anxiety, depression, emotional healing, empowerment, health, insomnia, inspirational, mental disorders, mental health, ocd, psychology

Follow up on Accepting Ourselves / A suggestion for getting through the day today

A lot of people responded to my post on accepting ourselves for who we are. I need to work on this so let’s try to do it together.

For today let’s try to do one thing. Each time we have the thought that we did not live up to our own expectations let’s forgive ourselves.

When we do something and we think it is not good enough let’s say to ourselves, well that is as good as i could do that today. It is good enough .

We will try to remember that comparing ourselves to others is not fair to us. If we could do it as well as them we would.

With all the problems we have, it is amazing we get the things done that we do. Whatever we get done today and however well we do it , is good enough.

Let’s give ourselves some sympathy and compassion. The other people do not live with the same difficulties and stress that we do.

Their ability to do things is different than ours.

What we do is as good as what they do, if you allow for the conditions we are functioning under.

For today , we are good enough.  However well we do each thing is okay.

Namaste

Annie

addiction, addictive personality, anxiety, buddhism, depression, domestic abuse, domestic violence, emotional healing, empowerment, free form poetry, gender issues, healing poetry, inspirational, meditation, mental disorders, mental health, ocd, philosophy, poetry, psychology, spirituality, suicude, women's issues

Accepting Ourselves for Who We Are

There is a great healing that can come from accepting ourselves just as we are. To accept ourselves as a special person with strengths and weaknesses.

No one is perfect although so many would like you to think so. People act as though they are better than you but they are not.

This does not mean that we cannot strive for improvement. Accepting ourselves with all of our shortcomings and disabilities is ok.

This does not imply complacency. It does not limit us in any way. In fact it opens us up to new possibilities.

It allows us to believe that perhaps we can accomplish great things.

If we see ourselves as others do , we cannot explore new versions of ourselves that we could experience.

If we only see our mistakes, our limitations, then how can we open our own wings and fly?

What accepting ourselves does is allow us to forgive our own shortcomings and have some compassion towards ourselves. Perhaps some sense of humor about our “current” limitations and idiosyncrasies.

We are so compassionate and forgiving of others. We understand and let go so many mistakes and flaws in other people. We put up with mistakes and inabilities of other people every day.

Why can’t we accept ourselves for who we are?

Each one of us is made up of talent, skill, beauty, love, mistakes, flaws, disabilities and strengths. We are, each of us, a unique being in the universe.

In our uniqueness we are special and significant.

We are no less worthy of forgiveness and acceptance than the others. No less worthy than the ones we give the gift of grace and mercy to every day.

Let us open the box that other people have put us into. The little box that we feel we belong in.

We can go beyond the “us” that other people see, perceive and tell us we are.

Dare to do something that people who “know” us would say we can’t do.

Who are They to say we are…
too fat
too dumb
too afraid
too uneducated
too quiet
too shy
too loud
too impulsive
too set in our ways
too sloppy
too independent
too compliant

Who are They to say that we are only…
a nurse
a teacher
a stay at home mom
a working Mom
a playboy
a rebel
a womanizer
an addict
a mental case

Who are They to say that we can’t…
change jobs
change cities
change our minds!
get married
get divorced
learn yoga
dance
go to college
learn something new

Who are They to say that we have no right to…
talk to them
stand up to them
defy them
leave them

Who are They to say that we can’t become…
a poet
a businessman
an entrepreneur
a parent
a friend
a traveller
a lesbian
a mother
a spiritual advisor
a leader of men
a thinker of new ideas
a creator
a visionary
Ourselves

addiction, addictive personality, anxiety, depression, healing poetry, health, humorous poetry, mental disorders, mental health, ocd, poetry, psychology, spoken word

OCD / Obsessively Compulsively Disorderly Sadly Humorous Poetry

One time
in a row
putting on
my favorite
mismatched
orange
and purple
socks

Two times
in a row
changing which foot
the orange sock
is on
and off
and on
and off

Three times
in a row
walking back up
two flights of steps
to my apartment
to check
to check
to check
That the iron was unplugged

Four times
in a row
unzipping my wallet
to see
to see
to see
If my credit card is there

Five times
in a row
checking my purse
for
The first most critical
The second most critical
And
The third most critical
Bottle of pills

Five times
in a row
checking
my shift schedule
posted on the wall
at work.

