11 Things Others Don’t Realize You Are Doing Because Of Your High Functioning Anxiety

Author Article

Anxiety can be very harmful and it’s not something to be overlooked. The worst problem is that a lot of people can’t understand the effects it can have on a person and find anxious people as being lazy, irresponsible and passive.

If you are not an anxious person, knowing this can help you understand anxiety a bit better. If you are, we are sure you are going to agree with these things.

1.Decline invites although you may want to go

There are certain days that you may have planned all along and when they come, anxiety takes up the whole space. It can become so debilitating that you feel as if you lack the energy to go out.

You are aware of what is happening to you and you don’t want to become a burden where you are supposed to go – so you just cancel everything.

2. Obsess over trivial things other people may not even notice

A simple word or an unintended glance from someone is enough for your head to start processing and rewinding the situation even for days! The truth is you obsess over everything that has happened recently or a week ago, or any time ago, really.

You may obsess over a conversation you had, or the fact that someone hasn’t texted you yet (after a whole 12 hour period) or really just over the fact that some stranger looked at you as if they knew you.

Whatever the case may be, many would get confused by the notion that you even notice such things.

3. Go to bed late, wake up early in the morning

One of the biggest issues for you is certainly sleeping. Of all the processing in your head after the day, you find it hard to go to bed on time.

When early morning comes, your anxiety clock starts ticking again and ringing several alarms to get things going – even though you are tired. When your anxiety has switched on (by waking up), you can’t do anything to switch it off, so you don’t go back to bed.

4. In every situation, the worst scenario is your biggest thought

Instead of enjoying the moment as it is, you can’t help picturing and convincing yourself that the worst scenario is inevitable. If it’s a first date, you are convinced that something will go terribly wrong.

If you get sick, you always manage to connect the symptoms to the worst diseases you can imagine. It’s as if your mind tricks you into believing that nothing can go right.

5. You rewind conversations in your head – over and over again

No matter how well a conversation went with somebody, you always replay that conversation in your head fearing that you may have said something wrong. That’s why you try to avoid confrontation at all cost.

This constant rewinding seems to be able to haunt you until it starts chipping a hole from the inside. You always have to remind yourself that it’s your anxiety talking and that there is most certainly nothing wrong with what you have said in the first place.

6. When someone shows concern about you, you become even more worried about the same thing

If someone notices that you are not OK and shows concern, your anxiety grows even more. The thing is, when you hear someone asking if you are alright, it makes you fear even more for yourself and your state.

You think – if it has become noticeable, then there has to be more to it than I thought. This makes you feel worse than you did.

7. You believe that you are to blame if someone doesn’t reply right away

When communicating with people, be it your significant other, a friend or a relative, if they don’t respond immediately, you start thinking that you may have said or done something wrong.

However, you should stop and consider that they may be in the middle of something that takes up their attention, or that they are just bad at communicating.

8. You are experiencing a breakdown when the future comes as a topic

While most people look forward to the future and make plans for the future, your view on the future is making you feel intimidated and frustrated.

Experiencing the present so hard makes you think how hard and daunting the future may be. This makes you retreat and hide from the thought of it.

9. You always compare your success to others who are your age

Although you may not want to compare yourself to others, your anxiety makes you scour through Facebook and stay up to date with all the successful things your peers have done.

Your worries are not that they have managed to succeed, but if you are ever going to succeed in your life like they have.

10. You obsess too much over every mistake you make by beating yourself up over it

The worst scenario is making a mistake at work. The thoughts that will consume you afterwards are tremendously difficult to handle.

Although you strive to perfect whatever you are doing, mistakes can occur, which is natural. Unfortunately, your anxiety doesn’t know that. In such cases, it becomes your worst enemy.

11. Sometimes, you feel too mentally and physically exhausted to get out of bed

Anxiety burns up most of your energy, both mentally and physically. That’s why it can happen that you cannot function properly and you just want to remain in bed and leave yourself drown in the sheets.This paralysis comes as a result of the overwhelming experiences due to your anxiety.

Five Enlightened Ways To Think About Mental Health

See Psychology Today Article Here
By Hilary Jacobs Hendel 

It’s time to eradicate stigmas.

Life is hard even under the best of circumstances. Without physical and mental health, it’s difficult to enjoy life and to thrive. It makes good sense to take care of ourselves and that includes getting help when we suffer physically or psychologically. When we feel sick we get ourselves to the doctor. And when we feel so bad that we think about hurting ourselves or others, or when we cannot engage positively in work or in relationships, or we cannot accomplish what we want, we should seek help to feel better. That is what all of us deserve.

Mental health shouldn’t be a dirty word. Still damaging stigmas prevail allowing ignorance to end lives. Judging others or ourselves for our suffering is just plain harsh, not to mention counterproductive. When was the last time telling a depressed person to “get over it” worked? Try never! And using shame as a tactic to “encourage” someone to be what you think they should be only adds to a person’s suffering.

Mental health problems should be thought of no differently than physical health problems. In fact, they are completely related: mental health problems affect physical health and physical health problems affect mental health. We need a world where no one feels embarrassed or ashamed about their suffering. We need a world where suffering evokes only kindness, compassion, and a desire to help.

Here are 5 enlightened ways to think about mental health:

1. Everyone suffers.

I have never met anyone who is happy and calm all the time. It’s just not possible, no matter how good someone’s life looks like from the outside. Most people suffer at some point in their life from anxietydepressionaggressionPTSDshamesubstance abusedisorders, and other symptoms. And, if a person is lucky enough to never suffer psychologically, they surely love someone who does suffer in these ways. Instead of living lives of quiet desperation, to paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, let’s encourage honest talk. If someone gets uncomfortable with honest talk, we can talk about that too.

2. Mental health checkups are an important part of wellness.

Do you feel ashamed when you go for a check-up at your internist? Probably not. On the contrary, you’re likely to feel proud that you are taking care of your health. Yet most people are ashamed to call a psychotherapist for a consultation. This makes no logical sense. A mental health checkup is a great idea especially if you are suffering and not able to function the way you want. You should feel very proud for taking care of your mental health.

3. Gym for the brain.

That’s exactly how I describe therapy for my patients who come in feeling bad that they “have to come to therapy.” In our society, we praise people for working out at the gym. We think of them as maintaining their health and taking good care of themselves. Well, that’s no different for a person wanting to enhance their psychological wellbeing. Therapy grows new brain cell networks, calms the mind and body, makes it easier to meet life’s challenges, and helps us thrive as we become the best versions of our self that we can.

