I don't know why, but being a parent feels so much easier when the sun comes out of hiding, and everything starts blooming again. It's springtime, and I'm relieved, so is my child's mental illness.
Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS
If life has you running ragged and often feeling chaotic or even out of control, this is a sign that you are very much a human being. For many reasons, life can be incredibly stressful, and stress robs us of a sense of balance and serenity. Take heart, for there is great news. You can create inner calm, and it doesn't have to be one more chore on your overwhelming to-do list. Here is a way to cultivate inner calm in just five minutes a day.
One of the challenges I experience is when the past makes me anxious. I sometimes find that if I think about events from the past, and those events made me anxious, I tend to feel immersed in my memories. I find that it is almost as though I am reliving those events and experiencing all of the emotions all over again. I often compare it to watching a movie or an "episode" of my "show" over and over again.
Mood swings are common for many people, whether as a part of adolescence, during menstruation, or in a stressful period. Mood swings are also a symptom of borderline personality disorder (BPD). So, how can you tell if you are experiencing mood swings alone or as an indicator of BPD?
Social comparison is a part of being human. Using other people as a reference to decide how we see ourselves is often an unspoken force behind so much of what we do. "Comparison is the thief of joy," an adage often attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, has been on my mind quite often lately. I realized I compare myself to others at the expense of my happiness. I have two chronic anxiety disorders and sensory processing sensitivity which interfere with my life in every way, and I find that I often don't consider these traits when I criticize myself for not working as much, having as grand of ambitions, or achieving as much as my peers.
Like many, I tuned into the Meghan and Harry interview last week, and I was particularly interested in Meghan's account of her mental illness being ignored by the royal family. Regardless of your thoughts on this particular couple, this is, sadly, a common issue in many families. Mental illness is ignored in families regularly, perhaps because we simply don't know how else to cope with it. I think we need to do better.
I have been hospitalized twice due to my erratic mental health. My gender expression of gender non-conforming (outward expression different from societal gender norms) was not taken seriously during these hospitalizations. I was subjected to uninformed mental health professionals and demeaning mistakes due to the lack of knowledge or respect for my gender non-conforming presentation. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, etc. (LGBTQIA+) community deals with barriers to gender-affirming care regarding mental health and hospitalization often. These are just a couple of ways I was subjected to insensitive mental health care regarding my gender expression.
For some victims of verbal abuse, like myself, speaking out helps the healing process. Telling your story of verbal abuse is not only therapeutic, but it can give you back your power. Finding your voice can be a vital aspect of moving forward. Unfortunately, not everyone is receptive to hearing your story; and some individuals may go so far as to try and silence you with victim shaming when you talk about the verbal abuse.
When one characteristic of postpartum depression is guilt, how do you become a better parent? When your house is messy because you just don't have the energy to clean, you feel guilty. When your first reaction to your child's cries is anger instead of loving concern, you feel guilty. When you love your child but hate being a parent because of your postpartum depression, you feel guilty. But there's good news. I found that having postpartum depression also gave me advantages as a parent.
A lot of people think that they can't do yoga because they aren't flexible or coordinated. The truth is that yoga isn't about postures and poses. It's about connecting to you. As I've made it a regular part of my life, yoga has drastically improved my mental health.