anxiety, anxiety disorder, c-ptsd, depression, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, narcissistic abuse, ptsd

Depression, Loneliness and Invisible Illness

Depression and lonliness can exist together, but they are not exactly the same thing.

Lonliness is something experienced by all people at some point but it is not always accompanied by depression.

Usually lonliness is thought of as occurring in solitude but this is not always true either.

Some people experience lonliness in combination homesickness , when they are away from familiar people and surroundings. They can feel this even when there are people around.

Other people feel like they do not fit in and this leads to lonliness with people around. Some people feel more lonely around groups of people than they do when they are by themselves.

There are other circumstances where people experience lonliness with other people around. Some of these circumstances tend to cause a co-existing condition of depression and lonliness.

People with invisible illnesses like chronic pain, chronic illness, and mental illness often feel both lonliness and depression. There is a feeling of disconnection from others when someone cannot find anyone that can relate to what they are going through.

Toxic loneliness is something that happens to people that cannot tolerate being alone or cannot tolerate bring without an intimate partner.

Ross Rosenberg coined the term “pathological loneliness” when he was doing research with his clients that suffered from co-dependence.

He discovered that one of the reasons so many people go back into abusive relationships is the pathological loneliness.

Both the terms toxic loneliness and pathological loneliness refer to this intolerable pain associated with being alone.

Usually the abusive partner lures the victim back in with false promises that things will be different. The victim who is suffering from such severe emotional / mental distress from being alone takes their chances and goes back.

In the mind of the victim, the pathological loneliness and the depression that goes along with it, is more painful than the abuse was.

People with codependent personalities usually developed pathological lonliness as children from neglect and abuse.

Depression can also develope out of childhood abuse. This can be any type of abuse, including emotional and psychological abuse. People that were abused as children often have complex post traumatic stress disorder as adults.

C-PTSD can involve depression, anxiety and sometimes pathological loneliness. There are often internal mental tapes that play inside their head that repeat negative things.

Being alone can make the internal dialogue louder. Thoughts of worthlessness, shame and failure play over and over. These tapes are implanted in the subconscious during childhood by others.

Many people with C-PTSD do not realize that they have actual trauma that is the same as PTSD which was caused at multiple ages and multiple circumstances.

Many people who have mental illness like depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder had chaotic, traumatic, abusive or emotionally devaluing chilhoods.

People with depression have organic differences in their brains which can be seen with brain scans like an MRI. Certain parts of the brain that are supposed to light up to show activity, do not light up.

Depression can also co-exist with anxiety disorders. The sensations of imminent threat that occur with PTSD and CPTSD, can be felt alongside of depression and loneliness.

Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate one feeling from another. It can be helpful to people to be able to identify what sensations they are feeling.

Sometimes looking at the feelings and figuring out what is based on current circumstances and what is from early programming can help.

People with disorders of depression often feel lonely because they are unable to find people to understand their illness. Being disbelieved and invalidated can open up old wounds from childhood.

Some people are unaware that they had any abuse or emotional trauma because it happened at a very young age. The brain stores memories differently before the age of 5.

Conditions like depression and toxic loneliness are no less painful than other illnesses. Unfortunately many people are not empathetic about invisible illnesses.

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.

bowel disease, chronic illness, chronic pain, domestic abuse, health, invisible illness, mental health, mental illness and physical pain, narcissistic abuse, narcissistic abuse and immune system, PTSD and bowel problems, PTSD and immune system, ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Juicing / PTSD and Bowel Disorders

For ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome, juicing with a juicer is a good method for getting nutrition without irritating any flare ups. If you are in the middle of a flare up it is recommended to go down to liquids for a few days and then soft foods, until the flare up is able to heal.

The body wants to heal itself and it can do this better when the problem is not being irritated by wrong foods.

Here are some recipes for the juicer that contain green veggies. This is a great way to get your vitamins without eating solid foods.

30 Green Juice Recipes

This is great video that talks about diet and home treatment for flare ups of ulcerative colitis. I liked this guy. He was very down to earth and knowledgeable. 

You can use apples to sweeten your juice because green juice does not always taste the way you might like. You can use any color of apples. The following recipe is from All Recipes.com and it calls for green apples.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/230642/healthy-green-juice/

Basically this recipe calls for green apples cut in halves, 4 celery stalks , 6 leaves of kale, half a pealed lemon, 1 inch of fresh ginger and a cucumber. Put them through your juicer and then add extra apple if you need more sweetness.

