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How You Can Help Me Turn Darkness Into Light for Friends During Times of Need

I’m currently in my seventh week in a hospital where I’m trying to fix both my body and mind, which have been somewhat cruelly abused by anorexia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can feel quite a lonely place, both physically and mentally, but one of the things I have found that can always lift the fog a little is when the postman comes calling with a handwritten card from someone I care about. 

The power of even the simplest of handwritten messages to penetrate the darkness a little got me to thinking about how great it would be if we could mobilize people to reach out to their friends at difficult times — whether that’s due to mental or physical illness, bereavement or any other issue. Often at these times, as friends, we really want to support but we just don’t know what to say.

And so “Together we can: Cards to Send to Friends Facing Hard Times” was born.

Myself and my friend Caro (the creative genius!) launched it as a Kickstarter campaign with the aim of raising enough money to produce and distribute 3,000 cards that pledgers could send to their loved ones. Each pack of cards will also be supplied with simple suggestions about how to support a friend through difficult times.

And the response has been tremendous! We are hoping to raise £5k in 30 days, which looks hopeful as we hit the £2k mark in under 24 hours. Many people’s pledges are simple and are essentially advance purchases of the cards, whilst others have made a pledge that will enable them to co-create a card with us, have their pet featured or be a VIP at our launch party. We hope that you’d like to support our campaign too and help us reach our £5k target. The cards will ship all over the world, lighting darkness with smiles wherever they go.

We’ve aimed for a mixture of kind, supportive and funny cards so there should be something to suit everyone. If the project continues to capture imaginations, then I hope we will grow the range in response to our network’s suggestions and keep it as an ongoing endeavor and continual fund raiser for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust children and young people’s mental health program (which funds things like our webinar series designed for anyone working with or caring for a young person with a mental health issue) and our weekly mental health podcast.

Please take a look and consider joining those who have already pledged to help turn this dream into a reality and help turn darkness into light for friends during times of need. 

Source:themighty.com

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101 Self-Care Suggestions for When It All Feels Like Too Much

I think that, for most of us, there are times in life when it all just feel like Too Much.

There may be some days, weeks, months, maybe even years when – for whatever reason – just getting through the day, or going to work, or putting one foot in front of the other feels hard. Really, really hard.

Maybe it’s because you’re wrestling with anxiety, depression or some other mental illness. Maybe it’s because you’ve had your heart broken. Maybe you’ve gone through a physical or emotional trauma. Maybe you’re deeply grieving. Or maybe there’s no easily understood reason for why you’re feeling bad.

Whatever the case, I want you to know that it’s OK if you’re going through a tough time. This doesn’t make you any less lovable, worthy or capable. This just means you’re human.

Being a human can be a messy, hard, confusing, painful experience sometimes.2

So if you or someone you love is going through one of these tough times right now, a time where it all just feels like too much, I want to offer up 101 suggestions for self-care to help you or your loved one get through this time.

1. Have a good, long, body-shaking cry.

2. Call a trusted friend or family member and talk it out.

3. Call in sick. Take comp time if you can. Take a mental health day.

4. Say no to extra obligations, chores, or anything that pulls on your precious self-care time.

5. Book a session (or more!) with your therapist.

6. Dial down your expectations of yourself at this time. When you’re going through life’s tough times, I invite you to soften your expectations of yourself and others.2

7. Tuck yourself into bed early with a good book and clean sheets.

8. Watch a comforting/silly/funny/lighthearted TV show or movie. (“Parks and Recreation,” anyone?)

9. Reread your favorite picture and chapter books from childhood.

10. Ask for some love and tenderness from your friends on social media. Let them comment on your post and remind you that you’re loved.

11. Look at some some really gorgeous pieces of art.

12. Watch Youtube videos of Ellen DeGeneres and the adorable kids she has on her show.

13. Look at faith-in-humanity-restoring lists from Buzzfeed.

14. Ask for help. From whoever you need it – your boss, your doctor, your partner, your therapist, your mom. Let people know you need some help.

15. Wrap yourself up in a cozy fleece blanket and sip a cup of hot tea.

16. Breathe. Deeply. Slowly. Four counts in. Six counts out.

17. Hydrate. Have you had enough water today?

18. Eat. Have you eaten something healthy and nourishing today?

19. Sleep. Have you slept 7-9 hours? Is it time for some rest?

20. Shower. Then dry your hair and put on clothes that make you feel good.

21. Go outside and be in the sunshine.

22. Move your body gently in ways that feel good. Maybe aim for 30 minutes. Or 10 if 30 feels like too much.

23. Read a story (or stories) of people who overcame adversity or maybe dealt with mental illness, too. (I personally admire JK Rowling’s story.)

24. Go to a 12-Step meeting. Or any group meeting where support is offered. Check out church listings, hospital listings, school listings for examples.

25. If you suspect something may be physiologically off with you, go see your doctor and/or psychiatrist and talk to them. Medication might help you at this time and they can assist you in assessing this.

26. Take a long, hot bath, light a candle and pamper yourself.

27. Read these inspirational quotes.

28. Cuddle someone or something. Your partner. A pillow. Your friend’s dog.

29. Read past emails/postcards/letters etc. from friends and family reminding you of happier times.

30. Knit. Sculpt. Bake. Engage your hands.

31. Exhaust yourself physically – running, yoga, swimming, whatever helps you feel fatigued.

32. Write it out. Free form in a journal or a Google doc. Get it all out and vent.

33. Create a plan if you’re feeling overwhelmed. List out what you need to do next to tackle and address whatever you’re facing. Chunk it down into manageable and understandable pieces.

34. Remember: You only have to get through the next five minutes. Then the next five. And so on.

35. Take five minutes to meditate.

36. Write out a list of 25 Reasons Why You’ll Be OK.

37. Write out a list of 25 Examples of Things You’ve Overcome or Accomplished.

38. Write out a list of 25 Reasons Why You’re a Good, Lovable Person.

39. Write out a list of 25 Things That Make Your Life Beautiful.

40. Sniff some scents that bring you joy or remind you of happier times.

41. Ask for support from friends and family via text if voice-to-voice contact feels like too much. Ask them to check in with you via text daily/weekly. Whatever you need.

42. Lay down on the ground. Let the earth/floor hold you. You don’t have to hold it all on your own.

43. Clean up a corner of a room of your house. Sometimes tidying up can help calm our minds.

44. Ask yourself: What’s my next most immediate priority? Do that. Then ask the question again.

45. Read some poetry. Rumi, Hafiz, Mary Oliver are all excellent.

46. Take a tech break. Delete or deactivate social media if it feels too triggering right now.

47. Or maybe get on tech. If you’ve been isolating maybe even interacting with friends and family online might feel good.

48. Go out in public and be around others. You don’t have to engage. But maybe go sit in a coffee shop or on a bench at a museum and soak up the humanity around you.

49. Or if you’re feeling too saturated with contact, go home. Cancel plans and tend to the introverted parts of yourself.

