Thank you for joining me on this journey. It's never been easy, and I don't ever expect it to be. There may be times when you don't agree with me, and that's OK. Never be afraid to share your feelings with me, that's what I'm here for and what has kept me going. I'm not a licensed professional, but I have more than 20 years experience with mental illness.
hear a lot about learning coping skills when we’re dealing with mental illness.
There has always been sort of an “industry standard” list that many doctors and
therapists will give you to help get you through panic attacks, social anxiety,
and depression. It has been my opinion for quite some time that you can’t
expect something that would work for person A to work for person B.Not to mention, you may have a go to coping
skill that regularly works for you, but a
day may come when it just isn’t working.
think it’s important for all of us to keep a list nearby of what usually works
for us, with a few back-ups included. I’m going to talk about a few of the
things that work for me. Just in case I use something you’ve never tried. By no
means am I trying to tell you what to do, but keep an open mind. You never
one is pretty obvious. I’m an author and a blogger so of course writing is one
of my coping skills. I wouldn’t be able to do it if it didn’t help me in some
way. Keep in mind that your writing doesn’t have to be perfect. Right now, all
you’re doing is attempting to get your thoughts together. Even if you just jot
down a list of words that describe how you’re feeling or random sentences, it
can be a double-edged sword when used as a coping skill, so tread lightly. The
right music may put you in a better mood, but the wrong music can make you feel
ten times worse. Be sure you’re using the best choice for you at the moment.
something relatively new for me. I re-discovered it earlier this year, and I can’t say enough about it. When
you’re putting all of your energy into making the picture in front of you
beautiful, it’s hard to think about anything negative. And when you’re done, the feeling of accomplishment sets
in, so you’re feeling better on two levels. I use both coloring books and
colored pencils and an app on my iPad. They’re both a lot of fun and help when
love taking pictures. If I was better at it, I might’ve made a go of it
professionally. I have a good eye for detail,
and I’m pretty creative, so even pictures I take with my phone are important to
me. Nothing is better than a good camera and being able to put all of your
focus into getting the perfect shot. Not to mention, when the weather is nice,
it feels fantastic to get out of the house out into the fresh air to get some
know this sounds a little strange to use as a coping skill, but I do have my
reasons. My panic or anxiety attacks are often the result of feeling a loss of
control. However, when I clean, I am in control. I can put all of my effort into making a room clean, and it gets my mind off the negative
thoughts. Not to mention, this skill also lends itself to a feeling of
accomplishment. When you struggle with the guilt of not accomplishing enough on
any given day, this can be exactly what
have always been a huge part of my life. We had them the entire time I was
growing up, and I got one as soon as I
moved out on my own. We have five and
they are a constant source of entertainment. Our oldest cat, Hayley seems to
have a sense of when I’m feeling down and barely leaves my side. There have
been many a lonely day that our cats were the only thing keeping me going.
are a lot like music in that you need to be selective about what you watch when
you’re feeling down. When I’m feeling sad, I have a few go to films. I often find
myself craving historical films like Memoirs of a Geisha. I also love 80’s
movies like The Breakfast Club or action like The Avengers. I stay away from anything
that will most likely make me cry. However, from time to time I will just turn
on the Lifetime network and immerse myself in all of its cheesy and ridiculous
also new to me, and I haven’t been able
to get as much use out of it as I would like. I’ve pictured many a face on that
bag while I punch and kick it! It’s a workout and a half, but it is also a lot
a side note, certain scents can also be helpful during sad times. I have a
variety of wax warmers and scents that I find comforting. This usually goes hand in hand with the other
that’s my list currently. Did anything surprise you or give you an idea of your
own? I hope so. I think it’s incredibly important for us to take time for
ourselves, especially when we’re struggling. You may even learn something about
yourself or develop a new skill.
get it, these types of things can often seem annoying when you’re feeling bad. I know for me, there are times when I
don’t want to do any of them. I want to stay in bed and hide under the covers,
and that’s OK too! I’m just saying, think
about it. Just try one out and see if it gives you any relief. If not, come
back to your list another time and try something else. Isn’t it worth it to get you feeling better?
