anxiety, holiday, holiday anxiety, Holiday depression, holiday ideas, holiday stress, holidays, mental illness

Reducing Holiday Stress

Much of the stress during the holiday season is due to expectations. If you can question the expectations in your head, then you can help yourself deal with the anxiety. 

The first thing to realize is that all of the expectations that you have for yourself were not originally your own. You can make a list of the things that you expect yourself to be able to do and then question each one. 

Take them one at a time and ask yourself if the expectation is reasonable. Then question the expectation as to whether it was your own picture of how the holidays “should” be or if it was programmed into you by someone else.

Some things were programmed into us by our parents from when we were very young. This does not mean that you have to keep it. For example, if you were taught that you have to make dinner and have all the relatives at your house for dinner …ask yourself if that was your desire or of that was someone else’s desire. 

On the other hand, maybe you were taught that you have to travel out of state to have dinner with your mother in law on Christmas. Maybe you have faithfully done this every year for 15 years now. 

There is not rule that says you have to do the same thing every year just because you are “expected” to do it this way. You should get a turn to do something you actually want to do. 

What is the point of the holidays if you get extreme anxiety preparing for them, no one realizes just how much you sacrificed and then you are relieved when the whole thing is over. 

It can be like a torturous chore that has thankless results. Even the people that have expectations of how you are going to so things, will not really appreciate it. 

Holidays are about peace , happiness, connection and showing others that you care about them. So find the ways that you can show your loved ones that you care….without causing yourself depression and anxiety.

You may come from a family that always buys gifts for each other, but you are a craft lover and would much more enjoy making the gifts yourself. Or maybe your family expects home made gifts but it would be easier with your time constraints, to order them on Amazon. 

Other people are not living your day to day life and they do not know how hard things are for you. The chores of the holiday season can be way too much, on top of your already hectic schedule. 

You can tell people that you are making a few changes this year. Think about what you always do and see what things you do not want to do that way. Think of creative ideas to do things differently this year. 

People may fuss at you. That is true. But you have to weigh dealing with someone else being upset, against all the anxiety you will go through …just for them to complain anyway….

health, holidays, life, mental illness, religion, spirituality

3:48 oops 3:49 am Time is Slipping…..Good night post

We are here once again to say good night. The day was long and full of pain and also joy. I just posted my Christmas wish list for all of you. I meant all of it sincerely from my heart.

You have given me a safe haven to express and create. A place to be myself without the usual judgement. It is a valuable gift. You are all beautiful flowers in your weed fields.

https://wordpress.com/page/73602093/1096

I am glad to get to know you all, in your ups and downs. I am blessed to have been accepted into this family of talented and creative thinkers. You are each unique and individual in the way you create and think about the world. I have great respect for those who can think for themselves. It seems rare these days.

Of course, in being independent thinkers, we take a lot of heat and a lot of blows to our self esteem from the world. We each suffer in our way, in order to still hold onto our values and beliefs. In the end that is all we have, so we must continue.

God bless the creators, the inventors, the writers, the philosophers, the thinkers and the true healers. The true healers are the ones who listen, observe and connect. It is the mind/body interconnectedness that needs to be healed as a whole.

In the coming year, I hope that we can explore the connection of the mind and the body. To take care of one, without the other is not effective. We need to be mentally healthy in order to achieve physical health. We need to tend to the needs of our bodies, in order to have mental health.

These are all things I wish for us this Christmas eve day.

I wish for peace on Christmas eve. It should be an evening and a night of peace of the soul and quietness of the mind. Let us try to let go of the anxious thoughts and controlling loops that go round and round. Let us let go of the feeling that we have not done enough or not done well enough.

We have done exactly as we have done. There could have been no more or less. We did what we did. The path is still before us. Some of us have a lot more time to travel the path and some of us have very little time. We don’t really know for sure.

The time we are sure of is the present. We have this present moment to be still. Be still and just be.

You are not your past or your present. You are just who you are right now, at this moment. Let us all take a moment of silent peace within ourselves.

As each of us takes the moment at the time you read this, we will be connected together .

