When Someone with a Mental Illness Reaches Out to You / Do’s and Don’ts

I thought of this idea this morning. It is a way for people with mental illness to get real help from others. There are some people in your life that want to help but they just end up making things worse.

When that happens, you do not want to communicate with them about your pain.
You end up keeping all of your pain bottled up like a secret.

No one wants to reach out for help just to feel invalidated, misunderstood, judged, scolded, intruded upon, and pushed farther down.

The problem that I have experienced is that people “guess” at what will be helpful. They always guess WRONG because they do not understand.

They have not been inside of that pool of pain, feeling the water going farther and farther over their heads. They do not know what it feels like when we are basically being drowned by our own emotions.

It is not something we are allowing to happen or are causing. It is something that invades our minds like a virus. We have no control over the attack of our own brain on us.

Our brain begins to attack itself, our bodies and our hearts. Asking someone to just stop their mental suffering is like asking someone to stop a broken leg from hurting.

A broken bone hurts because our body senses injury. Then the nervous system tells the brain we are hurt, The brain then responds by sending horrific pain signals back through the nervous system to the injury.
So the cycle is : injury, nervous system, brain, nervous system, severe pain.

It is exactly the same cycle with mental illness. The brain and the nervous system coordinate together.

1.Something triggers an intrusive thought.

2. An intrusive thought hurts the brain by activating neurons that are wired to the person’s thought behaviors.

3.The brain reacts by sending a signal through the nervous system into the entire body.

4. The pain is felt throughout the body. It is a nervous system attack.

Neurological behavioral patterns in a person with mental illness are different than other people. It is a biological difference of how the neurons are attached.

The way our neurons are attached in the brain has a disfunction. We cannot do anything about it. It actually gets worse every time we have an episode.

*I will mention here that there is new holistic neurological research ongoing about the ability to rewire the neurons in our brains. I am studying this currently and will let you know when I have anything helpful to tell you. So there is hope. However for the time being , we are stuck with the faulty wiring.*

If people can understand that there is actual biology that is misbehaving with us, maybe they will understand better that our own brains actually attack us, against our will.

So, I am going to give individual scenarios with a do’s and don’t lists for people with mental illness to use as a tool, when reaching out for help. Please feel free to show them or quote the information I provided above , as a way for a greater understanding that most people do not have.

I have experienced myself, that people trying to “help” you, have some go-to words and actions that are both useless and hurtful to us. My next post is going to be Scenario 1.

Please leave me ideas for situations you have been in, so that I can include them. I will try to post a couple of them a week.

Namaste,
Annie

Finding a Voice for PTSD and Severe Anxiety

It is a terrible thing to feel unsafe. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome causes the sufferer to feel unsafe. The feeling of lack of safety is disabling. It creates mental torment and physical sensations of pain and discomfort.

Post traumatic stress disorder can be caused by different types of trauma. Anytime a person is put into a situation of being threatened for a prolonged period of time, they are in danger of damage to the their neurology.

People are not set up to endure a dangerous situation for extended periods of time. We are set up to be able to handle an immediate danger.

The amygdala is the part of the brain that kicks into high alert when we are in danger. This puts is into the fight or flight mode. Our brains and bodies are only designed to sustain this mode for a few minutes at a time.

Our body will gear up for a fight to the death, or to run as fast as we can to escape. Some people go into a state of frozen, incapacitating fear.

When people are in a prolonged dangerous situation like domestic violence, front military lines, living in a dangerous gang-type neighborhood, etc, they are forced to sustain the fight or flight level for way too long.

They are afraid to sleep at night because the danger is constant and they could be injured in their sleep.

This causes people to have sleep disorders later, even when they are no longer living in the threatening environment.

This causes the amygdala malfunction. It basically breaks and becomes overactive on a regular basis, It begins to respond to anything that triggers a memory of the original trauma,

Many people wake up the morning in post traumatic stress right away. For some reason the brain wakes up in trauma.

Things that remind the person’s brain of the original traumatic situation, will wake up the amygdala and send them into a terrified state of mind. They feel that they are in immediate danger. They feel threatened in such a frightening way that their body responds with blood pressure raising, nausea, headache and other symptoms, depending on the person.

People with PTSD live with the daily fear that they could relive the terrible feelings of trauma at any time. They develope a new reason for terror. The fear of the possibility of being sucked into the nightmare state is terrifying. They will do things to try to avoid being triggered.

Living with this terror every day is exhausting and disruptive to the person’s life. It gets worse and worse for the person’s mental health to continue to live in the fear of experiencing trauma.

It is critical that people with PTSD can talk to someone about their feelings and what it is like to live this way. It is difficult to find anyone to talk to who will really understand.

This Word Press network has members that suffer from PTSD  and severe anxiety. The more we communicate with each other about our feelings, the more we have the chance to feel validated. PTSD sufferers need to be heard. Our stories need to be told in a safe space.

God bless

Namaste

Annie

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