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Family

The Key

A family all in together to support one another with unconditional love

Life..  it’s complicated and messy. No one gets out of here unscathed by the rigors of life. However, not everyone handles life’s obstacles in the same way; largely due to how each of us perceives our life and the lives of the people around us. 

I have always traveled down a difficult path, and some bad things have happened as a result. I am not the only one affected by my path because I have a family, and children who love me. 

When you are in a family, you love the members unconditionally, but unconditional love comes with a price. The often difficult task of understanding and loving the one with the ill mind.

Love can bring a lot of unpleasantness. The reason love can hurt us so badly, is our close proximity to the ones we love.

I wrote a post about perception several months ago. If you read it, you know I think our beliefs, morals, boundaries, goals, everything in our lives, varies, based on how we perceive events in our lives. It amazes me that because of perception, every member of a family can live through and survive the same tragedies, and yet, end up having completely different experiences.

We are hardest on our families. We have higher expectations of them because we feel being in a family has certain implications.

When family has expectations we can’t live up to, and then degrades our capabilities, we feel like failures.

****When someone in the family has been through a tremendous amount of pain, compounded by addiction and mental illness, it alters their life in a way no one can quite understand, unless you have been there.****

The sad truth is that every single person in my family can read the above paragraph and relate somehow. They either went through something horrific as well, battled addiction, mental illness, or they have been affected by a loved ones’ suffering. For me, I became a victim of my own mind, and felt alone, and felt no one could possibly understand. 

The stigma of mental illness and the stigma of addiction often go hand in hand. 

The battles are different for everyone. Some go completely off the deep end with addiction. They are the type depicted in films, books, the media, and unfortunately, so much damage occurs for everyone around them. Not everyone fits that category. 

Never in my life was I compelled to steal from people (especially family), violate, do physical harm, or sell my body for a “rock”, a bottle, or a shot. 

Episodes of mental Illness have not sent me running naked in the streets or caused me to hear voices telling me to chop up my family. People usually don’t know I have issues, until I tell them. 

Research suggests that the majority of people hold negative attitudes and stereotypes toward people with mental illness as well as addiction. Hell, I’m guilty of stereotypical views myself, sometimes. I didn’t realize I was being self-deprecating until I just snapped to it one day. My user name for many of my online profiles is, CrazyinOk82: Stigma was rearing its ugly head, and I didn’t even realize it. That’s how powerful stigma is. 

Often the negative stereotypes are perceptions that people with mental illness are dangerous. This perception is fueled by the media who usually paint violent perpetrators as “mentally ill” without providing the context of the broad spectrum of mental illness. 

What is “crazy”, is that ignorance is not the only thing causing this huge lack of understanding. It’s the damn healthcare professionals themselves. They often hold to the same stereotypes.

This is so frustrating because everyone, especially the mentally ill, look to the professionals for guidance, understanding and support. When their view of you is altered due to rampant stigma, you can’t trust the treatment you receive or stop seeing them. Who is everyone going to listen to anyway? The healthcare professionals, or the “crazy people”. Yeah, you already know.

As long as there is a grain of truth to a stereotype, some people are going to hold it as the gospel truth. 

Meanwhile, families are being torn apart. Misunderstanding and lack of effective communication can cause irreparable harm. Change doesn’t happen overnight, I get that. A great place to cultivate a foundation for change, is at home. 

It’s easier to give your friend a break, be empathetic and understanding, than it is to extend the same courtesy to someone you have been around your whole life. The issues hit too close to home.

Being mentally ill is incredibly lonely. I feel like no one gets me and never will. In everyones eyes, I am just a fuck up. I make bad choices, I’m selfish, lazy, full of excuses, and those are just a few of the lovely gems I have heard coming from “a loving place” in my lifetime. One of the worst things you can say to me is that drugs, alcohol, or my choice of partner are the cause of my issues. Those things are symptoms of a much bigger problem.

When we misunderstand mental illness — and its gravity — we do damage. Rather than give individuals our understanding, compassion and support when they need it most, we intensify their struggle. 


I read an article a college student wrote, likening mental illness to an iceberg. The part everyone can see on the surface: The impulsive behavior, mania, major depression, substance abuse, inability to get out of bed, suicide ideation, etc. 

