abusive relationships, adult children of alcoholics, adult children of narcissistic abuse', aftermath of narcissistic abuse, anxiety, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, c-ptsd, chronic illness, chronic pain, Chronic pain and depression, compassion, Dealing with difficult personalities, dealing with manipulative people, dysfunctional families, emotional abuse, gaslighting, Healing after abuse, healing from narcissistic abuse, holiday anxiety, Holiday depression, mental illness

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

 

 

#domestic abuse, anxiety, chronic illness, chronic pain, Chronic pain and depression, Chronic pain and mental illness, depression, holiday anxiety, Holiday depression, inspiration, invisible illness, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, mental illness blog, narcissistic abuse, post traumatic stress disorder, psychopathic abuse, ptsd, Ptsd from abuse, PTSD from narcissistic abuse

Thanksgiving Meet-up on Gentlekindness Blog

turkey)

On Thursday  you are invited to connect with all of us here. Thanksgiving is the first of the holiday season and can trigger depression and anxiety in many people. Others are feeling lonely during the holidays.

If you are feeling alone or just want to connect, you can come here on Thanksgiving. I will create posts during the day that you can leave comments and also leave links to your own posts.

If you want to contribute a Guest Post , A Poem, or a Letter , feel free to do so. If you want me to post something for you, you can contact me at michelemimimish@gmail.com

If you have posts that you want to post the links to, you will see posts you can put them in the comments section of.

Artwork, poetry , details of what you are doing or how you are feeling are all welcome. Everyone is encouraged  to leave kind, thoughtful comments on anything that others leave.

 

anorexia, anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, battered women, bipolar disorder, c-ptsd, chronic illness, chronic pain, Chronic pain and depression, Chronic pain and mental illness, depression, eating disorder, emotional abuse, fibromayalgia, fibromyagia, holiday anxiety, Holiday depression, holiday ideas, insomnia, mental illness

Thanksgiving Blog Meet-Up for My Followers

I am thinking of doing something on the holidays,  here on the blog, for people who find the holidays difficult.

There are many people who read my blog who need some extra support to get through the holidays.

I have seen other bloggers do blog parties where people connect through their blog throughout the day. I was thinking of a “holiday connection day” kind of idea…not so much a party but more like a get-together.

I have nevet done this kind of thing before so if you have any ideas let me know in the comments below.

I want people to have somewhere to connect with me and with each other, in order to be able to talk to other people who understand how difficult the holidays can be.

 

 

 

 

 

anxiety, depression, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness

Mental Illness Bloggers Communicating Humanity and Vulnerability

Blogs about mental illness are some of the most captivating blogs that I love to read. I am interested in the topics they cover but that is not the only reason why they speak to me.

Bloggers that have struggled with mental illness have had to learn to be in touch with their humanity. In order to write your own mental illness, you have to dive deep into the darkest corners of your mind. The descriptions that they write are very vivid and full of human depth. There is a sense of soul searching that draws you into the posts.

I am not just counting the blogs that identify themselves as being “mental illness” blogs.  There are also some bloggers that suffer from OCD, depression, social anxiety and severe mental turmoil that chose not to identify their blog as such. However the content of their posts has very vivid descriptions of the mental and emotional experiences.

The level of depth to the mental illness blogs helps the reader to feel in touch with their own vulnerability and humanity.

There is an ability to identify and describe the human condition.

There is also support between the bloggers to deal with the most painful aspects of being human.

We have had to endure such tremendous trials on a day to day basis that we are keenly in touch with human mental and emotional suffering. The reality of our daily suffering is part of our lives. People with mental illness have to deal with extreme levels of emotion every single day.

People with mental illness experience the extreme levels of depression, severe anxiety, loneliness, fear and trauma on a daily basis.

 We experience the fear of being triggered into any of those severe emotional states. Our brains are a constant threat to our emotional well being and our ability to function.

 The phrase “there is nothing to fear but fear itself”  does not have the same comfort to people with mental illness.  The perspective about fear, sadness, and hopelessness being dangerous is an everyday reality. 

Life is always a risk to us. Every decision we make and everything we attempt to do, has the potential to utterly destroy our mental state and in some cases… our lives.

Many of us are in constant fear of interacting with other people due to stigma about mental illness.  We  also fear our inability to interact with people in a “normal” and acceptable way.

