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Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder Similarities

Avoidant Personality Disorder

 “afflicting persons when they display a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation”  Wikipedia

This part of avoidant personality is associated with social anxiety disorder. Many people that have APD also have social anxiety disorder. There are feelings of fear of being embarrassed and “not fitting in” due to inability to understand and respond correctly to social cues.

So, some people with APD will avoid social situations in order not to feel the extreme anxiety associated with certain types of social interaction. Different people are different about what kinds of social situations trigger their anxiety. Some people with social anxiety disorder, like myself, are very good at one on one interactions, even if they are with strangers.

Avoidant Personality Disorder causes avoidance of more things than just social interaction. Also some people with APD are not afraid of social situations at all. It is other things that provoke anxiety attacks.

APD will cause people to have anxiety attacks related to things that are threatening to them. Anything that makes them feel powerless, inadequate and unable to handle the task, will be avoided. The problem that occurs is that avoiding things that need to get done will sometimes cause more problems for the APD sufferer.

These are things that end up happening, when someone with APD avoids doing things that are important to get done.

1. Fear of opening envelopes that may contain bills, notifications from insurance, Notifications from authorities, etc.

Bills become delinquent. Fees are added on and make the bills higher. Credit is adversely affected. Accounts are closed. Business relations are injured.

More anxiety is created because these things are the very things that the person was afraid of coming true in the first place. They do not want to see money they owe that they cannot afford to pay. They do not want to feel scolded by whatever it says inside the envelope.

2, Avoiding answering and making phone calls.

There can be an extreme phobic fear of making answering the phone. There is a fear of having a panic attack, if you answer the phone. You miss getting certain information that may be about things you need to take care of’

Making phone calls can be impossible. People with social anxiety disorder do not feel that they know how to handle conversations on the phone. Again, different people are different and will avoid different kinds of calls.

Some people become incapacitated to make any phone calls at all. Email can be a good coping skill for this. I often use email and text to interact with family members and certain other people. I am perfectly comfortable talking to my best friend / boyfriend on the phone. I always answer the phone when I see it is him. So for me, it is not a fear of the phone, but a fear of being dominated by people who are aggressive or more assertive than myself.

I wrote a post about being assertive for the kindness blog. I was researching this topic in order to help myself to become better with this. I am currently working on improving assertiveness skills. I have trouble remembering what I want to say and how to say it, once someone become very dominating in the conversation.

I want to get to the point where I can keep my thoughts together in order to stand up for myself. especially if I am being accused of anything, or if the person is doing something that violates my rights. If you are struggling with the same things then this post may be helpful to you.

3. Avoiding dealing with bills and credit companies. Over time the avoidance makes situations worse and the anxiety continues. The longer things go unattended , the longer the anxiety continues and increases. This makes it harder and harder to take any action.

The first thing that happens is that we are alerted to a problem that requires action on our part. The net thing that happens is that our brains go into a mental anxiety loop. Obsessive running thoughts are so severe when we think about taking action, that we become paralyzed to do anything. We put it off, in order to reduce the feeling id anxiety, self criticism. inadequacy, worthlessness and depression.

Anxiety and depression go hand in hand with both Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Anxiety disorder. We know that other people can do these things much better and easier than we can. We are aware that something is wrong with us, that we cannot take care of ourselves the way other people can take care of themselves

3. Lack of Self Care.

In the end there is a lack of taking care of yourself, when you have these disorders. Other people take care of things that need to be taken care of  They have learned how to “parent themselves” better than we have.

Mostly these kinds of disorders come out of abuse and trauma in our pasts. Most likely our childhood lacked the proper support and guidance to learn how to “parent ourselves” as adults

Somehow we need to learn how to prioritize ourselves and our needs that have to be taken care of. Survivors of abuse can often fall into prioritizing the needs of others to the point of neglecting our own needs.

One of our needs is to learn how to parent ourselves, stand up for ourselves. We need to learn how to feel deserving of things to go in out favor. Being assertive and taking care of things, that invove dealing with other people is a skill. It is a skill we have trouble with but that needs to be tended to.