Under the surface of the water, is a big part of the structure no one sees; obsessions such as; fear of abandonment, fear of causing harm to others and the feeling that something bad is going to happen. The loneliness and depression that is fought almost every day, make it impossible to see any light, sometimes.

It is very easy to focus on things that are superficial and visible, but it is what is anchoring these behaviors, that are the main problem – and this is what the general public should be educated about. 


Alcoholism and addiction are progressive diseases. THEY GET WORSE OVER TIME. Alcoholics didn’t just decide to chug a gallon of vodka one day because everything is so right inside of them. Addicts don’t start out with a needle in their arm. No. Their first drink or drug was the same way it was for you! With friends having a good time! 

I have never met someone who out of the blue, woke up one day and said, “You know what I need? A bag of heroin and a syringe.”


When I tried to speak from my heart about what life is like for me, my sister and Mom became irate and the interpersonal skill of communication, was nonexistent.  They thought I was being self- absorbed because I had been writing a lot instead of paying attention to the family. I validated their feelings , understood, and put my phone away. It didn’t matter.

They don’t understand that sometimes I need to be in this cocoon. Especially, to stay safe from my sister’s powerful energy. She is so angry and internalizes everything. She is also very powerful. When she feels any kind of way, you know it.

The content of what they are saying to me is not helping me. It’s hurting me. Trying to make me feel like less than a human being, or a person undeserving of decency (treatment I get from my sister) and the ever present guilt trip my mother puts on me when I cannot do the simplest things she wants me to do just gives me more feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness when no one understands. 

The link below is what I was attempting to talk with them about, while referencing the importance of my work. Instead of being met with support, I was devalued and told everything I have to say is shit, even when I sat there and took it, agreed with them, anything to make it stop…

Do you know what helps? Not feeling alone or isolated, being validated, supported and loved unconditionally.

According to data from the National Institutes of Health, nearly one in five Americans — 43.8 million people — live with mental illness.    

Luna Greenstein, marketing and communications manager at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says, 

“Storytelling accomplishes more than most probably realize,”It helps people feel less alone, and it cultivates empathy and compassion. “Additionally, it’s a great form of education for the aspects of mental illness that are hardest to understand.”

The only way out of the hole of loneliness with mental illness is understanding from others. 

All I was trying to say to my family is this is why what I’m doing is so important.

I might not ever get through to my sister and mother. That’s a shame because as far as a support system goes, I am seriously lacking. Since I don’t fit the mold they have for mental illness, they don’t get me or realize how debilitating my illness is. I found my voice finally, it only took about 38 years. I know that I am on the path I am supposed to be on. 

My kids will get this, even if not right away, they will. The reason they will, is they’re smart, empathetic, and they have a dad and step-mom educating them and allowing them to form their own identities separate from theirs. It’s exactly the way I wanted to raise my kids. We might not always see eye to eye and that’s ok. Simply aiming for understanding is awesome, progressive, and supportive. I truly hope they know and understand how grateful I am. 

This is not the life I wanted, yet here I am. I’m sorry to anyone who has ever been affected negatively by my words, or actions. Please know, it was never my intention.

Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, its it’s not for them.

Joubert Botha
Watch this TED Talk about Dual Diagnosis. Very eye opening

***I do not want to give the impression my family is horrible. I am simply trying to show the other side of these scenerios. No one ever thinks people with mental illness know how we affect everyone around us. Trust me, the mentally ill get it. ***

****Also,this communication issue needs to be resolved. If you would like more information about loving someone in your family who is afflicted with a mental illness, please click here.

Categories
Mental Health Resources Mental illness Thoughts on life

My Retort

I chose yesterday of all days, to turn off the feature that had me pre-approve all comments on my posts.

I chose to do this because of the way my mind was working at the time. My mind very forcefully said,

“Who cares if someone disagrees or doesn’t like my post, or says something negative about what I choose. I want the criticism, and I feel passionate about everything I publish. If it makes it to the public eye, I put everything in it. So why the hell not?”

Everything happens for a reason and if a certain comment hadn’t been made and gone very public, I wouldn’t be writing this post now.

