Tag Archives: guest blogger

What If It’s Not A Happy Holiday? – Renata Leo

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The holiday season is quickly approaching, which means plenty of parties, family gatherings, holiday specials, and most importantly, pressure to feel happy and have a great time. When you suffer from depression and are constantly at war with your brain, it can be difficult to separate your emotions from how you believe that you’re “supposed” to feel. Every day is a struggle to understand how you really feel and to fight the impulse to force yourself into certain emotions. I can’t tell you how many vacations have been ruined for me because my brain was continually telling me that I should be happy even though I wasn’t, which made me even more miserable.  And there’s no time when societal pressure to feel a certain way is more present than the holidays.

Between all of the tv shows and movies with messages of love and good tidings, cheerful songs extolling all the virtues of humanity and family members talking about how wonderful it is when the family gets together, we are bombarded with the message that we’re supposed to be happy during the holidays. Gifts, love, and free vacation days, who can be upset with that?

The pressure comes from every direction! If you’re hosting a party, it needs to be perfect. If you’re attending a party, you need to be thrilled every minute. And due to this ever-present pressure, tensions at holiday parties can run high. With the hosts and party goers all feeling that everything needs to go perfectly, the smallest mishap can make tensions boil over. Family gatherings are constantly on the edge of contentious catastrophe. For an empathetic person, this atmosphere is really a minefield. Unable to escape this tense vibe, empaths can feel anxious and smothered by the forced merriment. All of this frivolity can be damaging for introverts as well. While interacting with so many new people and attending several parties can already drain an introvert, the added energy used by plastering on a fake smile and pretending to have a great time can be even more exhausting.

Then, there’s the pressure to take care of everyone else. The holidays are supposed to be a time when we think of everyone else instead of ourselves. Escaping from the festivities becomes a selfish and heartless move instead of necessary self-care. You don’t want to be a Grinch, right?  Self-care is an important part of everyday life, though, and it is especially important during the holidays when you are expected to attend to everyone else. You can’t take care of others if you’re too burnt out from neglecting yourself! Self-care is important, especially when dealing with depression, but when everyone around you is proclaiming that you need to be as selfless as possible, self-care seems selfish.

Make sure that you take care of yourself throughout the holidays, without worrying about everyone else. If you need to take a moment away from the festivities, confide in some people who would understand and make your exit. Don’t pressure yourself to feel a certain kind of way. This internal pressure only compounds on a heavy societal pressure to feel jolly and merry. Just let yourself feel. It’s okay if you’re not enjoying the festivities. It’s okay if you still feel sad and empty during the holidays. It’s okay.

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Author Bio: Renata is just an open-minded, overly-sensitive, optimistically cynical feminist millennial whose passions are people and words. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @renataoleo, or at her blog here.

Another Dietary Plan with Antidepressant Implications? – John Caruso

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Another dietary plan with antidepressant implications?

The connections between diet and physical health have long been assumed. While the science exploring this is still in relative infancy, most of us understand the concept of “you are what you eat.”

But is it possible that how we think is also affected by what we eat? Could simple dietary changes give us a boost into more vibrant mental health? Or prevent us from sliding into poor mental health in the first place?

To answer those questions, let’s not make assumptions. Let’s see what the science says.

Published in the October 2009 edition of JAMA Psychiatry (formerly Archives of General Psychiatry), researchers from the University of Navarra set out to determine what impact eating the Mediterranean diet might have on the incidence of depression.

Using a massive sample size of 10,094 participants, researchers measured incidents of depression after a median of 4.4 years, then compared those outcomes with the results of a 136-item food frequency questionnaire to determine any potential correlation between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and clinical depression.

Their results were not insignificant.

They found the Hazard Ratios (probability of depression incidents) to be considerably lower among those who adhered more closely to the Mediterranean diet than those who did not.

The researchers grouped participants into five groups based on their adherence to the diet and compared the risk of depression relative to the group who least closely adhered to the diet. Here is how they performed (from least close to closest adherence).

Group 1:               Least adherence to Mediterranean diet

Group 2:               26% reduction in risk

Group 3:               34% reduction in risk

Group 4:               51% reduction in risk

Group 5:               42% reduction in risk

The closer participants adhered to the diet, the greater the reduction in risk. Curiously, the group with the closest adherence bucked the trend and experienced a slight uptick compared to the group just behind them, but the reduction in risk of 42 percent is still quite significant.

So we should all just adopt the Mediterranean diet then, right?

Not so fast!

While these results are extremely encouraging, we need to take a closer look at them, as well as other studies to see what they mean to us.

First of all, the results of this study need to be replicated to find out if there is consistency. And while adherence to the diet as a whole may have shown lowered risk, risk was not eliminated entirely. Also, some foods showed increased risk when evaluated independently.

For example, while fruits and nuts showed decreased risk of between 31 percent toward the lower end of consumption and 39 percent on the upper end, meat products showed a decreased risk of 8 percent on the lower end and an increased risk of 35 percent on the upper end.

