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Another holiday is upon us. I know that many of us dread the holidays for one reason or another. Some of you will be alone and others have to tolerate relatives they would rather not ever see.
Divorced parents have to coordinate with their ex, or miss the holiday with their kids all together. Memories of traumatizing past holidays trigger emotional flashbacks while you try to maintain your holiday cheer for the sake of your children.
Adult children of abusive parents suffer a triggering of old emotional wounds. Memories of traumatic experiences creeping into your mind, or bombarding you with full frontal assault.
People with chronic illnesses, progressive diseases, and chronic pain feel the weight of knowing it was not always this difficult, and it should not be this difficult.
Many people that have chronic pain and illness will be isolated, or struggling to keep up with things only to have a less than pleasant day.
Depression is often amplified during a holiday. Whether you are self isolating or are isolated because people got tired of dealing with your mental illness, being alone can make feelings of hopelessness worse.
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Some people will end up in a room full of loud, busting people only to feel more alone in the middle of the crowd. Being at any kind of gathering can be terribly draining and depressing for people who already suffer from depression.
OCD, PTSD and anxiety disorders can all be triggered to be worse in the midst of dealing with the expectations of friends and family. Even the media and society seems to judge and mock those who just cannot feel the “spirit” of a holiday.
So to all of you I send compassion. Feel free to provide links to your holiday posts on my blog, if you want to share how you are dealing with the holiday. I will post something on Sunday for this purpose.
Peace of mind is the most important thing for you on the holiday. So prioritize your mental well being. Don’t be afraid to say NO to people, and use the “spoonie method” to get through.
Depression can make you feel like staying in bed and not interacting with other people. You know that if you go out of the house, you will feel different and out of place.
Other people will not understand your inner world. You feel like you will be forced to put on a mask to fit in. It is difficult to function.
You get more and more internalized. So you self isolate, and limit your social interactions. This is understandable because certain kinds of interactions can be emotionally traumatizing.
You feel like the one person that is out of place in the world. You sit alone and hear the thoughts that come up from your subconscious. Thoughts that there is something wrong with you.
Some of the feelings you get are from emotional flashbacks. There are things that happened and ways you were rejected during childhood that cause your subconscious to store these kinds of feelings.
If you can identify the false beliefs behind your thoughts, then the feelings can be sat with and calmed. You were not born feeling like you did not belong in the world. These thoughts were taught to you….even brainwashed into you.
When you have a feeling that is painful, like hopelessness…try to discover what core belief that thought is driven by. The belief might be that you are not as good as other people. .. Or that the world is unsafe.
If you are carrying the core belief that you are less adequate than other people…that is a bad programming. These things are programmed into children who do not have emotionally supportive childhoods.
Think back to your childhood and if you were made to feel insignificant, unworthy, unneccesary, or anything else negative. If your thoughts and feelings were dismissed, criticized, or made fun of then you are probably carrying CPTSD…complex post traumatic stress disorder.
People with C-PTSD often get depressed or feel extreme anxiety. You may have trouble keeping up with other people or feeling normal.
Those false core beliefs that were fed to you can be re-programmed. You need to question each one of those negative beliefs about yourself. Be like a scientist attempting to disprove a theory.
If you feel that something is wrong with you compared to other people, then ask what things are Right about you. Write them down. Engage in activities that prove you are as good or better at those activities, than other people are.
Look at the qualities of your parents and whomever fed those negative, false beliefs to you, about yourself. What kind of people are they?
Would you consider those people reliable critics? Did tbey have any agenda in which lowering your power would have helped them?
If those people told you something bad about the character of a person you love right now….would you believe their opinion without question? Or is their opinion not reliable?
You can begin to go out and interact with people in small increments. Go over your present state of mind, before you go out…and before you leave your car. You can just sit in your car for a few minutes and listen to music that calms or peps up your nervous system.
How you feel when you interact with others is based on the current state of your nervous system, how much sleep you have had, your mental state, and your blood sugar.
You can think of those categories and assess each of them, before you go into a store or any other place. Then you will feel more in touch with yourself and have some ways to help yourself.
If you are interested in learning. NLP State Management techniques, you can send me a message via my web site
For information about C-PTSD and how emotional abuse causes depression and anxiety disorders, join us at the gentlekindness facebook page.