I don’t know how many of my readers saw the comment before it was removed, but it’s ok. I’m grateful it happened because my silence on the issue further stigmatizes mental illness. That goes against my goal.

Personality disorders often go without being treated due to being widely misdiagnosed.

Personality Disorders are one of the most heavily stigmatized mental health conditions a person can experience. This rampant stigma has both tangible and emotional consequences that can worsen existing difficulties. Stigma shows in the form of judgments, blame, negative assumptions and discrimination.

Stigma can lead a person experiencing a Personality Disorder to feel ashamed and hide their suffering. This leads to further negative emotion (shame, loneliness, fear) and attempts to suppress distress. Suppression of distress and self-invalidation typically results in further emotion dysregulation, dysregulated thinking and out-of-control behavior.  

Even if individuals are determined enough to push through the stigma and seek treatment, they may encounter even more stigma. Some mental health professionals are reluctant, or even refuse, to diagnose and/or treat a Personality Disorder, even when a person clearly meets diagnostic criteria. ( Article about Borderline Personality Disorder)

So here we go… I’m divulging personal stuff I never intended on divulging, because my boyfriend has a Personality Disorder with war related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

To be diagnosed with a Personality Disorder, you need to have severe problems functioning in one or both of these areas:

  • Self-Functioning: A fully functioning person is in touch with his or her deepest and most innermost feelings and desires. This individual has received unconditional positive regard from others, does not place conditions on his or her own worth, is capable of expressing feelings, and is fully open to life’s many experiences.

Some examples of Interpersonal skills are:

  • Communication skills involve both listening and speaking effectively.
  • Assertiveness skills involve expressing yourself and your rights without violating others’ rights.
  • Conflict Resolution skills help you resolve differences so that you may continue a relationship effectively.
  • Anger Management skills involve recognizing and expressing anger appropriately in order to achieve goals, handle emergencies, solve problems and even protect our health.

Jason has problems functioning in both areas, and his PTSD exacerbates everything.

Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D., CGP, says men with Narcissistic Personality Disorder follow a “love pattern” in their romantic relationships that they reproduce over and over again with different women.

The most common “Narcissistic Love Patterns” she has named, “The Romantic, “The Big Game Hunter,” “The White Knight,” “The Novelty Seeker,” “The Hater,” and “The Recycler.” The consistency in all of the patterns, is that he loves you and wants you, then runs.

Jason is kind of all over the place. He can’t be put into one particular pattern, however, he runs. A LOT.

Ok. Are you with me so far? Good. Because now I’m about to throw a giant chink in your chain…

Everything I had researched and studied, mostly made sense and sometimes were spot on. The major factor that set Jason aside, is his ability to love.

I kept studying various publications and I kept studying Jason. A common thread throughout everything I studied, are the misconceptions commonly inherent in Personality Disorders by Behavioral Health professionals themselves.

I read a hundred different articles and various publications stating a narcissist can’t love or have empathy for others.

I’m here to tell you, that is not correct. I know Jason loves me with every ounce of his capability. Finally, I found what I know to be true.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT writes that although it’s complicated, that narcissists can, in fact, feel and express love and can be empathetic.

In Rosenbergs book, “The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us,” “garden variety narcissists,” or those with NPD are capable of love and empathy AS LONG AS IT MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD OR THEY GET SOMETHING IN RETURN.

Since they desperately and perpetually seek love, appreciation and affirmation from others, they will consciously and unconsciously (Human Magnet Syndrome) gravitate toward others that can meet this impossible need.  Sadly, however, the people who are going to fall in love with them and, consequently, try to take their problems and pain away are deprived of the very same love, respect and care that the narcissists fight so hard to obtain.  These unfortunate people are almost always going to be codependents.

(Entering stage left is… Ms. Codependent herselfME.)

Rosenberg goes on to say that his book also explains why codependents are the only personality type that can actually withstand the narcissist’s selfishness while shaping it (distorting it) into a loving relationship.

He states as a fact, that narcissists and codependents love each other. The feeling is quite real to them.

The narcissist falls deeply in love with the codependent because she provides unconditional love. It’s the one thing the narcissist believed was impossible. She loves him for his true self, so he has found his soul mate.

Rosenberg says the unstable and fleeting nature of their love experience is best explained using a metaphor- a bucket with holes. 

