Tag Archives: personal

Misconceptions About Borderline Personality Disorder – Payton via In The Flux

Borderline Personality Disorder is probably one of the most stigmatized yet underrepresented mental illnesses out there. What people know about BPD, if anything, is often times cherry-picked and wrapped in Hollywood style dramatics.

This exaggerated idea of us even finds its way into the mental health system. Many mental health professionals don’t want to work with us, believing we are too hard to treat or just don’t have experience with Personality Disorders.

Which leads me into the first misconception…

1) It’s impossible to treat us

This stereotype often found in the mental health community is definitely not true. DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), one of the most successful therapies used for treating people with BPD, was created in the 1980s by a psychologist named Marsha Linehan, who also had BPD herself. And this has been the preferred treatment for BPD ever since.

In addition, there have been several studies done that show BPD can get better with age. I personally can’t attest to this, as I am 21, but only time will tell.

  • BPD is only found in Women

Although 75% of people diagnosed with this disorder are women, there have been reports that indicate that there may be more men with BPD than expected. Many of them possibly being misdiagnosed with something else such as Bipolar Disorder or PTSD.

  • We don’t feel empathy

Having low empathy is not one of the following nine symptoms of BPD:

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by extremes between idealization and devaluation
  3. Identity disturbance: Markedly or persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. Impulsive behavior in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging
  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-harming behavior
  6. Emotional instability in reaction to day-to-day events
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

Although, some may see these symptoms and equate that to having low or no empathy. People with BPD are often thought of as having ‘3rd degree burns over 90% of our bodies’, as coined by Marsha Linehan. Meaning we feel everything. Everything we do and feel is in extremes, which can include empathy.

  • Everyone with BPD is the same

There are nine symptoms and out of those nine you need at least five to be diagnosed. So, there are countless combinations of traits one could have. So someone with BPD can have completely different symptoms compared to someone else who also shares the same diagnosis.

Plus, we’re still human. We all experience things in different ways. This disorder is also on a spectrum. So, someone might experience all nine symptoms to a severe degree, compared to someone who might only experience five at a lesser degree.

  • Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder are the same thing

I can see how these often get conflated. Firstly, BPD is a personality disorder and Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder, but they do share some similar symptoms. For example both disorders experience mood swings, albeit in a different way.

Often times, when people use the word ‘Bipolar’ flippantly, (think ‘Oh she’s so Bipolar’), the mood swings that they’re talking about are more in-line with someone who has BPD. We experience mood swings several times throughout the day, everyday. Some can last just a few minutes, to a few hours, or sometimes a few days.

As with Bipolar Disorder, I don’t have personal experience with this, so I don’t feel comfortable speaking on it, but here is a great article highlighting the difference between the two.

To be inclusive in bringing awareness to mental health, we must speak about the lesser-known or ‘scary’ mental illnesses and challenge these stereotypes. You can’t paint people with one brush. We are individuals with different feelings and experiences. Although, as pervasive and unwanted these symptoms are, we can still love and be loved, feel joy and happiness, and experience life.

I encourage you, even if you have never personally struggled with a mental illness, to challenge these biases that permeate our society. Everyone has been touched by mental illness in some way, whether that be you personally, a family member, or a neighbor. With a history and culture that hasn’t been very kind to us, education is the key to disrupt and change these unfair stereotypes.

Author Bio: Payton is a lifestyle blogger over at intheflux.com where she talks about mental health, social issues, and lifestyle and wellness topics. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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/

How Fashion Helped Me Work through Depression – Peter Minkoff

Societal norms and cultural expectations can often be too much too process, and they can slowly erode your self-confidence and your beliefs, simply because you do not fit some sort of a mold. I’ve lived and grown my entire life in a very loving community, a metropolis as colorful as they come. But that can often be a disguise for numerous internal forms of prejudice, masked bias, and other issues I’ve experienced over the years. I am lucky enough to live in a time when talking about mental health has become less of a taboo, enabling me to find support in many different facets of my life, fashion included.