So, does that mean that some meat is beneficial while a lot of meat is detrimental? And some fruits and nuts are beneficial while a lot of fruits and nuts are very beneficial?

Perhaps. But this is why further studies are needed. Can these foods be studied in a vacuum, or do they work synergistically with one another when in proper balance?

This is precisely the reason to take these results with a nice grain of Mediterranean Sea salt.

What is our takeaway then?

When you look at the results of this study and add them to the results of others that have shown similar findings, such as this one about the DASH diet, this one about turmeric, and even this one about saffron, you can start to see a common thread begin to emerge.

We are seeing more and more evidence that some of these whole foods-based, nutrient-rich diets may offer more than just benefits to our physical health. They may offer a profound impact on our mental health as well.

Much more research is needed to confirm these findings and to discover what mechanisms within these diets may be responsible for their potential benefits. But in the meantime, they give us a great head start in chasing down some answers.

(And when you chase them down, always chase them down in consultation with your physician!)

Reference: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210386

The statements contained in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Unless otherwise specified, no writer for PursuitOfGreat.com is a licensed physician, medical doctor, trainer, nutritionist or health professional of any kind. Do not consume anything written about on this website if you are allergic to it.

The opinions expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Please consult a physician or health care professional for your specific health care or medical needs.

Please talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise or diet program, including those found in this article. The information provided in this article is not intended as a substitute for consultations with your doctor nor is it intended to provide medical advice specific to your condition.

Author Bio John Caruso is the owner and writer of www.PursuitOfGreat.com, a site specializing in health and wellness reviews, positive mindset, belief, finances, and solutions that provide an equal playing field in life for all. The goal of PursuitOfGreat.com is to find and share tools that anyone can use to achieve greatness in life, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Stop by and, if you find something that helps you, spread the word! Twitter Pinterest

Christmas Traditions – Lexie Wohler

Christmas Traditions

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Christmas time is a time of celebration. It is a time to get together with family and friends. It’s a time to remember how blessed you are to have had another year of life. It is also the time to start buying gifts for your family and friends. Christmas light will be starting to pop up on your street and all around your neighborhood. There will be hordes of people trying to buy just the right gifts for their loved ones.

You’ll start hearing Christmas music. Do you start listening to Christmas songs in early November or do you wait until December? I normally wait until after December first to start listening to Christmas music. What’s your favorite Christmas song? One of my favorites is “On This Very Christmas Night” by the Tran Siberian Orchestra.

What are some of the traditions that you and your family celebrate during the holiday season? Do you go caroling with a group of friends or people from your church? Do you go help care for the homeless, or bring clothes to those who are less fortunate?  My family and I often go see Christmas lights around our city and then go see Christmas lights and decorations downtown. My dad often puts up our Christmas tree and the Christmas lights over the few warmer days that we get in late November, or early December.

My mom starts decorating the house in early December. Our praise team starts singing Christmas songs at church in late November, when we start preparing for Advent.  We lead worship at the 5p.m. service on Christmas Eve. Normally, the church is filled with over 200 people on Christmas Eve.

Some of my other Christmas traditions include listening to “The Time, Life and Treasury of Christmas” and “The Child of The Promise” CDs.

We also go to my grandmas on Christmas morning to open presents. Going over to her house was and is one of my all-time favorite traditions. We normally rotate who hosts Christmas every year. Sometimes we end up hosting it at our house two to three years in a row. Who hosts Christmas every year in your family?

The most important part of Christmas is celebrating Jesus’ birth. We get so busy with the rush of the holiday that we forget to focus on Him. We get so caught up in buying gifts and getting our house ready for Christmas that Jesus is often overlooked as the reason for the season.

Jesus’ birth paved the way for everyone who believes in Him to be saved and eventually go to Heaven. Unfortunately, the world thinks it’s all about the gifts and the decorations, when it’s all about focusing on how important Jesus is in all of our lives.  As much fun as it is decorating our homes and spending time with our loved ones, let us never forget the true reason for every Christmas season.

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Lexie Wohler is a repeat guest blogger with The Unsanity and you can find some of her previous posts here, along with her author bio and social media links.

I’m Fine – How Often Do We Mean It? – Ami Ireland

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This next guest spot is from a dear friend of mine I had the pleasure of meeting online this year and working with. In continuing to work with her, I got to know her more and more each day, learning about her disability and what life likes for her. If you havent read any of her blog yet, please head over to Undercover Superhero and take a look around. I promise you’ll find something that intrigues you. 

The phrase “I’m fine” is one of the most popular answers to respond with when asked about how we are feeling. But do we actually mean it? If no, then why do we use the phrase as a default response?

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A recent poll I conducted on Twitter shows that out of 108 people, who took part in the poll, 52% of them use the phrase and mean it between 0% to 25% of the time. There are so many reasons as to why that is:

It’s Easier To Hide How We Really Feel

I’m sure that many of you will agree that we often feel like a burden when we open up and feel anxious about the other person thinking or saying “What have you got to be down about?”, “Things could be worse” or something similar. There is still so much stigma around mental health which also causes us not to express how we are truly feeling. The lack of understanding and empathy towards one another is something that I, personally, think that is the main issue with regards to replying with “I’m fine” as there are some people who just do not or choose to not understand mental health.