50. Ask friends and family to remind you that things will be OK and that what you’re feeling is temporary.

51. Put up some Christmas lights in your bedroom. They often make things more magical.

52. Spend a little money and treat yourself to some self-care and comfort. Maybe take a taxi versus the bus. Buy your lunch instead of forcing yourself to pack it. Buy some flowers that delight you.

53. Make art. Scribble with crayons. Splash some watercolors. Paint a rock. Whatever. Just create something.

54. Go wander around outside in your neighborhood and take a look at all the lovely houses and the way people decorate their gardens. Delight in the diversity of design.

55. Go visit or volunteer at your local animal rescue. Pet some animals.

56. Look at photos of people you love. Set them as the wallpaper of your phone or laptop.

57. Create and listen to a playlist of songs that remind you of happier times.

58. Read some spiritual literature.

59. Scream, pound pillows, tear up paper, shake your body to move the energy out.

60. Eat your favorite, most comforting foods.

61. Watch old Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood videos online.

62. Turn off the lights, sit down, stare into space and do absolutely nothing.

63. Pick one or two things that feel like progress and do them. Make your bed. Put away the dishes. Return an email.

64. Go to a church or spiritual community service. Sit among others and absorb any guidance or grace that feels good to you.

65. Allow yourself to fantasize about what you’re hoping or longing for. There are clues and energy in your reveries and daydreams that are worth paying attention to.

66. Watch Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response videos to help you calm down and fall asleep at night.

67. Listen to monks chanting, singing Tibetan bowls or nature sounds to help soothe you.

68. Color in some adult coloring books.

69. Revisit an old hobby. Even if it feels a little forced, try your hand at things you used to enjoy and see what comes up for you.

70. Go to the ocean. Soak up the negative ions.

71. Go to the mountains. Absorb the strength and security of them.

72. Go to the forest. Drink in the shelter, life and sacredness of the trees.

73. Put down the personal help books and pick up some good old fashioned fiction.

74. Remember: Your only job right now is to put one foot in front of the other.

75. Allow and feel and express your feelings – all of them! – safely and appropriately. Seek out help if you need support in this.

76. Listen to sad songs or watch sad movies if you need a good cry. (“Steel Magnolias, anyone?)

77. Dance around wildly to your favorite, most cheesy songs from your high school years.

78. Put your hands in dirt. If you have a garden, go garden. If you have some indoor plants, tend to them. If you don’t have plants or a garden, go outside. Go to a local nursery and touch and smell all the gorgeous plants.

79. If you want to stay in bed all day watching Netflix, do it. Indulge.

80. Watch or listen to some comedy shows or goofy podcasts.

81. Look for and Google up examples of people who have gone through and made it through what you’re currently facing. Seek out models of inspiration.

82. Get expert help with whatever you need. Whether that’s through therapy, psychiatry, a lawyer, clergy, let those trained to support you do it.

83. Educate yourself about what you’re going through. Learn about what you’re facing, what you can expect to feel, and how you can support yourself in this place.

84. Establish a routine and stick to it. Routines can bring so much comfort and grounding in times of life that feel chaotic or out of control.

85. Do some hardcore nesting and make your home or bedroom as  cozy and beautiful and comforting as possible.

86. Get up early and watch a sunrise.

87. Go outside and set up a chair and watch the sunset.

88. Make your own list of self-soothing activities that engage all five of your senses.

89. Develop a supportive morning ritual for yourself.

90. Develop a relaxing evening ritual for yourself.

91. Join a support group for people who are going through what you’re going through. Check out the listings at local hospitals, libraries, churches, and universities to see what’s out there.

92. Volunteer at a local shelter or hospital or nursing home. Practice being of service to others who may also be going through a tough time.

93. Accompany a friend or family member to something. Even if it’s just keeping them company while they run errands, sometimes this kind of contact can feel like good self-care.

94. Take your dog for a walk. Or borrow a friend’s dog and take them for a walk.

95. Challenge your negative thinking.

96. Practice grounding, relaxation techniques.

97. Do something spontaneous. Walk or drive a different way to work. Order something new off the menu.Listen to a Spotify playlist of new songs.

98. Work with your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist to develop a physical exercise plan and food plan that will be supportive to whatever you’re facing right now.

99. Pray. Meditate. Write a letter to God/The Universe/Source/Your Higher Self, whatever you believe in.

100. As much as you can, please try and trust the process.

101. Finally, please remember, what you’re going through right now is temporary. It may not feel like that from inside the tough time you’re in, but this too shall pass and you will feel different again someday. If you can’t have faith in that, let me hold the hope for you.

I hope you found this list of self-care suggestions helpful in some way. But please remember, by no means is this list exhaustive nor will every item on this list possibly feel good and right for you. This list is not meant to be prescriptive, nor do I mean to imply you need to do all or any of these things to take good care of yourself. You are the expert of your own experience and I trust that you know what’s best for you.

Really, this list is really just a starting point meant to catalyze your own thinking about how you can best take care of yourself during life’s tough times and to spark your curiosity and interest in strengthening your self-care now and ongoing. Also, my hope is that in reading this you’re also hearing me say how normal and natural it is to struggle and to have these tough, hard times. It’s part of being human. You’re not alone in this. 

Until next time, take very good care of yourself.

Warmly, Annie

source:themighty.com

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13 Reasons Why is an insult to anyone with mental health issues

You can’t remedy depression with ‘love’

13 Reasons Why, a Netflix original series based on the YA fiction novel by Jay Asher, details the events leading up to and following the suicide of 16-year-old Hannah Baker. It grossly trivialises mental health and romanticises suicide – and don’t tell me it doesn’t when her ‘suicide note’ comes in the form of god damn cassette tapes. Indie, right?

The show leaves you asking – whose story is this? Hannah’s? Clay’s? The dual narrative is spread so thin that it’s hard to sympathise with anyone. That aside, every character appears horribly selfish, overdramatic, and frankly unrealistic. It’s like its writer, Brian Yorkey, googled ‘Millenial trope’ and spat out a dozen whining brats. It turns into a ‘whodunnit’; a blame game where fingers are pointed and guilt is spread around a bunch of teenagers like a really, really shit version of The Secret History. Suicide isn’t caused by other people – it’s not murder.

The show even addresses this, but still its message is confused: ‘I cost a girl her life because I was afraid to love her’ Clay says – fundamentally fucked-up – to which Mr. Porter replies ‘You can’t love someone back to life’. True. This little exchange, however, ends with Clay saying, ‘You can try’. What kind of message is that? ‘We all killed Hannah Baker’ Tony tells Clay. No, you didn’t – she killed herself. That’s the point.

 

Suicide is caused by mental illness, not bullying; but is Hannah Baker portrayed as mentally ill? Everyone’s experience is different, but are there any symptoms of depression here? Where’s the numbing lethargy? Where’s her losing interest in her appearance? Where’s the self-harm? Speaking of which – Skye, the one character with scars, tells Clay ‘it’s what you do instead of killing yourself’. Where’s her recovery? What sort of message is this sending to the millions of young adults watching this show? Not everyone who commits suicides shows signs, granted. Almost all suicides are described as ‘shocking’. But is the word ‘depression’ ever uttered once in all 13 episodes?

