Did you know that your dog, in addition to keeping you company, has come with a spiritual mission to support you in the most difficult moments of your life?
Dogs are creatures that are carried away by love, affection and care. They are honest, loyal, and extremely faithful. Yes, they are animals but they have a way of being that has earned them the title of “Man’s best friend.” Then, you can also believe that the dogs can be angels that walk among us with a special mission for humanity.
Dogs are emotional therapists, they would never hesitate to approach you and give you a good lick and accompany you if you feel sad or discouraged. Your mission can be dedicated to a single person or to an entire group. Many dogs do impressive tasks with one person or can impact an entire group of people like a family. A canine pet in a family becomes an inseparable friend, but there are some secrets behind that friendship.
They are energetic protectors
Dogs are protective angels that absorb unbalanced vibrations from both you and the places you inhabit. They are then purged with water, plants and other elements. They even sacrifice for you when there are bad energies that can affect you. They know what their mission is and they don’t hesitate to protect you from whatever it is. Some sudden dog deaths are due to those strong energies they absorb. A good way to purge that bad energy from the animals is by giving them a lot of affection and affection. The caresses make them happy.
They choose you
Beyond what you believe, they choose you and not the other way around. Even when you have the opportunity to “choose” among many puppies, the one who has chosen you will approach you and win your trust and affection for you to select him. And you will know that you have chosen well, but it was not you who chose.
They are bearers of unconditional love
Dogs are faithful. Every day they will show you humility and unconditional love. You will never feel that your dog has forgotten you because he always comes to greet you, wags his tail with happiness when you see you even if it has only been 5 minutes since they stopped seeing you. Canine angels can create such a special bond that even the death of the person they loved the most can depress them to the point of letting themselves die because their mission no longer has an end in the world, they no longer find meaning in life. Cases have been known that the loss of a human friend leads these pets to suffer from an “eternal” wait, the hope that he will return, and if they understand that he is gone forever, they allow themselves to die to meet him on another plane of conscience.
They are sensitive to vibrations of all kinds
They are connected with very high vibrations and are incredibly sensitive. They are capable of perceiving much more than you imagine, they are energy radars, they are always alert even when you see them resting. They have an impressive auditory sensitivity, as well as their smell and vision. They can see through dimensions and planes that people cannot perceive. That is why they become restless and anxious in the presence of a strange presence.
They are the perfect emotional therapists
On a personal level, they will always be aware of their owner and the family that has welcomed them. They ensure that everything is always in harmony. When they feel sadness, depression, heartbreak or any negative feelings, they look for a way to improve your mood. The movement of its tail emits vibrational waves that harmonize the environment. They are signs of love. Dogs are the best friends, the best life companions; They are playful and innocent, they are simply elevated beings in evolution that go on 4 legs making your life happy.
What is an empath? Being an empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others. Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods. …
. Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions. Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities and spiritual urges, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people. You either are an empath or you aren’t. It’s not a trait that is learned.
You are always open, so to speak, to process other people’s feelings and energy, which means that you really feel, and in many cases take on the emotions of others. Many empaths experience things like chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, or unexplained aches and pains daily. These are all things that are more likely to be contributed to outside influences and not so much yourself at all.
Essentially you are walking around in this world with all of the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others. Empaths are often quiet achievers. They can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes.
They are highly expressive in all areas of emotional connection, and talk openly, and, at times quite frankly. They may have few problems talking about their feelings if another cares to listen (regardless of how much they listen to others). However, they can be the exact opposite: reclusive and apparently unresponsive at the best of times. They may even appear ignorant. Some are very good at “blocking out” others and that’s not always a bad thing, at least for the learning empath struggling with a barrage of emotions from others, as well as their own feelings. Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own needs. In general an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker.
Any area filled with disharmony creates an uncomfortable feeling in an empath. If they find themselves in the middle of a confrontation, they will endeavor to settle the situation as quickly as possible, if not avoid it all together. If any harsh words are expressed in defending themselves, they will likely resent their lack of self-control, and have a preference to peacefully resolve the problem quickly. Empaths are more inclined to pick up another’s feelings and project it back without realizing its origin in the first place. Talking things out is a major factor in releasing emotions in the learning empath. Empaths can develop an even stronger degree of understanding so that they can find peace in most situations. The downside is that empaths may bottle up emotions and build barriers sky-high so as to not let others know of their innermost thoughts and/or feelings. This withholding of emotional expression can be a direct result of a traumatic experience, an expressionless upbringing, or simply being told as a child, “Children are meant to be seen and not heard!” Without a doubt, this emotional withholding can be detrimental to one’s health, for the longer one’s thoughts and/or emotions aren’t released, the more power they build. The thoughts and/or emotions can eventually becoming explosive, if not crippling. The need to express oneself honestly is a form of healing and a choice open to all. To not do so can result in a breakdown of the person and result in mental/emotional instability or the creation of a physical ailment, illness or disease. Empaths are sensitive to TV, videos, movies, news and broadcasts. Violence or emotional dramas depicting shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain inflicted on adults, children or animals can bring an empath easily to tears.
At times, they may feel physically ill or choke back the tears. Some empaths will struggle to comprehend any such cruelty, and may have grave difficulty in expressing themselves in the face of another’s ignorance, closed-mindedness and obvious lack of compassion. They simply cannot justify the suffering they feel and see. You will find empaths working with people, animals or nature with a true passion and dedication to help them. They are often tireless teachers and/or caretakers for our environment and all within it. Many volunteers are empathic and give up personal time to help others without pay and/or recognition. Empaths may be excellent storytellers due to an endless imagination, inquisitive minds and ever-expanding knowledge. They can be old romantics at heart and very gentle. They may also be the “keepers” of ancestral knowledge and family history. If not the obvious family historians, they may be the ones who listen to the stories passed down and possess the majority of the family history.
Not surprisingly, they may have started or possess a family tree. They have a broad interest in music to suit their many expressive temperaments, and others can query how empaths can listen to one style of music, and within minutes, change to something entirely different. Lyrics within a song can have adverse, powerful effects on empaths, especially if it is relevant to a recent experience. In these moments, it is advisable for empaths to listen to music without lyrics, to avoid playing havoc with their emotions! They are just as expressive with body language as with words, thoughts, and feelings. Their creativity is often expressed through dance, acting, and bodily movements. Empaths can project an incredible amount of energy portraying and/or releasing emotion. Empaths can become lost in the music, to the point of being in a trance-like state; they become one with the music through the expression of their physical bodies. They describe this feeling as a time when all else around them is almost non-existent. People of all walks of life and animals are attracted to the warmth and genuine compassion of empaths. Regardless of whether others are aware of one being empathic, people are drawn to them as a metal object is to a magnet! Even complete strangers find it easy to talk to empaths about the most personal things, and before they know it, they have poured out their hearts and souls without intending to do so consciously. It is as though on a sub-conscious level that person knows instinctively that empaths would listen with compassionate understanding. Then again, for empaths, it is always nice to actually be heard themselves! Here are the listeners of life. They can be outgoing, bubbly, enthusiastic and a joy to be in the presence of, as well as highly humorous at the most unusual moments! On the flip side, empaths can be weighted with mood swings that will have others around them want to jump overboard and abandon ship! The thoughts and feelings empaths receive from any and all in their life can be so overwhelming (if not understood) that their moods can fluctuate with lightning speed. One moment they may be delightfully happy and with a flick of the switch, miserable. Abandoning an empath in the throes of alternating moods can create detrimental effects.
A simple return of empathic love–listening and caring compassionately without bias, judgment and/or condemnation–can go an incredibly long way to an empath’s instant recovery. Many empaths don’t understand what is occurring within them. They literally have no idea that another person’s emotions are now felt, as one’s own and reflected outwardly. They are confused as to how one moment all was well, and then the next, they feel so depressed, alone, etc. The need to understand the possibilities of empath connection is a vital part of the empaths journey for themselves and for those around them. Empaths are often problem solvers, thinkers, and studiers of many things. As far as empaths are concerned, where a problem is, so too is the answer. They often will search until they find one – if only for peace of mind. This can certainly prove beneficial for others in their relationships, in the workplace, or on the home front. Where there is a will, there is a way and the empath will find it. The empath can literally (likely without the knowledge of what’s actually occurring) tap into Universal Knowledge and be receptive to guidance in solving anything they put their head and hearts into. Empaths often are vivid and/or lucid dreamers. They can dream in detail and are inquisitive of dream content. Often they feel as though the dreams are linked to their physical life somehow, and not just a mumble of nonsensical, irrelevant, meaningless images. This curiosity will lead many empathic dreamers to unravel some of the “mysterious” dream contents from an early age and connect the interpretation to its relevance in their physical life. If not, they may be led to dream interpretations through other means. Empaths are daydreamers with difficulty keeping focused on the mundane. If life isn’t stimulating, off an empath will go into a detached state of mind. They will go somewhere, anywhere, in a thought that appears detached from the physical reality, yet is alive and active for they really are off and away. If a tutor is lecturing with little to no emotional input, empaths will not be receptive to such teaching and can (unintentionally) drift into a state of daydreaming. Give the empath student the tutor who speaks with stimuli and emotion (through actual experience of any given subject) and the empath is receptively alert. Empaths are a captivated audience. This same principle applies in acting. An actor will either captivate the audience through expressing (in all aspects) emotions (as though they really did experience the role they are portraying) or will loose them entirely. Empaths make outstanding actors. Empaths frequently experience déjà vu and synchronicities. What may initially start as, “Oh, what a coincidence”, will lead to the understanding of synchronicities as an aspect of who they are. These synchronicities will become a welcomed and continually expanding occurrence. As an understanding of self grows, the synchronicities become more fluent and free flowing. The synchronicities can promote a feeling of euphoria as empaths identify with them and appreciate the connection to their empathic nature. Empaths are most likely to have had varying paranormal experiences throughout their lives. NDE’s (Near death experiences) and or OBE’s (Out of body experiences) can catapult an unaware empath into the awakening period and provide the momentum for a journey of discovery. Those who get caught up in life, in society’s often dictating ways, in work etc., can become lost in a mechanical way of living that provides very little meaning. All “signs of guidance” are ignored to shift out of this state of “doing”. A path to being whole again becomes evident and a search for more meaning in one’s life begins. These types of experiences appear dramatic, can be life-altering indeed, and are most assuredly just as intensely memorable in years to come. They are the voice of guidance encouraging us to pursue our journey in awareness. Sometimes, some of us require that extra assistance! For some empaths, the lack of outside understanding towards paranormal events they experience, may lead to suppressing such abilities. (Most of these abilities are very natural and not a coincidence.) Empaths may unknowingly adopt the positive or negative attitude of others as their own. (This, however, can be overcome.) Empaths may need to follow interests in the paranormal and the unexplained with curiosity so as to explain and accept their life circumstances.
Here are 30 of the most common traits:
1. Knowing: Empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though that is how many would describe the knowing. The more attuned they are the stronger this gift becomes.