Convenience

“I’m fine” is definitely a lot easier and quicker to say rather then going into detail about how we actually feel. Then again, this can coincide with the fear of how others react to when we open up. Also, it could just be convenient to say if you were to quickly acknowledge a passer-by in the street or something.

Repetition

If like me, you have a variety of conditions, it can get pretty exhausting repeating ourselves to different people. As a result, this is where convenience ties in making the phrase an easier and quicker response.

Fear

The fear of causing others around us to worry. It could possibly be due to the fear of finding out who our true friends are and how supportive they are.

27% Of People Use The Phrase and Mean It Between 25% > 50% Of The Time & 19% Of People Mean It Between 50% > 75% Of The Time

This is interesting. As you can see, the less of the amount of people who use the phrase, the more of the chance they actually mean it. Personally, I think this is because people are in the process of realising who understands mental health and those that choose to ignore it.

Is It A Test Or Cry For Help?

Do we reply with “I’m fine” to test others? This could explain the process of finding out who truly care about how we feel. On the other hand, it could be a cry for help, which will also let us find out who care enough to be supportive.

3% Of People Use The Phrase and Mean It Between 75% > 100% Of The Time

I’ve been thinking long and hard about why only 3% mean it between 75% and 100% of the time. Here are my thoughts:

Trust

The person has surrounded themselves with those who are supportive and understanding which enables them to open up rather than just saying “I’m fine”.

Honesty

I think the person is comfortable with being honest, regardless of the situation or outcome, therefore they are completely honest with each person they come across. Or the person does actually feel fine.

Do you use the phrase as an automatic reply? Or do you truly mean it?

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Author bio: Ami is a disability Blogger who writes about her recovery and talks openly about living with multiple disabilities. Her blog, UndercoverSuperhero is a place where she attempts to look at life more positively. Ami has a passion for volunteering and a strong love for superheroes. She aims to raise awareness of disabilities, illnesses, mental health illnesses, etc and has an ongoing series called “The Reality of…” which enables fellow bloggers and readers to raise awareness of the conditions they live with. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Ohio’s Beauty in the Fall – Lexie Wohler

Have you ever seen the colors of fall? The leaves changing to different colors are some of the most incredible things to see. There is nothing quite like taking a drive and seeing the colors blend beautifully together. Instead of seeing just green on the trees, you get to see bright red, orange and yellow. We often take the fall weather and the fall beauty for granted because we have lived here for so long.

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We don’t always see the beauty for what it is, until someone else mentions it to us. We often hear the comments of, “What a beautiful fall we are having”, and “it’s nice that we get to see the change of seasons unlike other places.”

Some of my family members come up to Ohio just to see what fall looks like for us. Many of my relatives don’t get to experience the serenity of fall because of where they live. They are in awe of the changing colors and the different atmosphere they feel when they come to Ohio in the fall.

Most of the time, the leaves start changing color in the middle to late September and they continue falling until after thanksgiving in November. When the leaves start dropping, you can see clear across the valley that we have in our backyard. The smell of fall is something very different, too. You can tell that fall has come when the air has a crisp clean sent to it and you feel the colder air in your lungs when you take deep breaths.

It is so refreshing to walk outside on a crisp clear day. It is one of the ways I enjoy fall. I take walks and photograph the changing colors of the leaves and the beauty all around me.  I hear the leaves crunching under your feet as you walk. Have you ever walked outside and smelled the air after a thunderstorm? Well multiply that clean smell by 10 times and add the rustling of the leaves all around you and you just know fall has come.

Sometimes the fall can be fairly warm for our Indian Summer as we call it, in the 60s and 70s. Whereas some other years, the temps can drop to the 50s pretty quickly. The temperatures are some of my favorite aspects about fall. They are often just perfect enough for me to break out some of my favorite sweatshirts and some of my favorite sweatpants. There is nothing like sitting around a warm campfire, drinking warm cider as the temperature drops to the 50s in the evening and into the night.

Some of the fun things you can do include going on nature hikes in some of the area’s finest Metroparks systems. The truth is, you never know what kind of animals you’ll see, from possums to beavers to deer and sometimes even wolves and coyotes. My family often jokes that we have the Disney movie Bambi, right in our backyard with all the woodland creatures around us.

Some other fun things to do include going camping and sitting by campfires and raking a huge pile of leaves just to jump in them and have them spread all over your yard. Fall gives you more wonder to gaze at than you ever thought possible.

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Come experience fall in Ohio if you’ve never been here before. You will not be disappointed.

As the catchphrase goes for Ohio, whatever you’re looking for, you can always find it here.

*Lexie is a repeat guest blogger for The Unsanity and you can find her bio and previous posts here.

I Am A Warrior – Dannii

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I’m a warrior against anxiety and depression. This is my story.