Narcissists need a steady stream of unconditional love, respect and care to keep their hole-ridden bucket filled.

No amount of unconditional love or affirmation, kindness, empathy, etc., will ever keep their “buckets” topped off. Hence, their need for affirmation, attention, etc. while desperately self-promoting themselves, gives us an idea why they are motivated, if not addicted, to their narcissistic ways and why they are unable to stop. 

But here is the rub: they can only adore and love people who fill their holey bucket. They really do “love” these people – their codependents.

And the codependents selflessly “love” them back. 

With Jason’s PTSD combined with a personality disorder, over a period of time, his “holey bucket” empties. He begins to see my flaws and they piss him off. Another scenario is he will try so hard to get my attention and love, ending up feeling slighted. He thinks I’m too busy writing, or playing a game on my phone to notice he needs, “Sarah Time”.

Then, as he watches me make plans with other people, he feels he must not be as important as they are, I don’t appreciate his hard work and effort, and his bucket depletes.

The empty bucket leaves him feeling insecure and afraid, and those feeling manifest themselves through anger. The fear and insecurity also ensures he will develop a fear of me leaving him. Those were the times there were violent outbursts. The scary stuff…

Jason and I are not stupid people, and our love for one another is making us look at ourselves and our relationship from a new perspective. We had to start asking,

“What does our unique relationship need to survive and flourish?”

The first thing I knew I must do, is stop being a victim. Jason isn’t a horrible person. He has fucking issues. So do I.

I wouldn’t ever be happy with a “normal” guy, the kind everyone thinks I deserve. I will get bored with that guy. I will end up breaking his little heart when Jason shows up and says, “Get in the car, I’m gonna beat the breaks off this dude and then we’re getting the hell outta here.”

Yep, that’s the guy I’m ridin’ with.

I’m not Jason’s girl because I’m scared. I’m not scared anymore. I meant it when I said that part is done. We are someplace else in the evolution of our relationship.

I’m Jason’s girl because as fucked up of a dynamic it has been, I see him trying to be a man worthy of me. I watch him listen and give input, trying to understand the mysteries of the mind with me. This shit is going to be hard, but the really scary stuff everyone was worried about, is over.

On to the next hurdle

To the people disowning me for choosing this path, I get it. All I ask is to please open your mind and consider the possibility that what looks like a cut and dry cycle of abuse to you, is in reality, a stepping stone to a new level of understanding and existing.

I know I am on the right path for me.

I feel that some very real discoveries are in the process of being made in the field of mental health and although you are very open-minded and a wonderful advocate for your cause, you are lacking an understanding of some of the very real and very big issues some of us face every minute, of every day.

Mental Health stigma is not as big of an issue as it once was, but it’s still way bigger than I thought. There is so much that is still unknown, and when we are dealing with the unknown, we are limited to our understanding of it.

As mental health patients, we have not been taken seriously in the past. That is changing. Those of us who are able, have a responsibility to ourselves and to others who are suffering to educate everyone about the parts of mental illness you can’t understand from reading a textbook, publication, or observation.

We will never have it all figured out, but my purpose is clear to me.

TALK. WRITE. EDUCATE. VOTE.

I love you, B, more than you know. I hope you can forgive me for the worry and stress my being in your life has caused you. I hope we can come to a compromise where we can still be family that does things together. I hate to think of my life without you in it… You said something to me last week that has stuck with me. You said you were willing to help me if you felt like we were on the same team.

A heartbreaking truth about being mentally ill, is for the most part, you feel extremely misunderstood and very alone in the world.

Advocacy is appreciated and necessary, however, we crave unconditional love and support, regardless of there being a lack of understanding concerning the “whys” of our mentally ill behaviors.

We don’t know why most of the time.

I can promise, I will always do what I believe is right, and I know sometimes I will be so wrong. I’m learning and traveling through time like everyone else.

ONE. DAY. AT. A. TIME.

Categories
Mental illness

Fighting Mental Health Stigma

What You Can Do


Photo by: Theresa Carriveau

The Problem


There are so many issues as a result of mental health stigma. At the most basic, stigma discriminates and alienates people who are pretty rough on themselves already.

