Tag Archives: mental-health

Unseen Battles

We each have things in life that make our hearts smile and shine bright.  For me that involves a number of things including family, photography, travel, reading, creating art, writing and making a difference in the lives of others.

We also each have moments where our hearts don’t shine as bright.  For everyone this is different and for some it can last single fleeting moments and for others may last hours, days, weeks, etc.

I suffer from bouts of anxiety and depression, as I am fairly certain all humans do in some capacity.  I suffer to a degree that I am on medication to help with the severity of the episodes.  Again, I know I am not alone in that experience, however it is not commonly accepted to be open about that.  I also know that there are many that suffer in silence and do not seek treatment in fear of being judged or those that have attempted to talk with their doctor about it and not been taken seriously.  I am lucky to have a doctor that listened to me, took my concerns to heart, talked me through everything and connected me with the proper professional for analysis and treatment.

Now many may have stopped reading already and thought that this does not apply to them or it is just another story about mental health.  For those that are still with me, thank you.  Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you and thank you for being open to learning more to either help yourself or help somebody you love.
My hope is that by sharing my experience of what it feels like during my episodes that you or someone you love may find value in it or maybe even benefit from it.

The anxiety sometimes creeps up on me.  I may feel a twinge of doubt or nervousness but it will disappear as quickly as it came.  Then another twinge followed by another and another until my heart is racing, my chest feels tight and heavy and my stomach feels like it is in my throat.  During this time my head feels like a pinball machine with non-defined ‘thoughts’ bouncing around in my brain.  Focus is near impossible and motivation has gone out the door and around the block.  I feel worried and nervous for no apparent reason and as if I am crawling out of my own skin.  I know the feelings are irrational, unwarranted and definitely unwanted; but in the midst of it I am seemingly powerless to change it.

 

anxiety
A visual from nature to help explain anxiety and the way it feels as if you are crawling out of your own skin.

Other times all of those feelings will simply pounce on me out of the blue; usually when I am winding down for the night or as soon as I wake in the morning.  No matter if it is a sneak attack or an all-at-once blow, it is a terrible feeling and something very difficult to control.

 

The other episodes I deal with are those of depression, which often like to jump in on the fun alongside anxiety.  While many believe that depression involves feeling sad or blue, I choose to explain it more as a feeling of emptiness.  During times of the deepest depression I truly feel….nothing; empty; invisible.  We all have moments (especially women) where we feel inferior or doubt our abilities or worth.  Take those moments and multiply them by one hundred and then extend them out for awhile; that is close to what depression feels like for me.  When these bouts hit me, my inner hermit appears.  I want to crawl into a cave and hide, never to come out.  I often find that during these episodes I feel extremely tired; which I personally think is my body’s way of coping.  If I sleep, I can’t ‘feel’ the emptiness and the loneliness.

So why am I sharing this with you?  Because I am one of the lucky ones.  Lucky to be in tune with myself; my body, my heart, my mind, my spirit.  Lucky to recognize when something isn’t quite right.  Lucky to have a trusted doctor, friends and family that support me through these discoveries.  Lucky to know that I am not alone in this battle, even when it feels like I am.  Lucky to be proud of who I am and not let this define me.

Others are not as lucky.  Others are suffering in silence and fear.  Others are unarmed and unaware of the battle they are up against.  Others have stood up to fight and hit obstacles only to surrender and give up hope for any relief.

I share this with you today to let you know that you are not alone; you do not need to fight unarmed or surrender; you are worth it; you are loved; and the world needs you.  Do not sit silently and suffer.  Reach out to those you love and trust.  If you hit an obstacle, do not give up.  Find a way around that obstacle; go over, under, around or through.

And if you do not know what it is like to live these battles, please understand that there are many around you that do.  Be kind and understanding to others always; as everybody you meet has their own battles and their own story.

Until next time…♥♥

 

 

 

 

A case of the Mondays…

So it is Monday…
Did anybody else have a difficult time getting out of bed this morning? The very first conscious thought I had today was “I don’t wanna get up” (in a whiny voice) when my alarm went off at 5:00am. Guess how my day will go if I keep that mentality all day. Probably not so great and I would have a severe case of the Mondays.