In fact, fashion, among other things, was one of those factors that I took for granted and underestimated its potential to heal. As it turns out, life has the funniest of little epiphanies saved just for you, and mine helped me realize that my sense of style and my wardrobe can be my way out of my own black hole. Here’s a little glimpse into my journey, and I hope it will bring you comfort and some ideas as to how you can cope with your feelings and struggles, too.

Comfort, finally

For a moment, let’s go back to expectations. As a gay man, I’ve had my fair share of prejudice and criticism to face from our fellow straight people, but strangely enough, in our own community, it seems that there’s another set of expectations that many of us “fail to meet”. I often felt as if I was never “gay enough”. Do I really have to wear a rainbow every day for every occasion to prove my sexual orientation to others, to anyone? It’s that kind of an attitude that pushed me to choose overly-tight jeans, tees with quotes I didn’t like, and wear too many rings for my own liking.

We’ve all been there. Wanting to be liked and approved of is often the driving force of some of the silliest, most meaningless decisions we make, and I was no exception. So, when I completely forewent my own preferences, my self-esteem plummeted. When I finally learned to say no and started replacing my skinny jeans for comfortable chinos, I felt I could breathe again. Putting my self first may have started with chinos, but it sure as hell didn’t end there.

Self-expression to salvage the self

Steampunk is many things, but gay isn’t one of them. Or at least that’s what those limiting expectations would have you believe. Today, I can happily live this simple truth: you’re no less gay for the clothing choices you make or the accessories you love. Much like a straight man will never suddenly turn gay upon admitting that he loves pink unicorn socks. So, yes, as a way to heal my own self-perception, I started infusing my look with details that speak volumes of my personality and my diverse interests.

Suddenly, I’d gladly wear a stylish skeleton watch with a simple button-down, and I’d absolutely revel in my own reflection. Instead of piles of colorful rings, this single accessory is a timeless piece of sophistication that perfectly embodies my style preferences. It’s details like these that helped me understand that I had lost my sense of self, and that it was high time to begin rebuilding it one self-affirming choice at a time.

Elevating my mood with colors

As a minimalist at heart (with the occasional trip to crazy land of floral swimming trunks), I’ve always been a huge advocate of wearing black. Although I’m still very much in love with that look, my efforts to build a more positive personal image have led me to a slew of research studies that pointed the impact of colors on our mood and emotions. I did some homework and began adding different hues that would hopefully affect my mindset in a positive way. Lo and behold, results ensued, and I still wear my sage green shirt and my orange hoodie.

Some of the more recent fashion trends also use different colors of different saturation, which has inspired me even further to take a few steps outside of my fashion comfort zone and allow myself to play with my own style. This creative take on my look alone has given me a safe space in which I can explore my emotions, directly impact my mood, and still ensure self-affirmation.

The power of embracing compliments

Depression is a sneaky creature. It tends to affect your every action and your every thought, and it’s extremely difficult to root out once it takes hold of your mind. In my deepest states of self-denial, I would even reject compliments from people who genuinely care about me – and I would never, ever let them sink in. I was fortunate enough to have one of my friends point out this habit of mine, and it actually took me weeks of practice to start making any progress.

But, the sheer act of accepting compliments got the ball rolling. When I’d get myself to say “thank you” or “that’s very kind of you”, I’d open up a little window in my mind, allowing for the possibility that the compliment might be true. That I might actually look amazing, that my smile might be radiant, that my new boots look great on me. This little mental exercise through accepting compliments on my looks and my fashion choices helped me slowly embrace the possibility of a world in which I love myself.

Although the idea of “happy clothes” or “happy colors” definitely varies from one person to another, I’m beyond grateful for the fashion choices we have today and the people who diligently create them. They’ve meant the world to me and continue helping me through all of my ups and downs. I’ve used this creative process to find myself again, and to rebuild my appreciation for myself, and I hope that others will use it to find beauty in themselves once more.

Peter Minkoff is a lifestyle and health editor at HighStyleLife magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

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

Learning To Slow Down in a Fast-Paced World – Zoe Thomson

Learning To Slow Down in a Fast-Paced World

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Convenience is wonderful. Having everything at our disposal, all the time. Never having to worry about opening hours when we have online shopping, or missing a TV show when we have catch up and streaming. But when everything is available 24/7, it means we have to be too.

