Record Number of Visitors to Gentlekindness Blog

142 visitors to this blog today. I think that is the record. Wouldn’t it be cool to have 150 by midnight?

1 hour and 10 minutes to go.

Invisible Illness

recite-invisible

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Welcome to GentleKindness Blog

welcome

mental health

express

GentleKindness Blog is one Year Old !

blogging anniversary

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Mental Illness Bloggers Communicating Humanity and Vulnerability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessing to all,

Annie

Depression and Change of Seasons

As the summer is coming to an end some people get excited about the change of seasons while  other people struggle with a spiral of depression.

The warm weather and the long days of sunlight are coming to a close there can be a feeling of loss. Another summer has gone and along with it goes all the things you wished you could have done. It can be a reminder of what you wish you had and what you wish your life was like.

We watched all the people posting their fun summer vacations and the pictures of their loves ones on facebook all summer. Somehow we thought that while the summer still lasted there was a chance that we too would be able to do something meaningful …have a moment of magic….but the days slipped away and now the fall threatens to cut the days shorter.

If you have feelings of depression as the fall season comes in and the summer slips away, you are not alone. There are other people who also feel like another season that was supposed to give you nice memories has let you down once again.

With the fall coming in there is the knowledge that the holidays are not far away. As many people as there are that look forward to the holidays, there are a percentage of the people that dread the them. Much like the summer, the holidays are a constant reminder that we do not have the life that we wish we had.

The dreams that we had when we were younger…the way we pictured things to be when we would get to be this age….none of it is the way we expected , wished for, or wanted.

Different people have different reasons to feel grief, loss, sadness and remorse.  Decisions we should have made differently….people we wish were still in our lives….mistakes we have made along the way….betrayals by people we once trusted….

We know we will be expected to put on “the mask”  of being happy, on order not  to make others uncomfortable. We will have to look at those pictures on facebook and say “yes , it was a great summer!”

We will have to put on the mask and fake our way through the holidays, once again….

The change of seasons can be a reminder that we are older than we want to be. It can be a reminder that our finances are not what they should be, our families are not what they should be, and our love loves are not what we wish they were.

People ask “How are you?” and you have to say “fine” because that is what people expect you to say. The pressure of having to deal with the changes of the season, the changes of the schedule and to be faced with the impending holidays, can feel overwhelming.

You may feel like you are lost and that you are the only one that seems to have so many regrets and disappointments. So many people seem to be in the right place, the right job, and have “the right attitude” about the seasons and the holidays.

What is wrong with you? Why are you so different that the people around you? Why do you feel so out of place? Why are you the only one that would like to skip the holidays all together this year?

There is one of us in the crowd of people here… and there is one of us in the crowd of people there….Each one of us is alone in our particular group, family situation, workplace, school, and social group. We cannot ask them just to leave us alone and do the holidays without us. They would not understand.

Many of us are triggered by associations in our brain from situations from the past. Many of us are simply not happy with the living situation we are in or the majority of   the people that are  around us day to day. We are not living the way we want to. We do not have people around us that really understand us.

The blogging world can be very helpful at this time of the year. This is the place where you can connect with other people who have similar feelings. You can connect with people that have experienced losses, or are carrying shame.

There are other people here that also have to fake their way through the holidays and spend them in groups of family members that we would just as soon break contact with. Some people live alone and wish they had loves ones around them. Others have so called “loved ones” around them and would be better off alone or with different people.

You are not alone if you feel depression coming on this time of the year. There are other people who you can talk to and that will not judge you.

Sometimes the depression about the season change can begin now and snowball more and more between now and the holiday season. There are many suicides around the holidays because people feel like they are the only ones who do not “fit in”

You may not fit in with the people around you…..but you fit in with the other people who feel the same way. You are not alone and do not have to feel like you have to keep all of your feelings to yourself.

Blogging is the place you can find friendship and compassion. There are so many people in the blogging world that there are many people who feel like misfits and feel like there is something wrong with them.

It is not that there is something “wrong” with you. But you are different than  the people that are around you. Being like everyone else is overrated. If you fit in with everyone else, you would not be yourself. You are different for various reasons.

Some people have grown up in abusive situations. People that lived through ongoing abuse as a child often do not feel like they fit in with all the people who are cheerful during the holidays. The holiday activities can be a reminder of abuse and trauma.

The season changes and the holidays can create emotional flashbacks. You may have left a relationship in the past that is still haunting you. It may have been abusive or traumatic in some way. There are reminders that are going to cause feelings or even post traumatic stress.

Some people have lost  loved ones to death and the pain of the loss is still there. The holidays have a way of bringing up feelings and triggering difficult emotions about lost loved ones.