And one
additional time
calling from home
to have someone
at work
read it to me
over the phone

Seven times
in a row
checking my alarm clock
To be sure
To be sure
To be absolutely, positively sure
That I set it
For 11 am and not 11 pm

And so—
Eight anxiety books
Nine blogs
Ten prescriptions
Eleven Youtube videos
and
Twelve Yoga postures later

I am saying
good-night
to all of you
And wishing you a
Peaceful Sleep

anxiety, depression, health, holistic, insomnia, mental disorders, mental health, ocd

Living with Insomnia / The Strange World of the Night

Insomnia probably sounds like a minor problem to those who do not suffer from it. But for those of us who do, it is like a huge , unclimbable mountain to get over.

People suffer from insomnia for many reasons. Each insomniac could tell you a different story but in the end we all suffer from our sleep being less than normal.

The origin of our insomnia may be different but we all end up having to compete with people during the day that have slept a normal sleep cycle the night before. We feel less than normal and somewhat disabled compared to other people.

We insomniacs usually do not reveal our problem to most people due to the fact that they would not understand. What’s worse, they offer lots of junk help.

By “junk help” I mean unsolicited advise and suggestions that don’t help and make us feel worse. They say “just take a sleeping pill”, “go see your doctor”, “try a cup of nice tea before bed”, “play some soft relaxing music”, “take a bath” or my all time favorite “just try to RELAX at bedtime”.

If there is nothing else insomniacs have in common it is the lack of being able to follow the advice “Just RELAX and stop worrying and you will fall right asleep.”

Holy crap, don’t you think we’ve tried that?

So you try hard to be polite and say, “ok, I’ll try some tea and I will relax and I’m sure that will fix it.”

Really?

My mind races so fast at night , there is no way to slow it down. Tea tastes great but does not relax me. Besides I usually find that it is way too much effort to make a cup of tea. As far as the bath idea goes, I do usually take a shower at night. But the reason for that is that I know I will oversleep in the morning and barely have time to get out the door to work on time.

It becomes a horrible cycle that snowballs out of control. On my usual insomniac schedule , I fall asleep around 3am.

When I have extra anxiety in my “daytime life” then 3am turns into 4 or 5am. When there is extreme anxiety in my life then I am awake until 6am or worse, for weeks at a time. Once it sets into that cycle , then I would give anything to go to sleep “early” again, meaning 3am.

Then I wake up late and have to rush. I feel guilty that I overslept and am determined that I will go to sleep on time in the future. I feel like there is something wrong with me. I tend to feel this way when I wake up.

At night I feel ok and I sometimes just accept my insomnia and “go with it.”
But tomorrow morning I will some amount of shame that I can’t get it together like other people.

It feels like the chemistry in my brain is very different at night than in the morning
( meaning noon or later) when I wake up.

I am tired when I first get home from work at 11 pm. Then over the next hour , something happens to my brain and I suddenly am wide awake. Then I am afraid to wait until the morning to get things done, because I am always too sluggish in the morning.

My brain is not fully functioning when i wake up. So I feel as though I have to get things done right now, in the middle of the night, while I have the chance.

If I don’t take the trash out, do the dishes and make a you-tube video right now, I will miss my chance.

I become so anxious that the important things won’t get done that I start doing them, and doing them and doing them.

I decide that tonight I will have a cut off time of 2am before I sleep. But one thing turns into one more thing and just five more minutes… Suddenly it is 4:30 am and I have no idea how it happened.

I have tried to control it. It is easier said than done.

I truly believe that my brain and my body work their best between 12pm and 3am. I am afraid to miss that time zone because I fear what in world would happen if I only did things when I am barely functional.

I feel most productive when the household and the neighborhood is asleep.
It may be to the point of a phobia of going to sleep too early.

My OCD will kick in around 12:30 or 1:00 am and I will feel a compulsion to get things done in my house and things related to my work and my future.

I think about what it would be like to get up early and get stuff done. But when I think of it, I have this fear of the morning. I can’t explain it but I just don’t want to get up and be busy, especially out of the house and dealing with bright eyed , bushy – tailed people. YUCK!

Who are they? I can’t relate to them at all.
I like to go grocery shopping at 2am because it is not crowded and I feel less stressed by the other people in the store.

I wonder if the majority of insomniacs are introverted like me. Sometimes I feel like I just don’t want to be around people all the time. I can have solitude and peace at night , in a way. Only my own brain gets in the way of my peace.