These mental disorders are associated with real neurological differences between our brains and the brains of other people. These changes occurred over time, from repetitive behaviors. We may have developed behaviors as a child, that were needed to survive.

Once behaviors are repeated over and over, they become wired into our brains, To override the feeling of anxiety at making a phone call, we have to change our behavior slowly over time. Find ways to be able to make that call, even if it means having a friend hold your hand while you make the call yourself.

We can rewire our brains. I am still learning how but I believe it can be done.

But in the mean time, I am writing this, instead of working on the taxes.

Ok. I am getting back to that now

Annie

and avoidance of social interaction.[2] Individuals afflicted with the disorder tend to describe themselves as ill at ease, anxious, lonely, and generally feel unwanted and isolated from others.[3]

People with avoidant personality disorder often consider themselves to be socially inept or personally unappealing and avoid social interaction for fear of being ridiculed, humiliated, rejected, or disliked. Avoidant personality disorder is usually first noticed in early adulthood. Childhood emotional neglect and peer group rejection are both associated with an increased risk for the development of AvPD.[4]

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Making Changes for Better Brain Function in Avoidant Personality Disorder and Severe Anxiety

Avoidant Personality disorder comes out of a severe fear and anxiety of the consequences. There is a projection into the future of self destruction or of being destroyed by others.

We avoid doing things that other people just do without thinking so much about them. With avoidant personality disorder there is obsessive thinking.

These fearful obsessive thoughts run through the mind around and around. Pictures of horrible things that will happen to us in the future, dominate our entire brain. They override logical thinking and reduce our ability to function properly.

One of the things that makes avoidant personality symptoms worse, is walking through life in autopilot. If we do the same things over and over it is bad our brains.

If we just go through the motions of repetitive tasks and then get up an repeat the same patterns again the next day, we are shutting down the parts of our brain, that we need to be rational.

All parts of the brain cannot be active at the same time. If the fear centers are on overload, then the rational functional parts of the brain is reduced. If we do not use the creativity and ingenuity that we have, then those skills become weaker.

We need to make changes in our behaviors. Not necessarily dramatic changes, but tiny little changes. Just do something that is different during your day.

Read something new, take a different route to work. eat somewhere different, research something new. Anything that we like, but we do not usually make time for.

If we create variation each day, then our brain will learn that it is needed for learning and problem solving. Once the brain begins to work better, then we can approach the tasks that we always avoid, with a new perspective.

Perception and perspective is everything. If we can see situation from a completely different point of view, it will force our brains to wake up. Our ability to deal with problems and complex situations will become higher.

Namaste

Annie

anxiety, bipolar, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, domestic abuse, life, mental abuse, mental illness, self-esteem

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

bipolar, bipolar disorder, domestic abuse, domestic violence, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, obsessive compulsive disorder, poem, poetry, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd

Healing Requires Feeling

Healing requires feeling

It is nature’s only  way

Of disinfecting

the mental wounds

And closing them to stay

It seems too much to bear at first

Sometimes we want to quit

We regress to places past

And fear the future trauma

But healing always means feeling

There is no other path

That really grows our hearts

And makes us strong at last

addictive personality, anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, battered women, bipolar, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, domestic abuse, domestic violence, mental abuse, mental disorders, mental health, mental illness, self-esteem, suicidal ideations, suicidal thoughts, suicude

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

acoa, addiction, adult children of abuse, adult children of alcoholics, alcoholism, anxiety, anxiety attack, battered women, bipolar, bipolar disorder, child abuse, depression, domestic abuse, domestic violence, therapy for mental disorders

Being Able to Speak About Our Mental Illness or History of Abuse

Some people with mental illness speak freely about it and others are afraid to speak. Many of us have issues of mental illness because we were traumatized and mentally abused. It may have occurred during early childhood and is so far back that we do not really remember. There may be clear memories of some type of trauma or abuse during childhood.

