adult children of alcoholics, battered women, depression, domestic abuse, domestic violence, mental disorders, mental health, mental illness, post traumatic stress disorder, post traumatic stress disorder from domestic abuse, ptsd, single mom, single mother, suicude, women's issues, wounded healer, wounded healers

SHAME …Why do Victims of Abuse Carry the Shame?

Carrying shame with us is possible the single most devastating, caustic thing that can happen. We must find our way out of shame, because it will destroy is by crushing our self esteem and keeping us incapacitated, by self doubt and a feeling if unworthiness.

Shame is an emotion and it is a state of mental trauma. Any type of severe trauma can cause us to carry shame. In turn “shame” itself can cause mental trauma. Most often, a mental state of “shame” was brought on by others who intentionally manipulated and traumatized us into feeling unworthy and shameful.

Shame, according to Wikipedia

Shame is a negative, painful, social emotion that can be seen as resulting “…from comparison of the self’s action with the self’s standards…”.[1] but which may equally stem from comparison of the self’s state of being with the ideal social context’s standard.  Wikipedia

So, shame is made up of…

1. a person’s personal feeling about who they “should be”

and

2. the person’s feeling about “who they are”

3. When the perception of “who you are” does not meet your standards of “who you should be” then the result is feeling shameful, for not having the ability to be the person that you “should be.”

Who should you be? Where do our concepts of our “perfect selves” come from? Are the reasonable? Do these ideals of who we “should be” come from our own minds? Or were they projected onto us by others?

Also, where does our perception of “who we are” come from? Are we really seeing our true selves?  Are we seeing ourselves through our own eyes ? Or are we seeing ourselves in an untrue way, through the eyes of society? Are we seeing ourselves the way other people say they see us?

Are we perceiving ourselves through the eyes of society and the stigma and misconceptions of society?

Are we still seeing ourselves from the eyes of our abuser? Are we really worthless and stupid?  Are we doomed to never do any better in life than we are doing? Or are we confusing our true potential with the twisted ideas that some abuser fed to us?

The problem with people who have experienced abuse, is that they were manipulated at the deepest levels of their brains.  People who were abused as children were made to feel worthless from a very young age. The natural developmental stages of self conception and identity were damaged.

People that in domestic abuse, were emotionally and mentally damaged. The abuser uses mind manipulation to make the person feel useless and stupid. The narcissists forces a fictitious reality on their victim and this reality changes.

The abuser changes the reality, constantly on order to manipulate the victim. If the victim buys something that the abuser wants at the store, the abuser may hide it. Then they will call the victim stupid for forgetting to buy the item at the store.

This reality manipulation over time, has the effect of confusing the victim about their own sense of reality. After the victim leaves the domestic abuse situation, they still have a feeling of shame and worthlessness. It takes time before the person will be able to see the proper perspective about who they are.

If we have been abused, we do not have the same sense of ease in feeling “normal.” We feel different that other people and often do not feel like we “fit in.” That sense of shame that we experienced during abuse, still looms over us.

Nineteenth century scientist Charles Darwin, in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, described shame affect as consisting of blushing, confusion of mind, downward cast eyes, slack posture, and lowered head… Wikipedia

This quote by Darwin is interesting to me, in that he describes the physical and mental appearance of shame. He describes the physical manifestation of shame to be “downcast eyes, lowered head”..

When I was living in an abusive relationship, I got comments a few times from people, that I looked down when a man entered the room. I was not aware that I did this at the time.

Actually it was one of my hospice patients that first pointed it out to me. She noticed that when a male aide came into the room to assist me, I lowered my head and looked down. I would not make eye contact with him.

As soon as the man left the room, my female patient said to me “Never! Never, look down when you meet a man! You are just as good as them. You are taking in a submissive posture with men and you should not.”

I was very surprised that I had done this and not even been aware of it. After that incident, I tried to be mindful of my body language with men and women, at least just to be aware of what message I was sending. Also to be aware of how I felt about men.

It is amazing that a woman on her death bed was so mindful and caring about me, that she noticed this and “scolded” me about it. It hurt her to see me be submissive to men like that. She was seeing into the future and how that submissiveness was going to harm me.

This lady knew nothing about the fact that I was living in an abusive relationship. It was purely an outside perspective.