I am also afraid of the morning because I have this fear that I will use myself up too soon. Then what will happen near the end of my work shift? How will I keep going if i am so tired and still have to work until 11pm.

Anyway, it is 1:15 am now. This is about when I will take my shower and then attempt to go to sleep by 3am. That would be an improvement over how bad it has been lately.I will try to resist starting a load of laundry although I put it in the bags, ready to go, just before I started this blog.

I always feel behind and that I am not keeping up. Maybe writing this blog at night will help to calm me so that I can sleep earlier. We will see what we will see.

I am interested in what other people do in the middle of the night when they can’t sleep. Feel free to leave that in the comments below.

Good night,
LOL LOL
Annie

anxiety, depression, empowerment, holistic, mental disorders, mental health, psychology, suicude

Mental Health Issues vs. Physical Disease / It’s not ” All in your Head”

“There is NOTHING wrong with her! She is JUST depressed. ”

“There is absolutely nothing physically wrong with her. It is just psychological.”

Have you heard this? I have heard a nurse actually talk about a patient this way. I have heard people tell me their therapist told them that their anxiety issues were only “emotional” and not biological.

First of all, depression is a real condition and if someone is clinically depressed , it is not true that “nothing wrong with them.” Depression is as painful and as much of a threat to someone’s health and their life as any “biological” illness”

Second of all, there is no such thing as any disorder or disease being only “emotional” or only “biological.” The mind is part of the body. A very important part , I might add.

Every function in the entire body is regulated in some way by the brain. Emotions are also a function of what is happening in the brain.

Changes in the brain affect emotions, and changes in emotions affect the brain.

When a person has a physical disease or disorder, there is an emotional reaction to it. Furthermore, a person’s emotions relating to their illness, have a direct correlation as to whether or not they overcome the illness and how fast they get better.

I have cared for stroke patients with similar levels of a stroke. The ones that had positive feelings about physical therapy got better. The patients that felt angry or depressed did progress nearly as well in physical therapy.

An emotional disorder has a direct affect on a person’s brain and biology. A person that starts to have depression and/or anxiety develops patterns of feeling certain emotions in response to specific stimuli. These repetitive patterns create actual connections in the brain.

Any habits or behaviors become connections in the brain. Once connected the brain regulates the fact that anxiety or depression is triggered by certain stimuli. So, when someone says, “there is nothing wrong with them. It is just psychological,” it doesn’t ring true.

Once patterns are set into the brain that cause mental suffering, it becomes a biological disorder. People with depression, anxiety, OCD and other mental suffering have as much of a right to be recognized as people with typical physical illnesses.

Tendency of people to discount mental suffering as “it’s all in their head” is very hurtful and dangerous to the people suffering from “emotional” problems. Truthfully it is, in fact “in their head” meaning that it is in their brain.

If this blog does not do anything else, my intention is that anyone suffering from depression and anxiety will feel validated. The condition is real. It is worthy of being treated as real. You have a right to be sick just as much as someone with a physical disease has the right to be sick.

It is unfair that people with anxiety and depression must suffer in silence. It is not an acceptable excuse to call out of work. It is not an acceptable excuse to cancel an appointment.

When someone has severe anxiety about doing something that they know will be a trigger , they should be able to ask for help and have someone do it for them or help them. It should be the same as someone with a broken leg asking for help to get into a car.

Doing the things that trigger the brain to cause painful, disabling emotion are frightening and dangerous. A person should be able to ask for help.

It feels like an invisible disease to the people who have it. They have to do things that will make it worse. The reason for that is because people’s families, friends, bosses, teachers and even nurses and doctors do not understand mental illness.

If you are suffering in silence, please know that you are not crazy. You are not alone. Your condition is painful and sometimes terrifying. It is not your fault. It is not something you made up to get attention or to get out of things.

You know when things are painful or too much for you. There are many of us with the same fears and disabling difficulties at doing the simple things that most people take for granite. We can support and validate each other. You are not alone.