4. Education in emotions is a game-changer.

We live in a challenging society because it is not very nurturing. That’s why rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse disorder have skyrocketed. According to a new disturbing report from the CDCsuiciderates are steadily increasing. At the very least, our society could provide an accessible and understandable education on emotions. This would help us all understand how our childhood experiences translate to directly affect our adult mental health (for better and for worse). Emotion education debunks myths like “emotions are just for weak people” and we can control our suffering with “mind over matter.” Our schools should be teaching us trauma-informed tools like the Change Triangle. Our educational institutions should be teaching skills for managing relationships and interpersonal conflicts constructively so bullying, for example, would become a thing of the past. Parents should be taught about emotions so they don’t unwittingly create shame and anxiety in their children. Education on emotions and how emotions affect the brain, body, and mind depending on how we work with them, has great power to change society for the better and even reverse the current epidemic in depression, anxiety, and addictions.

5. Question assumptions, judgments, and fears around mental health and mental illness.

Many of us fear difference. When people feel, act or look different than we do, we tend to judge them. Judgment, while a form of misguided emotional protection achieved by distancing ourselves from those we fear or don’t understand, is destructive for all of us. Judgment is the basis of stigma and justifies the horrible way we treat people who suffer mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. Judgment shames those who suffer, and that is all of us. No wonder shame-based depressions are rampant in our society. Instead of judging others for emotions and suffering, can we instead be curious about our assumptions and question where we learned to judge or fear people who struggle psychologically?

Most suffering can be eased with support, proper treatment, and a variety of resources. Let’s be proud to grow our collective and individual mental health. What a difference it makes to wholeheartedly say to someone seeking help, “Good for you! I could use some help for myself too!” Because we all can.

How Anxiety Impacts The Way We Perceive And Think

See Psychology Today Article Here
By Lobsang Rapgay Ph.D.

How we see, hear, and think about what we experience within and outside ourselves determines who we are and how we relate to the world.  Disorders such as anxiety not only interfere with but also impair these processes, creating a distorted view of our internal and external worlds.

According to many researchers, working memory is the most important of the perceptual and cognitive functions.  Our ability to learn new skills—from driving and golfing to mathematics and meditation—to master attentional skills, meet goals, plan a vital activity, and make decisions and choices all rely heavily on an effective and efficient working memory.

Working memory acts as a sketchpad that enables the performance of the above wide-ranging tasks.  Once the relevant set of information for a task is obtained, that information has to be held in memory, organized, manipulated, and updated so that the task can be performed accordingly.  Take the example of the complex reading span test, which is a test used to measure the size of the working memory space.  Subjects see a set of words depending on how many they can recall correctly.  After each word, a statement is presented for the subject to determine if it is true or false.  The task requires the subject to manipulate, encode, and hold the words in memory while carrying out the competing task of reading the sentence and determining whether it is true or false (Daneman & Carpenter, 1980).

Many complex cognitive processes, such as attention, inhibition of distractors, shifting from one sub-task to another, strategic online monitoring of performance, instant detection of errors and their correction, and the updating of ongoing information are necessary for the effective and efficient completion of working memory tasks.

Increasing evidence shows that anxiety hurts both working memory space and cognitive processes to varying degrees, and adverse effects occur.  Studies have conclusively shown that people with anxiety automatically perceive threats over other stimuli at the expense of crucial ongoing tasks (Bar-Haim et al., 2007).  A person with severe anxiety is also likely to have difficulty separating himself or herself from frightening images and words, preventing him or her from returning to perform the task (Grant et al., 2015).

The instant perceptual bias towards threats in anxiety persists into subsequent cognitive processes.  The bias affects both the amount of verbal and visual-spatial information that working memory can hold, as well as the cognitive processing of the relevant information.  When subjects were tested to determine how many digits they could hold in memory in a complex working memory capacity test, subjects with high anxiety held much fewer digits compared to those with low anxiety (Diamond, 2013).  The capacity to hold verbal information was also a lot less with high anxiety subjects who were made to worry, as compared to those who were not. (Leigh & Hirsch, 2011).  However, numerous studies show that the amount of information held in working memory during the performance of a task determines the degree of impairment caused by anxiety.  When the amount of information held in memory is low to medium, anxiety impairs working memory capacity significantly because the cognitive processes that are not required for carrying out the task are available for processing threat distractors.  However, when the load is high, anxiety impairs the capacity of working memory much less since all of the resources are consumed by processing the high load of information, and little to no working memory is available to attend to the distracting threats (Derakshan, N., et.al., 2009).

Robust evidence shows that anxiety impairs each of the specific cognitive processes responsible for carrying out the multicomponent tasks of working memory.  Studies show that people with elevated anxiety are not able to inhibit threatening distractors as compared to neutral stimuli during a cognitive function.  They fail to disengage from the threat and return to the task (Grant et al., 2015).  Other studies show that people with elevated anxiety fail or take a long time to shift from one cognitive set to another during the performance of a working memory task (Ansari & Derakshan, 2011).  Given that working memory tasks consist of multicomponent sets of a task, the ability to readily move from one to another is critical for the correct and rapid performance of the task.

Impairment of attention, inhibition, and shifting interferes with the functions of monitoring and updating.  Constant updating of sub-tasks during the performance of any learning and goal-oriented task prevents awareness of errors (Folstein & Petten, 2008).  Strategic online monitoring of performance at each of the various sub-stages of a task aims to identify the mistakes early on so they can be corrected instantly.  Undetected errors compromise the performance of the subsequent tasks.  Instant detection and correction of errors help to conserve and distribute the limited cognitive resources and their allocation to subsequent sub-tasks.  Studies show that people with clinical anxiety tend to have elevated error-related negativity (ERN), a specific evoked response potential (ERP)—a method used to aggregate brain activity in a particular region of the brain—that measures error and its correction (Gehring et al., 1993).

Updating is a process of continuously adding new relevant information to existing ones according to the demands of the sub-task or when unforeseen situations occur during the ongoing performance of a task.  During this process, the data undergoes multiple transformations and substitutions.  The ability to update effectively has been shown to be a significant predictor of higher mental skills, such as fluid intelligence.

Based on these findings, researchers have developed two major treatment protocols, namely attentional bias modification (ABM) and cognitive bias modification (CBM) (Amir et al., 2009), (Macleod et al., 2012).  These protocols involve the manipulation of attention away from threatening stimuli to the neutral.  Studies show that both protocols demonstrate small to moderate effects.  However, they also appear to be less effective than existing empirically proven treatments for anxiety.  Moreover, researchers have raised questions about whether training an individual to move away from a threatening stimulus increases avoidance behavior, which has been shown to increase anxiety in the long run.