2. Being in public places can be overwhelming: Places like shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums where there are lots of people around can fill the empath with turbulently vexed emotions that are coming from others.
3. Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own: This is a huge one for empaths. To some they will feel emotions off those near by and with others they will feel emotions from those a vast distance away, or both. The more adept empath will know if someone is having bad thoughts about them, even from great distance.
4. Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable: The more attuned an empath becomes the worse it is and may make it so they eventually have to stop watching TV and reading newspapers altogether.
5. You know when someone is not being honest: If a friend or a loved one is telling you lies you know it (although many empaths try not to focus on this because knowing a loved one is lying can be painful). Or if someone is saying one thing but feeling/thinking another, you know.
6. Picking up physical symptoms off another: An empath will almost always develop the ailments off another (colds, eye infections, body aches and pains) especially those they’re closest to, somewhat like sympathy pains.
7. Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the area and eventually lead to anything from stomach ulcers to IBS (too many other conditions to list here). Lower back problems can develop from being ungrounded (amongst other things) and one, who has no knowledge of them being an empath, will almost always be ungrounded.
8. Always looking out for the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an empath’s attention and compassion.
9. Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers: An empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if they’re not careful can end up as their own.
10. Constant fatigue: Empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure. Many get diagnosed with ME.
11. Addictive personality: Alcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions that empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It is a form of self protection in order to hide from someone or something.
12. Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical: Although many empaths would love to heal others they can end up turning away from being healers (even though they have a natural ability for it), after they’ve studied and qualified, because they take on too much from the one they are trying to heal. Especially if they are unaware of their empathy. Anything of a supernatural nature is of interest to empaths and they don’t surprise or get shocked easily. Even at the revelation of what many others would consider unthinkable, for example, empaths would have known the world was round when others believed it was flat.
13. Creative: From singing, dancing, acting, drawing or writing an empath will have a strong creative streak and a vivid imagination.
14. Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.
15. Need for solitude: An empath will go stir-crazy if they don’t get quiet time. This is even obvious in empathic children.
16. Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated: Work, school and home life has to be kept interesting for an empath or they switch off from it and end up daydreaming or doodling.
17. Finds it impossible to do things they don’t enjoy: As above. Feels like they are living a lie by doing so. To force an empath to do something they dislike through guilt or labelling them as idle will only serve in making them unhappy. It’s for this reason many empaths get labelled as being lazy.
18. Strives for the truth: This becomes more prevalent when an empath discovers his/her gifts and birthright. Anything untruthful feels plain wrong.
19. Always looking for the answers and knowledge: To have unanswered questions can be frustrating for an empath and they will endeavour to find an explanation. If they have a knowing about something they will look for confirmation. The downside to this is an information overload.
20. Likes adventure, freedom and travel: Empaths are free spirits.
21. Abhors clutter: It makes an empath feel weighed down and blocks the flow of energy.
22. Loves to daydream: An empath can stare into space for hours, in a world of their own and blissfully happy.
23. Finds routine, rules or control, imprisoning: Anything that takes away their freedom is debilitating to an empath even poisoning.
24. Prone to carry weight without necessarily overeating: The excess weight is a form of protection to stop the negative incoming energies having as much impact.
25. Excellent listener: An empath won’t talk about themselves much unless it’s to someone they really trust. They love to learn and know about others and genuinely care.
26. Intolerance to narcissism: Although kind and often very tolerant of others, empaths do not like to be around overly egotistical people, who put themselves first and refuse to consider another’s feelings or points of view other than their own.
27. The ability to feel the days of the week: An empath will get the ‘Friday Feeling’ if they work Fridays or not. They pick up on how the collective are feeling. The first couple of days of a long, bank holiday weekend (Easter for example) can feel, to them, like the world is smiling, calm and relaxed. Sunday evenings, Mondays and Tuesdays, of a working week, have a very heavy feeling.
28. Will not choose to buy antiques, vintage or second-hand: Anything that’s been pre-owned carries the energy of the previous owner. An empath will even prefer to have a brand new car or house (if they are in the financial situation to do so) with no residual energy.
29. Sense the energy of food: Many empaths don’t like to eat meat or poultry because they can feel the vibrations of the animal (especially if the animal suffered), even if they like the taste.
30. Can appear moody, shy, aloof, disconnected: Depending on how an empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world. They can be prone to mood swings and if they’ve taken on too much negative will appear quiet and unsociable, even miserable.
An empath detests having to pretend to be happy when they’re sad, this only adds to their load (makes working in the service industry, when it’s service with a smile, very challenging) and can make them feel like scuttling under a stone. If you can say yes to most or all of the above then you are most definitely an empath.
1st Chakra – Earth ChakraLocation – Base of spine Dealing – It deals with survival and is blocked by fear Ask yourself – What are you most afraid of? Let the fears become clear to you. To do – Surrender your fears. Let your fears flow down the creek
2nd Chakra – Water Chakra Location – Dealing – Deals with pleasure and is blocked by guilt Ask yourself – Look at all the guilt which burdens your soul, what you blame yourself for To do – Accept the reality that this thing happened. Don’t let them cloud and poison your energy. If you are to be a positive influence in the world, you need to forgive yourself! Release all the blame & guilt within you, forgive yourself.
3rd Chakra – Fire ChakraLocation – Stomach Dealing – Deals with willpower and is blocked by shame Ask yourself – What are you ashamed of, what are your biggest disappointments in yourself To do – Accept and love all aspects of who you are, even your mistakes. Release all your letdowns and disappointments; Accept and love all aspects of who you are even your mistakes.
4th Chakra – Love ChakraLocation – Heart Dealing – Deals with love and is blocked by grief Ask yourself – To do – Let all your grief out in front of you. Love is a form of energy and it swirls all around us. Let the pain flow. Release all your sadness and loss.
5th Chakra – Sound Chakra or Chakra of TruthLocation – Throat Dealing – Deals with truth and is blocked by lies, the ones we tell ourselves. Ask yourself – To do – You cannot lie about your own nature, you must accept who you are. Release the denials and the lies you tell yourself.
6th Chakra – Light ChakraLocation – Center of the forehead Dealing – Deals with insight and is blocked by illusion Ask yourself – The greatest illusion of this world is the illusion of separation, things you think are separate and different, are actually the one and the same. We are one people but live divided. To do – Release all illusion within yourself, everything is connected, collective. Open your mind, you will see that all the elements are one. It is just our consciousness.
7th Chakra – Thought ChakraLocation – Crown of head Dealing – It deals with pure cosmic energy and is blocked by earthly attachments. You will have complete control of your awareness, actions, and thoughts. Ask yourself – What attaches you to this world? To do – Let all of the attachments go. Let them flow down the river forgotten. Release all your earthly attachments and let go of all you learned to love Surrender yourself and release all the earthly attachments. Realize letting go does not mean it truly disappears. You are then able to connect to your perfect – or ‘’higher’’ self. Like all of you.
While it’s always amazing to see more people opening up about their mental health, it seems certain issues become more acceptable to talk about than others. Of course, we need to continue spreading awareness about topics like depression and anxiety — but we can’t forget about people living with mental illnesses that maybe aren’t as understood nor common. In fact, anxiety and depression often co-occur with other disorders people might not feel as comfortable talking about.
“C-PTSD (Complex PTSD). I was never in a physical war, so people assume I can’t have it. They say it couldn’t have been that bad and call me lucky. No one knows what I went though as a child and adult and how it affects me today when everything is fight or flight on a daily basis.” — Megan K.
“I have PTSD due to childhood bullying, but everyone thinks of guns and major accidents causing PTSD. It’s not like that for me though. I literally panic if I see anyone who looks like the person and have panic attacks if in close contact with them.” — Jess H.
To learn more about C-PTSD, head here or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“I don’t think dissociative identity disorder gets enough awareness that includes accurate, factual information… Compared to a lot of disorders, this is one of the misunderstood and stigmatized. People often feel they can question and say anything they want to someone diagnosed with DID that they wouldn’t usually say to someone with a more ‘understood’ condition… For some people, the only ‘awareness’ of DID they get is from movies that focus on someone with DID as a killer. I still see people using outdated terminology such as ‘multiple personality’ or ‘split personality’ — both of which are incorrect. DID gets treated as entertainment for horror or drama films and in real life is treated by society with such ignorance. A lot of people who are not trained in trauma-related disorders seem to have a lot to say about the validity of this specific disorder, even if they can’t be bothered to do any actual reading or research on it.” — Megan S.
“Up until I took a music in medicine class I had no idea what it was. I still thought it was multiple personality disorder.” — Jessica M.
To learn more about DID, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Despite OSFED (Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders) being just as common, almost no one has heard of it. Even medical professionals overlook eating disorders if you don’t fit into the neat little boxes. This means people with anorexia who are males may be overlooked. People who have any of the other eating disorders are almost never believed. Atypical anorexia, purging disorder, exercise bulimia and other subtypes of the ‘main two’ (anorexia and bulimia) and OSFED exist, too. BED (binge eating disorder) exists, ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) exists. … And everyone with an eating disorder is not a skinny, white, teenage girl.” — Benji Y.
“Binge-eating disorder. It’s hard to find blogs, videos or other media discussing it because of the shame associated with the disorder. There is also the issue with size. People are misinformed about size. Not all people who have the disorder are overweight, and those who are deserve treatment just like everyone else. No, their health problems aren’t their fault.” — Monica S.
To learn more about types of eating disorder we don’t often talk about, head here or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Highly stigmatized, and people don’t know how to even touch the subject. If someone has a hallucination, people often bring it more to life, asking who/what/where it is, attempting to interact with it, the whole bit.” — Siobhan N.
“You think enough people would know about it, but I am a social work student… and so many students have no idea what it is when we begin studying the DSM-5. Or they know and get it mixed up with multiple personality disorder instead.” — Alexandria A.
“I feel like this mental illness is always overlooked because it seems scary. Or people don’t understand it. I wish people realized people with schizophrenia are people and not their illness. That it’s just an illness of the mind. Not a flaw in being a person.” — Becky R.
To learn more about schizophrenia, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“It’s not about being scared to leave the house; it’s about avoiding triggers of panic, of being ‘stuck’ and unable to ‘escape.’ It’s anxiety of anxiety. It’s isolation to the home because that becomes the only ‘safe’ place away from the panic and resulting embarrassment and humiliation of having a panic attack in public. The anxiety of knowing you’re not in control of your panic and the only way to control it is to avoid the triggers. For some, this avoidance demands one stay at home to avoid these debilitating feelings and fears.” — Emmie E.
“People just use what they see portrayed in the media as their information on it. We are not all housebound. We may be very limited in where we can go, or we may need a safety person to go with us, but many of us can indeed leave the house and do many things, with a little assistance.” — Jennifer H.
To learn more about agoraphobia, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Avoidant personality disorder. Only two percent of the population is estimated to have it, but it likely goes under-diagnosed because no one knows about it, but so many people who could have it are already so withdrawn that it really needs more awareness.” — Jessica C.