You are special. Your gifts and personality are an important part of the puzzle of humanity. You are connected with all living things in an important way.
You matter. You have a unique voice that other people need to hear. You have special characteristics that someone really needs right now.
You have innate value.
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Invisible suffering..Invisible illness…Invisible pain…Chronic illness….Mental suffering…Domestic abuse…Mental abuse..Narcissistic Victim Abuse Syndrome…PTSD…Chronic Pain…
These are all real illnesses and disorders, that other people cannot see. It can be hard for other people to understand what it is like for you. The lack of people supporting you…or even believing you …causes re-traumatization.
There is the initial trauma of the illness, pain, or abuse and then there is a whole new kind of painful suffering caused by what happens next.
People do not see your suffering and so..
…some people do not believe you at all..
…they do not believe that it is that bad..
…they think you can just “shake it off”…
…they do not believe that you cannot do the things that they can easily do.
…they think you are lazy…
…they think you are a big baby…
..they think you should have gotten better by now..
…they forget that you “still have” that invisible illness…
…they get tired of hearing the same things…
..they lose patience with you..
…you do not want to tell people..
…you lose friends…
..You self isolate…
Yes, that is often what ends up happening. Self isolating can be a relief from dealing with interactions with people. Over time the isolation can cause worse depression.
The only people who really understand are people who have been through it or are going through it.
The isolating process can begin with other people giving up on you, getting tired of you, or not wanting to listen to you anymore. You lose one ot two friends and family members. The you are afraid to lose the rest of them.
You do not actively go out and seek new people because you fear the pain of rejection from them. “Why should you put yourself through this again”….is what your brain is saying.
The isolating can begin with ourselves, because it is too much effort or too painful to interact with other people, especially if they do not believe or understand what we are going through.
The retraumatization can be severe. When people just simply do not believe you or think you are exaggerating, that is one of the worst things you can go through.
Then, of course, there are people who are predators, and they prey on the weak ones, who are desperate for understanding and companionship. If you have been set up and abused, because of your invisible condition, then it is very difficult to trust people again…or to trust your own judgement of who is safe and who is not.
We can also be retraumatized by bad therapists, counselors and insensitive doctors and nurses. I have heard horror stories of what people have gone through at treatment facilities, rehab facilities and emergency rooms. I have also experienced insensitive therapists and healthcare workers.
So where does this leave us? In pain…suffering…in need of human compassion…and isolated…
Some people physically isolate themselves in their homes. Other people build walls up around themselves and self isolate by disconnecting from other humans emotionally.
We can be around people all day long, yet be completely alone.
Some people cannot leave their house or apartment.
Other people just leave the house to go to work, and do necessary errands, and then self isolate themselves in their house, the rest of the time. This would be me…
When you have reached your limit of being traumatized and re-traumatized, then your mammalian instinct of self protection is going to kick in. Your brain wants to protect itself from any more trauma and abuse.
Sometimes the world appears to be a dark and dangerous place. Interact with people is just a risk of being injured, when you are suffering from an invisible enemy.
No one can see your enemy and therefore it feels like you are fighting alone.
You energy is going into fighting against your invisible illness, mental illness, or trauma from abuse. You do not have a whole lot of energy left for reaching out to people who might end up hurting you. You do not have a lot of energy to explain and re-explain to people about your invisible illness.
You do not have energy to make new friends, knowing that at some point you have to explain to them about your invisible enemy. There is no guarantee they will understand you or stick around once they find out, anyway.
Your energy is focused on survival. Your little bit of energy that is left, is focused on just getting through one day at a time. Relationships take time and energy and after a while it can seem like there simply is not enough energy to go around.
I do not have any simple answer for this problem. I wanted to at least validate the people who are nodding their heads up and down, as they are reading this.
You are not alone, in being alone. You may be alone in your house at this moment, feeling isolated and different than everyone else. But there are other people who feel the same way.
The isolating is a normal reaction to being traumatized, suffering mental wounds and suffering pain of any kind. It is an instinct to survive be separating from potential danger.
It is also an instinct to preserve whatever energy is left, in order to use to heal and survive.
