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Discovering meaning during midlife can seem like a challenge. Faced with uncertainty about the future and the feeling of having spent years working without achieving anything significant, how can we avoid discontentment, nurture a positive mindset, and turn midlife into a transformative journey? Here's how I found meaning in midlife.
Somewhere along the way, the political correctness (PC) police decided that we were no longer allowed to say that we "suffer" from bipolar disorder. Now, we have to say that we "live with" or "experience" bipolar disorder. If you know me, you can probably guess how I feel about that. I feel it's ridiculous. It puts unnecessary rules on language, which, as a writer, I despise, but perhaps more importantly, it genuinely denies people's legitimate experience of a serious mental illness. I suffer from bipolar disorder, and I think it's okay to say it.
Anytime a relationship includes verbal abuse, there are complications. The dynamics between individuals involving power and respect will skew, making it challenging to recover. Although some relationships can bounce back using therapy and adjusting to corrective behaviors, others will not. Relationships with verbal abusers will always be challenging.
My psychiatric nurse practitioner is reducing my anti-anxiety medication for my upcoming knee surgery when I will be on painkillers. She says long-term use of an anti-anxiety medication can cause cognitive impairment. My therapist says it’s addictive, which I already knew from decades of using it on an as-needed basis. Here's what reducing my anti-anxiety medication has been like.
Anxiety can be related to the season. When I was younger, I remember that when summer started to turn into fall, the days ended, and nights started earlier, and the weather began to get cooler, I would experience a change in my mood that I now recognize was related to my anxiety. I would often find that I felt down and unsettled, and this overall feeling of discomfort that I sometimes couldn't attribute to anything in particular. I didn't realize that the season changes contributed to my anxiety.
"Live one day at a time" is one of my mantras in life. As an individual diagnosed with mental illness (double depression and generalized anxiety disorder), it is harder for me than people without mental illness to live by this mantra. Here's why living one day at a time is hard for people with mental illness.
Mental health stigma can affect one's self-esteem. Mental health conditions are a common yet often misunderstood aspect of human life. Despite their prevalence, the stigma attached to these conditions remains a formidable obstacle for those who bear such diagnoses. Negative stereotypes, discrimination, and social isolation experienced by individuals with mental health diagnoses can severely affect their self-esteem. In this post, we will explore the practice of defying the stigma surrounding mental health, emphasizing its role in nurturing self-esteem in those who carry such labels. 
Admitting that I miss my manic symptoms has been difficult. A large part of my mental illness recovery has been fueled by the desire to get better. I continuously work towards recovery, but I still face guilt when I find myself missing the symptoms experienced from my manic episodes as someone with bipolar disorder.
Feeling safe after enduring trauma or developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PSTD) can be a challenge. Growing up, I had a persistent uneasy feeling in my gut that manifested as a constant stomach ache. After being sexually assaulted by another (though older) child, I found myself unable to feel at ease in my own body. I worried not only about my personal safety but also my family's — especially since the boy threatened to hurt me and my loved ones if I told anyone what he did to me. Feeling safe with PTSD turned out to be very hard.
The analogy of putting on your mask first before helping others goes beyond airplane safety, especially for victims of verbal abuse. The concept that you can't help others if you cannot function yourself is critical. Another relatable comparison includes trying to pour from an empty cup. As I heal from verbal abuse, I've recognized how important taking care of myself is so I can help others. 

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Comments

Sean Gunderson
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed this article
Vincent Gray
I experienced something very similar. I started daydreaming at eleven and continued until I turned 18. It stopped or went away by itself during my national military service. Now and then I have attempted to daydream - but is not as easy as before. I used to daydream for up to four or more hours every day for years. It had a negative affect on my schoolwork and life.
Natasha Tracy
Hi Z,

I'm the Blog Manager here, and I want to address your comment.

First, I'm so sorry you're feeling such distress right now. I want you to know that no matter what mistakes you make, you do not deserve to be physically harmed because of them. It's great that you want to be a good person, but everyone slips. None of us are perfect, and we all deserve patience when that happens. You also deserve love no matter what mistakes you make.

It's normal for your emotions to get the best of you sometimes. It happens to teens a lot because they're growing, changing, and maturing, but it happens to adults too! Please know that a huge amount of guilt probably hurts more than it helps.

It sounds to me like you have some pretty tough things to work through. You should talk to an adult that you trust about what's happening. That might be a parent, or it might be another adult in your life who is supportive and nonjudgmental.

You could also reach out to a professional for help. You could talk to a school counselor, for example. They may be able to help you deal with the emotions you're having more effectively.

You may also want to connect with this resource:

SAFE (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Alternative
Information Line
800-DONT-CUT (366-8288)
https://selfinjury.com/

Also, remember, you can call 9-8-8 any time to talk to someone. You don't have to be suicidal to call. They may point you toward additional resources.

You're dealing with some difficult emotions right now, but you don't have to do it alone. I've been where you are, and I promise that reaching out in one or more of the above ways can help.

-- Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy
Hi Gregory,

Thanks for your input. I'm the Blog Manager here at HealthyPlace, and I want to address your comment.

I can understand why a person may think that video game addiction doesn't exist, but there is evidence to the contrary. In one meta-analysis, it was found that 5% of gamers have an addiction. In that analysis, they mention that two hours of gaming a day is considered more normal, but five hours or more may indicate the presence of addiction.

They found that engaging in an addictive gaming behavior led to effects such as lower academic scores, depression, anxiety, and a decrease in self-esteem, life satisfaction, and social support.

You can see more here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001691823002238?via%3Dihub

Internet gaming disorder was even included in the latest "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" ("DSM-5-TR"). More information about it, including diagnostic criteria, can be found here: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/internet-gaming

It's worth noting that while professionals can, of course, help with any addiction, there are steps anyone can take to help with gaming addiction that don't cost anything. https://www.healthyplace.com/addictions/gaming-disorder/addicted-to-video-games-and-online-gaming-what-now

Most gamers are not addicted, but it is absolutely true that some are.

There is quackery out there, but this is not evidence of it.

-- Natasha Tracy