To learn more about avoidant personality disorder, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“An extreme shyness anxiety disorder people often don’t know too much about and children end up adults not being able to talk to people or communicate without the proper help and therapy.” — Caitlin H.
To learn more about selective mutism, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Harm OCD — really, any form of OCD that isn’t associated with cleanliness and hygiene could use more coverage. Not to minimize how serious that kind of OCD can be, but when you tell someone you have OCD, their first assumption is you’re ‘super organized’ or can’t stand to touch door handles. There’s a spectrum. People need to understand that.” — Kristy H.
To learn more about Harm OCD, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Excoriation disorder! It’s only been in the DSM since 2013 and to this day I still have to introduce and educate doctors, dermatologists and counselors to the word. It’s disheartening because very few med professionals know about it, or are knowledgeable enough on the topic to give help to those who have the disorder.” — Karley S.
To learn more about excoriation disorder and other body-focused repetitive behaviors, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Schizoaffective disorder is rarely ever talked about; it’s like a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar.” — Shannon P.
“The majority of people haven’t even heard of it, let alone what it entails, even within the mental health community.” — Fallon G.
“I didn’t even know the disorder existed until I was diagnosed in the psych ward. And then to top it all off, they never even explained to me what it meant. It took a lot research to figure out what the hell that meant. It’s more than just schizophrenia because regular schizophrenia doesn’t deal with the mood, while schizoaffective does.” — Brianna P.
To learn more about schizoaffective disorder, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
“Postpartum depression/anxiety/PTSD. Everyone is quick to assume it’s just the baby blues or that, ‘You chose to become a mother so deal with it.’ It’s incredibly difficult to get anyone to take you seriously when the responses are, ‘Get more sleep,’ ‘It’s no big deal,’ ‘You’ll get used to it,’ or when they go to the extreme opposite and assume you’ll hurt your child.” — Amanda M.
“Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. People tend to confuse it with baby blues.” — Maggie H.
To learn more about postpartum disorders, head here, or check out the stories written by people in our community below:
Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition that affects circulation, causing decreased blood flow to the extremities (most commonly the fingers and toes). This can be triggered by several things, including cold weather and stress. Though Raynaud’s does not cause permanent damage, the symptoms can be quite painful and uncomfortable. Often the person’s fingers or toes will change colors due to the lack of blood flow, causing them to go white, red, blue or purple.
Approximately 10 percent of the population experiences Raynaud’s to some extent, though there are two different types: primary Raynaud’s occurs in people who don’t have another rheumatic disease, and secondary Raynaud’s occurs in people who do. For those with secondary Raynaud’s, the most common “primary” conditions include lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome.
1. “Raynaud’s and scleroderma. Me every morning during winter.” – Adele P.G.
2. “Pain.” – Adrienne S.
3. “If I don’t cover up in cold weather or I don’t eat when it’s time I get white fingers. They hurt sometimes and I have to put them on my belly or under my armpits to bring them back to normal.” – Aquitania F.
4. “I usually get a cold, followed by a numb feeling when this happens. After this, it turns purple and burns and tingles.” – Karen T.
5. “I haven’t done anything – my hands burn so bad. These hands make me feel so useless. I’m scared to do the dishes because they hurt so bad. People think I only do half the dishes because I’m lazy. Half way my hands hurt so bad I can’t touch my phone.” – Sonny P.
6. “Even my knees turn purple, usually before my fingers and toes too.” – Laura P.
7. “This is a picture of my fingers after I let my dog out in 2012. I was diagnosed with SLE in January of 2017… this was my first symptom.” – Ryn J.
8. “I’m constantly burying my feet and hands! Luckily my service dog generates a lot of heat so I can ask her to lay on my feet or bury my hands under her chin to warm up when we are out and about and I always bring a jacket even when it’s warm out… at home I am constantly burying my feet under my animals or getting extra blankets to keep warm.” – Bay H.
9. “A day at work. My hands and feet frequently look like this simply because of it being winter and cold here in Pennsylvania. I always catch my students staring, so I always give them a brief reasoning saying my circulation is really bad. Raynaud’s was my first noticeable symptom of my lupus diagnosed years later.” – Janelle G.
10. “White ‘hooman’ paws just before the shower water got hot. Hands too.” – JC L.
11. “Was feeling stressed about exams and boom, blue fingers.” – Alyssa M.
12. “This is what’s happening to me. I lose circulation in my extremities triggered by the cold/damp weather, stress or touching cold things. It is painful and I my hands/feet/nose are always cold. It sucks to live with but we need to keep ourselves warm. I wear gloves and warm socks to prevent but still happening. Heating blanket is my best friend. I am looking into buying heating gloves and socks because the regular ones are not enough.” – Louise H.
13. “‘Oh my god, what happened to your knees?!’ ‘Huh? I don’t… what…? They’re fine, that’s just how they look.’ – an interaction I’ve had 856 times at least.” – Kaari P.
14. “My Raynaud’s is awful. I also have POTS [postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome] and IST [inappropriate sinus tachycardia]. The treatments kind of contradict each other and it’s making this winter particularly difficult. I finally found medication that controls my tachycardia well and I don’t want to undo that. I can’t afford to risk ulcers though. It’s not a fun game.” – Brittney B.
15. “My hands after coming from a surf on a beautiful sunny day. I didn’t even feel cold and yet this was the state of my hands. I’ve had Raynaud’s since I was 10 but thought it was normal, just what happened to anyone when they got really cold… 13 years later I realized it was a potential sign of chronic illness all along.” – Kristiana P.
One of the things that hurts me most in regards to my struggle with depression is lack of energy. At one point, I got to a point in life where I could no longer live on my own because I couldn’t take care of myself, so I had to move back in with my parents.
I recently heard of something called “the spoon theory,” which perfectly explains my lack of energy to others.
The theory goes like this: Each person in the world has a supply of spoons, and these spoons are what get you through the day. You get out of bed in the morning? That’s going to cost you a spoon. You brush your teeth? That’s going to cost another one. Make breakfast? That’s going to cost a few more.
Healthy people seem to have more spoons then someone who is struggling with illness. Each day you wake up and have a new supply of spoons, but the number of spoons you get isn’t up to you. To someone who is sick, it might seem like healthy people have an unlimited supply of spoons. It’s just like how I happen to have brown hair and dark skin — I also just happen to have a limited supply of spoons.
When I got to the point where I could no longer live on my own, it was because I had no spoons left and for some reason I wasn’t able to get more. Days and weeks went by, but still no spoons would come. Once in a while I had a few — very few — and was able to get up, brush my teeth and get dressed before crashing back down again to recharge my spoon supply.
Except it wouldn’t recharge.
I felt like my life wasn’t worth living, because living with such a limited number of spoons feels nearly impossible. But I recently discovered that I can get spoons from outside sources.
Someone says they believe in me: I get five spoons for the day.
Someone tells me they love me: 15 spoons!
And one day someone hugged me and told me they care: And my supply of spoons seemed to reach the sky! I had enough to get me through the entire day and the next!
But it can also work the other way around. Someone can say something hurtful and a spoon will disappear. It’s like they’ve stolen it, even though they have so many for themselves and they know my supply is limited, but they still take one or two.
I’m so hurt that I cry, forgetting completely that tears will also cost me a few spoons. I go in to a cycle where I’m losing all my spoons due to wasting them on tears.
I reach for help, I reach for encouragement from others, because I know that’s the best place to get more spoons, but in reality, people are busy and don’t always seem to get the little hints I drop and I can’t exactly say, “Hey person, I’m in need a few spoons, can you give me some of yours?” Because they’ll look at me weirdly and think I’ve “gone nuts.” Maybe if they’re really nice they’ll buy me a packet of plastic spoons from the supermarket, but those kind don’t exactly help.
So if I’m sending this to you, it means I’ve run out of spoons and I’m asking you in my own weird way for you to lend me a few of yours, and I also hope this has helped you understand the way I work.
There’s a certain misconception that children are “too young” and don’t have enough life experience to have a mental illness, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Studies show the age of onset for mental disorders usually occurs in childhood or adolescence. Of course, these mental disorders are often unrecognized by our peers and parents, and both diagnosis and treatment typically don’t occur until years later.
If you live with bipolar disorder, there’s a chance you grew up with it. But what signs might there be in childhood? To find out, we asked our mental health and bipolar disorder communities to share “signs” they grew up with bipolar disorder they can recognize now as adults.
From childhood depression to being a “problem child” in school, we hope their answers can give you insight into your own childhood, or shine a light on why a child in your life could need some extra help and understanding.
Here’s what our community had to say:
“As a child, I was always way more sensitive than other children. I would break down for hours and cry. I thought about my death and my family’s deaths abnormally often. At 10, I lost parts of my hair from being so depressed, or I would have these hyper attacks where I would laugh for no reason for a long time and I could never stop talking. I’d also be cleaning my whole room over and over again. It was exhausting.” — Morgan T.
“Not knowing who you are without your disorder. I have become comfortable with my sadness; it’s all I know. If I have an ‘OK’ day, I don’t even know how to feel about myself. I don’t feel like me when I’m not depressed.” — Shannon M.
“I wasn’t properly diagnosed until I reached my 40s, but looking back, my erratic sexual and spending behavior, in addition to my bouts of depression, should have been major red flags. I had no idea it was due to bipolar; I just figured I was ‘screwed up.’” — Jessi F.
“I started cycling at 12 years old so I have no idea what the Alysha without bipolar disorder is like. It’s also why I say ‘I am bipolar,’ instead of ‘I have bipolar.’” — Alysha F.
“Irritability. I was always irritable, no matter what. That’s why, when I was diagnosed, everything I felt started making sense.” — Katelyn S.
“I was always super sensitive and prone to anger outbursts. I could also focus on something so intently the world would fade away. I’m still angry and sensitive but therapy is helping me get through it.” — Beth B.
“Thinking I was invincible at 14. I would sneak out at night and go on walks because I couldn’t sleep, I would still wake up in time for school but could only sleep four or five hours a night. I walked a lot just because I had the energy during the day and then more at night.” — Cassandra K.
“Growing up, my parents and sibling thought I had inherited my father’s extreme anger and violence. My teachers and fellow students thought I was just lashing out and enjoyed getting into fights at school, constantly getting suspended, until ninth grade when I was asked to leave. This all started when I was around 5 years old, but it was not until I turned 12 that a doctor told me I had bipolar disorder. Growing up and constantly being misunderstood, from my feelings to my behaviors, is one sign I grew up with bipolar disorder.” — Samantha W.
“Everyone else thought something was ‘wrong’ with me. I had impulse control issues and was so afraid I’d be disliked that I’d lie to be liked. I was diagnosed 21 years ago.” — Sasha S.
“The cycles I had with my moods. I would do great in the spring and summer, but as soon as it hit August and fall started approaching, it all went downhill. I always knew it was around the time that school was starting that I would start to cycle into an episode, so it would increase my anxiety and I would absolutely dread going to school. I never realized it was a sign until recently, when my team and I figured out my cycles and it all just clicked and made sense. I was diagnosed at 17, but honestly I think I’ve been bipolar since I was probably between 8 and 10 years old.” — Megan D.