It’s unrealistic. The mental health narrative is as pushed under the rug as ever and Hannah Baker is about as good a poster girl for the depressed as Kendall Jenner is for the oppressed. We never really tap into Hannah’s psyche: she’s just a narrator. The result is that she comes off as an over-dramatic snowflake. Yorkey’s way of addressing this seems to be making Hannah say ‘I’m not!’ whenever anyone accuses her of seeking attention or being a drama queen.

Give us a protagonist who physically can’t get out of bed; who ugly cries in the bath every night for months; who suffers with irrational thoughts of self-hatred. Just something – anything – to throw the focus on the day-to-day struggles of someone with a mental illness. A real-life Hannah Baker would not commit suicide – because Hannah Baker is not mentally ill. Or at least not the Hannah Baker we’re being shown.

Source:thetab.com

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8 Things Science Says We Can Do To Become A Little Happier

Happiness can be fleeting under the best of circumstances. Even people who are basically happy have periods when they’re not, and for those who are prone to depression, it’s always a struggle. The core issue with depression (or one of them) is that it hijacks your urge to want to fix things, which obviously creates a vicious cycle. One strategy that helps with the hijack is to create a little routine that you stick to, and which can become a habit itself, and into which you build other habits (see below for more on this method). And according to science and psychologists, there are other things to do to improve your happiness level, whether you’re depressed or just dealing with “stuff” right now. Here’s what the science tells us we can do to make ourselves a little happier in an ongoing way.

(Note: Meds can be life-changing or life-saving for some people who are depressed, and it’s important to point that out. This article is about other strategies, which you can do with or without meds, and whether you’re depressed or just want to be happier overall.)

Exercise  

Unless you’re one of those people who likes to exercise, you won’t want to hear this, but exercise is well known to help with depression and improve well-being. “Cardiovascular exercise has been shown time and time again to be a wonder drug with regard to overall well-being,” says Ben Michaelis, psychologist and author of the book Your Next Big Thing. It’s actually similar to the efficacy of antidepressants for some types of depression, and this seems to be at least in part due to its neurogenic effects–that is, its capacity to “grow” new neurons in area of the brain known to be affected by depression (and dementia): the hippocampus. In fact, a study last week found that exercise helps release a compound in muscles, cathepsin B, which appears to migrate to the brain’s hippocampus and spark the development of new brain cells. So the exercise effect is not necessarily just about the endorphins from the “runner’s high,” as was once thought, but it’s about other types of changes that occur not only in the chemistry of the brain, but maybe even at a structural level, too.

The things you put in your body

“Avoiding processed sugars has been shown to reduce the likelihood for depression, which is another way of saying it promotes happiness,” says Michaelis. Studies have shown that Western diets in general are associated with prevalence of depression. Others have shown that sugar itself may be linked to depression–and while the mechanisms aren’t totally clear, researchers speculate that the oxidative stress that excess sugar can create may take a toll on the brain. There’s another body of evidence that’s lain out the addictive potential for sugar, which itself can contribute to depression, or at least to unstable mood and cycling ups and downs. And a fast-growing body of evidence has found that our gut microbes seem to affect our mental health in significant ways, and the foods we eat can select for or reduce certain strains of bacteria. More work needs to be done here, but eating a plant-based diet, low in sugar and processed foods may well help promote our mental health.

Make a schedule 

“Having a structured schedule that you set and follow is proven to help depression,” says psychologist Shannon Kolakowski, author of the book When Depression Hurts Your Relationship. “It’s the basis of behavioral activation for depression, an evidence-based treatment for depression.” She adds that creating a routine kills two birds with one stone. The structure of a daily routine that you can stick to is in itself comforting, even therapeutic, when you’re down or depressed. But it also makes getting in all the single elements that we know help depression more likely. “By planning activities that you do even when you don’t feel like it,” says Kolakowski, “it ensures you will get the exercise and social interactions, for example, that are so well known to help with depression.”

Social interaction

This one is fascinating because the research keeps showing that social connection is perhaps the single best thing we can do for our mental health. And it seems to occur at the level of the brain. (It may also be the single best thing we can do for our physical health, so it’s really a win-win.) “We know that a sense of community significantly adds to our happiness and overall mental health,” says Michaelis. We’re social creatures by nature, no matter how much you want time to yourself–there’s a thin line between being self-sufficient and being lonely.

And the catch-22 is that when we’re unhappy or depressed we tend to want to isolate; so forcing yourself to stay connected, especially during tough times, can be hard. Luckily, the effects are generally pretty immediate–most people have experienced that even a 10-minute conversation with someone can make a huge difference when you’re feeling really down. Or it can at least bring out of our heads enough to put things in perspective; and it reminds us that human interaction is a really powerful thing, even in small doses.

Marriage, says Kolakowski, is an extension of this one–at least, a good marriage. “Research shows that having a strong marriage can no doubt help depression,” she says. “But having a relationship that is struggling, unhealthy or lacking in support can unfortunately make depression worse in a cyclical fashion. So it’s important that your social relationships be good ones.”

Getting it out

A lot of people are familiar with the ongoing conversation in their heads (or monologue), which can exist whether you’re depressed or not. But it’s particularly loud when you’re depressed, and it creates a vicious cycle of over-thinking, internalization, and unhappiness (in fact, rumination is one of the hallmarks of depression). But directing those thoughts outward, by either talking to someone you trust or by writing it out in a journal, is a lot more therapeutic than just cycling it around in your head. There’s something about the act of telling that directs and releases it in a fundamentally different way from thinking it.

Therapy, of course, partially falls into this category, with the added benefit of feedback from someone who’s trained in problem-solving. More on this below.

Cognitive behavior therapy

This form of therapy is considered the gold standard for a number of different issues–anxiety, addiction and depression, to name a few. In CBT, the general idea is that you first learn to identify various thought processes as they arise, and just note them. Then for the negative ones (which are often fear-based, and kind of ridiculous–“I can’t do anything right”) you learn to replace them with more positive, and perhaps more logical, ones. Over time and with practice, this process becomes less clunky, and more natural and reflexive. Essentially you’re laying down new tracks of connections in your brain, which can be a lengthy process. But it’s very possible over time. Though CBT has been shown to have significant effects on depression, there are certainly others that can be just as valuable.

Meditation

This is a fascinating practice that, in various iterations, has been around for thousands of years, and the science is just starting to show how it changes the brain over time. Meditation wasn’t exactly developed to improve mental health, but this does seem to be one of its benefits. Studies have shown that eight weeks of meditation training seems to help improve a number of aspects of mental health: One study a couple of years ago from Johns Hopkins found that meditation addressed symptoms of depression and anxiety on the level of antidepressants. Another, out of University of Oxford, found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is as effective as antidepressants at preventing relapse in people with depression. One of the ways in which meditation seems to work for depression is that it reduces activity in the default mode network (DMN), the group of areas that are active when our minds are wandering, and generally associated with negative or stressful thoughts.

