Revels & Revelations With The Smith Family: Will, Jada, Trey, Jaden & willow —

YOU’RE INVITED!Join us for our 8th annual Revels and Revelations, a night of celebration and inspiration.Mental health conditions during the pandemic are disproportionately affecting young adults. Research shows that the prevalence of anxiety disorders has tripled since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our students need support now more than ever. We hope you can join us! For more information on […]

Revels & Revelations With The Smith Family: Will, Jada, Trey, Jaden & willow —

Hobbies That Can Be Beneficial for Your Mental Health —

We all know that life can get busy. As a result, it can be hard to find the time to treat ourselves or indulge in doing the things that we really love. However, there are a number of reasons why having a hobby can be a really great thing. Hobbies are often much more than […]

Hobbies That Can Be Beneficial for Your Mental Health —

Welcome Bring Change To Mind Student & Communities —

Dear BC2M Community, Although school looks a bit different this year, we’d like to give a warm welcome back to our BC2M students and their communities. And to the parents and family members who are working through remote learning with your children, we honor you.We have committed ourselves across the country to be a pillar of stability, […]

Welcome Bring Change To Mind Student & Communities —

Clean Your Air With A Homemade Oil Diffuser —

Willow & Sage by Stampington You will need Wooden diffuser sticks or other suitable decorative sticks Lavender essential oil Tea Tree essential oil Fractionated Coconut oil Glass bottle Blend essential oils into fractionated coconut oil at a ratio of about 1-4, fill glass bottle halfway and insert sticks. Use a bottle with the smallest opening possible, […]

Clean Your Air With A Homemade Oil Diffuser —

What Do you Think of Our New Theme?

 

                                                                                                                                                    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s been years since I gave Survivor’s Blog Here a facelift and today started looking around at options. Does this theme work for how you like the post to pop out on the front page. What is missing?

I want to hear your feedback not only about the theme but what you would like to see more of from Survivor’s Blog Here. I want the good, bad, and the ugly.

The COVID 19 virus has affected several of our contributors, I’m sure you’ve noticed less blogging in general. This to shall pass and I’m committed to making Survivor’s Blog Here a safe space for everyone to talk about their trauma, chronic illnesses, mental health, and recovery.

As we move into our seventh year I’m excited about the future, committed to growing the community, and getting you involved in shaping our growth. We would not be here without you, your stories, and your feedback.

Please take a minute to let me know your thoughts. I look forward to reading your comments and making changes as we grow together. 

Melinda and Team

It’s Been 28 years……… —

It’s been 28 years since you killed yourself. Too many Birthday, Christmas, and Thanksgivings. Wishing I could say I missed you but that would not be true. I do have some great snippets, little memories from my early childhood. Other memories, more unstable memories from my teens when I lived with you. Driving down the […]

It’s Been 28 years……… —

IV Ketamine for Adults With MDD or Bipolar Disorder: Safety and Tolerability —

Interestingly I’ve taken Ketamine for Pain Management but not for my Bipolar Disorder. When I spoke with my doctor about years ago he said that the percentage of people with my level of depression experiencing high results was low. The key to remember is everyone is different. The treatment is nothing like Electro Convulsive Therapy. […]

IV Ketamine for Adults With MDD or Bipolar Disorder: Safety and Tolerability —

Five Small Ways To Look After Your Mental Health Every Day —

If you’re looking for ways to support your mental health but you don’t know where to begin then don’t worry, not alone. Although it can be overwhelming, you need to be sure you’re doing all that you can to look after yourself, including your mental health. Luckily, there are lots of ways in which you […]

Five Small Ways To Look After Your Mental Health Every Day —

Why Self-Care Is Important To Mental Health —

Self-care may seem like a luxury but in fact, it’s important for everyone to take time out for self-care. Self-care or taking a few minutes for ourselves is critical to our mental health. Our mind and body need a break, a chance to unwind, to refocus and there are many ways to unwind. I do […]

Why Self-Care Is Important To Mental Health —

Fibromyalgia Thoughts #4 Living Without A Flair —

Vacuumed kitchen and dining room. Mopped kitchen. Applied cuticle cream twice. Vacuumed part of the living room, still need to clean the floor. Potted two house plants. Enjoyed a candle for a few minutes. Emptied dishwasher. Woke up 4:00 A.M. with the puppy. Haven’t taken a nap. I cleaned up but no shower, those […]

Fibromyalgia Thoughts #4 Living Without A Flair —

Survivors Blog Here Celebrates Six Anniversary With Open House! Stop By For Refreshments

Survivors Blog Here is celebrating our six anniversary with a big celebration! Come by, say hello, browse and read a few posts while enjoying the refreshments.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

We could not have made this journey without the thousands of guests on our site. I want to thank each of you and let you know you’ve made an impact on the community. I look forward to more guests and want you to know our Contributors and followers appreciate you. 

Survivors Blog Here continues to evolve, shaped by life experiences and your feedback. Thank you for taking the journey with us, we learn from you every day. If you’re unfamiliar with our site, we’re a collaboration of writers with different backgrounds and challenges. Supporting men and women as they work thru a trauma, taking steps forward, to move beyond the pain. https://survivorsbloghere.wordpress.com  You can learn more by reading our “About Us” page.

I’m honored and humbled to work with Contributors past and present who share their experiences, pain, and triumphs with a deep desire to pay it forward. I believe they shine a light on the human spirit. 

Robert M. Goldstein    http://robertmgoldstein.com

Casey Alexander   http://hypervigilant.org

Surviving the Specter    http://survivingthespecter.wordpress.com

Hyperion     http://returnofdragons.wordpress.com

sedge808    http://sedge808.com

Army of Angels https://armyofangelspart2.com

Positively Alyssia     http://fightmsdaily.wordpress.com

Life with an illness     http://lifewithanillness.com

Chronic Pain with a Higher Perspective       http://validatingchronicpain.com

Adi’s Wings     http://adiswings.com

A Patients Voice                http://apatientsvoice.wordpress.com

Alexandra Hampton      http://journeyintoa.wordpress.com

Looking for the Light Blog  https://lookingforthelight.blog

Marcus     http://survivorroad.wordpress.com

Owning It Log   http:owningitlog.wordpress.com

Don’t Lose Hope  http://sexaddictionpartners.wordpress.com

We invite you to join us on the journey ahead. 

Your voice is important, your comments are read and we listen without judgment. Please let us know what you like and what you don’t, the good bad, and ugly. Are there other topics you would like to see addressed? We’re listening.

Melinda

Here are some suggested times on when to use our cream, so that you get the best relief —

Hi Melinda, I’m the founder of Aromalief and I wanted to say thank you for your purchase from us yesterday. We know it’s not easy trying product after product, and we honestly believe that Aromalief can help you. Here are some suggested times on when to use our cream, so that you get the best relief. […]

Here are some suggested times on when to use our cream, so that you get the best relief —

I’ve updated My Photo —

The photo I’ve been using was old, back when I was younger and believe much prettier, but reality can burn sometimes. Fifteen years, anti-psychotic medications and chronic illness has changed my looks. I have always been comfortable with how I looked. That is until three years ago when I gained over 40 pounds from taking […]

I’ve updated My Photo —

Kid Cudi: I turn my pain into art

By Celebretainment Jul 13, 2020

Kid Cudi: I turn my pain into art

Kid Cudi turns his “pain” and depression into music.

The ‘Adventures of Moon Man and Slim Shady’ rapper opened up about his mental health battles during a speech for PBS’s Washington D.C. station WETA and the National Alliance on Mental Illness Home’s virtual event at the weekend.

The Day ‘N’ Nite’ hitmaker – who checked himself into rehab in 2016 for depression and suicidal urges – admitted depression has “ruled” his life “for as long as he can remember”.

However, the 36-year-old star explained how he came to realise that he could use his struggles and channel the emotions into his art.

He said: “When we’re young, we face a lot of pressure to do things that harm us.

We pretend to be happy when there’s a raging violent storm inside of our heart.

“Once it was difficult for me to find the words. Anxiety and depression ruled my life for as long as I could remember. I was scared, I was sad, I felt like a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions.

“It took me a while to get to this place of commitment, to say I’m gonna get through this. To know that we can take our pain and turn it into something.

I turn my pain into music. And my music is how I am different. And my difference is my power.”

Cudi had previously admitted he was “ashamed” to speak about his mental health problems.

