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    Community Voices

    Is There Any Help Out There? Please!

    I am 47 years old and have yet to enjoy much of anything in this life. I have CPTSD, Anxiety, Depression, and all coated with psychosis. I have had these my entire life due to childhood sexual abuse and neglect. Then about 6 years ago I went through a series of extremely traumatic events all at the same time. It was too much. I broke. I started seeking treatment about 5 years ago. The national suicide hotline gave me the name of a place for people with no insurance. I am sitting here 5 years later, worse than when I started. I have never seen the same doctor more than once. The medication system they have leaves me without my meds about a week before I get the refill just enough time to be rushed with every suicidal thought there is. Don't get me wrong, my caseworker is so sweet and she's been the only consistency in my treatment. I appreciate that!! She didn't mean it when she said it, but last week she says, "I'll talk to you next month and pretend I have solutions I really don't have.". It disheartened my soul. I can't tell you the number of times I called their nurses hotline telling them I didn't feel ok. Telling them I was scared. Something was terribly wrong, and never a call back at all. I'm so lucky to have a husband that is so sweet, patient, and understanding or I would be dead. 100%. In addition to all of the chaos I deal with in my head, I am a full time caregiver to my mom who has early onset Alzheimers I have a front row ticket watching my mom slowly die. Everyone has long since forgot her. My brother robbed her blind and left her with nothing to care for herself. I made a promise to her I would never leave her. My husband and I are literally all she has. She's living her worst nightmare and I can do nothing to help. She can't even communicate with me anymore. I have to read her body language just to try to guess what she needs. I have phobias that leave me paralyzed for hours at times. My husband juggles work and trying to care for us. We are blessed he loves us and is so awesome. As my mom declines, so do I. I hear locusts 24/7. It was very low when I was a child. I focused on them the summer my sexual abuse began. I hear them so loud now that I am beyond desperate to make them stop. When you add that to all the chaos around me, I'm not sure how I'm still here at all. I have been swaying around that line for a very long time. I have my associates degree in radiology. I put myself through school with 2 kids and no help. All the while battling my mental health. I have worked on 2 presidents campaigns and always strived to make my children proud of who I was. I have a huge heart and have so much I want to do in this world, but I don't want to get out of bed. If someone could see the desperation I feel daily and could help me with treatment, I can repay them. Make payments, something but I can't even get most to even answer the phone. I need to get better so I can help my mom with this last stage of her life. I want so badly to feel life. Feel something other than despair. I have been through things you only see in the movies, most wouldn't have made it this far, yet I'm still here fighting to be a normal person. I'm no one special, but I feel after all the abuse I've endured and pain I've carried for others, I deserve to get better. I'm not asking for sympathy. Others have been thru so much more than me, I'm just begging for help. Is there anyone out there?

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    Community Voices

    Change negative self talk to positive self talk

    Part 1 of 4 Imagine two individuals sitting in stop-and-go traffic at rush hour.

    One perceives himself as trapped, and says such things to himself as “I can’t stand this,” “I’ve got to get out of here,” and “Why did I ever get myself into this commute?” What he feels is #Anxiety , anger, and frustration.

    The other perceives the situation as an opportunity to lie back, relax, and listen to music.

    He says, “I might as well just relax and adjust to the pace of the traffic” or “I can unwind by doing some deep breathing.”

    What he feels is a sense of calm and acceptance.

    In both cases, the situation is exactly the same, but the feelings in response to that situation are vastly different because of each individual’s internal monologue, or self-talk.

    self talk counseling

    self talk counseling

    The truth is that it’s what we say to ourselves in response to any particular situation that mainly determines our mood and feelings.

    Often we say it so quickly and automatically that we don’t even notice, and so we get

    the impression that the external situation “makes” us feel the way we do.

    But it’s really our interpretations and thoughts about what is happening that form the basis of our feelings.

