Tag Archives: guest post

Distraction in the Modern World – Taryn the Dragon

Greetings to The Unsanity readers from Taryn The Dragon in South Africa. I work full time in the Data industry, study part time and blog on the side. I’m quite new to blogging and this is my first guest post. I’m super amped to have this opportunity. Thanks so much Koral Dawn.

dragonballWhat you need to know about me

I have depression and anxiety and a host of other chronic illnesses that have had a huge effect on my life. In 2019 I entered therapy to deal with all of the stress. I’m on a journey and I have had to take a deep look at myself and the world around me. There is an underlying theme that comes up often with mental health issues is that of mindfulness: Being conscious or aware and present in the moment.

Recently I have been watching videos that could help me become more in tune with myself. Observing people like Dr Gabor Mate, Alan Watt, Dandapani, in the hopes of understanding what mindfulness truly means. I know it sounds cliché but it has been quite a revelation. You can find my musings about this journey on http://www.dragonscodex.net.

Let’s talk about the world we live in

Adulting does not come with an instruction manual. Even great parenting does not quite prepare you for living in this golden age of technology. Information at the click of a button. Friends on WhatsApp (1 billion users) or WeChat (697 million users) or Facebook (1.59 billion users). Strangers on Twitter (320 million users) or Instagram (400 million users). Family just a Skype (300 million users) call away. [1] How do we actually get anything done? What I’m saying is that we now live for the thrill of ‘Distraction’. And this is why we need to cultivate a mind-set geared towards mindfulness.

How to move beyond distraction

Have you ever looked at your device and just thought “FFS ~ now what!?”. That’s a very good indication that you need to start practicing mindfulness for your own sanity. Let’s explore a few mindfulness concepts to aid you in your daily success.

Stop making excuses

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Do what you say you are going to do. If that means going to the gym at 5am, do that without fail. You are building trust with yourself and in so doing gaining confidence in your decision making.

Control your awareness

Multi-tasking is great but it splits your focus and actually makes it harder to allot sufficient time to a specific endeavour. If you’re working on a proposal put the phone away and close your emails. The world will not fall apart if you give yourself 20 minutes to do something. Focus on this one thing. If your attention drifts bring it back to what you are doing.

Meditate

Image by CadreLuxe from Pixabay

No I don’t mean go assume the cross-legged sitting asana and chant endlessly, unless that’s your jam. I mean have some quiet time to get away from the noise. Be still, sit with your thoughts, have a nice cup of coffee. Be comfortable doing absolutely nothing and being alone.

Get clarity

Know what you want to achieve. Know how you are going to achieve it. The easiest way to do this is to make a list or keep a journal. And always note your achievements as they keep you on the path you want to travel.

Walk away from energy vampires

Ain’t nobody got time for this! To quote Dandapani: “Treat energy the same way you treat money. It’s a finite resource that needs to be wisely managed and invested.”

Uplift others

Image by Grae Dickason from Pixabay

When stuck in your own mind or even your own world where things are not quite going according to plan, do something for someone else without expecting any benefit in return. By uplifting others you uplift yourself. You’re present in a beautiful moment that will keep you going through difficult times.

Embrace change

All of these concepts require some effort on your part. It means you need come to terms with changing your life. As for me, it has helped me find this lovely Zen spot where there is less stress, more energy and more love. I’m really enjoying it this balance.

[1] Attribution for stats: https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-sites/

Six Ways to Feel Your Best This Winter – Amy Jackson

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Are you a fan of winter? I personally love the chance to break out my fluffy jumpers and to enjoy a hot chocolate, but what I’m not a fan of are the darker nights, the increased amount of illnesses in the air and generally feeling a bit under the weather. So when it comes to winter wellbeing, how can we make sure we’re feeling as good as we were during those summer months? How can you keep your physical health in check while taking good care of your mental health too? Well, I’ve done a little research and put together six of the best wellbeing tips to keep you feeling great all through the winter! 