Researchers have suggested that since attentional bias to threat is sustained for long periods, replacing the brief 500-millisecond presentations, used in ABM and CBM to move attention away from the threat, with more extended periods of presentations is likely to produce more effective results.  However, anxiety disorders are complex and often have roots in stressful and conflictual early childhood environmental and developmental conditions.  Without addressing these factors, it seems unlikely that prolonging the period of presentation and moving attention away from the threat, even though helpful, will resolve the underlying causes of anxiety.

Lobsang Rapgay Ph.D.

How we see, hear, and think about what we experience within and outside ourselves determines who we are and how we relate to the world.  Disorders such as anxiety not only interfere with but also impair these processes, creating a distorted view of our internal and external worlds.

According to many researchers, working memory is the most important of the perceptual and cognitive functions.  Our ability to learn new skills—from driving and golfing to mathematics and meditation—to master attentional skills, meet goals, plan a vital activity, and make decisions and choices all rely heavily on an effective and efficient working memory.

Working memory acts as a sketchpad that enables the performance of the above wide-ranging tasks.  Once the relevant set of information for a task is obtained, that information has to be held in memory, organized, manipulated, and updated so that the task can be performed accordingly.  Take the example of the complex reading span test, which is a test used to measure the size of the working memory space.  Subjects see a set of words depending on how many they can recall correctly.  After each word, a statement is presented for the subject to determine if it is true or false.  The task requires the subject to manipulate, encode, and hold the words in memory while carrying out the competing task of reading the sentence and determining whether it is true or false (Daneman & Carpenter, 1980).

Many complex cognitive processes, such as attention, inhibition of distractors, shifting from one sub-task to another, strategic online monitoring of performance, instant detection of errors and their correction, and the updating of ongoing information are necessary for the effective and efficient completion of working memory tasks.

Increasing evidence shows that anxiety hurts both working memory space and cognitive processes to varying degrees, and adverse effects occur.  Studies have conclusively shown that people with anxiety automatically perceive threats over other stimuli at the expense of crucial ongoing tasks (Bar-Haim et al., 2007).  A person with severe anxiety is also likely to have difficulty separating himself or herself from frightening images and words, preventing him or her from returning to perform the task (Grant et al., 2015).

The instant perceptual bias towards threats in anxiety persists into subsequent cognitive processes.  The bias affects both the amount of verbal and visual-spatial information that working memory can hold, as well as the cognitive processing of the relevant information.  When subjects were tested to determine how many digits they could hold in memory in a complex working memory capacity test, subjects with high anxiety held much fewer digits compared to those with low anxiety (Diamond, 2013).  The capacity to hold verbal information was also a lot less with high anxiety subjects who were made to worry, as compared to those who were not. (Leigh & Hirsch, 2011).  However, numerous studies show that the amount of information held in working memory during the performance of a task determines the degree of impairment caused by anxiety.  When the amount of information held in memory is low to medium, anxiety impairs working memory capacity significantly because the cognitive processes that are not required for carrying out the task are available for processing threat distractors.  However, when the load is high, anxiety impairs the capacity of working memory much less since all of the resources are consumed by processing the high load of information, and little to no working memory is available to attend to the distracting threats (Derakshan, N., et.al., 2009).

Robust evidence shows that anxiety impairs each of the specific cognitive processes responsible for carrying out the multicomponent tasks of working memory.  Studies show that people with elevated anxiety are not able to inhibit threatening distractors as compared to neutral stimuli during a cognitive function.  They fail to disengage from the threat and return to the task (Grant et al., 2015).  Other studies show that people with elevated anxiety fail or take a long time to shift from one cognitive set to another during the performance of a working memory task (Ansari & Derakshan, 2011).  Given that working memory tasks consist of multicomponent sets of a task, the ability to readily move from one to another is critical for the correct and rapid performance of the task.

Impairment of attention, inhibition, and shifting interferes with the functions of monitoring and updating.  Constant updating of sub-tasks during the performance of any learning and goal-oriented task prevents awareness of errors (Folstein & Petten, 2008).  Strategic online monitoring of performance at each of the various sub-stages of a task aims to identify the mistakes early on so they can be corrected instantly.  Undetected errors compromise the performance of the subsequent tasks.  Instant detection and correction of errors help to conserve and distribute the limited cognitive resources and their allocation to subsequent sub-tasks.  Studies show that people with clinical anxiety tend to have elevated error-related negativity (ERN), a specific evoked response potential (ERP)—a method used to aggregate brain activity in a particular region of the brain—that measures error and its correction (Gehring et al., 1993).

Updating is a process of continuously adding new relevant information to existing ones according to the demands of the sub-task or when unforeseen situations occur during the ongoing performance of a task.  During this process, the data undergoes multiple transformations and substitutions.  The ability to update effectively has been shown to be a significant predictor of higher mental skills, such as fluid intelligence.

Based on these findings, researchers have developed two major treatment protocols, namely attentional bias modification (ABM) and cognitive bias modification (CBM) (Amir et al., 2009), (Macleod et al., 2012).  These protocols involve the manipulation of attention away from threatening stimuli to the neutral.  Studies show that both protocols demonstrate small to moderate effects.  However, they also appear to be less effective than existing empirically proven treatments for anxiety.  Moreover, researchers have raised questions about whether training an individual to move away from a threatening stimulus increases avoidance behavior, which has been shown to increase anxiety in the long run.

Researchers have suggested that since attentional bias to threat is sustained for long periods, replacing the brief 500-millisecond presentations, used in ABM and CBM to move attention away from the threat, with more extended periods of presentations is likely to produce more effective results.  However, anxiety disorders are complex and often have roots in stressful and conflictual early childhood environmental and developmental conditions.  Without addressing these factors, it seems unlikely that prolonging the period of presentation and moving attention away from the threat, even though helpful, will resolve the underlying causes of anxiety.

How we see, hear, and think about what we experience within and outside ourselves determines who we are and how we relate to the world.  Disorders such as anxiety not only interfere with but also impair these processes, creating a distorted view of our internal and external worlds.

According to many researchers, working memory is the most important of the perceptual and cognitive functions.  Our ability to learn new skills—from driving and golfing to mathematics and meditation—to master attentional skills, meet goals, plan a vital activity, and make decisions and choices all rely heavily on an effective and efficient working memory.

