Because of the COVID19 pandemic and riots in the aftermath of the May 25 murder of George Floyd, many people are experiencing heightened anxiety, stress, and general mental health challenges. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, published on May 27, almost 40 percent of respondents report that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic and ensuing isolation1. While it's too soon for an official poll to have been conducted regarding the mental health effects of Floyd's death and the ensuing riots, it seems that our levels of anxiety and stress have taken another significant blow. With so much uncertainty and chaos in the world, it makes perfects sense to experience anxiety. That doesn't mean, however, that we're all powerless to regain personal control. You can use the following approach to help your anxiety during this time of upheaval.
When you practice setting boundaries that protect your self-esteem, you are supporting yourself in many ways. It shows you love and respect yourself, and it keeps you from grief when others attempt to abuse you, intentionally or inadvertently. Whether it's between you and people you love and choose to have in your life or people you must interact with for your job or another requirement, creating a boundary that reflects your needs will strengthen your self-esteem.
Refusing to take things personally can lead to a more relaxed life where you aren't constantly worrying about being criticized. When you stop taking things personally, you can boost your self-confidence, worry less, and rebound from failures with enthusiasm.
As the United States is ablaze in chaos that has erupted from systemic racial violence, I find myself worried for the mental health of black men and women because—false stereotypes aside—black people suffer from eating disorders too. I want to preface this article with the acknowledgment that I am a white female and, therefore, my experience in this nation is enormously different than individuals of other races. I do not claim to understand the depth of what black people around this country feel and face on a daily basis, but I do know eating disorders. So as the exhaustion, turmoil, fear, outrage, despair, anxiety, and trauma compounds on black lives, I want to emphasize that racism also infringes on their mental health. Black people suffer from eating disorders too, and they need equal access to a path toward recovery.
Near where I live, there are a couple of little boxes where people can leave books they wish to donate, as well as take any books they may find interesting. Over the past few weeks, I’ve given away quite a number of books to these boxes, and in the process, I’ve felt a great sense of relief and catharsis.
In my experience, a significant number of people go through at least one depressive episode in their life. An episode typically lasts for at least two weeks and can put a damper on productivity, especially at work. I have been through many such episodes so far, and have had to work during a significant number of them. Because unfortunately, sometimes it's just not possible to take a mental health day. Without further ado, here are some tips to help you work when you are smack in the middle of a depressive episode.
Living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) often feels like living with a secret. Many people who have the condition, including myself, are stealth-like in hiding it. Because it’s a mental health condition, as opposed to a physical ailment, it’s easier to hide from the naked eye. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t a burden. It can help to have friends and family members in the know, as they can provide invaluable support, but how do you open up about your diagnosis for the first time?
I've had a home office for over a decade--long before it became a forced norm of the COVID-19 pandemic--and during this time, I noticed how working from home affected my eating disorder recovery. It wasn't a smooth road, but with a few strategies, I learned how to support my recovery with healthy habits.
Many patients with chronic illnesses find themselves with some amount of medical trauma. When you're a child, it's hard to make sense of surgeries, blood tests, and hours spent in hospitals with the sick and the dying. But there's also the trauma that, for many of us, could have been avoided if our doctors had been better listeners. I've had ulcers form in my mouth and throat for 14 days out of every month for as long as I can remember. While I had other symptoms, my ulcers were the most visible. But not one doctor questioned their initial diagnosis, and their inability to question their initial assumption left me feeling hysterical, overreactive, and still in pain.
I've been in recovery from mental illness for several years now because recovery is a slow, and often lifelong, process. There are many aspects of recovery that I have a pretty good handle on at this point, like opening up in therapy and sharing my experiences with others to make all of us feel a little less alone, but one part of recovery that still throws me for a loop every time is the "random" breakdowns.