1: Maintain a healthy diet

While in the colder months, it can be tempting to reach for the comfort foods and sugary snacks, but this isn’t necessarily the best thing to do for your body. One of the easiest ways towards winter wellbeing is to make sure you enjoy a healthy diet. Plenty of fruits and veggies are an absolute must, as it will keep your immune system in check and ensure that you’re taking in those essential vitamins. Even though it’s colder, it’s still important to keep hydrated too, so ensure that you drink plenty of water and don’t have too much caffeine. 

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash
Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

2: Wash your hands

When it comes to winter wellbeing tips, hygiene is a must. Winter is a time of year when we become more susceptible to viruses, and in some cases, it can be difficult to avoid them, especially when everyone in the office is sick. You can stock up on supplements and vitamins, but ultimately, the most effective way to avoid catching these pesky illnesses is to wash your hands. Hand sanitiser is great in the short term, but you’ll find a number of them don’t actually destroy viruses, which is what the common cold is. You’re better off washing your hands with soap and water before eating, touching your face, or preparing food. Ensure that if anyone in your house is unwell that they follow the same rules too! Keep towels separate, regularly clean surfaces, and ensure that cups, plates and eating utensils are properly cleaned too. 

3: Keep moving

It can be tempting to stay curled up on the couch watching Netflix during the colder, darker nights, but it’s still important to keep moving during the winter. Regular exercise will mean that your joints are kept mobile, and it’ll help you stay warm too. Of course, you don’t have to go hard with high intensity workouts if you don’t want to – gentle exercise such as yoga is still just as effective! 

4: Sleep well

Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial for winter wellbeing. We can often feel more tired in the winter, but actually, there’s no biological need for extra sleep at this time of year! It’s a no brainer that sleeping in or having naps during the day will make it difficult for you to fall asleep at bedtime, so resist the urge to stay in bed on those chilly mornings! Even though you don’t need extra sleep, making sure you still get a good nights’ rest should be high on your list of priorities. A good night’s sleep will ensure your immune system is in top condition and is also beneficial for mental wellbeing too. We all differ in terms of how much sleep we need, but the general amount is between 7 and 9 hours for adults. 

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash
Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

5: Keep your skin healthy

The colder weather can often mean that our skin is in need of a little extra TLC, so make sure you give it some! Dry skin can occur as a result of the colder temperatures and if you’re spending more time with your heating on at home, so ensure you invest in a good moisturiser to keep it feeling hydrated and soft. The same can also be said for your hands too – especially if you’re washing them more frequently. Pick up a good quality hand cream at the same time and regularly apply it throughout the day, including after you’ve washed your hands. It’ll prevent your skin from drying out, and will keep them feeling soft all through the winter!

6: Stay social

A lot of us think of holiday parties once we enter the winter months, but for some, it can actually be a pretty lonely time. No doubt the colder weather will make you want to wrap yourself up in a blanket and hibernate for a couple of months, however, staying social and keeping in touch with your friends will work wonders for your mental wellbeing. So don’t cancel those plans just because there’s a bit of a nip in the air – wrap up warm, get out there and enjoy yourself!

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About the Author: Amy Jackson is a mental health and lifestyle blogger. Her blog Sassy Cat Lady focuses on her recovery from OCD, along with general lifestyle tips and advice. She’s a lover of cats, a good gin and tonic, and Taylor Swift. 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Amy_May_J

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amymayj/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sassycatladyblog

Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@sassycatlady

10 Self Care Ideas For The Winter – Ruth

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Today, I thought I would share some self care ideas for the winter. It is very easy to forget about self care and looking after yourself during the colder season. You just want to stay in, watch TV and stay warm all the time. Yes, these are all forms of self care in itself. However, I hope this list will give you a few more ideas and motivation!

  1. Buy Something Soft And Warm

Buy yourself a nice warm and soft blanket, jacket, hat, pair of gloves, socks. Anything. You will feel so happy and cosy!