On a national level, we have a fragmented healthcare system which further alienates the mentally ill. We lack adequate mental health care professionals, and the ones we have are poorly distributed. With the baby boomers aging, medical staff are unprepared for the inevitable rise in the need for behavioral health services.

People of all ages are suffering and often don’t seek help. Their reasons vary from ignorance, lack of resources, fear of discrimination, and some are simply too ill to inquire about mental health care or assistance programs that may be available. This needs to be a problem of the past, and quickly.

The ACE Study shows how childhood trauma affects the course of a lifespan. The more trauma a person experiences as a child, the more likely that person will have serious physical and mental health problems as an adult.

The results of the ACE Study make healthcare for the mentally ill imperative since we know some health problems might be preventable if treatment begins at an early age.

It irritates me that it’s 2019 and much of society and our government view the mentally Ill as dangerous, criminal, and unable to live peacefully among everyone else. However, I understand the main problem is ignorance and lack of understanding.

Many people are suffering in silence due to fear of what will happen to them, how they will be treated, lack of resources and funding.


What Can We Do?


The solution is people working together to reach very attainable goals.

How do we achieve these goals?

Educate. Teach society what mental illness is and what it isn’t.

Talk about it.

Those of us with mental illness need to talk about our experiences. We need to get out to the voting booths next fall. We need to advocate for those suffering from mental illness so they can get the help they need and deserve.

Learn of bills being written or voted on in your area concerning mental health, then write letters to your legislators.

Mental Health stigma is a problem that has gotten better, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Let’s help people… WAKE UP!

Categories
Good Advice Mental Health Resources Mental illness

Intimate Partner Violence & Mental Health


Photo credit: Adobe Spark Post

Statistics and some paragraphs including relevant information from the American Journal Of Preventative Medicine

Click here for the most up to date guide about Domestic Violence & Drug Abuse. Click on links below for the most up to date guides on signs of abuse & addiction of drugs & alcohol.


I began searching the topic of Intimate Partner Violence or IPV, and was surprised to find very few studies of the effects on a person’s mental health.

I figured this was a no brainer. Of course violence inflicted by a partner is incredibly damaging. Your partner should be your safe zone. Trust and respect should reign over control and abuse. Always.

This subject is close to my heart because I have been abused in the past.

I never thought I would be one of those women. Yet there I was. It’s insane how love and fear can keep a woman holding on.

I read an article in the American Journal Of Preventative Medicine, about a study proclaiming that A total of 28.9% of 6790 women and 22.9% of 7122 men had experienced physical, sexual, or psychological IPV during their lifetime.

The article went on to say that for both men and women, physical IPV victimization was associated with increased risk of current poor health; depressive symptoms; substance use; and developing a chronic disease, chronic mental illness, and injury. In general, abuse of power and control was more strongly associated with these health outcomes than was verbal abuse. When physical and psychological IPV scores were both included in logistic regression models, higher psychological IPV scores were more strongly associated with these health outcomes than were physical IPV scores.

The study concluded that both physical and psychological IPV are associated with significant physical and mental health consequences for both male and female victims.

Luckily there are social service programs that help victims, not only with relocating them to safety, but also with therapy and social groups. Another study I read about in the Journal Of Women’s Health and Gender Based Medicine, addresses the positive effects of social service for abused women.

In Tulsa we have Domestic Violence Intervention Services referred to as DVIS. They provide an amazing service and have an empathetic staff whom many have lived through abuse themselves.

There is help out there if you need it. It’s the hardest part for sure and extremely scary. However, it’s empowering to take control back over your life and make good decisions for yourself. I’m including some links of national resources below. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, pass these links on. Be safe ladies, you deserve happiness.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline Big plus, they have an option that helps you hide that you visited their website in case your web activity is being monitored.

U.S. Department of Human Services: Office On Women’s Health they are an amazing resource for finding assistance in your state.

Family and Youth Services Bureau

Domesticshelters.org this website helps you browse for help safely. The option is at the top of the page.

HUD Exchange

* There is also a higher chance of IPV with substance abuse. This is a great resource of information to educate the public about the facts of alcohol and drug use, abuse, addiction, and the difference between them. Click here for alcohol facts. Here for drug facts.

