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.

You are Just as Worthy as Anyone Else Is

You are beautiful and worthy. If you feel that your life has no purpose then you might just be off course. You may be in a job that is not serving you or following a path that is not serving and supporting you. 

You can make changes that create opportunities for you to explore your value and worth. You may not even know why you ended up where you are. Other people may have influenced you more that you realize. 

You have a right to make changed in your life, even of other people will feel disappointed or not understand. You have the right to live your own life and make your own choices. Other people are often concerned with their own agenda and will tell you what they need to tell you, to get their way. 

you are beautiful

You do not have to believe everything other people tell you or want you to believe, especially when it come to who you are, what you are capable of, how you should feel, what you should feel obligated to or how you should live your life. You are the one who has to live this life of yours, not them. 

If you feel that you can do something better or different , then you probably can do it. You just need to be supported. If the people around you are not supporting you then you surround yourself with people who will. 

Once you set onto a path of pursuing what you want to do, many doors will open to you. You have to take a step in the direction that you feel called to walk towards. There are possibilities that you cannot even see yet. 

Sometimes who we hang around with, who we believe and what we think about our skills, is just habit. These are  habits if the brain. Thought patterns and thought behaviors can be changed by you. They are only habits that have been learned and ingrained into us, but they are not permanent. 

You are beautiful the way you are because of who you are inside and what potential you have. But you can make changes to make yourself feel more beautiful and more worthy. Your environment, your friends, your work and your surrounding should support you in the best way possible. 

You can become what you feel you are called for. Reach into yourself and listen to what you really want and think you can do. Do not let bad programming that others infected you with, stop you from believing in yourself .

Go after your dreams and explore what you want out of your life. Realize your ability to be supported by life and those around you. Get links to more articles  by adding your email and info and subscribing HERE.

Blessings, 

Annie    

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Be Yourself and Know You are Significant in the World

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Stigma about Mental Illness causes People to Put Off Seeking Diagnosis and Treatment

“What is Stigma?
· An attempt to label a particular group of people as less worthy of respect than others
· A mark of shame, disgrace or disapproval that results in discrimination
· Not just a matter of using the wrong word or action – its about disrespect”

                                                                                                      NAMI multicultural action center web site

People with mental health issues sometimes choose to put off seeking much needed treatment, due to stigma in our culture. Once they are diagnosed with a mental illness, people have to live with the problems that go along with being officially diagnosed with a mental illness.

There are potential consequences in regards to employment, insurance and education. This is not to mention the discrimination in social contexts as well.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990.  According to the Department of Labor web site, the Disabilities Act protects disabled persons in the following ways…

“prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. “

Interestingly, when I went to the Disability.gov web site and typed in Mental health, there was no information on the entire web site. It just gave me a list of links to non-government web sites like Mental Health America and National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The same thing happened when I typed in Mental Illness.  Just a list of links to non-profit organizations not affiliated with the government.

The disabilities act may protect people with physical disabilities, but it seems to  provide little  to protect people with mental illnesses like depression, PTSD, severe anxiety disorders,  OCD, and  bipolar disorder.

People that have been diagnosed with mental illnesses are discriminated against on a regular  basis. They are discriminated against in the workplace and when seeking employment.

The employers will get around it by fabricating reasons not to hire someone. They cannot fire someone for having a disability  but they can make up another reason.

The common perception of the public, about people with bipolar disorder is that they are unpredictable and possibly dangerous. Often times when you hear on the news about a person committing a random crime like a robbery, you will hear the news casters attributing the criminals actions to having bipolar disorder.

Of course there are people with bipolar disorder that commit crimes. There are people without bipolar disorder that commit crimes too. But if the news people find out that an offender does happen to have bipolar then they will make a big deal about how the person’s antisocial behavior must have been the fault of their bipolar disorder.

Guess what? Often times when someone commits a violent crime, they have antisocial personality disorder or some other mental illness. Whether or not the person had bipolar disorder probably had nothing to do with their committing a violent crime.

They may have been someone that was misdiagnosed with bipolar. Many sociopaths can convince a mental health professional that they have a different mental illness. They are actors and can manipulate the system.

The person may also have a co-morbid conditions of bipolar and anti-social personality disorder. It would be the anti-social traits that would lead the person to commit a crime, rather than the bipolar.

But it is so often misconstrued by the mental health professional and the news media that the general public has the impression that people with bipolar disorder are prone to crime and outbursts of anger and violence.

Violent crimes and breaking laws are not traits of bipolar disorder, but now you can see why some people put off treatment due to the stigma about bipolar disorder.

People with clinical depression and bipolar disorder are discriminated against for life insurance because they are perceived as a suicide risk. The funny thing is that life insurance does not ever cover suicide anyway!

People with diagnosis for anxiety disorders, bipolar and depression are sometimes discriminated against by colleges. If the college finds out that you have a diagnosis with a mental illness they do not want to risk their precious reputation on you. You might do something to “embarrass them”

They also do not have confidence that you will be able to handle the course load. I know people with mental illnesses that attend college and work harder than many other students. They know what disabilities they have and they work hard to succeed in spite of their condition.