    This sequence can be represented as a timeline:

    In short, you are largely responsible for how you feel (barring physiological determinants, such as illness). This is a profound and very important truth—one that sometimes takes a long time to fully grasp.

    It’s often much easier to blame the way you feel on something or someone outside yourself than to take responsibility for your reactions. Yet it is through your willingness to accept that responsibility that you begin to take charge and have mastery over your life.

    The realization that you are mostly responsible for how you feel is empowering once you fully accept it. It’s one of the most important keys to living a happier, more effective, and #Anxiety -free life.

    #Anxiety and Self-Talk

    People who suffer from #phobias , #PanicAttacks , and general #Anxiety are especially prone to engage in negative self-talk.

    #Anxiety can be generated on the spur of the moment by repeatedly making statements to yourself that begin with the two words “what if.” Any #Anxiety you experience in anticipation of confronting a difficult situation is manufactured out of your own “what-if statements” to yourself. When you decide to avoid a situation altogether, it is probably because of the scary questions you’ve asked yourself: “What if I panic?” “What if I can’t handle it?” “What will other people think if they see me anxious?”

    Just noticing when you fall into “what-if thinking” is the first step toward gaining control over negative self-talk. The real change occurs when you begin to counter and replace negative “what-if statements” with positive, self- supportive statements that reinforce your ability to cope. For example, you might say, “So what,” “These are just thoughts,” “This is just scare-talk,” “I can handle this,” or “I can breathe, let go, and relax.”

    I want you to consider some basic facts about self-talk. Following these facts is a discussion of the different types of self-defeating inner monologues.

    .Types of Negative Self-Talk

    Not all negative self-talk is the same. Human beings are not only diverse but complex, with multifaceted personalities. These facets are sometimes referred to as “subpersonalities.” Our different subpersonalities each play their own distinct role and possess their own voice in the complex workings of consciousness, memory, and dreams.

    Below I’ve outlined four of the more common subpersonality types that tend to be prominent in people who are prone to #Anxiety : the Worrier, the Critic, the Victim, and the Perfectionist.* Since the strength of these inner voices varies for different people, you might find it useful to rank them from strongest to weakest in yourself.

    The Worrier (promotes #Anxiety )

    Characteristics: This usually is the strongest subpersonality in people who are prone to #Anxiety . The Worrier creates #Anxiety by imagining the worst-case scenario.

    It scares you with fantasies of disaster or catastrophe when you imagine confronting something you fear. It also aggravates panic by reacting to the first physical symptoms of a

    Community Voices

    Change negative self talk to positive self talk

    Part 4 of 4 ive, supportive mental habits. Bear in mind that the acquisition of positive mental habits takes the same persistence and practice required for learning new behaviors

    Community Voices

    The Physical Effects of Anxiety

    Part 2 of 2 rs in a social context.
    #PTSD : Traumas are caused by traumatic events such as witnessing killings, a natural disaster, a physical assault, or even a violent crime scene. This is characterized by flashbacks to the events, #Insomnia , anger, and paranoia.
    #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder : In this disorder, people feel the intense desire to perform some particular rituals over and over again. They become obsessed with these rituals which could range from hand-washing to a need for symmetry.
    #phobias#phobias are the irrational fear of some object, situation, or animal. This fear could lead the people who are prone to them to do things that would make them avoid these encounters, even if it interferes with their everyday lives.
    Panic Disorders: This is characterized by a sense of doom and uncontrollable terror. Symptoms include rapid heartbeat rate, sweating, nausea, chest pain, and other fatal effects.
    Effects of #Anxiety on the Body Systems: As you had previously read, something as abstract as #Anxiety can have physical effects. Some effects include a lack of sleep, social isolation, #Nightmares , etc. Here, the effects of #Anxiety will be elaborated on the systems of the body.
    Respiratory System: The change in breathing is probably the first notice of #Anxiety . Breathing becomes rapid and shallow. This is worse for asthmatic patients. Hence, it is advisable to try to do some controlled breathing during #Anxiety attacks.
    Digestive and Excretory Systems: Nausea, vomiting, and stomach aches can result from #Anxiety . In some other people, it is diarrhea or the loss of appetite.
    Central nervous system: The rush of blood to the brain releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and causes accompanying symptoms like dizziness, headaches, and #Depression . Overexposure to stress hormones for a long time has terrible effects on health.
    Immune System: During the build-up of blood pressure in the brain and the release of hormones, one’s immune system could encounter a brief boost. But, when this happens for a long time, it could lead to the numbness of the immune system and vulnerability to diseases and infections.
    Cardiovascular System: #Hypertension , #Hypertension are common effects of #Anxiety attacks. If there is a prior presence of #CardiovascularDisease , #Anxiety leads to an increase in the risk of coronary events.