Somewhere in the quantum physics world, all of our individual moments will converge together. Even though each of you will read this post at a different time, in a different time zone, we are all reading it together.

You are all reading it as I am writing it. The reality of the fact that you will read it, is becoming a possibility as the words are flowing off of my finger tips.

It is in the possibilities that we are one. It is in the possibilities that we will all be saved. We will be saved from the suffering in our minds. Keep the possibilities as real as the facts. Eventually, the facts will become secondary to the possibilities.

It is in the possibilities that exists hope, faith, forgiveness, acceptance and peace.

Merry Christmas and love to you all,

Annie

abnormal psychology, life, mental illness, poem, poetry

Between All the Rush – poem for my daughter by Annie

Piles of boxes

Tangles of lights

Out of scotch tape

Wrapping all night

Hand cramps from writing

Addresses on cards

They will be late

Like the year before

Lunch with my daughter

Just between us

My favorite part

Is between all the rush

health, holidays, life, mental illness, poem, poetry

Holiday Drivers – Annie’s twisted Christmas Song tune to Deck the Halls about Aggressive Drivers

Holy crap ! I am trying to drive to get my last minute errands done, like everyone else. Some of these people seem to think that their errands are far more important than everyone else’s. They are getting aggressive in the stores as well as on the road.

I still have to go out twice more today. I have to take my teenager to the mall and I have to take my 12 year old to the shoe store. I have Christmas money from her dad to spend. She has bad feet and has been walking in cheep shoes. So finally I can get her a good pair of shoes. This is a Christmas blessing !

So anyway, there are pedestrians walking in front of my car. They were crossing the road at an intersection. The car behind me is beeping like a maniac for me to go. Where am I supposed to go? He wanted me to run the people over ad leave their dead bodies in the street? Good lord!

So I stated to have an anxiety attack from the bullying on the road. In order to cope with it, I started writing a twisted tune in my head. I will work on it more later today, to come up with a few more verses. But I was singing it to myself in the car and I was laughing. It helped to reduce the anxiety until I made it one more mile to my house.

Here is the beginning of it. This is what I was singing to myself a few minutes ago, i the car.

Deck the Halls with Materialism

Fa la la  la la   – la la la la

Hit the people with precision

Fa la la la la – la la la la

Clear the sidewalk

I’m not kidding

Fa la la la la la – la la la

All the time I will be singing

Fa la la la la – la la la la

I have things I have to do

Fa la la la la – la la la la

I don’t care a crap for you

Fa la la la la – la la la la

Hit the bar, then drive to Walmart

Fa la la – la la la – la la la

I don’t hold the door for old farts

Fa la la la la – la la la la

Aggressive driving is my style

Fa la la la la – la la la la 

Guaranteed to crush your smile

Fa la la la la – la la la la 

Screw the drivers in my way

Fa la la- la la la – la la la 

My  middle finger has something to say

fa la la la la -la la la la 

There’s no time  to be polite

fa la la la la – la la la la 

I don’t see the dumb red light

fa la la la la – la la la la 

Domination,  Annihilation

Fa la la – la la la – la la la

You better take your medication

fa la la la la – la la la la

abnormal psychology, holidays, mental health, mental illness, psychology

Christmas Songs and Post Traumatic Stress

I am different from you

Different from other people

I get anxious about things you find easy

Getting up in the morning is terrifying

I can barely leave the house

I get depressed hearing Christmas songs

You love them

I can’t sit in a room full of people

Like you can

With people who  are laughing

Listening to Christmas songs

Singing the words I have heard before

Year after year

Holidays in my past

Traumatic memories

Post Traumatic Stress

Panic attack

Triggered by Christmas songs

I have to leave the room

It is not rude!

It is self protection

Self preservation

It is not appropriate to cry

Listening to the Christmas songs

Everyone enjoys them

But I am different

The songs bring back bad memories

The holiday is not fun for me

My life is different

Not like yours with packages and bows

Mine is full of tears

And post traumatic stress

That blinds my eyes with tears

And puts knots in my belly

I am different from you

You don’t understand me

You do not have the background

Or the point of view

That you could understand

That I am different than you

I am different than the others

Illness rules my mind

Suffering surrounds me

Christmas songs are sad

To my tortured brain

You will not bother to try

To understand

That I am different from you

posted at my new tumblr site  https://www.tumblr.com/blog/anniementalhealth

holiday ideas, holidays, life

Amazon shopping … Counting Down…20 hours or 12 hours?