Many social activities that other people take for granite are potentially hazardous to us either in a physical way or in a mental way.

When someone has a mental disorder the brain can be easily triggered in a matter of seconds into a completely different mental state. These triggers are often related to some kind trauma or abuse from the past.

Since we go through the extremes of human emotion so often, we are very in tune with the human condition. We are very aware that we are vulnerable. We are constantly subject to our own mental vulnerability.

All people are vulnerable but they do not realize it in the same way  that   people with mental illness do. The brain is a very fragile thing. It can become traumatized and damaged. Everyone is in danger of having their brain organization becoming disrupted. People take for granite that their brains will always function in the same way they are currently functioning.

The mental illness bloggers talk of fear and anxiety in a very human and real way. We are in touch with the human condition of fear. There is also an ability to write about depression and hopelessness in a way that touches the emotions of the reader.

Sadness is a very human state. The vulnerability to depression, emptiness and loneliness makes us very in touch with our human side. Being in touch with the humanity in ourselves allows us to perceive life and ourselves in a way that is special. 

People with mental illness, who often come from a history of abuse and trauma, have deep levels of mental suffering that is often unpredictable to the person. 

If emotions were a painting, it would have very black blacks and very red reds. The colors would be very dark in places and very bright in others.

The struggle to find the right medications, to self medicate, and reach out to any form of relief that will hold you, is a constant and daily struggle.

We know what is feels like to be constantly reaching out for help, only to find that real help is hard to come by.  Mental illness bloggers are very in tune with their need for other people. They are able to reach out with their writing to others who are suffering.

Although I am sorry for the suffering, I treasure your blogs. I love to read posts and feel the humanity in them. It is truly compelling.

Mental illness bloggers have the unique ability to be in touch with the tormented human brain and to write mental pain, in a way that the reader can feel.

The humanity of the mental illness bloggers staggers the reader’s mind and stimulates the senses. When I read the posts, I feel connected with emotions in myself. I feel validated about my own mental suffering. I feel a kinship with not just people with mental illness, but with the vulnerability of humanity.

Blessing to all,

Annie

bipolar disorder, emotional abuse, invisible illness, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, mental illness awareness, ocd, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, stigma about mental illness

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.

bipolar, bipolar disorder, depression, life, mental disorders, mental health, mental health blog, mental illness, mental illness blog

Depression Feels Like it Surrounds You – Some NLP Techniques Might Help

stormy sky

Depression can feel like there are dark storm clouds all around you. They feel like they are closing in and there is no way out. Depression can feel like it is coming in at you from the outside, although we know the feelings are being generated from the inside. 

storm drving 2

There is no way to see the sun or any hope beyond the heavy feeling of the depression piling on top of us. This depression can feel like an ominous being that had captured us in its clutches. It can feel like the clouds of darkness are choosing to surround us rather than the people around us. 

storm writing prompt

It can feel like the depression is settling upon our home, our bedroom, our brain, our heart or around our body. It is perceived differently by different people. But there is often this feeling of the depression being around us, on top of us and putting weight in us that makes it feel hard to move our bodies in space. 

One idea that sometimes can help is to take ourselves out of the depression clouds by changing our point of view and perception just for a few minutes.

We can detach from this picture we have of the depression surrounding us by taking ourselves out of the “first person” of our story. 

We all tell our own story every day. There is a kind of narrative playing in our brains. Each thing that happens in our narrative had a meaning to us. 

There is a type of NLP technique that we can try which is to make ourselves the observer of this narrative.

Picture that you are watching the story from the outside. You are watching it as you would watch a tv show or a YouTube Video. For this few minutes you are in within the clutches of the depression all around you, but you are without ….you are outside of the entire story all together. 

Emotionally Detach From What You are Watching So You Can Observe

In order to detach from feeling too much negative emotion while watching yourself in the story, you can control the volume, the vividness of color and the distance this “tv” or “Movie screen” you are watching this on. Reduce the volume, make the colors different, and push the screen away from you until you feel more detached like an audience, rather than the main character in the story.

From this outside, detached point of view we can see what meaning we assign to different things is our story. Let’s say that in our story we lost our job or were yelled at by the boss. As an outside observer of the story we can see what meaning the main character (that is us) is attaching to these events of losing our job or being yelled at.

Look at the main character as if you are not emotionally attached to them. You are seeing yourself as a neutral character in a story. But observe how this character assigns meaning to these events. 