I was twenty-six when I had my daughter Mia. I lived with my boyfriend at the time in a one-bed house and we’d only been together about a year. We hadn’t necessarily planned to have a baby. I was scared but believed everything would be ok. My pregnancy was good with no problems and very easy. I had to be induced because I was twelve days overdue but I had a fairly straightforward labour. I fell in love with Mia the second I saw her. She was perfect. But I was terrified.  All of a sudden I was a mother. I was responsible for every decision, every choice for my little girl. Everything I did would shape and mould who she’d become. Very quickly I learnt how scary, beautiful, frightening, wonderful, terrifying, emotional, nerve racking, blissful, stressful, rewarding and amazing motherhood was. You go on this emotional, mental and physical, rollercoaster ride and it blows you away. Some days are tough; other days are tougher. Some days are testing, emotional and stressful. Other days are perfect and you feel more joy, love, contentment and happiness than you’d ever known was possible.

I didn’t know until much later that I had post-natal depression and anxiety. I’d previously suffered with depression as a teenager and young adult but had counselling for that and I never associated it with this. I felt different. So I didn’t believe I had post-natal depression until later. I had terrifying thoughts, dreams, and my mind played tricks on me all the time. Most days I’d cry for no reason and couldn’t understand what was wrong. My boyfriend asked all the time if I was okay, and I’d just say there was nothing wrong and that I was fine. I’d get angry with him asking me all the time because I thought I was fine but secretly knew something had to be wrong—I just couldn’t explain it or pinpoint it.  Also, I just didn’t want to admit that I was struggling in case he thought I was a useless mother. I wanted to control everything and do everything myself, even though deep down I did want help with things, but I wanted things done a certain way. I just wanted to be able to manage everything on my own because other mothers seemed to do fine and my boyfriend worked so hard; I just wanted to cope with it all. I dreaded going out and leaving the house but at the same time, I was desperate to get out, although I was just too scared. Breastfeeding didn’t come easily to me and after six or seven weeks I admitted defeat, switched to bottle feeding and felt like I’d failed. Mia wasn’t a great sleeper and I was exhausted. Her dad worked long hours on his feet all day so I wanted to do as much of the night feeds as possible, but sometimes I just needed rest. It really took its toll. I turned into someone else; I’d lost who I was. I had no self-esteem, I hated how I looked and how I felt, I lost my self-worth and self-belief and doubted everything, doubted myself. I was a nervous wreck but did everything to hide it. In hindsight, I should have got help but I didn’t because I was terrified that people would think I was an unfit mother and take my daughter away from me. I hid my feelings; I never spoke to anyone about anything that I thought or felt. I was trapped in the madness of my own mind.Inside it was eating me up and I was screaming from within.

On top of all of this, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy when Mia was still a baby,. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, my Gran and Grandad (Dad’s parents) both passed away within months. Although Dad made an amazing recovery from the cancer, it had all been too much and he turned to excessive alcohol consumption. Sadly he began to deteriorate drastically so I had to deal with that and trying to help keep his business going whilst he was so unwell and unfit to cope. I’d get calls at all times of the day and night from the staff or people who knew my dad at the pub, telling me he had fallen down the cellar or down the stairs. Times when they couldn’t wake him—the list goes on. I had time off work to keep rushing over to check on him. Eventually he ended up in hospital and I was backwards and forwards visiting him. I was at breaking point and I just crumbled. I couldn’t cope. I remember several times just getting in my car and driving somewhere, parking up and just sitting there and crying. I cried so much my eyes burned with the tears, my heart pounded so hard in my chest, I felt like I literally couldn’t breathe quick enough. I felt so sick and so empty.  I used to think what if I just disappeared, what if I could just fly away from it all, like a bird. How could I possibly be a good mother to Mia like this? I’d failed her. I felt useless. I used to imagine just floating, drifting away, almost like imagining an out-of-body experience. Sometimes I’d lie down in a field or on the bonnet of my car and just look up at the sky, the clouds, the stars and just wish to be up there. It sounds ridiculous now, but I felt so defeated.  I did this on several occasions, just sat there by myself.

Nobody knew.

The emotional pain and torment I was facing and tried so hard to hide just completely overpowered me. It was unbearable. My relationship broke down and I knew we couldn’t carry on for Mia’s sake. I didn’t want to risk our friendship and I knew we both deserved more than what our situation had become.

To this day, even writing this, I cannot begin to explain all the emotions and feelings that were searing though me for all that time. I was angry, desperate, frustrated, frightened, lonely, scared, deflated and just totally drained with everything.  Above all, I was so bitterly sad and upset. Something had to change. I couldn’t live like this. I still had to be a mummy. I had to rise above it all and get my inner strength back. I had to find myself again. I had to get ME back. I just wished I had addressed my anxiety and depression sooner. I was so tormented by my inner demons for so long. I want to stress that if anyone reading this feels the same or has been in a similar situation that you are not alone.