Working memory acts as a sketchpad that enables the performance of the above wide-ranging tasks.  Once the relevant set of information for a task is obtained, that information has to be held in memory, organized, manipulated, and updated so that the task can be performed accordingly.  Take the example of the complex reading span test, which is a test used to measure the size of the working memory space.  Subjects see a set of words depending on how many they can recall correctly.  After each word, a statement is presented for the subject to determine if it is true or false.  The task requires the subject to manipulate, encode, and hold the words in memory while carrying out the competing task of reading the sentence and determining whether it is true or false (Daneman & Carpenter, 1980).

Many complex cognitive processes, such as attention, inhibition of distractors, shifting from one sub-task to another, strategic online monitoring of performance, instant detection of errors and their correction, and the updating of ongoing information are necessary for the effective and efficient completion of working memory tasks.

Increasing evidence shows that anxiety hurts both working memory space and cognitive processes to varying degrees, and adverse effects occur.  Studies have conclusively shown that people with anxiety automatically perceive threats over other stimuli at the expense of crucial ongoing tasks (Bar-Haim et al., 2007).  A person with severe anxiety is also likely to have difficulty separating himself or herself from frightening images and words, preventing him or her from returning to perform the task (Grant et al., 2015).

The instant perceptual bias towards threats in anxiety persists into subsequent cognitive processes.  The bias affects both the amount of verbal and visual-spatial information that working memory can hold, as well as the cognitive processing of the relevant information.  When subjects were tested to determine how many digits they could hold in memory in a complex working memory capacity test, subjects with high anxiety held much fewer digits compared to those with low anxiety (Diamond, 2013).  The capacity to hold verbal information was also a lot less with high anxiety subjects who were made to worry, as compared to those who were not. (Leigh & Hirsch, 2011).  However, numerous studies show that the amount of information held in working memory during the performance of a task determines the degree of impairment caused by anxiety.  When the amount of information held in memory is low to medium, anxiety impairs working memory capacity significantly because the cognitive processes that are not required for carrying out the task are available for processing threat distractors.  However, when the load is high, anxiety impairs the capacity of working memory much less since all of the resources are consumed by processing the high load of information, and little to no working memory is available to attend to the distracting threats (Derakshan, N., et.al., 2009).

Robust evidence shows that anxiety impairs each of the specific cognitive processes responsible for carrying out the multicomponent tasks of working memory.  Studies show that people with elevated anxiety are not able to inhibit threatening distractors as compared to neutral stimuli during a cognitive function.  They fail to disengage from the threat and return to the task (Grant et al., 2015).  Other studies show that people with elevated anxiety fail or take a long time to shift from one cognitive set to another during the performance of a working memory task (Ansari & Derakshan, 2011).  Given that working memory tasks consist of multicomponent sets of a task, the ability to readily move from one to another is critical for the correct and rapid performance of the task.

Impairment of attention, inhibition, and shifting interferes with the functions of monitoring and updating.  Constant updating of sub-tasks during the performance of any learning and goal-oriented task prevents awareness of errors (Folstein & Petten, 2008).  Strategic online monitoring of performance at each of the various sub-stages of a task aims to identify the mistakes early on so they can be corrected instantly.  Undetected errors compromise the performance of the subsequent tasks.  Instant detection and correction of errors help to conserve and distribute the limited cognitive resources and their allocation to subsequent sub-tasks.  Studies show that people with clinical anxiety tend to have elevated error-related negativity (ERN), a specific evoked response potential (ERP)—a method used to aggregate brain activity in a particular region of the brain—that measures error and its correction (Gehring et al., 1993).

Updating is a process of continuously adding new relevant information to existing ones according to the demands of the sub-task or when unforeseen situations occur during the ongoing performance of a task.  During this process, the data undergoes multiple transformations and substitutions.  The ability to update effectively has been shown to be a significant predictor of higher mental skills, such as fluid intelligence.

Based on these findings, researchers have developed two major treatment protocols, namely attentional bias modification (ABM) and cognitive bias modification (CBM) (Amir et al., 2009), (Macleod et al., 2012).  These protocols involve the manipulation of attention away from threatening stimuli to the neutral.  Studies show that both protocols demonstrate small to moderate effects.  However, they also appear to be less effective than existing empirically proven treatments for anxiety.  Moreover, researchers have raised questions about whether training an individual to move away from a threatening stimulus increases avoidance behavior, which has been shown to increase anxiety in the long run.

Researchers have suggested that since attentional bias to threat is sustained for long periods, replacing the brief 500-millisecond presentations, used in ABM and CBM to move attention away from the threat, with more extended periods of presentations is likely to produce more effective results.  However, anxiety disorders are complex and often have roots in stressful and conflictual early childhood environmental and developmental conditions.  Without addressing these factors, it seems unlikely that prolonging the period of presentation and moving attention away from the threat, even though helpful, will resolve the underlying causes of anxiety.

Who The Hell Am I & Why Bother Reading My Posts?

HEYLO… call me Mina, or Amelia. Here is a picture of a baby alpaca I just got, that is made from REAL F’N BABY ALPACA FUR! (Her name is Bettie Page).

Anyways, I currently am living in Portland, Oregon with my boyfriend & my dog. PROUD DOG MOM ALL DAY. (his name happens to be Fox). 



*this is called a sploot, if you didn’t know. –>

I work on a vineyard as a “Tasting Room Associate.” The irony in this is that we moved all the way to Oregon because I was accepted into a doctorate program with a focus on substance abuse. SoOoOo… a 180 in the whole career thing.

I’m from the East Coast ~ New York & Massachusetts, but Cape Cod is where I grew up. I lived in New Orleans for 5 years for undergrad have a degree in Psychology.

 

I am no pro but I have seen some shit. I have a list of different psychological diagnoses & feel like the poster child for Big Pharma at times. I decided to start a blog after a failed suicide attempt that I swore I’d keep a secret… it is cathartic, but heavy. Really heavy. I never sleep, don’t leave my house without my xanax, and try to avoid small talk like the plague. Buttttt we’re all just getting by & that’s what this is all about. 

I grew up in and around addiction, and have struggled and continue to struggle with an addictive AF personality. I used to hate the saying “one day at a time,” I don’t anymore. I haven’t struggled with any significant substance .issues since 2011, but it’s always there.

Most of the relationships that I stay in turned out to be toxic, with the exception of my boyfriend now. He is the fkn best, and never judges or manipulates. I don’t deserve him.

