I first ‘met’ my Twitter friend James Lindsay online when he was first starting to talk about his schizoaffective disorder and psychosis. James also works for Mind doing important work in the mental health sphere and we both live locally to one another. I am really proud of James’s determination, not only in his own life, but to help others through his writing and his new book ‘Befriending My Brain’ with Cherish Editions (Trigger Publishing).
An eye-opening memoir about a young man’s descent into schizoaffective disorder– and the steps he took to regain control of his life.
It’s no secret that, in recent years, mental health has become a major topic of conversation. But just because many people feel comfortable discussing their depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, doesn’t mean that we have removed all stigma from such diagnoses. This is especially true when it comes to psychotic disorders, which affect less than 1 in 100 people in the UK each year (Mind), thus leaving these disorders shrouded in mystery. It doesn’t help that what the media portrays as schizophrenia or psychosis is not always what the sufferer experiences in real life.
As such, it’s vital that we start to bring psychotic disorders, including psychosis, to the forefront. According to a 2016 report from Public Health England, “psychosis is one of the most life-impacting conditions in healthcare.” But with the proper treatment and understanding, it doesn’t have to be life-altering. The same report states that the sooner someone is treated for their psychosis, the better the chances that they will recover and return to their normal lives.
James Lindsay has experienced the ups and downs of schizoaffective disorder first-hand, and his book does the vital work of removing some of the mystery surrounding such a diagnosis. It includes the red flags he recognises in hindsight after psychosis landed him in hospital for the better part of a month, but it also retells the inspiring journey he took to recovery in all aspects of his life.
In his case, psychosis and his path to better mental health gave him a new passion in life: helping others through their own diagnoses and getting their lives back, just as he did. No matter where readers are on their journeys, James’ memoir will resonate and remind them, as he puts it, that “recovery is always possible, and hope is never far away.”
You can buy a copy of Befriending My Brain: A Psychosis Story by James Lindsay at Amazon, Trigger, Waterstones, WH Smith and all good bookshops.
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR Hailing from Watford, Hertfordshire, James Lindsay works for Hertfordshire Mind Network and uses his free time to advocate for mental health care by blogging and appearing on podcasts and TV. James enjoys playing football, going to the cinema, spending time with friends and family, and exploring new places, with his partner, Holly. Befriending My Brain is his first book.
If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, you may be wondering how you can help them stay sober. It can be a challenging process, but there are many things that you can do to support your loved one. Here are some tips that you can use to help a loved one stay sober.
1. Be Understanding And Supportive
One of the most important things you can do is be understanding and supportive. Addiction can be a very isolating experience, and your loved one may feel disconnected from family and friends. Show them that you care and are there for them, even if they don’t always show it in return. Offer words of encouragement when needed and provide a listening ear and understanding.
2. Help Establish Healthy Routines
Creating healthy routines and habits can help keep an individual on track with their sobriety. Make sure that your loved one is getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and engaging in activities that will help them stay sober. This could include going for walks or hikes, joining a gym or sports team, or finding other activities to occupy their time, such as volunteering or taking classes.
3. Set Boundaries And Respect Your Loved One’s Choices
It’s important to remember that the choice to stay sober ultimately lies with your loved one. Though you can provide support and guidance, it shouldn’t be done in a way that makes them feel pressured into making decisions they don’t agree with. Respect their autonomy and wishes while still providing advice if asked.
4. Create An Action Plan Together
Sobriety is often a process; it can take time for someone to achieve their goals. Have an honest conversation with your loved one about their progress, any issues, and how you can help. Then, you can create an action plan together where both of you set realistic goals and provide support when needed.
5. Consider A Sober Living Program
If your loved one is struggling with relapse, consider enrolling them in a sober living program from rdsoberliving.com (if in USA, for UK see other programs). These programs provide structure and accountability to help someone stay on track with their recovery goals. They also provide support from peers and mentors who have been through similar experiences.
6. Reach Out To A Professional
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Consider talking to a professional who is experienced in addiction recovery, or get your loved one connected with a therapist. They can provide additional guidance and support that may be helpful in maintaining sobriety.