People apologise for taking social media breaks, we’re overloaded with information, and if you don’t keep up with current events you’re left behind. We’re under pressure to be plugged in all the time and it’s taking a toll on our mental health.

We’re exhausted all the time because we’re not allowed to switch off. Every waking moment has to be filled with something productive so we can make more money, work more hours, learn more skills. And then we experience burnout, and we’re even farther behind, there’s no way we can catch up. It’s hard not to feel like we were doomed from the start.

Mindfulness takes the autonomy away from our day to day lives, and helps us slow down and truly be present in the moment. Practising mindfulness sounds like an easy task, but nowadays with constant stimulation and entertainment around us, it’s a real challenge to be bored. How many times have you picked up your phone today?

We weren’t meant to live at such a fast pace. When we slow down and take in our surroundings, we appreciate so many people and things that we might have previously took for granted. It’s better for our health, and it’s better for our relationships. Practising mindfulness helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so we’re better able to manage them instead of getting overwhelmed. We’re more tuned in to our senses and surroundings and we’re less likely to do something on autopilot because our brain isn’t distracted – or it’s not desperate for a distraction anymore.

Mindfulness is easy to practice daily and doesn’t require hours of your time. You can practice mindfulness wherever you are or whatever you’re doing. If you find yourself being pulled in every direction and your thoughts are scattered all over the place, start with some mindful breathing. If you can, go somewhere quiet. Take one big, deep breath. Aim for around 5 seconds. Hold it for a second, and then exhale, releasing the tension from your brow, jaw, and shoulders. Imagine the hundreds of scattered thoughts and noise leaving with the tension, and allow yourself to start from the beginning with a clear mind.

There are loads of other great mindfulness techniques you can practice every day or just whenever you feel stressed.

Focusing on one thing, and not having your mind in six places at once, will reduce stress. The stress that used to pile up and eat away at you doesn’t have any power over you now; because you have control. You might eventually find that you don’t get as overwhelmed with the fast paced world as you used to, and you start doing things with intention, instead of just doing things for the sake of it. You might learn something about yourself, about what you need and what you don’t need. You’ll learn that it’s okay to disconnect, and go down your own path. The easiest way to win the game is to stop playing. Instant and autonomous works for robots; not people.

Zoe

Author bio: Zoe Thomson is a freelance writer living in Scotland with her boyfriend and one spoiled pug. She runs her own mental health blog, No Light Without Darkness, and has published work on The Mighty and I am 1 in 4. You can find me here: Blog, Twitter

The Late Goodbye

Picture it: you just got engaged and you’re planning who to be in the wedding with you and stand by your side just like in all aspects in life. You send out your boxes for them to say I do as well. Now, to remind you, these are the four only people over the years that have been there for you and hung out and made sacrifies to be with you and vice versa. Now picture this: only two of them show up. That’s what happened to me, and it turned my wedding planning and day itself into hell. Here is the story of a 14 year old and a 15 year old friendship that disappeared as quickly as you can say I do.

Two of my oldest friends, we’ll call them X and Y for story purposes, skipped out on the most important day of my life after being inseperable for 14 and 15 years.

One of them, we’ll call her X, just never even responded to my inquiry of my proposal box asking her if she’d be in my wedding. Mind you, I had been talking about it since I was engaged, and she knew it was coming all along, then decided to not talk to me for a few weeks, and never got an answer, so I eliminated her because I can’t count on someone when they don’t even appreciate your offer of knowing you were “best friends.” This was the easier of the two, thankfully and unfortunately. I have not spoken to her since either. No messages, no updates, nothing. It’s truly heartbreaking.

The other, she will be Y, bailed the day OF my wedding. Great, right?