Thus take a stand against the “Mondays”…and no I do not want you to boycott your TPS reports or take a printer out to a field and destroy it!  (Office Space references for those that haven’t seen this iconic movie)  🙂
Instead change your way of thinking!  Ok, I know how cliche that sounds and how that is so much easier said than done…but I am going to walk you through this so stay with me!

This morning when my alarm went off and I had those feelings of blah and all I wanted was to roll over and go back to sleep, I instead got up and walked into my bathroom (grumbling the entire way).  Step one…get up!! 🙂
Next, as I was brushing my teeth, I thought about what the day ahead of me held.  What meetings do I have at work?  What projects am I working on that I am excited about?  What television programs are on tonight that I look forward to watching?  What fun things do I want to do with my kiddos when I get home from work?  Just thinking about those questions brought me out of the blah and got me motivated enough to at least stay awake and hop in the shower to proceed to get ready for work! 
Finally, I turned on my handy IHeartRadio app on my phone and listened to some of my favorite tunes as I finished getting ready.  By the time I was dressed and ready to go, I had a whole new outlook on my day and my attitude was much brighter!  The grumblings and whiny voice disappeared and were replaced by singing and dancing and a smile!  A much better way to approach the day and to start the week!

So if you find yourself grumbling this morning as I was…do yourself (and everybody that has to deal with you today) a favor and take a moment to think positive and find your happiness.  Trust me…your day will be much brighter if you start it with a song in your heart rather than a whiny voice in your head.  🙂

For those that have noticed…I usually end things with the phrase “Make today fantastic or happy and healthy” and not “Have a fantastic or happy day”.  Do you see the difference?  You have the power to MAKE your day what it will be…it is not pre-determined.  So go out and make it wonderful for you and others!

Happy Monday!!!

Stress…

I apologize to all my loyal followers for the delay in my blog postings.
This Monday we buried my grandfather, may he rest in peace.  And then Tuesday my grandmother (his wife) was put into the ICU with some pretty major health issues.  Needless to say it has been a very stressful and upsetting time so I didn’t really feel like blogging.
However, I am feeling more like myself again and was missing all of you so here I am! 🙂

So today I want to touch on the topic of stress.  We all have it, there is no escaping it…stress is part of life.  Stress can be good or it can be bad and it affects all aspects of your life, especially your health and wellness.  Weddings, babies, work, vacations, relationships, illness, death, etc. all create stress.  The most important thing is how you deal with it…what are your stress management techniques?  How are your coping skills?

First step is to recognize that you are experiencing stess.  Determine how the stress is affecting you…what are you symptoms? 
Are you experiencing any of the following:
– Fatigue
– Anxiety/Nervousness
– Shaking
– Loss of appetite (or the opposite…cravings/binge eating)
– Headaches
– Nausea
– Aches and Pains
– Insomnia
– Forgetfulness
– Lack of focus
– Irritability/Moodiness
….this list could go on forever! 🙂  Check out more symptoms of stress on the webmd site: http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body.

So now the important part…how to cope.  What do you do once you recognize that you are indeed experiencing stress and you identify what symptoms you are experiencing from that stress? 
This is the part where things get tricky and there is no “right answer” so to speak.  This is because everybody is different and the way that works best for one person may only cause more stress for somebody else.  So you must look into yourself to determine what will work best for you.  Look through the following examples of coping techniques and see what works for you.
Some examples of coping techniques are:
– Exercise/Activity
– Reading
– Journaling/Writing
– Talk to somebody (friend, family member, therapist, doctor, coworker, etc.)
– Take a relaxing bath
– Sleep
– Do something you enjoy (gardening, scrapbooking, dancing, etc.)
– Let your emotions show (laugh, cry, express your anger, etc.)…just DON’T bottle these feelings up or ignore them.  They will NOT just go away if you ignore them.  You must acknowledge and deal with the emotions you are feeling.
– Meditate
– Watch a favorite movie
– Listen to your favorite music
…Again, this list could go on and on and on!
Find more information on stress coping techniques and a list of healthy and unhealthy coping activities at the Helpguide website: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm.