Clearly, at that time, I felt afraid of men and my way of protecting myself was to take on the “submissive” posture. I also had a feeling if needing to protect my face from being hit. The downward position of my head, made me feel safer.

Psychiatrist Judith Lewis Herman had theories about shame as it related to childhood abuse. Her studies were about how a person from childhood abuse sees themselves through the eyes of their abusers.

toxic shame is induced, inside children, by all forms of child abuse. Incest and other forms of child sexual abuse can cause particularly severe toxic shame. Toxic shame often induces what is known as complex trauma in children who cannot cope with toxic shaming as it occurs and who dissociate the shame until it is possible to cope with.[18] Judith Lewis Herman

Abusers tell their victims to feel shame. They shame them by verbally abusing them, mentally torturing them, sexually violating them and / or otherwise physically harming them. There is no physical abuse without mental abuse.

There is no sexual abuse without mental abuse. The damage to a person, goes into their identity, their self esteem and their ability to view themselves in a “normal” way.

What I mean by “normal” is to be able to view yourself on a scale of reality based levels. What you are worth to yourself, and other people should be based on the person that you are. When a victim views themselves through the eyes of the abusers, they will always have a feeling of secret shame.

It is hard to break the brain patterns that were inflicted upon you by your abusers. You are worthy! You are important! You matter! Those are the true things that you need to know and believe!

Your abuser did not want you to know that you were a worthy and special person. They may not even have wanted to know that themselves, because it was easier for them to abuse you if they thought of you as “inhuman” rather than a real person.

You are a real person ! you are just as valuable and worthy of love as anyone ! Over time we can heal from these wounds. The PTSD (post traumatic stress) will never go away entirely. The past history of abuse will never go away. It is something we have to live with for the rest of our lives.

Instead of trying to crush it down, push the memories into the deepest recesses of our minds, we need to be ourselves and connect with others who will understand. We need to support and validate each other.

Together we can heal to a point where we can function better. Together we can create a community of support and love, that will uplift each and every one of us. Together we can turn our trauma around and use what we have learned to help others”

Together, we can be the “Wounded Healers!”

anxiety, bipolar, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, life, mental illness, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd

Depression and Difficulty with Taking Care of Yourself…Be Your Own Nurse

Depression wears you down and drains your energy. The amount of energy required to get it together and take a shower is tremendous, nevermind doing anything with our hair and make-up. It feels like we have to literally drag ourselves around to do anything.

Making dinner is an effort so we often don’t eat or just open a can of something or other. We deprive ourselves of proper nutrition because it is too confusing to keep track of that when our own thoughts are consuming us.

Besides the lack of energy, we don’t really see the point in taking care of ourselves. We feel hopeless and worthless and it just seems like it is not worth the effort. It is not like we are trying to impress anyone. There does not seem to be any hope of anything improving in our lives.

We will neglect our personal hygiene like taking showers, brushing our teeth and brushing our hair. We do not feel up to going to the beauty parlor.

We may have some vague recollection of feeling attractive, but we do not feel that way anymore. It feels like we can barely get through the day, Our minds are occupied with running thoughts that are extremely painful to keep listening to over and over.

Time passes differently and we are not even aware what time of day it is or how much time has passed sometimes. I have had times when three hours had gone by and I thought it was a half an hour  at most. This time confusion also makes it hard to figure out what to do and when to take care of our basic needs.

When we are in a state of severe mental torment, caring for ourselves just seems like a waste of energy. There is confusion in our minds and we have problems remembering things. A simple thing like organizing our day or making ourselves lunch, feels like a difficult task.

Our appetites are low and we do not feel like eating. or we overeat to make up for feelings of emptiness inside. Either way, our diets become unbalanced. We starve ourselves of proper nutrition and also exercise.

We do not feel good about how we look in the mirror.   The mirror tells us we are neglecting our personal care and basic needs. The mirror tells us , but we do not know what to do about it.

The problem is that when we neglect our personal care and our diet, it makes the depression worse. Our self esteem about how we look goes down. Our self esteem goes down regarding our ability to function normally like others do.

Bad nutrition will make our bodies and brains weak and less effective. Our thought processes will be slowed. Our ability to fight off infection is lower. All of these things will increase depression.