The planning was a nightmare from day one. A little back story, I didn’t pick a Maid of Honor for my wedding because it was a small private ceremony with only friends and our mothers and photographers. Y was obviously annoyed I didn’t choose her, however, she was never the one to care about other people before herself, and I knew this when I met her when I was 14 years old. She was fighting on everything I wanted to pick for my wedding (note: MY wedding) even down to the little black shawl I wanted to wear over my dress at the top because my dress was strapless. I have bigger arms, and wanted them to be covered a little. “That glittery shawl doesn’t go and hangs way too low in the back and doesn’t match your hair and what you want to do.” Really? I let it slide.

Planning festivities for the night before – “I don’t want to go bowling, that’s not bachelorette party type stuff!” Okay, so don’t go, but again, repeat, it’s MY wedding and this is what I want to do for my night before and I don’t want to get drunk at all. We can enjoy wine at the hotel (which my two best friends and I did) after the restaurant we went to. “Wait, we’re going to a restaurant? Can my boyfriend come?” My reply to her was simple, stating yes but he needs to sit at the bar because this dinner is for people in the wedding party only and our mothers. No one else is bringing their significant other to this dinner, it’s just going to be us.” Her answer was what really got me: “Oh, well then better make the dinner for 9 people because I’m not letting or making him sit alone.”

Y never showed the next day. She never messaged me. She never was in the party. All because I told her the dinner was for wedding party only and this is what I wanted for my big day.

And this was the day, the day before my wedding, I finally realized that she was never my best friend all along. She was only my friend when it was convenient for her, and fit into her schedule. She had bought the dress, bought items for the night before for the little hotel party we were planning, and all the accessories. And wasted her money because she never showed.

She always put whatever boy she was with first, and never her friends who stood by her side through everything. Since I was 14 years old, we were together daily at camp, and then after camp at her house and on weekends because she lived so close. I will be 30 this year… and it took me 15 years to realize this I guess. Better late than never in my mind, but what a way to make your wedding day alternatitely the best and worst day of your life.

Now, the two girls who took the reins and planned everything with my mom, they’re who are worth fighting for. They are my rock, they are my best friends, and they are the people who are going to be there for me when I need them most – and they have been. Neither of them stopped texting or calling me while I was living across the country for a year and a half like X and Y did, they kept in touch, and wanted to. They are my support system and who I need by my side.

Sometimes it takes an act of disgust, unreliability and pure heartbreak to truly know who your best friends are, and it’s just unfortunate that this had to happen on my wedding day. I will never be sad about losing people that I now know never cared; I will be sad about all the years I wasted thinking they would never break my heart – and my family’s heart as well.

When you lose a best friend, you learn some hard lessons. Like everything and everyone else, people change. My happiness is important to me – it should be to them as well. If this what was supposed to happen, then so be it. Thanks to them, I feel I’m a better person and have a weight lifted off my shoulders I’ve had on there for way too long. I’m not bitter, and I’m not mad – and I won’t ever be for letting go of something that freed my soul.

The devil grins from ear to ear when he sees the hand he’s dealt us. Points at your flaming hair, and then we’re playing hide and seek. I can’t breathe easy here, less our trail’s gone cold behind us. Till’ in the john mirror you stare at yourself grown old and weak; And we keep driving into the night. It’s a late goodbye, such a late goodbye…

Late Goodbye, Poets of the Fall

To Whoever Needs to Read This – theboywithbpd

*caution, mature language ahead

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To whoever needs to read this,

If you are reading this letter, then I’m going to make an educated guess that you may not be having the best time right now. Perhaps for a while.

I also have not been having the best of times lately, this year has been the toughest of my life. I had a breakdown, I was diagnosed with BPD, we had our third child and I’m in a job that has me so depressed that I have suicidal thoughts on a daily basis. And to add to that list I had the bright idea it was time to sell our house and buy a new one, which in hindsight, may not be the best of timing.

It’s been a pretty busy year, most of it shit, except for the birth our third child of course. If it wasn’t for him, I dread to think how this year would have gone. I was in such a dark place at the start of the year that it almost cost me my family.

Advice, you started reading this letter in the hope for some advice, and so far, you are probably thinking I’m the last person you should listen to. Who wants advice from the guy who had a breakdown and nearly lost his family? As tough as this year has been and as bad as it got, I believe it could be the making of me.