A central component of meditation is mindfulness, which is the act of paying attention without judgment to what’s going on at the present time–this trait itself has been linked to mental health. This is because just noting your present experience, rather than editorializing it, helps release some of the charge of those negative thoughts and feelings. Then they lose a little of their power. (You can see the natural overlaps between mindfulness meditation and CBT, which is why MBCT was developed.)

Be easier on yourself

This one is very hard to do without feeling self-indulgent, but self-compassion is actually a really important element to being happier. And it actually affects your connection to yourself and other areas of your life.

“This is a big one that’s counterintuitive when you’re depressed,” says Kolakowski. “Depression makes you beat up on yourself and feel down about three main components, what’s called the Cognitive Triad of Depression: your self, your future and others. Self-compassion helps you approach your self and your future with compassion as opposed to self-criticism. It also helps you to have compassion for others, which in turn helps you feel more connected and hopeful.”

Self-compassion has been shown to be an even better predictor of the severity of one’s symptoms of anxiety and depression (or lack thereof) than being mindful, which is a fairly good predictor in itself. And having compassion for yourself is actually an offshoot of mindfulness: If acceptance without judgment is a cornerstone of mindfulness, then not judging and being compassionate about you’re going through, and about yourself in general, is a stone’s throw away. In depression, or even in general down-ness or disillusionment, people tend to, at best, abandon themselves, and at worst, criticize themselves extensively and harshly. Here’s a nice rundown, if you need some ideas for how to be more compassionate with yourself.

 

Source:Forbes

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The Reasons Of Self-Doubt and Steps To Deal With It

We have all been there.

At some points in our lives, we all question ourselves whether we are doing good enough, what consider as successful or are we capable for all the uncertainties that might come up as we grow older. We doubt about decisions and choices we made or simply feeling “I am just not good enough for that.”

That’s what we called- Self-doubt. Self-doubt occurs when we are lack of confidence or feeling incapable of doing things we need to do. People who doubt about themselves panic about things would go out of control or not going the way as they expected.

A Certain level of self-doubt is good because it indicates you understand what you need to improve in order to do a better job! (just remember that doesn’t mean what you are doing is not good!) However, persistent fear and self-doubt can hugely affect your life, in a bad way.

How Self-doubt Affects Your Life?

Let’s picture this.

Your boss has assigned you an important task because he thinks you are the most suitable person in the room. But instead of taking it as a recognition of your work performance, you started to panic. You panic about whether you are capable of doing a great job and failing to perform well will become a big joke at work. You spend time stressing over every single decision you made and picture how things might go wrong.

It’s not surprising that fear will then play a big role in your own little drama. It brings you to his best friend named procrastination. You delay your work and feeling demotivated. At the end of the story, you hand in your work at the very last minute and of course, it’s not hard to guess you will have the feeling of “I can actually do better than this”.

Causes of Self Doubt

  • Past Experience/ Mistakes

Why is that?

I have no doubt that past experiences can have a huge impact on how we react, especially if you have had bad experiences before like a really broken relationship or being fired without a concrete justification. Past experience can shake and rattle our beliefs. however, you have to understand that your past cannot be altered but you need to stay stuck with it. Keep referencing to past experiences without learning from them is just a waste of your bright future!

What you need to understand?

You have to understand that your past cannot be altered but you need to stay stuck with it. Keep referencing to past experiences without learning from them is just a waste of your bright future!

  • Childhood upbringing

Why’s that?

Our upbringing plays a big role in shaping our habits and personalities. If you are raised by parents that constantly telling you that you are not good enough or natured by schools that judge students heavily on their grades, you might have already internalized the habit of questioning yourself since you were a child.

What you need to understand?

Tell yourself that you are a grown up now and this is YOUR LIFE.You are capable of making the best decision for yourself. You no longer need to seek approval from either your parents and teachers at school. Education and what you have learned so far in your life have shaped you into a better person than you were 10 years ago.

  • Comparing ourselves with others  

Why’s that?

It’s not surprising for us to compare ourselves with others because we are living in a world of competition. We can easily compare our work performance with colleagues or simply in the overwhelming world of social media. It’s easy for us to envy others’ lives and thinking that we are not doing just as great as they are.

What you need to understand?

It comes down to the old and cliche saying- learn to appreciate yourself. This is very true because we are all different and we are all good at different things. That’s just not fair if you judge a goldfish by its inability to climb a tree (or simply living on the ground.)

Comparing yourself with others is sometimes a good practice because by looking at what you are lacking, you can find ways to improve yourself so you can become better at what you do.

  • New challenges to you

Why’s that?

This is a pretty normal case because we have no experience on how to react or what are the things that we need to do. The feeling of uncertainty and insecurity will make you feel uncomfortable.

What you need to understand?

Instead of thinking that you are not capable, take it as a chance to learn. I am sure we all didn’t have the knowledge on how to walk properly when we were young but I am sure you are all doing a great job now, isn’t it? Remind yourself that it’s ok to make mistakes because we all learn how to become better along the way.

  • You have delivered a really great work before

Why’s that?

Take Eilizabeth Gilbert as an example. She is the author of the book “Eat, pray, Love” that sold more than 10 million copies around the world. However, In her book “Big magic-Creative Living Beyond Fear”, she revealed that this success had also once become her biggest nightmare because she wasn’t sure whether she can replicate her success.

This can happen to all of us. Previous success can become our biggest fear because we might think that’s the best we can deliver and we will never produce anything that’s equally better.

What you need to understand?

Instead of thinking about how to replicate the success, think about how to outperform your success because doing the same great thing twice doesn’t mean you are better than before. Learn from your success, knowing that even though you are good at something, there are ways that you can do better. Focus on amplifying instead of replicating, take it as a motivation to encourage yourself to do better, becoming greater at you are already good at! You should not be limited by your strength!

How to deal with self-doubt?

  • Ground yourself and say stop.
    Once you discovered there are negative voices running inside your head, try to stay in the present moment and focus on the positives are keys to set you free. Try to prepare something positive so you can go through whenever you feel negative or unsure about yourself.Ideas on what you can prepare:
    1. A list of counter arguments. Things like “I can do this.”, “It’s just another chance for me to learn.” ,”Wasting time on doubting myself cannot help with the situation” and “He/She is doing great but I am not bad too!”
    2. A jar that contains all your happy memories
    3. A file that contains all the photos that make you smile
    4. A list of quick energy-boosting activities you can do
    5. A box of healthy snacks that you can always go to
  • Take a break and get a boost of optimism
    Sometimes the longer we feel stuck in a situation or emotion, the harder it is for us to come out. Just take a moment to relax and shifting your focus to something totally different. By doing so, it can allow us to clear out mind and look at things from a new and fresh perspective.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek help
    While it is important to work on ourselves, it’s also a good idea to get support from your love ones, they can be your partner, family members, friends, mentors or even supervisors. Getting advice and reassurance from others can also improve our self-confidence and keep us motivated.