The most important thing is to acknowledge your stress and find a healthy way to deal with it.  The one thing that is most damaging is to ignore your stress or to fall into unhealthy or unsafe ways to cope with it, such as engaging in promiscuous behavior or turning to drugs or alcohol.

Enjoy your Friday and make this weekend a spectacular one!
Wishing you all a low-stress day today! 🙂

In a fog…

For those that are not located here in the Omaha metro area, here is your weather report…we experienced dense fog from Sunday late afternoon through Monday overnight.  It seemed to just linger and hang there and just wouldn’t go away.  It caused limited visibility, lack of energy and motivation and even some down and depressed moods.

Well, that is what I feel like today and the fog outside is gone.

The human body is amazing to me as are the concepts of psychology and sociology.  I have a great interest in why we do the things we do.  I tend to analyze (and over-analyze things)…especially when it is something I am going through myself.  So as I promised before I am going to share with you what is happening with me in the hopes that it helps one or more of you eventually.  Communication is such a key component in life and is one that I think many people don’t do enough of.  I believe in being transparent and open.  This is my life, this is what I am going through, it is an open book…read it!  Open communication not only helps with your own stress management, but also helps those around you to understand what you are going through and maybe why you are acting the way you are acting.  Let’s face it, the things we go through dictate the way we act and what mood we are in.  (Remember that 90% of behavior is governed by the unconscious mind.)

So back to my fog…
The symptoms I am experiencing are:
– Lack of claritiy and focus (limited visibility…hence the fog)
– Mind racing and jumping from one thing to the next
– Ocassional feelings of nervousness/anxiety
– Fatigue (who am I kidding…I have felt fatigue since my little guy was born 3 months ago…LOL!)
– Lack of motivation/energy
– General feeling of sadness (though I am still able to maintain a somewhat chipper demeanor!)

Now the analyzing:
(I feel like I should be lying on a couch for some reason…wonder if I should charge myself for this?!)
I believe that the amount of stress I (and others in mine and my husband’s families) have seen over the last 13 months is more than a typical person sees in that amount of time.  Since December of 2011 the following has happened:
– My husband’s grandmother died
– My paternal grandfather was in a car accident and hospitalized long term
– My maternal grandfather was hospitalized battling prostate cancer and heart issues.
– My husband and I experienced a miscarriage
– My husband’s father became ill and was hospitalized long term
– We learned I was pregnant again
– We experienced complications with the pregnancy
– My paternal grandmother fell and was hospitalized for what was believed to be a stroke (and ended up being hospitalized long term)
– One of my paternal aunt’s was hospitalized and diagnosed with a rare lung disease with a grim prognosis
– I was put on temporary bed rest due to continued complications with the pregnancy
– My oldest son started preschool
– I was hospitalized for bleeding and then put on permanent bed rest
– My mom had hip surgery
– My husband’s father died
– I gave birth to our son, experienced internal bleeding and almost didn’t make it through
– My maternal grandmother had surgery on her hand
– My paternal aunt with the lung disease died
– My paternal grandfather was transitioned to hospice care
– My husband’s grandfather developed bladder cancer
– My paternal grandfather is dying and will not likely make it through the next 24-48 hours

I am sure I probably forgot something, but you get the gist of what the last 13 months have looked like for us.

So my analysis is that my mind and body are experiencing an overload of everything and trying to process the stress and that is causing the fog that I am in.  We all have known and been expecting “the end” with my paternal grandfather, but I think that with that end being so near now that it is causing me to relive everything that has led up to this.
So if you are one of the lucky ones that gets to interact with me, I apologize if I seem to be in a funk or a fog so to speak.  I am doing my best to maintain a positive attitude and a sense of normalcy for my children and for the sake of my work but I am sure that all will notice that I am just not quite “myself” today.

So I will “hug-a-mug” and try to refocus and work on the things I love…helping others acheive a healthy and happy life!  I am very excited to have so many great programs starting back up (and even some new ones happening) at work!

Here is wishing everybody a fog-free day and maybe even some sunshine!!  🙂
Make today a fantastic day!!