I'm thrilled to have a fantastic guest post from Agyei Ekundayo, a mental health advocate and very talented writer. Thank you, AJ for sharing your perspective on PTSD. I wish you all the luck in the world on your journey through mental illness.
what the therapist told me to do—write. Journal. Get it all out. That when I’m
all done with exposure therapy and I’ve practiced deep breathing for an
infinite time, to leave a paper trail of how often I’ve been stricken. To count
the episodes of when I’ve tearfully succumbed to flashbacks. To note the emotional
abuse of a bipolar Caribbean mother. This is one black woman’s plight with
trauma; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
is one of those illnesses with an unfair reputation. It’s written off as
“combat fatigue” to emphasize the battle-hardened scars of military personnel.
It makes one sympathetic to the needs of those shell-shocked by events
incomprehensible to the average psyche. It draws an outpouring of support to
veteran sufferers who cannot fend for themselves. It also invalidates the stinging
pain felt by people who haven’t served one day in anybody’s uniform. To say
that PTSD is worse for service men and women than those who don’t share the
same experiences is like telling a victim of sexual violence that he or she was
simply fondled; not penetrated.
was diagnosed at the age of 32 after years of symptoms had crippled my life. I
exhibited all of the classic behaviors including exaggerated startled response,
avoidance, and numbness when experiencing certain triggers. I continue to
stutter to this day at 38; I still sleep with the lights on. My family
relationship is strained, to say the least. Mom and I don’t speak very often,
no matter how relatives say we should. I haven’t seen her since 1998 and
pictures of my hometown triggers crying spells. There have been times when I
cut myself to numb the pain or sat in a restaurant with my back facing a wall.
I don’t like anyone standing behind me because I feel unsafe.
is a beast to deal with and medications do very little. Most medications for
PTSD are prescribed to relax you. They may do the trick for the anxiety piece
of it all, but often leaves you feeling like a zombie. Various forms of therapy
are the only sure “cure”. Talking about traumatic experiences help to
understand the scope of its effects. Gradual exposure to noise or other less paralyzing triggers in short
duration is believed to re-acclimate a person to society without substantial
fear. Creative outlets such as art therapy have been proven to be a safe method
to recall flashbacks without significant emotional distress.
tried a combination of therapies without much success. I recently wrote my
memoir and suffered multiple months-long procrastination spells while writing,
due to flashbacks. The rape I survived my sophomore year of undergrad makes me
hate men some days; despise them on others. I can’t shake the migraines from
getting hit by a car junior year has caused me, or the short term memory loss
brought on by epileptic head trauma. My therapist told me to do deep breathing.
I did that. She said switching medications would help. It didn’t. I’ve been institutionalized 5 times and prescribed
13 medications by 10 doctors. My former therapist warned me about visiting
family members without having panic attacks under control. Truer words have
never been spoken. What am I getting at?
Stress Disorder is just that—traumatic. It affects every area of your life
including interpersonal relationships and employment. It’s the reason why I am
divorced. It’s the reason why I haven’t worked in five years; why I am also
diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s the
reason why I am writing this article. The next time someone tells you that they
suffer from PTSD, don’t ask them “What branch did you serve in?” Say instead,
“Do you feel comfortable with sharing how you feel? I’m here to listen.”
Agyei Ekundayo is a mental health advocate
Today I have the pleasure of adding another guest post to my site. Rav from the website What She Says has allowed me to share her experiences with depression. If you haven't ever stop by www.whatshesays.net, give it a shot. It's a great site with a little something for everyone.