It shouldn’t be something to be ashamed about or be hidden or brushed under the carpet. For years I’ve had it and didn’t realise. I thought I was going mad and thought there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t love myself, let alone anyone else. Anxiety can strike at any time. You’re never really free of it but it’s about how you re-wire your mind and your way of thinking. Mind-set is key. It’s about keeping active but also taking time for you, to relax and rest when you need it. Although my anxiety has been so much better lately, I’ll always feel like ‘it’s in the mail’—on its way to me. Anyone who has anxiety and/or depression will know exactly what I mean by that. Anyone who has this, or thinks they do, are not alone. You don’t need to suffer in silence or feel alone.

Every day I try to be the best I can be, always worry and always just want to be all I can for Mia and my family. But sometimes I can’t be super-woman; sometimes I do feel weak. Sometimes I do question everything. It’s the not wanting to face the day or let anyone see, to just want to hide away, but then it’s the million-and-one things that my mind does going through all the consequences if I didn’t. It’s the constant over-thinking and over-analysing everything. It’s the stupid thoughts that you don’t want that frighten you but you can’t stop them in your head. It’s a constant battle. It’s the wanting to still go out and have fun to see friends but not wanting to leave the house. It’s the wanting to be alone but not wanting to be on my own. It’s the not being able to explain it or make anyone understand. It’s sometimes not being able to say a word but wanting to say so much. It’s feeling so utterly alone even though you’re surrounded by loving, supporting people. It’s about just needing a hug. No words.

Sometimes I do break down and it does take over me. But it won’t beat me. I know I’m stronger, now more than ever. I know a bad day is just one bad day in amongst a million good ones. I know my strength is within me and I’m a fighter. There are so many people in my life who inspire me in so many ways and help me with positivity and motivation every day. The key for me is having a routine, staying focused on the good things, doing things you love, keeping your mind filled with positivity and mind-set activities. Eat healthy, exercise and try to get out as much as you can to just breathe, take in your surroundings—even if it’s just for ten minutes, even if it’s the last thing you want to do sometimes—it really does help.

I know I’m probably not easy to live with or be around sometimes, but I still like to think I’m outgoing and fun a lot of the time. Again, just the many issues of having an active personality but an anxious mind. The people I love—Gary, my husband, my amazing family and friends, but most importantly my gorgeous little girl whom everything I do is for—are more precious than I could ever say. I wouldn’t be anything without them; they are my medicine and they fix me when I feel broken. But there are so many people and organisations like Mind who can help.

The fight continues. It’s okay not to be okay.

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About the Author: I’m Dannii, I’m a full time working mum to my daughter Mia, wife to Gary and we live in Bucks with our little sausage dog Ralph. I’m on a mission to use my passion for writing to reach out, help and support other mums, women, parents and anyone in general really, who reads my blogs and can get something valuable from it. My life and motherhood experiences in their real, open and honest form. This is me, the good, the bad, the ugly, but more importantly keeping it real and from the heart. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram.

Dear Anxiety – Jess Ling

People who know me may know that I am suffering from anxiety. But in fact, I don’t just suffer from anxiety, I have other psychological problems. I’ve never said to anyone else. Not because I am afraid, I just feel that there is no need to make things serious. Therefore, even if I know that I am living in anxiety, I will still choose a happy way to face it.

Maybe I was thinking that I could fix it and think that this is a small matter. When I started to want to deal with it, things have slowly accumulated, and I realized that I have never dealt with it. When I was a child, I lived in an ordinary family. My parents are easily upset and easily get angry, and when we were children, my family had been arguing all the time and fighting.

I remember that one day I saw my parents pick up the knife. My mother was very angry and wanted to die. My father left when I was only 7 years old, I didn’t know anything happened and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I know that this had been going on for many years, but I have never forgotten it. (I also know that this reason makes me unable to believe in human beings, belief in feelings, I think only myself is the most reliable. So this is also now everyone knows why I have never been good at discussing my relationship problems.)

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Of course, due to emotional problems, my parents Sometimes we will whip us because of venting. So you asked me which time was the saddest, I think I have passed. In the process of growing up, I didn’t have a day to be happy, at home, or at school. Many times I chose to be alone, eat alone, watch movies alone, and just want to do anything by myself.

I think anxiety is hard to explain because it can be different in a minute. I can still talk happily at this second, but I don’t know what will happen in the next second. This feeling may be a bit disturbing, but in fact, if you understand anxiety. Every day I still face anxiety; life is so embarrassing, but I still have to try, and I have been working hard on this. Sometimes, the most important thing to fight against anxiety is to keep positive thoughts, because many times I will be defeated by these negative emotions.

But please tell yourself that if you fail today is not important, we will come again tomorrow. Sometimes these days are repeated. I have been reminded many times how brave I have been these past years. Now, I have learned how to put down and face these things. I know it sounds terrible, I have to face so many things myself. But I think I just learn from these things, and when others encounter the same events, I can share and encourage.

Anxiety disorders are not terrible, don’t be afraid to be repelled. I believe that many friends in the world still dare not express or face their own anxiety. Please believe me, you are not alone. Because I live like this too. Today, I will share my past, not to make you feel how pitiful I am, I just want to help more people out of the woods. The messages I see every day are anxiety, depression, and how many people are taken away. This world should not be like this, so we must help each other.