He explained: “I was really good at keeping my troubles hidden … even from my friends.

“I really was good with that. And it’s scary because you hear people say, ‘I had no clue.'”

He’d also previously touched on how expressing himself creatively has helped him to cope his depression.

Speaking earlier in 2018, the rapper – who has collaborated with the likes of Eminem, Kanye West and Jay-Z – shared: “I’m just creating a lot, with more love in my heart for what I’m doing and for myself.

“Living a healthy life, keeping my family around and staying on a mission, which is making music that means something.

“I’m focusing on my art again and throwing myself back into it and wanting to write something with more of a positive outlook on things, because I’ve written the dark so well for so long.

“I wanted to bring the opposite of that, you know? I’m at a place where I was able to do that.”

Don’t Let Survivor’s Guilt Hold You Back From Growth and Healing

By Jonice Webb PhD 
Last updated: 12 Jul 2020

What is survivor’s guilt? Google dictionary describes it this way:

A condition of persistent mental and emotional stress experienced by someone who has survived an incident in which others died. For example, “He escaped with his life but suffered from survivor’s guilt.”

This is the definition most people think of as “survivor’s guilt.” But mental health professionals and therapists know that this concept applies far more widely than this description would suggest. Because we see survivor’s guilt in our offices every single day, but it’s a slightly different type.

Therapists’ definition of survivor’s guilt: The guilt people often experience as they make healthy choices and take steps to heal themselves emotionally, as each step takes them farther away from the dysfunctional people in their lives.

For many hard-working, well-meaning folks, there is no way around it: in order to heal yourself, you must leave someone behind. 

Healing from abuse, trauma, or childhood emotional neglect (CEN) is  accomplished by taking a series of small steps. As you make healthy changes in yourself and your life, each of these small steps take you somewhere. You are literally moving forward.

Subtle shifts in your perspective on what happened to you, the sharing of your experience with another person, or the validation of your feelings; as you take these steps, bit by bit, you change.

As you change yourself, you are, in an important way, saving yourself. You may be pulling yourself out of a deep hole that you have shared with some important family or long-time friends. You may be taking steps out of an addiction or a depression or a dysfunctional social system. 

Whichever it is, you will probably not be able to save everyone (more on that later in this blog). At some point, you may face a fateful choice. Do I save myself? Is it wrong to do so? What about the people I have shared dysfunction with all these years? 

This is the petri dish in which your survivor’s guilt is born.

A Comment Shared By a Reader of My Blog, Unedited

From: Not All Childhood Emotional Neglect is the Same: 5 Different Varieties” 

There are no words for feelings in my family and I have always been astonished when I read what you say about the role of parents in educating children as to emotions–that they’re valid, they have names, they’re normal and they can be appropriately managed without making kids feel bad about themselves. 

To this day, bringing up anything emotional–and after all the self-work I’ve done, I’ve gotten bolder and more forthcoming about my feelings–is like shouting at a wall. “There’s no there there.” 

My parents have zero words for emotions. No response capability. This stuff does not exist. And at last I am seeing how it has made me feel: nowadays, pretty darn frustrated! (In childhood, just plain awful.) Learning about CEN and working on it is like finally emerging from the edge of the dark woods and seeing the sun at last, and realizing my entire family is deep in the woods, still. Do I step out, without them? that’s the choice I feel, and it’s painful either way.”

***************

This reader describes what many people feel. And it illustrates, in some very important ways, what an unfair situation survivor’s guilt is. When you have the courage to face your pain and the fortitude to take steps to save yourself, you truly have nothing to feel guilty about. 

Is it hard to leave people suffering as you gain perspective, make better choices, and feel stronger? Yes. Should you try to pull your people forward with you? You can try. Will it work? In some cases, it may. But here’s the key question.

Is it your responsibility to pull your people forward with you? Unless they are your dependent children, the answer is NO. It is not.

Why It’s Not Your Responsibility to Save Friends or Family

This will be a very short section because the answer is very simple. It is a straightforward truth that can nevertheless take a lifetime to learn. It is this:

You cannot save another person. You can give them a boost, but ultimately, they must save themselves.

In reality, the best way to bring another person along is to give them the information they may need to have in order to take the steps themselves. Then, save yourself. In doing so, you provide them a role model, and an example of what courage, strength, and healing look like. You show them what they can do if they so choose. You make yourself available for support if they decide to follow.

There. Your job is done. Keep taking steps. Keep making yourself happier, healthier, and stronger. Fight back that survivor’s guilt.

And thrive.

Comments From Brave People Who Saved Themselves, Unedited

Both From: 3 Different Things That Cause Anxiety and Their 3 Different Solutions

Comment #1

I am having to (and had to) let several relationships go including family (not so easy) and friends (not so easy when you still have other friends (who are worth keeping) in common. Like Shakespeare said, “to thine own self be true.” I would rather not have family or friends if they are toxic and not good for me. What is wonderful is being able to tell the difference and developing the feeling of indifference over past relationships (or even ongoing) that are not worthy of me. At any rate, all worth it.

Comment #2

As I became more determined to heal from childhood emotional neglect, I learned that telling the truth was essential. To my surprise and grief, telling the truth has cost me virtually all my friendships. It finally struck me that all of my friendships had grown out of my dysfunction. As I gained a clearer picture of myself, CEN, and dysfunctional coping strategies, I realized all of my “friends” were severely disturbed individuals (“misery loves company”). I was the only one facing the challenge of finding healthy ways of relating. Sick people run from healthy behaviors. When we turn and face the truth, and begin to choose different behaviors, our relationships begin to look very different too. I see this as evolution but it’s hard to let go of old ways and old relationships that keep you from functioning. I now have several solid friendships that feel very, very different from the old ones. I’m trying to get used to it!

To find many more resources about Childhood Emotional Neglect, see the author’s Bio below this article.34745

Jonice Webb PhD

Jonice Webb, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who is recognized worldwide for her groundbreaking work in defining, describing, and calling attention to Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). She writes, speaks, and trains therapists on the topic, and is the bestselling author of two books, Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect and Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships. She also created and runs the Fuel Up For Life Online CEN Recovery Program. Since CEN can be difficult to see and remember, Dr. Webb created the CEN Questionnaire and other free resources to help you figure out if you have it. Take the CEN Questionnaire and learn much more about CEN, how it happens, and how to heal it at her website EmotionalNeglect.com.

My Mental Health First Aid Kit — Guest Post Purple Butterflies and Winter Dragonflies

We have First Aid Kits for Physical Health and Injury, which contain things like Antiseptic Wipes, Plasters, Bandages, Slings and Surgical Tape. So why can’t we have a Mental Health First Aid Kit. One we can turn too when we are struggling with our Mental Health or our Anxiety is paticularily high and causing us […]

My Mental Health First Aid Kit — Purple Butterflies and Winter Dragonflies

The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist — Art by Rob Goldstein

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a childhood-onset trauma symptom induced by an overwhelming confrontation with human evil before the brain can create a functional mind. When my psychiatrist diagnosed DID in 2009, I was already too symptomatic to work. I had no interest in social media, but I compulsively staged virtual photoshoots in Second Life and […]

The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist — Art by Rob Goldstein

Men Too Author — Noted Expert on Male Survivors —To Take Center Stage at June 24th Webinar 

Male Survivors

Dr. Kelli Palfy — a noted psychologist who has conducted extensive research on male survivors of sexual abuse — will be the featured panelist at the next MaleSurvivor.org Webinar of Recovery. It’s slated for Wednesday, June 24, 2020 from 7pm to 8pm.The event is free to MaleSurvivor members and guests, and it promises to be compelling, informative and healing. Register now (with a valid email address) at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/7715924026213/WN_zqE8Z5xnRqKqXO5lye9PHw  Palfy’s new book — just published — is gaining positive reviews nationwide. Its full title is: Men Too: Unspoken Truths About Male Sexual Abuse. Two MaleSurvivor board members — Lee Friedman and Nathan LaChine — will help lead the discussion. Questions from those in attendance will be welcomed and addressed.The book focuses on the personal — and heart-wrenching — stories of 13 male survivors of sexual abuse.

