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OT - Women Wednesday

Aniki's picture

Welcome to Wednesday, Stalkers. My apologies for my long absence. Let’s talk about that…

I suffer from both anxiety and depression. To add to that, I’ve also been on a bit of a merry-go-round with my physical health. Mental and physical health are like balancing scales. Did you know that when one is ‘off’ is can affect the other?

There is a strong connection between the mind and body. When you’re in physical pain, you may not be able to do the activities you enjoy, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. In turn, mental health issues can take a toll on your physical health – such as causing sleep disturbances (insomnia) or impairing your immune system (frequent illnesses). When I divorced my psychotic, abusive exh, I suffered from “emotional diarrhea” for months. You read that righr: MONTHS.

Depression and anxiety affect your ability to participate in healthy behaviors and activities. This can result in problems with physical health, such as chronic diseases, and can decrease a person’s ability to participate in treatment and recovery.

So what do you do when someone you care about is suffering?

  1. UNDERSTAND THAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.
    Even if you have been in a mental health crisis before, THEY ARE NOT ALL THE SAME. We all know what it’s like when someone says they totally get your problem while you sit there, screaming inside your head, “NO YOU DO NOT!!!” So be sympathetic, listen, and HEAR, but realize there is no way you can truly know what’s going on in another person’s mind because you are not in their head. Be the person they can talk to and the shoulder they can cry on – NOT the person who tells them what to do.
     
  2. LISTEN!
    And I do mean LISTEN. Don’t change the subject. Do NOT dismiss their concerns. Do NOT tell them what to do: “You just need to exercise!” Yeah, EFF OFF. I’m too bloody depressed to MOVE, much less squeeze my fat arse into spandex/lycra and jiggle around the gym. And when a friend trusts you with personal information, DO NOT go around sharing that information with others. That could very well lose you a friend. The exception is talk about suicide (see #5.).
     
  3. YOU CAN’T FIX IT AND IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
    You do not have a bag of fairy dust that you can sprinkle around and fix everything. You can offer love, support, compassion, and understanding. There are times when they don’t feel like enough, but keep it up! Mental health issues are not cured overnight, so don’t expect instant results.
     
  4. KEEP IN FREQUENT CONTACT.
    Let your friend know you are available. Reassure them that you care. It’s okay to say “I’ve been worried about you.” It’s okay to ask “What can I help you with?” It means a lot. Check in on them regularly, whether in person or sending them a text saying, “Just wanted to say Hi”.
     
  5. ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEEK HELP.
    Did you know many people do NOT seek treatment due to the associated stigma? Less than 50% of adults with diagnosable mental illnesses receive treatment. When suicide is mentioned, it’s time to tell a professional and get help! Your friend may be angry with you, but it’s better to face their anger than attend their funeral.

 

Sometimes it means EVERYTHING to someone who is depressed just to know that you care. If you can spend time with them, don’t make it physically/mentally taxing. Watch a comedy movie at home (laughter is the best medicine). Send a text, a little card, a funny comic, a bouquet of wildflowers. Showing them that you care and staying in contact really does help.

 

DISCLAIMER!!! By NO means am I a medical professional. I am someone who suffers from depression and anxiety. I know what has helped me and friends of mine who also suffer, and I know what has p!ssed us off. The one thing you can do to shut us down and shut you out is for you to TELL us what to do, how to act, or to just “get over it”.

Comments

beebeel's picture

Glad too see you back. I hope you know you are very much loved and supported by so many ladies who can relate. ❤

Simpleton21's picture

Welcome Back!!!!!  You were definitely missed!!!!!  Thank you for the tips!  I'm probably guilty of some of these things and didn't even realize it!  I'll be checking myself from now on!

Aniki's picture

Thank you!!!

We usually want to help when our friends are hurting and it can be frustrating when they don't "just snap out of it". Smile

Simpleton21's picture

You're welcome! I was definitely worried about you! 

Oh, I don't expect them to snap out of it.  I've been in a bad place before.  I think I am guilty of saying I understand when I might not fully understand.  Like you said, we have no way of knowing what other's are thinking or going through even if we have suffered ourselves.  I think you gave some good advice on how to be there and support others!  

Aniki's picture

You would be surpised by the number of people who DO expect that. I swear that some people allot themselves a specific period of, for example, mourning, and at the zero hour, they are DONE. We're not all built like that and, frankly, I fail to understand how anyone can put a time limit on how long a person should feel/hurt about something.

Thank you! There are some on here who are so eloquent and insightful. I simply do my best to be understanding and give simple, basic advice. Smile

Simpleton21's picture

Well I do feel like there should be a limit to how long you can carry the poor COD card and being upset about parents divorcing.  Like maybe 25 years is to long....LOL Wink

Mental health, depression, mourning an actual loss....those I'm a bit more understanding of!

Iamwoman's picture

Oh wow Aniki. Welcome back!

I also had diarrhea for 6 months after I divorced my abusive exH. A therapist told me it was a sign of PTSS (post traumatic stress syndrome - once other symptoms  lasted longer than 6 months it became PTSD).

We definitely don’t know EXACTLY what we each are privately going through or have been through, but sometimes small similarities can make us feel less alone and more hopeful.

 

Aniki's picture

It's good to be back!!!

I know that I NEVER divulge 100%... But you're right - small similarities do make us feel less alone and more hopeful!

Dovina's picture

This site missed your funny and interesting blogs. Very happy to log on and see your posts and that you are on the mend. You are going to have to post away to get back to top blogger Wink   Always remember to take good care of yourself.!

Aniki's picture

Dovina, I am terrible about taking care of myself. I always put myself at the bottom of the list.

BTW, I think I'd have to post 2-3 times a day to get back to that! LOL

thinkthrice's picture

Hope you are feeling quite a bit better!  Always look forward to your interesting posts!! ((HUGS))

Biggrin

Aniki's picture

Thank you, thrice. I'm feeling better than I was, but not 100%. The headaches are a b*tch and I keep tripping over my own darn feet.

I'll try to think of something entertaining...

somethingwicked's picture

Anxiety and depression are life shortening .

Your info  is not OT because so many StepParents  after exposure to years of emotional torture or gaslighting at the hands of their supposed loving spouse and awful toxic skids develop a form of PTSD and heightened anxiety with depression.

So your info is timly and applicable .(as usual..)

Smile

But I am so sorry you are living it, Aniki.

 

Aniki's picture

Wicked, what you say is true - they are life shortening.

I was married to a champion gaslighter. It was a bloody nightmare and took me YEARS to get back my confidence. Which is why, when the SDs tried to gaslight me last year, I decided they were (are) dead to me.

But this isn't limited to step-hell. It affects anyone in any situation. I have become an expert at plastering a smile on my face and forcing myself to APPEAR happy-go-lucky. And it usually takes me a full day to recover from that mental/physical expenditure.

WHY do I do that? Because I got tired of being myself and having people downplay my feelings; telling me to just get over it; telling me it's not so bad. Hey, it's bad to ME. I can't solve the problems of the world. And I can't turn off my emotions simply because they become 'inconvenient'. I got (get) fed up with people who have The Answer to my problem. Um, NO. That's YOUR solution and it doesn't work that way for me.

Wicked, I will say that it has p!ssed me off - the people who INSIST that I "just need to get another dog". NO, I BLOODY WELL DO NOT. Don't tell me that another dog will make me feel better. Don't tell me that I won't miss Mr. P when I get another dog. Don't f*cking tell me that my DEPRESSION is because I have aaaaaaaaaall this love to give and I'm cheating a poor dog out of having a Mommy. What in the ever-living hell is THAT BS???

Thank you, hon. You know I adore you! xoxo