We may have sustained psychological injury at the hands of an abusive partner during adulthood. Often times people are abused in childhood and then end up choosing partners who abuse them also. Not that we know that in the beginning. NO one hooks up with an abusive partner on purpose. They are often very charming and seemingly sweet at the beginning of the relationship.

If we were psychologically injured as children, then we were also probably conditioned that we do not speak of such things. There is secrecy and guilt built into those early relationships. We were taught that we do not talk about abuse, feelings about what goes on on our homes and to keep everything inside.

I remember Pat Benatar’s song “Hell is for Children” and she sings “Be Daddy’s good girl and don’t tell Mommy a thing. Be a good little boy and you’ll get a new toy. Tell Grandma you fell off the swing”

Very powerful lyrics and a great song. This is where the secrecy begins. We are taught that to be “good” means keeping your torment to yourself. Do not involve other people into the situation. Do not talk to people about your problems. Keep everything bottled up.

These behavioral patterns continue into adulthood. They are imprinted onto our brains with big “DON’T TELL” stampers. It is very hard to  break out of the patterns of not talking about things and keeping our “shame” to ourselves. We feel ashamed about what happened to us as children. We feel shame for having chosen an abusive partner.

We do not see other people around us, ending up in these situations. We feel ashamed and guilty. We feel like people will not believe us or that they will judge us. There is a feeling of not wanting to burden another person with our problems. No one wants to hear about MY problems, They are busy with their own problems.

Some of us even have trouble opening up to the family doctor or primary care physician. It can even go so far as not wanting to go to a therapist because we do not think they will  want to listen to. We may not think the therapist or psychiatrist will believe us. Maybe we will not explain our problems properly , in a way that they will understand.

Maybe the psychiatrist will think that his other patients have “real” mental health problems and we are just “faking it” or maybe we are afraid to tell the psychiatrist the whole truth because he never would have met anyone that bad before. Maybe we are the worst one ever and they will decide to commit us to a psychiatric facility.

These feelings have been conditioned into us by abusive people who did not want us to tell on them. They wanted to control us and they did not want to be revealed. Once their game is exposed, they can no longer play.

It is hard to change how we feel, We have ingrained reactions to things. Emotions are associated with anything that triggers memories from past trauma. Even the voice of the therapist sounding like your abusive father’s voice, could send you into post traumatic stress and immediately shut down your ability to communicate with them.

The solution is complex and it takes time to be able to open up to other people about mental illness. Sometimes people will respond in ways that are horrifying to us. Some people treat the mentally ill, the psychologically injured, like they are third class citizens. Like we are not competent , not reliable, not truthful and not worthy.

We already feel a low self esteem and a feeling that we are not as good as other people, if we endured years of mental abuse. If we had to hide things as a child then it is easy to go into that “safety mode” of hiding again.  I put “safety mode” in quotes because it is our old belief system. It was how we survived for years. It was the way we knew that we had to be, in order to avoid further trauma. Not that it kept the abuse from continuing.

It is necessary at some point, for us to open up and speak about our mental illness. We need to speak about our abuse during childhood or our abuse from our ex husband. It is not shameful. Anyone who makes you feel ashamed is not doing the right thing. You should be able to have feelings and thoughts like any other person.

You may have had experiences that are unique and that are so unusual that many people just cannot deal with them and they do not want to hear them. I am not suggesting frightening people or distressing them with your story.

The point is to reach out and find the right people to tell your story to. WordPress is great because we can tell our story here, with an avatar as our picture if we wish. We can be truthful and transparent. It is a healing thing to write about out thoughts and feelings about what has happened to damage us mentally and emotionally.

We are not designed to sustain trauma and keep it locked up inside of us. We are people that need the community of others, We need to be listened to and understood. We must have our feelings validated or we will become more mentally ill.

It is very tricky sometimes to know who is a safe person to talk to and who is not. It is hard to know what part of our story to tell someone and what part to leave out. We are so much in the middle of what is going on in our obsessive, constantly running brains, that we cannot always see the forest through the trees.

