1. I accept myself for who I am.
2. I forgive myself for my mistakes.
3. I will and am doing the best I am able to considering the state of my mind and body.
4. Today is a new day. I will not feel bad about choices I made yesterday.
5. I do not have to worry about the future today. The future is unknown.
6. I cannot control other people and am not responsible for decisions other adults make.
7. My mind and body are interconnected. Both must be cared for.
8. I do not have to injure myself mentally, emotionally or physically for others.
9. Peace can only be found within myself.
10. There is peace in stillness. Stillness of the body. Stillness of the mind.
If you suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome, every day is a challenge. Every day is filled with potential triggers.
People with PTSD often have a combination of anxiety disorders. It is likely to have generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder as well.
The fear of something triggering a severe PTSD attack creates a nearly constant stress. There is a constant worry that something will be a reminder of the original trauma.
This fear causes general anxiety in the mind and the body. You can feel unpleasant sensations in the body, as the mind send you signals of potential threats all around you.
For some people the feeling of being threatened is more pronounced out of the home.For others there are plenty of potential triggers in the home.
People can be triggered by situations, by hearing people yell, by loud noises, certain songs, and the news on tv. There is always the possibility that something will trigger our brains into a full blown wave of fear to the point of disabling our minds and bodies.
This constant anxiety is very hard to live with. Other people feel basically safe for most of their day. PTSD sufferers do not feel safe.
It is good to have a friend who understands how your particular brain responds to potential threats. It is often difficult to find anyone who gets it. The feeling of alienation can become severe.
I hope at least, you can find some validation here. You are not alone. There are others who try to block out the memories and no matter how hard they try, those memories invade our minds and our feelings.
The brain has been altered from the original way it used to function. Any threat we perceive, can trigger an anxiety attack.
Once that feeling of immediate danger turns on, there is no turning it off on our own. It will run its course. It is an attack of the mind which causes terrifying emotions and discomfort or pain in the body. The feeling in the body is almost unbearable.
You are not alone. We can validate each other. It is a severe disorder of the brain. People think we look normal and healthy. They cannot see anything wrong with us. They do not understand why we try to avoid things.
I hope you have someone in your life that is aware of your illness and tries to support you. Someone that will take “no” for an answer if you just don’t feel up to going somewhere or doing something that they want you to do.
Some days we just can’t go out to be exposed at all. Some types of events and activities are potentially dangerous for our minds to endure.
If there is a strong possibility of being triggered at someplace, then we should have the right to refuse. We need understanding people around us.
The feeling that we are the only person with the symptoms, makes us feel alienated from other people.
Be proactive this holiday season. Make sure you do not lose track of yourself in the midst of all the chores, errands, and worrying about what others want.
Every season, people become depressed and have horrible anxiety. Keep on top of yours from the beginning of the season. Holiday Anxiety and Depression – It is like an infection – It is easier to prevent that to cure it.
Keep your daily schedule reasonable. Don’t try to do more than you can do. You are not a super-hero. It will exhaust you and your resistance to illness, anxiety and depression will go way down.
Keep up with the basics – sleep and rest !!
Remember , people always expect you to do all kinds of things. But they are not aware of what is going on at your job and in other areas of your life. They are also not aware of what is going on in your mind. They do not know the anxiety or depression you are feeling. They cannot be the judge of how much is too much.
You can’t please everyone. In fact, some people will complain anyway, even if you make inhuman efforts to make them happy. Some people could have the whole world and would still complain it is not enough.
You can only do what you can do. You have to know what is reasonable for you. That is all you should try to do. You will just frustrate yourself otherwise. Then on Christmas you will see that one little thing would not have made any difference anyway.
Make time for yourself. Don’t spend every minute you are not working preparing for Christmas. It is not fair to you.
If you would not expect someone else to endure the level of your errands and chores and work schedule, then don’t try to endure it yourself. Cut some things out. Christmas will come and then it will be over in a flash.