I have been struggling with colitis for several months now. I was hospitalized once and I have taken antibiotics for infections a few times. It is a very frustrating disease that can cause fatigue and weakness in the body and even joint pain. 

If you are having unexplained abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, and pain in your joints resembling arthritis pain, you might have colitis. Arthritis and colitis often go hand in hand. This is the case with me. I also have moderate to severe arthritis, depending on which joint we are talking about. Some places it is more severe to the point of extreme pain.

Your general health is important and it affects your mental health. There is no way to separate the body and the mind. Any sickness in the mind will cause physical symptoms. Any sickness in the body will cause mental / emotional symptoms. 

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD then you are prone to develop problems with the bowels. Anxiety disorders if any kind also can cause bowel disease and other problems. If you are recovering from narcissistic abuse or domestic abuse you are prone to develop problems with your bowels. 

PTSD can crash your immune system. There are many physical problems, diseases and infections which can occur when your immune system is compromised by PTSD and trauma.

Depression and anxiety also lower your immune system and make you susceptible to disease and illnesses including ulcerative colitis.

Financial problems cause anxiety and depression, so you could say that financial stress can also cause infection and disease. Financial problems often follow someone after they get out of an abusive relationship. So then you are particularly prone to a crash of your immune system because you have the financial stress along with PTSD from the trauma.

I wish you all good health and peace of mind,

Annie

anxiety, depression, invisible illness, mental health, mental illness, obesissive compulsive disorder, ocd

OCDvocate Program – Check out the site and You can sign up to get a free Wristband – OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

This is the linkHERE... to the page where you can sign up for the free wristband and be on the email list
This is the link ...HERE...to find support groups for OCD in your area by typing in your zip code

If you write any posts about OCD dealing with your personal experience, advocacy or any activities supporting OCD sufferers then you can tag them with IOCDF and #OCDvocate and your post will show up when people search those terms.

http://gentlementalannie.com/2015/09/09/2-more-days-tomorrow15-wspd15/

My Two Companions

I’ve taken the pledge and signed up to be an OCDvocate for the International OCD Foundation. You can find out more too and sign up if you want – here. They can even send you a wristband!

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anxiety, mental health, mental illness, ptsd

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Compromises Your Immune System

If you have PTSD ,  you might find that you are having physical reactions to the stress and you are sick more often.  PTSD can cause a variety of problems that come from  interference with the normal functioning of your immune system.

The DNA in the group with PTSD showed a significant increase of a gene that made them more vulnerable to multiple types of sicknesses. One particular gene, called the unmethylated gene, was more abundant in PTSD patients than in non-PTSD patients.

This increase proved to drastically impact a person’s life. Their immune systems ultimately were compromised. Rochelle Oliver –  Psych Central . Article called Traumatic Experienced Weaken Immune System Gene

If you noticed that you became sick more often after going though traumatic ongoing abuse then it was not all in your head. Your immune system was compromised by the PTSD. 

Personally I ended up in the hospital and / or the ER  repeatedly after my abusive relationship. Soon after the relationship ended,  within a couple of weeks, I got a severe intestinal infection and I was admitted to the hospital after spending 4 hours in the Emergency Room to stabilize my blood pressure, which had gone down to 69 over 42. 

After that hospital stay I was week for a while and then got back on my feet again.  In another few weeks I had a relapse of the intestinal infection which was treated with another round of Cipro antibiotics.

The a few weeks later I began to feel very ill. I was afraid the intestinal infection had come back. I was vomiting this time, which had not occurred before. I had a fever and sweating. I was very sick and by the time I dragged myself to the ER I could hardly walk. 

They gave me a CT scan on the hospital and they determined that it was not an intestinal infection this time, but a severe kidney infection. The kidneys were filled with bacterial infection and if I had not gotten myself to the ER I could have died. 

The doctors did not understand how someone my age could get two unrelated infections so close together. The infections were in different organs and both of them were severe and life threatening. 

I suspected that my immune system might be crashing but I did not think the doctors would believe that PTSD was causing this, so I did not bother to say anything.

I decided to research this after I became better from the illnesses. It was a slow and painful road to healing.

We know that people with PTSD have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, which are diseases associated chronic inflammation.  Steve Tokar  Article called “Men’s and Women’s Immune Systems Respond Differently to PTSD.