The chemicals in the brain are affected by the intake of nutrients from food.  When we do not eat properly,  our brains become more chemically off balance, as we continue to neglect eating proper meals.  It is a spiraling cycle into deeper depression.

It is very difficult to begin taking care of ourselves if we have been out of the habit for a long time. It requires “baby steps” to get back on the right track. We have take small steps to take care of ourselves and nurse ourselves back to health.

Think of yourself as a patient in the hospital. Your bed is a hospital bed. You also have to play the role of the nurse.

The nurse will encourage the patient to take a shower because you will feel better if you do. The nurse will bring food to the patient at regular times and encourage them to eat because the body needs to be strengthened.

Play the hospital game and pretend you are a wonderful nurse, taking care of a favorite patient. Encourage yourself to eat a few bites of healthy food. Have some nice soup  hot chocolate.

Think of what you would order , if you were in the hospital.  Encourage and be kind to yourself about personal care. Get out of bed for fifteen minutes an walk around the “hospital” a little bit.

Be your own  nurse and see how it helps. 🙂

Blessings,

Annie

abnormal psychology, alcoholic, anxiety, depression, memory issues, mental disorders, mental health, mental illness, suicude, wellness

Depression Hurts

depression hurts

Depression is real.

Depression really hurts.

Depression is exhausting.

Depression is scary.

Depression is dangerous.

If you have depression, don’t suffer in silence.  Find someone you can tell. If the people that are around you every day will not understand then find another way to talk to someone.

Go through this list until you see an option for you.

1. Family member

2. Friend

3. Teacher

4. Primary care Physician

5. Guidance Counselor

6. Neighbor

7. Online friend

8. Facebook Groups (Closed Groups)  (search on facebook under the key word  ” depression”. There are closed groups you can go to the page of the group. Then request to join. They will add you and then give you the rules of the group. There is always someone on there to talk to. Face book has both public and closed groups on all kinds of mental illnesses. Some are for specific issues and other are for mental health issues in general.

9. Online Groups for depression, because sometimes you just can’t drag yourself out of bed. When it is like that then you probably won’t leave the house to get help. Psych Central has groups for most  mental illnesses. Some are general and some are for specific disorders.

http://psychcentral.com/resources/Depression/Support_Groups/

6 pm

If you can’t , you can’t. Some days it gets to be 4pm and then 6pm and we just cannot even get dresses, nevermind leave the house. It happens. It has happened to me. 

10. WordPress Blog (if you have a wordpress blog you can meet other bloggers who have struggled with depression. Search the tags to read their blogs. Once you read other people’s blogs, more and more people will follow you and read your posts. Post under the tag depression and people will connect with you . If this does not work for you, Try one of the other things on this list

11. 12 step groups local

12. local Church ( sometimes they have someone to counsel you, it does not matter what denomination you go to, they should be able to connect you)

13. Helpline

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

Hotline & Helpline Information

24-hour Hotline

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

  • 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
Suicide Prevention Services Depression Hotline 630-482-9696

Crisis Help Line – For Any Kind of Crisis 800-233-4357

14. Tumblr has Mental-Health-Advice.Usually someone is available to talk to you 24 hours. It may be worth a try.  They have a therapist o line that will respond to your posts/ questions in a timely manner Just go to your Tumblr account and look for Mental-Health-Advice, then click follow.

15. Internet information and resources

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=urgent_crisis_hotline

addiction, addictive personality, anxiety, depression, mental health, mental illness, ptsd, suicidal ideations, suicidal thoughts, suicude

There is Always Hope

there is always hope annie

Don’t give up! Sometimes things seem hopeless and life feels like it is not worth it. Things will get better. You matter. There is always HOPE!

Much Love,

ANNIE

life, mental health, mental illness

Introverted people and Social Anxiety and Depression

Introverted people that have severe anxiety and social anxiety are at risk for depression. The reason for this is that we cannot get the time to ourselves that we need.

We need time to reflect and be quiet and thoughtful. We need to cry by ourselves sometimes. We need to have time away from other people, especially groups of people and individuals who are triggering to our anxiety.

People often think they are being helpful when they try to drag us to social things and force us to be interactive. We are perfectly capable of one on one interaction. Introverted people are not necessarily shy. We are not antisocial. We can go up to new people and introduce ourselves just fine.