I am a firm believer of using Cannabis …..for anything, really. So there’s that.

….I don’t really have an answer about why you should read stuff that I share. Maybe because I just want to spread the word about living honestly in the lens of mental illness but still making it through, and make 0 bucks typing these words. Zilch. That’s not the point.

I’ll share more later! It got weird talking about myself so much.

img_8022

*Me as a child. Yes, I’m serious. I also had to wear headgear at night around this time.
& yes, that’s pleather.

Here’s What We Actually Know About CBD Oil And Anxiety

See Author Article Here
By  TAMIM ALNUWEIRI

Over the last few years, cannabis has (slowly) started going through a transformation as it becomes destigmatized and increasingly legalized around the country. There’s more information, research, and interest in it than ever before, and one of the buzziest aspects of the booming cannabis industry is a compound it contains called cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD. The phytocannabinoid, which was discovered in 1940, can be found in many plants but is most commonly extracted these days from cannabis and hemp.

We’re still in the early stages of understanding the full potential, side effects, and benefits of CBD. Or, as J. H. Atkinson, MD, of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diegotold us earlier this year: “There is very little data from rigorous scientific research on the therapeutic effects of CBD.” That said, Dr. Atkinson did go on to say that some of the early research does show that CBD could be beneficial in treating anxiety.

Still, finding out what’s real and what’s false about CBD oil and anxiety can be difficult. To clear up some of the confusion, I spoke to Brooke Alpert, RD, a holistic cannabis practitioner, and Cayla Rosenblum, a healthcare informatics specialist at PotBotics, on the topic to see what experts know (and don’t) about the cannabidiol and mental health.

The first thing they both tell me is that should you have anxiety, you should always speak to a qualified medical and mental health professional before incorporating new supplements or products into your routine. There aren’t any known downsides to taking CBD if you have anxiety, at this point, but “the dangers of CBD as a treatment plan comes from patients who take this treatment plan upon themselves” Rosenblum says. So proper oversight is a must.

Beyond that, “since the oversight of CBD products is not as strict as many other pharmaceuticals on the market, it is imperative that patients are well informed about the product they are using and the exact cannabinoids within the products” Rosenblum says adding that things may become more clear and regulated now that CBD products have been legalized.

Here is everything the pros know about CBD oil and anxiety so far.

cbd oil and anxietyPIN IT
Photo: Stocksy/Marti Sans

1. WE’RE IN THE VERY EARLY STAGES OF RESEARCH

Because of the red tape surrounding cannabis, the research currently available on all aspects and compounds is somewhat limited. Most of the clinical trials and studies that have been executed so far have been done on mice and rats or small sample sizes of human subjects.

To prove “a relationship between CBD use and positive benefits on anxiety treatment, the medical community still needs more large scale randomized clinical trials using CBD. However, with new legislation legalizing hemp and CBD products, it is to be expected that these much-needed, large-scale trials will be conducted soon, providing even more clinically based evidence” Rosenblum says.

2. RESEARCH SHOWS A CONNECTION BETWEEN CBD AND SEROTONIN

A study published in 2016 found that CBD has a noticeable impact on serotonin levels. Alpert explains that the study demonstrates that CBD could work “similar to how SSRIs work by preventing serotonin from being reabsorbed in the brain, allowing for more of that feel good hormone to be present.”

The study, however, does have a major caveat, which is that it was conducted on mice and not humans. Additional studies using human trials have been inconclusive. A study published in 2018 found that CBD can, in fact, behave somewhat like an anti-depressant but only when there are certain levels of serotonin found in the central nervous system.

3. CBD COULD EXPAND THE HIPPOCAMPUS

Another study with promising results (though conducted on mice) found an interesting and beneficial relationship between CBD and the hippocampus. The research published in 2013 showed that “CBD can stimulate neurogenesis, or the generation of new neurons, in the area of the brain associated with anxiety. More neurons mean a bigger hippocampus, which is associated with better moods,” Alpert explains.

4. IT COULD BE ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY

In 2011 a small study was conducted on two groups of people, patients with a generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) who had never undergone treatment before, and those without a social anxiety disorder. The study examined how CBD affected their social anxiety with promising positive results. “In both the social anxiety disorder and healthy subject groups, when tested with the CBD treatment, a large positive difference in the reduction of stress measures were seen in both groups. It was indicated that even in the healthy control group, the stress measurement levels were almost abolished in the CBD treatment group,” Rosenblum says.

How To Help A Friend Who’s Suicidal Without Sacrificing Your Own Mental Health

See Author Link Here

As of 2017, the United States alone saw an estimated 1.3 million suicide attempts. Needless to say, suicide, often misunderstood and stigmatized, is a desperately urgent issue in America—and not solely for the people battling it firsthand. Supporting a suicidal friend can be a taxing, often frightening, stressful, and heartbreaking experience. But, being the best support system possible requires you to put yourself and your own needs first.

Easier said than done, though. As any caring and thoughtful friend would be, you’re likely worried about the wellness and safety of the person who you suspect to be in crisis. This situation can lead to bouts of self-doubt (“Am I doing and saying the right things?” or “Am I making things worse somehow?”), but Christine Moutier, MD, chief medical officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, says to trust your instincts. “Asking about suicide will not make someone suicidal if they do not already have those thoughts. Usually people feel relieved to share, especially if you are respectful and compassionate,” she says.

While you should open the lines of communication by asking your friend what they need, know what your own boundaries are, says Dese’Rae L. Stage, suicide awareness activist and creator of Live Through This. “If you’re not in a position where you can help, be honest. Say, ‘I’m not doing too well myself, but here’s a way we can find you help.” Going this route is not only best for you and your own sense of wellness, but it can also make you more approachable to your friend. “It shows how much you truly care about your friend and also allows you to be human and acknowledge you don’t have all the answers either,” says therapist Amanda E. White, MA, LPC, adding that this dialogue can come as a relief to someone who is suicidal, because so many people tend to walk on eggshells around them.

“If you’re not in a position where you can help, be honest. Say, ‘I’m not doing too well myself, but here’s a way we can find you help.” —Dese’Rae L. Stage, suicide awareness activist

Another option for helping your friend without sacrificing yourself is to call in additional support. Stage suggests tapping other friends, especially if you are in a tight-knit group, to make it a team effort of sorts. “Take shifts if you can,” Stage says. “See what [your friend] needs. Are they having trouble in their living space? Do they need help with laundry or dishes? Do they need someone to sit there and watch TV with them and order a pizza? Do they need to get out? [Helping with] things like that are good starters.”