Men who return from combat zones end up with PTSD and a variety of physical illnesses. Research has been done and is still being done about the reasons for immune system crashing after a person experiences trauma. 

“This is the first time that it’s been shown that men and women respond differently to PTSD on a very basic biological level.”   Lynn Pulliam, MS, PhD, chief of microbiology at SFVAMC and professor at UCSF.

People with PTSD are more likely to develop heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases. There is too much stress on the heart and on the entire biological state of the body.

“…research explains why people with PTSD have always been more susceptible to diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among many other disorders.”  Rochelle Oliver –  Psych Central

They also have an inflammatory response which causes an increased risk of early onset severe arthritis, which can eventually become debilitating. Arthritis is a painful condition which is caused by inflammation and eventual deterioration of the joints.

The brain of someone with PTSD has biological changes in the neural pathways and the way the  sympathetic nervous system handles stress.

The normal functioning of the system is damaged due to the “fight or flight mode” being activated for too long.  During a situation of threat and perceived danger, the sympathetic nervous system does its job to try to alert you. 

The amygdala is responsible for activating the alert system during a threatening situation. It is nor designed to be turned on for an extended period of time. 

“In individuals with PTSD, the HPA axis response is dysregulated. Individuals with PTSD have low circulating levels of cortisol.

In one study of motor vehicle accident victims, low cortisol levels immediately after the accident were associated with the development of PTSD and high cortisol levels were associated with the development of depression.”  Medscape article Gender Differences in PTSD

PTSD is a very real mental disorder and it can cause the sufferers to have a much lower quality of life.

It affects all aspects of a person’s life including social life, family life, work life and  romantic life. PTSD can interfere with a person’s ability to perform basic daily tasks and even to take care of their personal grooming and other needs. 

PTSD is painful and frightening. The memories of the event linger and victims often have vividflashbacks. Frightened and traumatized, they are almost always on edge and the slightest of cues sends them hurtling back inside their protective shells.

Usually victims try to avoid people, objects, and situations that remind them of their hurtful experiences; this behavior is debilitating and prevents them from living their lives meaningfully. by  – Brain Blogger.com

PTSD can greatly lower the quality of life that they person is able to have.

The reality that the immune system becomes compromised adds to the problems. The combination of mental illness and physical illnesses can cause the sufferer to lose all hope and feel that their life is worthless. 

More research is being done about PTSD, and hopefully there will be more information about this disorder. If you suffer from PTSD, know that you are not alone and there is hope.

The best thing is to find someone to talk to about your feelings, who has a frame of reference to understand what you are going through.

Since PTSD is invisible, it is often difficult for people who have not experienced any kind of mental illness, to understand it.

You are a valuable person who has been afflicted with this disorder.

It is not through any fault of your own. It is easy to lose hope and to feel like self isolating. Being alone all the time can cause more problems with loneliness and depression. 

If someone is triggering to your PTSD then try not to spend much time with them. In the mean time reach out and find a few people that you can talk to that validate your experiences and feelings. There is no reason to suffer alone. 

If you cannot find anyone to communicate with, there are many people in the blogging world and support groups on the internet where you can find some support and relief. 

Blessings for peace of mind.

Annie<3

chronic pain, Chronic pain and depression, Chronic pain and mental illness, Degenerative bone disease, life, mental health, mental illness

Chronic Pain, Depression, Isolation and Anxiety Disorder

Today I had a flare up of my chronic pain. Flare up days are not all the same. The pain is not always in the same location or in the same body part.

Most people with chronic pain have several locations where pain occurs.They live with moderate to high levels of pain on a daily basis, even when trying to sleep or trying to get out of bed in the morning.

Living with moderate to severe pain on a daily basis for years and years is truly exhausting. When we say we have to sit or lie down to rest, we really have to. There has to be a break in the level of the pain or we simply cannot go on.

My particular distress today was in the herniated disc in my cervical spine. I have gone to doctors, orthopedic specialists, pain management specialists and physical therapy for this herniated disc.

There are also a couple of other discs in the same area that are “bulging” discs, which is supposed to be one step lower or less bad than a ” slipped” or “herniated” disc.

When the discs slide into certain places they press directly onto nerves, sending pain throughout the neck which radiates up into my jaw and then my head. A moderate to severe headache ensues.