Up until this point in my life I allowed my anxiety to dictate where my life would go, what I would do and more importantly what I wouldn’t do. My whole life has been a case of not doing the things I wanted to do because my anxiety wouldn’t allow it. It has taken 38 years and a breakdown to realise that.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer or a journalist, then when I got to my teens and discovered music, I wanted to be a musician. For as long as I can remember I have always been creative and thought my career would follow that path. Yet I ended up in an office-based job that I hate. I wouldn’t be the first person who never followed their dreams and became a living cliché. The difference being though, the reason why I never became a writer or musician is because I allowed my anxiety to convince me I would fail and be laughed at, even by those closest to me.

But now, I am finally taking back control. I am still scared and the anxiety hasn’t gone away, yet I feel like I now have a voice and my anxiety has finally started to listen. It still tries it’s best to convince me of the worst-case scenario, however I now have more confidence in my ability to over power my anxiety and do what I want to do.

As much as I am slowly taking back control of my life, I am realistic in my limitations. I am 38, I have three kids and a mortgage. So, it’s not like I can just quit my job and start all over again. Never the less, I am not just going to roll over and give up on my dreams completely because it may be a bit tougher now. I just have to approach things in a different way.

The advice? You ask. Yes, I am getting to it.

Do not let your anxiety dictate your life. If you do, your life will be determined by the things you decide NOT to do. The choices you do NOT make. The things you walk away from. Easier said than done as anxiety can be crippling, I’m a living example of that fact. Which is exactly why you should listen to me.

I never had someone give me that advice when I was in my twenties, it’s taken me 38 years to figure it out. Do not wait until you have the mortgage, the kids and the financial responsibilities to realise you were meant to do or be something else. Fuck it if people may laugh and fuck it if you may fail, but at least you would have tried. Tried doing what you actually want to do.

Life flies by, quicker than you expect, do something about it now, not tomorrow.

And fuck what everyone else or your anxiety thinks.

It’s your life, not theirs.

*theboywithbpd has guest posted with me previously, and you can find his bio and other post here.

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.

Travel Soothes My Anxiety – Connie Ferris

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Travel Soothes My Anxiety

Since I was a child I always knew that my mind worked in a more detrimental way than others. I would overthink even the smallest of situations. Forgetting my P.E. kit or not completing my homework would result in panic and on the rare occasion, tears. Not many people can understand anxiety unless they suffer from it themselves. However, when you finally understand your anxiety, certain events in your life begin to make sense. You understand why you acted that way and what may have triggered the anxiety. One good thing about educating yourself on your mental health is you begin to learn what is a trigger for your anxiety and what is good for your self care. For example, exams and judgement from people are big triggers for my anxiety, however travelling and seeing the world soothes my anxiety.

Like a lot of people who suffer from a bad mental health, I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder when I was experiencing a big life event. I was in my second year at university and balancing university, work and a relationship all became too much for myself. However, when I started to learn about my condition and when I read online about other peoples experiences, I discovered that every individual is different and everyone finds different things triggering. For me, I have never experienced anxiety at an airport, train station, hostel, hotel or in a new city. However, for some people travel can be very stressful and just because I do not find travelling stressful this does not mean that someone else with anxiety who does is abnormal.

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Freedom

My anxiety for the most part stems from what other people think about me. When I’m travelling I feel like there are no expectations of me from anyone and therefore I cannot fail at anything. I can visit whichever attractions I like and/or I can spend a day just lounging at the beach. Everything I do is down to my discretion and so if I don’t feel up to doing something one day, then I don’t have to. This may not make sense to a lot of people as my anxiety is such a personal experience. Only I know what goes through my mind, after all.

Although I feel at home when I’m travelling, I can understand why travel can bring about anxieties in other people, especially when backpacking or long-term travelling. There’s the uncertainty of money running out and things becoming too expensive. There’s also the concern of running late for flights, trains, buses etc. Although these are perfectly valid reasons to feel uneasy or anxious, they do not faze me in the slightest. I know that I will be okay because the world is not as big as people think. Having some perspective on just how big the universe is, you’ll soon realise that you’re not that far away from home.