7. Take Care Of Yourself
It’s also important to remember to take care of yourself as well. It can be challenging to help someone who is struggling with addiction, and it can take a toll both physically and emotionally. So make sure that you are getting enough rest, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and reaching out for support when needed.
Helping a loved one stay sober can be difficult. However, there are many ways that you can provide support and guidance to help them succeed. Be understanding and supportive, set boundaries, create an action plan together and consider professional help or a sober living program if needed. Also, remember to take care of yourself throughout the process.
The global coronavirus pandemic brought mental health and personal wellbeing to the forefront of our working life. As more companies return to the office, employers need to think about whether or not they are doing enough to make mental health in the workplace a priority. We speak to consumer finance startup, CapitalBean.com, to get some insight.
Workplace Mental Health Post-Covid
“The coronavirus pandemic highlighted serious concerns regarding mental health and personal wellbeing,” explains Richard Allan of Capital Bean.
“With ongoing uncertainty and a heightened sense of risk, it could be argued that we were experiencing an unprecedented global mental health crisis, often with no end in sight.”
“From a workplace perspective especially, many workers were facing uncertainty regarding their job stability, redundancies and, for some, navigating an entirely new way of working and interacting with colleagues.”
“In response, many companies started to take employee mental health more seriously and implement frameworks and best practices; however, now that we are returning to normal and trying to leave Covid-19 in the past, what is the extent to which companies are keeping up with their commitment to employee mental health?”
The Return to the Office
During the Covid 19 pandemic, the majority of workers were learning how to do their jobs remotely. This presented a range of new challenges to navigate and loneliness was widely reported. Not only were people missing the daily social interactions with their colleagues, but they were also finding the blurred lines between home life and work life difficult to navigate – with people’s homes doubling up as their offices, many workers were finding it difficult to switch off and reported working more hours.
Now that people are starting to return to the office, after adjusting to nearly three years of remote working, they are being faced with new challenges. People are finding the return to work difficult and reporting a great deal of anxiety regarding social interaction. In addition, after working from home, they are now having to juggle their home commitments alongside going to the office. Whether it is squeezing in laundry, balancing childcare, or even factoring in an extra hour for the commute, the return to the office is proving more difficult than expected for many and is causing stress and anxiety for some. Others prefer working from home, so there is a balance.
The Employer’s Role
Millions of workers are returning to the office or workplace with changed attitudes and new expectations. In order to attract and retain talent, it is important for employers to acknowledge this and respond empathetically. Many companies have included mental health in their promises to employees on return to the office but now it is their time to demonstrate that this is not merely lip service.
Employers need to proactively introduce programmes that are promoting workplace mental wellbeing and help employees with the challenges that they are facing. It is important for workplaces to create a psychologically safe space for workers and welcome conversations surrounding mental health and support.
The Great ResignationAnd Mental Health at Work
After the pandemic, more people than ever before started evaluating their working life and what their main priorities were. With new focus on mental wellbeing and work-life balance, workers started to question what their expectations were and what they required from their place of work. The great resignation, the mass exodus of millions of workers in 2021, left employers having to think about what they needed to offer workers to not only attract talent initially, but retain it.
Workers who were asked about the great resignation pinpointed lack of workplace communication, sense of belonging, employee-manager relationship and toxic environments all as reasons to leave their jobs.
In a post-Covid era (and what should have been before this), it will fall to the employer to make sure their staff feel looked after, not just financially but also emotionally.
Employers need to make their employees feel like they are taken care of, respected and acknowledged, and that their personal wellbeing and mental health is a top priority. Going forward, this will be more important for jobseekers than free office lunches or staff drinks.
We all have mental health and it is vital this is acknowledged and cared for, and not ignored in the workplace.
This article contains links to partner organisations.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) affects people’s thoughts about themselves and others. People with borderline personality disorder experience extreme emotions. A person with this disorder is likely to have intense relationships with many ups and downs. Other signs of borderline personality disorder include impulsivity and changes in one’s self-image. Anger management issues and mood swings can both be symptoms of BPD. They could also fear being left behind or abandoned.