  1. Go Out For A Stroll (And Get Yourself A Hot Drink On The Way)

This is one of my favourite forms of self care. Although I understand you may be put off doing this whilst it’s cold. You don’t have to go too far. Just wrap up warm and treat yourself to a hot drink on the way!

  1. Make Yourself A Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows and Cream

I absolutely love hot chocolate so it had to be included on this list. Make sure you go all out, put in some big marshmallows, squirty cream and even chocolate sprinkles. Treat yourself once in a while and enjoy it by the fire.

  1. Do Some Baking

Spend some time baking and making some festive cupcakes, cookies or gingerbread men. There are lots of recipes online to follow. I always find baking and decorating the cake (to give it a festive theme) extremely relaxing.

  1. Make A Christmas Playlist, Listen And Relax

There are so many great tunes out there for the holiday season. You will not find it difficult to create a feel good playlist to put on in the background whenever you want to chill.

  1. Make Your Home Smell Nice And Festive

Invest in incense sticks or a candle with a festive scent. Put them all around the house and enjoy! I especially recommend a gingerbread smell.

  1. Stay Focused On Skincare

It is really important to look after your skin during the winter. Your skin can get really dried up in the temperature. Go out and invest in some lip balm and a good moisturiser. Korean skincare is definitely the best in my opinion. You will feel refreshed and amazing after using it.

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  1. Take A Warm Shower (Or Bubble Bath)

There is nothing nicer than taking a warm shower after a long day. Especially when it’s really cold in the middle of winter. The only downside is, you won’t want to get out!

  1. Stay Healthy

I know it is difficult to stay away from sugar and chocolate during the holiday season. It is the only time of year when you can get away with eating lots of it. However, you need to remember to still be healthy. Make sure you have your 5 day and you drink plenty of water.

  1. Start A Journal To Combat Seasonal Depression

Seasonal depression is very real, and affects many people! I highly recommend starting a journal if you haven’t already. There is nothing worse than keeping all your thoughts and feelings bottled up. So, get all those thoughts and feelings out on paper every single day. You will feel so much better afterwards and like a heavy weight has been lifted from your mind.

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I hope you liked some of these self care methods and it gave you some good ideas. You need to remember to look after yourself during all times of the year. Always put some time aside every single day to practise a few of these methods. You won’t regret it.

Ruth (ColourfulHope) xoxo

Ruth is a repeat guest blogger with The Unsanity who has previously written about dealing with stress and the holidays from December 18th 2019. You can find her contact info there along with other ways to find her and follow on social media.

Bi Polar Disorder and Anger – A Raging Lunatic Tells All – Jodie Sand

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BIPOLAR DISORDER & ANGER: A RAGING LUNATIC TELLS ALL

My rage is like an old-school boombox with fresh D batteries. I carry it around with me but the music isn’t a catchy melody. When it explodes from the speakers, it’s static that grates on the nerves. It makes zero sense.

Sometimes, a stranger will invoke my wrath. But more often than not, my temper is directed at the people who I love the most or spend a lot of time with. It has cost me friendships, romantic relationships, jobs, loyalties and a marriage.

Taylor Swift’s Blank Space lyrics come to mind:

Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storm
I can make all the tables turn
Rose gardens filled with thorns
Keep you second guessing like
“Oh my God, who is she?”

IT’S OK TO BE ANGRY

I’m not saying anger is inherently bad. My mom used to quote scripture about it: “Be angry and do not sin,” she advised (Ephesians 4:26). Popular psychology agrees about positive and negative methods to express your anger. I’ve been rightfully furious with disrespectful children, disloyal lovers, an ex-husband, friends and my family. But the volume and violence it feeds are shameful.

I spit eff-bombs and insults like an over-chewed piece of gum until my voice is hoarse. I’ve pushed, scratched and even thrown a series of punches at a man who gutted me with lies. Was my anger justified? Yes! Were the intensity of my anger and the cutting nature of my serrated words necessary. No!

