Self-help books have been immensely helpful in my journey to recover from mental illness and generally improve my self-worth, but despite their usefulness, I'm often ashamed to admit how many self-help books I read. In my family, I'm known as the "self-help junkie" and teased as if that is a bad thing.
It's important to develop self-compassion when you live with anxiety. One of the things I have found challenging about dealing with anxiety is feeling as though I should simply be able to stop feeling anxious. When I can't stop the endless string of intrusive thoughts and fears, or I can't stop worrying, I feel even more anxious and upset with myself because I feel like I should just be able to change my feelings.
Sleeping with purpose has worked wonders regarding my nightmares associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I struggled for years to obtain restful sleep due to nightmares and flashbacks related to my PTSD. I learned that being present before sleep at night allowed my mind to rest emptily and instead of it being full of thoughts. Here are some ways that helped me, and hopefully will help you, in being active and present in my sleep or sleeping with purpose.
Music can be an excellent tool to regulate and process difficult emotions. It can also serve as a self-harm distraction and a temporary escape into a world of sounds and rhythm. Research also suggests that music can help you develop greater self-awareness, which is essential for long-term self-harm management.
I was diagnosed with COVID-19 just over a week ago. Battling with the symptoms has tested my physical strength and my emotional fortitude. Because of the illness itself and its implications, I've had to focus on balancing my physical and mental health after a COVID diagnosis.
When we're supporting someone with mental illness, I think it's very important to constantly examine how healthy our relationship with that person is. As my brother lives with chronic mental illness, I have first-hand experience of how unhealthy behaviors can easily creep into relationships, even with the best of intentions.
Boundaries can be difficult for anyone in relationships, but emotional boundaries can be especially challenging for those of us who struggle with our mental health. I identify myself as a highly sensitive person (HSP), a term coined by Elaine Aron to describe people with sensory processing sensitivity. Sensory processing sensitivity involves processing sensory information more deeply and feeling emotions more strongly than the average person. Sensitivity applies to all experiences: Sound, sight, touch, smell, taste, internal sensations like hunger or pain, and both our own emotions and the emotions of others.
It is hard to set goals when you're anhedonic because of depression. In fact, many times it feels impossible. When you don't feel any pleasure, why have a goal? And it's not like the other symptoms of depression lend themselves to goals either, so it's no wonder people have problems setting goals with depression-driven anhedonia.
Witnessing verbal abuse of someone you know or love can be a difficult situation to process. Watching a friend or family member face abuse can create feelings of fear or anger in yourself while the victim is oblivious or minimizes the abuse. So what can you do if you see the mistreatment of one of your loved ones?
Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS
In still-limited ways, society is finally beginning to reopen and emerge from the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, surprisingly, is a source of increased anxiety for many people. Shouldn't we all be relieved and happy? Is it normal to feel continued or even heightened anxiety? It is indeed normal to have a host of mixed feelings, including anxiety, as COVID-19 rules change. Here's why, plus five tips to deal with it.