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The medication cocktail I take is far from perfect. For one thing, it doesn’t stop my schizoaffective anxiety from remaining a disabling challenge. For another, my antipsychotic causes a ridiculous amount of weight gain. So you’d think that when I learned about a new antipsychotic on the market, I’d jump at the chance to try it. I’m not jumping. Here’s why.
Due to the number of hours many of us spend at work, it is natural for work to become an integral part of one's identity. In fact, there's a term for it: work identity. Depression also affects one's work identity, so much so that it might define you in your workplace. What's more, it may also define the way you see yourself.
Anxiety can severely limit lives, so much so that it can be difficult to leave the house to go to work (or anywhere else, for that matter). Anxiety symptoms can be crushing and exhausting, and anxiety attacks or panic attacks can leave you overwhelmed, drained, physically ill, and haunted by strong, negative thoughts and emotions. This makes daily functioning, including going to work, incredibly difficult. While it's not necessarily a quick and easy process, you can break free from the shackles of anxiety, anxiety attacks, or panic attacks and not only get to work but feel steady and actually enjoy life again.
Let's talk about quasi-eating disorder recovery. This is by no means a term I invented, but it is a state of being I am acutely familiar with. I have experienced it myself, and I have seen it manifest in other people who are on healing journeys as well.
Since I author a blog about raising a child with mental illness, you'd think I'd be an expert at handling my own child's attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but that's definitely not the case. Some days I feel overwhelmed by the mental, emotional, and physical toll that this job can take. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone, either.
Comparing yourself to other people is a natural human tendency. We all do it, often without even meaning to. If you find yourself comparing yourself to people, that definitely doesn't mean you're a terrible person. It might mean, though, that you feel anxious and inadequate sometimes or a lot of the time.
Struggling with chronic anxiety involves experiencing symptoms such as headaches, shakiness, a rapid heart rate, uncomfortable stomach issues, and feelings of dread. Often, these feelings are unexplainable, and the feelings may come on unexpectedly. This is something that I know I experience, and then, as a result, I find I try to figure out what is causing the anxiety. This sometimes results in identifying certain anxious thoughts. An effective coping mechanism has been to challenge those anxious thoughts and reframe some of them.
Everyone has different ways of showing and receiving love. According to author Gary D. Chapman of "The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts," there are five main love languages: acts of service, positive affirmations, physical touch, gift-giving, and quality time. By understanding each love language, I was able to identify the methods that affect me the most. In this article, I will talk about all of the love languages and how they have helped me get through life's trials.
Reckless decisions are common with people who live with borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, these decisions can harm your mental and physical health, as well as your relationships. Learning how to control impulsive behavior with BPD can be a helpful skill if you want to progress in your recovery. 
Juliana Sabatello
Apologizing when we wrong someone is an important social skill, but overapologizing, when it isn't necessary, can actually put a strain on our relationships. My anxiety compelled me to say sorry any time I felt insecure, guilty, ashamed, or worried in a social situation, and people would become annoyed and frustrated with me because of it. I would then apologize for annoying them with my apologizing, which continued from there in n cycle that was exhausting for everyone involved.

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Kim Berkley
Hi,

To begin with, I have to emphasize that I am not a doctor of any kind, and am not licensed to do any official dream analysis. However, personally, from what you've said, I would guess your dreams are connected to that "trapped" feeling you've been coping with and a (very natural) desire to be relieved of that feeling. Since you felt better after hurting yourself in your dream, it seems like you associate self-harm with relief, even though you've never hurt yourself.

It's good to recognize this early—it gives you a chance to change that narrative without falling into hurting yourself for real. I would definitely suggest trying some things now, rather than later, to find some healthy ways to cope with your negative feelings that will help you feel better. One thing I've done in the past when I felt trapped in a situation was to sit down and write out every single possible solution, even the ones that seemed farfetched, as long as they were even a little possible. Just seeing that list helped a lot more than I expected. And sometimes the creativity involved helped me see options I didn't recognize before, and sometimes these were the options I chose in the end.

Journaling in general can be helpful too, as well as any kind of creative outlet you might enjoy. Self-care, too—taking good care of your body can improve your mental state more than you might expect. It can also help alleviate sleep disturbances, including nightmares.

If you're struggling with your dreams, or if you start to feel like you're struggling with self-harm urges—or honestly, if you're just struggling in general—consider asking for help. Commenting here is a great first step, but is there someone you can reach out to and talk with? A therapist or counselor might be a good idea, but if not, see if you can think of a close friend or family member who could help you through this. It's not selfish or weak to ask for help; if anything, it's brave. And it can help so much, both now and in the long run.

I hope that helps. If you have further questions, comments, concerns, etc. feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog. I'll reply as soon as I'm able.


Sincerely,
Kim

PS: I appreciate the Stranger Things reference in your name. :)
Kim Berkley
Hi Alice,

I'm so glad that you've begun to heal and that your parents at least know of your situation, if not all the details yet. Even so, I can imagine it's difficult to broach a topic like this—I came out about it to my parents when I started writing for this blog, and it was so hard to start talking, even when I knew they would be understanding about it all (and it was all many years behind me at that point).

I think the best place to start is an honest place. Maybe start by bringing up swim camp generally, and then explain to them what you're worried about and why. I am hopeful that if they know already about your self-harm, that they will understand why you're concerned. You may not need to show them your scars at all, unless they ask.

Also, if you need any ideas for cover-up options beyond long swimwear, here are some posts that might help:

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-scars-in-swimsuit-season
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/9/self-harm-scars-in-the-summer

I hope that helps. Feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog if you have any more questions, comments, or concerns. I wish you the best of luck with your recovery, and with swim camp!

Sincerely,
Kim
Kim Berkley
Hi Trin,

I believe this, too. Some people may struggle to understand self-harm if they've never had personal experience with it. But even if they don't understand, part of friendship is being willing to TRY to understand, and to accept, and most of all, to do what you can to help your friends heal when they need to. :)

-Kim
Kim Berkley
Hi,

I apologize for not replying sooner, but in case it's not too late, I wanted you to know: the dark things your mind believes in when you're feeling low aren't necessarily true. Recovery IS possible; it's true for others, and it's true for you. It takes time, and patience, and effort, but it's possible. I have no way of knowing if your death is imminent, but I certainly hope it is not.

And as for your last statement—it's definitely not true. It's likely there is at least one person in your life, probably more, who do care, even if they're bad at showing it. Even if you're unaware of it. But even if that is somehow not the case—and I'd be really surprised if it was—it's still not true. Because I care. And I hope you find the support you need.

Here are a few pages that might help:

https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources
https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/self-injury/self-injury-homepage

And if you have any specific questions, concerns, etc. you'd like to share, I'll be reading. I can't always reply right away, but I will as soon as I can.


Take care,
Kim
Kim Berkley
Hi,

I hope things turned out all right; I'm sorry I wasn't able to reply sooner. Please take good care of your wounds; keep them clean and avoid disturbing them more than necessary to keep them from getting infected and minimize the chances of scarring. Would it be possible to talk to your mom about what you're going through? If not, I hope there is someone else you can reach out to, whether a friend or family member and/or (ideally) a medical professional, to help you through this.

Here's a list of resources, including some hotlines you can call, in case it helps:

https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources

If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to share them here or elsewhere on the blog. I hope this helps, even a little.


Sincerely,
Kim