When you suffer from a mental illness it is very difficult to feel hopeful when you are really struggling.Every day can be a battle and those negative thoughts can be very hard to silence. Sometimes feelings can overcome you at the most inappropriate times and others may think you are overreacting or being a drama queen. Paying close attention to the people in your life can determine how much your overall mood is affected. If you are an empath or highly sensitive person, you suck in other peoples’ emotions like a sponge. For this reason, you need to have the right kind of people around you or limit your time with those who aren’t enriching to your life.
Think about how the people in your life make you feel 80% of the time? Are they supportive & uplifting? Are they encouraging and empathetic? Do they understand your struggles and offer to help?
This is very important when you have a low tolerance for stressful situations due to a history of toxic child abuse. When complex trauma is part of your life, you need to feed your brain with the things you were starved of as a child. You should provide yourself with unconditional love, acceptance, validation and comfort. It is also important to have friends and family that can also provide these things for you. It might feel unnatural at first and almost feel silly to tell yourself that you are worthy and lovable every day, however this is what your brain needs. It needs a new healthy habit!
Recent studies have shown that victims of childhood abuse and combat veterans actually experience physical changes to the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning and memory, as well as in the handling of stress. The hippocampus also works closely with the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that regulates our emotional response to fear and stress. PTSD sufferers often have impairments in one or both of these brain regions. Studies of children have found that these impairments can lead to problems with learning and academic achievement.
We know that psychotherapy can really help survivors of severe trauma and also we know that EMDR is very helpful for reducing nightmares, flashbacks & overwhelming emotions.What you do for yourself however is equally important as you are the person that feels, thinks and reacts to your surroundings 24/7! It has been proven that with a mixture of validating affirmations, manageable goal setting, therapy and loving relationships, people can improve the quality of their life dramatically, especially in regards to their overall outlook.
This link below gives you a useful list of all the unhelpful thinking styles that we might use in our daily lives.For those of you who suffer from depression or anxiety, keeping an eye on your thinking style is really important. Try and challenge those negative thoughts by replacing them with more positive or helpful alternative thoughts. With practice, this should help you feel better.
Love Athina ♥
Have you watched the film The Babadook? It is an incredibly powerful horror film that has a very strong psychological message. ****If you haven’t seen it then this might be a spoiler *****
The important thing I want to state before including a quoted review of the film is that although mental illness and specifically an anxiety disorder cannot be completely cured, we can choose to live with it rather than fight it. The more you fight something that scares you, the bigger the fear becomes. This is something that happens with anxiety. If you are experiencing anxiety and you tell yourself ‘don’t be anxious’ this usually results in your anxiety getting worse..It’s a bit like telling yourself to not think of a donut.The more you tell yourself to not think about a donut, the more you actually think about the donut! It doesn’t work! This is why with mental illness and in this case with anxiety, it makes much more sense to accept it and even say something like ‘Hello anxiety, I see you are back again.I am not scared of you anymore and I know you will eventually subside. I can manage you by taking a few deep breaths and changing my thoughts to more helpful ones”.
You may adjust this slightly to however you prefer or in whatever way makes it helpful to you. Of course mental illness is debilitating at its worst but with a few coping techniques it becomes manageable.
The film introduces us to mother and son, Amelia and Samuel, who are terrorised by a monster called the Babadook. The Babadook monster is introduced through a book called Mister Babadook and a very important line in this book is ” You can’t get rid of the Babadook”. The Babadook figure appears over and over in the film and it’s presence gets stronger and stronger, as Amelia and Samuel get more fearful of it.
”Whilst it occasionally threatens to overwhelm her (Amelia), as evidenced in the scene where she takes it food, her acknowledgment and understanding of it is what gives her the power to control it.The Babadook hasn’t gone away, and it hasn’t been defeated. Much like a chronic mental illness, it is not something that can be “cured”, and so the most important weapon against it is knowledge and acceptance. For Amelia, the realisation of how she is hurting her son is the moment where she finds the strength to separate herself from the Babadook”.
Sourced from this review:
Humans are fallible beings and we all have moments where we over-complicate the way we live our lives.
It is very difficut to balance our work-family-personal life without getting overwhelmed.
There are always those overly boring tasks that we always put off or that presentation at work that we have to get perfect. Many of us find rejection quite painful and have thoughts such as ‘No one will ever love me again’ or ‘I’m just not attractive enough’. Others find it easier to make excuses and blame their failings on their past. Being a victim is easier than taking responsibility for our own life.
Many of us are control-freaks and want to go as far as controlling what we are physically unable to control, like other people’s opinions or reactions to us.
There are many thinking errors that we all indulge in but how do you even recognise you are making such errors in the first place?
When people suffer from depression & anxiety, thinking errors are very common as they are part of the illness. Cognitive behavioural coaching can be very useful for tackling these unhelpful thinking patterns. There are many models and exercises that can be very helpful in helping someone get ‘unstuck’ and the coach is trained to use these models in a conversational way with the person they are coaching.
In my own experience, I have found coaching very helpful in dealing with anxiety inducing situations. What is your experience? Have you had coaching before? Is it something you would ever consider?
Take a little look at the different links on this page and if you are curious in any way, then let me know.
I am offering free coaching sessions to the first 10 people that read this blog post and make themselves known.