I personally like one on one interaction with certain types of people. But being in a crowd of a room full of people , is very uncomfortable to me. Even going to a restaurant with the family, is too much social anxiety for me.

I am happy to go shopping with one of my daughters. I love talking to people on wordpress because it is a one on one interaction.

Introverted people like to choose who they interact with and not have people forced upon us. I do not like when someone brings someone up to me at a random time, and forces me to interact with them , on the spur of the moment. I like to have a warning first, i order to have some time for mental preparation.

I hate when friends or neighbor just show up at my house, knock on the door and want to me to answer the door. I like my meetings with everyone to be scheduled or planned somehow.

If I am in a group interaction, like Christmas family stuff, I have to take breaks and go to a room alone. I tried this tactic this year on christmas and it worked very well. Every hour or so, I left the main area and went to a quiet room. I checked my wordpress for comment and interacted with people on here for 10  minutes, I sat quietly for another 5 minutes. The I was ok and could go back into the main room and interact for a little while.

Introverted people like to have conversations that are meaningful. We do not enjoy small talk about the weather or annoying gossip about other people. To me, those shallow interactions feel like they are wasting my time. I would rather be alone than have to act like I am cheerful and play the social game, which is stressful. Partially it is stressful to me because it is so mind numbingly boring to me.

Shallow group interactions are also anxiety triggering to me , because I cannot navigate all of the interactions going on in the room. I feel a tremendous sensory overload with a lot of conversations going on and I have to pick one to join . I do not always say the right things and I come off differently than I intend to.

I do not understand or really care about, the social dynamics of a group like that. It is just too much and I want to leave.

Depression sets in when people do not allow you to get a break. Depression sets in when you are forced into too much social interaction and do not have a “time out” to regroup your brain.

I am very good with my old people that are my patients. When I interact with them one on one, I can make meaningful connections with them. They are always happy to see me, when I come to work.

The family members of the patients love to see me come to work. They often will request that I be the one to take care of their Mom or dad , for the evening. The family members will go to the nurses desk and request to have their aid changed to be me.

However, I get scolded by my supervisors because I do not always do what the other workers are doing. I think for myself and do my job very well, But the lack of being able to tolerate group interaction is beginning to put my job in danger.

I do not always understand the social protocol. I just like to interact with everyone as if we are all brothers an sisters that love each other. I like to talk to people and communicate about feelings and thoughts.

This is not always within the Social norm or the conformity system.

Introverted people that have post traumatic stress have trouble not breaking down and crying in the middle of social overload. We have to take a time out. We have no control in those events and situations about triggers. There is often music playing that is a flashback trigger to me. Everyone is having fun singing the songs, but I want to melt away into the floor and not have to listen to it.

You can’t always sit in a nice quiet part of the room. because people think they are helping you by drawing you out. They think you are either antisocial and rude, or they think you are shy and need help to get involved. Neither of which is true at all.

I just want to be in the quiet corner. I am happier there. I am not necessarily lonely or craving people to be around me. I like to be in my bedroom. by myself. My boyfriend can call and I can talk to him, but still be in the peace and quiet of my room. It is a place for me to organize my thoughts and my brain patterns.

I get depressed when I have to continuously interact with people over a period of days. I have to interact at work, so when I come home, I have used up my social tolerance . It is extremely stressful for people to be waiting to talk to me at my house. (I do not mean my kids)

When I get home at midnight, I am done interacting for the day. Also on my day off, I need time to myself.

When people keep invading me and do not respect my introverted needs, I begin to go into severe anxiety and depression

So if you are like me, please set boundaries and insist that people respect them. The people I live with are bad with any kind of boundaries. They do not understand them, So lately I have given up trying to explain it to them. I just say NO to things and let them be upset or think I am rude.

It is not my fault or my problem  that they think I am rude for saying NO to certain kinds of activities. I cannot maintain my mental stability at all, if I have to be forced by the extroverts to be cheerful and socialble.

Namaste,

Annie

health, life, mental health, mental illness, religion, self-help, spiritual, spoken word

Abnormality is defined as a deviation from the accepted thoughts, emotions and behaviour

Abnormality is defined as a deviation from the accepted thoughts, emotions and behaviour

What is  ‘normal’ ? It is  an invented idea related to conformity.

Conformity to the status quo and the manners and behaviors that the vast majority are comfortable with. Saying “fine” when someone asks how you are, is the accepted behavior.