Five Small Ways To Look After Your Mental Health Every Day

Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

If you’re looking for ways to look after your mental health but you don’t know where to begin then don’t worry, you’re definitely in the right place. Although it can be overwhelming, you need to be sure you’re doing all that you can to look after yourself, including your mental health. Luckily, there are lots of ways in which you can do exactly that. From practising self-care to getting fresh air, there are lots of small changes you can make to your day-to-day life. With that in mind, here are five small ways to look after your mental health every day:

Make Sure You’re Drinking Plenty Of Water And Eating What Your Body Wants

Although you may not feel as though they’re intertwined, your mental health can often be improved by focussing on what your body needs. Whether that means ensuring you’re drinking enough water or listening to what your body wants to eat, you need to be sure you’re focussing on your physical health too. While it may not be your top priority each and every day, remembering to drink water and eat nutritious meals is important. For more information when it comes to the link between mental and physical health, you can visit this site here. 

Practise Self-Care As Often As You Can

Another great way to help improve your mental health is to focus on practising self-care as often as you can. Whether you’re taking a long hot bath or you’re spending the evening watching your favourite TV, you may be surprised at how much comfort it can provide. As self-care is different for everyone, you may want to look at some self-care ideas here. 

Consider Writing In A Journal 

Although this doesn’t work for everyone, writing in a journal is a great way to get all of your thoughts down in one place. Whether you’re planning out your day or you’re writing down the events that have happened that day, writing things down is known to help many people when it comes to mental health. If you’re looking for inspiration when it comes to finding a mindfulness journal, you can visit this site here. 

Do Things That Make You Happy

Another great way to focus on your mental health each and every day is to do things that make you happy. Whether that means seeing the people you love or cooking your favourite meal, the things that you love are guaranteed to make you smile. For a guide to finding things that make you happy, you can visit this site here. 


Ensure You’re Getting Fresh Air

Finally, you may want to think about getting some fresh air. Although it doesn’t work for everyone, getting outside and going for a walk can help give you a moment of happiness. 

With lots of helpful ways to look after your mental health, you can be sure you’re doing all that you can to put yourself first. What else could you do? Did we miss anything? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. 

Small Shifts for Creating Self-Talk That Actually Supports Your Dreams

Psych Central

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS 
Last updated: 15 May 2020

When you’re trying to pursue a project or a challenging goal, does the little voice inside your head tell you all the reasons why you’re unqualified, incapable, and inadequate?

Maybe that voice names a list of people who’d be much better at this than you. Maybe it also mentions how anxious you are, and that you better wait until you’re confident and doubt free. Maybe it also recounts your biggest mistakes and suggests you just let go of your dream.

And, because our self-talk can be incredibly persuasive, you do relinquish your dream. You don’t pursue the project or the challenging goal. Or you sabotage yourself (by missing the application deadline, not sending an important email, not preparing for a big presentation, perfecting your resume for months before actually applying to anything).

“What we tell ourselves becomes our reality,” said Kate Crocco, a therapist, mindset coach, and author of the book Thinking Like a Boss: Uncover and Overcome the Lies Holding You Back from Success. “If we are constantly belittling ourselves, telling ourselves we will never measure up, or find peace in our lives, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” she said.

However, this also means that supportive self-talk can shape our actions for the better: According to Crocco, when we “continually breathe in words of love, compassion, and grace, we will reap just this.”

And there are small ways we can shift our self-talk to empower ourselves and go after what we truly want. Crocco shared these four suggestions:

  • Become aware of your inner dialogue. Many of us don’t even realize the commentary running through our minds, which means we don’t even realize how that self-talk shapes our behavior. Plus, unless our self-talk is particularly cruel–“I’m going to fail,” “I’ll never find happiness”–we assume we’re OK, Crocco said. However, even subtle words can “slowly [take] our independence away from us.” She suggested watching out for these words: “have to, need to, or should,” and carefully exploring why you’re doing these things. For instance, “Is it because you don’t feel confident enough to say no or you’re afraid of disappointing someone?” If either scenario is true, work on your boundary setting. Remember that these are skills you can practice (versus some innate inadequacy you can’t change). You can learn to say no—and use that time for your dream. 
  • Add an “and” to your self-talk. Acknowledge your self-doubt, fear, or worry. Send it some compassion. And take action anyway. Crocco shared these examples: “I’m not confident AND I am still going to try”; “I’m not ready AND taking imperfect action will help me feel more ready”; “Today I don’t feel so brave AND I’m going to do it anyway.”
  • Think of yourself as a small child. “Would you say the things you tell yourself to an innocent child?” Crocco said. Any time negative self-talk arises, picture yourself as a young child, or picture your young child. “Begin having that same respect for yourself today,” she said.
  • Envision your life without the negative self-talk. Crocco suggested asking yourself these questions: “What would your day consist of? Who would you be spending the most time with? What would you be starting? How would your life look different?” Jot down your responses, she said, and reread them any time your self-doubt starts screaming. 

Years of negative, sabotaging self-talk can be tough to change. But experimenting with a few small tactics can get you started. Simply realizing that your self-talk isn’t gospel is powerful. Because it opens the door to also realizing: Maybe I can pursue this opportunity. Maybe I can act on this dream. And then you do.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash1869

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com. She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you’re struggling with, you’re never, ever alone.

Kendall Jenner Opens Up About Quarantine Anxiety, Recalls Not Being Able to Breathe During Attack

By TooFab Staff 5/15/2020 9:33 AM PT

How Celebrities Are Passing the Time In Self-IsolationVIEW PHOTOS

Instagram

“What I hope to accomplish is for people to not feel as alone.”

Kendall Jenner is hoping to reduce the stigma around mental health by sharing her own experience with anxiety and encouraging others to do the same.

The model appeared on “Good Morning America” on Friday to announce her partnership with Kenneth Cole and The Mental Health Coalition, in an attempt to “rebrand” what it means to have a mental health condition. For the cause, Jenner released a video speaking about her own issues as part of the #HowAreYouReallyChallenge, before nominating Kim KardashianJustin BieberHailey Baldwin and Jen Atkin to follow suit.Good Morning America@GMA

“Mental health is a pandemic in its own right.” @kennethcolereal launches the #MentalHealthCoalition with help from @KendallJenner. The initiative brings together mental health resources and service providers in one place. https://gma.abc/3bqVOSC 

“When he came to me it was so perfect and I struggle with my own mental health issues sometimes myself,” Jenner explained of why she joined the movement. “I was excited, I was so ready to get involved.”

Speaking of her own struggles in the past, Jenner said she was “really, really young” when she first started experiencing panic attacks, but didn’t realize what they were at the time.

“I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe and running to my mom and being like, ‘Mom I feel like I can’t breathe, something must be wrong,'” she recalled. “She of course took me to a bunch of doctors to make sure I was okay physically and I was. No one ever told me that I had anxiety.”

“Maybe 3-4 years ago, it came back completely full on and I would have crazy panic attacks,” said Jenner, who explained that’s when she “finally got the information I needed about it.”

Her goal is to let other people know they’re not alone, as more start to open up about their personal struggles and end the stigma.Kim Kardashian Hit with Backlash After Calling a ‘Thin’ Kris Jenner ‘Major Goals’VIEW STORY

Following her appearance on GMA, Jenner elaborated further on the partnership on Instagram.

“I have been doing a lot of thinking during quarantine, mostly about mental health and how important it is … especially in this times with the devastation of coronavirus,” she said in a video. “I just wanted to instill some hope in people and know that everyone’s not alone in this isolation.”

“For me, I have good days and I have some really anxious days, so I’m kind of off and on,” she added. “I want you to join me in this challenge, I want you to tell me how you really feel and know that you’re not alone and know that we’re gonna get through this together.”

LGBTQ college students more likely to develop eating disorders, University research says

1/28/2020, 10:48PM

University of Minnesota research looked into disparities between heterosexual, cisgender and LGBTQ college students.

By HANA IKRAMUDDIN

A new University of Minnesota study found that LGBTQ college students are more likely to develop eating disorders than their heterosexual and cisgender peers.

The study, which used data from the College Student Health Survey, aimed at finding the existing disparities between the rates of eating disorders in LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ students. The researchers also measured the disorder’s impact on academic achievement and success.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness, said Emily Pisetsky, the lead researcher and an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. This makes eating disorders an important topic to delve into, especially as it relates to minority groups, she said. 

“We know that early intervention is associated with better outcomes,” Pisetsky said. “Being able to identify folks who are high risk will allow us to have more targeted intervention and prevention efforts.”

According to the study, cisgender women, transgender and gender-nonconforming students reported higher rates of eating disorder diagnoses than cisgender men.  