Well it looks like different items have different timers on them. I ordered one that said it had to be ordered within 12 hours and 8 minutes with 2 day shipping to arrive on time. Another item says 20 hours and 15 minutes.

If you have Amazon prime, I think they are still claiming 3 days, but I would order sooner. A couple of years ago, the last minute orders did not arrive on time, even if you ordered within their timer.

My favorite Amazon coupon was from Old Spice which is for body spray.It says, and I quote, “Smellcome to Manhood”

That is the current favorite, As we are counting down, let me know if you see any other funny advertising slogans ! I love to watch the ads and think about the marketing tactics. it is all about psychology. Make them laugh, raise their self-esteem, make them feel guilty, convince them everyone else is doing it, convince them they will be cool to be the first to have it, make them feel clever, put on the pressure that supplies are limited , etc

Ok, back to amazon. Goodnight post forthcoming 🙂

Annie

adult children of alcoholics, holiday ideas, holiday stress, holidays, life

Empathy and Compassion

I watched a short  video today by  by Brene Brown. It is a cartoonized portrayal of characters showing empathy. I felt inspired by this video to post my own thoughts about empathy and compassion.

.. The ideas in this video are powerful and it is well explained in the video.. In order to really listen to someone in a way that helps them, we have to find something in ourselves that helps up to relate to their situation.

It could be that someone has a problem that we have not experienced. But there is a good chance that the emotions they are feeling are things we have felt before.

I am going to give my own feelings and experiences and then I will put a link to the video that inspired me to post this.

I have never had Alzheimer’s disease yet I am able to empathize and connect with my clients in a meaningful way. If one of them is feeling scared because she does not know where she is , I can relate that feeling.

I once was  very lost in Baltimore City in a downtown neighborhood, I did not belong in. I was driving all by myself and I became very disoriented and could not understand the map.

I did not feel safe stopping to ask for help. I was afraid something bad would happen to me.

I could run out of gas or become so upset that I would have to pull over. The neighborhood was full of gangs and had a high crime rate.  Being lost there felt very dangerous and I was in extreme panic..

This is how it feels sometimes  to someone with Alzheimer’s disease or any kind of dementia.

They come out of their room and have no idea where they are. They do not recognize the people from yesterday. Everything is strange and frightening. They do not know who is safe or who they can ask for help.They are afraid of what bad things could happen to them, because they are alone and lost in a strange place.

So, in this way, I can draw from an experience in my memory, to put myself in their place.

If you begin by feeling this vulnerability in yourself then you can connect with the person.

Once I see what they are feeling and connect with that feeling inside of myself, I can begin to say and do the things that will help them.

I will say to them ,”I know you feel scared. You don’t know where you are. This is a safe place for you to be.”

I explain to them,  “The people here are nice and we are here to take care of you and make sure your needs are met. I will walk with you and show you your room and the dining room where we will eat. See, there are your things and your bed. You have a nice room here that you can sleep in tonight. You are safe. You are safe.”

It feels good when someone realizes that you really do understand. It is the best way to help someone else. You validate their emotions of  fears, sadness, depression or anxiety. Let them know that you have felt that way before also.

“I have been afraid before also. If I was here and did not know where I was , I would be afraid too. But you are safe and everything will be ok tonight for you. I will be here to help you find your way.”

We all need someone to help us find our way sometimes. The compassion of one person to another is true humanity.

See the link for the video below. It is very short, only about 2 minutes.