If there is any approach to this problem that could work, it would lie in the matter of balance. We have to constantly balance the various aspects of our lives. Find new methodologies for healing and for dealing with stress.
We cannot have the same amount of energy every day. Some days we feel better than other days.
On our better days, we can try to reach out a little bit. Go somewhere with people or call someone on the phone. Text someone or send and email. Whatever is in your comfort zone for that particular day.
There will be days when interacting with others is impossible. But some days we might be able to reach out, just a little bit.
Do what you can and take advantage of any days that are kind of good. If you cannot go out, then try to find people online to connect with.
Who you should reach out to and talk to, depends on what is good for you. Some of you have friends that you can all on the phone. Some people would be able to go out to a place where there are strangers and interact a little bit with them.
Another way to get some compassionate human interaction, is to do some volunteer work. Nursing homes will often let you come and visit.
You may have to set things up, to be a volunteer ahead of time. The people you visit at places like this, will not judge you in the same ways that you are afraid of your friends or family judging you.
Going out of the house depends on your condition. Some people are completely housebound. Reaching out to those people can be a way of helping yourself too.
Animals are also great. Pets are good companions. As you know, if you read my blog, I get great joy and comfort from my bunny. I also like to go to places with a animals. There is a place called Sun High Orchard, near my house. They have bunnies and sheep that you can pet and feed.
Sometimes you can go to speciality stores where the people will talk with you. Some places like that would be: comic book stores, craft stores, tattoo parlors, hobby shops and book stores. Any place where people gather, that have a similar interest.
It is okay to self isolate to a point. Sometimes we need to self isolate for a while to heal our brains. But if the isolation is becoming a problem for you, then do a little bit of interacting on the good days and just rest in bed on the harder days. Balance is the key to most problems in life.
We are supportive of each other here and WordPress has been a blessing for me. I love hearing from the people that follow my blog and I consider the interactions meaningful.
Blessings to all,
The desire to set up camp in your bed often goes along with depression.
Some people wonder if they are depressed or if they have an actual “disorder” of depression. A disorder is just what it sounds like. Your life has become disorderly…unmanageable.
You want to do things like set up camp in the bed. and only come out of bed for necessities. The bed is familiar thus the brain perceives it as safe.
Your brain wants to keep you safe. Your subconscious brain leads you away from anything it associates with pain or danger. This could be any kind of danger incuding emotional trauma.
If you have mental illness then there are some things that are a threat to you but would not be a threat to other people. For example, if you have a severe anxiety disorder, depression or PTSD then going out to the mall can be riddled with possible threats.
An uncontrollable environment like a store, or driving in holiday traffic, can be triggering to those associations in your brain.
There are images, feelings and emotions associated with the sights, sounds and situations all around you. It feels safer in the bed, because it is a more controlled environment.
The holiday season makes it harder to go out and deal with the uncontrollable, unpredictable environments like the crowded stores.
The fear center of the brain is on high alert. It may even become too much to be in fight or flight mode and then your brain may throw you into a derealization/ depersonalization state.
This is that detached from reality state. You float through the motions as if you are watching a movie or you are in a dream. Your brain has become so overloaded with pain that it pulls your conscious state away from reality
The bed can feel like the only safe environment to be in. It is comforting and it is your personal space.
You are not alone if you ten to retreat to your bed when you are experiencing depression or severe anxiety. I have done it many times.
If you are stuck in the bed now, take time to get some nutritious food to eat. Just think about the food groups and eat a little something from each one.
The nutrition is critical for your brain function snd your physical strength. Your immune system needs to be supported by foods and perhaps vitamin supplements.
Be compassionate with yourself. You do not have to be judgemental of yourself. The inner tapes of negative thoughts about yourself were put there by others.
Show kindness to yourself. Offer self love and acceptance. The holiday season is very difficult for people with mental illness.
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
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,
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.
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.
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Coloring is not just for kids. It can have a very therapeutic affect on adults suffering from anxiety disorders, depression and PTSD.
Coloring beautiful pictures can help with PTSD from narcissistic abuse and domestic abuse. It can help to calm down intrusive thoughts from OCD.
You can use colored pencils or colored markers. Markers can bleed through so I usually try to put a blank page between the coloring pages so as not to have colors bleeding through the design below.