    #Anxiety has made people lose certain opportunities. But it has also made others prepare well, so much that they gained opportunities. The effects of #Anxiety depend on how this condition is utilized. A proper diagnosis with of the kind of #Anxiety disorder is necessary to be able to treat it. Treatment for this condition may involve medication, counseling, or both in combination. Diagnostic laboratory services can offer solutions to treat this condition.

    Community Voices

    This Chapter

    My husband and I have been married for two and a half years. When we were first dating, I was going through bipolar episodes but we didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. We got engaged and got married. Eventually I got on medication after my first major episode and at that time we had been married 4 months. This was right when Covid hit. Ever since getting out of the hospital 2 yrs ago, I haven’t wanted to go anywhere without my husband- except for the last month or so I’ve made little steps like doing more things independently.i haven’t worked in 2 yrs so I’m not providing. I just feel like the worst wife ever because of my anxieties, phobias, and challenges. Like I’m a kid in an adult body or something….I do not feel as valuable as I once did. I’m extremely insecure and I always seem to need to ask a question while feeling dumb. I wish I was confident and sophisticated and really smart. I wish I wasn’t clumsy and moody all the time.

    # Separation Anxiety # Bipolar Disorder # phobias
    # shame # guilt # Mental Health challenges

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    Community Voices

    Voices and Missing time

    I just had a Psychiatric Assessment and started with a new therapist. I have a bunch of anxiety related conditions, OCD, Phobias, and Complex PTSD and more to be decided. I hear this constant annoying music playing in the distant and occasional voices. They want to know if it is my voice I hear or other people and when it started. Trying to answer their questions has started me realizing that I have missing not forgotten a lot of time in my memories. I don't do emotion, l don't share, I don't trust well. So writing this is very ... uncomfortable. I am at a loss of what to do and what it all means.