 

 

 

Categories
Mental illness

My Guest Blog


I was a guest blogger on this woman’s website recently. She has a mental health blog I follow on WordPress, and she’s published a few books as well.

I liked her writing immediately so when I saw that she was interested in hosting guests for a series called “The Emerging Blogger”, I jumped right on that.

I was nervous because I am super new at this. Posts usually take me about an hour to write. The one I wrote for the series took me 2 or 3 days. I don’t think it will win any awards (haha), but she was very gracious and kind. So here it is…

I’M RIGHT HERE.

Categories
Good Advice Mental Health Resources Mental illness

The ACE’s Quiz


My case manager and I were wrapping up a long session of the dreaded “treatment plan” update, when he exclaimed, “Oh, I almost forgot! There is a new quiz we have to do now!”

He was referring to the ACE’s quiz.

A.C.E is an acronym for “adverse childhood experiences”. The quiz was simple, but the questions were very personal and deep even for us and we are close.

It’s said that the higher your score, the more at risk you are for developing certain adversities later in life.

  • risky health behaviors
  • chronic health conditions
  • low life potential
  • early death

cdc.gov

It’s important to note that the presence of ACEs does not automatically mean you will have any of the aforementioned adversities. It simply means there is a higher risk.

I took the quiz and answered the incredibly personal questions truthfully, ending with a score of 7. I didn’t know what it meant so I looked it up online. A score of 7 is very high. I read with a score higher than 4, things start to get serious.

Click here to read about ACE’s scores and take the quiz.

I began researching deeper into ACEs after a discussion with my mother-in-law over lunch. She informed me she recently began advocating for schools to hire mental health professionals as well as give the ACE quiz to all students. What a fabulous idea. I love it.

My mother-in-law is a force, and I believe she can accomplish this goal. This particular platform means a lot to both of us especially after losing my husband, her son, to suicide. The idea is that the trauma is dealt with instead of sweeping it all under the rug. Not dealing with the issues, is what leads to the problems later.

My husband didn’t have many ACEs at all. In fact, he had a great childhood. He was just sick. With the inclusion of this quiz in schools as well as the presence of mental health professionals, perhaps even the kids who are ” sick” can get help sooner.

The only question I have about the study is why we didn’t have it sooner. I was under the assumption it was common knowledge that abuse and neglect as children affect people later in life. The main point I always heard was that children from abusive homes are more likely to abuse their own kids.

I also thought it was common knowledge children of divorced parents are adversely affected. Bring on the “daddy issues”. If these were statistics widely acknowledged, why in 2019 do we just now have this quiz?

The study actually began in 1995 with the first recorded results becoming available in 1998. I took psychology in college and never had it mentioned. Isn’t that kind of odd?

I am so proud of my mother-in-law for putting herself into this advocacy for our kids. It’s a big deal. She pointed out that since Keith’s death in 2017, me starting my blog about mental health is my way of giving back. I truly hope someone gains insight or simply no longer feels so alone after reading some of my posts. That is my goal.

Do your own research and educate yourselves further regarding this study, as well as take the quiz. I provided a link above.

The world has come a long way in understanding mental health and the effects of trauma. We still have a long way to go, but we have to start somewhere.

 


Categories
Thoughts on life

Perception Is Reality

I used to at least always attempt to be optimistic about everything, even when the universe seemed against me. This is a feat I struggle with immensely now, especially after everything I have been through in my life.

Years of mental health issues, tragedy, or just being a grumpy asshole can turn the optimist into the pessimist; ultimately changing not only one’s perceptions but the course of one’s life.

The butterfly effect based on chaos theory was originally centered around the weather. Since the 1980s, people have also come to think the butterfly effect is a metaphor for how a small, seemingly insignificant event or action can affect or even completely change the outcome.

Perception is kind of like that. What we perceive in any area of life is our reality. You can think, speak or believe things into existence including happiness.

For us mental patients, this is such a good idea in theory but damn near impossible.

I believe to my very core, that the meaning of life is so simple, just hard to attain.

Gratitude and Love

Simple, right? Easy? No. It seems easy but it’s not. Life makes us bitter and angry.

Even the nicest person can have tons of pent up anger and aggression while appearing to be happy and healthy. A person can even be unaware of these toxic feelings until one day they just, snap.