Sometimes, people with borderline personality disorder are also affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. The person and their loved ones may find it challenging to cope with a borderline personality disorder. But borderline personality disorder is something that can be learned to manage. You can learn to manage borderline personality disorder with the proper professional care, self-help techniques, and coping skills and have a happy and successful life.
Coping mechanisms for borderline personality disorder
A borderline personality disorder is a condition that affects each person differently. Find out what works for you by taking your time. Everyone’s situation may be different, but by taking the actions listed below, you can cope with borderline personality disorder :
1. Engage in physical activities
Exercise may help you stabilize and regain emotional control if you have problems coping with BPD. Exercises like yoga, boxing, running, and cycling may be beneficial.
2. Take some time off for yourself
Although social isolation has adverse effects, occasionally removing yourself from other people might be a healthy coping mechanism for BPD. Spend some time alone, and rejuvenate yourself without the influence of others. Reflecting alone might assist you in readjusting if you are experiencing intense anger or feeling emotionally out of control.
3. Write emails or letters to people but don’t send them
This is a great way to express feelings and decompress. The effects are similar to keeping a journal, making it possible to express yourself without having your words negatively affect your relationships. By delaying sending the message, you can go back and read what you said after the initial emotions have subsided.
4. Take breaks
Feelings of rage and anger might be reduced temporarily by leaving a stressful setting and looking after yourself.
5. Keep yourself occupied as much as you can
Keep yourself occupied to divert your attention from your current feelings. Holding a fidget toy such as a slinky, helps keep your hands engaged and allows your mind to concentrate on the recent activity.
Is obsessive-compulsive disorder related to borderline personality disorder?
BPD is thought to be fundamentally linked to obsessive-compulsive symptoms. These symptoms are intense, and BPD patients who experience them often exhibit poor insight, resistance, and sometimes obsessive control in interpersonal interactions.
A 5% prevalence of borderline personality disorder (also known as BPD) has been seen in OCD patients. Additionally, these patients with BPD and OCD had greater rates of anxiety, mood, and eating problems. These examples of co-occurring BPD and OCD have been linked to motor impulsivity, mental compulsions, and compulsions involving interpersonal domains.
How is OCD treated?
Treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder may not provide a cure, but it can help keep symptoms under control so they don’t interfere with your everyday life. Some patients may require long-term, continuous, or more extensive treatment depending on how severe their OCD is. Psychotherapy and medicines are the two essential OCD treatments, and treatment is frequently most successful when these are used in conjunction.
How can you cope with OCD?
Below you’ll find mechanisms that will help you cope with obsessive-compulsive disorder:
1. Acknowledge your OCD’s existence
Like the monster you used to think lived beneath your bed as a child, OCD can seem like an uncontrollable power waiting to strike. Give your OCD a name and a shape rather than letting it be a faceless villain. It might benefit kids and adults to view OCD as a distinct condition. Remember, OCD is not your fault, and there is no need to feel ashamed.
2. Maintain an OCD journal
An OCD journal serves the same purpose as the food journals that some people use to record their daily dietary intake when on a diet. You can keep note of your triggers in an OCD journal, discover new ones, and evaluate the general state of your OCD. Keep an OCD journal with you at all times, and write down what happens when you perform a compulsion. After reading through your diary entries at the end of the day, ask yourself the following questions.
● Why did these circumstances make me OCD-prone?
● What would have occurred if my resolutions hadn’t been carried out?
● What proof is there that what I feared would occur?
3. Use Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) techniques
ERP is a popular method for addressing and maybe easing OCD. When adopting ERP, a person exposes themselves to a circumstance that causes an obsession and then refrains from acting on their compulsion. Try creating an OCD ladder by ranking your triggers and associated anxieties on a ten-rung ladder from 1 to 10 in terms of their seriousness. You should start with a low-level trigger when you initially start ERP, and after you’ve faced it, wait 10 seconds before acting on your urge. Increase the amount of time you go without gradually employing your compulsion until you can handle the task or scenario without it. As you master your triggers, climb the OCD ladder.