“I would have painting sprees. I wouldn’t want to paint for a while, and then all of a sudden I would do like two paintings a day in middle school and high school, convinced I was getting visions from God, and it was my duty to share my genius with the world. Sometimes, I fantasized about my death, wondering what it would be like at my funeral and how no one would come except my mom and dad, or people would stomp on my grave and laugh at me. In my freshman year of college, I didn’t sleep and stayed up all night doing homework full of energy, and I always forgot to eat. I became very religious and believed I was getting visions from God again. For the first time in my life, I was a social butterfly. I did many paintings and even started a website out of the blue. Then I crashed for the first time in my life and started having suicidal thoughts. I have always either been heavily invested with something and then suddenly not interested in that thing or activity at all.” — Zoe S.
“I never slept, but was never really tired. I just chalked it up to being a kid and having energy, and then as a teen, having a night job and then having to do homework once I got home. I also repressed everything.” — Morgan W.
“I was very shy, reserved and sensitive. I had a lot of fears and cried very easily. But then there were times when I would stay up for days with little to no sleep, cleaning and rearranging the house. My mom thought it was odd but harmless so she didn’t stress over it. As soon as I was diagnosed, it all made sense.” — Courtney B.
“I spent weeks remodeling my bedroom, covering every inch of wall with collages and pictures. I even built a table. Then, a year later, I ripped all of it off the walls in an hour leaving blotches of drywall and became depressed for weeks. I was 16.” — Emma T.
“As far back as 6 years old, I would do great in the fall with school and family. Every spring without fail, and still at age 49, I have three weeks of productivity and fun followed by three weeks of the most rage and hostility I had ever known. Those were my first memories in general.” — Beth P.
“Being described as ‘the problem child’ because people thought you were just dramatic and a mess; they didn’t realize the behavior was uncontrollable due to the mental illness.” — Sabrina G.
Pick a man before you read!! I was 20 & 5 absolutely spot on 🙏
Which number of the 21 little people in the tree do you resonate with? Look at the picture before reading below….[translated]
This simple psycho-emotional test inspired by Pip Willson’s method can reveal interesting points about you.
Pip Willson is a psychologist and trainer known worldwide for the very simple method in which he manages to help people find their maximum potential and balance in life. Pip Wilson also invented the Blob Tree method.
If you chose the little man 2 or 3, then you are an ambitious and confident person. You know that you will succeed all the time and that convenient situations will always come up to help you in your progress.
Little man number 1 is a self-assured person, content with his life and optimistic. He is an intelligent person, the capabia should see in perspective.
Little man number 21 is a person who tries, but does not know how to find the best solutions for his life. He is a little man who must learn to ask for help from those around him and to give up his suspicious nature.
If you chose the little man 9, 19 or 4, it defines you as a non-social, suspicious and confident person. The number 19 man can have narcissistic inclinations and is envious of the success of others.
The number 4 little man gives up too quickly, does not trust his extraordinary potential. And the number 9 little man will do anything to prove that he is wonderful too, but it is easier to keep his lonely side, because in this way he justifies his mistrust in others.
Little people 7, 11, 12 characterize communicative people who know how to offer support to their friends. These people are characterized by a high emotional intelligence that helps them successfully deal with life situations. They have team spirit, they see the bright side and they find solutions all the time.
The number 5 little man is creative, loves life, enjoys every moment, love and knows how to be grateful to all the good things around him. This helps him to maintain a positive outlook and so he always has open doors to all the best!
The number 6 little man needs to feel loved, protected and safe. He is the kind of person who always falls in love with the wrong person, because of his unwed need for affection and love. This little man must learn to look more carefully for those who can help him in his evolution, and not those who do not understand his vulnerability.
The number 13 little man is filled with despair and the loss of hope. He must do his best to recalibrate himself to the tree of life and he can easily regain confidence in himself again, seeking the support of his loved ones!
The little people 16, 17 and 18 are optimistic, full of life, with team spirit, perform in any field and look at the challenges with detachment. The number 18 little man likes to feel loved and appreciated, and when he feels it, he becomes your best friend!
The number 14 little man is a soul, a philanthropist, he would do anything to help others. He is characterized by a lot of empathy and a ′′ great soul “. This little man should learn to take care of himself, not just others!
The 10, 15 and 20 men are winners. I love the taste of success, even if everyone has different ways to achieve it. The number 20 man is ambitious, confident and full of life, is an innovator and is not afraid to take risks. His detachment and passion bring him many achievements and satisfaction.
Little man number 10 is ambitious, but also very cautious. He is hardworking and determined, that’s why he is successful, pretty much anything he wants. His ideas always stand out and he is appreciated in any environment. And the number 15 little man is motivated by the beauty of the road to success rather than the success itself. He is curious to know new things, to have new experiences, to meet people and to learn something from each one.
The number 8 little man is a dreamer and romantic. He likes to have some moments just to himself. This is how he regains his energy and the mood for life and socialization. It is good for the loved ones to understand their need for isolation and not to misconstrue it, to understand it and to leave the space it needs.
My mom had a lot of problems. She did not sleep and she felt exhausted. She was irritable, grumpy, and bitter. She was always sick, until one day, suddenly, she changed.
One day my dad said to her:
I’ve been looking for a job for three months and I haven’t found anything, I’m going to have a few beers with friends.
My mom replied:
My brother said to her:
Mom, I’m doing poorly in all subjects at the University …
My mom replied:
Okay, you will recover, and if you don’t, well, you repeat the semester, but you pay the tuition.
My sister said to her:
Mom, I smashed the car.
My mom replied:
Okay daughter, take it to the workshop, find how to pay and while they fix it, get around by bus or subway.
Her daughter-in-law said to her:
Mother-in-law, I come to spend a few months with you.
My mom replied:
Okay, settle in the living room couch and look for some blankets in the closet.
All of us gathered worried to see these reactions coming from Mom
We suspected that she had gone to the doctor and that she was prescribe some pills called “I don’t give a damn about 1000 mg.”
Perhaps she was overdosing on these!
We then proposed to do an “intervention” to my mother to remove her from any possible addiction she had towards some anti-tantrum medication.
But what was not the surprise, when we all gathered around her and my mom explained:
“It took me a long time to realize that each person is responsible for their life, it took me years to discover that my anguish, my mortification, my depression, my courage, my insomnia and my stress, did not solve their problems but aggravated mine.
I am not responsible for the actions of others, but I am responsible for the reactions I express to that.
Therefore, I came to the conclusion that my duty to myself is to remain calm and let each one solve what corresponds to them.
I have taken courses in yoga, meditation, miracles, human development, mental hygiene, vibration and neurolinguistic programming, and in all of them, I found a common denominator: finally they all lead to the same point.
And, it is that I can only interfere with myself, you have all the necessary resources to solve your own lives.
I can only give you my advice if you ask me and it depends on you to follow it or not.
So, from now on, I cease to be: the receptacle of your responsibilities, the sack of your guilt, the laundress of your remorse, the advocate of your faults, the wall of your lamentations, the depositary of your duties, who should solve your problems or spare a tire every time to fulfill your responsibilities. From now on, I declare all independent and self-sufficient adults.
Everyone at my mom’s house was speechless.
From that day on, the family began to function better, because everyone in the house knows exactly what it is that they need to do.
For some of us this is hard, because we’ve grown up being the caregivers feeling reasonable for others.
A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does love mean?’ The answers they got were broader, deeper, and more profound than anyone could have ever imagined!
‘When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore… So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’ Rebecca – age 8
‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’ Billy – age 4
‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’ Karl – age 5
‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’ Chrissy – age 6
‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’ Terri – age 4
‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’ Danny – age 8
‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.’ Bobby – age 7 (Wow!)
‘If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.’ Nikka – age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)
‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.’ Noelle – age 7
‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’ Tommy – age 6
‘During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’ Cindy – age 8
‘My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’ Clare – age 6
‘Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’ Elaine – age 5
‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’ Chris – age 7
‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.’ Mary Ann – age 4
‘I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’ Lauren – age 4
‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’ (what an image!) Karen – age 7
‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross…’ Mark – age 6
‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.’ Jessica – age 8
And the final one: The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry.’
Now, take 60 seconds and post this for other to see. And then be a child again today!✨💗✨
Often we hear about those who have bipolar disorder and the fight they endure mentally, but we can often overlook the children affected by it when a parent is bipolar. I became strong at a young age because of my mom’s bipolar illness. My mom was a single mother who raised two kids as a server and always made sure we had food on the table and clothes on our back. From an outsider looking in, we seemed like a strong family. She began to experience bipolar episodes when she was in her early 20s when me and my sister were in diapers. I can imagine this was a scary thing for her not knowing why she would stop feeling any sort of happiness at any given time.
Being a child to a mom with bipolar was confusing and challenging and unstable for me. By the time I was 6, I knew she wasn’t like other moms. Everything seemed to matter so much and everything was a huge deal. It’s like she felt 1000 times more than the average person and she didn’t know how to deal with it (at this time, I had no idea what she was going through).
I knew my mom had two sides to her. When I was younger, I wondered why she hated us some days and loved us so much other times. Some people may get sad with bipolar, but I think her sadness turned into meanness because she didn’t understand her own illness. As I got older, this became my “normal.” Watching her go through these episodes, I often thought, “Does she think I don’t notice what’s happening to her?” I never knew who my mom would wake up as and not knowing what mom you were getting was scary for me. We often tiptoed around the house nervous to wake her up because she could be in a “mood.” She loved deeply and loved us very much, but often took her episodes out on us since we were always around.
When your parent acts irrational, it’s easy to take on the responsibility of feeling the need to cover for them to help them seem “normal.” When I was 8, I covered for her to friends’ parents when she would never come get me from a sleepover because she was having a episode. I would get so embarrassed and mad when she would do these things and outsiders would see it. If she did make it out to come get me from a friend’s house, I didn’t know how she would show up. Would she be fine and ask me if I had fun or would she lay on her horn the whole way down their street telling me to get in the car and fast? Even at the grocery store, cashiers could tell my mom was acting strange and I would try and play it off and take the attention off my mom.
She was very violent during an episode, so we knew to be on our best behavior but this never helped. She spewed awful hateful words to us saying she wished she never had us and we ruined her life. At one point, I thought I made her like this because I didn’t know better.
As the years progressed, I learned to never take it serious but I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. Coming home from school on her good days, she would ask me how my day was and what I learned. I knew it was a bad day if I came home from school and she was sleeping with her door closed. I learned to give her space and just do things for myself. I tiptoed on egg shells a lot around my house. I knew anything could set her off and I didn’t want to have to reap the consequences.
I watched how her bipolar affected her and us. We constantly moved almost every year because even our housing became unstable. I hated to switch schools and meet new friends. This broke my heart always having to say goodbye to friends I grew attached to. As I became a teenager, my mom become a lady I loathed. I knew something was wrong, but I was so hateful towards her at this point. I became resentful that someone even let her become a mother. The years progressed and I watched episodes become longer and longer and life get more unstable for all of us. I learn to distance myself from her while living under the same roof.