My 21-day plan on regaining self-confidence

I have this one great approach that has successfully helped me to build my confidence and become a person with gratitude.

I write things down, just as simple as it sounds.

By writing down things that make me question myself and review weekly, I am able to identify what makes me scared and have developed ways to improve myself. And by writing down things that I am grateful for, I started to appreciate myself more and focus on what I have instead of what I am lacking. I even stopped comparing myself to others because by looking at what I wrote reminds me that I am happy with my own life.

A lot of people might think writing journal is a waste of time because we have to spend long hours keeping a record of what has happened but that’s not necessarily the case.

This is my 21-day plan on regaining self-confidence and you should give it a try too!

Week 1: Starting by “Write 3 things that you are grateful for.”
Review them at the end of the week and you will soon realize, the more you write, the more you will see there are actually a lot of things that can make you happy.

Week 2: On top of what you have been recording, “Write down times that you feel unsure about yourself and possible reasons behind.”
At the end of the week, you should be able to identify what are your biggest fear and moments that make you feel stressed.  During the review process, you can start to think of ways to solve your problems, it can be “focusing more on myself” or things you think you need to improve on.

I named mine “My awesome plan of attack.”

Week 3: Write down what you have done to overcome your uncomfortable feelings and how you feel.
No matter what you have done, write them down and recognize yourself! We all need motivation along the way and no matter how small the steps you have taken, it’s an achievement and they indicate that you are one step closer to what you want to achieve!
Doing so does not only motivates you, it helps you to keep track with your progress and becoming the person you want to become.

I think it’s common and normal to doubt ourselves, but you need to understand that staying stuck and panicking for too long won’t do you any good and it’s just a waste of time. Try to get out from the loop as soon as you can and spend time on improving yourself. Don’t give up! You can do it!

 

Source:lifehack

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Argue With Your Partner Over Small Things Often? Science Says It’s Good For Your Relationship

Relationships aren’t always easy. Arguments and disagreements are expected when two people with different life experiences, views and perspectives come together. But how often are we told that arguing with our partner means the relationship is doomed? That disagreeing often is a sign that you just aren’t compatible? Well, if you find you bicker a lot with your loved one there may be a saving grace – science says it is, in fact, a great indicator for your relationship and here’s how.

Love Isn’t An Easy Street

As much as love is portrayed as romantic and against-all-odds fantastic, the reality is that relationships and marriage takes work to cultivate and bloom. There’s so much psychological research based on why marriages fail but not nearly as much asking what actually makes marriages succeed.

It’s this perspective that has led us to believe that arguing is a negative sign of failure and incompatibility with someone we love. While extreme hurtful arguing is detrimental to each other, research suggests that a healthy relationship is one that includes disagreements on a regular basis.

How Arguing Helps Your Relationship To Last

We all know communication is the key to any successful relationship.

While most of us think of this as calmly sitting on the sofa and bringing up worries or concerns to our partner, in real life this is rarely the case.

After all, we’re all human and we all have our bad days, our bad reactions to words and situations and so arguments are bound to happen. In essence, couples who argue are communicating and this is the lynchpin to any successful relationship. Granted it may not seem like the most ideal way to communicate, but actually getting our opinions and viewpoints out is much better than keeping them to ourselves and letting them stew.

Jonah Lehrer, author of , looked closely into how fighting in a relationship is actually a good thing rather than a negative.

“According to the scientists, spouses who complain to each other the most, and complain about the least important things, end up having more lasting relationships. In contrast, couples with high negativity thresholds—they only complain about serious problems—are much more likely to get divorced.”

So arguing about the little things keeps your relationship ticking over much better than saving it for what would be deemed the serious and more important stuff.

How Not Fighting Indicates An Unhealthy Relationship

Okay, arguing from day one may be an unhealthy sign but once we settle into a relationship it’s at this time when the real dynamics start to show.

Lehrer delves deeper into research done by John Gottman, who set up the Gottman Institute dedicating reseach-based methods to strengthen relationships. Gottman’s studies have revealed that, at a certain stage of a relationship where you’re revealing your true-selves to each other, if you’re not arguing then it could be a sign that you’ve lost emotional investment in the other person.

“Gottman’s research shows that 3 years into the relationship, if you’re not fighting, that’s the indicator of an unhealthy relationship. At that point, you’re not holding in your farts anymore. You’re fully intimate. You’ve seen where they’ve got hair, you’ve smelled their morning breath. You’re not holding anything back. So if you’re not fighting, it’s often a sign of withdrawal. In a sense, you can look at complaining and fighting in an intimate relationship as just ways of showing you care.”

Of course, no one should be unhappy in a relationship but emotionally intelligent arguing or even general bickering is a sign that you’re invested and willing to communicate, therefore keeping your relationship ticking over.

So, for those of you that believe arguing is a sign of impending doom for your relationship then think again. In fact, it’s a sign that you’re not only passionate about the other person and the relationship, but most importantly communication is abundant showing you a positive sign that your partnership is probably much stronger than you think.

Source:lifehack

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To My Husband When I Don’t Have the Words to Explain My Anxiety

To the one who signed up for loving me and everything that comes with me,

I’m having a rough day. You know that for better or for worse thing you committed to? This is somewhere on the “for worse” end of the spectrum. If you have received this letter, there’s a chance I may be curled up in a corner somewhere in our house, sobbing uncontrollably. Please find me, hold me and give me a little kiss on the forehead. I’m probably going to need some tissues as well, unless you don’t mind me using the sleeve of your favorite Brooks Brothers shirt to wipe my eyes… and probably my nose.

Please, know this has nothing to do with you. I know you’ve never lived with someone who suffers from anxiety and depression. You’ve never had to come home and comfort a person you love from an invisible monster that lives inside of them. If this were a visible illness, you could see the scars from the battles I fight on a daily basis and the bruises from when my anxiety is beating me up inside. You can’t though. You just have to trust I’m fighting every day to be the best version of myself, for me and for you.

Loving you is one of the easiest and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, all at the same time. You have given me something to fight for but also a fear greater than I’ve ever known. My fear is that everything that comes with the human being that is me is going to drive you away someday. I can’t control that though, and that scares me, too. You have given me no reason for these fears. It’s nothing you’ve ever done or said. It’s the opposite really. It’s the anxiety being fearful and the depression telling me I’m not worthy of the love of someone as incredible as you. 

I know better, though. Depression and anxiety are liars. I am so worth loving. In fact, my blessing and curse of being able to feel things so incredible deeply means I will love you deeply. My passion, compassion and empathy will make me a great wife to you and a great mom to the kids we will hopefully someday have. I just need to be reminded of that somedays when I’m overcome by Xi and the ‘Pression Monster (it’s what I call the anxiety and depression so it sounds less scary — I imagine them as my own internal heavy metal band).

I’m sorry I lack the ability to use my words right now. I wish I could explain to you why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling and what drives me into feeling that way. Nine times out of 10, I can’t pin down the reason. Sometimes all I can do to help you understand is send you articles written by others who have gone through the same thing.