What meaning did she assign to losing her job? Does she feel this means she is worthless? Does she feel this means she will continue to become more financially devastated and that it was her destiny to become financially devastated?

What meaning does he assign to getting yelled at by the boss? Does he feel he is inadequate? Does he feel that he was yelled at because he cannot fit in with other people?

Once we see what meaning we are assigning to events in out story, we can question these meanings. Did we assign meanings to these events that are accurate? Are we sure these meanings can be proven? Can they be disproven? Has there ever been any evidence in this main character that they are not useless?

Has anyone ever told this main character that they were useful, wanted or skillful and intelligent? Is there any way we can counter the negative meaning the main character in our story has assigned to different things?

This practice of coming outside of our narrative can help our brains to get out of certain learned behaviors. Our brains will go into the usual behaviors that they are used to but these are not always helpful behaviors for our brains to do. These are learned behaviors and are sometimes developed out of post traumatic stress. 

Our brains are designed to scan for danger and to take us away from what the brain perceives as danger. When that danger seems to be all around us, our brain has  no where to take us but deep inside of ourselves. There is no where else to run away to.

So this practice of mentally removing ourselves from the “first person” in the story and taking the point of view of the third person, can make us an audience to our own brains and what our brains have been wired to do. It is good to ask questions about what thoughts our brains are thinking.

Sometimes thoughts are reactive, which means they are reactions to triggers.

These are learned brain behaviors almost like an addiction. The brain has been used to thinking certain kinds of thoughts in response to certain kinds of triggers and feelings of threat.

Practice this technique for five to ten minutes, a few times a day. Ask questions about the meaning that you attach to events and other things in your life. If you are living below your desired living level..what meaning does your brain assign to this? Then ask if it is necessarily true? Why is it true? What other meaning might you be able to choose to assign to this?

This practice is cognitive work. This cognitive work can take you out of the feelings of depression while you are doing it. The brain cannot focus on more than one thing at a time with a lot of power.

There is a primary focus of the brain. If your primary focus is on this cognitive kind of practice then some of the fuel will be drawn away from the emotional overload that the brain was caught up in.

The more we question our own thoughts, the more we can seek truth. The truth about ourselves is that we have innate value. Other people do not assign value to us. They have no control over our actual value. 

Our actions and accomplishments do not determine our innate value either. So question the meaning you have been used to assigning to things in your life. Things that happen do not take away the fact that you are valuable and special because of the person that you are.

Blessings,

Annie<3

abusive relationships, adult children of abuse, adult children of alcoholics, adult children with alcoholic parents, anxiety attack, child abuse, dysfunctional families, life, narcissism, narcissistic abuse, narcissistic mothers, narcissistic parents

Adult Children from Dysfunctional Families Dealing with Emotions and C-PTSD

rain dance

This term “dysfunctional family” is a catch all basket term that includes a variety of types of malfunction within the family that can cause trauma and C-PTSD to the child.

Children of alcoholic parents fall into this category and even have their own phrase, which many of you have heard “Adult Children of Alcoholics.” Of course adult children of drug addicted parents, whether narcotic addicted or even prescription drug abusers also falls into this basket term.

The family can be dysfunctional when one or both of he parents are abusive in a physical, sexual, mental, emotional or any psychological way. Abuse can occur from other members of the family other than the parents. Even siblings and grandparents can cause the home to be unhealthy psychologically for the children growing up in it.

Some preteens ans teens are left alone most of the time due to a single parent work schedule and no other relative available. Having to parent yourself all the time can cause psychological dysfunction and important “brain software upgrades” can be missed at these ages. 

This may not be the parent’s fault and may be circumstantial but can be as devastating to the child than if it were intentional. The intention of the parent to be abusive or to create a psychologically damaging atmosphere to grow up in is not the main factor of whether or not the child is damaged.

If you were in any atmosphere that interfered with your normal social and psychological development them you may have C-PTSD from your childhood. C-PTSD is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

C-PTSD is caused by years of being in various situations where you felt unsafe and you also felt trapped into the situation with no choice to leave it. 

As a child we are mostly sentenced to the life we are living in therefore there is a feeling of powerlessness about having to stay in the situation. It can feel like a prison.

If there was a divorce or other upheaval like moving a lot, then we may have been in multiple environments with different kinds of abuse, or trauma that happened at various ages and from various different people. This is the root cause of C-PTSD.

