Constant anxious thoughts can induce great misery and suffering. Automatic negative thoughts, or ANTs, are patterns of thinking that cause anxiety and keep anxiety strong and powerful. Words like "should," "shouldn't," "always," "never," and a host of negative labels we place on ourselves are part of those automatic negative thoughts that can keep us trapped in our private world of thoughts, worries, and fears. Because understanding the nature of constant anxious thoughts can help you choose what to do about them, here are a few facts about anxiety and thoughts.
Let's face it -- getting through the day with a mental illness can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, so having good mental health habits is priority one. My biggest challenge is avoiding stress-induced mental illness symptoms. It helps to go day-by-day, step-by-step, and to remember my priorities. Here are a few everyday habits I have developed to keep my recovery on track.
If living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) is not challenging enough, it can be even more difficult and imposing when learning your system might include opposite-gender alters.
I have taken numerous stabs at eating disorder recovery in the past decade, and until just a couple years ago, these attempts were unsuccessful. Why did I continue to revert back to an illness that sabotaged all the dreams and plans I envisioned for my young life? The answer is simple, but it eluded me for years, and perhaps it has eluded you too. So here is the truth I have since come to learn—you have to want eating disorder recovery for yourself. This must be the purpose that fuels your desire, resolve, and persistence to heal. Otherwise, the motivation you feel at the start of this journey will be unsustainable and short-lived once the obstacles emerge. Once I made that connection, it transformed my whole mindset around healing, so this is why I cannot stress enough, you have to want eating disorder recovery for yourself—and no one else. 
The Internet defines a depression nap as the act of a depressed person sleeping far more than what is necessary in order to avoid dealing with their depression. Naturally, that is unhealthy, not to mention impossible to do at work. For me though, a depression nap is a positive coping mechanism for depression if, and only if, the duration of the nap is limited to 20 minutes at a stretch. When a depression nap is timed and targeted in this manner, how can it be anything but healthy?
Posttraumatic stress disorder's panic attacks are scary--literally. Characterized by feelings of extreme fear and anxiety, many people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience the sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, and rapid breathing that comes with panic attacks.
My bipolar brain works best at a certain time of day. This is actually common for people with bipolar disorder. People with bipolar commonly find their mood and ability to think waxes and wanes at the same times throughout the day. Your average person may experience this as well, but for a person with bipolar, of course, everything is amplified. So here's when my bipolar brain works best for different purposes.
People who have strange dreams can worry that strange dreams and mental health are related, when in fact they may not be. Strange dreams happen for neurotypical people as well as those with mental illness, and these dreams often mean nothing at all. 
This week, I was thinking about how you need a plan for anxiety. Anxiety can pop up without rhyme or reason, stay for an indeterminable amount of time, and sometimes can vanish so quickly that we don't realize the change right away. When anxiety arises quickly, it can be difficult to maintain the awareness that we are not anxiety, and this can make it more difficult to cope. Part of this difficulty occurs because anxiety affects more than our emotional state -- it affects our cognitive state. But a plan for anxiety can help with all this.
This week I have been physically unwell while living with borderline personality disorder (BPD). I have a virus and it has really affected me emotionally. I have been low in energy and so have been unable to do my usual coping strategies. I have found that when I am physically ill, I feel really guilty for taking time off work and resting even though it is perfectly justified to do so.

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Lora Leese
Hi Antoinette... I'm going to see my Dr today at 2...I do have ADHD an Rsd... I'm so overwhelmed when I talk to anybody..even over the cell phone!! I recognize in what your saying I can relate...are you on any meds? An if so are they helping with your Rsd....oh yeah I also wanted to add my Mom wasnt nurturing..I never got told I Love you or felt " safe" ... comfortable...I read articles where they said lack of maternal love could b where it stems from...I get it....I really do...but I feel at this point it's so embedded in me...just like the air that I breathe..I want so bad to let go of it! I no as soon as I step out the door it will show it's ugly little face again!! Any feedback from anyone will be greatly appreciated
George Abitante
Hi Lizanne,

Thanks as always for your kind and thoughtful comment! I hadn't considered that this may be particularly timely advice, but you make a great point that this is an excellent time to be thinking about how we can communicate effectively with family.

Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Hi Arlin,
Thank you for adding that important question: What did I miss out on because of my safety behavior? That is an excellent way of gauging the help vs. harm a certain action is.
marilyn rowe
hello and thank you for this site....I am about to lose my own mind here. My son is 33 y.o. and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia since 18. At the age of 18 a middle aged man preyed on my son, got him into the gay life style ( he was not gay ) and has taken every dime of his ssi since then..My son contracted hiv while living with this man. 4 years ago my son came back home but still gives this man every penny he gets...the man bouught a house with the money and leads my son in to believing it is his house..makes my son pay utilities, insurance, and taxes. no one lives in eldest son is attempting to purchase the house from this man so his brother can always have a place to live in life but the man is dragging his feet...won't evey give my son the 60,000 he owes him. I am too old to deal with this anymore and I need to let go, I just don't know's killing me...I support my ill son in every way, house, food, transportation, clothing, etc...everything.....i am going to die before him...oh jesus
Laura Barton
Hi Scootee. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your story. I know that's not always an easy thing to do and it definitely sounds like you've had some hardships because of stigma. Recognizing the scope of stigma and how it ripples out can certainly help in our battle against stigma. I think what you bring up at the end is very important: sometimes ignorant people are unreachable. I don't think this means we should give up though. Rather, it's one of the reasons I think we should focus on building ourselves and each other up to be less affected by the stigmatized ideas of other people. I wrote a blog about this sort of thing, titled What if Mental Illness Stigma Never Goes Away? Feel free to check it out here:

I love your drive to tackle stigma in the wake of what you and your parents faced. Keep at it and know you're not alone!