As a teenager, I saw her start to deteriorate. I saw her jump from job to job and some days just never go to work and stay locked in her room. We never talked about those days, just went on with our business. Some days I would not see her come out of her room for days and I began to become OK with that. I felt like she let me down by not being that “normal” mom who could deal with life and act accordingly. I wanted a mom who was my best friend, not one who constantly let me down because of a episode.
I think the worst part was her not talking to me and telling me why she was this way. Holidays and birthdays brought on episodes for her and they always lasted the longest. My 16th birthday, she hid in her room and I sat in mine hurt and upset that she didn’t even wish me a happy birthday. After many events like this, I just wrote her off because of the lack of communication.
Now as I am 26, I get it and forgive her. She was fighting her own demons in her head. If you are a parent and go through something similar, my advice is to tell your children. Tell them in an age-appropriate way. Make sure they understand it’s not them. I guarantee they notice the change, they are witnessing it firsthand. Being a parent with bipolar disorder is not something to be ashamed of and now my mom has a lot of regrets with her children. I forgive her and don’t resent her anymore. I grew up to be a strong-minded individual because I had to be and I owe it to her. She is the strongest lady I know and I will continue to be there now while she goes through her “down days.”
Loneliness is not the absence of connection but the full presence of God and a total experience of the Self.
It is total “isolation” which is not isolation at all from the perspective of Infinitude. Loneliness contains its own cure, if we are willing to dive in, courageously, or without any courage at all. The dive is everything. Loneliness is utterly misunderstood in our culture, or rather, it is only understood on a very superficial psychological level.
Everyone is running from loneliness, keeping busy just to avoid it, never coming to know and taste its sweet and merciful healing nectar.
For many, loneliness is an enemy, something shameful to be avoided or covered up at all costs. We reach outwards, habitually, automatically, unconsciously, just to keep our distance from loneliness, just to avoid the deafening silence at the heart of all creation. We fill our time and senses up, addict ourselves to projects, create false personas on social media, try to stay “connected” as much as we can, never letting ourselves rest, to avoid the “void” and the gaping chasm of loneliness. But in its terrifying depths, loneliness is not harmful or shameful at all; it is a highly misunderstood spiritual experience of Oneness with all creation, a full and life-giving immersion in the staggering beauty – and utter horror – of life itself, a deep and timeless connection to all living things. Loneliness is not an emptiness but a full presence and an abundance of life. It is pure potential and freedom and surrender all at once, but as long as we are running from it we will never know its nourishing, healing and transformative powers.
Loneliness is not a negative state or some mistake in our being or biology, it is inherent in existence itself, built-in ontologically to our very consciousness and it transcends the psychological story. It is connection, not disconnection. It is wholeness, not lack. Loneliness is a naked spiritual state and subsumes all other states. It is an utter letting go, a paradigm of pure receptivity and perfectly tender openness. It is the ground of being itself, and the base of our subjectivity.
We run from it at our peril.
Nobody can experience our joys and sorrows for us. Nobody can live for us and nobody can die for us. Nobody can experience our own subjective reality, see what we see, feel what we feel, experience what we experience, love what we love, heal from what we need to heal from. We can act as witnesses for one another but we cannot enter each other’s subjectivity or breathe for each other or process each other’s pain. We exist in utter aloneness and uniqueness always, and this is true even when we are in deep connection and relationship. Our ability to relate authentically has its roots in our profound loneliness, and this is what makes every connection with another being such a miracle. When we run from our loneliness, we run from the miraculous and we run from ourselves.
Without loneliness, we exist in utter spiritual poverty, no matter how ‘evolved’ we believe we are.
Loneliness is a journey we must take alone. Like falling in love, or like dying, we must fall, without protection and without guarantees. Loneliness is the artist in the midst of creating something utterly new, the scientist on the verge of a breakthrough. Loneliness is the woman crying out on her deathbed, the child being born, the spiritual seeker kneeling prostrate before the ordinary world, the adventurer forging a new path in the dark forest. Loneliness is a risk, but utterly safe. Loneliness is the heart of trauma but it is a loving heart after all. Loneliness feels like shame and total abandonment from the perspective of the mind but for the soul loneliness is a full encounter with the timeless mystery of creation and an utter celebration of all there is.
Loneliness takes us out of our minds. It breaks us, grinds us down to our essence, erodes us back to purity and innocence and beauty, brings us close to death but then rebirths us, stronger and more courageous than ever before. Its terror breaks our defences and, then, vulnerable and soft and open, we re-enter the world, more sensitive to its beauty, more aware of the fragility of form and more tender towards the ache of humanity.
We don’t always know if we can endure loneliness, but we do.
When we are in loneliness, it is total and all-consuming and even time recedes. Everything disappears into loneliness – it is like a black hole, and we don’t know how long we can survive its ferocious embrace. But we are stronger than we know and we endure it beautifully. Through meeting our own loneliness and letting it touch us deeply, and ravage us, and cleanse us, and renew us, we come to know directly the loneliness of all beings, their yearning for the light, their deep ache for God, their search for home. We recognise others more deeply as ourselves. Loneliness makes us look beyond appearances and touch the depths of the world soul. If we have truly plumbed the depths of our own loneliness, we can never again close our hearts to the loneliness of others, to the yearning of their humanity, to the horror and awe of creation itself.
Loneliness breaks us open to a devastating compassion for all things, it matures us spiritually and increases our empathy a thousand-fold. We become more caring, more compassionate, more deeply considerate. We become more able to look into the eyes of another without shame or fear. We become less able to turn away where we see suffering and pain. We value our connections more deeply than ever before. Each friendship is a miracle. Each moment with a family member, or partner, or stranger, takes on a strange new melancholic beauty. We become more fearlessly alive in our dying. We embrace paradox as a lover and a friend.
Loneliness is the gravity of love, a sacred pull into the heart core.
Loneliness brings with it a sense of rest and contentment, a deep inner happiness and satisfaction. It slows us down to a snail’s pace and breaks our addiction to the clock and to second-hand notions of “success”. It makes us less distracted, less restless, less manipulative, more content with the present moment. The black hole in our guts becomes our unexpected church, our solace, our sanctuary and our mother, and the source of all our genuine answers. We listen to our loneliness and it brings unexpected gifts. New creativity and new inspiration pours out of the lonely place inside. New music comes from there, new and unexpected words, new desire and new paths to follow. Loneliness is the source of all great art, music, poetry, dance, and all works touched by authentic loneliness are authentic works filled with truth and humility and the light of life itself. The nectar of God pours through the broken place inside. Loneliness crucifies us yet shows us that we cannot be crucified.
We do not lose ourselves in loneliness. We find ourselves there more clearly and directly than ever.
Loneliness is the experience of pure intimacy with the senses. It is the erotic experience of being fully alive. It is Jesus on the cross. It is the pulsating ache of a universe longing to be born. It is the end of all things, and a new beginning. It is holding a friend’s hand, not knowing how to help them, not knowing how to take away their suffering, but giving our heart to them totally. It is facing our own death, no promises, no guarantees, no story anymore.
Loneliness is the Beloved beckoning us. Those who have let themselves touch the black hole of loneliness, those who have given themselves up to its relentless pull, who have let the darkness penetrate and infuse and shake and reawaken them, are unmistakable beings. They have a depth and a strength of character that others lack. They radiate genuine warmth and understanding. Their melancholy is the fount of their greatest joy. They are not content with surface things any longer. They have been broken but they are playful too, and full of humour. They love the night-time as much as the day, the shadows as much as the light, the wolf as much as the songbird. Their not-knowing is the source of their wisdom. Their spirituality is simple. They hold no dogma anymore. They have become like little children once more. They are poets and artists and wild lovers of the night.
Loneliness is the experience of being in a body, but not of a body, and knowing that all things will pass, that all loved ones will die, that nothing lasts, that everything is made of the most delicate substance. Loneliness is a deep and unshakeable awareness of the transience and brevity of things, of illness and endings and new beginnings. Loneliness is a love of the night-time, the shadows and the moon. It is present in every moment and saturates every hour of every day. Once you have tasted loneliness, truly sipped from its sacred fount, you cannot run away from it ever again. You are haunted by it, yet you know it is the friendliest of ghosts.
Loneliness opens your heart wider than any other experience ever could. It brings with it youth and innocence. It makes you weep at the sight of sand on the beach, or the sound of a baby crying, or the feel of the morning sunlight on your skin, or upon the contemplation of time itself. Loneliness takes us to our most painful places but helps us fulfil our highest potential. Without loneliness, we are just shells of human beings, frightened skeletons. Loneliness fills us up with warmth from the inside, gives our lives the deepest kind of purpose and direction and meaning. Loneliness makes us realise we are never alone, and we are always loved, despite our imperfections and lack of faith. Loneliness is a religious experience, a lovemaking with the Universe.
Loneliness will save you if you give yourself to it totally. It will not separate you from the world and others but will bind you to them more powerfully. Through the dread and devastation of loneliness you will discover that you are more vast and more capable of love than you ever thought possible. You will be shocked at how much life you can hold.
The more you run from loneliness, the lonelier and lonelier you will feel, and the more you will fear being alone, even if you are surrounded by people. In loneliness is the utter paradox and mystery of creation. It may be last place you want to touch in yourself, and it may sound like madness, what I am saying to you here. But your loneliness may hold all the secrets to your very existence. You may find that your loneliness is not “loneliness” at all, in the end – it is your umbilical cord to God, unbreakable, infinite, death-defying, a cosmic pathway of love and forgiveness and utter, utter humility.
Let your loneliness pierce you, then, and shake you, and nourish you, and let it connect you to the world – and your authentic self – more deeply than ever.
Sources: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), American Psychiatric Association; The Minnesota Reports, University of Minnesota; “MMPI-2, MMPI-A, and Minnesota Reports: Research and Clinical Applications,” James N. Butcher, PhD; Bipolar Disorders: An International Journal of Psychiatry and Neurosciences
Mixed episodes of mania and depression aren’t easy to spot, but when they hit, they’re among my most exhausting experiences. Not only did I learn how these mood episodes affect me, but I realized the risk they carry—and that is my biggest fear.
“Mood Episodes with Mixed Features,” aka Bipolar Mixed Episodes
But, not being a medical professional, and for the sake of this writing—so I don’t confuse anyone or myself—I’ll use the phrase “mixed episodes.” Mixed episodes are yet another of what I call the “twisted” components of my bipolar disorder. I probably experience mixed and depressive episodes more often than full hypomanic or manic episodes. Not only that, it’s a part of my disorder that sometimes concerns me more than depression or mania. At least with depressive and manic episodes, I know distinctly what they are. Mixed episodes aren’t as easy to spot, but when they hit, they’re among my most exhausting experiences.