4. Redirect your focus
If you have OCD compulsions or obsessions or feel one coming on, try diverting your attention from the problem. You can either mentally or physically refocus your attention. Try repeating the program if, after the period of refocusing, you still feel the need to finish your obsession.
5. Keep your stress levels down
OCD is difficult to live with, and stress can make these tasks even more difficult. Keeping your stress level low is essential because it has been demonstrated that stress dramatically increases OCD in people. Make sure to arrange some time each day to relax. Finding an hour each day to decompress, watching some TV, reading a book, or going for a run, can be pretty helpful.
You can learn coping methods and healthy lifestyle choices without allowing the illnesses and symptoms to define you. Finding strategies that work for you is critical. You should also be open and honest with close family members about your needs. For example, you should tell family members how to help you if you feel angry or emotional. You are not defined by your illness and you can learn to cope- reach for support.
About the Author: Dr. Joann Mundin is a board-certified psychiatrist who has been in practice since 2003. She is a Diplomate with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and a Fellow with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Currently associated with Mindful Values, she provides assessments and treatment for patients with severe mental illness.
Accepting help for mental health issues is an undeniably courageous step in the healing process. Individual counseling can provide you with many helpful tools for coping with your issues, but so can group counselling. Here are a few reasons why group therapy might be the next step in your healing journey.
Groups Are a Sounding Board
One of the most beneficial aspects of group counselling is that the group can act as a sounding board. Whatever dilemmas you are facing, whatever you’re struggling with in your mind, you can voice it to your group and get helpful feedback. Your group mates will likely come from diverse backgrounds and have had their own unique experiences. Their outside perspectives can give you insight into how to handle difficult situations and emotions. Whether it is, a group can give you guidance based on their own experiences, which can help yours.
Group Therapy Can Be More Cost-Effective Than Individual Therapy
Group therapy can be more budget-friendly than individual therapy. And, just because group therapy tends to cost less, that does not mean it lacks any of the quality you would get from individual counselling. Group counselling can be empowering and helpful in the same way individual therapy is, and it is a great option for those who will have to pay out-of-pocket costs.
Groups Help You Learn About Yourself
Each of your group’s members will figuratively hold up a mirror so that you can take a deeper look at yourself. You can only learn so much about yourself on your own; having those outside perspectives can make your self-introspection all the more intensive and meaningful. There are things about yourself you might not be able to see that others can help you uncover.
Groups Can Help You Develop Social Skills
Social skills are something many of us adults haven’t fully developed, especially as we struggle with our own psychological issues. In a group, you might feel less isolated, plus you will have the opportunity to engage with other people. Here you can learn how to better get along with others and express yourself in a group setting. Studies have found that adventure-based group therapy can particularly help people develop their social skills.
Whether you choose to do group therapy due to finances or because you want to build your social skills, it is an option that works well for most people. You get a new support network of people who are going through similar things and are also looking for reciprocal support. Allow them to hold up the mirror so you can look in and see who is really there.
This article was written by freelance writer Lizzie Weakley
Do you ever feel like your past is holding you back from being happy in the present? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to let go of hurtful memories, especially if they’ve experienced a traumatic event. However, carrying around these negative memories can be incredibly damaging to your mental health and wellbeing. That said, this blog post will discuss how to let go of hurtful memories and lead a happier life!
Acknowledge your hurtful memories
The first step to letting go of hurtful memories is acknowledging them. This may seem like a difficult task, but it’s important to face your demons head-on. Once you’ve acknowledged your hurtful memories, you can begin the process of healing. If you’re not sure how to start this process, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor. They can help you work through your feelings and start the journey to recovery.
Understand that your past does not define you
One of the most important things to remember when trying to let go of hurtful memories is that your past does not define you. Just because you’ve experienced trauma or pain in your life doesn’t mean that’s all there is to you. You are so much more than your hurtful memories! Allow yourself to see the good in yourself and know that you deserve happiness.