Following the rules at a workplace,  even when there is an obvious , glaring exception to the rule, staring you in the face.

Going along with our plans and our schedules like drones , without thinking about what we are doing. That is the status quo. That is conformity.That is a lack of creativity and individuality.

When people all follow what someone else thinks, no one thinks at all. Who is making the social norms? The people at the top who are benefitting from it. All the drones underneath have the impression that they are the ones that benefit but it is not true.

Loss  of humanity and individual thinking. Taking each individual situation for what it is and thinking and and making and intelligent , thoughtful plan of action. This is all lost in the confusion and the illusion or orderliness.

People have the impression that the status quo rules are neat and orderly. They think that they like the rules ans that the Normal accepted behaviors and reactions are going to keep them safe and protect them.

if this is true, then why is suicide on the rise and mental illness more and more prevalent in society?

Maybe mental illness is caused by the infliction of an untrue reality upon independent thinkers. The forcing of a reality that someone created and is telling us is safe. But when we see that it is not true and it is unsafe for us, we are seen as abnormal people. The ones who do not fit in.

This results in isolation and alienation. We can see what the reality is. But they tell us we are not conforming to their thoughts and their reality.

People that have survived, or their children have survived sexual abuse, are expected to attend holiday functions with the offending family members. They are expected to sit there are pretend nothing ever happened. Ot to pretend that the abuser is rehabilitated and no longer a threat.

Women living with abusive men are told that things are not as bad as they think. People think they are exaggerating and the “poor guy” is just venting from a hard day.You should be thankful that he works so hard to support you. How do they know how the guy is supporting you? They don’t even know if he shares any of his money with you. Why do they assume?

Even family members sometimes support the abuser and treat the victim as though she is in some alternate abnormal reality. You have to be a better wife, a better girlfriend. Maybe he would be a better man if you were more supportive. It must be you… Crap! Crap! BS!

I have always been supportive in relationships. Begging someone not to leave you and a child with no money in the bank account and no food in the fridge, so they can go to live in another state with friends to “find themselves” and their “Purpose” and a job, is crap. Why should you suffer with no food and no money, to be supportive of someone who does not want to work. Someone who leaves you stuck with his parents, because he can’t stand living with them anymore.

When our feelings do not match what the others tell us to feel, we become mentally ill. Our brain suffers because it tries to hold onto the actual reality while other people are messing with it.

abnormal psychology, addiction, death, life, mental health, mental illness, psychology

Suicide , Suicide Attempts and Self Harm

I feel that I should start this post with the following information.

Lifeline, the national suicide prevention hotline for USA

Phone: If you are in crisis you can call anytime  1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention http://www.afsp.org/

Below is a link for the National Institute for Mental health , section on suicide prevention

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml

If you are not in the USA then there are international suicide hotlines to call. The responders to the calls are trained in suicide prevention and know about mental illness.

Suicide is in the top ten list for causes of death in the United States. Unfortunately, it claims more lives each year than the year before. This is an epidemic which deserves attention and research to find solutions.

There are about 1 million suicide attempts each year in the US and the numbers continue to rise. If you feel alone in considering suicide, you are not. There are people right now, like you, that feel alone and do not know how to reach out to for help.

Many suicides are people who had a mental illness that was not being treated. It is possible that treatment could have saved their lives.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, someone commits suicide about every 14 minutes, in the United States. This is about  40,000 lives lost every year.

Adolescent suicide is a reality that many people want to ignore and pretend that it does not exist.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health,

” Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens aged 12-17, accounting for about 1,000 deaths in 2011 . A 2013 survey indicated that as many as 2.7 percent of high school students nationwide made a suicide attempt”

It is difficult to gather exact statistics about self harm because many people, including teens and preteens , do not tell anyone about their self harm behaviors. It is their way of feeling some power over their circumstances, when they otherwise feel powerless. It is often a secret kept from family and friends.

There is research that estimates that 14-24 percent of adolescents have self harmed at least once. Many of them have done it many times and continue to do so.

Make no mistake, self harm is a big red flag! If someone you know is injuring themselves then they are at risk for suicide.

A recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration found that one in five Americans is living with some type of mental health condition. Mental illness like depression, severe anxiety, PTSD , bipolar disorder and many others can be a risk factor for self harm or suicide.