One last thing: I know this affects you, too. I know it’s terrifying for you to see me like this. I can’t even imagine. I know you want to do everything you can to make it better, but you’re learning just like I am. We’re both going to have a few bumps along the road trying to figure this all out. I know you’re trying and I hope you know that I’m trying, too.

Today, I’m going to need you to love me a little bit louder, hug me a little bit tighter and maybe grab me an ice pack for my head.

Forever and always,

Maisy

Source;themighty

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101 Self-Care Suggestions for When It All Feels Like Too Much

I think that, for most of us, there are times in life when it all just feel like Too Much.

There may be some days, weeks, months, maybe even years when – for whatever reason – just getting through the day, or going to work, or putting one foot in front of the other feels hard. Really, really hard.

Maybe it’s because you’re wrestling with anxiety, depression or some other mental illness. Maybe it’s because you’ve had your heart broken. Maybe you’ve gone through a physical or emotional trauma. Maybe you’re deeply grieving. Or maybe there’s no easily understood reason for why you’re feeling bad.

Whatever the case, I want you to know that it’s OK if you’re going through a tough time. This doesn’t make you any less lovable, worthy or capable. This just means you’re human.

Being a human can be a messy, hard, confusing, painful experience sometimes.

So if you or someone you love is going through one of these tough times right now, a time where it all just feels like too much, I want to offer up 101 suggestions for self-care to help you or your loved one get through this time.

1. Have a good, long, body-shaking cry.

2. Call a trusted friend or family member and talk it out.

3. Call in sick. Take comp time if you can. Take a mental health day.

4. Say no to extra obligations, chores, or anything that pulls on your precious self-care time.

5. Book a session (or more!) with your therapist.

6. Dial down your expectations of yourself at this time. When you’re going through life’s tough times, I invite you to soften your expectations of yourself and others.

7. Tuck yourself into bed early with a good book and clean sheets.

8. Watch a comforting/silly/funny/lighthearted TV show or movie. (“Parks and Recreation,” anyone?)

9. Reread your favorite picture and chapter books from childhood.

10. Ask for some love and tenderness from your friends on social media. Let them comment on your post and remind you that you’re loved.

11. Look at some some really gorgeous pieces of art.

12. Watch Youtube videos of Ellen DeGeneres and the adorable kids she has on her show.

13. Look at faith-in-humanity-restoring lists from Buzzfeed.

14. Ask for help. From whoever you need it – your boss, your doctor, your partner, your therapist, your mom. Let people know you need some help.

15. Wrap yourself up in a cozy fleece blanket and sip a cup of hot tea.

16. Breathe. Deeply. Slowly. Four counts in. Six counts out.

17. Hydrate. Have you had enough water today?

18. Eat. Have you eaten something healthy and nourishing today?

19. Sleep. Have you slept 7-9 hours? Is it time for some rest?

20. Shower. Then dry your hair and put on clothes that make you feel good.

21. Go outside and be in the sunshine.

22. Move your body gently in ways that feel good. Maybe aim for 30 minutes. Or 10 if 30 feels like too much.

23. Read a story (or stories) of people who overcame adversity or maybe dealt with mental illness, too. (I personally admire JK Rowling’s story.)

24. Go to a 12-Step meeting. Or any group meeting where support is offered. Check out church listings, hospital listings, school listings for examples.

25. If you suspect something may be physiologically off with you, go see your doctor and/or psychiatrist and talk to them. Medication might help you at this time and they can assist you in assessing this.

26. Take a long, hot bath, light a candle and pamper yourself.

27. Read these inspirational quotes.

28. Cuddle someone or something. Your partner. A pillow. Your friend’s dog.

29. Read past emails/postcards/letters etc. from friends and family reminding you of happier times.

30. Knit. Sculpt. Bake. Engage your hands.

31. Exhaust yourself physically – running, yoga, swimming, whatever helps you feel fatigued.

32. Write it out. Free form in a journal or a Google doc. Get it all out and vent.

33. Create a plan if you’re feeling overwhelmed. List out what you need to do next to tackle and address whatever you’re facing. Chunk it down into manageable and understandable pieces.

34. Remember: You only have to get through the next five minutes. Then the next five. And so on.

35. Take five minutes to meditate.

36. Write out a list of 25 Reasons Why You’ll Be OK.

37. Write out a list of 25 Examples of Things You’ve Overcome or Accomplished.

38. Write out a list of 25 Reasons Why You’re a Good, Lovable Person.

39. Write out a list of 25 Things That Make Your Life Beautiful.

40. Sniff some scents that bring you joy or remind you of happier times.

41. Ask for support from friends and family via text if voice-to-voice contact feels like too much. Ask them to check in with you via text daily/weekly. Whatever you need.

42. Lay down on the ground. Let the earth/floor hold you. You don’t have to hold it all on your own.

43. Clean up a corner of a room of your house. Sometimes tidying up can help calm our minds.

44. Ask yourself: What’s my next most immediate priority? Do that. Then ask the question again.

45. Read some poetry. Rumi, Hafiz, Mary Oliver are all excellent.

46. Take a tech break. Delete or deactivate social media if it feels too triggering right now.

47. Or maybe get on tech. If you’ve been isolating maybe even interacting with friends and family online might feel good.

48. Go out in public and be around others. You don’t have to engage. But maybe go sit in a coffee shop or on a bench at a museum and soak up the humanity around you.

49. Or if you’re feeling too saturated with contact, go home. Cancel plans and tend to the introverted parts of yourself.

50. Ask friends and family to remind you that things will be OK and that what you’re feeling is temporary.

51. Put up some Christmas lights in your bedroom. They often make things more magical.

52. Spend a little money and treat yourself to some self-care and comfort. Maybe take a taxi versus the bus. Buy your lunch instead of forcing yourself to pack it. Buy some flowers that delight you.

53. Make art. Scribble with crayons. Splash some watercolors. Paint a rock. Whatever. Just create something.

54. Go wander around outside in your neighborhood and take a look at all the lovely houses and the way people decorate their gardens. Delight in the diversity of design.

55. Go visit or volunteer at your local animal rescue. Pet some animals.

56. Look at photos of people you love. Set them as the wallpaper of your phone or laptop.

57. Create and listen to a playlist of songs that remind you of happier times.

58. Read some spiritual literature.

59. Scream, pound pillows, tear up paper, shake your body to move the energy out.

60. Eat your favorite, most comforting foods.

61. Watch old Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood videos online.

62. Turn off the lights, sit down, stare into space and do absolutely nothing.

63. Pick one or two things that feel like progress and do them. Make your bed. Put away the dishes. Return an email.

64. Go to a church or spiritual community service. Sit among others and absorb any guidance or grace that feels good to you.

65. Allow yourself to fantasize about what you’re hoping or longing for. There are clues and energy in your reveries and daydreams that are worth paying attention to.

66. Watch Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response videos to help you calm down and fall asleep at night.

67. Listen to monks chanting, singing Tibetan bowls or nature sounds to help soothe you.

68. Color in some adult coloring books.

69. Revisit an old hobby. Even if it feels a little forced, try your hand at things you used to enjoy and see what comes up for you.