While I’ve heard of them before, the first time that I can recall being told that I have experienced mixed episodes was about eight years ago, when a psychiatrist had me take the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and determined that I had traits of hypomania and “agitated depression.” Being the overly curious guy that I am, I looked it up and saw that it was one of two names for mixed episodes.
Like with almost everything else that I continue to learn about my bipolar disorder and the experiences of others, it was confusing but started to make sense. It explained why even during my depression that lasted from 2008 till around 2012 or so, excluding the almost half-year-long manic episode in 2011, I had moments when I would feel hyped and energetic, while also miserable and not wanting to get out of bed or see the world at the same time. My therapist at the time was very concerned about these episodes; she warned me that people experiencing mixed episodes were more prone to attempting and following through with suicidal thinking, so she paid close attention while lecturing me about taking my medication… I was notoriously noncompliant with my medication regimen back in those days and it showed.
The Exhaustion of Mental Illness … Amplified by Mixed Episodes
My personal experiences with these episodes, again, is that they are very exhausting. I can’t emphasize that enough. Mental illness is exhausting as it is, but I would say mixed episodes are just another beast altogether. It’s very conflicted for me, especially since these episodes are not as distinct and obvious as manic or depressed episodes are. One of the best ways I can define it is almost like a “mental tug-of-war.” Or perhaps imagine trying to mix gasoline with water and throwing a match into it. If either analogy didn’t make sense to you, you can now imagine the itch in my brain that it causes.
If you’ve followed any of my other blog posts, I’ve talked a lot about how difficult bipolar depressionis for me. I think I have written more about depression than mania, so I don’t have to tell you how it sucks the soul out of me—and for any of you who feel this way, too. But with these mixed episodes, I deal with a mix of symptoms.
My Symptoms of Mixed Episodes
I’m extremely irritable.
I’m extremely energetic.
I don’t sleep.
I feel like I want to crawl into a hole.
Everything around me is nothing but darkness and sadness.
I feel like I’m the show starter and the showstopper.
I feel like I’m Superman.
I hate my life.
I can’t get out of bed.
I feel like all of my life’s energy is being drained, and I’m walking around with a metal ball and chain.
In the most extreme cases, I want to die.
I think you get the idea, so I don’t need to go any further. And these episodes can go on for days or even weeks. To be honest, I don’t think that I ever fully recover from them, because I always feel like I’m straddling the line between mania and depression, even on the days when I’m clearly fine and my moods are more in check.
Dealing with Mixed Episodes That Seem to Never End
So how do I deal with this? Sometimes, I don’t know how. Anyone who knows me knows that my go-to used to be to just try to drink it away. I HIGHLY DON’T RECOMMEND THAT. SERIOUSLY, JUST DON’T DO IT. At this point, I’m kind of trying to drill this into my head (“do as I say, not as I do” kind of thing), because when I tried to drink away the misery, it never ended up good. It either intensified my “mixed” symptoms or tilted the scale one way or the other. I try to handle it by doing the typical things that I would do in an episode: write, read something (no matter how big or small), watch funny videos, send stupid memes, listen to music, walk … whatever will take my mind off of things. But it’s not always that easy.
Efforts to Communicate and Connect with Others
I’m trying to get better at communicating these things—my struggles with bipolar and my mixed episodes—though it’s still not simple or natural. So, I try to talk with friends and I’m still trying to get therapy restarted. I’m compliant with my medicine regimen 99.5 percent of the time, but, to be honest, sometimes I feel like they don’t work when I’m experiencing mixed episodes. I could talk with my psychiatrist to change my dosages and medication, but I’m still fairly new with this current regimen, and it does work the majority of the time. One thing that concerns me with changing medication and dosages is that I hate the unknown variables. My first bipolar medication regimen had weird effects on me, and, because of that concern, I don’t want to adjust them at this time.
What bothers me the most is when I think about what my past therapist warned me about when it comes to mixed episodes and the risk of suicidal impulses. Again, being the overly curious guy that I am, I went back and did my research. I saw how real the likelihood was during mixed episodes. The risk for suicidality is greater during mixed episodes because you’re depressed but you’re also more likely to have the energy and drive to carry out your impulses and/or plans.
This scares the living daylight out of me. Because back when I was told about mixed episodes, agitated depressions, and all of these other new terms that I had to learn, I was always grappling with these kinds of thoughts. It’s something I don’t talk publicly about often, but it’s an ugly truth. I once told someone that I was more afraid of my own hand than anything else. Over the years, there have been some close calls.
I even had a complete, thought-out plan, right down to how I would be found. So, years ago, it was a very real situation for me. Finding out that having mixed episodes increased the chances of it actually happening brought not only another sense of fear but also a new sense of determination to beat this thing. I admit that it wasn’t right away. But, eventually, I realized that I’m not ready to go, and I have to do something to keep these impulses under control.
Choosing to Fight for Myself
It’s hard. But I’m trying. Every day I’m trying. So far, I’m winning.
If you take anything out of this story, I would hope that it’s this: with everything else that is part of this disorder, you’re not alone in this struggle. We’re all living through this together, no matter how it manifests itself. If you’re dealing with mixed episodes, I completely understand you and how it makes a very confusing thing even more confusing.
But because I don’t have the answers, I wonder how some of you deal with mixed episodes. What would you recommend, to me or others, to make them a little more manageable?
Because even though almost ten years ago, a name was given to my experiences and I deal with them frequently, it’s still very tiring and I don’t always know what to do.
‘When you shut down emotion, you’re also affecting your immune system, your nervous system.
So the repression of emotion, which is a survival strategy, then becomes a source of physiological illness later on. ‘ -Gabor Mate However, it’s not just your long-term health that can suffer if you suppress your negative emotions.
There have been numerous studies showing that when we ignore our emotions, we can experience short-term mental and physical reactions as well. Suppressing your emotions can lead to physical stress on your body.
What emotion is being suppressed does not matter, the effect is the same. When it comes to regulating difficult emotions, there are two ways most people respond: they act out or they suppress.
If you act out with a strong emotion like anger, you will most likely create undesirable consequences in your relationships, your work, and even your play.
The ripple effects of acting out usually provoke more anger around you, which leads to more difficulty.
The consequences of suppressing those big emotions can be even more dangerous.
What many people aren’t aware of is that there’s another way to regulate our emotions: Feel the feeling in real time. On one level, emotions are like energy waves, varying in shape and intensity, just like ocean waves.
Their nature is to arise and pass away pretty quickly, like all natural phenomena. Ironically, efforts to “talk yourself out of your emotions” often results in “increased rumination and perseveration.”
In other words, you will keep thinking about and holding onto those emotions you’re trying to avoid. Research into emotional regulation suggests that mindfulness-based interventions can be helpful.
Particularly focus on feeling the emotion and practicing forgiveness, compassion, and kindness at the same time.
This type of tired makes your brain feel foggy and slow. You’re confused about how you ended up here, and you’re not sure where you’re supposed to be going. Also, you probably lost your car keys.
A more physical type of tired, exhaustion occurs when your body and brain are feeling equally run-down. Those who live with chronic or mental illness are very familiar with this kind of tired! (Take it from me, a bipolar girl.)
Quarantine has put new levels of stress on many employees and parents. There’s a big learning curve when it comes to telecommuting or homeschooling! If you’re being overworked, of course you feel tired.
4. Fed Up
If you’ve been feeling frustrated by what’s been happening in the news, you understand this sort of tired. It feels like nobody is listening and nothing is getting better. Maybe a Facebook rant would help? (Yeah, that’s what I thought too. I was wrong.)
5. Burned Out
Burnout happens when daily stressors accumulate without adequate relief. You’re grinding away, day after day, with no end in sight. You suspect that a sneeze could blow you away, like ashes on the breeze. Poof!
Ironically, apathy is often the result of caring too much, for too long. You’ve invested so much energy in a project/person/job without seeing encouraging results. You eventually become indifferent because you’re simply too tired to keep caring. *shrugs*
Perhaps you feel like you’ve made too many mistakes. Or maybe it seems like you’ve been hurt too badly to ever heal. While I don’t believe that anyone can actually be “broken,” I do understand what it’s like to feel that way. And it makes a person feel very, very tired. (PS: You aren’t really broken. I promise.)
I consider this an “emotional” sort of tired. You feel as though a vampire has sucked away your life force. It could possibly be the result of over-stimulation, tense interpersonal encounters or endless problem-solving. Whew. I’m tired just from listing those.
This is perhaps the most difficult type of tired to navigate. When you experience this degree of tired, it feels like the end of the road, like all hope is lost, and there’s no point in trying to move forward. If you feel defeated, you are deeply, deeply tired… and no, a nap won’t cure it. (It’s probably a good idea to call your therapist or a crisis hotline: You need and deserve validation, support and compassion.)
There are people that you will never win with, no matter what you do.
I call them “The Impossibles.” The ones that always leave you feeling bad about yourself. I have known many. Often members of our own family, they are both the ones that we must avoid, and the ones that are the most difficult to avoid.
If we continue to make an effort to connect, we are left feeling terrible about ourselves.
If we disconnect altogether, we are left feeling guilty, selfish, perhaps responsible for their isolation.
Often we blame ourselves for the state of the relationship, even though we rationally know that we would have remained heartfully connected with them if they had been respectful.
We would have found a way, if there was a way. We just would have. What gets lost in the shame shuffle is the fact that some people are truly impossible.
Not just difficult, not just requiring healthy boundaries, but impossible to maintain a healthy rapport with. And their impossibility is not lodged in our actions, or choices, or behaviors.
It is not a consequence of our imperfections, decisions, or missteps. It is lodged in their own issues and limitations. It is lodged in where they are at.
They are simply IMPOSSIBLE.
And the sooner we face that, the sooner we can live a life of unlimited possibility.
“The secret of joy is the mastery of pain.” ~ Anais Nin
When I was eighteen, I got depressed and stayed depressed for a little over a year. For over a year, every single day was a battle with myself. For over a year, every single day felt heavy and pointless.
I have since made tremendous progress by becoming more self-aware, practicing self-love, and noticing the infinite blessings and possibilities in my life, but I still have days when those familiar old feelings sneak up on me.
I’m not always self-aware, I don’t always love myself, and sometimes I agonize over everything I don’t have or haven’t accomplished.
I call these days “zombie days.” I’ll just completely shut down and desperately look for ways to distract myself from my feelings.
I suspect we all have zombie days from time to time. I think it’s important to give ourselves permission to not always be happy, but there are also simple ways to improve our mood when we’re feeling down.
Everybody is different, and everybody has different ways of dealing with pain, but if you’re looking for suggestions, you may find these helpful:
1. Step back and self-reflect. Whenever I start feeling depressed, I try to stop, reflect, and get to the root of my feelings.
2. Reach out to someone. I used to bottle up my feelings out of fear that I would be judged if I talked about them. I’ve since learned that reaching out to a loving, understanding person is one of the best things I can do.
3. Listen to music. Music can heal, put you in a better mood, make you feel less alone, or take you on a mental journey.
4. Cuddle or play with pets. I have really sweet and happy dogs that are always quick to shower me with love whenever they see me. Spending quality time with a loving pet can instantly make your heart and soul feel better.