Namaste,

Annie

health, life, mental health, mental illness

Insomnia Poem

Insomnia Sucks
I can’t count the ducks
They say to count sheep
It don’t put me to sleep

Imagery is great
But it keeps me up late

Now it’s 6:30
The dishes are dirty
I know I should wash them
But I want to squash them

If this made you smile
Then it was worthwhile

And I know that you know
And you know that I’m so
And that sounded brainless
The sheep are now nameless
My mind is so aimless

Too tired to write stanzas
About what a woman and man does

This poem gets worse
With Each Passing Verse

Or maybe it’s clever
In some profound way
It might change your life
Or just make you say…

“You should go to sleep
You’re brain is not deep
You’re just overtired
And think you’re inspired
But thank you for trying
Your poem I’ll keep”

So now it is time
To count the damn sheep
And if I am able
I’ll fall fast asleep

And while I am sleeping
I’ll dream I’m awake
And when I am waking
I’ll wish I could sleep

The whole silly thing
It just goes round and round
But now I have you
And you know what I mean
When I say…

That I paint the sheep
Red, blue and green
Cause I can’t count them nightly
And sleep so politely

health, mental health, mental illness, psychology

Severe Anxiety Disorder, PTSD and Trouble with Making Decisions

People with severe anxiety disorders often have more trouble making decisions than other people.

Most people are able to weigh the pros and cons of a situation and see whether or not it is likely to be a good decision or a bad one. Severe anxiety order interferes with this process.

We will often fear the worst, when there is a situation involving unknowns.

When I am at work and get called over the system to come to the office, I automatically start thinking about what I could have done wrong. I assume they are calling me in to write me up or fire me.

It is the element of the unknown that triggers the anxiety. Other people will just go to the office and find out when they get there. They do not assume it is something bad.

Making major decisions is a risk of unknowns. People with anxiety disorders think of the worst possible scenarios. We have trouble thinking that the unknowns could be good.

It seems to me that most people think the grass is greener on the other side. They assume they will like a new job better if it seems like something they will enjoy. They also assume it will be secure.

People that have had unstable situations in the past, do not assume the grass is greener. We assume that there is a possibility of the new situation being very unstable. Making a change could possibly have a domino effect that will be detrimental to our lives.

Anxiety rolls into an anxiety attack as our brains go through a series of doors. Here is an example.

1. Maybe I should buy a house in Connecticut. I like it there. It is beautiful and I can run my business from there.

2. But what if the town is unfriendly to outside businesses and finds  a way to shut me down?

3. What if I have terrible neighbors and they cause me so much stress that I have a nervous breakdown?

Then there are the fears of “fear itself” and the consequences of the fear.

1. What if the heater in my house breaks in the winter?

2. What if my house becomes messy because I am too depressed to clean it?

3. The house will be too messy to have anyone come into it , and I won’t be able to have the heater repaired. I will freeze all winter and become ill.

4. I will be sick and I will have to see a doctor in CT. that I do not know.

5. I will have so much anxiety in the doctor’s office that I will not be able to communicate my symptoms. They will not give me the right medication and I will get sicker and sicker until I end up in the hospital or die.

It only takes a matter of minutes to get from point A to point Z , the worst case scenario.  We are afraid our own fears will lead us to disaster. We will lose our job, lose our home or become very sick.

We are afraid we will lose touch with our abilities. We are afraid we will become so full of anxiety and depression that our brains will become completely disorganized temporarily or forever.

We are afraid of not being able to take care of ourselves. We doubt the reliability of our own intelligence and our skills.

We are afraid to be rejected by others. They will not like us because we are different and cannot handle situations the way other people do. We are all dependent on other people in some way.

Anxiety disorders make it hard for us to act the way everyone else expects us to. We cannot live up to their expectations of what we ” should” be able to do.

We fear our own fears. We also fear the judgement of others.

We have trouble fitting into the social norms.

We fear situations that are new to us.

We will stay in our current situation even if there is a better option available. We fear a new situation and  will often continue living in a terrible situation for years. The current situation is familiar and we know what to expect.

Unknowns are potential threats.

If you fear making decisions, you are not alone. The truth is that there are always unknowns in life. They are not always bad.

Try to recognize when you are in a fear loop. Write about it in your blog or just write it for yourself. Sometimes recognizing the fear loop can help a little bit for you to put the risks in perspective. The fear loops will keep you from sleeping at night, if you are like me.

My thoughts are with you all.