In comparison to their heterosexual peers, lesbian, gay and bisexual students also had a higher likelihood of having these disorders. Within these identities, bisexual students and students who were “unsure” of their sexual identity had the highest rates.

“[Bisexuality] is not a group that you hear as much about, and we think that may be part of the stigma,” Pisetsky said. “It’s something that can often be sort of minimized and not feel … quite like they fit in with the queer community or quite like they fit in with the straight community.”  

In addition, bisexual students were more at risk of having eating disorders impact their academic performance and achievement.

“The cognitive burden of navigating your identity development [takes] up a lot of mental space, which may take up more space than the off-the-wall college student, where you have a lot going on already,” said Melissa Simone, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

The fact that a sexual identity can put some at a higher risk of eating disorders and can impact academic success is something that needs to be looked into further, said Autumn Askew, who works at the Minnesota Center for Eating Disorder Research and contributed to the study.

“We are actively educating all of our clinicians here to recognize that eating disorders come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, colors, everything,” said Jennifer Krzmarzick, who is on the eating disorder team at Boynton Health.  

For those worried about a friend’s mental health or eating patterns, Krzmarzick recommended a visit to Boynton or The National Eating Disorder Association website.


Quote

I AM A TOTEM OF MY OWN BRANDING — Guest Blogger The Feathered Sleep

I’ve been told I’m a chronic pain in the ass after all, it’s easy to destroy a child in an adult’s body with past-tense words and now in the time I’m meant to be at my strongest chronic has visited me and stayed a long while on a good day I think; This will not […]

via I AM A TOTEM OF MY OWN BRANDING — TheFeatheredSleep

Secrets – A Foreword

Originally posted on Journey Into A on March 24, 2018.

Time for another series.

With this one, I want to be clear that these are actual secrets. They’re things from my childhood that I witnessed that I never told anyone about. Not my dad, not my therapist, no one. If I had told them about it, it was years and years later when nothing could come out of it.

I was extremely protective of my mother and knew if I told anyone these things, they’d take me away from her. I was terrified of that. I thought it was the right thing to do. If I had spoken up sooner, maybe I would’ve been able to save myself from the things that pop into my mind now before I go to sleep (that’s mostly because I’ve been releasing things that used to keep me from falling asleep – look up my things that broke me series), but at the same time, I wouldn’t have known I was saving myself from anything at all and instead I would’ve most likely been resentful that I was taken away from my mother.

If I’d spoken up sooner, who knows who I would be. I seriously doubt I’d be the strong person I became through those experiences. I try not to wonder about those things. The point is, these experiences shaped a lot of my life and the decisions I made.

Read the last 79 words here.

Felix Felicis

Originally posted on Journey Into A on March 20, 2018.

I believe an update is warranted since I’ve made all these life changes…

It honestly feels like I have taken felix felicis, aka liquid luck (for all you non-Potterheads out there). It feels like every single move and decision and thought I make is the right one preparing me for the future I so wish to have. It’s incredible.

I haven’t felt this type of motivation in years. Solely because I had no idea what the hell I was doing or what the hell I wanted. Now, though, each day is it’s own step toward a greater goal. I am first and foremost bettering myself as a human. I’m changing the way I think and how things make me feel. I’m changing how I react to things and the way I talk about things.

Read the last 109 words here.

Instagram

Hey there everyone!

Another change has happened within the last few weeks… I post a positive message (image) to my Instagram account every day! It’s typically a message that I will take with me through my day and I hope that seeing it helps others during their day. Check it out here!

img_9773

Meditate It Away

Originally posted on Journey Into A on March 13, 2018.

I was having a really rough day just over a month ago and I asked my best friend for some help. She had a bunch of positive affirmations and I needed some. She also told me about a meditation app. That meditation app has been my daily helper ever since I downloaded it!

The app is called Simple Habit. There are 5/10/15 minute meditations available with a ton of topics! I do it everyday before I leave the house. It clears out all my anxiety and any depression I may be feeling. It’s got options for if you’re having a rough day or starting something new or just going to start your day, etc.

Within the first few days, I noticed a change within my self and mind. From the teachings I’d meditated along with, I could just let my thoughts be instead of letting them get inside me and fester. I felt stronger just breathing and being at peace. I had much more appreciation for myself and my life.

Read the last 143 words here.

Changes

Originally posted on Journey Into A on March 12, 2018.

I had a day all to myself recently where I could just relax and do absolutely nothing. I thought it would be a great day, but somehow I still ended up feeling anger or sadness. Before I went to sleep, I really thought about this and asked myself “what was it that got into your day to make you feel so upset? You were at home all day! There shouldn’t have been anything to upset you.” I realized that the only times I felt anger or sadness were from when I had opened my Facebook app.

So I deleted it.

Now, I just deleted the app so I still have a Facebook, but I don’t have the easy access to it like I did before. I haven’t fully deleted it because of all the photos as well as the fact that that’s how I can reach my page (to promote my blog). I haven’t been on it in about 3 weeks and it has been so nice!

I have been trying to change my way of thinking for the better the past few months and everyday, I still kept getting dragged into the same old thought patterns. It always stemmed from going on that app and seeing so much hate and anger and sadness and complaining. It was too much. If I couldn’t control their narratives, then it was time to control my own.

I didn’t have to go on it. I didn’t have to read their posts. I didn’t have to be upset from, well, bullshit anymore. I could free myself from it. I have that ability.

Read the last 221 words here.

things that broke me – part 1

After some recent painful nights, I thought up the idea to create a series where I can release some of the things that continue to haunt me. I am trying to change myself, trying to be more positive, and change my way of thinking for the better. This is my way of cleansing myself and making way for beautiful change.

Let’s begin with one of the toughest ones.

I was in a relationship with someone for close to 4 years and he told me “I love you” out loud twice. There were times where I’d ask him to say it and he’d mumble it, but I rarely asked because it made me feel so pathetic even having to ask. The first time he said it on his own was when I tried to break up with him the first time (a month before actually ending it) and then the second time was right before I walked out the door for good.

His reasoning for not being able to say it was that his ex had “fucked with his mind for over a year”. At first, I understood that, but after we moved in together (after a year) and then more years stacked on to us being together, it felt more and more ridiculous and got more and more painful for me. I hate telling people about this whole thing because I still feel like an idiot. Who would put up with that?

I said it almost every day. Sometimes, I’d try to see how long I could go without saying it and I’d only last about 2 days. Why did I try not to say it? Because saying “I love you” to someone and NEVER getting an “I love you” back is so. fucking. painful. After a while, I felt embarrassed at myself each time I would say it.

Oh and we’re not talking about an agreed upon thing here. It’s not something that was ever okay with me and it was brought up many times. Some people have an understanding or whatever and that’s fine, but it’s not fine when it’s not agreed upon by both people.

Read the last 105 words here.

hi-atus

Hello everyone.

I apologize for going away, but I really needed time to myself. I’ve been going through a lot the last few months, mostly depression, and it’s been difficult to find motivation. When it came to writing here, all my thoughts were depressed and I didn’t want the path of my blog to steer towards only depressed posts.

Now, I’m in a transition where I don’t want to dwell on the past, but I also want to release some of the painful things that have happened in my life. Maybe that’ll help as a sort of cleanse. I’ll release them here in writing and maybe others with similar experiences will see they’re not alone and that one day, they can move on from them, as well.

Thank you for sticking with me!

Visit my blog here!

Ashwagandha

Originally posted on Journey Into A on November 11, 2017.

My dad always tells me “use your tools”. Without fail, every time I tell him I’m feeling depressed or anxious, he says “use your tools”. From there, I’ve looked at my methods of helping myself as tools in a toolbox.

I’ve got a bunch of these tools and I’m always looking for more because not everything will work every time and not the same mixture of things will work. My body seems to reject everything I use in the spring and summer and needs something else in the fall and winter and that’s not just talking about natural supplements, but toothpaste, shampoos, and more. The more tools I have to combat the ebbs and flows of depression and anxiety along with the differences half of the year makes on my body, the better.

A few months ago, I was asking about a mood boosting probiotic and another customer mentioned Ashwagandha to me. She went on and on about how it’s an ancient remedy that helps elevate mood and a number of other things. I didn’t get it right then and there because, well, I had to research it. I didn’t know or trust this person and it was the first time I’d heard about it.