Also, don’t forget that your hurtful memories don’t have to control your present or future. Just because something bad happened in your past doesn’t mean it will happen again. You have the power to create a bright future for yourself, no matter what your past may hold.
Focus on the present and build a positive future
Once you’ve acknowledged your hurtful memories and accepted that they don’t define you, it’s time to focus on the present. What makes you happy right now? What are your goals for the future? Start spending your time and energy on things that make you feel good. Fill your life with positivity and watch as your hurtful memories start to fade away.
It’s also important to forgive yourself for what happened in the past. Forgiving yourself doesn’t mean forgetting what happened or downplaying its importance. It simply means letting go of the negative feelings associated with the event and moving forward with your life. Remember, you deserve happiness!
Seek professional help if needed
If you find yourself struggling to let go of hurtful memories, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. There’s no shame in admitting that you need assistance to deal with your past. A therapist or counsellor such as from The Awareness Centre, can help you work through your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms. They can also provide support and guidance as you begin the process of healing.
Letting go of hurtful memories is a difficult but necessary task if you want to lead a happier life. However, by following the tips outlined above, you can start on the path to recovery and begin living the life you deserve!
We all have been through it or at least heard about the term ‘retail therapy’ before. To many, retail therapy is the act of shopping to relieve stress. It is a coping mechanism that can be used to deal with emotional issues.
A study by the University of British Columbia found that people who shopped when they were feeling sad or angry were more likely to feel better afterward. Shopping may be a way for people to temporarily forget about problems and focus on something else. For many, getting over a bad day could be as easy as going to the online shop adidas offers or visiting your local retail store.
Retail Therapy does not work for everyone, and some may find it counterproductive because it can lead to feelings of guilt and shame after spending money on items that are not needed or wanted. So, what benefits can we get from retail therapy, and is it something that can work for you?
What are the Benefits of Shopping as Therapy?
Shopping is a great way to improve mental health. It can be a form of physical and emotional therapy. Shopping in store can be a form of physical therapy as it allows people to get up, walk around and explore new places.
It also provides an opportunity to take care of oneself by indulging in self-care. Shopping can be an emotional therapy as it allows people to express themselves through buying things they want or need, while getting rid of the things they don’t want or need anymore.
There are many ways to improve your mental health. Many people choose retail therapy as a way to relieve their stress and improve their mood. Retail therapy is an effective way to unwind because it helps people to change the focus of their thoughts from negative thoughts, such as worry or anger, towards positive thoughts, such as excitement or anticipation.
It is important to note that retail therapy has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, but it should not be used as a replacement for professional help. There are different types of sleep deprivation, and insomnia is one of them.
Sleep deprivation can lead to mood swings, irritability, trouble concentrating, and more serious problems like obesity or diabetes. In a similar way, Insomnia can lead to depression or anxiety disorders, which can lead to other problems such as substance abuse or an eating disorder.
Improved Mood and Happiness
There are many reasons why retail therapy can help you improve your mood. One of them is that it makes you feel like you have accomplished something, which boosts your self-esteem. Another reason is that retail therapy is seen as self-care and an easy way to distract yourself from negative thoughts or feelings.
Retail therapy provides you with a sense of control and relief. You can use it to distract yourself from your negative thoughts and feelings. While retail therapy is not always a good idea, it can be helpful in some situations. For example, if you are feeling frustrated or lonely, retail therapy might provide you with the joy and excitement that you need to feel better about yourself. It’s important to remember that the benefits of retail therapy are temporary and that this technique should be approached with care.
Disadvantages of Retail Therapy
While there are many advantages and benefits to retail therapy, there are many ways that it could have a negative effect on you. So, it’s essential to remember that retail therapy is not for everyone. It has been proven to be helpful for people who have depression and anxiety, but it also has its downsides. People who have a shopping addiction can find themselves in a difficult situation when they feel the need to buy something new every time they are feeling down or sad.