    8 people are talking about this
    Janet Coburn

    When You Have Dental Phobia, but Need Teeth Removed

    Tomorrow I’m going under the knife (forceps, pliers, whatever) to get teeth removed. I’ve written before about my severe dental phobia, but this time there is no other solution. My teeth are bad; my gums are bad. Hell, even my breath is bad. For this procedure, I will have IV sedation, which is a great relief. Nitrous oxide has never had any effect on me. I have had IV sedation for a dental procedure once before, so I know it works for me. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, my husband (my emotional support animal) is not even allowed to come into the building or the waiting room. For other, less drastic procedures, he has even been allowed in the treatment room with me, to pat my foot and offer me encouragement. This time he has to wait in the car until the nurse brings me out. That means he stays in the car for up to two hours while I am worked on. I’m glad he has an e-reader and that it’s recently been updated and charged, but still I would prefer a pat on the foot to knowing he’s several doors and a parking space away. Oddly, I was not nearly this fearful when I had two operations (microlaminectomies) on my back a number of years ago. Perhaps that was because the pinched nerve caused me untold physical pain. That was pain I could understand. All I have with my teeth is emotional pain. For now. I’m sure physical pain will come later, after I regain consciousness. My memories of dentists and former dental procedures are not good. There has been both physical and psychic pain, shaming, guilt, assorted bodily reactions, and a creeping physical numbness that had nothing to do with anesthetics. I have been through procedures both with and without IV sedation. I’ve had my wisdom teeth removed, and another tooth removed and replaced with a partial bridge. I had a tooth that broke and I had a tooth bonded in place, designed to get me through a month or two until I could do a reading from my book. Through careful eating, I made it last five years. Now, though, there is no getting out of it. I was unable to get these expensive procedures in the past because of a lack of money. Now I don’t have that excuse. Money has been set aside and no other emergency has arisen that requires using it for something else. Needless to say, my insurance doesn’t cover this, and especially not the traveling anesthesiologist. Once I had to abandon fixing my teeth because our transportation gave out, but that’s not a problem this time. Do I want to get out of it? Yes and no. Dentistry is one of my major phobias (which has no doubt contributed to how bad my teeth are). This has been true since I was a child, and has only grown more extreme. It would be understating the matter to say dental procedures are a major trigger for my anxiety and panic attacks. I’m also unnerved by how the procedures will resonate through my life for an unknown time. That dental bridge was a significant factor in my self-esteem. If I forgot it, I had to turn around and go home. More tooth extractions will no doubt feed into my isolation. And then there’s the indignity of eating applesauce, soft-boiled eggs, and chicken broth until my poor gums heal. As little as I leave my house now, I will be even less willing to do so for quite some time. So, wish me luck. Both my husband and I are taking a few days off work, on the theory that the sedation and analgesics may leave me woozy. At least I will be able to keep up with my blogging, since that doesn’t require going outside. I’ll get through this. But I’m afraid it will leave my emotions as disordered as my mouth.

    Community Voices

    I'm new here!

    as a child was exposed to verbal and emotional abuse, not knowing what had happened. spent 40 years trying to figure life out, later was exposed to others trauma and ptsd was born again with crazy consequences, anger confusion flash backs, hallucinations, 40 years of mega phobias , boom its complex ptsd , now I know what's going on , it's time to heal. and restructure mylife