Rage isn’t an emotion that shows up on lists of common bipolar disorder symptoms. Mood swings from suicidal depression to euphoric mania are the hallmarks of this tricky mental illness. In my case, these moods seem to be the key to the swells of emotions like stormy seas.

The hopelessness of depression makes me examine my life for toxicity and search for the root of my agony. I remember the people who I’ve loved who have gouged my broken heart. The bosses and coworkers who have sucked away my marrow. The comments from family who mean well but hack away at my façade of confidence and wellness. The friends who don’t call. The children who forget to do their chores.

This is the blame game I play. The blues don’t mellow me. They feed my festering rage until anger spews from my mouth like acidic vomit.

My episodes of mania are no kinder. The false happiness of mania euphoria waxes and wanes, sometimes all in the same day. My grandiosity and endless energy and the rapid speech and big ideas are exhausting. I’m too tired to sleep. Suddenly my tongue is forked. My patience is gone and my temper flares with righteous indignation. The blame game begins again.

PSYCHOTIC DELUSIONS

Psychosis is “a serious mental illness characterized by defective or lost contact with reality, often with hallucinations or delusions” (Merriam-Webster). In my anger, I’m psychotic. I’m paranoid at 3 a.m. when my meds fail me and rest is elusive.

I tell myself: No one cares. Everyone sees me for the fraud I am. Life is unfair. Everyone is out to step on me on their way to something better. I can’t convince myself otherwise. I’m raging. Is my life punctuated with trauma or am I the source of the drama? I wonder.

Bipolar disorder is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. “For those who have anger stemming from bipolar disorder, it can range from mild to wild,” according to MentalHealth.net (source). Mine is a wild ride.

While the bipolar community can’t seem to agree about whether or not anger is a symptom of bipolar disorder, they do agree about how to get help.

KNOW YOURSELF

Identify your anger triggers. Certain topics of conversation, events, activities and even personalities or people may initiate irritability or rage. Be mindful when you begin to get upset and then limit or control exposure to those things.

When you do find yourself in a sticky spot, politely disengage. Resist the urge to be embarrassed. Tactfully end the conversation, hang up the phone with a pre-planned excuse or graciously excuse yourself and walk away. Don’t be shy about setting boundaries. You’ll really be embarrassed if your anger dominates the situation.

The second part of knowing yourself is identifying and engaging in activities or visiting places that calm and bring serenity. Make a list of your triggers and strategies to alleviate them.

Home is my haven and oasis. An afternoon of solitude is often where I find the most peace. Harnessing your bipolar disorder is not a mind-over-matter problem to be solved. Along with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder is the most dangerous mental health problem. If you suspect that you are bipolar or a diagnosis has been confirmed, you need medication!

CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS

Bipolar disorder presents a very real risk of suicide. Don’t try to convince yourself that you won’t get that bad or you’ll know when to ask for help. Trust me; you won’t! You’ll also endanger yourself, your reputation, and other people if your behavior becomes reckless or impulsive.

If you’re taking lithium for your bipolar disorder and you notice irritability or aggression, talk to your doctor. These are not common symptoms of this mood stabilizer, but patients who are prescribed lithium have reported increased irritability, according to Healthline.com (source).

No matter what you’ve been prescribed to treat your bipolar disorder, don’t change or stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Unmonitored med tweaks can trigger dangerous depressive or manic episodes.

Even when you feel like your illness is well-controlled on medication, do yourself a favor and see a mental health therapist. A counselor can employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help. CBT is “psychotherapy that combines cognitive therapy with behavior therapy by identifying faulty or maladaptive patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior and substituting them with desirable patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior” (Merriam-Webster). Anger management classes may also be helpful if group therapy is your jam.

Don’t forget the French proverb: “Anger is a bad counselor” (source).