Remember no matter what mental health, the best help if you need an audience, I will always be here.

Author Bio: Hi I am Jess (From Jerserry.com) a 20 something living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A dog person and love to write about lifestyle, travel,food and more. I start my blog since May 2017, trying to be a full-time blogger and I love to write all the time, I also found out is a great place to meeting so many amazing people from all around the world through the blog. Here is a little story about me: I’m shy & weird, I don’t talk much, but I love to meet new friends. When I was in high school, I didn’t have many friends, so I always spent time alone and wrote my diary book until I got my first computer. I started to make a blog and start my blogger life (when I was 15) but if you have seen my post before about “A post about why I started blogging” you will know that I have changed few blog address before. This one will be stick with me forever and let me continue my journey! Let Be Friends!

My social media: Twitter Pinterest Instagram Blog Facebook

Halloween: A Time to be Aware – Lexie Wohler

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What do you think of when you think about Halloween? Is it a time of year that scares you, or is it a time of year that excites you? Is Halloween your favorite holiday because you get to scare your friends without getting in trouble? Do you like putting on costumes or seeing what fun costumes people actually make from scratch? What was your favorite costume to dress up in when you were a kid? What costumes scared you the most?

Going out on Halloween was always fun as a kid.  I would always try and go in a group with my friends. There were neighbors that would give me better treats than others. Some would even ask me what kind of candy I wanted and let me pick from an assortment of candies and chocolates. Sometimes, I was too afraid to say trick or treat in order to actually get the treats so my parents had to say “trick or treat” for me.  Were you ever too afraid to say “trick or treat” as a kid?

Some of my favorite candies to get included Milky Ways, Reese’s and Crunch Bars. Trading candies for the ones you like is probably a fond memory for you. I know it is for me, too. What were some of your least favorite candies to get during Halloween? Some of my least favorite were Butterfingers and Twizzlers.

Halloween is a fun time of year. As a Christian, it is important to keep your mind on the right things. During this holiday your mind can be bombarded with scary images and you might actually get scared by your friends just for the fun of it. Sure, it can be fun to play practical jokes on your friends just to try it, but remember not to take it too far. During Halloween, it can be hard to remember that the purpose is to just have fun and not to scare anyone half to death.

If you’re a Christian, Halloween means remembering that this season of the year is all about the evil of this world. Yes, I said it’s about evil things. Even though many of the costumes are for show, they can create permanent scars on someone’s mind if they aren’t ready for a good scare.

It is important to not let your guard down too fast either. People sometimes use Halloween as an excuse to cause mayhem and destruction. They use the costumes figuring that no none can see behind their masks. If you see someone causing fear, you can step in and stop it.

You could easily get swept away in the scary costumes, the candy, and the craziness that comes with Halloween if you let yourself. Yes, it is it certainly a time to have fun and be out with your friends; but it also means being hyper aware of your surroundings at all times. You never know what could happen at a moment’s notice.  Have fun, but keep your wits about you as you go out with friends and family.

Never be afraid to step in if you see someone getting really spooked by a costume. Never be afraid to do the right thing.  Have fun with your friends while being safe!

Author Bio: Alexis is a singer, writer, and a Christian. She writes a blog on Beliefnet.com called We Wait, He Works, and loves to write faith-based blogs and nonfiction plays. Her all-time favorite movie is The Lion King, and she’s a proud Disney fanatic. She can often be found enjoying nature and taking pictures of sunsets. Her goal is to land a full-time job with a Christian magazine.

You can find Lexie on the following platforms: Facebook  Instagram Twitter Blog Tumblr

Lost Relationships -Amanda Robins

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Growing up in a Narcissistic Family

The mornings were the worst. My sisters would be fighting, screaming, throwing the odd hairbrush or lipstick, pulling hair or ripping fabric. Blaming one another for missing makeup or the state of the bathroom.

There was no mediation in these epic before-work duels.

Growing up in a narcissistic family wasn’t peaceful.

Our parents were far more interested in themselves and their own problems than in their children’s ability to get along with one another or their emotional needs.

Their intense self-absorption left little room for empathy and validation or, well, parenting.

Our mother was highly anxious, obsessed with her children’s ability to reflect well on her. Any mistakes or imperfections attracted her immeadiate attention. Like a heat seeking missile, she would then become intrusive and controlling, her anxiety around appearances and social acceptance motivating intense criticism and judgement towards us.

The sibling rivalry that is a normal part of family life was exacerbated and exploited by my mother to prop up her fragile sense of self. She pitted us against one another in competition for her approval and affection, so that she could somehow feel better about herself. There was always a battle between us for the crumbs of affection she distributed sparingly.

Because of this, we never got the opportunity to repair our relationships.

We grew up in a household where there was no room for vulnerability, empathy or collaboration. Our early template for relationships was based on competition rather than caring. Even today as adults with our own lives, we are wary and distant, not able to grieve what was lost to us in childhood, or to make amends.