Ashwagandha is an herb that can help with a multitude of things, but I take it for stress and depression. I bought it about a month and a half ago and have only used it a few times, but it has helped so it’s added into my toolbox. It feels like it resets me or helps me to reset myself, if that makes any sense. It’s as if the stress and depression are smoothed out over to the side and I have an easier time moving around it rather than it weighing me down and suffocating me. On top of that, it doesn’t make me feel drowsy, which is huge! It’s now my go-to when things are too heavy.

I’m grateful for that stranger putting in her two cents. Her words stayed in my mind and led me to try another supplement to help me. So now, I’m telling you all about it!

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and I do not claim to be. Everyone’s body is different and what works for me may not work for you. I am merely speaking about my own experiences with natural supplements. I suggest you do your research and/or talk to your doctor. The site I’ve linked (here and above) is just one of many I have visited, but that one seems to be where you could get the most information.

Why did I go natural? Read the backstory there.

State of mind: Where are we as a Nation? Episode One

Unfortunately the newsletter I received is a month behind, however this is a digital series and maybe missed episode may be available.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mental-health-where-are-we-uncharted-state-of-mind-episode-1/

Making wrong right

My entire life has revolved around pretending I’m ok and as I grow and years go on I’m left in between the feeling of saying I’m not ok to others but never do I feel like they ok with my response ..SO MY FEELINGS OF MAKING THINGS RIGHT FOR OTHERS TO BE OK IS ONGOING. .

AFTER A LONG WEEKEND ALONE BATTLING ALONE TRYING TO DISTRACT MY FAMILY ARRIVED HOME INCLUDING MY OLDEST BOY,HOW EVER TRYING IT WAS I SURVIVED. THEN I STARTED DISOCIATING BADLY IT STARTED AT WORK ,PEOPLE TALKING TO ME BUT I COULD ONLY HEAR PARTS MY EARS WERE JUST NOT WORKING, I FELL TO PIECES TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO MY THERAPIST WHO CLEARLY SAID IT WAS BAD DISOCIATION I WAS EXPERIENCING. ..THEN CAME FAMILY DEMANDS AND OUTINGS WITH MORE DESREGULATION FOR ME..AND HOPING FINALLY IT WOULD ABATE WORK TOOK MORE FROM ME CAUSING HURENDOUS STRESS,BY THIS STAGE I’M FEELING LIKE MY PLAN TO END MY LIFE IS WORTH IT ..FINALLY MONDAY MY KEY WORKER DIDN’T TURN UP CAUSING THE ULTIMATE ANGER AND TURMOIL THAT IV ENDED SEEING HER,DON’T GET ME WRONG SHE IS LOVELY BUT AFTER TRYING TO EXPLAIN HOW IT FEELS  (ABANDONED, AND LIKE I DON’T MATTER AND HOW MUCH I’M BATTLING NOW ..AND WITH ALL GOING ON THIS WASNT THE RIGHT TIMING FOR ME,HER RESPONSE WAS WELL I COULDN’T MAKE IT SOMETHING ELSE URGENT CAME UP  ..AND LATER WE SPOKE AND HER TONE TOLD ME SHE WAS PISSED OFF I’D EVEN SAY HOW I FELT. .BUT SHE WOULD RESEDULE FOR NXT WEEK IF I WANTED TO” MY RESPONSE HONESTLY I CAN’T DO THIS SO NO I’D RATHER NOT SEE YOU.

Weather or not it was the right decision I don’t know, determining that now is out of my league. .but I’m sick of pretending I’m ok and when people hate my answer trying to make it better for them …then don’t ask me. .Fuck off and leave me I don’t need them!!

Watch Out for Snakes

Art by Rob Goldstein

Art by Rob Goldstein Watch Out For Snakes

Art by Rob Goldstein Comment 12-21-2015

From July to December of last year a narcissist was comment bombing me.

That was when I completed the abstract, Watch Out For Snakes.

I got as many as twelve long diatribes a week and made
screenshots before deleting them unread.

I went through my screenshots tonight and re-read that comment.

It’s pure word salad.

When I first met the narcissist I was drawn to what I wanted to
think was a child like imagination.

On some level I must have known that what I’d met was another
self-centered two-year old that as an adult turns vicious.

I laugh as I read the comment now and yet I have mixed feelings.

The primary symptom of narcissism is the delusional idea that
everyone else must agree that he is obviously superior.

Eventually everyone finds something about the narcissist
to question.

It’s when you…

View original post 146 more words

wh atma y me an s2 m3

Being mentally ill with depression means that people may not always get me. I’ve come to accept that.

I’ve also come to accept that it’s okay.

A lot of the times I don’t even get myself.

A.

Lot.

I guess “understand” would be a more accurate word.

It’s like trying to explain to somebody what May means to me, except it comes out sounding like this post’s title looks.

They may never understand what it feels like. And I’m happy that they never will. I would wish this on no one.

There’s so many things I’ve never understood about myself for years, and have only begun to within the past 5-10 years of my life.

A list of un-understandables in my life has been:

I don’t understand why I feel sluggish all the time. 

I don’t understand why laughing feels so forced.

I don’t understand why I want to be alone all the time.

I don’t understand why I don’t want to do things.

I don’t understand why I am always so tired.

I don’t understand why I see grey when it’s brightly sunny outside.

I don’t understand why at 42, I can still sleep until 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon.

I don’t understand why I set my alarm for 5:00 am and hit it until 6:00. 

I don’t understand why I think of suicide

I don’t understand why I pray to God to take me home in my sleep.

Over the years I have come to understand why though.

Depression.

A severe, deep-seated depression.

My Specter.

Picture 5

[SOURCE: https://indisposedandundiagnosed.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/this-is-what-chronic-illness-looks-like/comment-page-1/#comment-1817]

NOTE: This image is the original idea of Cass and her site at the above link. Check it out and give it a Like!


So for me, the new significance of May is about raising awareness of mental health. And in my case, severe depression and suicide. It’s about taking a chance, stepping out on a scary ledge, and talking about my mental condition to others.

Lessons Learned: Some Things I’ve Learned from My Depression

I would hope that you would take these things and hold them in your heart. Don’t forget them. Remind yourself of them. And learn from your mental condition.

A list of understandables in my life is:

  1. I have a condition, not an illness. I am not sub-human. I am not sick. I am an extraordinarily strong person because I survive through things other people can’t imagine having to deal with. I live my life a little differently than others because I live with affliction.
  2. I am perfectly imperfect, and that’s perfectly okay. I’ve learned to forgive myself and accept myself. I have a hard time believing the phrase, “I don’t let my mental condition define who I am.” I know what people mean, but I think in the end, depression has set some life parameters that I have to (or choose to) live by. If I don’t abide by those…rules, I start to hear Specter’s rusty cage hinges creak and I feel him scratching on the walls of my soul.
  3. What I feel is valid. I am not crazy. I may be a little broken. You may be a little bruised. But don’t you dare let anyone tell you you’re crazy. Don’t you dare let them make you feel that way. You. Are. Not. Crazy. Real talk.
  4. Only I will take care of myself. I must take my meds. Daily. I must eat healthy. I must exercise. Meh. I’m working on the last two. Have
  5. Strive to be empathetic and kind. You know why. You have struggles other people don’t know about. So do others. I remember a time my Lexapro had run out and I couldn’t afford a refill. I had been off it for about four days and I could feel the dizziness set in from withdrawals. Then the bottom fell out. Specter’s claws were dug so deep into my shoulders I could feel them carving at the bones. Someone put their hand on my shoulder and sat with me. I was in tears. I was choking my words out in a dark chair in a dim corner. He made a call to get me my medicine. That’s why.
  6. Be a servant when you can. Help others when they’re down. People have helped me when I’ve not deserved it. Free of charge. Pay it forward.
  7. Exude grace. Strive to give others the benefit of the doubt.
  8. Have grace on yourself. Learn to accept grace yourself. Be gentle on yourself. We beat ourselves up so much each day. Allow yourself forgiveness. See #2.
  9. People do understand – surround yourself with those people. There may not be too many. But you know what? That’s just about the right number anyways. Find your devout warrior supporters and cling to them. Share yourself with them. Open yourself up to them. It is empowering. It is healing.
  10. My God loves me. Me and God. Ahh, yes. For such a lifetime I’ve bashed myself for not measuring up. Engorging bucket fulls of self criticism, guilt, and shame for never feeling like I measured up. Never earning my dad’s approval, or my Father’s. All. Those. Years. And I got it wrong. His scars are enough to cover my soul. His Grace is the way to my healing. His forgiveness is the magnetic north to my moral compass. SOso many times I fail. Flat on my face. He’s always there to pick me up and hug me with a gentle, warm smile.