70. Go to the ocean. Soak up the negative ions.

71. Go to the mountains. Absorb the strength and security of them.

72. Go to the forest. Drink in the shelter, life and sacredness of the trees.

73. Put down the personal help books and pick up some good old fashioned fiction.

74. Remember: Your only job right now is to put one foot in front of the other.

75. Allow and feel and express your feelings – all of them! – safely and appropriately. Seek out help if you need support in this.

76. Listen to sad songs or watch sad movies if you need a good cry. (“Steel Magnolias, anyone?)

77. Dance around wildly to your favorite, most cheesy songs from your high school years.

78. Put your hands in dirt. If you have a garden, go garden. If you have some indoor plants, tend to them. If you don’t have plants or a garden, go outside. Go to a local nursery and touch and smell all the gorgeous plants.

79. If you want to stay in bed all day watching Netflix, do it. Indulge.

80. Watch or listen to some comedy shows or goofy podcasts.

81. Look for and Google up examples of people who have gone through and made it through what you’re currently facing. Seek out models of inspiration.

82. Get expert help with whatever you need. Whether that’s through therapy, psychiatry, a lawyer, clergy, let those trained to support you do it.

83. Educate yourself about what you’re going through. Learn about what you’re facing, what you can expect to feel, and how you can support yourself in this place.

84. Establish a routine and stick to it. Routines can bring so much comfort and grounding in times of life that feel chaotic or out of control.

85. Do some hardcore nesting and make your home or bedroom as  cozy and beautiful and comforting as possible.

86. Get up early and watch a sunrise.

87. Go outside and set up a chair and watch the sunset.

88. Make your own list of self-soothing activities that engage all five of your senses.

89. Develop a supportive morning ritual for yourself.

90. Develop a relaxing evening ritual for yourself.

91. Join a support group for people who are going through what you’re going through. Check out the listings at local hospitals, libraries, churches, and universities to see what’s out there.

92. Volunteer at a local shelter or hospital or nursing home. Practice being of service to others who may also be going through a tough time.

93. Accompany a friend or family member to something. Even if it’s just keeping them company while they run errands, sometimes this kind of contact can feel like good self-care.

94. Take your dog for a walk. Or borrow a friend’s dog and take them for a walk.

95. Challenge your negative thinking.

96. Practice grounding, relaxation techniques.

97. Do something spontaneous. Walk or drive a different way to work. Order something new off the menu.Listen to a Spotify playlist of new songs.

98. Work with your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist to develop a physical exercise plan and food plan that will be supportive to whatever you’re facing right now.

99. Pray. Meditate. Write a letter to God/The Universe/Source/Your Higher Self, whatever you believe in.

100. As much as you can, please try and trust the process.

101. Finally, please remember, what you’re going through right now is temporary. It may not feel like that from inside the tough time you’re in, but this too shall pass and you will feel different again someday. If you can’t have faith in that, let me hold the hope for you.

I hope you found this list of self-care suggestions helpful in some way. But please remember, by no means is this list exhaustive nor will every item on this list possibly feel good and right for you. This list is not meant to be prescriptive, nor do I mean to imply you need to do all or any of these things to take good care of yourself. You are the expert of your own experience and I trust that you know what’s best for you.

Really, this list is really just a starting point meant to catalyze your own thinking about how you can best take care of yourself during life’s tough times and to spark your curiosity and interest in strengthening your self-care now and ongoing. Also, my hope is that in reading this you’re also hearing me say how normal and natural it is to struggle and to have these tough, hard times. It’s part of being human. You’re not alone in this.

But I have to say: The suggestions in this list are in no way a substitute for care or advice from a licensed mental health care clinician. These are self-care coaching suggestions, not therapeutic advice. 

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: What self-care techniques have really supported you when going through life’s tough times? Let us know one or more ideas, tools or activities that have brought you relief and comfort so that others can benefit from your experience and wisdom. 

Until next time, take very good care of yourself.

 

Source:themighty.com

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When a Doctor Laughed After Noticing I Take ‘Happy Medication’

I posted this status on my Facebook page at 4:18 a.m. on October 25, 2016:

“I’m going to be open and honest here, so bear with me. I usually don’t share things like this but I feel compelled to, at 4:18 a.m. thanks to my insomnia. My dad has been pushing me to get LASIK surgery for my eyes. To ease his voice in my head, I went for a second consultation yesterday. Upon entering the exam room with the assistant, I felt a little discriminated against and stereotyped. He first automatically assumed I go to one of those ‘smart schools’ and I was ‘too smart for us (whoever those people are).’ He then made a comment about how I only got a 35 and not a 36 on my ACT.

A little upset at this, I let it slide. However, he then proceeded to talk about my eye history and such. This is when he started throwing out terms like “myopia,” which I honestly don’t really know what that means. However, what frustrated me the most is when he said it was my ‘small, Asian eyes’ that caused vision problems.

I’ve had people make fun of my eye shape all my life. I squint. I have almond shaped eyes. It just frustrated me to hear this from a health care professional, especially as he joked about my eye shape. I don’t know why it bothered me, but I woke up thinking about this encounter.

I think what hurt the most though is the fact that as he went through my medical history and reached my medications list, with one look he laughed and said, ‘You take happy medications.’ This hurt the most. I already struggle deeply with taking my medication regimen each evening, but to hear this statement from a health care professional? It’s the 21st century. Can we not minimize the struggle that one in five of us have with mental illness? It’s not a ‘happy medication.’ It’s to help my brain so that on my worst days I can manage to get out of bed and walk the dog.

Example: You may or may not know from just meeting me, but I struggle with severe anxiety. I went to a Bottle and Bottega paint event last night to try and be in a social environment, to talk with strangers and to overcome my desire to be perfectionistic when it comes to all aspects of my life. Instead, I had anxiety leading up to the event, and as the event progressed, my anxiety worsened.

How do I know it’s not just the nerves? I became short of breath. My legs went numb. I almost passed out and became light-headed and dizzy. I threw up.

Getting myself into social situations is hard for me. I put myself out there last night only to have one of my worst fears come true, having such severe anxiety that I end up sick and unable to enjoy my night. I ended up sitting quietly at my end of the table hoping the night would move faster so I could curl up in bed. I avoid social situations for that reason.”

I am honored by the outpour of support I have received from my community of friends on my social media account. The comments and messages they have left me encourage me to continue to speak about my experiences and try to be one person in the world to try and start a conversation about mental illness.

My experience shook me to the core. I haven’t been criticized for my tiny, Asian eyes for many years now, nonetheless by a healthcare professional. It felt discriminatory and made me self-conscious and aware of my appearance. I already struggle with anorexia. I didn’t need somebody else to comment on my appearance and add to my ongoing battle with myself.

Yet, this isn’t about just the discrimination of my eye shape. It is about the fact that I was told outright by this healthcare professional I take “happy medications.” He said it in such a lighthearted, jovial manner that I was so taken aback. I didn’t know how to respond.

