show me something. We left quickly to go see it and then we never went back. 

So I was able to get her out right after we ate. She is a very cool kid and very introverted. With the extra guests at dinner (4 adults and 1 child) there were way too many people for any self respecting introvert to want to be in the same room with for too long. 

So now I am up in my attic talking to all of you. The food at dinner was surprisingly bad. And the conversation was wildly inappropriate by my standards for holiday dinner conversation. 

The guests are friends from church of my ex in laws. It was bad when the conversation turned to what kinds of gross things are on our drinking water. It got worse when the man started theorizing about drug addicts going to the bathroom and the city recycling the same water the drug addicts pee and poop their drugs into and then we drink it. 

Then it got worse when for some god awful reason they started talking about women and childbirth. I do not want to hear about cervix dilation and what not at the dinner table. 

So I was trying to eat the food while listening about how I have to drink the water that people pee in and then pass their drugs and any hormones they are taking into. I realize that this is all crazy but it still is annoying at dinner. 

So now you see why my niece and I made a run for it. ..I was not being rude.

SO how is your day going??????

Serenity

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It is important to take some time for yourself. The hustle and bustle can make you focus on others and forget about yourself.
Can you think of something to do for yourself that will make your day a little easier or a little better?
You might take a short walk, watch some funny YouTube videos, make a phone call to someone you love to talk to…or….what can you do to take care of yourself today?

…If you are struggling with an invisible illness like chronic pain, depression, chronic illness, PTSD from domestic abuse, or anything that makes you feel isolated from other people, you need support. 

If you are feeling alone, the holidays can be very hard. Many people get more depressed during the holidays. Since this is the beginning of the holiday season, let us begin it together. 

Stay in touch here today and don’t feel alone. 

Chronic Pain Affects the Holidays

If you suffer from chronic pain, then you know how if affects your social life. Interacting with people is difficult because you cannot do all the same things they can do. You have trouble keeping up with the flow and people do not understand how you feel. 

Having chronic pain can affect the holidays and your ability to participate. Along with chronic pain, also comes chronic fatigue. You can get very tired and need to rest. This can also cause frustration in dealing with family and friends who may not understand that you need to rest. 

You have the right to take care of yourself and you need to keep your boundaries about what you can and cannot do. It is easy to get depressed when you are struggling through the holidays. 

Some people end up self isolating for a variety of reasons. It can become tiresome to keep trying to explain to people about your condition. Some people find that they cannot get people to believe them. Invisible pain is invisible…and thus non-existent to people who cannot empathize. 

You may have become alienated from family and friends who became tired of adapting for you. This can be a very painful experience and the holidays can be very triggering and depressing of you have lost people you once spent time with. 

Then there are some people who hide their pain and try to keep up. You might do this because you do not want to burden people. You might just not talk about your pain because you know the people will not be sympathetic or they will not believe you. 

If you are feeling alone,  or are struggling with chronic pain today, feel free to connect with  us about how you are feeling. You can leave a message in the comments below or you can write a post and leave a link for people to read. 

 

 

Welcome to Our Little Get Together

thanksgiving

Good Morning.This is a scheduled post because I wanted something up before I woke up. Many of you are awake in the morning before I am. I have a late night insomniac kind of schedule , but I wanted to get things started. 

I would love it if you want to let me know what you have planned for today, whether it means you are staying home to watch Netflix alone or if you are going to be dealing with lots of people. 

You can leave your plans in the comments section or you can write a post and put the link here. We can all connect in and out throughout the day. If anyone is having a particularly difficult time then you can connect with us here. 

This is where we begin. I will check your comments when I wake up. Good morning  to all. Happy Thanksgiving Day or Happy GentleKindness Blog Meet up Day, whichever makes you feel good. 

Talk to you soon, 

Annie ❤

 

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

 

 

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