Mental illness is stigmatized in the media and in the movies. When friends find out that someone has mental illness they sometimes assume it is like what they see on tv.

They are afraid of being embarrassed  and are afraid the person may suddenly do something unstable, They may perceive their friend differently even to the point of being afraid of them. This is all due to stigma.

People are all individuals. People with mental illness are also individuals.

No two people with bipolar disorder are the same. They are unique individuals that you have to get to know to find out what they are like.

Nevertheless, a diagnosis of a mental illness can cause discrimination and a loss of opportunities.

It can cause problems socially and with our career. Once people find out you have been diagnosed with a mental disorder, they see you differently, even though you are the same person you were before the diagnosis.

The fear of the stigma keeps many people from seeking the help they need. It is understandable that people feel afraid.

The fact is that 1 in 5 people has a mental illness of some kind.

Thirty-one percent of adults surveyed say they would not seek treatment because they fear what others may think.  NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

According to this Fact Sheet from NAMI

Approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year. For ages 8 to 15, the estimate is 13 percent.2

 Approximately 1.1 percent of American adults— about 2.4 million people—live with schizophrenia. 3,4

 Approximately 2.6 percent of American adults−6.1 million people−live with bipolar disorder. 4,5

 Approximately 6.7 percent of American adults−about 14.8 million people−live with major depression.4,6

 Approximately 18.1 percent of American adults−about 42 million people−live with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder and phobias.4,7

THE FAILURE TO SEEK  HELP FOR A MENTAL ILLNESS CAN LEAD TO DETERIORATION OF QUALITY OF LIFE AND IN SOME CASES SUICIDE.

Stigma about mental illness is a huge problem in America. As long as it is not dealt with,  people will continue to suffer.  Many of these people would be an asset to employers, schools and friends, if given the opportunity.

As a result of the continued stigma, people with mental illness often have a lower quality of life and a lower income potential than they should have.

There needs to be more awareness of this important issue. It is unfair discrimination in an age where almost everyone else is protected by discrimination laws.

NAMI is a grassroots organization that helps people and the families of people with mental illness. This is not a government organization. For more information about NAMI you can read this.

Personal Mental Illness Blogs Right to Your Own Brain

The ability for people suffering from mental illness and psychological damage to be able to reveal their personal truth through blogging has been a great outlet for many people.

People who once had no one they felt they could speak honestly to, found this gift of the blogging world. They found that they were not alone in their suffering and even in their feelings of being alone in their suffering.

I believe that blogging about mental illness and trauma has been the one thing that has been a lifeline for many people.

When I hear about people getting comments about their posts being too dark and that they should only write about certain aspects of their particular mental illness, it upsets me.

Everyone is an individual. Each person experiences their mental suffering in a unique way. Two people with the same diagnosis are not necessarily going to experience it the same way or have the same perception of those experiences.

Just because one person does not experience ( or has not yet experienced) being is very dark places, does not mean that someone else hasn’t. We are not in the job of making mental illness look pretty.

There is enough stigma about mental illness from the world. It is a shame for people with mental illness to perpetuate stigma within the blogging community.

People should be able to have their tiny little space in the blogging world to be able to speak their personal truth and express their feelings, whatever they may be.

No one should be telling anyone how they “should” feel about their mental illness or tell them to make their writing more palatable for others to read.

Everyone is free to read or not read whatever blogs they want to. If someone’s blog is not for them, then they should move the hell on to another petson’s blog.

There is no reason to tell someone to water down their writing. There is no good reason to tell someone to make a particual mental illness come off to readers in a certain light.

We are all individuals. Let us celebrate our differences and our right to express those differences.

I have recently read a post by someone who is considering quitting blogging about her mental illness because some readers told her that she does not show bipolar disorder in the way they feel it should be.

What is the “should be” all about, when we are writing about our individual experiences with our individual brains?

If there is any “should be” then it is this….People should be able to talk and reach out to others for validation and understanding without feeling like they are not following some random person’s rules.

Why should we start holding back our darker experiences just to satisfy some agenda. That is what I would call stigma…someone telling another person with the same diagnosis not to reveal the darker sides of it.

We get enough of having to hide things and faking it when we are in our day to day lives. What business is it of some bloggers to direct another blogger about how they want them to portray any particular mental illness. If they are writing about their experiences then those are their experiences.

It is almost like high school when people tell someone to dress a certain way if they want to be one of the cool kids.

I said it once and I will say it again….If someone’s blog about their mental illness is too dark for some people then those people should go read a different blog.

They should not try to dictate to someone what to write about or how to write it.

Blessings for peace of mind,

Annie<3

Celebrate the Little Things

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People That Believe They are Dead / Cotard’s Delusion

Cotard’s  Delusion is a very rare mental illness where the sufferer does not believe that their body is alive in the way that normal people are alive. There are varying degrees of the illness from the person believing that parts of their body are dead to the person believing that they are dead.