For myself and others who have been raised in narcissistic families, it’s an arduous pathway towards healing.

In their book on narcissistic families, Stephanie and Donald Pressman argue that children of narcissists might manage workplace relationships and setting boundaries at work, but at home it’s a different story.

According to the authors, those who have grown up in narcissistic families are often “people pleasers” trained to ignore their own boundaries so well that they don’t actually know where they are.

“Comfort in setting boundaries develops in children who have their feelings respected by their parents.”

Narcissistic parents do not respect other’s feelings, and children growing up in an atmosphere of repression, shaming and tangential communication never learn to ask for their needs to be met. In families like these, withdrawal of affection and approval will be used to control children. Parents will threaten children with rejection and anger when they don’t behave in ways that meet the parent’s needs. For young children, this is terribly destructive and teaches them to ignore their own needs.

As adults, children of narcissists are usually out of touch with their own needs.

Decision-making for those who have had their feelings invalidated as children is fraught.

Friendships and intimacy require us to make decisions about what we want to do, when and how, and this requires us to understand our feelings. Without this ability, relationships are either all-consuming (and exhausting) or cold and distant.

The Pressmans argue that children of narcissists often have an “all or nothing” approach to relationships. If survivors of narcissistic families cannot have a perfect relationship, they would rather end the relationship than negotiate or compromise. “They genuinely cannot fathom the possibility of sitting down with a spouse, friend or colleague and having a reasonable discussion to set boundaries so that those feelings and needs can be accommodated.” Having been consistently invalidated as children, they hold little hope for getting their needs met in relationships.

They often seem to expect that others will be able to read their minds. When they discover that their friend or spouse can’t do this, they are likely to become angry, disappointed or sullen, sometimes ending the relationship in disgust. And leaving their partner or friend puzzled and hurt.

The healthy give and take of normal relationships is not something that comes naturally to survivors of the narcissistic cauldron.

Attracting the right people into our lives and having healthy relationships is a challenge for those who have grown up with abusive parents.

As children of narcissists, we have been trained not to value or even acknowledge our own boundaries, because boundaries were not convenient for our narcissistic parents. We have also been trained to view relationships as mutually exploitative rather than opportunities for intimacy and connection.

Our friendships and intimate partnerships are often difficult and unfulfilling, fraught with danger and frustration.

Healing for the children of narcissists can take a long time. Self-awareness through therapy and reflection can help us change. Repairing our relationships and creating better ones is part of the journey towards growth and fulfillment.

Quotes are from The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie and Robert Pressman Jossey-Bass 1994

Amanda Robins, M.S.W, PhD.

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I am a writer and psychotherapist based in Melbourne, Australia. After a successful career as an artist and academic, I decided to retrain in order to work therapeutically with young people and studied Social Work at the University of Melbourne.

I now specialize in working with people with a history of trauma, especially those who have grown up in narcissistic families. I love writing about mental health and relationships from my own experiences and from my work with clients. I currently have a blog where I write about mental health and well-being, attachment, parenting, relationships and creativity.

My articles have been published on The Mighty, Therapy Route, PsychCentral and This Woman Can.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

https://www.amandarobinspsychotherapy.com.au/articles

https://twitter.com/amandarobins7

https://www.pinterest.com.au/amandartherapy/pins/

https://www.facebook.com/amandarobinspsychotherapy.com.au/

https://www.instagram.com/amandarobinstherapy/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-robins-a861a782/

The Five Most Effective Ways to Overcome Social Anxiety Disorder – Ralph Macey

KD-2Humans are social animals. They can’t live without socializing with other humans. History says, humans are dependent on other humans since past for food, clothing, shelter and many more things. Even today also, we need to socialize with others for many different reasons, some of them related to financial issues, some of them related to mental health.

If a person isn’t comfortable to socialize with others, that person might be experiencing Social anxiety. People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) may encounter chronic fear of social or performance-related situations. As a result they might become embarrassed, rejected, or scrutinized in front of general people.

Social anxiety might have a huge impact on introverts more than you others. In these situations, people with SAD almost always experience physical symptoms of anxiety. They might think that it is a predetermined characteristic that they have to carry lifelong. But that isn’t entirely true. With proper therapy social anxiety disorder can be cured with time.

But first, you must identify the symptoms of social anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder typically fall within three different areas.

Physical Symptoms

Cognitive Symptoms

Behavioral Symptoms

●       Sweating

●       Chest tightness

●       Muscle tension

●       Blushing

●       Chills

●       Blurred vision

●       Shaking

●       Chest pain

●       Dizziness

●       Shortness of breath

●       Lump in the throat

●       Trembling voice

●       Ringing in the ears

●       Dry mouth

●       Diarrhea

●       Nausea

●       Headaches

●       Paresthesias (tingling)

●       Heart racing (tachycardia)

●       Heart pounding (palpitations)

●       Feelings of unreality (derealization)

or Feelings of detachment from oneself (depersonalization)

●       Negative bias

●       Negative thoughts

●       Negative beliefs

●       Avoidance

●       Escape

●       Safety behaviors

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How does a person feel when his/her Introversion gets combined with anxiety?