Take care of yourself. You deserve to have a good holiday too. Not just all the people who you are trying to satisfy.
“There is NOTHING wrong with her! She is JUST depressed. ”
“There is absolutely nothing physically wrong with her. It is just psychological.”
Have you heard this? I have heard a nurse actually talk about a patient this way. I have heard people tell me their therapist told them that their anxiety issues were only “emotional” and not biological.
First of all, depression is a real condition and if someone is clinically depressed , it is not true that “nothing wrong with them.” Depression is as painful and as much of a threat to someone’s health and their life as any “biological” illness”
Second of all, there is no such thing as any disorder or disease being only “emotional” or only “biological.” The mind is part of the body. A very important part , I might add.
Every function in the entire body is regulated in some way by the brain. Emotions are also a function of what is happening in the brain.
Changes in the brain affect emotions, and changes in emotions affect the brain.
When a person has a physical disease or disorder, there is an emotional reaction to it. Furthermore, a person’s emotions relating to their illness, have a direct correlation as to whether or not they overcome the illness and how fast they get better.
I have cared for stroke patients with similar levels of a stroke. The ones that had positive feelings about physical therapy got better. The patients that felt angry or depressed did progress nearly as well in physical therapy.
An emotional disorder has a direct affect on a person’s brain and biology. A person that starts to have depression and/or anxiety develops patterns of feeling certain emotions in response to specific stimuli. These repetitive patterns create actual connections in the brain.
Any habits or behaviors become connections in the brain. Once connected the brain regulates the fact that anxiety or depression is triggered by certain stimuli. So, when someone says, “there is nothing wrong with them. It is just psychological,” it doesn’t ring true.
Once patterns are set into the brain that cause mental suffering, it becomes a biological disorder. People with depression, anxiety, OCD and other mental suffering have as much of a right to be recognized as people with typical physical illnesses.
Tendency of people to discount mental suffering as “it’s all in their head” is very hurtful and dangerous to the people suffering from “emotional” problems. Truthfully it is, in fact “in their head” meaning that it is in their brain.
If this blog does not do anything else, my intention is that anyone suffering from depression and anxiety will feel validated. The condition is real. It is worthy of being treated as real. You have a right to be sick just as much as someone with a physical disease has the right to be sick.
It is unfair that people with anxiety and depression must suffer in silence. It is not an acceptable excuse to call out of work. It is not an acceptable excuse to cancel an appointment.
When someone has severe anxiety about doing something that they know will be a trigger , they should be able to ask for help and have someone do it for them or help them. It should be the same as someone with a broken leg asking for help to get into a car.
Doing the things that trigger the brain to cause painful, disabling emotion are frightening and dangerous. A person should be able to ask for help.
It feels like an invisible disease to the people who have it. They have to do things that will make it worse. The reason for that is because people’s families, friends, bosses, teachers and even nurses and doctors do not understand mental illness.
If you are suffering in silence, please know that you are not crazy. You are not alone. Your condition is painful and sometimes terrifying. It is not your fault. It is not something you made up to get attention or to get out of things.
You know when things are painful or too much for you. There are many of us with the same fears and disabling difficulties at doing the simple things that most people take for granite. We can support and validate each other. You are not alone.
I hope this helps someone,
FAMILY – Oh my , you Finally called!! You never take time to call. Your brother calls us every night. Why have you not called us in so long?
ME- Gee, I can’t imagine why…
FAMILY – Well what a shock, you have finally graced us with your presence! The heavens are going to open up and hail!
ME – I wish it would hail. It would give me an excuse to leave.
FAMILY – You seem to be having some issues with anxiety and depression. You should go talk to someone about it. (anyone, as long as it isn’t us…)
ME – Yeah ok , I’ll go get that fixed this week with a therapist, so that when I come back to visit you, you won’t feel uncomfortable with my mood.
