Mental Illness and Toxic Loneliness

Loneliness and mental illness can often occur together. Does the mental illness cause the loneliness? Or can loneliness and isolation cause mental illness?

There are studies that suggest the loneliness and isolation can cause depression, anxiety disorders and even dementia. But for this post I want to leave the studies and references to those studies aside. We can do that another day.

If someone becomes depressed they tend to self isolate. People that are stricken by grief or loss sometimes just don’t feel enough energy or desire to interact socially.

For short periods of time, this can be a normal reaction, particularly for an introverted person. But long term isolation has detrimental effects on mental health.

Anxiety disorders also can cause people to self isolate. Without any support  or interaction with people, a person with severe anxiety can develop other disorders like agoraphobia or even hoarding.

Long term isolation cuts off the human connection that people need. This can bring up the fight or flight mechanism, because the brain may perceive extreme isolation as dangerous. Being cut off from community and basically cut off from the protection of the herd, is something that the brain may perceive as life threatening.

The reptilian brain is all about the primal urges and protection for survival. If the reptilian brain feels that the basic survival needs are not being met, then a message may be sent to the limbic system to feel the threat in the body.

The amygdala is the part of the brain that controls the fight or flight chemicals. Cortisol and adrenaline are sent into the system when a threat of danger is perceived.

If we become overloaded by cortisol for extended periods of time on a regular basis, it can create harm to the body and the brain. I will get into this more in another post.

The important thing is that these chemicals make the nervous system feel terrible. The person can hyperventilate, have heart palpitations and feel painful, uncomfortable sensations throughout the body.

We were designed to  exist in a state of fight or flight mode. This is PTSD or it can be C-PTSD. In the case of on-going experiences of feeling in danger, over many months or years, it is complex post traumatic stress disorder that occurs.

There may be feelings of extreme fear of abandonment upon meeting new people. There may be severe social anxiety from this or from feeling inadequate to interact with people.

Some of the trauma may be rooted in early childhood experiences of abandonment or rejection. Child abuse of any kind, including emotional abuse, can cause fear of abandonment and fear of being isolated from others.

The issue of loneliness and how serious it can be seems to be taboo to discuss. People do not like to say they feel lonely because it makes them fear they will be rejected for admitting this. Then they will just reinforce their problem by making people reject them.

So there can feel like there is no way out. Someone feels depressed or lonely to begin with. Then the depression results in pathological loneliness. Or the toxic lineliness results in chronic depression.

The anxiety naturally goes along side all of this, and turns into C-PTSD  or it opens old childhood trauma which had already caused C-PTSD. The person may not even know they had old wounds to open, but the emotional flashbacks to rejection and fear of abandonment are happening.

Suicidal thoughts, self harm and self medicating can occur as a result of this snowball effect. What started the process may never be known. The person just feels isolated and afraid to live this way.

The stigma of mental illness makes all of this worse. Many people are afraid to seek treatment. They are afraid to even tell anyone how they feel. They do not think anyone will understand.

Once someone starts to become isolated from other people, it can be hard to get out of. They will still feel isolated in a room full of people, because they feel that they are too different to fit in.

The issue of loneliness should not be taboo to talk about. It causes suffering for many people with mental illness, and most likely is one of the roots of mental illness to begin with.

It is when someone feels that others do not understand them, that they feel inadequate or just too different to be accepted. Everyone needs human touch and emotional intimacy of some kind.

This issue of loneliness needs to have less stigma, just like the issue of mental illness needs to have less stigma. There needs to be more awareness so that people do not isolate themselves emotionally to the point that they see no value in living.

Being in emotional and mental pain every day, on a regular, constant basis diminishes quality of life. It makes people feel hopeless and worthless.

Mental illness is painful, and so is the feeling that no one can understand and accept you.

The worst thing is believing there may be no end to the suffering. That is when people lose hope. No one wants to live with neverending suffering.

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 ❤

 

Do the Right Thing – This Song Spoke to Me Today

 

I never like the videos that they put together for these songs, so just listen and read the words. Your own experiences will fill in the meaning for you. 

Lyrics to Divisionary (Do the Right Thing ) by Ages and Ages

Do the right thing, do the right thing
Do it all the time, do it all the time
Make yourself right, never mind them
Don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering

I see you up again wandering so diligent
Crossing your t’s as though it weren’t irrelevant
They say formality, this is what they really meant:
They can be the walk, we can, we can be the pavement

Do the right thing, do the right thing
Do it all the time, do it all the time
Make yourself right, never mind them
Don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering

I see you up again wandering so diligent
Crossing your t’s as though it weren’t irrelevant
They say formality, this is what they really meant:
They can be the walk, we can, we can be the pavement

You are Enough – You Have Enough Within You

good enough

Image

Holidays for People with Mental Illness, Depression, Anxiety Disorder

self care

The holiday season can be very difficult for people with mental illness. Depression and anxiety can be triggered and it is hard to deal with all the happy people who are excited about the holiday planning. 

You have to take care of yourself. Don’t feel guilty to say “no” to things if it is too much for you. Everyone may not understand and some people will react to you by trying to make you feel shame or guilt.

People who try to guilt you into doing things are not the people who are the best people for you to be around, especially during the holidays. If you realize that the worst that will happen by saying no is that they will “react” to you, then you can endure that. 

People that try to get emotional reactions out of you are just manipulators. They are not on your side and doing things just to avoid disappointing them is not necessary. 

Unfortunately there are those people who will do more that just try to evoke an emotional reaction out of us. Some people will take more steps to make our lives miserable when we do not do what they ask. 

If you are dealing with someone like this then you are in a very difficult situation. Just try to minimize the amount of things you do for them and avoid what you can. 

Take breaks for yourselves and do things just because you like to do them. You can take yourself to the movies or to the local diner for hot chocolate. You can take a Netflix break and watch a funny movie or tv show. 

you are beautiful

 

A warm shower or bath can be very relaxing and no one can disturb you. Find ways to help yourself to feel calm and to feel like you matter. You can make your own traditions for the holidays and forget about what you “always do.” 

Doing things the same way every year is not a rule, it is just a habit. If you would be happier making changes to your usual holiday routine then do so. There is no rule that you have to be miserable or that you have to spend all your time making everyone else happy. 

People get extreme stress during the holidays because they are trying to live up to other people’s expectations or even their own expectations. Set you bar lower, so that you will not expect things to be a certain way. 

Truthfully these are just days like any other days. Society and your family has done the job of putting expectations on you. Keep in mind that a lot of it has to do with the commercial companies wanting to make money. It is a lot of hype that you are not obligated to fall into. 

The holidays should be about peace and serenity. They should be a time to calm, rest and spiritual connection. Find your peace during this season however it is the most meaningful to you.

 

 

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.

Depression is Real Illness Even Though it is Invisible – YouTube Video

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