Reach out anyway and try to find other humans to talk to. Therapy works for many people, but it is very common for someone to have to try out 2, 3 or even 5 therapists before finding the right one. It is a scary thing to tell a therapist your story, if you are not in the habit of talking about it at all.

I am writing this post in order to validate anyone that has a behavior pattern of never talking about their mental illness or their history of abuse. It may have been the rule of the abusers in our lives that we were not “allowed” to speak of these things, but the times have changed to new times.

If you are, however, still in an abusive situation, please be careful. You do need to be careful who you talk to about the abuser. Call a women’s shelter (or a men’s shelter). Talk to people on wordpress, but be careful to protect your identity.

If we can not speak then we have no voice. If we have no voice then who are we? We lose our identity.

Blessings to all and to all a good night 🙂

Annie

anxiety, depression, domestic abuse, domestic violence, health, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness

Showing Kindness and Compassion to Ourselves …posted in mental illness and abuse

self esteem

Once in a while, I get into a conversation with someone on WordPress that starts to turn onto a “future post”. In fact  it is not uncommon for me to end those conversations with “This sounds like a future blog post”

Through the interaction between intelligent minds, we can find ideas in ourselves that we would not have otherwise accessed. That is one of my favorite things about blogging.

So, today was one was of those times. Here was the last part of my conversation with an intelligent, thoughtful reader.

“You are welcome. More kindness is needed in the world.

The general lack of patience and kindness from the people we interact with, is one of the causes of anxiety disorders anyway.

Think about how you would feel if you would knew with 100 percent certainty, that everyone you ran into today would be kind and understanding with you and try their best to help you, no matter what you did and no matter what your history was with them?

It is nearly impossible to picture, but if things were that way, I would not have nearly the trouble getting out of bed or leaving the house.  Every single scenario you fear in your mind, would be less frightening to deal with, if every person you interacted with all day, were compassionate to you.

Even if I knew that all of my family and everyone at work were patient, kind, understanding, and non judgemental with me, I would have an easier time leaving my house today.

The best thing is to be as kind and forgiving of yourself as you are of other people.  If they deserve your kindness, then so do you “

hands

I can barely picture this, but I can if I picture being in a  different world, in a multi-universe scenario.

If you take each thought in your head, one by one, you will see that most of your obsessive thoughts are about people not understanding you and not being patient with you. When you have anxiety about doing something, it has something to do with the possible unkind reaction of someone else. The constant judgement on us by others, is a huge source of anxiety.

Other things we have anxiety over, would be reduced, if other people were more compassionate. There are things that are not caused by other people, like the car breaking down, the winter weather , phobias and sickness. The simple idea of others being understanding of how those things affect us, would reduce our anxiety.

Imagine if when we were sick, we could call out of work without fearing retaliation of the boss. Imagine if when we were sick, one of our family members stepped in to help us with the kids

Imagine if the other drivers on the road were safety minded of others and courteous.

Imagine if everyone was understanding about mental illness and treated us in a way that would be helpful and not more hurtful. Imagine if the fact of having mental illness was treated with the same respect and compassion as a physical disability.

If people with psychological injury from abuse or trauma were treated with understanding, the resulting depression and anxiety would be easier to deal with. If therapists being truly compassionate for us as fellow human being, treatment would be more beneficial.

These are all things that would come out of people being less judgemental, less focused on their own agenda and more kind, compassionate, forgiving and understanding of others.

We need to be forgiving and compassionate to ourselves. If we feel that others are worthy of kindness and compassion from us, then are we not worthy of kindness from ourselves? There is no real reason for us to judge ourselves harshly. It is a conditioned response from the lack of kindness we have been exposed to.

Each of you is a special and valuable person. We are here in the world, not by mistake, but with a purpose. No one has the right to crush down your self esteem or make you feel like you are unworthy of success and happiness.

Blessings to each and every one 🙂

Annie

anxiety, bipolar, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, life, mental illness, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd

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