Eliza

@eliza-janet | contributor
Hi, my name is Eliza and when im hurting I like to write about it. I hope you enjoy my pieces. #nostigma With love
Community Voices

I have final exams and papers to write this week. Feeling #Anxiety and I am battling severe #Depression I need to push through and finish what I started. I cried yesterday a lot and the day before that could not get out of bed. I could use #PositiveVibes prayers and support. Thanks for #CheckInWithMe

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Community Voices

One day I will forget and these thoughts won't hurt me
No flashing images or memories that haunt me
With unrelenting torment they race in my mind
Draining my soul till I’m breathless and tired
 One day I will feel each muscle relax,
Giddiness and excitement without fear of attack
Happiness without sorrow for its impending demise
An appreciation for existence without disdain for life
One day I will think clearly without disruption or intrusion
Regulate my emotions without turmoil or confusion
One day I will value myself and show love to my scars
One day I can speak of myself and say "I love who you are"

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Community Voices

I look out the window and stare at the sky
Rain drops, wind howls, it's bleak outside
I light a candle and lay on my bed
Prepared to face thoughts that fill me with dread
A bottomless pit of pain I try to repress
I lay here knowing I will get little rest
The air blows through and caresses my face
I squeeze my eyes shut imagining a pain free place
#Depression
#Anxiety
#MightyPoets

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Eliza
Eliza @eliza-janet
contributor

The 10 Dark Truths Behind Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Author’s note: This article is based on my own personal experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), though some of the symptoms may be relatable to others, they cannot be generalized to everyone struggling with OCD. 1. OCD might make you think thoughts, that if you were to say out loud, could seem irrational and dangerous. Thoughts you, as a person without OCD, would never think about, let alone act out. 2. OCD might trick you into thinking these thoughts are directly a result of your own beliefs. When intrusive thoughts come to your mind, you sometimes can’t differentiate them from your ordinary thoughts. You usually hear thoughts in your own voice, which makes one believe they are their own. With OCD, when a disturbing thought comes to your mind, it is usually said in your own voice with your own nuances. This makes OCD a sinister and convincing illness that fuels blame and anxiety. 3. OCD might make you say strange things out loud. When trying to carry out compulsions, rituals that you use to help you get rid of your anxious thoughts, sometimes you might accidentally let yourself slip in public and begin to mutter some of your rituals out loud. For example, I will say strange words randomly because I feel myself about to think something terrible. I can’t explain this well, but as an example, I might say the word “jelly” randomly because I know that an intrusive thought is about to come into my mind and I want to distract myself to prevent it from happening. 4. OCD might make you say horrible things about yourself. Out of the blue, I will often call myself “stupid” or an idiot. I’ll say phrases like “I deserve to die,” or, “I want to kill myself.” These are very disturbing, but often they are said impulsively, meaning sometimes I don’t think of it before I say it. In my opinion, this is most likely a reaction to prolonged stress. OCD sometimes makes you feel like an awful person, and it might be a compulsion to say something like that to justify those terrible thoughts. 5. OCD might completely go away for years at a time and then return. Sometimes OCD can completely disappear — this happened to me. I’ve had severe symptoms for years, which have disappeared for years, only to return years later. I’m not sure exactly why this happens, but it probably correlates with stress and life events. OCD can flare up, become worse, be dormant or just very well-managed. Therefore, it is a very difficult condition to understand as it varies from person to person. People sometimes say, “You don’t have OCD because your symptoms are a lot less severe.” But we have to remember that just like with any illness, it comes in varying degrees at different times. 6. OCD might significantly reduce the quality of your life. I think because of media portrayals, many people don’t truly understand the consequences of OCD. It’s more than just quirky little idiosyncrasies that make you into the person you are. OCD is a mental illness, and in many cases, can become an illness that affects the way in which you function in your life. Mental illnesses can affect people’s jobs, family life, relationships and eventually your own well-being. The thoughts that you have no control could eventually become worse, which can sometimes lead to you becoming so consumed in guilt, shame and fear that you are unable to live life fully or forgive yourself for what you think. That is when suicidal thoughts might start to creep in. 7. OCD might add onto my own thoughts. For example, I might be watching a TV show and I have an opinion of one of the characters — immediately OCD will add onto that opinion or that thought and turn it into something dreadful. I might say I don’t like this character with blonde hair and OCD will finish that sentence with, “she’s a slut,” and “she should die.” This will lead me to carry out compulsions asking for forgiveness to deal with the guilt. 8. OCD might affect you in ways that you are not even aware of. Your overall confidence level, your anxiety levels, self-esteem or self-worth. People with OCD rarely just have OCD. Comorbidity means that people with one type of mental illness usually have other types of mental illness. For example, OCD and anxiety disorder can be paired with depression or dependency on substances. 9. Compulsions are not relaxing and they lie. When a person with OCD completes rituals, it is often under the false belief that this will free them from the anxiety of their obsessive thoughts. This is exactly how OCD makes you think — that completing the compulsion will help you get rid of the fear and anxiety. You might think that this is a relaxing process that leads to a relaxing outcome, but that’s far from the truth. The amount of stress taken to perform the ritual can be more anxiety provoking than the thought itself. For example, sometimes when I am praying for forgiveness for certain thoughts, halfway through the prayer I must stop and start again because something was not said in the right way, or an intrusive thought came into my mind while I was praying, making that prayer void. Sometimes I feel as if I’m not sounding convincing enough, or humble enough, so I must begin again to convince myself that the anxiety from the thought can be removed. This feeling is very temporary, lasting from a few minutes to half an hour before the next intrusive thought comes. 10. OCD might take away the most sacred things in your life, then uses them as material. As an OCD sufferer, I can say that it usually takes things that are very personal to you: morals that you hold close to you, things that you would never want yourself to say or think. OCD takes the opportunity to turn these into an intrusive thought. For me, my relationship with God is important, my family is important, how I think about other people is important and my reaction to tragedies is important. If I hear about people dying in an accident, OCD will no doubt make me think thoughts that insult those victims. It’s the one thing I never would want to do and that is exactly why OCD chooses to use it. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 o r text “HOME” to 741-741 . Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via Design Pics