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    Ane Notting

    How COVID-19 Impacted My Anxiety and Phobia Coping Skills

    I put my bottle of pills on the tray table in front of me to convince my seemingly incapable hands to steady and open the damn benzodiazapine. Ah, beans. I pushed too hard and the bottle fell over right as I got it open. “How many is that today?” says my spouse, with great concern. Two. Because I haven’t put any more in my mouth yet. Because they all spilled. The flight attendant comes by for drink service after we level off and I ask for a vodka tonic. The pills aren’t working. We just got up to altitude and it’s going to be three hours until we land and the pills are not working. Maybe I can force them to work by passing out. I’m OK. Its OK. I try to distract myself. Oh no. Nope, not OK. Still shaking visibly, about to throw up, oh God, I think I’m talking louder than I realized. Another vodka tonic please. I think to myself, “Clearly, we are going to crash, because I had a great vacation. And, as we all know, the payment for me having a good time has to be catastrophic.” I start crying and am still shaking. The flight attendant looks worried the next time she walks by. Oh my God, I’m going to get flagged for this by the TSA, aren’t I? And that was my fourth time on a plane, and the last time I was on a plane — in 2017. I still take the benzodiazepine as needed. And an antidepressant daily. But I quit drinking last year (definitely for the best). I’ve been in intensive therapy and done a lot of self-repairing work in the last 18 months for unrelated issues. Today, I’d like to talk about how I’m hoping to use the work I’ve done to give myself a better flying experience despite facing dual phobias. I am preparing for a plane ride to go on a much-needed excursion soon. During the pandemic. When the general public has all lost their damn minds and cannot for the life of them, or others, recall what safe and respectful behavior looks like. Before therapy and medication began, I had terrible agoraphobia, which has waned a bit from treatment despite the world’s population collectively losing it. My aviophobia hasn’t gotten better. Flying is my top phobia. It combines my anxiety about being out of control with my extreme fear of heights. I also have an irrational fear of the 21st year. The closest name I can find for it is eikosihenaphobia, fear of 21. No, I am not afraid of 21 year olds, or of writing the number, or seeing it. When I was in third grade, I had repetitive dreams about dying and the number 21. At one point, we did one of those, “What will life be like when you’re an adult?” assignments in class and I wrote I’d be dead by 21. In case you are curious, I did not get an A for this, and was made to redo it. It’s silly, it’s irrational, but it’s a phobia: 21. I turned 21 and I thought, “Alright, well, I’d better make sure things are wrapped up and I’m on decent terms with everyone I care about.” My 21st year came and went, and I survived the year. As 2020 came to a close and many found themselves met with apprehensive hope for 2021 (yikes), I realized I was either going to die this year based on my own phobia, or I was about to have another uphill battle year with my anxiety disorder. So far, just the uphill battle, which is how I like it, given the alternative choice in this scenario. Here we are, in the year 2021 — nothing good to report in the news. (There was a list here, but I think we are all aware of how awful the news is lately, so I’ve omitted it.) I think 2021 sounds like a good time to go on vacation, on an airplane. Here’s why. I have been building this toolbox of coping mechanisms for my anxiety disorder in therapy and I haven’t been able to use them that much due to the pandemic. But really, what opportunities did I lose because of the pandemic? What opportunities would I have lost anyway, because of fear, that I can blame on the pandemic? I wasn’t living my best life before the pandemic, either. I was agoraphobic, in severe panic distress most of the time, and not going out simply because of anxiety and the changing state of the world. The pandemic has given me an ability and window to see humanity panic as I do, and to realize we are all handing things incredibly poorly. Hey, I’m not alone. I have lost time. My precious time. Not to the pandemic, but to my own anxieties and my perceived need to stay in a well-behaved box. “I can’t possibly spend the money for that once-in-a-lifetime experience, my credit card is already so high. I’ll never pay off my credit card if I go on a trip.” “I can’t leave the kids with a family member, something would go wrong and I would not be here.” Both of those things could potentially be true, but one thing that is certain is time is ticking away, for all of us, and all of us need a moment of peace right now. Everyone certainly deserves a break. I’m not talking about throwing my hands up in the air and saying, “Welp, we are all going to die someday anyway, might as well max out this credit card and go sky diving without a parachute.” Calculated risks. Things I want to do, versus risk factors versus ability. Flow charts help. As someone who not only has these phobias, but also generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, and waxing/waning agoraphobia, I have tried some coping mechanisms. Things that have helped me live a better life, or even have a better day, have gone in my handy-dandy panic toolbox. My newest tool in my toolbox I’ve been working on for anxiety is leaning in. I am accepting everything is absolutely out of my control, but I want to go on that trip anyway. I’ve made a list of everything that can go wrong, and ways I could potentially avert each event, as well as a relative likelihood each event would ever happen. So, I’m leaning in. Just in case that tool breaks or doesn’t work for the whole trip, I am also using planned distractions. Some people like coloring books or reading. I will be creating a Spotify playlist and bringing noise-cancelling headphones, a camera, and a pen with a writing utensil for comfort. I’m carefully curating a list of songs that will get me daydreaming about the trip I’m going to enjoy instead of focusing on the method of transport getting me there. Another tool for mitigating anxieties before a major planned event that is likely going to be triggering is researching the facts and statistics about the actual danger level of the activity. Additionally, knowing the layout of the airport, plane, and general understanding of what to expect at the airport and my destination helps prepare me and cuts potential anxiety by a lot. I look at it as pre-paying my panic time. Instead of having an attack, I am studying for my trip like I’m going to be graded on it. This can be triggering at first, but exposure in a safe environment with people you trust and/or emergency medications on standby make it a lot easier. Often, the statistical probability of the worst happening is lower than you think. Look up the numbers when it feels safe and right to do so; you may be surprised. Irrationality cannot always be rationalized. If I ever thought I was alone in irrational thoughts, the past two years have shown me that was a lie. A freedom from feeling terrified in daily living is something I’ve been working on for about three years. While so many find themselves beginning their (very justified) journey with managing fear of a changing world and pandemic, I’m finally able to take steps toward a few days of fearlessness. I’m grateful I started the process of therapy long ago so I could be at this point today. I’m not alone in this struggle, and neither are you. I have anxiety disorders that I’ve received three years of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications to manage. It has only been in the last few months I’ve been able to let go sometimes. I’m not going to grow as a person, I’m not going to do the things I want to do with my short time in this form, if I cannot let go. Therapy has given me these tools I hold in my shaky hands, knowing how unprecedented daily life has become. I am going on this trip, because at the end of the biggest flow chart, no matter what I do, I can’t avert death nor control what happens. Today, I control what actions I take better than I have in years thanks to therapy and medications. And I’m looking forward to the high probability that everything on a trip I want to take actually goes fine.