The stress response known as fight-or-flight is driven by the stress hormone cortisol, which is regulated by a part of the neuroendocrine system called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

There is research that shows that there can be a genetic predisposition to suicide and suicide attempts. There is a great article which gives all the specifics in the link below.

http://www.afsp.org/research/research-connection/stress-and-genes-linked-to-suicide-attempts

If you are wondering about the symptoms of yourself or someone else, there are some suicide warning signs that are critical to know.

Someone who talks about the following things, is a possible suicide risk:

  • Killing themselves.
  • Having no reason to live.
  • Being a burden to others.
  • Feeling trapped.
  • Unbearable pain.

Other behaviors that should alert your attention include:

loss of interest in activities they love, self-isolation from family and friends, giving away important possessions and making phone calls to people that sound like they are saying goodbye to them.

Each of those people leaves an average of 6 family members and close friends who are traumatized by the suicide. So if you are a survivor of the suicide of a loves one, you are not alone. There is help for you.

Suicide  of a loved one is extremely traumatizing and can cause PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), depression, and severe anxiety. In another words, you may be suffering from mental illness now, if you survived the suicide of a family member or a friend.

The links below will give you a beginning to finding ways to get help for your trauma. Find a way to seek help if you feel like you need it.

http://www.afsp.org/coping-with-suicide-loss

http://www.afsp.org/coping-with-suicide-loss/find-support

http://www.afsp.org/coping-with-suicide-loss/find-support/join-the-survivor-e-network

There are medications for depression and other mental illnesses. There are many kinds of  therapists. For some people , therapy is very helpful.

There are many people on wordpress.com that really care about you. We are the “wounded healers”  The wounded healers have experienced severe trauma, mental illness and abuse. We are compassionate about the suffering of others that we can relate to.

You can search by tags for suicide, mental illness, depression, ptsd, bipolar disorder, and other mental illness related tags.

Read people’s stories. Comment on their posts. Keep reading and searching until you find someone that will understand and will reach out to you. There are many in this community.

I have seen people become suicidal and post their feelings and even their plans for suicide on wordpress. It was their only outlet because at this point they had cut off family and friends.

So many bloggers responded to these suicidal posts that the people felt enveloped in care and concern from strangers who really reached out to them. Many people had a change of heart after reading all the comments that other bloggers wrote.

The same goes for survivors of suicide. There are wounded healers that are survivors of suicide here as well. If you search the tags and keep trying, you will find someone that will listen and understand. Sometimes the best first step to healing is to find someone that will understand and validate your suffering.

I hope this post has provided some helpful information for you. If anyone wants to put a link to their mental illness blog in the comments , as a way of adding that information to this post, feel free to do do.

If you are reaching out for help, please also feel free to put a link to your blog in the comments below.  If you are viewing wordpress from a google search and do not have a wordpress blog, it is very easy to set up a wordpress account. You do not have to post a picture in your profile. You can always use an avatar.

That is about all I can think of to say at this time. We were brought into the world needing the community of others. There are people in the world that will understand you. Don’t give up until you find them.

anxiety, health, life, mental illness

Saying “I am just Tired” Rather than saying “I am depressed and having severe anxiety”

tumblr_lvgeystE0q1qeoaa5o1_r1_1280

I saw this depression cartoon on tumblr and I thought it would be something a lot of my readers would understand and relate to. You can follow the artist on tumblr by linking to the cartoon.

I do this all the time. Someone asks me if I am ok and I will say “I am just tired.” That is the go-to answer for many people. For a while I thought it was just me but the fact that this cartoon is so popular, lets me know that I am not the only person that responds this way.

You feel overwhelmed by what is going on in your brain. You feel the aches and pains of depression in your body.

You are afraid that if anyone actually knew what was going on inside of your head, they would judge you or never want to talk to you again. Or they might use it against you in some way, knowing you are weak.

Another fear is that they will say something that minimizes how I feel or invalidates it completely. They won’t understand how you are feeling or really want to hear the truth.

It is just simpler and less risky to respond with the “I am just tired” line. I must say that 10 times a week, at work.

Of course there are people that will use it to undermine you and stab you in the back. This is a woman to woman thing in the workplace. Many women are very supportive of each other in the work world, but there are a few “queen bees” here and there. Those women love to screw other women over.