Now…Let’s take back our lives and make this our new fight song! This one’s for you Niki.

“Cry Thunder”

Time after time as we march side by side
Through the valleys of evil and the torturing souls,
Night after night, for the glory we fight,
In the kingdom of madness and the tales from the old

Death by our hands, for the higher command,
As the darkness surrounds us hear the cries as they fall
Fire burning steel and the tyrants will kneel
Hearts burning stronger with the power of the sword

Set sail for the glory,
Pray for the master of war (pray for the master of war)
Sunlight will fall by the wastelands,
Endless rise for the heroes before

Cry thunder!
Sword in his hand,
Titans of justice, fearless we stand
Cry thunder!
Strong in command
Blessed by the union, freedom of man

Reckoning day, for the demons we slay,
With the force of a dragon we will conquer them all!
Chaos still reigns devastation and flames
For the ultimate glory when the legacy calls

March on
Through the hellfire
Blazing for the darkness beyond (blazing for the darkness beyond)
Nightmare return of the thousands
Giving rise to the heroes once more

Cry thunder!
Sword in his hand,
Titans of justice, fearless we stand
Cry thunder!
Strong in command
Blessed by the union, freedom of man

[Solos]

Unholy darkness,
In the eyes of broken dreams,
Outside of the wasted and torn,
A land of tears still remains
Soldiers of destiny calling,
And the fallen will rise up again,
Conquer the forces of evil and fight to the end

Cry thunder!
Sword in his hand,
Titans of justice, fearless we stand
Cry thunder!
Strong in command,
Saviour of nations, freedom of man

Cry thunder!
Sword in his hand,
Warriors defending,
One final stand
Cry thunder!
Strong in command,
Blessed by the union, freedom of man

Blessed by the union of man
Cry thunder!
Yeah yeah

Five Life Principles I’ve Revisited Thanks To Rockband

rock band_004

Hi folks. I’m Chris.

And for about 12 years, playing drums has been a significant part of my life.

I played throughout middle and high school and went on to play drums in the Marine Band for several years. My parents paid so that I could attend private lessons (thank you momma and dad) while in high school.

In lieu of living in apartment, I’ve had to come to settle with playing drums in a video game to whet my percussive appetite.

When I sat down to play “Critical Acclaim” by Avenged Sevenfold the other day, I just sucked. Trying to look for a teachable moment, I came up with these five things that I can relate to my life on a daily basis.

1.   Recalibrate

Sometimes my drums are “off” when I play.

Really. They are.

They don’t play when I hit them, or more accurately, they have a lag.

Sometimes my SMART TV or some quirky electronic bug seems to decide on an incorrect default for my drums. This can result in a delay between when I hit the pad and when the sound is heard.

This results in “missed” notes.

This results in my score going down.

Which results in me failing out of a song.

Through a process of troubleshooting, I usually find that I need to recalibrate my drums to my TV. This little factor has a HUGE impact on how well I perform for the stadium of overzealous fans crammed into my beach bungalow’s living room.

In life, I sometimes get off track. My actions don’t align with my beliefs. Sometimes my words can come out all jacked up, potentially ruining someone’s day. My temper flares. My mood swings. My irritability soars. I get overstimulated and need to take a step back.

It’s at times like this that I need to take time to get my recalibration on, baby.

I need to realign my thoughts, actions, and words with my core beliefs.

I need to reorient my moral compass and get my rudder straight.

Sometimes we all get off track.

Better get yo’self back on track.

Better get yo’self some recalibration.

2.   Practice

I wish I could play all the songs on Expert and get five stars. The fans deserve it.

Unfortunately, I have a long ways to go.

Fortunately, Rockband has a practice mode.

After I humbled myself the other day to Critical Acclaim, I switched over to Practice Mode and played the song a few times at different speeds. I had to break sections down that were killing me. I had to divide and conquer.

Now I can play the song on Expert.

After playing it about 20 times in the past two days, I finally achieved five stars on “Hard”.

rock band_005

Just to be sure it wasn’t a fluke, I played it again to be positive I could get five stars on the same difficulty level.

Practice paid off.

When I took private lessons, I didn’t like to practice. In fact, a lot of the time I would practice the 30 minutes prior to my lesson, or even in the car on the way to my lesson!

Outside of Rockband, I can at times, suck at communicating with my girlfriend. – I fail “our song”. If you ask her, she knows the hours where I have a metabolic dip that happens to be exacerbated by my sleep apea – times where I’m about as worthless at communicating as a hibernating grizzly.

Being an introvert also puts me at a level where I feel socially inept when it comes to talking to others.

I’m also a “stonewaller” – I reach a point in our arguments where I just withdraw and don’t respond or even talk at all. My exasperation and patience has jumped out the window.

I’ve been holding myself accountable to make these practice areas in our relationship. Meaning, when I’m in a good mood, I’ll try to initiate conversations more. Or when I’m irritable, trying to push myself to say, “listen babe, I want to talk about this, but am just too tired. Can we hit this again in a couple hours or at another time?”

A lot of the time I’m not able to do it and so I have to start all over from the beginning of our song.

We all have things in our life that we have to practice at whether we are already good at what we do, or pushing to be better at something.

There’s things at which we all fail.

Better get yo’self better atcho song.

Better get yo’self some practice time.

3.   Overdoing It

When you’re playing Rockband, you have to play what is on screen, NOT what you think the song sounds like.

You need to play what you see, not what you think.

You may have the drum chart to Your Betrayal, or Diary of Jane memorized, but that ain’t what’s on screen if you’re playing on Easy.

A lot of times I’ll throw in a bass drum kick with a cymbal smash because that’s how I learned to play drums and that’s the way the song sounds. But that’s not was the screen is showing.

Sometimes in my relationships, I assume things. I think about something too hard. I incorrectly interpret the tone of a text or read into something that was never intended to mean how I took it.

I need to step back and take things slower. I need to relax a little and take things a little more lightly. I need to be slower in my responses and give them time to cook so I don’t hasten out a response of anger and resentment.

We all have an area in which we overdo it.

 Better get yo’self to chill out.

Better get yo’self to slow down and simplify.

4.   Baby Steps

Compared to a teenager, it took me an insane amount of time to get to the level in that song that I did. I had to start on Medium then work myself up to Hard. Then I had to work myself up from three starts to five stars.

I didn’t just sit down and play and BAM! I’m at my goal. I had to take things level by level. I had to use baby steps.

We all want things too quickly don’t we?

We all have a sense of video game satisfaction and entitlement where we may want to get to the end sooner rather than later. Where we try to find an easy way around. Where we want to punch in a cheat code instead of unlocking the puzzles in the game.

We all want to skip the trials and journeys.

 Better give yo’self some time to git to that goal.

Better get yo’self to take it one step at a time.

5.   Time Signature

Probably THE MOST challenging thing for me when playing Rockband is that there is no time signature.

Time signatures to the musician are what signs and lines on the road are for the driver. They tell you how much each thing is worth on the sheet of music. Without it, it’s…well, it’s Rockband.

Rockband has a minimal amount of guidance and sometimes I have to guess at where the notes are to be played. I understand why this is, it just makes things harder for the musician in me.

My life is like that. I have several guides that I need in my life to keep me between the lines on the road of life –

♦  The Bible – this is kind of my oil in the engine and user guide. When I do devotions in the morning and take time to read my Bible, Jesus Calling, and In Touch, I’m filled with peace and hope for the day. Life still happens, but when I have a driver cut in front of me, or given a situation in which I have the opportunity to exercise patience and kindness rather than the opposite, I’m able to come back to what I’ve read earlier that day at my kitchen table. The Bible is my anchor point, magnetic north, and grounding point. It’s also the lines, the speed limit and other signs that keep me grounded and directed in life, helping me stay on the road while I travel.

♦  My friends and family – These are my sounding boards as well as how I receive feedback to my “performance”. If I have ideas that aren’t so great or am about to make a bad decision, these people help me see that. They may give me alternatives or sound advice. They may advise against what I am about to do or support me with reasons why they think I should make a certain decision. They let me know if I’ve earned a 1-star performance or a 5-star performance and what I need to do to move up to the top 5% on the leaderboard.