If that arrangement—or any other, for that matter—doesn’t work for you, one thing that certainly can is honesty. Tell your friend you are there in the capacity you can be, whatever that may be, and that you love them. “Let them know they’re supported, even if you can’t necessarily be the one to do it,” Stage says. When you’re having this chat, or any conversation around suicide, it’s best to be direct, open, and a good listener. “People who are suicidal just need to be heard and validated. Even if you don’t agree with them, just say, ‘I hear you, and that sounds really hard.’”

“Focusing on your own health and wellness is important when you are trying to support someone in your life. If you are not well, you won’t be able to be a support to someone else who is struggling.” —Christine Moutier, MD

Dr. Moutier echoes that your time and attention alone can be a huge help. “Know that by simply caring and offering a listening ear and a feeling of support, you are providing them with everything a friend should.”

That said, you yourself may benefit from talking through this ordeal with someone who can guide, support, listen to you. “You are not alone—whether you’re the one struggling or the friend supporting them.” says Dr. Moutier, who says seeking therapy or support groups could be a smart avenue to explore for self-preservation. “Focusing on your own health and wellness is important when you are trying to support someone in your life. If you are not well, you won’t be able to be a support to someone else who is struggling.” In addition to seeking counseling for yourself, she recommends getting regular exercise, eating healthy foods, “and doing whatever you can do reduce your own stress.”

To be your best self—for the sake of your own well-being and ability to be source of support for a friend in crisis—you must always take care of yourself. And doing so, White says, is anything but selfish. “The most important thing is to make sure you are spending time with people who empower you and provide you with energy and love.”

If you or someone you love is suicidal, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8755 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

How To Cope With Addiction When We Also Have Depression

See Author Article Here

When we think of addiction, our thoughts tend to turn to drug and alcohol addiction but addiction can relate to numerous different things; drugs, alcohol, food, exercise, pornography, gaming, social media, tattoos, self-harm, gambling, shopping – anything that we feel as though we’re not in control of, and has an impact on our mood and behaviours. Addiction can be incredibly difficult to cope with, particularly when the things we’re addicted to are often readily available. Depression and addiction can go hand in hand. Addiction can help us to cope with depression, but equally, depression can be caused or worsened by the things we’re addicted to.

Depression: Coping With Addiction
IDENTIFY TRIGGERS
In terms of addiction, triggers are any emotional or environmental factors that cause us to feel as though we need to use our addiction. It could be related to people, places, things, times of the year, or something else. Working out what our triggers are can take time, but once we know what they are, we can avoid them or learn ways to manage them.

HIGH-RISK SITUATIONS
High-risk situations are similar to triggers, but rather than being a specific ‘thing’, such as ‘seeing a person walking a dog’, they’re specific situations. This could be something like Christmas, seeing family, or getting a piece of negative feedback at work. Sometimes these situations can be difficult to spot until we’re in them, so it can be helpful to make a note when a situation causes us to feel like we need our addiction.

Once we identify these situations, we can make a plan for how to cope with them without turning to our addiction.

For example, if one of our high-risk situations is ‘seeing my auntie’, we might choose to see them less often, only see them in the company of other friends/family, and invite a friend to stay over for the night whenever we do see them, so that we’re not having to cope alone. We could also note down any alternative coping mechanisms we could use, so that we don’t have to think about them ‘in the moment’, and can just refer to our notes. It’s often helpful to write down a couple of different ideas because sometimes our first or second ideas aren’t possible or don’t work.

Depression: Coping With Addiction
CLICK TO TWEET

WORKING OUR HOW OUR ADDICTION HELPS US
If our addiction didn’t help us on some level, we wouldn’t keep using it. Something that can be really key when coping with addiction is working out how it helps us and then finding a healthy coping mechanism to replace it. It can sometimes be helpful to use the acronym ‘Hungry Angry Lonely Tired (HALT)‘ when thinking about the need that we’re filling, as these are common emotions associated with addiction.

ALTERNATIVE COPING MECHANISMS
Having a list of coping mechanisms that we can use when we want to turn to our addiction is helpful. We’re all different, and we all turn to our addictions for different reasons, so we will find that different coping mechanisms work for different people. As an alternative to our addiction, we could try things like watching TV, reading, walking, talking to a friend, drawing, writing, painting, listening to music, listening to podcasts, doing some breathing exercises, ripping up sheets of paper, drawing on ourselves, running, cleaning, self-soothing, doing some puzzles, singing, hugging a pet, dancing, playing with play-doh or contacting a helpline. Sometimes we’ll have to try a coping mechanism a few times before we can get it to work for us – practice makes perfect!

REMINDERS
There are times when we don’t see the point in fighting our addiction. It feels too hard. We’re too tired. There’s no point because we can’t do it so why even bother trying?!

At times like these, we have no interest in reaching out for support, or in using healthy coping mechanisms.

These times are very ‘high risk’, in terms of falling back into our addiction. Having reminders of why we don’t want to go there can help us to keep going. This could be in the form of photos on our phone, on the wall, or in our purse or wallet. We might have lists of ‘reasons to keep going’, or ‘things we want to do once we’re up to it’. There might have been a time when we had a particularly amazing day, and we might have a momento from that day that we can hold. A specific smell or taste could take us back to happier times that we’re hoping to replicate at some point in the future. Keeping little reminders in our house, bag, or coat pocket, can help us to keep going at times when we want to return to our addiction.

REFLECT
There are times when things go really well, and we feel like we’re beating our addiction. At other times, things don’t go so well, and it can feel as though our addiction is beating us.

It’s important to remember that a lapse is not the same as a relapse. Recovery is not a straight line. Whether things go right, or wrong, it’s important to reflect and learn from them.

If we’ve managed a difficult situation without turning to our addiction, then that’s wonderful progress! How did we do it? What coping mechanisms did we use? Is there anything that could be helpful to note down so that we know to try it again in the future?

If we’ve struggled through a difficult situation and turned to out addiction, then we haven’t failed, we’ve just had a wobble. Recovery is a learning curve, and we can learn as much (if not more) from our mistakes as from our successes. What went wrong this time? Was there a trigger that we weren’t expecting, or a high-risk situation that we didn’t know would be high-risk? Did anything go right? Can we think of anything we could do differently in future? Sometimes we have to try a coping mechanism a few times before we can get it to work. At other times, we might have tried a coping mechanism that didn’t work for us at all, so it’s not one that we want to try again.