SOURCES

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychosis
https://www.mentalhelp.net/bipolar/and-anger/
https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-anger#is-anger-a-side-effect-ofmedication
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cognitive%20behavioral%20therapy
https://www.quotes.net/quote/40350

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About the Author: Jodie is a chronic illness and mental health blogger who battles fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder I, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and gastroparesis every day. Her primary focus is fibromyalgia but her mental well-being her and gastrointestinal issues influence the way she deals with her chronic illness. She created CutTheChronic.com after job loss revealed she is no longer employable in a traditional way. Jodie is a former reporter and marketing professional with a degree in journalism. Reflecting on her skills, training and passions pointed her toward blogging as her next career move. Jodie finds writing extremely therapeutic as she searches for answers and hope for herself and other chronic illness sufferers. Means to living a better life reveal themselves in the process and inform her posts. She is fleshing out her blog with a body of posts that are educational, research-focused, inspirational, instructional, honest, raw and humorous. Jodie finds joy and strength in her husband Trevor and their blended family of three children. Her three loud and goofy hound dogs and a personality-packed flock of seven ducks provide levity. She’s a documentary junkie, novel reader (when she has time), car camper, stand up paddle boarder, yoga dabbler and runner. She’s also a foodie with a passion for home cooking. She is writing a low FODMAP cookbook to help her make peace with her IBS and gastroparesis and share with her readers. You can find her at her website Cut The Chronic.

Finding Peace This Holiday Season – Michelle Smith

Today’s guest blogger on The Unsanity is a new friend of mine who has personally helped with my stress and anxiety at the House of Care in rural central PA at the hospital we both work at. Michelle is a very wise individual, promoting balance and reminding everyone in her life to take care of YOU. You are number one, and you need to find your inner peace this holiday season.

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When I was a child, I did not understand why adults found the holiday season to be stressful. It was great. There were parties. There were family gatherings with presents. And the food was so yummy. There were trees to decorate, cookies to make, and maybe even some snow to play in. What in the world was stressful about these things?

Now that I am an adult and “life” has happened, I totally get it. When I was in my early twenties, my father died suddenly from a massive heart attack during the Christmas season. Each year, Christmas is a yearly reminder of my father’s physical absence. And, all those things that were so magical and enchanting as a child are now tasks to conquer on my list. Looking at that list can create stress and anxiety that can be difficult to manage.

Over the past decade of cultivating a yoga practice, I have come to realize that my practice is the doorway to finding peace during the holiday season and all year long. Yoga equips me with tools that help me find my true, higher, peaceful self. Yoga is so much more than a physical practice done in a studio. Yoga equips me with a set of tools that have a positive effect on my being.

Poses or the position we put are body in has an energetic effect. Through self-awareness, it is important to recognize when we are anxious and stressed. Responding appropriately during those first moments of realization is crucial to finding internal peace quickly. The longer we are stressed and anxious, the more time it may take to return to center and peace. Face-down positions have a grounding effect and are great for balancing anxiety and stress. You can simply turn your palms face down. If practiced over time, the subtle practice of turning your palms face down may yield large returns of internal peace. Or, you can lie on the floor or your bed face down for several moments and see if you feel a subtle grounding sensation.

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The breath is central to the yoga practice because it interfaces directly with the nervous system. There are simple breathing practices that we can employ to upregulate the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system responsible for helping us rest and restore. We can be in a truly crazy environment and through some simple breathing practices stay relaxed. One easy thing you can do is lengthen your exhale. A basic practice for lengthening your exhale is to take a breath and count the length of your inhale and exhale. Then, for the next 5 breaths, keep your inhale the same count, but lengthen your exhale by 1 count each time. At the end of those 5 breaths, notice how you feel.  Do you feel more relaxed? You may need to repeat the practice several times to notice a positive effect.

Another wonderful tool for grounding and finding your higher self during the holidays is disciplining yourself to bring your concentration to one specific thing. This is mindfulness. Find something specific you want to bring your attention to during the holiday season. The more specific it is, the better. Maybe it is the sound of your breath? Or maybe you want it to be the sensation of air passing through the very tip of each nostril? Or maybe you want to visualize a color you associate with peace and visualize that color moving into your body as you inhale and out of your body as you exhale. Are you sitting in holiday traffic? Are you worrying about the weather forecast and how it will impact your travel plans? Or are you sitting in front of your bat-shit-crazy relative at Christmas dinner? Any of these mindfulness practices can be done inconspicuously to help you find your center, stay in control of the emotions and sensations arising, and know peace.