Unless you have someone with you that can understand this, you will most likely feel alone with it. People will misunderstand your lack of enthusiasm. You feel the pressure of having to play along in with the game. You pretend to fit in or you don’t pretend and it causes problems.

The other people seem to have happy memories of their past holidays and they probably do. This makes it easy for them to look forward to going through the holidays again.

I just wanted to write this post to let people know that it is okay to feel how you feel. If you feel sad then you feel sad. That is just how you feel and it does not make you a bad person. It does not make you “uncooperative” in spite of what others may say to you.

It is really hard to go along with what other people want to do when you really aren’t up to doing it.  It can be emotionally draining and physically exhausting. 

You have every right to feel whatever it is that you are feeling. Having to shove those feelings down, only makes them grow.  It is better to look at those feelings and the reasons for them.

If you begin to feel depression taking ahold of you, don’t try to fight it but rather try to care for it.

Care for yourself and care for your depression. Mental health needs care just as much as physical health does. Just because it is invisible does not make it less real.

Find someone to talk to about what you are going through. Allowing yourself to feel things without judging yourself for feeling them is a step to healing. Anything you are feeling has a root cause for it.  There is nothing wrong with you just because you feel a certain way.

Blessings for peace of mind to all of you and please reach out to others.

Much love,

Annie

Blogger Recognition Award and Brotherhood of the World Awards

blogger recongnition award

Blogger Recognition Award

Thank you to Taming of the Shrew for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award. 

Here are the rules 

The RULES:

» Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.

» Write a post to show off your award!  Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post. Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).

» Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them.  Provide a link to the award post you created.

» Provide a link to the original post on Edge of NightThat way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing

My Nominees

ButchCountry67

CuriousEvelynSeeks

I  Didn’t Have my Glasses on

Sandra J. Jackson

Travelling RockHopper

Cross Over the Road

Sheri DeGrom

Meandrous Kuudere

Errinspelling

I Prefer Deep Blues and Sea Foam Greens

Healing Your Grief

Jo Robinson

Predestined 30

Okay here is the rest of what is asked for this award…

I started my blog before I knew anything about blogging. I had no information or predetermined view of blogging. I knew nothing about the blogging community at all.

I was reading a post by Martin Armstrong because a friend of mine used to like to read that blog to me over the phone. One day I simply followed the link at the bottom of one of his posts because I was curious about what WordPress was.

I decided to open a blog and write a few posts. It became very fun for me and I was quickly drawn into the blogging world and the blogging community.

Advice to other bloggers – be yourself. Make your blog unique and representative of you. Do not worry so much about catering to others because there will always be someone who will complain about something..no matter what you do. There will always be people who will read and enjoy your blog, if you are just being yourself.

brotherhood-award

Brotherhood of the World Award

Thank you to Mon from the Transcend blog for nominating me for the Brotherhood of the World Award.

The rules for this award are…

  • Thank and link back to the person who nominated you for the award.
  • List the Rules and Display the Brotherhood of the world Award logo to your post and/or blog.
  • Answer the questions set to you.
  • Nominate around ten bloggers.
  •  Create your set of questions for your nominees.

Here are my nominees for this award…

Simple Pleasures

Hummingbird Redemption

Bad Cacophony

All Things Chronic

Memoir Notes

Sabistcuit’s Catalog

The Anxious Dragon

Shirley’s Haven

Nutsrok

Lorrie Bowden

Deanne’s World

Here are my questions for my nominees…

  1. Tell us about one of your favorite characters, either from a book or a  movie and what is appealing to you about them.
  2. Do you use personal experiences or beliefs in your writing? How do you incorporate those into your writing? 
  3. Do you incorporate any of your own personality into your writing? How do you do this?

Here are the answers to the Questions that were asked me by Mon.

What is your favorite book? 

I like the book called the Five Love Languages but I am not sure if I have  favorite book.

What’s one inspirational song?

I like the song called Don’t You Worry Bout  Thing by Stevie Wonder

What made you a better person?

I am  not quite sure how to answer this question. I think that every new experience and new person you meet can help you to grow and learn. I think you are always the person that you are but you can add knowledge, skills and experiences to your life and to yourself.

Your favorite quote?

“Do not alter your facts to fit your faith. Alter your faith to fit your facts.”  Ajahn Brahm

A quote a Day for Three Days…Today a quote of my own

They say that if you keep a tiny candle lit in a car that is broken down and lost in below zero temperatures that it will save your life and keep you from freezing to death.

 

I say that if that tiny flicker of light can save your life in a life-threatening emergency, then that same tiny flicker of light within your soul can save you during times when everything seems dark and hopeless.

Always keep that small candle burning and believe in its power to sustain you.

Blessings for peace of mind,

As always,

Annie<3

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

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