Eliza
Eliza @eliza-janet
contributor

When You Feel Like You're Drowning in Your Negative Thoughts

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Gasping for air in this poisonous concoction of shame, embarrassment, guilt and rejection. Remembering, experiencing events as if they were still happening. My brain feels suffocated, in desperate need for somebody to crack me open and release an overflow of fear, hurt and shame. Instead, it builds up inside of me, pushing against my body, dying to spill out. Letting my guard down — if only for a minute — and surrendering to the thoughts would sweep away my sanity in a single wave. I would fall to my knees and bend over in agony as streams of “madness” run down my face. The piercing scream, eventually muffled as my lungs become saturated with the sudden enormity of the task to stay alive. It used to be easier; I had developed ways to suppress, to outsmart, to live with the thoughts — but they grew stronger, eventually outsmarting the life vest I’ve built to keep me afloat. Like a needle, with just one prick the air has escaped and now I’m drowning. I almost let myself go completely and allow full immersion of my body and mind into the abyss until a dim light shines from a distance. It could be from the place where I’ve not yet explored, where there is more to experience, more to learn. In that moment I decide to allow myself a chance of life beyond the thoughts I already have. I’ll continue to resuscitate myself after drowning in these thoughts. As weak as my limbs feel, as sore and dry as my throat is, I will continue moving forward, only forward, with the hope that somewhere in the future, something better lies on dry land. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 o r text “START” to 741-741 . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via supershabashnyi