Knowing peace independent of what is going on around you and even inside of you is key to finding the magic and “child-like” wonder in this holiday season. Pick a tool that resonates with you and commit to practicing it. These are simple practices that can be done anywhere that, if practiced over time, will bring you the greatest gift of all: an internal fountain of joy and peace.

michelle-smith

About the Author: Michelle Smith is a program manager for Geisinger Health System, a rural health system in central Pennsylvania. She manages The House of Care, an outpatient home for adult cancer patients undergoing treatment, and the system’s Integrative Medicine program. Michelle uses the tools of yoga therapy, reiki, and vibrational sound therapy to help staff, patients, and family members know peace during very stressful circumstances. Additionally, Michelle teaches yoga at various studios in NE Pennsylvania. Michelle is the author of the book Always With Me: The Guide to Grieving Death through Integrative Medicine which is available on Amazon.

How I Deal With Depression During The Holidays – Ruth

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“The most wonderful time of the year” is fast approaching. Although it doesn’t always feel that way. Especially when you struggle with depression. I know first hand how it feels to be in a really dark place around this time of year and it drains you. Having to deal with your mental health and the stresses of preparing for the festivities can get too much.

That is why I thought I would share a few techniques that I use to deal with this. Seeing all the happiness around during this time of year can be intimidating. However, these following techniques help to lift my spirits an awful lot.

Do Not Avoid Friends and Family

Around this time of year, you will start being invited to gatherings with friends, families or colleagues more and more. I know how difficult this is to agree too when you have depression but you need to try. Trust me, if you don’t show up to a gathering, you will only feel worse in the long run. You will feel guilty that you didn’t go especially during the holiday season. It is a time for friends and family. Spend time with them.

Let Them Support You

Do not hide your feelings just because “it’s meant to be a happy time of year”. Be completely open and honest about your depression with the people that you love. You will not be a burden and then they may be even more understanding when you don’t seem as happy as they feel like you should be.

Don’t Forget Self Care

During this hectic time of year, I know how difficult it can be to focus on looking after yourself. You are constantly thinking about others, and what perfect gift to get them for example. As a retail worker too, it is so hard to fit in self care when it is so busy!

Spend any days when you have absolutely no commitments, focusing on you. You need to find a healthy balance between not isolating yourself and finding the time to practise self care.

Personal Winter Self Care Methods

Whenever you get some free time, do something that you genuinely enjoy doing! Or even look up “Winter Self Care Tips” on Pinterest and try some out.  I thought I would mention a few of my favourite Winter Self Care methods:

  • Make yourself a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows.
  • Turn on the fire, read a book or watch a film.

Get Thoughtful Gifts

There is one thing that is guaranteed to make me happy over the holidays. Buying gifts for others. It’s more the reaction from them that makes me happy. This is why I always put a lot of thought and plan into my presents and what I get for each person. It is definitely worth it.

If your budget is tight, you don’t even have to spend money. You can make or draw them something if you are creative in some way. You can just leave them a heartfelt note inside a card. Do this for your support system. Let them know how much you appreciate them and make THEM feel happy.

Attend Events

There are so many events going on over the holiday season. This sense of community and togetherness can really heighten your mood. Attend a Carol Service, a Christmas Market etc. Anything specifically on over the holidays that attracts your attention since I know my suggestions may not be everybody’s cup of tea. But it’s not even about joining in. For me, it’s about being in an environment filled with happy people.

Take the opportunity to absorb all of the positive energy around you. Treat yourself to as much of it as possible! You will be so focused on that and having a great time that you won’t have time to be depressed.