Today I felt pain in my jaw. I also have what they call TMJ in that particular place…left side..right at the place where the bone that hold the upper teeth and the bone that holds the lower teeth meet.

The TMJ usually does not bother my much unless I open my mouth too wide and then it makes a loud popping sound and hurts some. But when the herniated disc acts up and pinches the nerves then the pain radiates upwards and inflames that place where the TMJ is.

Chronic pain can cause depression, grief and anxiety in people. It is often very difficult to keep up with other people and they do not understand or do not believe you that the pain could be that bad. They just say . oh we all have aches and pains. I have to deal with mine so you should just deal with yours”

People do not understand about chronic pain conditions. On a good day for us we have pain that is more than other people’s worst day of aches and pains.

On a bad day the pain can become excrutiating and we feel like we are in a battle with our own bodies that we did not start.

It feels like our own body is destroying our quality of life. We become like aliens trying to survive in a world of humans who are not sympathetic to our pain. They cannot empathize because they have no way to relate to it.

People think that we are lazy, disagreeable and being babies with a low tolerance for pain.

Now, here is thing. Most people with chronic pain did not always have it. We have developed conditions inside of the body that really cause pain that is so bad we cannot function the way we used to.

We remember what it is like to have regular ” aches and pains” like regular people have. We know what they are referring to when people say ” we all have aches and pains so just deal with it and keep up with us”.

We remember just having ” regular” aches and pains and that is not what this is.

Chronic pain rules your daily life. It can be so severe that climbing steps, even with my cane causes extreme pain in my knees….not just a little pain. Going up and down steps is torturous to me because of the arthritic degeneration in the bones and disintigration of the cartilage that is supposed to cushion between the bones grinding togethet on the nerves.

People with chronic pain often become isolated. Friends and family tire of you telling them that you cannot go with them to do certain kinds of activities that you once used to be able to do with them. They get tired of the ups and downs;  good and bad days.

They begin to feel that you are using your supposed ” pain disorder” to get your way and to control what activities you do.

Let me tell you this…People with chronic pain wish we could still do those activities. We wish we could walk around the mall, go to carnivals and yard sales and be able to walk around for two hours. But our bodies won’t allow us too.

We are not wanting to never be able to do anything fun. That does not make any sense.

We are not happy to “get out of”  doing work. We really wish that we could still do those things.

We have trouble cleaning our house. We have trouble getting around in the grocery store and more trouble bringing those groceries inside from the car. It takes me a good 45 minutes to carry 2 bags at a time up two flights of steps to my apartment, as I take two or three steps at a time and have to stop in places on the way up.

Who would want to lose their ability to climb stairs, to tolerate driving for very long even as a passenger, to have trouble exercising and to have to say “no”to social invitations?

We hate having our pain disorder. It may be invisible but it is very real to us.

So this is how people with chronic pain often develop mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. We lose friends and have trouble going out to meet new people.

Family members write us off because they do not want to be around someone who complains about pain. They have no way to know what level of pain we have.

Isolation often comes as a result of the difficulty in going out, driving, sitting for too long, standing, and a variety of other physical actions that are required to have a “normal” day, like other people do.

It is frustrating, depressing, anxiety provoking, sad, exhausting, and causes feelings of hopelessness as well as worthlessness. Sometimes we think “what good are we to anyone?”

So please be kind to any loved one that has a chronic pain condition. They need your support and validation that they are still someone that is worth spending time with.

They are worth a little extra effort on your part to come to visit them, rather than insisting they come to visit you. They are worth minor adjustments in your plans.

No one intentionally stops doing all the activities that they once loved to do. No one intentionally cuts their quality of life in half. We don’t want to have to stay in bed all day on really bad days. We really wish we could go out like other people do and participate in the world and its’  activities.

We grieve for our bodies, our lost abilities, our lost social interactions and our lost dreams of doing these we know we will never be able to.

We are just people like everyone else. We are not trying to make anyone’s life more difficult.

Isolation can have a deteriorating effect on cognitive skills and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

My thoughts and prayers are with the readers that suffer from chronic pain conditions. More awareness is needed and more empathy is needed.

bipolar, bipolar disorder, insomnia, life, mental health, mental illness

Insomnia from hell

10:30 am. I have not slept all night.

The pain meds are working now for the sciatic pain I was having before. But why am I still awake.

I do not want to be driving with my kids in the car on no sleep….

Maybe I have to say no kids come out with me today. Bad enough if I have to drive….