Thank you,
I hope this helps someone,
Annie

free form poetry, healing poetry, poetry, romantic poetry, sexual passionate sexy poetry, spoken word, Uncategorized

Passionate Kisses

Your kisses
Though far in between
Left traces of sweetness
Invisible, Unseen

Your touches
So painful to miss
Imprinted their memory
A longing for bliss

My body and soul, how they
Ache to be one
With the stroke of your fingers
The taste of your tongue

A break from the fear
Relief from the pain
Passion unbridled
Release like no other

Unbearable aching
To feel your kind touches
Relieving my soul
From the constant pain

To know I am Real
To know I can Feel
To know there is Passion
Still left in my Soul

Emotional expression
Unsurpassed
Truly Understood
And Seen At Last

anxiety, empowerment, health, mental health

OCD and the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale

I have felt for a while that I have some OCD issues. My perception has been that my symptoms coincide with times of extreme anxiety. The compulsive behaviors come and go based on what is going on in my life and what is happening during the day.

Prior to taking the test, I was not conscious of any symptoms that continued throughout the day or ones that occurred on a daily basis.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with OCD, it is an anxiety disorder in which certain unwanted thoughts intrude upon your brain in a way that the person has little or no control over.

In addition to the intrusive worries and fearful thoughts, there are coinciding behaviors (compulsions) that the person has a strong need to do. These compulsions are related to an effort to relieve the fears and anxieties caused by the overpowering, panicky, obsessive thoughts.

So there are two parts of the disorder which are obsessive, intrusive thoughts and compulsive, unusual behaviors. I say unusual based on the scale of what the “normal” people would think was usual.

To an OCD sufferer these behaviors may seem normal or they may have done them so many times that they become unsure of what “normal” is.

I put the word “normal” in quotes because I have my own personal beliefs about “normal” being a perception that exists within the particular paradigm of individuals and can be a mass, mutually agreed-upon, reality created by the masses. But that is a blog for another day.

Some examples of OCD symptoms can be Obsessive hand washing, excessive cleaning or excessive checking ( like checking 5 times that the curling iron is unplugged, including going all the way to the car and coming all the way back up the steps to check one more time, every day).

OCD compulsions are time consuming and invade our lives at critical times. The result can be lateness to work or for appointments, which can cause problems in our work and social lives.

It may also cause the OCD sufferer to lie as a habit. After all, “My car would not start,” is a more acceptable excuse than the fact that you walked back into the house five times to make sure the water was shut off.

Often people with OCD are aware of the obsessive thoughts being “too-much”, exaggerated or out of the ordinary. They are also probably aware of at least some of the compulsions to the point where they feel they have become somewhat disabled by them.

I did some research late last night about OCD and I discovered the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. I took the online version of the test. There are 10 questions in which the test-taker rates the level of severity and level the behavior interferes with daily life. There are 5 questions relating to Obsessive thoughts and 5 questions relating to Compulsive behaviors.

I was surprised that I rated a 32 out of 40 on the scale. This put me in the small group of extremely symptomatic OCD sufferers. In the online poll which was taken by people who have OCD symptoms, the results were put into 5 categories.

The categories are ordered in a list of increasingly more severe symptoms.

The categories are very mild ( 0-7 points) , mild (7-15 points) , moderate (16-23 points), Severe (24-31 points) and extreme (32-40 points).

Out of 2,578 poll takers, the highest number of people (1,029) came out as having moderate OCD. That is 39.9 % of the total.

I have placed a summary of the chart below.

Little or No Symptoms 95 people
Mild symptoms 580 people
Moderate symptoms 1,029 people
Severe Symptoms 732 people
Extreme Symptoms 142 peple

The site I got this information from is psychology-tools.com

So, I am thinking that in light of this new information that I will do some more research on OCD symptoms and management tools. But what would be even better is to come up with some coping skills of our own. I am probably not the only person that discounted many of my feelings and behaviors.

Maybe it will be helpful for myself and those of you with OCD to try to get a better picture of ourselves. This is not to diminish us but perhaps to give ourselves some validation and some pats on the back for the way we are able to survive in spite of this issue.

People who do not suffer from any mental disorder do not understand the difficulty with which we get though the simple tasks and situations. People have methods and skills for dealing with their day that are difficult or impossible for us to access.

Even the simplest tasks can be extremely difficult or even impossible for OCD sufferers to accomplish. Others may interpret this as procrastination , laziness or irresponsibility.

So I will try to address some of these issues and together we will find a way to live our lives with greater ease and not feel so handicapped compared to other people.

Let’s come up with some new ideas, holistic methods, combination methods and other ideas to help ourselves. Give me your experiences and suggestions in the comments below.

Who knows what we can come up with by combining our spiritual and intellectual energies together!

Annie