♦  My conscience/the Holy Spirit – Sometimes I want to respond to my ex-wife’s email and texts with anger and vengeance. Sometimes I get irritable with my girlfriend. I always have a choice on how I respond. When I respond negatively, I get a little pinging in my brain telling me that’s not how I should be doing things – that’s the Holy Spirit. You may call it your conscience but whatever it is, we each get that little morale alarm advising against what we’re about to do, or a little victory bell of confirmation letting us know that we did the right thing.

I screw it up a lot, but I can’t blame it on not having a “time signature”.

We all have a time signature that gives us structure to our lives.

 Better find out what drives yo’ life.

Better get yo’self familiar with yo’ time signature.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, friend. What are your thoughts? I’d love to talk with you in the Comments section.  

When the Narcissist is Invisible

Art by Rob Goldstein

Abstract Digital Painting                                        We

In this post I use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ because my subjective experience is that of multiple separate people.

The children of pathological narcissists must blind themselves to behaviors that healthy people consider unspeakable.

Food deprivation, the theft of money, a lack of boundaries, triangulated relationships in which the child must either see the other parent as an enemy or hate the other parent outright, contempt for the achievements of others, the competitive behavior of a child, and the threat of psychological annihilation.

For the narcissist the worst crime is independent thought.

The child has no needs of his own.

He must have no dreams, and no vision of life without the clinging demands of a parent or parent surrogate who is essentially a two-year old with no insight.

The psychological death-blow is that the child must never surpass the parent.

My Mother despised my intelligence and…

View original post 1,105 more words

The Narcissist on the Seventh Floor: Part Two

Art by Rob Goldstein

Plebe                                      Plebe

There is no one as compelling as a selfish woman who covertly wants to enslave and debase me.

Thanks to my Mother, contempt is love, greedy emotional neediness is love, destroying my hopes and dreams is love, manipulating to isolate me from all that is good and healthy is love.

I will always let a narcissist back into my life.

But something has changed because I have made therapy my priority.

This is one of the reasons I must be careful about over-extending myself.

Therapy is working, but it’s painful and I use distraction to avoid pain.

In my previous letter to the narcissist on the Seventh floor I changed gender pronouns to distance myself from my rage.

I have a hard time differentiating between my transference projections and what is real.

My therapist and I are working on my rage in treatment; I can see…

View original post 640 more words

My Suicide Attempt

TRIGGER WARNING: This post is a transparent account of my life with clinical depression and suicide. If this is a trigger for you, please do not read it at this time.

My History

Hi. My name is Chris and I’ve survived with severe depression for about 30 years.

Last year I hanged myself.

Image of storm at sea.

I was diagnosed years ago with clinical depression several years ago.

Not the kind that makes you feel sad after your girlfriend breaks up with you, or explains why you feel under the weather when the weather is under.

No, this is much blacker than that.

Those of you who live in my world know exactly what I’m talking about. Those that don’t, please be thankful that you may have a hard time understanding.

This is the kind of depression that silently wraps you in a paralytic blanket on the couch and condemns you to mindlessly become consumed in a Red Box movie marathon. The kind of depression that comes by and kicks you in the nuts and embeds itself on your shoulders, breaking you down to a kitchen floor fetal position, as you cry hysterically for no apparent reason.

The type that digs its claws into your back like a demon, dragging you down into that black abyss and leaving you hopeless with no hope for escape. The kind that sucks away any spirit you had and leaves behind a catatonic shell entombed inside an invisible sarcophagus…and lowers a grey filter over your life.

Breaking Benjamin is spot on when they sing,

 There is nothing left inside, but I am wide awake.

The depression that when you look outside on a sunny, bright, clear day, all you see is grey – a Connecticut winter, a London Fog, an arctic wasteland.

It’s odd.

It’s surreal.

And it’s frightening all rolled into one.

That’s my depression. I’ve come to call it the fog of war. That’s our depression.

Thankfully, today I am doing better…surviving through my depression.

So far.

Recovering if you will. Maybe recovered. But the condition is always there like a specter, crouched down in the distant corner of my soul, waiting for me to let my guard down.

Lurking just out of the light, in the shadows with its hollow eyes, bearing its fangs and waiting for the chance for me to skip my medicine so it can slash at me…waiting for me to be alone with no protection.

Painting of Saturn devouring his son.
Saturn Devouring His Son, Francesco Goya; SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Paintings

Through counseling, I later discovered my depression was hybrid with an anxiety disorder and adult ADHD. Here are some things I found out about myself the other day from a recent doctor visit:

♦  has anxiety disorder (rule out panic disorder)

♦  has depressive disorder (rule out bipolar disorder)

♦  has adult ADHD

♦  has mood disorder (rule out bipolar disorder)

I was given medicine to cover all the bases but never really felt “at peace”. I’ve been on every anti-depression medicine in the doctor’s locker. Years later (since I left teaching and am working towards divorce) the anxiety has faded into the background and become nonexistent. The ADHD on the other hand is still there but…HEY, SQUIRREL! I believe this positive rebirth is largely the result of the medicine that I’ve been taking.

My Suicide Attempt

On the other hand, the interim was my crucible. Sunday, September 14th of 2014 was my watershed. I remember the day perfectly. It was a warmer, sunny day in Norfolk, VA. Perfect for me to be outside, working on art for my business.

So I rounded up my tools, plugged in my ear buds, and cranked up my tunes. My upstairs neighbor was outside also, grilling dinner for his family on his cooker, which is just out of the left side of the picture below. I talked and laughed with him for a bit then went back to listening to Bullet for My Valentine, Breaking Benjamin, Five Finger Death Punch and the like.

I was perfectly happy despite my playlist. I made the peace sign below that day. I was in the zone. Life was perfect and I was filled with joy and accomplishment.

Image of driftwood peace sign
This is the piece of art I finished before I hanged myself.

Hours later as the day started winding down, I began to pack everything up and take it inside. I was tired and worn out but still on top of the world. I tinkered around with my projects inside, painting and drilling until a reasonable time when my neighbors would be going to bed. I try to be as considerate as I can with this.

About 8:30 I called my daughter to tell her good night and that I love her.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

No answer.

I called her on her second cell phone number.

Ring.

Ring.

Ring.

No answer.

This is when it started.

This is my trigger.

The beast’s lips peeled back over its incisors as it waited in the corner.

I called her mother’s phone.

Ring.

Ring.

RIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGG!

No answer. Resentment grew in me. The demon’s chipped, stiletto fingernails reached for me out of the darkness. Resentment quickly gave way to anger. Red. Anger.

The demon slashed.

If it stopped at resentment I would have been “alright”. Not the option a person who is born again should chose. But I went down the road of resentment nonetheless.

I plugged my phone’s playlist into my surround sound and I let the Five Finger Death Punch rip! After a short time, probably 20 minutes after that the anger turned to depression. FFDP’s “Coming Down” was playing and I put it on repeat and cranked it.

“It’s caving in around me, what I thought was solid ground,
I tried to look the other way, but I couldn’t turn around.
It’s ok for you to hate me, for all the things I’ve done,
I’ve made a few mistakes, but I’m not the only one.”

Tonight I didn’t go to the fridge to grab the wine like I usually did.

I went to the 80 proof rum that sat on top. I filled a cup up about 3/4 of the way and then topped the rest off with diet Coke.

I started to drink.

Heavily.

I was walking aimlessly back and forth from my apartment kitchen to my bedroom. Back and forth. Waiting for the elixir to kick in. It did. And the bottom dropped out. I started to cry. I cried vehemently…violently. I don’t know what it’s called at that point, but crying isn’t it.

“Step away from the ledge, I’m coming down.
I could never be, what you want me to.
You pulled me under, to save yourself (save yourself).

You will never see, what’s inside of me.
I pull you under, just to save myself.”

Forcing myself to focus through my pain, anguish, and tears, I sat down at the corner desk in my bedroom and started to write. About 30 minutes and four pages later I finished my “living will”.

It’s funny they call it that, because it’s at that very moment I decided I didn’t have the will to live.

I made sure all my bases were covered for those who would find me and have to deal with the repercussions. I wrote the password to my computer files down for my neighbor and gave ownership of ALL my belongings to her and my mom. The first thing I detailed is that I didn’t want my estranged wife within 50 yards of me at any time from this point forward.