Eliza
Eliza @eliza-janet
contributor

Adult Bullying: The Effect on Bullying on Mental Health

This is a really difficult article for me to write, but I feel it’s importance is so necessary that any emotional pain or triggering thoughts experienced through writing this are completely worth the message it could possibly send. That is, adult bullying is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. First I will start off by saying that bullying can occur in all age groups, and in many different settings: the home, school, university, workplace, cyber bullying, neighborhoods, within friendship groups. It can be severely psychologically damaging. Bullying is described as repeated behavior that is intended to hurt someone else emotionally, physically and mentally. I have been bullied as a child, as an adolescent, but one very distinguishable event in my life is remembering the bullying I endured as an adult. It’s at your expense: In my very first year at university, I made two friends, who I got on fairly well with individually. However, when we came together as a group, I noticed a few digs about my personality and my habits that were made one more frequently and less jokingly as time went on. For example, I am an introvert. I enjoy spending time alone, and not really a partygoer or a huge socializer. So this became an entertaining topic for these two “friends.” It’s very common for friends to make fun of each other, but it is often a mutual agreement the person has consented to. However, if you are in a situation and notice that not only are you frequently the joke of the conversation, but also not included in the joke that is made at your expense, this can be bullying. People who are masquerading as friends, in order to entertain themselves with somebody that they consider a lesser person. It is not true, you are a strong and beautiful, but they do not appreciate you and they are not your friends. You may think that this won’t have an effect on you, but your self-esteem can become more and more fragile if you allow people around you to treat you unkindly. It’s not always obvious: I can imagine when people think about bullying, they think about name-calling, hitting, harassing and many other behaviors that are very overt and obvious to what bullying is often described as. However, with adult bullying, people become more socially aware and they do not want to be labeled or identified as a bully, so they find subtler ways to express their ill intent. This is what makes bullying such as severe psychological mind game, because you often spend half the time wondering why things are not so overtlyoffensive. Drawing on one of my own experiences, I used to live with two women, one of which I was not particularly friends with, but I always showed respect to as a housemate. Often times, I found I was always the one to blame for any issue she was having with the maintenance of the house. Being someone who thinks rationally, I accepted this and made appropriate changes to my behavior to accommodate her concerns, only to find it happening more and more often, and that I was the only person who was being confronted. Allowing someone to get bullied can be just as bad: This is something I think some people might be able to relate to. We might know a person who will watch somebody else get bullied and say or do nothing. This person is not the culprit, but they are complicit. There are many reasons why people may not want to get involved. It is often a human instinct to want to protect ourselves from danger, and some people may not want to get involved in confrontation out of fear that they will become the target. But in case where you are all adults. If you find that somebody is passively accepting that you as a vulnerable person are being bullied, then that person is complicit in allowing someone to become the victim of psychological illness and distress. Its impact on your mental health: Bullying is toxic. It poisons your self-worth, self-esteem, happiness and joy by attacking the very person you are. The effect of bullying on mental health is so prominent, I personally feel that more should be done to raise awareness of bullying, across all age groups and settings. However I focus on adult bullying because as adults, sometimes we don’t like to admit people are emotionally hurting us. Society encourages others to have a laid-back attitude. It is often looked down upon to be emotionally aware, and you’re sometimes labeled as “sensitive “or a “softy.” Nobody wants to be called a cry-baby or feel as if they are taking things too personally, and this is how, in my opinion, bullying sneaks in and takes hold in a situation. I have been bullied nearly all my life, and I never realized how much it destroyed me as a person until I realized that I walk with my head down, and I often walk through life with my spirit suppressed, feeling unworthy. I wondered where this came from, and it can take years, accumulating from mistreatment, to realize how bullying has impacted your mental health. I encourage anyone to seek help so it does not take over your life. Here are some useful websites offering advice and helpline support for people being bullied: BullyingUK Mental Health Support ACAS We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via Koldunov