This reflection can be really important because it can help us to keep moving forward. Some of us might find it helpful to journal this sort of thing.

Depression: Coping With Addiction
HONESTY IS IMPORTANT
One of the most important things when it comes to addiction is honesty. Honesty to others, and honesty to ourselves. Lying to ourselves and others is likely to cause a lot of problems, so even when it’s really difficult, it’s important to try and tell the truth.

SUPPORT SYSTEM
We don’t have to cope with addiction alone. Addiction can be incredibly strong, so we need to try and build up a strong support system to fight it with. Our support system doesn’t need to be massive, but it can be helpful to have a couple of friends or family members or organisations we can turn to when we’re struggling. Sometimes, it can be dangerous to stop an addiction ‘cold turkey’, so it’s often a good idea to reach out for some professional support on top of the support we get from our loved ones. We might also find that some medication, therapy or counselling from professionals is something that we need.

There are times when we struggle to let people help us. We might feel as though we don’t deserve it or we’re being a burden – but we do deserve support, and in the same way that if one of our friends were struggling, we’d want to support them, our friends will probably want to support us. There are times when it can be hard to reach out for support because we don’t have any hope, but there’s nothing wrong with letting other people hold our hope for a little while until we’re able to hope again.

SUPPORT GROUPS
On top of support from our friends, family, and professionals, we might find that support groups with others who have experienced similar addictions to us can be comforting and can help us to cope. Sometimes being around others who’ve experienced similar things to us can help us to feel less alone, and can give us some hope of things improving. There are different support groups for different addictions including alcoholics anonymous, narcotics anonymous, national self-harm network, sex addicts anonymous, overeaters anonymous, Beat support groups, on-line gamers anonymous, and gamblers anonymous.

Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.

Which Mental Illness Is Most Disabling?

Psychology Today Link Here

While there is no consensus on the exact definition of disability (especially psychological disability), there is greater recognition these days that, like physical disease, psychological conditions can cause functional impairment and dysfunction—some more so than others. In a paper, published in the November issue of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Edlund et al. conclude that among the 15 mental health conditions examined, mood disorders (e.g., depression) are associated with the greatest functional impairment and disability.1

The Mental Health Surveillance Study
Data for the present research came from the Mental Health Surveillance Study (MHSS). The MHSS is a sub-sample of 2008-2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual survey of non-institutionalized US civilians 12 years or older. MHSS, however, includes only individuals aged 18 and over.

For the Mental Health Surveillance Study, researchers conducted phone interviews with participants, utilizing the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-TR. Of the original NSDUH 2008-2012 sample of 220,000 adults, 5,653 completed the MHSS interview (48% men; 67% White, 14% Latino/Hispanic, and 12% Black).

Using these interviews, researchers attempted to determine if participants met the criteria for any of the following 15 psychiatric conditions:

Mood disorders (major depressive disorder, mania, and dysthymic disorder), anxiety disorders (post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, specific phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder), alcohol use disorder, illicit drug use disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, adjustment disorder, and psychotic symptoms.

Other conditions (e.g., eating disorders) were not examined because of their low prevalence in the sample.

Three measures of disability
Functional impairment was assessed using three measures (modified for this investigation):

Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF)
Days-out-of-role (DOR)
World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS)
Scores for GAF range from 0 to 100 (higher means better functioning). GAF scores are based on both functional impairment and symptom severity (whichever happens to be worse).

StockSnap/Pixabay
Source: StockSnap/Pixabay
Unlike GAF, which is determined by clinical judgment and thus has a subjective element, WHODAS and DOR are based strictly on objective criteria and the patient’s responses.

DOR measures the number of days in the past year when an individual could not function at all because of mental health issues.

WHODAS assesses cognitive abilities (e.g., memory, concentration), social relations, social participation, self-care, and ability to do one’s duties (whether related to work, home, or school). In this study, a 0-24 score range was used, with the higher score meaning worse functioning.

Mental illness and disability: Results
Descriptive statistics revealed the sample’s average…

GAF = 74.1 (median 75)
WHODAS = 3.5 (median 1)
DOR = 6.7 (median 0)
Researchers performed a series of regression analyses, and concluded that among 15 mental health conditions, mood disorders were associated with the greatest functional impairment; anxiety disorders, with intermediate functional impairment; and substance use disorders, with less functional impairment.

For instance, in the fully adjusted model, the greatest decrease in GAF scores was seen in psychotic symptoms (22), followed by depression (16), and mania (13). In WHODAS modeling, mania (9), depression (6), and social phobia (5) had the largest coefficients. And, in the final analysis, only depression, adjustment disorder, and panic disorder, had a significant association with DOR.

These results are comparable with those of a 2007 study, which also included a nationally representative sample, used DOR, and employed similar statistical methods. In that investigation, mood disorders resulted in higher days-out-of-role than most other disorders examined.2

Commentary on use of disability measures
Aside from suggesting that mood disorders are associated with the greatest disability among conditions examined, the present investigation highlights the importance of using multiple measures in determining disability.1

Employing a single measure paints a misleading picture. For instance, as mentioned above, the median value for days-out-of-role was zero. Indeed, 70% of participants with one mental disorder, and over half of those with two disorders, had zero days-out-of-role. Only 3/15 disorders were statistically linked with DOR scores (8/15 with WHODAS; all 15 with GAF).

Therefore, DOR was the least sensitive of the three measures used. If we were to rely only on days-out-of-role numbers, we would miss significant dysfunction and disability.

darkerstar/Pixabay
Source: darkerstar/Pixabay
While GAF is likely the most sensitive of the three measures, it does not always assess functional status. As mentioned, GAF scores depend on functional impairment and symptom severity; when there is disagreement between the two values, GAF score is determined by the worse of the two. For instance, if symptoms are severe but functioning is okay, GAF scores will still be low.

Thus, it is important to use complementary measures of disability; doing so allows clinicians to achieve greater accuracy in determining a patient’s needs and in monitoring a patient’s progress. Use of complementary measures can also inform public policy and resource allocation. Physicians, politicians, and the public cannot make informed decisions about how to improve functional impairment if they fail to recognize disability in the first place.

Vice: Young Farmers Are Cashing in on Hemp to Live Happier

In recent years, media attention has attributed the anxiety, depression, and suicide among farmers to factors beyond their control. Could growing cannabis for CBD turn the tide?