I was very specific.

I gave ownership of everything associated with my art business to the President of our local art association. She’s a dear lady and she would know what to do with all I had. I wanted to make the hassle of the after effects of deciding where my belongings would go, “easier” on them.

I didn’t care about the emotional impact.

I didn’t care about being selfish. You don’t when you’re in it. It didn’t even cross my mind. I was so far gone. Then I texted three friends whom I now call my angels.

“Was there ever any question, on how much I could take?
You kept feeding me your bul*****, hoping I would break.
Is there anybody out there, is there anyone who cares?
Is there anybody listening, who will hear my final prayers?”

The first text was to my upstairs neighbor. She’s my non-blood sister and has grown to be my confidant and trusted friend: “Do you have any sleeping pills?” Her response was “no”.

Next.

I texted the lady who is currently my girlfriend and asked the same. “No I don’t. Are you alright?”

Next.

The last person I texted was my dear friend who I knew had them. She’s my prayer warrior and a devout, selfless person of faith “Yes, I do. Why?”

My quick response was, “I want to die tonight.”

“Step away from the ledge, I’m coming down.
I could never be, what you want me to.
You pulled me under, to save yourself (save yourself).

You will never see, what’s inside of me.
I pull you under, just to save myself.”

Between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. I walked to my closet door and took out a belt. I looped the buckled end then looped the holed end around the door handle. I secured that end with about five zip ties so it could handle the weight of a 205 lb., 41 year old male. I sat down on the floor and cinched it around my neck. Just slack enough so that when I passed out and fell forward it would take my life through suffocation.

When I had finished sizing and positioning the noose, I released myself and got my bottle of sleeping pills.

“It’s caving in around me (caving in), it’s tearing me apart (tearing me).
It’s all coming down around me (coming down). Does anyone care at all?
I will never be, what you want me to.
You pull me under, I pull you under.”

I sat down with my second drink, re-attached myself, and opened the bottle of pills. I wasn’t scared of what I was doing.

I was scared that it wouldn’t work.

[phone ringing and goes to voice mail] I had committed and had no sense of judgment left in me.

[phone ringing again and going to voice mail] I took three pills and threw them back in my throat, forcing them down with my liquid courage. I laughed at myself and thought, “You have to be joking. You’re trying to die, not go to sleep.”

[phone ringing and going to voice mail a third time] I dumped the rest of the pills on the floor and took one handful.

Gulp. I grabbed another handful.

Gulp. This was easy.

I grabbed a third handful. Gulp. I chased them with the last of the rum and Coke.

And waited. I remember things got blurry and my eyes got heavy.

“I could never be, what you want me to
You pulled me under, to save yourself (save yourself)
You will never see, what’s inside of me
I pull you under, just to save myself”

Two days later I came to awareness in a hospital bed. I didn’t have restraints on, they took those off the day before, I learned. I had on eight point leather restraints because I was so violent. Two on each limb.

I spent the next week in the hospital, stabilizing. While in the hospital I couldn’t believe I was surrounded by so much love and support. It’s all still sinking in several months later. I am thankful for all those people in my life. I love them all. And I am indebted to them.

When I left the hospital, I was transported to the Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center of my own recognizance. I remained there for a week.

What I’ve Learned

1.   Journal (or blog). I’ve learned to blog about my experiences. Whether you do this in a paper journal offline, or a virtual journal on the web, this will normalize things for you. You will not only be telling about your personal experiences and processing things for yourself, but you will also read stories of others going through the exact same thing. And you will know that you are not alone. This will be the start of a wonderful support network for you. Blogging will help you put your situation in perspective. It will help you crystallize the things that matter…the truths. It will allow you to see the progress you’re making. It will allow you to see your lapses as well as write about what you will do differently next time. I’ve found that writing about mental “illnesses” is a really big issue in the blogging world. Why not express yourself in a public forum and receive support from others that are going through the same issues?

2.   Have a support network.On the night of my incident, the last friend I texted knew EXACTLY what I was doing. She lives a solid 50 minutes away from me. As soon as she got my text she rushed to her car and sped to my home. It was her three calls that I heard on my phone that night as she called on the way to my home. She got there in 20 minutes! She rallied several others to save me that night. They are my angels. I would be dead if she were not in my life. I love you, Chelise. If you need a place to start looking to start a support network, join the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). Find a local group to join as your support system. I am working on doing this for 2015.http://www.nami.org/

Image of the author with the person that saved his life.
Myself with Chelise, the woman who pulled the noose off my neck.

3.   Have a plan.I did not have a plan for when the beast reached out in September. I should have had an intervention and had it posted on my wall. I should have had a contract that I signed with my support network. I didn’t have a support network either. The first step would be to call [a specific name here] should I feel like I’m becoming depressed. The people that were closest to me that night all keep our phones on and the volume on high when we go to sleep. We answer when the others call, no questions asked. No apologies. No judgments. It’s our oath.

4.   Take your medications religiously.I have been on medications for years. You will need to contact an MD who can prescribe your medicine but also set up a schedule with a psychologist. A professional who can be an outlet for you. Someone who teaches you how to move forward and gives you strategies or resources for help. It MAY take time to find the right combination of medicines. For me it was years. Don’t give up here. DON’T. GIVE. UP. Keep going until you find the combination that works. It makes ALL the difference in the world. In hindsight, the only combination that worked for me was the one I got in the psychiatric center. You will suffer less the sooner you and your doctor decipher this. Be transparent with your doctor and tell him/her what works, what doesn’t work, how you feel, when you feel what you do (dates, days, and times), and for how long. Keep a journal of the medicine you take along with the date and the amount. I used to get weary of carrying a paper journal around so I have a file in my (free)Evernote app labeled, Prescriptions. Keep track of them here and also bring the actual bottles in to your doctor when you meet with them.

5.   Don’t drink.Yes, give up ALL alcohol. Drinking negates the effects of the medicine. I was drinking a lot of wine at one point and could definitely feel a difference. You have to try YOUR BEST to not drink any alcohol. We have a “disease” we live with…a cancer of the soul. This is the biggest way to combat the emotional effects of the specter that haunts us.

6.   Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone of seclusion.I’m an introvert. I like my alone time. Alone time can be dangerous. If it’s not time that you’re recharging your socially depleted batteries, it’s probably tipping into the red zone. Force yourself to seek help and comfort from your friends. Reach out to them. You may have to be a friend to get a friend. It doesn’t have to be all of them. Just one. Find your angel.

7.   Exercise.The second biggest way to combat the beast lurking in the corner, is exercise. After alcohol, this is the biggest factor for a healthy mind. If you don’t like weights, try the treadmill. If you don’t like the treadmill, try walking on the beach. If you don’t like walking on the beach, sign up for a Yoga class. Get outside. Get up. Notice the greatness of God’s nature around you. Get your heart pumping. Get those endorphins surging through your veins. Push yourself to up your heart rate for 20″ straight. Aim for once a week and move up to two times a week. Strive for 3-5 times a week over time. Forgive yourself if you miss a workout. It won’t be the end of the world. This is not short term or a five day fad diet to get in shape for Spring Break. This is long term baby! If you think about it in these terms, you’ll be more forgiving of yourself when you don’t get up to get the heart rate up.

8.   Give thanks.Be thankful for the small things in life. Say it out loud. “I’m thankful for the bright sun.” “I’m thankful that my car works.” “I’m thankful to have a job.” In exercise of my faith, I spend days walking along the beach picking up sea glass and shells. Each time I find a piece of glass or shell and bend down to pick it up I say, “Thank You for this, Lord” The more you can program your brain to be thankful, the brighter your days will become. Little by little. Baby steps.

9.   Don’t beat yourself up.My new mantra is, “I realize I’m perfectly imperfect, and that’s perfectly okay”. It came to me as clear as day while I was in the psychiatric unit. You have to learn to not punish yourself. You are human. You give grace to others. Now just give it to yourself.

10.   You. Are. Not. Crazy.Don’t EVER let someone tell you are crazy. And don’t you DARE believe the lie. What you are going through is VERY, VERY real. Don’t EVER let someone downplay what you may have to deal with on a daily basis. Don’t let them downplay it if you go through it once a year. It is real. It lives with us. It may lurk in the corner or it may not. We realize this. You are human just like everyone else around you. This is not anillness, this is a lifestyle.

Keep hope through your valley

– Chris