FAMILY – Great, do that. Also, you are invited to a family reunion
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
** This was either another incredibly profound poem by Annie, or she has lost her entire mind due to insomnia and sleep deprivation.** LOL
I have felt for a while that I have some OCD issues. My perception has been that my symptoms coincide with times of extreme anxiety. The compulsive behaviors come and go based on what is going on in my life and what is happening during the day.
Prior to taking the test, I was not conscious of any symptoms that continued throughout the day or ones that occurred on a daily basis.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with OCD, it is an anxiety disorder in which certain unwanted thoughts intrude upon your brain in a way that the person has little or no control over.
In addition to the intrusive worries and fearful thoughts, there are coinciding behaviors (compulsions) that the person has a strong need to do. These compulsions are related to an effort to relieve the fears and anxieties caused by the overpowering, panicky, obsessive thoughts.
So there are two parts of the disorder which are obsessive, intrusive thoughts and compulsive, unusual behaviors. I say unusual based on the scale of what the “normal” people would think was usual.
To an OCD sufferer these behaviors may seem normal or they may have done them so many times that they become unsure of what “normal” is.
I put the word “normal” in quotes because I have my own personal beliefs about “normal” being a perception that exists within the particular paradigm of individuals and can be a mass, mutually agreed-upon, reality created by the masses. But that is a blog for another day.
Some examples of OCD symptoms can be Obsessive hand washing, excessive cleaning or excessive checking ( like checking 5 times that the curling iron is unplugged, including going all the way to the car and coming all the way back up the steps to check one more time, every day).
OCD compulsions are time consuming and invade our lives at critical times. The result can be lateness to work or for appointments, which can cause problems in our work and social lives.
It may also cause the OCD sufferer to lie as a habit. After all, “My car would not start,” is a more acceptable excuse than the fact that you walked back into the house five times to make sure the water was shut off.
Often people with OCD are aware of the obsessive thoughts being “too-much”, exaggerated or out of the ordinary. They are also probably aware of at least some of the compulsions to the point where they feel they have become somewhat disabled by them.
I did some research late last night about OCD and I discovered the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. I took the online version of the test. There are 10 questions in which the test-taker rates the level of severity and level the behavior interferes with daily life. There are 5 questions relating to Obsessive thoughts and 5 questions relating to Compulsive behaviors.
I was surprised that I rated a 32 out of 40 on the scale. This put me in the small group of extremely symptomatic OCD sufferers. In the online poll which was taken by people who have OCD symptoms, the results were put into 5 categories.
The categories are ordered in a list of increasingly more severe symptoms.
The categories are very mild ( 0-7 points) , mild (7-15 points) , moderate (16-23 points), Severe (24-31 points) and extreme (32-40 points).
Out of 2,578 poll takers, the highest number of people (1,029) came out as having moderate OCD. That is 39.9 % of the total.
I have placed a summary of the chart below.
Little or No Symptoms 95 people
Mild symptoms 580 people
Moderate symptoms 1,029 people
Severe Symptoms 732 people
Extreme Symptoms 142 peple
The site I got this information from is psychology-tools.com
So, I am thinking that in light of this new information that I will do some more research on OCD symptoms and management tools. But what would be even better is to come up with some coping skills of our own. I am probably not the only person that discounted many of my feelings and behaviors.
Maybe it will be helpful for myself and those of you with OCD to try to get a better picture of ourselves. This is not to diminish us but perhaps to give ourselves some validation and some pats on the back for the way we are able to survive in spite of this issue.
People who do not suffer from any mental disorder do not understand the difficulty with which we get though the simple tasks and situations. People have methods and skills for dealing with their day that are difficult or impossible for us to access.
Even the simplest tasks can be extremely difficult or even impossible for OCD sufferers to accomplish. Others may interpret this as procrastination , laziness or irresponsibility.
So I will try to address some of these issues and together we will find a way to live our lives with greater ease and not feel so handicapped compared to other people.
Let’s come up with some new ideas, holistic methods, combination methods and other ideas to help ourselves. Give me your experiences and suggestions in the comments below.
Who knows what we can come up with by combining our spiritual and intellectual energies together!