Anger and aggression aren’t even what makes gratitude and love the most difficult.

It gets the hardest when tragedy enters your life. It’s very hard to love and be grateful when your spouse or child just died.

It’s unfair and makes no sense to us when tragedy happens. The only explanation I can come up with is that we are supposed to learn something, and we either get it or we don’t. If we don’t get it in this lifetime, maybe we will in the next one.

Learning to live a life of gratitude and love is very difficult. I know from personal experience that when we at least attempt to attain a life of gratitude and love, the results are magical.

Suddenly doors open that were previously closed, relationships improve and you start living a life you always wanted.

Try it. Make a serious conscious effort to live your life with gratitude and love for two weeks. Hell, try it for one week. You will find something you have been looking for…

Happiness.

Categories
Mental illness

“Anxiety-Ridden” Is A Way Of Life

Anxiety has been a big part of my life for a long time. I don’t really know what it’s like to not be anxious to some degree. It’s normal for me, but even with that being the case, it sucks.

Beginning as a little girl, I was sensitive to everything around me, I still am. I am what is known as an Empath. Some people don’t believe Empaths exist but I’m walking, talking, living and breathing proof of the Empaths existence.

This is the official definition from the American Empath Association: An Empath is someone who understands the mental or emotional states of others in a way that defies conventional science and psychology. Empaths have the ability to sense the feelings, thoughts, and energies of people, plants, places, or objects. In addition to sensing, Empaths absorb the energy of those around them. Empaths can also use their abilities to help others by imagining themselves in someone else’s situation and connecting with them on a deep level. https://urbandictionary.com

It’s not a gift, trust me. If it is a gift, who do I talk to about returns because I’m pretty sure this is not what I ordered. It sucks! I feel everything and everyone around me. Sometimes it’s very difficult to differentiate other people’s feelings from my own. It’s maddening.

One can imagine I’m sure, the amount of anxiety this little “gift” causes in my life, especially if I am in a crowded place. Imagine feeling 50, 100, 200+ different people’s emotions during a single trip to WalMart.

There are 17 different types of Empath according to The American Empath Association. I have traits of 3 types; emotional, claircognizant, and telepathic.

Dumbfounded guys saying

You might have already known about emotional Empaths as it’s what most people think of when referring to an Empath. I feel what other people feel.

Claircognizant means I can intuitively sense others intentions, often being able to tell if someone is lying. It’s the type I dislike the most. I can’t tell you how much denial I have had simply because I don’t want to be hurt or I don’t want to believe the sinister intentions of others.

Telepathic is what some call a “mind-reader”. I began to show telepathic abilities as a very small child. By the time I was 4 years old, I read my mother’s mind quite often. I didn’t think it was strange because I didn’t know any different.

I have a vivid memory of reading my mother’s mind once. She was in the kitchen thinking about getting me a swing set for my upcoming birthday. I remember hearing her just as if she were speaking out loud. To me, there was talking while moving our mouths, and also talking while saying nothing. That was normal. When I told her that I, in fact, would like a swing set, she picked her jaw up off the floor.

Jaw dropping polar bear

The telepathy isn’t anywhere as powerful as it was when I was a kid but I still pick things up randomly.

Mental illness and anxiety go hand in hand. When you are an Empath as well as mentally ill, the anxiety can often be unbearable.

I go to great lengths to avoid situations which I know are likely to cause anxiety. For instance, I haven’t stepped foot inside Walmart in about 6 months. My wonderful boyfriend does all the shopping, bless him.

It’s so difficult for me to go inside a crowded place that there have been many times I have left full grocery carts because I had to leave. Shopping, in general, is not fun for me. I always have to absent myself at least once and go outside. That has mainly been happening in the past 5 or 6 years.

I am in no way belittling the anxiety of those who are not Empaths, so no hate mail, please. I know anxiety can be debilitating for anyone, no matter their “superpower”.

Not very many people know these things about me. I wasn’t ever comfortable talking about it before. I have always been scared of what people would think or if they would even believe me. At this point in my life, and with the amount of bullshit I have endured, I do not care anymore. Believe me or don’t. This is me. I’m weird.

I'm fucking crazy-kristin wigg

Deal with it. I have to…