    Community Voices

    What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses

    What I wish people knew about my fight with mental illnesses:

    I struggle with depression, multiple anxiety disorders, phobias, and more. I have dealt with a lot of misunderstanding and judgement from family and friends around my battles with mental illness. These are some of the things I wish they knew:

    1. I am trying.

    I have often found that if I don’t seem to be making blatantly visible progress in the eyes of observers that some people (especially my family) see me as not trying hard enough. I’ve recently gotten out of a long-term psychiatric hospital, and I have this fear that if I am not functional right now, that my family will see that time spent as a fail. That I am a failure. But I wish they knew that I’m truly trying and this is the best I can do right now.

    2. It isn’t linear.

    Progress isn’t linear. In fact, it is probably the opposite. Often times it’s one step forward, two steps back. And other times, it is this zig-zagging line that goes up and down and spins around in loops like a really messed up rollercoaster. There are moments where it doesn’t look like I’m making progress, times when it seems I’m just regressing, which leads me to the next point.

    3. I will regress.

    Given that progress is anything but linear, I can say with certainty that I will regress. And sometimes my regression is actually a sign that I am digging deep into my past, my childhood, my traumas, my abandonments, etc. It often means I am making progress, it just hurts a lot. And there are also times where I will regress and it simply means just that. This battle isn’t black and white. I wish it was, but things are anything but simple.

    4. Treatment is really difficult.

    Therapy is hard work. Treatment can be painful. We go in there and open up the rawest parts of ourselves. We dig deep into what brought us to therapy. We feel our feelings. We stop avoiding. And all of this is worth it.

    5. I’m in pain a lot of the time.

    Living a life with mental illnesses is so painful. I feel intense emotions every single day. I cry a lot. Sometimes I want to scream the emotional pain becomes so bad. I hide this part really well. And that can get #lonely.

    6. I’m a survivor. Even though I sometimes doubt it myself.

    I will get through this (whatever that looks like). And I will worry about if I am strong enough to fight this battle. I have gotten through a lot in life already. But it is extremely difficult and there are a lot of moments where I doubt if I’m strong enough to survive certain waves of emotion or crises that arise and need reminders that I am and help to get through it. But I will get through this.

    7. Please don’t judge me. Things are complicated.

    I have endured a lot of judgment from family members (and others) who have thought I wasn’t doing enough, that I was choosing to be this mentally ill, that I wanted to be in this much pain, that if I just wanted to I could choose to get better immediately.

    8. It may take a while and I may never be “completely’ better.

    My goal isn’t to get 100% better. I just want to get functional enough that I can have a life worth living. And this may take a while. I work slowly. And I recognize that requires a lot of patience of those around me.

    9. I’m worth it.

    I struggle with this one myself. But at the end fo the day, I try to remind myself that I’m worth fighting for. I’m worth waiting for. I’m worth having patience. I’m worth trying to understand what I’m going through. I’m worth fighting for.

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