The person will not be able to control their shopping habits because of their addiction and wants the feeling of gratification from buying something new. They may also buy things impulsively without thinking about what they need or even if they have the money for it. When this happens, the person might start making poor financial decisions which could lead them into debt or bankruptcy.
It’s important that you lookout for signs of shopping addiction while taking part in retail therapy.
Signs of Shopping Addiction
Shopping addiction is a serious problem that is becoming more and more common. It can lead to numerous mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and stress. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between the occasional shopping spree and a full-blown addiction. Signs of shopping addiction include:
Spending too much money on clothes or other items for yourself or others
Having difficulty controlling your spending
Spending hours at a time looking for things to buy
Feeling guilty or ashamed after shopping
Putting off, paying bills, saving money, or doing other important tasks in order to spend money on things you don’t need
Once you find yourself showing signs of your addiction, it is important to get help because it can lead to mental health issues. It can also lead to a lack of self-control, which in turn can lead to other problems.
Knowing When To Getting Help
So, to answer the question: Can retail therapy help with your mental health? The answer is yes, but that yes comes with a warning beside it.
While retail therapy can be great for helping your mental health. It’s important for you to remember that everything should be taken in moderation. Retail therapy is great for helping you to get over a bad day today. However, when it starts to have a negative effect on your mental health instead of helping, it’s time for you to get professional help.
Don’t ever spend more than you have and if you find that you are regularly. support is available for you. You are not alone.
This article was written by a freelance writer and contains affiliate links.
Alcohol addiction greatly impacts on your mental health and general wellbeing. Fighting addiction should be your ultimate goal, making it possible to take control of your life. There are numerous options available to help in overcoming addiction and improving your mental health. Here are several options.
Alcohol is extremely addictive and has the potential to ruin mental health and peoples lives. These are just a guide, please consult with professionals.
Connect with Others
A great place to start is it to get out and start meeting other people at support groups. It helps to share positive or similar experiences, which will aid your mental health and self esteem. . You can also consider others and build emotional support if able. Avoid people who want you to relapse back into addiction and who enabled it too! Seek support for you to move forward, even if slowly.
Exercising and getting involved in activities release the endorphin hormone, also known as the happiness hormone. This can also help your general health as you recover slowly. Get involved with community causes and help raise funds for 5k, to 10k walks once you feel able.
Learn New Skills
Learning new skills helps connect with others and builds a sense of purpose. Try taking a responsible role when volunteering that has an immediate impact, be it at work or in the community like cooking for the homeless- as long as you are in recovery and feel able.
Getting into a male alcohol addiction treatment program (or a mixed program/ one for women) can help you in being mindful as it is one of the crucial aspects taught. It helps you consider yourself and the positive changes you have made while recovering from alcohol abuse. Being mindful helps you understand yourself better and take the necessary steps to ensure mental health is protected.
Being kind to yourself and placing your feelings first will make it easier to recover from alcohol addiction. Avoid comparing your progress with others and discard people’s opinions of your progress. Allow yourself to make mistakes while finding the right ways to be mentally free.
Celebrate Your Small Wins
Celebrate small wins even if you have milestone goals you want to achieve. Start with celebrating finishing the alcohol addiction treatment program. Celebrate your sober days!
Write it Down
A great way to improve mental health and overcome addiction is by documenting everything. It helps in processing all emotions to gauge triggers to avoid them. It will also allow you to self-reflect on progress, relieve stress, and inspire creativity.
Reach for Support
Remember to get into local support groups or even stay in touch with members of the alcohol addiction treatment program. Consult a professional (GP or psychiatrist) if the urge is unbearable to avoid relapsing into addiction and keep you on the road to your recovery.
This article was written by Rachelle Wilber, freelance writer.
Recovering from cancer is a long, challenging process that takes a lot out of you mentally and physically. Even when you achieve remission and start to regain your energy, the negative effects on your mind can persist. If you’re not sure how to deal with the emotional and psychological aftereffects, it’s easy to become overwhelmed or despondent. However, with the right approach, you can overcome that mental distress and regain a sense of contentment.