Eliza
Eliza @eliza-janet
contributor

The Voice Within the Mind of Someone With an Addiction

Addiction , didn’t know it was a problem until I couldn’t stop. Addiction, relief entwined with pain that leaves my body in shock. Addiction, the reality I know must be faced, but feel too scared so ignore. Addiction, something I want to escape but the experience of which I enjoy. Addiction, bathes me in shame and guilt yet boldly I participate. Addiction, stealing my future with each aspect of stability it deteriorates. Addiction, sending my mind into a cocktail of grief, anxiety and relief. Addiction, hating its nature but wanting to feel it simultaneously. Addiction, a reminder of why as a person I never feel strong. Addiction, opening the doors to the depression, a reminder how I only do wrong. Addiction, as it laughs at me while I accept failure and disgrace. Addiction, has me locked away while it dangles the key in my face. Addiction, feeling so lonely, not knowing who to tell or who will understand. Addiction, wanting to take control, for my mind to obey the right command. Addiction, feeling filthy inside, wanting to wash away the vulnerability. Addiction, feeling ashamed, like shame holds a permanent place within me. Addiction, knowing what’s wrong conflicted by temptation masquerading as right. Addiction, trying to find the strength to get up, get clean and fight. Addiction, fighting a battle to give myself the chance I know I deserve. Addiction, knowing no matter how I feel I will always have self-worth. ***No matter what anyone is going through I pray you never give up, because giving up in times of grief and pain is giving up on joy and happiness. “I can do all things through him that gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13 If you or a loved one is affected by addiction and need help, you can call SAMHSA ‘s hotline at 1-800-662-4357. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo by kevinruss.

Eliza
Eliza @eliza-janet
contributor

How to Know if You Need to Switch Therapists

Disclaimer: the points I make are based on personal experience. I don’t mean to judge or scrutinize therapists because I know there are many who take their job seriously and do a great job providing a service that can help people progress in their everyday lives. People pursue therapy for many different reasons and in my experience, there are some therapists you instantly connect with and others you don’t. A recent experience with counseling left me feeling very uncomfortable, so I wanted to write this article with tips for spotting red flags with the general message of the importance of making sure you are comfortable in your therapy sessions. Here are signs you may need to find a new therapist: 1. They are always late. Let’s face it, things happen. People run behind schedule and we are all human. Whether we are professionals or not, it is expected that sometimes people will be late. However, the dynamic between therapist and client is one that differs from most relationships. Your therapist is meant to provide emotional support and part of this depends on the amount of trust and communication you have built with one another. If a therapist is continuously or consecutively arriving late to sessions, it may be time to consider finding a new one. It can be hurtful when a therapist doesn’t acknowledge the lateness or continually gives excuses without compensating for the lateness by adding time to the end of a session. It can seem like your therapist is unconcerned with respecting your time and building trust with you. It is disrespectful to turn up late to something and your therapist knows this. If they do not address the situation right away, it’s probably a strong indicator they are not going to address situation without you bringing it up. 2. They don’t know how to end sessions appropriately. I’ve had an experience when I’ve been mid sentence and been told I need to stop talking. If this has happened to you, you probably know how baffling it feels. It’s not as if somebody told you to stop reading something during a presentation or to stop gossiping about something. I was mid sentence speaking to somebody about things that concern me in my life. It’s a huge red flag if your therapist does not know how to end sessions properly. Sometimes, therapists will give you a 10 minute warning before the end of the session so you can prepare yourself and be mindful about what topics you want to discuss before leaving. If a therapist does not sensitively or effectively end a session, it can feel like they are more concerned about timing than about you. 3. They want talk about anything except the problem at hand. I’ve been in counseling sessions when the therapist did not seem to want to speak about anything regarding my issues. She extended small talk to the majority of the session. If she asked me about what I was doing in the supermarket, I notice she would further probe into that topic and seem to have no desire to change or redirect the topic or transition into the counseling session. If you notice your therapist would rather chat about recent political developments, what color you dyed your hair or what you think about the new public library, it may be a sign you need to change therapists. Of course nothing is wrong with small talk, but if there is no attempt to transition to therapy, you would probably benefit from seeing a different therapist. 