See Vice Article Here

 

PTSD And Complex PTSD: What Happens When You’ve Lived In A Psychological War Zone

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Normally when we think about “PTSD,” our minds jump to those who’ve been in combat. While it is certainly an issue for those who’ve been in real-life war zones, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD isn’t just exclusive to war veterans. In fact, many survivors of childhood emotional neglect, physical or emotional abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape can suffer from the symptoms of PTSD or Complex PTSD if they endured long-standing, ongoing and inescapable trauma.

These individuals face combat and battle in invisible war zones that are nonetheless traumatic and potentially damaging. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 8 million people can develop PTSD every year and women are twice as likely than men to experience these symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms of PTSD and Complex PTSD?
There are four types of symptoms that are part of PTSD and some additional symptoms for Complex PTSD as listed below. Complex PTSD, which develops due to chronic, ongoing trauma, is more likely to occur due to long-term domestic violence or childhood sexual and/or physical or emotional abuse. Around 92% of people who meet the criteria for Complex PTSD also meet the criteria for PTSD (Roth, et. al 1997).

It is recommended that you seek professional support if you’re struggling with any of these symptoms, especially if your symptoms last longer than one month, cause great impairment or distress and/or disrupt your ability to function in everyday life. Only a licensed mental health professional can diagnose you and provide an appropriate treatment plan.

1. Reliving and Re-experiencing the Trauma
PTSD: Memories, reoccurring nightmares, persistent unwanted and upsetting thoughts, physical reactivity, vivid flashbacks of the original event can all be a part of PTSD. You may also encounter triggers in everyday life – whether it be something you see, smell, hear, that brings you back to the original event. This can look different for every survivor. A sexual assault survivor might hear the voice of someone who resembles her assailant and find herself reliving the terror of being violated. A domestic violence victim might find herself being triggered by someone raising their voice. Triggers can be seemingly minor or overwhelmingly major, depending on the severity and longevity of the trauma endured.

Complex PTSD: According to trauma therapist Pete Walker (2013), you may also suffer from emotional flashbacks where you ‘regress’ back into the emotional state of the original event and you behave maladaptively to the situation as a result. Walker states that for people with Complex PTSD, individuals develop four “F” responses when they are triggered by emotional flashbacks: they may fight, flee, fawn (seek to please) or freeze. These responses are protective, but they may end up further harming the survivor because the survivor might fail to enforce their boundaries or may use excessive force in protecting themselves.

2. Avoidance of Situations That Remind You Of The Event
PTSD: You go to great lengths to avoid anything that might potentially trigger memories or feelings associated with the traumatic events. If you were in an abusive relationship, for example, you might isolate yourself from others or stop dating in an attempt to avoid being harmed by others.

If you were raped, you might avoid situations where any form of physical contact might arise, whether it be getting a massage or being affectionate with a romantic partner. If you suffered bullying, you might avoid places where group activities are likely to happen, such as large parties or even certain careers that might require high levels of social interaction. This avoidance can include trying to avoid trauma-related thoughts, too; you might keep yourself persistently busy so you don’t have to face any thoughts regarding what you went through.

Complex PTSD: Throughout your life, you may go to excessive lengths to avoid abandonment and resort to people-pleasing or “fawning” behavior. This might result in you having trouble setting boundaries with others, standing up for yourself when your rights are violated and becoming enmeshed in codependent relationships. You might be hypersensitive to signs of disapproval or micro-signals of abandonment.

As therapist Pete Walker (2013) writes, “The Abandonment Depression is the complex painful childhood experience that is reconstituted in an emotional flashback. It is a return to the sense of overwhelm, hopelessness and helplessness that afflicts the abused and/or emotionally abandoned child. At the core of the abandonment depression is the abandonment melange – the terrible emotional mix of fear and shame that coalesces around the deathlike feelings of depression that afflict an abandoned child.”

3. Skewed Belief Systems and Negative Perceptions, Including Self-Blame and Toxic Shame
PTSD: There is a shift in your belief systems and self-perception after the traumatic events. You might suffer from low self-esteem, depression, excessive ruminations, negative self-talk, memory loss related to the trauma, decreased interest in activities you used to enjoy and a heightened sense of self-blame.

Complex PTSD: Individuals with Complex PTSD may struggle with guilt, a sense of toxic shame and feeling different from others or even defective in some way. They may have a heighted “inner critic” that develops as a result of any verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse they went through in their lifetime. This inner critic might judge everything you do or say, prevent you from taking risks or pursuing your goals, can lead to a sense of learned helplessness and can often mimic the voices of any abusers you encountered, especially if you had toxic parents.

4. Hyperarousal and Hypervigilance
PTSD: You develop an excessive sense of alarm concerning your surroundings. You may experience a heightened startle reaction, increased irritability or aggression, engage in risky behavior, and have difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

Complex PTSD: Survivors with Complex PTSD can struggle with emotional regulation, suicidal thoughts and self-isolation. They may engage in self-harm, develop substance abuse addictions, and have a hard time trusting themselves and their intuition. They may end up in unhealthy, abusive relationships in what trauma expert Judith Herman calls “a repeated search for a rescuer” (Herman, 1997). They may have a deep mistrust of others but also a heightened attunement to changes in their environment as well as a hyperfocus on changes in microexpressions, shifts in tone of voice or gestures in others.

Treatment for PTSD and Complex PTSD
Treatment for PTSD and Complex PTSD requires highly skilled therapy with a trauma-informed and validating counselor who can help guide you safely through your triggers. Based on research, effective treatments can include some form of trauma-focused psychotherapy such as prolonged exposure therapy (PE) which involves facing the negative feelings you’ve been avoiding, cognitive processing therapy (CPT) which teaches the client to reframe their thoughts about the trauma, or Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy which involves processing the trauma by following a back-and-forth movement of light or sound. You can learn more about treatments for PTSD here.

Keep in mind that not every treatment is suitable for every survivor and should always be discussed with a counselor. Supplemental remedies may include trauma-focused yoga and meditation to heal parts of the brain affected by trauma and release trapped emotions in the body (van der Kolk, 2015).

Although PTSD is manageable with the right support and resources, recovery from Complex PTSD is admittedly a more lifelong process as it deals with trauma that usually originated from childhood, further exacerbated by traumas in adulthood. Grieving the losses associated with the trauma or traumas experienced is an essential part of the journey.

It is important to remember that healing has no deadline and that recovery is a cyclical, rather than linear, process. Every survivor recovers in their own way and is worthy of the support it takes to get to the other side of healing. TC mark