Talk to a Professional
If you’re dealing with mental distress during cancer recovery, seeing a therapist or counsellor could be helpful for your mental health. Some professionals specialise in assisting people in coping with major illnesses, and they can often give you beneficial insight. Sometimes, getting a fresh perspective from an outside source can be effective for solving problems that you’re struggling with. You don’t have to commit to monthly or weekly sessions, but it’s worth at least trying out with a session or two, and you can decide at that point if it’s right for you- and what you need.
Find a Wig to Match You
For many patients, chemotherapy is an effective treatment method for achieving remission, but it also comes with several negative side effects. One of the most well-known of these side effects is the thinning or loss of your hair. For some people, this is a difficult change to get used to, and some of the wig options available aren’t particularly appealing. However, there are places where you can purchase custom made lace wigs, which can give you back the look you prefer and help restore that self-confidence.
Find a Creative New Outlet
If you don’t have much to do with your free time during cancer recovery, it leaves a lot of opportunities for your mind to drift toward negative thoughts. This can become a powerful cycle in which the depression can fuel itself and worsen over time. To combat this, try finding a new hobby or creative pursuit that you can develop a passion for, when you have the energy to do so. Having something to do each day that you’re genuinely looking forward to will make a massive difference for your outlook, and it’s also good for the brain in general to keep you occupied. Some days you may just want to lie on the couch and rest- thats OK and listen to your body.
There will always be challenging days when you’re recovering from something as traumatic as cancer, but a positive mindset is still achievable. Try not to let the rough days define you and be kind to yourself. You could try something good for your mental health like meditation, art or reading if you have the concentration.
Remember that it always seems darkest before the dawn, and you will get through it- reach for support from a therapist, partner, friends and family.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook:
I have spent a number of months avoiding and not taking action on one of the main issues that has. been happening in my life.
As you know, I have spent many years living in the shadow of having bipolar disorder and panic disorder (social anxiety and panic attacks) and possibly also PTSD symptoms from my last hospitalisation.. that I didn’t realise that my panic disorder is essentially agoraphobia too. (Oh got to love my overly anxious nervous system and imagination that creates panic!),.
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd.
For me, this means that I can struggle to leave home alone at times, socialise, go out on public transport, go out to eat, go into a shop, travel anywhere alone including walking and that I panic and avoid and retreat from situations.. When I am going through a period of low mood, the agoraphobia/panic disorder can worsen.
I am managing my panic attacks through therapy and speaking to my therapist works. However, being indoors all the time through Covid and changing my working patterns to working from home meant that my agoraphobia got heightened. I didn’t want to be around crowds because I could get Covid. I didn’t want to go on public transport in a mask- because I might get Covid. I didn’;t go in a shop because people were there- but once vaccinated, this hasn’t changed. Really this was masking deeper anxiety and fear of the world in general- feeling uncertain after a job loss and starting a new career and feeling intensely self conscious too about weight gain on my medication.
Today on facebook, I had a memory from 12 years ago (when I was 21) which informed me that I had been on a night out at Ministry of Sound nightclub in London for a gig and I was also coordinating London Booze for Jews ( a Jewish student bar crawl) – despite the fact I didn’t drink. I have always been social but nights out in bars and clubs are just not my thing these days at the grand old age of 33 (grandma alert).
I know my panic is not the whole of me. In the past I have completed a degree and masters at drama school, travelled to India, Israel, places all over Europe and volunteered in Ghana for 7 weeks. Despite my anxiety, I run two small businesses, have managed to release a book, written for well known publications and achieved many of my dreams. I also met my wonderful husband and am not only proud to be a wife, but an auntie (and hopefully one day a mother too).
I am still Ellie and still the person I was inside before trauma hit.
Despite all of the amazing things above, I have been struggling with getting out of my 4 walls. So this is a diary entry to say: I will get better and get out the flat more. I will try and expose myself to feared situations. Above all, I will be kind to myself and take slow steady steps. I will lose the weight too!
All friends/fam are welcome to try and coax me out and help too!