Introvert people normally don’t want to join the party life. They are not social butterflies or the late night partiers. They always like a job that involves sitting quietly all day long, rather than communicating with clients, hosting a presentation, or supervising others. They like getting separated from life’s deep problems and wanted to live with loneliness.

At the same time, their natural desire to spend time alone makes it very difficult to expose themselves to the situations that cause anxiety.

Now the question is, how does an introvert with high functioning anxiety disorder overcome this situation?

Here are a few steps that can be taken out to start the journey.

1. Educate yourself about the causes of social anxiety

Being an introvert person If you feel that you are having symptoms of social anxiety, you must learn about it as much as possible and get benefited. You should know why you can’t seem to open up in front of everyone and be as you are to others.

As a reference, you may check out the Social Anxiety episode of comedian Paul Gilmartin’s podcast, The Mental Illness Happy Hour with psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendrickson. There, Dr. Hendrickson discusses the physiological causes of social anxiety in easy language.

One best thing that she pointed out there is, “it’s all about being mindful of your ability to control your thoughts and reactions.” That means with regular practice, and a stone-cold determination to control it, you may positively manage your social anxiety.

2. Have a fresh start with your new life

You don’t need to buy a new house in a different state or city and start a new life.  In order to get a fresh beginning, you may join a new club or boost your career with a new job. Remember, by heart you are an introvert person, so you must reach out to new people and interact with them regularly.

Keep telling yourself that everything is going to be ok, and you’re going to be the person who you want to be.

These new people do not treat you as someone awkward, because they don’t know you well. So, do not let them make any dull impression about you, present yourself as a social butterfly or as a cheerful person that you always want to be.

This process might not work for every person you meet. But to become successful with this method you need to overcome your shyness and fear. The more a person knows himself and has that much knowledge about his social anxiety, it will get much easier for him to overcome his weakness.  Hendriksen says – “You become less anxious by living your life.”

I felt the same way when I was entering college. Moving away from home kept me scared. I was shy throughout grade school.  But when I moved to college and made new friends, communicated with them openly without judging them like I used to do at my school,  I felt it was so cool.

It actually kind of worked! Gradually, I socialize with all my friends, and their friends, and their friends, and…said goodbye to my loneliness.

3. Avoid social anxiety lies

Hendriksen says “Social anxiety makes us think the worst-case scenario is definitely going to happen,” But that’s definitely a wrong perception. Practically, worst-case scenarios don’t often happen.

Being an Introvert with social anxiety, you can avoid this situation easily. First, you have to imagine the worst-case scenario about any situation, and then think deeper till you figure out exactly what you’re afraid of. That means you should seek the outcome that you fear, and then argue with that fear. Hendriksen added, “It’s harder to argue with the foggy mirage of fear.”

By seeking and facing the exact threat, you may figure out how likely it really is.

4. Define your life goals

Basically, the best way to win over your shyness and social anxiety is to take a gradual approach. Have you ever thought about talking to the first hot girl or guy you meet in your college? Have you ever asked for a dance to a junior girl or boy whom you like, in your college prom party?

See, doing such small things can help you a lot to fight against your social anxiety.  Ending up a conversation isn’t exactly a cool option to overcome your fear. Instead, you may set small achievable goals that may help you to become more sociable.

For example:

  • Say good morning to 10 people whom you see first in the morning
  • Ask 10 people how they are doing
  • Ask five people for the time
  • Share candies with your schoolmates, colleagues
  • Make eye contact with someone you feel attractive
  • Read the newspaper loudly to your friends or neighbors
  • Say hi to your neighbors while passing by
  • Say goodnight to each of them whom you meet while going back home

These small gestures may trigger self-confidence in you, which may help you to reduce social anxiety and shyness.

5. Consult a therapist or psychiatrist

Unfortunately, for some introvert with high functioning anxiety, the situation gets too serious to deal with alone. If some person has an anxiety disorder or depression that can’t be cured with self-motivation, then the patient might require clinical help with proper professional care.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is quite helpful to guide a patient through such a situation. Psychiatrists Dr. Joseph Burwell, can prescribe anxiety medication to help the patient in serious conditions. There’s no shame in getting the help you need from a therapist or a Psychiatrist. They are here to help these people who suffer from severe social anxiety disorder.

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Few important words…

A person who suffers from social anxiety, can’t maintain his/her personal and professional life properly. But it’s important to keep fighting with this issue as long as possible. Be patient and remember that you are not alone. There are many people who still love you. Work hard, do your exercises, it’ll help you to lower your stress and improve your mood so that you become the best version of you!

Ralph

Author Bio

Ralph Macey is associated with the SavantCare which is a mental health clinic, where his job is to look after those people who are suffering from chronic mental disorders. His motto is to focus on the integrated interventions to improve mental health conditions and the other alternative approaches to healing.