A Final Word

Do you have any ways  to deal with depression over the holiday season? Feel free to message me on any of my social media. I’d love to get to know you!

Ruth-GuestAbout the author: Hello! My name is Ruth, I am 22 years old and I live in the “always sunny” United Kingdom. My main goal in life is to help as many people as possible with their mental health struggles and give hope for a happier future. My hobbies include; Blogging, listening to music, spending time with my lovely cat and so much more! You can find me on other parts of the internet here: Blog  Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram

High Pressure BPD – theboywithbpd

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Borderline Personality Disorder and pressure wouldn’t be my first-choice of cocktails, yet here I am having a big old pitcher of the stuff every day.

I’ve been racking my brain on how to write this piece, what’s the best angle? But the only way I can write it, is to make it about me. Not in a showy off way, I’m not that vain, but I admit parts of it will come across so. It’s not really an inspirational piece either, maybe a little, more advisory, a little cautionary perhaps. A tale of two sides.

A brief history lesson into me, I’m 38, I have 3 kids, at the time of writing they are 7, 2 and 7 days old. I have been with Sarah my partner for 10 years this November and I have BPD. I’ve always known there was something ‘different’ with me but I was only diagnosed 6 months ago, mainly because of the little breakdown I had, but that’s another story.

I have been for the first 37 years of my life what you call ‘high-functioning’, meaning from the outside you wouldn’t have clue if I was depressed, suicidal, manic or somewhere in between. I also haven’t told many people of my diagnosis, only 12 to be precise. None of which I work with. I was the master of bottling things up. On one side you could say it’s served me well in my career, on the other you could say it caused my breakdown. Eventually that pressure has to go somewhere right?

For any of you that work in Recruitment you will know how tough it is, for those that don’t, I don’t have the word count to explain, you’ll have to just trust me. I specifically work in Technology Recruitment; it is very sales and target driven. It is also very cut throat, I have worked in places where if you don’t hit target for 3 months you are fired, no ifs or buts. Fired.

Yet somehow here I am 12 years in the job. I also manage 4 teams, I am a Billing Manager, which means not only do I have to hit my own personal sales target, I have to make my teams do also. Combined I am responsible for a target of just over £1m.

That is a big number with a lot of pressure.

I hate it. I fucking hate it.

But let’s start with the good stuff, the showy off stuff. The money is good, I’m not a millionaire, I’m not rich, but good enough that Sarah doesn’t need to work, the kids don’t go without holidays and any new toys they want. I was also able to buy my house with no outside help. We generally do what we want, within reason.

Great right?

Yeah, but it has come at a price. And that price is me. My job is the main cause of my depression, there are not many days that go by where I don’t think about jumping in front of that train. I have lost count of the times I have sat crying in the toilet, or holding back tears as I walk home. Every day I want to cry. Every damn day.

The worst part?

It’s all by my own design, I am held hostage by my own circumstances. I am in a position where I don’t know how much longer I can cope with my job mentally, but I also have the responsibilities that come with it, and the mortgage my job has allowed me to have. It’s not like I can just quit and start again.

I didn’t lie, this piece is not an inspirational one, I suppose you could say I have managed to hold down a well-paid and high-pressure job with my BPD which may inspire others to believe they can do the same. But then you have to take the cautionary side into consideration, the pressure and the damage it has done.

There is a third option, the way that I would like this story to be taken if I had my say. You could, use it as a metaphor for not judging a book by its cover. From the outside I have ‘nothing to be depressed about’, you never can tell what someone is coping with, especially if they don’t want you to.

For the gods of mental health, we are a walking buffet, everyone is up for grabs, BPD and other disorders have no prejudice, we shouldn’t either.

Author Bio: I am theboywithbpd. I was only recently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I’ve always known there was something, ever since I was a kid, but it took a breakdown to find out. I am 38 years old and have three kids with my partner Sarah. I am now finally trying to do the things I’ve always wanted to, writing being one of them, you can read my blog here https://www.theboywithbpd.com/

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.