5. Go for a walk. Walking always helps me clear my head and shed negative energy. It’s especially therapeutic if you choose to walk at a scenic location.
6. Drink something healthy and reinvigorating. For some reason, orange juice always puts me in a better mood and makes me feel revitalized and serene. There are many health and mood benefits of drinking orange juice and other fruit juices.
7. Write. Writing is usually the first thing I do when I’m feeling down. It always helps me get my thoughts and feelings out in front of me.
8. Take a nap. Sometimes we just need to recharge. I always feel better after getting some rest.
9. Plan a fun activity. Moping around never helps me feel any better, so it usually helps to plan something fun to do if I’m feeling up to it. It can be something as simple as creating my own vision board or something as big as planning a trip.
10. Do something spontaneous. Some of my favorite memories entail choices I made spontaneously. We should all learn to let go of routine every now and then and do something exciting and unplanned.
11. Prioritize. Sometimes I feel depressed when my priorities are out of balance. I try to make sure I’m giving a fair amount of attention to all the priorities in my life, such as work, relationships, health, and personal happiness.
12. Look through old photographs or snap some new ones. Sorting through old memories or capturing new ones usually puts a smile on my face.
13. Hug someone. I am definitely a hugger. Hugs are such an easy way to express love and care without having to say a word.
14. Laugh. Watch a funny movie or spend time with someone who has a good sense of humor. Laughing releases tension and has a natural ability to heal.
15. Cry. I don’t like crying in front of people, but whenever I have an opportunity to slink away and cry by myself, I always feel better afterwards. Crying releases pain.
16. Read back over old emails or text messages, or listen to old voicemails. Whenever I feel dejected or bad about myself, I like to read kind emails and comments from my blog readers or listen to cute voicemails from my grandmother. Doing so reminds me that I’m loved, thought about, and appreciated.
17. Reconnect with someone. Get back in touch with an old friend or a family member that you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Reconnecting with people almost always puts me in a good mood and fills my heart up with love.
18. Write yourself a letter. I try to separate myself from my ego and give myself a pep talk every now and then. Cicero said, “Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.”
19. Try a deep breathing exercise. There are all kinds of deep breathing exercises out there. Find one you like and do it whenever you’re feeling stressed or overly emotional.
20. Cultivate gratitude. Practicing genuine gratitude on a daily basis has been a major source of healing in my life. When I step back and notice everything I have to be grateful for, it makes me feel like I have everything I need and that nothing is lacking. It makes me feel whole.
21. Re-watch a funny or inspiring YouTube video. I recommend Webcam 101 for Seniors. That video cheers me up every time. There are so many funny and inspiring videos online.
22. Bake something. Baking has always been therapeutic and entertaining for me. Plus, I can eat whatever I baked and share it with others afterward.
23. Get out of the house. I work from home, so a large majority of my time is spent indoors, planted in front of my laptop. I have to make a point to get out every now and then, whether it’s to get some fresh air or go out to eat with a friend.
24. Focus on what truly matters to you. Sometimes I forget what matters to me and what isn’t that important. Some things just aren’t worth getting too upset over.
25. Take a negative comment or situation and look for something positive about it. If someone says something negative to me or I get stuck in an unpleasant situation, sometimes it helps to look at it from a different angle. Perspective is everything.
26. Daydream. Take a mental vacation. Let your mind wander for a while.
27. Let some natural sunlight come in. Opening all the blinds and curtains and letting natural sunlight flood your home can help elevate your mood.
28. Take a mental health day. Sometimes we just need to take a day to clear our heads and nurture our souls. My mental health has a history of being a bit erratic, so nurturing it is a priority in my life.
29. Let go. This is a very simple mantra of mine. I usually say it to myself multiple times each day, which has been very liberating and empowering.
30. Read Tiny Buddha. And of course, you can always read Tiny Buddha! I personally love the quotes section. There is a category for almost every universal theme or emotion.
Passive aggressive behaviour can be difficult to recognise at first. It is recognisable by the disconnect between what the person says and what they do. Passive aggressive people tend to express their negative feelings in an indirect manner, rather than state their disapproval directly to the person concerned. There tends to be a great deal of hostility associated with passive aggressive behaviour and a great deal of this tends to be derived from miscommunication, failure to communicate or the assumption that the other person knows what they are thinking or feeling. From a relationship perspective, passive aggressive behaviour can be the most difficult communication style to deal with as you are not quite sure what you are dealing with.What is passive aggressive behaviour?
Passive aggressive behaviour is intended to control the other person e.g. control their emotions. It is then hoped that they can manipulate the other person into doing as they wish. If you have been on the receiving end of passive aggressive behaviour, you will know how easy it is to overreact. And, when you overreact, that is a clear sign that the other person is starting to control you.
Whatever type of passive aggressive behaviour you are experiencing, you need to stay calm and composed, so you can formulate the appropriate response. While it is often hurtful to be on the receiving end of this behaviour, remembering the following points can help you to stay calm:
Many instances of this behaviour are not actually intended to be hurtful
They want to control your emotions and behaviour
You can’t control their behaviour, but you can control your own which stops them from achieving their goal
It is worth noting the 2 types of passive aggressive person:
This person is trying to control and manipulate your, but they usually are not trying to be hurtful. Because they don’t want to hurt you, they avoid expressing any message which may be interpreted as being negative. They may pretend that everything is ok but eventually, their true feelings will seep out through their body language and tone of voice. It then becomes frustrating as you try to get them to open up and tell you the truth.
The big difference here is that this person is not just trying to control you, they are trying to make you feel bad. They are happy to hurt you. So much so, that it becomes a game whereby every interaction is a contest.
These people are usually angry about something but, rather than express their feelings with the person whom they are angry with; they deal with things by manipulating their victim. They try to get rid of their anger by making the victim angry, through manipulation. This allows them to act like the ‘good guy’ while the victim now appears to be the unreasonable one.
“Michael, give me a kiss before you go to the bus.”
“Because I’m going to kill myself while you’re at school today.”
I was in the second grade. We had just moved into a new home and this was a day close to the beginning of the school year. I had three siblings younger than myself and my mom was bipolar.
As an 7 year old, I didn’t know what bipolar meant officially, but I sure knew what the effects of her mental illness were on life in my household.
That was a long time ago and my mother did not kill herself that day. When she did, I was 33 and living in California — a world away from upstate New York.
My mother spent most of her life undiagnosed, which pretty much meant we just lived life and thought everything was normal. I remember the first time I had dinner at a friend’s house.
At my home, dinnertime meant an endless guilt inducing tirade of how horrible life was, how much the food cost that we were eating and how much life sucked in general. My dad slapping me because I had the temerity to tell my mom she should stop screaming at us kids.
At my friend’s house, we just ate dinner.
On the upswing side, there were the times when my mom wouldn’t sleep for days. The house was almost clean, we had dinner without sobbing and migraines, and life was OK. I don’t remember many of those days, though. It could be because the scary days stand out more in my memory; burned into my soul with a red hot branding iron.
The Reality of Life
For me, this was just how life was. I had no frame of reference other than my home. No kid does. Everything their parents do is the right thing because that is the only thing they know.
As parents, our children do what we do, say what we say and act how we act. Anyone who has ever heard their child swear like them knows that our kids learn exactly how to live from our examples.
Logic will not change our kids’ perceptions. School will not change them, Neighbors, friends, the cops, Social Services will not change the lessons kids have carved into their hearts by their parents.
We all learn from our parents, or the people who fill those roles. Sometimes we get to be 50, go to therapy and figure out our lives have real meaning and are worth living. That’s what I did.
But some people don’t do that
My dad died at 68 of his third heart attack, while working full time and taking care of my mom, who at that point was an invalid. My mom killed herself at age 63, 6 months after my dad died. My brother died at 43 of a massive heart attack. His son died at 17 of a massive heart attack. My sister has been in and out of mental institutions her entire adult life.
I can’t say for sure any of those things would be different if my mom had not been mentally ill. I suspect they might have been, because her illness was such a big part of our lives, but I really don’t know.
What I do know
Mental illness is a real thing that touches more lives than just the person who has it. If a person is a parent and mentally ill, I can say from experience that a parent’s mental illness changes their kids’ lives. I would guess probably not for the better.
I know life isn’t like that for everyone, and don’t mean to imply that it is. I don’t know what my life growing up would have been like if my mom had had some help. What I do know is that when she was diagnosed at age 49, she used that diagnosis as an excuse for how she lived the rest of her life.
She wasn’t threatening suicide while I was at school anymore. But when I stopped by on my way to work, I would find her chainsmoking Chesterfield Kings, staring out the window and telling me, “Someday you’re going to come in here and find me dead, because I’ve smoked myself to death. That will be a good day for me.”
What’s the big deal
I’m reading back through this story and wondering why I wrote it. I think maybe to share my experience in the hope it will help someone.
When we’re parents, we have an additional obligation to take care of our children. If that means going to the doctor and taking care of ourselves, we should do that.
When we’re parents, and know we need help, that is important to communicate to our children. Adults need help sometimes and deserve to have it.
I’m not manic depressive. But I learned as a child that how my parents acted was how adults behaved in the world. I learned to be dramatic in everyday life. That was cool when I was a performer, but not so cool in any other area of my life.
I did get help, but I didn’t realize I needed it until I was 50.
I wanted something different in my life and became a very positive person. Not in the way of never having experienced troubles in my life but in the way that I have, and went on to create a new understanding of life that I like much better.
One of the challenging things about a mental health crisis is that often, even the people that care about you aren’t quite sure how to be there for you. After getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I lost a lot of friends during a time when I most needed support from them.
In some cases, the real issue wasn’t a lack of caring — I believe that some people simply didn’t know how to respond to what was happening. That’s perfectly understandable, but I truly wish that more people had at least tried to be there for me. Here are a few of the things that friends did that meant a lot to me, as well as some things I wish more people would have done:
Me: Hello God. God: Hello… Me: I’m falling apart. Can you put me back together? God: I’d rather not. Me: Why? God: Because you’re not a puzzle. Me: What about all the pieces of my life that fall to the ground? God: Leave them there for a while. They fell for a reason. Let them be there for a while and then decide if you need to take any of those pieces back. Me: You don’t understand! I’m breaking! God: No, you don’t understand. You’re transcending, evolving. What you feel are growing pains. You’re getting rid of the things and people in your life that are holding you back. The pieces are not falling down. The pieces are being put in place. Relax. Take a deep breath and let those things you no longer need fall down. Stop clinging to pieces that are no longer for you. Let them fall. Let them go. Me: Once I start doing that, what will I have left? God: Only the best pieces of yourself. Me: I’m afraid to change. God: I keep telling you: YOU’RE NOT CHANGING! YOU’RE BECOMING! Me: Becoming, Who? God: Becoming who I created you to be! A person of light, love, charity, hope, courage, joy, mercy, grace and compassion. I made you for so much more than those shallow pieces you decided to adorn yourself with and that you cling to with so much greed and fear. Let those things fall off you. I love you! Don’t change! Become! Don’t change! Become! Become who I want you to be, who I created. I’m gonna keep telling you this until you remember. Me: There goes another piece. God: Yes. Let it be like this. Me: So… I’m not broken? God: No, but you’re breaking the darkness, like dawn. It’s a new day. Become!! Become who you really are!!”