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Returning Home

Another reason as to why I do not feel anxious when travelling is because I always have in the back of my mind that if everything goes wrong then I can simply return home. My rule of thumb whenever I travel anywhere is that I always have emergency funds in a separate bank account that I do not touch unless I need to. The funds need to be sufficient enough to get a flight back home from wherever I may be. For example, if I were in the United States of America then I know a flight back to London will cost roughly between £500 – £1000 and so that is the amount I need to keep in my emergency fund.

It is also good to have an emergency fund in case you desperately are not ready to go home, you are running out of money but you have some work lined up, you just need a little to get you by until your first paycheck. This isn’t an ideal situation to be in as your emergency fund should only be for emergencies but as long as you remember to pay your emergency fund back then no harm no foul.

I Love to Travel

I could write about travel all day if I wanted to however the reason for writing this post was to explain why travel does not cause me anxiety. Primarily, I think the reason for this is because I love it so much. I think I would stop loving to travel if it did start to cause me anxiety simply through association. I hate anxiety and if it was connected to travelling in any way then I would also begin to dislike travelling. Fortunately for myself, I can continue to travel anxiety free for now and just enjoy every moment of my adventures.

Connie

Author Bio: Connie is a travel and lifestyle blogger over at www.earthtoconnie.com. She began her blog in 2018 and ever since she has slowly been making her way around the world. Discussing advice and tips for long term travel whilst sharing her own adventures, there is something on her blog for everyone.  You can also keep up to date with all her new content through her twitter, facebook and instagram.

It’s About to be a New Year – Lexie Wohler

 

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As 2019 draws to a close, what things do you think about? Do you look back in regret over the things that you weren’t able to accomplish? Or do you look forward to new opportunities that will dawn for you on the horizon? Do you look forward to spending more time on the things that are really important or do you dread the do to list that the new year brings? How many times does another new year stress you out instead of excite you? Think about why the thought of the new year scars you, and figure out a way to combat the anxiety and fears that you have.

A new year can be scary in all of its aspects, and its okay to be scared and uncertain about what the year may bring. But don’t let the uncertainty and doubts stop you from accomplishing what you want to do in your life. Remember, each new day of the year is a chance to get out of your comfort zone, impact the world in ways that you never thought possible, and to impact others in ways you never expected.

Don’t let anyone talk you out of following your dreams. Follow your heart and your dreams.  Do your best at anything you do. When times get tough, turn over your worries to productivity and leave them at His feet while you continue to do His work. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from finding your purpose in your life. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from doing what your heart wants you to do. You will give the tools needed to face each new day this year, head on. Keep moving forward in 2019 and never let anything stop you.

Some people choose to go back to school and finish their degree or change their degree in order to get a better job, to make more money in order to provide for their families. While others may be offered a raise in their profession, others may not get a raise right away. Remember as you go through the year to be patient with yourself about the choices you make. Don’t feel as though you have to take on everything and anything all at once. It’s not healthy or achievable for you. Don’t lose yourself in the things you’re trying to do. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you literally become an outer shell of yourself. That isn’t ever worth it.  Don’t rush into things that aren’t what you really want to do. Instead, take the time to figure out what your passions are and really focus on them. If it’s writing, then go all in with it and take some classes at a school or online to hone your skills. If it’s painting, then take some painting lessons through YouTube or through a painting group like Painting With A Twist. Remember, no amount of education can ever hurt you in your quest to figure out what you want to do in your life.

If you’ve constantly been taking care of other people in your life, use this new year as a time to finally rest, recharge and focus on taking care of yourself. You can only take care of others if you are healthy yourself. Don’t run yourself raged trying to carter to everyone else’s needs. Remember, some of the people won’t be pleased no matter how much you cater to your needs. If someone gets offended by you taking the time for yourself instead of focusing on them, then you can distance yourself from them or completely cut yourself off from them. There is never anything wrong with taking the time to care for yourself, physically, and mentally.

Let this new year be your best one yet. Enjoy every part of the journey as best you can.

Lexie Wohler is a repeat guest blogger and you can find her first post and bio here.