Thanks for sharing, Rav!
depression and anxiety issues can be really difficult to deal with and really
difficult to explain to people who haven't had to deal with it themselves. But
if you allow it to, it can also teach you a lot about yourself and aid you in
helping others. This blog post outlines what helped me before I can help anyone
else. I hope this helps you!
what you need
isn't something you will instantly know but figure out what works for you the
most. When I've had anxiety attacks I prefer to take time out, be alone, talk
myself down and deep big
breaths. I find being surrounded by people, including friends and family,
elevates my anxiety further. However when I'm having a low (feeling depressed) I
find time alone will make me feel much worse, in this instance I prefer getting
up and out.
something triggered your anxiety or depression? Is it the people around you, is
it something you've just seen, is it the colour of your nail polish, is it that
your house needs a clean? See whether you can either take yourself away from the
situation or deal with it if it's in your control. Once you've established the
cause it can be much easier to deal with the cause or to avoid it causing you
do you have around you
always found it really difficult being around 2 types of people: the people who
did not understand at all (these people told me I was too young to even be
depressed and would tell me to grow up and get over it) or the people who would
sympathise too much (yes this is also possible). Remember you can change your
friends but you can't change your family so it may not be as simple as finding a
new group of people to surround yourself with. Maybe the people around you don't
understand how you feel but if you reach out you might find just the person or
people you need e.g. helplines, people online (including us bloggers),
counselling. You never have to feel alone!
makes you happy
honestly makes you happy? This may change time to time, what you may have
enjoyed previously could be what you need a change from - so ask yourself the
question and see whether you can make any changes to make you feel happier.
First think of the small things; should you join the gym, start running, start
reading books, going out for a coffee on your own or with a friend, going for
walks to clear your head, blogging or knitting. These activities could change
your whole lifestyle. Now think big, are you happy with your career? Are you
being treated right by your partner? Are you happy with where you live?
can you help
I first got diagnosed with depression and the anxiety attacks started, I had
absolutely no idea how to deal with it. With time I have learnt how to deal with
it enough to allow myself live my life, of course not everything is all dandy
but I now know how to deal with my anxiety without fainting or blacking out. So
although it can be absolutely horrible to deal with, you have the ability to
learn about yourself, to put yourself first and try become happier in your life,
share your experiences and help the people around you.
you can step away from yourself and look back in... What do you see? What would
you like to see? Can you change anything?
My name is Rav and I'm 21 years old. I first got diagnosed with depression
when I was too young to even fully understand it. I used to faint whenever my
anxiety was at it's worst which in turn made me paranoid about fainting in the
streets, school and college! With the years gone by I've learnt to manage my
depression and anxiety and wish the same for anyone else suffering from it.
Aside from this, I work in an insurance company and blog about light-hearted
subjects such as entertainment, beauty and fashion.
In her first published work, Rebecca Lombardo collects her internationally followed blog into the pages of It’s Not Your Journey. This memoir candidly details Rebecca’s two year long chronicle of her struggles with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, self-injury, and recovery from a suicide attempt. Rebecca shares her real and raw feelings on these subjects, as well as addressing other issues that have contributed to her downward spiral and eventual climb out of her own pit of despair. Issues such as the loss of her mother to lung cancer, the death of her brother, abandonment from friends and family members due to her hospitalization, and more.
From the Author:
This book is about my personal journey with mental illness. I am not a professional, rather an advocate that hopes her story can help those going through similar struggles.
My husband and I will be debuting our podcast on July 9th at 11:00AM EST
We're really looking forward to discussing a wide range of topics. If you have any questions, you can email me at Paradoks1@aol.com. We're looking for guests that are movers and shakers in the mental health community.
You'll find us on:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/speakingtotheheartradionetwork as well as iTunes.
Follow this link for this Saturday's podcast! http://ow.ly/2l0E3022gOe You don't have to be on Twitter or iTunes to listen, it will be available on multiple formats. If you have any trouble at all, please let us know and our producer Shane can help you out. Thanks, guys!! Wish us luck!