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.