I've recently, painfully, discovered that stress increases anxiety to interminable levels. Stress, of course, worsens one's mental health in many ways, but the way that I'm primarily feeling it is through anxiety (and probably depression; anxiety and depression being knitted together as they are). Previously, I didn't have the anxiety problems I do today, and I didn't realize just how bad anxiety could feel until this latest bought of stress increasing my anxiety.
A couple of weeks ago I volunteered to distribute sanitary products and a hot meal to the unhoused community of Washington D.C. through the impactful and committed organization, The Distant Relatives Project. The experience produced a mix of emotions. I felt heartbroken to see so many individuals in need, the worst of it was learning that a large number of unhoused individuals who struggle with mental health issues do not have access to professional help. It is a crisis.
For many verbal abuse victims, like myself, one of the most challenging aspects of moving forward is accepting the reality of the situation. I had an extremely difficult time in my healing journey until I realized that I would never have the relationship with my abuser that I wanted. 
It's not uncommon for those who self-injure to use self-harm to regulate emotions that may be overwhelming or difficult to cope with. But it's a temporary solution, one that does more harm than good—there are better ways to process and manage your feelings.
Over the years, I have learned so much about my anxiety, not only through formal education, but also simply through taking the time to analyze what I am going through. Some might say that that is just a part of dealing with anxiety – the overthinking, the constant overanalyzing of what you feel, think, and do. But I think it has also been helpful because it has helped me recognize my triggers and symptoms. It has also helped me figure out things I can do that are helpful for me. One of those things is leaning into my anxiety instead of running away from it.
As I’ve discussed in previous posts, a little over two years ago, I survived a catastrophic apartment fire. Among other things, the experience left me with the fear that something bad will happen to me in the future. I have not been able to shake that feeling. In this post, I want to briefly discuss that.
I recently had a reader reach out to me asking what steps I've taken to stop putting so much pressure on myself. I've been reflecting on that question for a couple of days now and would like to expand on it in today's post.
Staying consistent can be a challenge for anyone. However, staying consistent can be especially difficult for those affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Learning to validate yourself is a powerful tool, especially for those of us with the ever-intense borderline personality disorder (BPD) emotions. I knew that the temptation to engage in maladaptive behaviors would still exist on my road to recovery. I did not, however, expect the extent to which I would learn to invalidate and essentially gaslight myself.
A little while ago I wrote about my experience with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. I had never heard of EMDR until my therapist, who specializes in trauma therapy, introduced it to me as a way to treat the panic and anxiety I experience associated with a trauma I recently suffered. Now, I'd like to share how I feel immediately following an EMDR session.

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Laura A. Barton
Hello Nina. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed my blog! Thanks for the link as well. :) Looks pretty interesting from my first glance at it.
Most children of abuse got scapegoated, a lot at least. It is hard to trust the people who were supposed to love and protect us. Love is complicated for us, to us it looks like violence followed by the cover up of evidence that anything happened at all, holes in walls get patched and painted, everyone is sitting at the breakfast table the next day , making small talk, no one mentions what happened and god help the one that says, "Are you all crazy, why are you acting like nothing happened " The gaslighting of our memories and reality come into question. We stop trusting our eyes and ears. Pain gets buried in small talk and dismissing accountability. Our abused mother's , 85 of abused people are women, is trying to juggle how she can afford to live a life and keep her kids from homelessness and starvation.
Love gets twisted and distorted. Relationships, without therapy and intervention get twisted too. If your parents and siblings could do these things to you, how on earth can one trust friends and new acquaintances. Some of us drown ourselves in addictions to sex, food, drugs and drama. Drama is what our brains recall more often than good memories, those are the PTSD triggers that come with a car backfiring to a gentle breeze scented with something that triggers a memory. Good turns bad and bad feels worse.
Me, i finally went no contact with my family. It was too impossible for me to even grab hold of therapeutic options while engaged with an abusive dismissive family. I too was abusive defending myself constantly, someone had to "give" , it had to be me. I had to give myself a break, I had to take a lot of time redefining myself. I never had a clue who i was or could be. Although I was a crisis counselor, surprise surprise, I went into the help field but not for me back then but to understand and fix my family. That did not work. I had to finally do it for me, and I and you deserve to be heard, understood, valued and parented.