So, we keep it to ourselves and people must just think we are always tired.

If there is one person, or a couple of them, outside of work, that we can be honest with, then that is a blessing. It is bad enough to feel attacked by your own thoughts. Having to choke down those feelings all the time makes it worse.

I sometimes feel so paranoid that someone at work will find out I have mental illness issues, that I voluntarily mention that I feel tired today.

So here we are. We are all tired.

And we are tired, to be sure. But in addition to being tired , we are weak and we are vulnerable to other people who do not sympathize with us.

It seems that it has become harder and harder to pass off the “I am just tired” line at work anymore. I feel uncomfortable when people ask how I am feeling in the workplace. I also feel uncomfortable in certain social situations.

For the most part, I only like discussing my real feelings with one person in a one to one situation. Even then, it has to be someone who understands anxiety and depression.

I was blindsided at the therapist visit last week. This is the therapist for my family member, not for me. The family member agreed to have their sessions video taped. I was on the video camera and the therapist asked me about my personal feelings about a part of the whole situation that is very traumatic to me.

I was not expecting the personal feelings question. In the past they just included me as a family member from time to time for support. I suddenly became aware of the video camera on me and i freaked out.

I felt like I was in a room full of people and being forced into a sever emotional state by the question. It was not so much the question about my feelings, but the fact that I had to think about that trauma and talk about it in front of the video camera. I had the feeling of a room full of people, rather than one therapist asking me to identify my feelings.

I have such anxiety about answering the” How Are You Feeling” question that the” How Did You Feel When…” question can be worse. If it is about a traumatic memory to me then I don’t want to be asked it, in a room full of people.

I did not know how to explain that the camera felt like extra people in the room to me. In effect, it really is. So I just fell into this anxiety attack and said all kinds of stupid things that didn’t connect. I must have sounded very crazy because I kept changing the subject to things that were less painful to talk about. My answer came out very disjunct.

I wish I had just said “I feel tired today. Let me think about that question until next week”. Then I could have told her afterwards to please not do that to me with the camera on.

Anyway, that is how I am feeling today LOL

Namaste,

Annie

abnormal psychology, health, mental health, mental illness, non-fiction, short story, wellness

Old and Tired at 101 years old

I had a conversation with a man that is 101 years old. The other workers told me to stay with him for a while because they thought he had become confused and forgetful. They thought he would not be safe alone in is room.

So, I sat with him and asked him what was up. He told me.

He said, “I am old.”

I said, “How old are you?”

He said, “I was born in March of 1913.”

“You are 101 years old? Wow, that is really neat.” I said

“I am old.” he said ” I am old and tired. They all think I am confused because I say that. But I am old and I am tired. I don’t understand why I am still here.”

He continued on “The same thing happened to my mother. She lived to be over 100. She was not happy about it. She was old ad tired.”

“I understand,” I said. “You are old and tired and everything is hard for you. Your family and friends are all in heaven and you don’t know why you are still here.”

“That’s right,” he said.

It is strange to me that people think someone is confused when they say they no longer want to be here on the earth.

Sometimes people are old and tired and they are just done. That is how they feel. They are not confused about it. They are only wondering when they will die and why they are still here when everyone they love has passed on.

They miss their spouse and their children who have long since passed away. It is not easy to be 101 years old.

He is not forgetful or disoriented at all. he is not confused. he knows exactly how he feels and no one wants to listen to it.

Feeling like you want to die is unacceptable. It is not proper therefor the person must be confused or have dementia.

I spoke with this man for 20 minutes and he had no signs of dementia. His memory is better than mine is.

Afterwards I told the supervisor that he was depressed. She said “he is forgetful and confused.”

There is a difference between forgetful and disoriented and being depressed. Most people don’t expect old people to feel depressed.

They think they are too old to have anything going on with them except dementia and forgetfulness.

Sometimes people feel the way they feel, even if it doesn’t fit into people’s comfort zone.

I was glad they called me to sit with him. He was honest and forthcoming with me because I was willing to listen without judgement.

Whenever someone says they don’t want to live, people tell them “You don’t mean that”. But they do. People don’t say things like that if they don’t really feel that way.

At least someone listened and believed him. It isn’t much but it was the least I could do.

Namaste,
Annie