Why is it that when it comes to medication for mental illness, it is laughed about, minimized and stigmatized? Mental illness should be taken as seriously as any other illness. The brain is an organ. So let us treat it like one.

Just by looking at my medical history and jumping to the conclusion that I take “happy medications” has really put me in a sour mood. I feel judged by a complete stranger, and I am now even more hesitant to take my medication regimen than I already was. My father already tells me not to take medication and to not need it or rely on it.

I can’t help I am on four different psychiatric medications. I’m not happy about this. Yet, I have accepted it.

So how come such a simple statement shook me to the core? It’s because of the ignorance and stigma surrounding mental illness that this hits so close to home.

Please, don’t judge those of us struggling with mental illness by our medication list. Please, don’t jump to conclusions about our condition and who we are. Please, don’t judge a book by its cover. Please, don’t ever tell me again that I take “happy medications” because that minimizes the struggle and experiences I have had to get to where I am today.

Source:themighty.com

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24 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because of Your Social Anxiety

When people think of social anxiety, many imagine a shy introvert who doesn’t go out and doesn’t say much. While this version of social anxiety exists, living with it is more than just being “shy.” In fact, not everyone who has social anxiety is even quiet. Social anxiety manifests itself in many ways, some which might even surprise you.

To find out some of the different ways people are affected by social anxiety, we asked people in our community to share something they do because of their social anxiety that others might not realize.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “Most people think I’m being rude when I’m not talkative in a group of people. In reality, I’m terrified because my mind constantly tells me I’ll say the wrong thing.” — Maegan B.

2. “I’m constantly glued to my phone. It’s just an excuse to not look directly at anybody! Constantly going over a sentence I want to say about 30 times in my head, then realizing it’s no longer relevant!” — Grace D.

3. “Being quiet – I’d rather listen to a conversation than be in one. I feel like whatever comes out of my mouth may seem stupid.” — Juliana G.

4. “Talking fast, rambling and joking around even though really I’ve zoned out and I’m pretty much not there… I run on autopilot and later when I’ve grounded again I go through and recollect what I’ve said or done… a bit like after being drunk! Of course I joke and talk fast anyway so nobody can tell the difference, including me usually until after I’ve come out of the fog.” — Suze A.

5. “I don’t think most people realize that when I’m out with friends and I suddenly leave, it’s because of anxiety. There’s always a moment when it’s just too overwhelming and I have to go home.” — Lucas Z.

6. “Constantly watching the body language of everyone to see if I’m offending them just by breathing.” — Jennifer L.

7. “I actually find myself talking a lot… in my mind I’m telling myself, be quiet, you’re talking to much, no one cares, everyone is judging you. But I get so anxious when I’m out with friends and there is an awkward silence or no one is talking. So I feel the need to talk more even though I’m dying of panic and anxiety inside. Sometimes after large events, it takes me days of no social interaction or staying in bed to recuperate.” — Jessica G.

8. “Actually talking on the phone can take days sometimes to muster up the courage. Texting is easier, but it’s still difficult to be the first one to start the conversation. I don’t like talking in groups. Will go somewhere, sit in my car for a half hour and decide not to go in.” — Tiffany A.

9. “Being loud, playing the joker, laughter. Anything that will draw away from the fact that I’m extremely agitated and struggling.” — Vikki M.

10. “I get upset before I have to go deal with people. This usually happens at home and is basically the adrenaline aggravating me, but I get snippy and can’t answer questions in any detail until I have to drive and therefore get distracted. Includes, ‘Where are you going?’ and ‘Why?’” — Myrlyn B.

11. “I’ll play with my hair, purse, or anything I’m holding to relieve my nervous energy. I won’t even notice it sometimes until I’m holding a torn up napkin.” — Katie M.

12. “I will always sit with my back to the wall, will even ask a friend to change seats with me. I sometimes miss pieces of conversation because I’m busy selecting and planning my exit routes and taking mental notes and descriptions of everyone in the room.” — Julz T.

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13. “I will either shut down completely and not talk and people think I’m not sociable. Or if I try to convince myself to appear ‘normal’ I ramble and talk fast. It’s a lose, lose situation.” — Bryanna B.

14. “Practicing and practicing what I’m going to say on the phone and writing it down on a piece of paper before calling so if my anxiety becomes too much, I can just read my script.” — Leah O.

15. “Taking a long time to reply to emails, texts, etc., especially group messages, because I’m terrified of spelling something wrong or saying something that is incorrect or could come across as rude or mean. I’ve had misunderstandings in the past with these types of communication and and it scares me. I feel like everyone hates me already, and when I write something silly I feel like they hate me even more.”– Keira H.

16. “Not focusing on a conversation because I’m thinking about if I’ll miss my train or if my hair looks OK or if I look interested enough or if I’m allowing the person to speak enough or if I leave now I’ll get home at X time and have Y amount of sleep. It’s exhausting because my mind won’t stop, and I generally can’t remember anything anyone has said to me during said conversation.” — Stephanie T.

17. “Social anxiety is part of why I keep my hair long. It’s kind of a safety blanket for me, very comforting to be able to play with and soft. I feel less exposed with my hair there like a curtain I can disappear behind every so often.” — Opal S.

18. “Resting bitch face… not that I’m not happy; I’m uncomfortable and can’t really show my emotion. When I zone out I’m deep in my own destroying thoughts. Constantly finding an excuse to leave a room because I’m uncomfortable in a room of people, being glued to my phone or social media to escape myself and everyone around me. Being fidgety.” — Andrea M.

19. “I cancel plans, often last minute, not because I’m rude or necessarily don’t want to go, but because I’m afraid of going out in public sometimes, afraid of what’s going to happen, who’s going to look at me, am I going to be embarrassed, etc. And afterwards, I feel bad for missing out.” — Jessica S.

20. “I start to sweat, ridiculously, no matter the temperature. The worst is the sweat that breaks out on my upper lip because there’s just no hiding that. Before every job interview, I have legitimately wondered if this time I should go through with trying an antiperspirant on my upper lip.” — Angela J.

21. “I always prefer to make plans at least one day ahead. Every morning I mentally prepare for the day. It helps soothe any anxiety and is a comfort to know what to expect. It is difficult to be spontaneous, but as long as a friend let’s me know they’d like to do something on a certain day, I can anticipate that social interaction yet be flexible about exactly what we do, where we go or when.” — Jessica D.

22. “Coming across as completely cold, blunt and uptight – when that’s in fact actually a direct result of the panic and sheer effort taken just to to engage with that person – ironically, in what’s intended to be in a ‘normal’ way.” — Cat S.

23. “I zone out sometimes when there are too many stimulants. I just kind of go somewhere else in my head and am physically just there, usually staring at something weird, like a garbage can.” — Elaine W.

24. “I just awkwardly smile and try so hard not to get in anyone’s way. All the while, I feel like I’m annoying them in some way. I just want to leave, even if everyone is nice. It sucks.” — Emily J.

 

Source:themighty.com