Now I work on re parenting myself, redefining my desired self, taking some of the good I recall and mingling it with hope for the future. I write a lot of political editorials, now I am working on a website to help people find super affordable ways to have a home environment look and feel like their "Home" not our parents or siblings or some famous person's pristine decoration . My life is not on a path to decorate my home but to make it feel homey for my body and my interests. I don't want or have tons of cash so i find creative ways to refinish thrown away furniture, (I might consider it is myself that is being refinished symbolically) .
My suggestion, take your time, if people are not supportive or helpful and are in fact destructive to how you wish to feel and be, cut them loose. You don't need to serve them Turkey and Pie on Thanksgiving day as a reward for abusing you. I am inviting some older women to my holidays this year, I m calling it orphan holdiay, to everyone in my area who is orphaned by death or by necessity to save your sanity. I read about it in an article recently so am going to take a leap of faith it will be a good idea and have a reasonable outcome.
To everyone suffering from Complex PTSD or PTSD. You never deserved the trauma in the first place and you still don't. Be kind to yourself, I mean extra extra kind. It is brutal this road to healing but with it comes lots of wins, lots of progress and those who diminish your burdens of pain, don't really deserve you. You deserve so much more. Don't we all?
For anyone researching the topic because undoubtedly this article pops up as well-- here's great literature on the subject.

P.S. love the article!
Janice Davis
This reminds me of something my mother pulled! [WARNING: this will probably be the crummiest thing you ever heard of!] We attended my grandmother's funeral, then went to the buffet that followed. My mother and I were sitting @ table with several other people. When I stood up to adjust the ceiling fan, my mother snapped my name at me, like she'd talk to a dog. Then she commanded me: SIT and STAY: again, like she'd talk to a dog.
A couple years later, she offered to pay for a plane ticket for me to visit her. Needless to say, I never visited her again! [Later on "Family Feud," they had a question: What DOG commands, when given to a PERSON, would make you MOST ANGRY? I got 2 of them right!!!]
Have you ever heard of a mother doing something this crummy to an adult daughter, when she knows she has an audience? At the time, I was 52 and she was 77. She died last year at age 93, without ever having dementia, so there was literally NO EXCUSE for this behavior.
I agree wholeheartedly. As a man who is barely a year out of what I’m now realizing was an incredibly abusive relationship I’m hurt to see that many of these articles don’t take men into consideration. The amount of guilt, shame, pain, and suffering I’ve endured has led me to believe that we don’t spend nearly enough time as a society recognizing and dealing with the depths of suffering men endure in many seemingly “normal” relationships. I have all the traits listed above as the “perfect victim” and tried for years to please someone who I now know was incredibly abusive. I don’t think anything in my life has ever been more psychologically damaging to me than my 8 year long abusive relationship - and that includes my alcoholic father. The worst part is I still feel TERRIBLE for leaving. I had nothing but love for my SO and was pushed to the breaking point so many times I lost count I was depressed, anxious, living with daily migraines and barely able to hold down a job. Men don’t realize they’re being emotionally abused…that their partner is using their love as a manipulative tool. They’re told from an early age “sticks and stones…” Many times I was told I was the abuser in the relationship, that I was horrible, had mental disorders, etc and because of my history with an alcoholic father I bought it hook, line, and sinker. I felt like I’d always worked so hard to love and care for my partner because I was always afraid I’d be an abuser myself because of my childhood and it wreaked havoc on me. The absolute frustration of never being able to do the “right” thing in the eyes of your abusive partner is something that I can’t even explain. I remember finally after all those years just asking “what do you want me to do? Tell me exactly what you want me to do please?” while in tears because I always just wanted so badly to make them happy and do the right thing. I’m now wrestling with guilt because I’m still afraid I could be a bad person. Emotional abuse is every bit as harmful as physical abuse. It can leave you walking around feeling like a shell of who you once were and guilty for hurting your abuser by leaving. I live with fear, guilt, and anxiety but I’m also making a life for myself, doing better at work, and able to devote time to helping others because I have my mental bandwidth back. To anyone who reads this DON’T UNDERESTIMATE EMOTIONAL ABUSE. It’s not gender specific and it takes a serious toll.