Complex trauma is built over time and compounded by one traumatic event or situation being piled on top of the next.

There can be years and years of traumatic experiences from emotional abuse by different relatives and non-relatives like babysitters and people that dated our parent. Moving and having to be the new kid at school and adjust to unfamiliar houses and neighborhoods can also be traumatic. 

Being different than the other kids at school who have more stable lives can lead to bullying at school, which further compounds the complex trauma.

As you were growing up you may have felt like there was something wrong with you because you never seemed to fit in with the other kids who did not share your trauma and inadequate support system.

The feeling that there was something wrong with you further compounded the trauma.

Love Yourself

As you got older the type of abuse you were exposed to probably changed. As a small child you may have been emotionally abused by being ignored and minimized. As a teenager the abuse may have increased to aggressive yelling. hitting, or being thrown out of the house for periods of time.

Layers of Abuse and Trauma

The combinations and layers of abuse, neglect, and trauma that can occur are endless. Each person has their own experience and each person’s past is unique. Your story won’t be just like anyone else’s.

If you feel like something is wrong with you and it feels like it goes back into your teenage years or your childhood, then you probably have complex post traumatic stress disorder. 

I am going to write a series of posts about C-PTSD because I feel that so many people are suffering from this and either do not know that they are, or have no where to turn to for help with it. The results of C-PTSD can be devastating. Most people with C-PTSD have mental illness of one kind or another or a co-morbid condition of more than one mental disorder. 

Depression is common with any kind post traumatic stress disorder. There will also be hyper vigilance about things that feel threatening.

The amygdala has become dysfunctional and the fight or flight mode is likely to turn itself on at the slightest trigger of a memory associated with earlier trauma, even of the trauma happened before your conscious memory can remember. 

Trauma and abuse can occur in infants and very small children.

The memory from this age cannot be stored in the conscious memory system. The memory will be stored in the subconscious as feelings of fear and being unsafe.

 There can be triggers that set of your fight or flight mode and you do not understand them because they are from when you were too young to remember. If you came from trauma that you do remember, it is very possible that there is also trauma that you do not remember that is from when you were an infant and in your toddler years. 

20150828_184731

Flashbacks are pictures, sights, sounds, feelings and other memories of a traumatic event or situation which come back to our brains like they are happening right now.

Emotional Flashbacks

Emotional flashbacks are a flooding of a negative feeling that overcomes you when something triggers a past trauma. Emotional flashbacks may come to you like anxiety attack or a wave of depression. They may come in form a sudden distrust of a person or situation that is triggering the memory of a past abuse.

Realizing that we may not remember all of the reasons why we experience floods of seemingly illogical emotions can help us to heal from our trauma.

We never feel things for no reason. People may tell you that you are overly sensitive or too thin skinned or that you tend to over-react to things, but you are none of those things.

If you are sensitive to people saying certain kinds of things to you, then it is a response to earlier wounds that were inflicted upon you. When old wounds are opened up and even pressed into, there is going to be an emotional response. This is no overreacting, it is simply reacting to someone throwing salt into an open wound.

Some of your wounds may have occurred too young for you to remember.

Some of your wounds may have caused during adulthood such as a partner being abusive. Even then this abuse was also probably opening older wounds that you already had.

Most people do not stay is abusive relationships unless they were trained to do that as a child. Abuse victims get that same feelings of being trapped into a cage that they had when they were growing up. 

Fight, Flight or Freeze

The fight or flight mode actually has one more possible part to it, which is the “freeze” mode. It is really “fight, flight or freeze.”

When we feel that we are in danger, especially if it triggers earlier trauma then the brain often goes into the freeze mode. This is a way of the brain trying to protect us although it may not serve us as adults. These post traumatic stress responses are very powerful because they are embedded in our subconscious. 

Our subconscious brain has a lot of power over our feelings and our reactions. In order to heal from complex trauma and post traumatic stress much of the work needs to be done at the level of the subconscious brain.

This can be done through meditation, certain NLP techniques, listening to audios designed for this that put us into a light hypnotic state. If you prefer you can go to someone who does hypnosis and specializes in C-PTSD and PTSD.

I will close for now because this is getting so long to read. I plan to write a few more articles about this topic. This was intended to the introductory article about this.

Blessings to all,

Annie