4. They take things personally. Therapists are human beings and they have feelings, too. Sometimes patients make comments that can be emotionally triggering and therapists can respond in the wrong way. For example, my therapist responded poorly when I discussed my feelings of concern about my employment prospects as a minority ethnic person with a physical and long term psychological disability. My therapist and I share the same racial and cultural background, which made me feel comfortable enough to share this. But discussing this topic made my therapist change her body language and start speaking in a raised tone about experiences of her family member and his success, implying I assumed he would not succeed in life. At this point, I felt the need to interject and clear up the misunderstanding, to which I was shut down and told to listen, as she continued to rant about personal experiences. I remained quiet because I respected that this topic had very deep and personal meaning to her. But after this encounter, my therapist struggled to maintain eye contact and was clearly upset with me. Her anger put me in an uncomfortable position. How your therapist deals with their emotions is a sign of their professionalism and competency as a counselor. If your therapist addresses the situation and apologizes for their reaction and for making you uncomfortable, this is a good sign and shows they take your feelings into account. If the therapist seems unaware or doesn’t acknowledge their inappropriate emotional reaction, it may be a sign your therapist doesn’t communicate in the way you need them to. While therapists are human beings with feelings, they should not take offense at things you say or take things too personally. 5. They seem to have no clear direction in sessions. This one might be obvious, but for a lot of people in counseling, just speaking to someone is therapeutic. That being said, it is your therapist’s job to make sure the sessions are beneficial to you in the long run. If you find your therapist does not seem to have any established goals or a direction they want to lead you in by the end of your sessions, it may be a good idea to question their intentions. It’s possible some therapists aren’t really looking at you as the primary focus of the session, which is a huge red flag. While it can be helpful to a patient for a therapist talk about herself occasionally, it’s a problem if you find your therapist is talking about herself too often, possibly indicating a lack of direction in sessions. If your therapist seems a bit scattered in their approach to sessions, I think it might be wise to consider whether it is useful for you to continue with this particular therapist. 6. They disregard important information. This is something I find really awful, because it’s often takes a few sessions to build up the courage to talk about something that has been bothering you or something from your past that is hard to talk about. Sometimes with or without meaning to, a therapist will discuss if briefly and never bring it up again or discard it completely. Drawing on an example from my own experience, during a time of crisis, I sent an email to my therapist. It was quite a detailed email with many thoughts, feelings, emotions and risks mentioned. I received a reply of a couple of lines asking for me to make an appointment with her and my local general practitioner. In our next therapy sessions, these events were never mentioned and nothing I disclosed in my email was brought up in any way to explore further. When this happened, it was really hurtful. Therapy is to heal and if you cannot introduce new topics without being ignored or made to feel uncomfortable, it might be time to find a new therapist. I hope people find the right therapist for them, because the wrong one can bring a patient down a lot and can make them feel mistreated and taken advantage of. But please don’t be discouraged. Just as not everybody in life is compatible, the same is true for finding a therapist. You just need to find the right person who is compatible with you to work on things together effectively. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via Ljupco.