This mental illness was named after the neurologist that first recognized this as a disorder.  Jules Cotard did case studies and research in the 1880’s and called the disease “The Delirium of Negation” which is to say that the sufferers thought of their body in a negative way to the point of believing parts did not exist.

In 1880, the neurologist Jules Cotard described the condition as Le délire des négations (“The Delirium of Negation”), a psychiatric syndrome of varied severity. A mild case is characterized by despair and self-loathing, and a severe case is characterized by intense delusions of negation and chronic psychiatric depression   Wikipedia

Jules_Cotard

Neurologist Jules Cortard

Image from Wikipedia

One of Cortard’s  patients, referred to in his research  Mademoiselle X  was a woman who believed that certain parts of her body did not exist. She did not believe that she needed to eat because she did not have the regular internal organs that normal people have. 

Mademoiselle X believed that she had been cursed to eternal damnation, to walk the earth as a dead person. There was nothing anyone could say to her, to convince her otherwise and in her mind she was a dead person walking the earth, and was destined to continue on that way.

She ended up dying from starvation, as no one was able to convince her to eat any food. 

There is a recorded case of what seems to be Cotard’s Syndrome, that was documented in, prior to the disorder being named after Cotard.

“In 1788, Charles Bonnet reported one of the earliest known cases of Cotard’s Delusion. An elderly woman was preparing a meal when she felt a draft and then became paralyzed on one side of her body. When feeling, movement, and the ability to speak came back to her, she told her daughters to dress her in a shroud and place her in a coffin.

For days she continued to demand that her daughters, friends, and maid treat her like she was dead. They finally gave in, putting her in a shroud and laying her out so they could “mourn” her. Even at the “wake,” the lady continued to fuss with her shroud and complain about its color.

When she finally fell asleep, her family undressed her and put her to bed. After she was treated with a “powder of precious stones and opium,” her delusions went away, only to return every few months. MentalFloss.com

Suffers of Cotard’s Delusion, believe that they are missing certain internal organs or that they do not have a digestive system, blood, or some other internal function. Depending on the person, their reasoning as to why they have lost organs, organs have been taken away, or organs are putrefying varies.

The first stage is called the Germination stage—the symptoms are psychotic depression,  and hypochondria 
Next is the Blooming Stage — the syndrome develops and the delusions of negation cause the person to negate / disassociate / deny that certain parts of their body exist, or that they are alive at all
The last stage, which often ends in death is the Chronic stage—characterized by continued, severe delusions and chronic psychiatric depression.

There have also been cases of Cotard’s delusion that have occurred in people who sustained a traumatic brain injury. In 1996 there was a man who sustained traumatic brain injury from a motorcycle accident and he believed that he had died in the accident.  

Once he was physically recovered, his mother moved with him to South Africa. He told people that he was dead and actually had gone to Hell. He did not believe that he had survived the accident and thought his mother was in spirit form, to escort him and show him around in Hell.

Another incident of this disorder was in New York in 2008. A woman asked her family to take her to the morgue because she had died and believed she should be with the dead people. She reported that her body was beginning to smell like rotting flesh.

Other incidents of this disorder include a woman who went to the ER believing that her internal organs had all melted and that she was almost dead. There was also a man who believed that he was dead and that his daughter’s were also dead.

If you want to read these stories, you can find them at this  LINK for MentalFloss.com

Suffers who do not die from starvation, sometimes commit suicide. They feel that only their body is still walking around and they do not belong here.

“Some people with Cotard’s have reportedly died of starvation, believing they no longer needed to eat. Others have attempted to get rid of their body using acid, which they saw as the only way they could free themselves of being the “walking dead”  New Scientists Health.com

Neurologists theorize that the cause of this disorder may have to do with the part of the brain that recognizes faces, called the fusiform. 

This distorted reality is caused by a malfunction in an area of the brain called the fusiform gyrus, which recognizes faces, and also in the amygdala, an almond-shaped set of neurons that processes your emotions. The combination is a lack of recognition when viewing familiar faces (even the face of the sufferer), leaving the person feeling disconnected with reality.  Scientific American

Overall the research I did shows that this disorder is still a mystery. Some people responded fairly well  to treatment with antidepressants, or anti-psychotic medication. Others were treated with electroconvulsive therapy, which is shock treatment.

Insomnia part 2 meme couple

insomnia 2  racing

I Dance in the Rain and do Not Pay Attention to Who is Watching Unless I fall and they Are Coming over to Help me Up

rain dance

Healing Poetry

Healing requires feeling

It is nature’s only  way

Of disinfecting

the mental wounds

And closing them to stay

It seems too much to bear at first

Sometimes we want to quit

We get stuck in places past

And fear the future trauma

But healing always means feeling

There is no other path

That really grows our hearts

And makes us strong at last

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