Namaste,

Annie

health, mental health, mental illness, social anxiety

Social Anxiety , Dealing with the Pharmacy and other Businesses

They frequently make mistakes at the pharmacy.

It has  happened to me from time to time over the years. The latest mistake is that last night when I went to pay for my prescriptions, I was tole $100.00 for gabapentin with the good rx discount card. I know that I paid more like $40 the last time.

I asked the pharmacist to double check that he had run the Good RX card.  He said it was already in the system and he did not need to run it. I explained to him that they usually have to run it for each prescription and that the last time I picked this up, it was $60 less.

He would not go to the computer to run it. He gave me a long convoluted story about how some stores have the Good rx preferred brands and some do not. I told him I thought that Gabapentin was a generic brand for Neurontin. Gabapentin is the brand cvs has and it is the same brand that Good RX covers.

But no, he would not check it. So I left the store and was going to have the script transferred to Walmart. But then I rethought it. First I went home and checked on the computer what good rx said the price was at cvs. It was  $17.00 for 30 pills. That should not be $100 for 90 pills. And they usually do not multiply by 3 anyway. It is usually less.

What do you do when something like this happens to you?

Especially if you have social anxiety, it is difficult  to impossible to persist at the moment. That’s ok.

There are lots of people that work at the pharmacy desk and one person can not work all the shifts. Just call back or stop by when a different person is there. If you explain politely that you did not understand why the price had changed and that you think the other person may have not run the card, it is ok.

The person you are talking to is not the one who made the mistake. So as long as you do not generalize and say CVS made the mistake or This Counter made a mistake it is ok.

They will probably check for you. If there is any way to boost the new person’s self esteem then you will be more likely to get their cooperation.

Say something like “I think the other person was new. I always see you run the card each time. Maybe he did not know how.”

That way you make her feel like the smart one. She will not feel any threat from you . Instead of complaining just ask her for her help in finding a solution.

Sometimes people start by accusing the person at the desk. Once you accuse someone , even if the form of “This Store” is awful, you will lose their cooperation.  The person you are with is not the same person you dealt with last night. They are also not “CVS”.

So, I called and asked for help and explained that I thought maybe he did not know how to run the card last night. She went to the computer and ran the card and tada! The meds are $40.00 not $100.00

Now of course, you and I know that the man last night knew damn well how to run the card and was just being stubborn. But if you tell the lady that, then she will feel threatened by you. You are complaining to her about her co-worker. How is she to know that you won’t try to get her in trouble as well?

The approach of ” The other person tried but I need someone more knowledgeable” is much less threatening to anyone. You were patient about the last worker and you are boosting her self esteem by telling her that you have confidence that she will know what to do, even though the other guy did not.

Yes it is a tiny white lie about how frustrated you may feel about the other guy. But your feelings of frustration with him and that you may have wanted to strangle him last night, really are not her business and more importantly will not help your situation.

If the first person is not helpful, there is always another shift in 8 or 10 hours. I do the same thing with the bank, the cable company and other places I call. If the first person makes me feel like I am going to have a breakdown from anxiety then I will politely hang up. Then I will call back to get another person.

With really big companies, you can call back right away because the same person never answers for you twice.I have called back right away and gotten a more cooperative person.

Particularly for people with social anxiety, this tip may be helpful.

Always check everything at the pharmacy. I have gotten wrong medications. Once the pharmacist changed the medication at their whim because they did not know why my dr gave me the brand name and not the generic.

When I asked the pharmacist if this generic brand was safe for pregnancy, he turned green. Lucky for me, I checked in the bag and saw it was not the same med as my dr prescribed.

Another time, more recently, the pharmacist did not put any refills on the bottle label. There were 6 refills on the paper script. The bottle just said “refills require authorization”. I asked him and he said that medication was controlled and could not have refills.

I had already done my research online when the government changed the scheduled for certain drugs. This one did require me to go to my dr to get the initial script but refills were allowed.

Anyway, we should all be healthy and not need the meds. But as long as we do, please check your bottle for type, quantity in the bottle, mg, and refills. Good luck. Hope this helps

Namaste,

Annie