Eliza
Eliza @eliza-janet
contributor

Being Called 'Attention Seeking' When You Live With a Mental Illness

I have heard a lot of people over the years talk about how annoying it is that some individuals use mental illness for attention. Recently, the popularity of platforms such as YouTube and blogging have allowed people to share their thoughts on what they believe to be attention-seeking behavior on what they categorize as “made up” mental illness. I’m going to give my perspective on the idea that some people make up their mental illness for attention, by giving my honest opinion as to how I perceive people’s behavior drawing on my own experience of mental health. “You just want attention.” I speak for myself when I say I definitely wanted attention, and sometimes still do need attention, but particularly when I was younger and very unfamiliar with what was happening in my mind. I wanted people to understand what was happening to me, I wanted my family to know about my symptoms, doctors to know, anyone who could help me to know, especially my friends, people I spend a lot of time with. Why? Because when you’re hurting, you want people to know so that they can help you. Help, which can come in the form of emotional support, sympathy, understanding, empathy or just simply another person’s attention. I can say unashamedly that is exactly what I wanted. People to ask me what’s wrong, or why didn’t seem myself, so that I could talk and express or even just hurt with someone else by my side, and yes I wanted people to feel empathy for me, because the truth is, I felt pretty sorry for myself , along with petrified and frustrated, not knowing how I was going to deal with having mental illness in my everyday life. So yes, I did seek attention because I’m a human being and when I am hurting beyond my own understanding I turn to others. “You’re weak.” My opinion might be controversial, but I will say if that means that I’m not emotionally as strong as I could be — then you’re absolutely right I am “weak.” Either way, this is why I actively seek help to manage, maintain and strengthen my mental health every day. I might not be the Incredible Hulk of psychological stability, but I am sure that my self-awareness puts me in a better position to look after myself and ultimately become stronger and more resilient to situations I may face life. Now here is why I will not tolerate being called weak according to some people’s definition — I’m not weak because I am in touch with my emotions, nor because I react to certain situations differently than you. That’s called being an entirely different individual which reflects in my behavior, so if you think of my person as a weakness, I just might have to disagree with you. “You need to be more positive.” I couldn’t agree more. I think most people, unless their mind is like a children’s TV show, need to be more positive on an everyday basis. It would sure make life easier if we always thought of the glass half full. But let’s be real, we are adults, children or teenagers and the truth of the matter is we live in the real world where both happiness, sadness, negativity and positivity exist. And everybody takes to that differently. We have all had the different upbringings, environmental influences, biological influences and we will all respond differently to the life we’re living, not because we are a negative person or a positive person, but because how we act is a product of who we are. Our past which is inherently different from everybody else’s. So when you tell me to be more positive, that could mean different things to us both. For example, I could see it as getting up having a shower and going out for a walk, and you could see it as speaking affirmations in the mirror. You might say, isn’t it such a beautiful day, and I might choose to say nothing and just breathe in the air and admire the trees. When you force a generalized idea of what positivity it on everybody, not only is it annoying, but it actually has the reverse effect — because you start to believe if you do not experience this positivity, something is wrong with you, which is simply not true. “At least you’re still able to do XYZ.” Thanks for pointing that out, bud! I almost forgot. This links in with the former point about positivity, however I do feel like as a society we do this way too much. There will always be people in worse circumstances than we are in, but because we are not them — it is almost impossible for us to know, feel or understand the exact nature of their suffering. However, we do happen to be ourselves, in our own bodies, in our own mind and can definitely feel the extent of our own suffering. I know this first hand, because I realized for most of my life, I have denied myself the right to feel what I feel because I don’t think I have it that bad. There will always be people worse off than others, and when people have nervous breakdowns and recluse, self-harm, withdraw or die by suicide you have to conclude that suffering is suffering and it needs to be addressed in its own context, with its own attention and its own sensitivity. It’s hard to help others if you’re not willing to accept your own pain and recover. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741 . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via dmbaker

Eliza
Eliza @eliza-janet
contributor

What Mental Illness Feels Like to Me

I can’t see it. I can’t see the goal, the light, the future, the brightness, the release, the freedom. What I use as motivation every day to get out of bed, to walk outside, to attend class and meetings. Every step I take is fueled by the thought of a life outside this life. Hope generated solely from remnants of health clinging to the chance it might see something different. You don’t see it in my face, my smile or my frown. My clothes, my notebook, my pen, or the eager stare as I write things down. How I had to force myself to get out of bed. How I had to tell myself, get up, get up, get up! until my body and my brain were forced to listen to me, like a child told to get out of bed. They don’t want to go to school. My brain remains stubborn. It does not want to function Mental illness is not something I wear with pride or shame. I do not use it as an excuse to justify not enjoying my life or my circumstances. It is something that has clothed me. I can’t take it off. It sewn into my skin and when it tears, I bandage the wounds. The pain I feel when I cannot articulate to someone how I feel is nothing compared to the greater pain I feel when I articulate to someone exactly how I feel, yet they do not understand nor care. When I see a glimpse of light and I extend my hand to someone who I don’t trust yet, they fail me, reject me. How the darkness is all too ready and eager to embrace me again. My heartbeat refuses to rest, it throws a tantrum at the thought of more unhappiness added to what it is already carrying. But I will not give up. If I can give no more and I lose my mind, I will at least know I have tried. I fought all the way to the end because I know I am worthy. I am strong. I am persevering. I am a survivor. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via OGri.