Want to classify an abuser correctly? Here’s how you spot each, per Durvsula:
A narcissist lacks empathy, is grandiose, entitled, constantly seeks validation and is arrogant. “When they do a bad thing, they feel a fair amount of guilt and shame,” says Durvsula.
According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissists can also become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment. They belittle others in order to appear superior. They exaggerate their achievements and talents. They monopolize conversations and disparage those they consider inferior.
Narcissists also have major problems adapting to change. They easily feel slighted and have secret feelings of insecurity, shame and humiliation.
Narcissism affects more men than women and signs begin to show in teens to early adulthood. It’s unclear if narcissism is an inherited characteristic or if there’s a neurobiological cause behind it. It’s also suspected it could be caused by one’s environment, either through excessive adoration or excessive criticism.
A psychopath has no guilt, no shame and no remorse. “They do bad things and they don’t care. They’re great serial killers or hired assassins,” says Durvsula.
PET scans of the brains of psychopaths show the section that serves empathy “doesn’t light up for them,” says Durvsula. In other words, when they think of people in pain, they are unable to process it, and make decisions related to it.
More concerning, a psychopath’s brain actually shows an increased response in the ventral striatum, an area known to be involved in pleasure, when imagining others in pain, reports ScienceDaily.
“They’re cool as can be. They could lie on a lie detector test. That’s how they get away with stuff,” says Durvsula. “They could get pulled over … and have a dead body in the trunk and they wouldn’t care.”
One study showed that children who witness domestic violence may be more likely to turn into psychopaths as adults, though it is not a cause-and-effect situation.
“The results do not prove that witnessing domestic violence in childhood is a cause of psychopathy,” lead study author Monika Dargis, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told LiveScience. The exact reasons behind the potential link are unclear, say researchers, but it’s thought that children who witness manipulative and coercive behaviors from abusers may eventually develop these behaviors as adults.
A sociopath shares all the same traits as a psychopath, but the difference between them and psychopaths, says Durvsula, is that a psychopath is born—their disorder may be genetic—and a sociopath is made. Something bad has happened to this person to make them this way, explains Durvsula, “like the kid who grows up in a really rough neighborhood who learns to be a bully to get by.”
Bill Eddy, licensed clinical social worker, tells Psychology Today that a sociopath’s driving force is to dominate others. They like the feeling of power and control (hello, abusive partners). They also tend to be extremely fast talkers, will switch back and forth quickly between charm and threats, and will elicit gut feelings of fear in those around them.
“Sociopaths can be predators, so you may naturally feel uncomfortable being alone with them,” writes Eddy. “You may suddenly get the feeling that you want to get out of a situation. Go, and ask questions later.”
Proceed With Caution
According to Durvsula, dating one of the above types of people who begins to show abusive tendencies could mean serious trouble.
“It could be a very dangerous thing. Hurting someone gives them power. They [may] dispose of you if you get in their way.”
Self-love is so essential, and its becoming increasingly important now as we individually and collectively navigate through challenging times.
But what is self-love really?
Self-love is a concept that’s thrown around a lot… But what does it really mean?
At the very core, self-love is about making an internal commitment to your own mental health, as well as spiritual, and physical well-being.
Self-love is about accepting yourself as you are, but then also taking actions that support your growth.
Taking the actions that are nurturing and supportive of you, empowers you to accept yourself more. To honor your weaknesses as well as strengths and to begin to have more compassion, and yes love for yourself and who you really are, which is a beautifully unique human being.
Self-love is where you love yourself first, so you can show up in relationships fully and truly be there for, and love others.
An Essential Foundation
Self-love is the foundation required for you to be able to overflow love and be of service in the world, and in the highest interest of all.
Love of self is not being self-centered or narcissistic, rather, its about really getting in touch with yourself. With the things that truly make you feel good, that support your mental health, physical well-being, and your own happiness.
And really, self-love is essential because it is the force of love — true Love — Love with a capital L that opens the doorway for higher Divine Light to fill you.
Love is an essential foundation not only for your own happiness, and your ability to love others, but its also an essential foundation for your spiritual awakening, for you to expand your consciousness, raise your vibration, and truly experience a higher level of light in your life.
How to Practice Self-Love
While self-love is so essential. Practicing it and really embodying it can be challenging at times, and especially in times of challenge.
And yet, when you make a commitment to practice self-love, and to make the time to do the things that are important to you, that help you to feel good, grow, and thrive…
The self-love you cultivate becomes and important and powerful ally, one that supports you in pushing through and moving past limiting beliefs, blockages and personal weaknesses so you can truly align with a life you love, and so that you can truly shine.
Shift Into Self-Love Now
So, let’s dive in…
5 Ways to Feel Self-Love Instantly!
Right here and now can be a powerful new beginning where you recommit to you, to practice loving yourself, and honoring and supporting you! But how do you do this? Let’s start by looking at the 5 biggest things.
1. Make An Internal Commitment
The first way to shift is to recognize the importance of self-love and to then make an internal commitment and intention to love yourself more fully, and exactly as you are.
Setting a self-love intention and really committing to it changes everything.
Have you ever heard that change happens in an instant? It really is so true.
In this moment, if you commit: “I now choose to practice self-love in my life. I now choose to treat myself with self-love, respect and self-care”…
Everything in your life can begin to change to come into alignment with this new intention and truth.
A powerful affirmation to support you in this is: “I now love and approve of myself.”
2. Quiet The Inner Critic
The second key is to become aware of and begin to quiet and dismiss the voice of judgement that is your “inner critic”.
We all have an inner critic at some level. It’s the inner voice that judges the shit out of you. It may tell you-you’re not good enough, that you’re a failure, that you’re worthless, ugly, stupid, etc.
You may hear the inner critic in your own voice, or it may sound like the voice of a parent, sibling, or some other authority figure who once made you feel inferior and made you feel like the truth of you is not enough, and so you put on a mask or tried to hide your light.
Well… As someone who learned to take off the masks and come out of hiding, I’m here today to remind you that who you are, is exactly who you’re meant to be.
And when you take off the masks, and realign with your highest authenticity, bringing your true gifts to the world…
That is exactly what the world needs, and is also what will help to make you feel happy, fulfilled, and to thrive.
As a self-love practice, pay attention to your thoughts. Observe your thoughts. Notice when you’re having thoughts that are out of alignment with the intention you set to love yourself, and to be kind and compassionate towards yourself.
When you do have judgemental or downright mean thoughts about yourself arise, remember that you can choose to dismiss them. You don’t have to buy into them or believe them, and rather you can choose to simply ignore them and let them go.
You can imagine that you’re putting the judgmental thought into a balloon and releasing it into the light… Visualize it floating up and away and then consciously return to love.
“I am worthy of self-love”
“I love and approve of myself.”
3. Lean Into The Present Moment
The third way to instantly and powerfully shift into a state of self-love is to lean in to present moment, to become fully present in the moment that is now.
Know that regardless of whatever is happening in your life, nothing has to change in the external for you to fully love yourself.
So amidst whatever you’re doing, if you’re washing dishes, if you’re driving to work, give yourself the gift of the present by becoming fully present in the now.
By leaning into the present moment and embrace it. Feeling the sensation of the air around you… The feel of your hands on the steering wheel, or the feel of the warm water on your hands as you’re washing dishes. Feel… See what’s really happening around you, observe and take it all in. Listen and hear the sounds, know … And be fully present, doing what you’re doing.
And then, remember your intention, and choose to cultivate a sense of love now. Remember that in every moment, you are directly connected to the divine love of the infinite, which flows throughout creation, which is underlying every moment, and it’s simply a matter of your leaning into love, tuning into love, and letting love flow through you.
So lean in, open your heart, tune into love and let love circulate through your being.
Remember that it’s love that opens the doorway for the light to fill you. So when you become present, when you consciously choose to embody a state of love, in the present moment, any moment, any activity, whatever you’re doing, can be an opportunity to expand your consciousness, to raise your vibration, to love yourself more, and to shine the truth of your authentic light.
4. Let Go Of What No Longer Serves You
The fourth way to love yourself more is to become aware of how you’re acting out of alignment with love.
What things are you doing… What actions are you taking… What habits do you have that aren’t loving, and aren’t supporting your well-being?
What do you keep doing that’s not assisting you in shining more of your divine truth and authentic light?
When you become aware of the many little things you’re doing that are actually weighing your down… You can then choose to let them go, and replace those things with actions and habits that are good for you, that are rewarding, joyful and in alignment with helping yourself grow into the type of person you’d like to become.
Make time in your schedule for the things that recharge you,that help you to feel good, feel energized, inspired, and that help you to shine your highest light.
What do you need to let go of to do this?
To be able to prioritize fun, play, laughter, inner peace, balance, and harmony?
Maybe instead of going to your phone and browsing Facebook first thing in the morning you choose to meditate straight away.
Perhaps instead of snacking on chips and candy when you’re feeling low energy in the afternoon, you go for a walk around the block instead.
Perhaps instead of downing half a bottle of wine Friday evening because you feel stressed, you choose to check out that relaxing and de-stressing Yoga class, or take a salt bath with a big mug of herbal tea.
These are just a couple of examples. And really, this is so personal.
The key is to gain awareness into your actions and your impulses to action and start choosing to act on those inner impulses that are truly in alignment with your intention to love yourself more.
When you find yourself stuck in old patterns, habits or addictions that are not nurturing for you… Ask your soul for guidance as to how to let these things go, and to find new creative solutions for what will actually support you in loving and nurturing yourself more.
5. Take Action and Create Meaningful Process
A big part of self-love is committing to and getting to work creating, and taking action steps in the direction of what’s meaningful for you… In other words to start taking steps in the direction of your purpose.
You might have a little side project that felt feels meaningful for you, that you feel good about your self when you’re working on it, and yet it seems to get pushed aside. This is unique to you, it could be anything from working on a scrapbook, de-cluttering your home, creating a quilt for your grandchild, taking a course, writing your book, creating a website, offering services, working in the garden, etc…
How are you being called to be of service in the world to be of service to others in a way you love and enjoy?
What would be fulfilling, inspiring and enjoyable to work on?
When you take steps in that direction, following your heart and creating in a way that’s meaningful for you… It feels incredible. When you then keep creating in a way that’s of service in the world, and in the highest interest of all, that is one of the most fulfilling, rewarding and loving things that you can do.
Shift Into Being of Service
If you’re feeling bad about yourself, one of the easiest ways to shift is to take your focus off of yourself and direct it towards being of service to others. How can you help?
This is not to say run yourself thin… Do what you need to do to recharge yourself, but then keep in mind how you may be able to serve and assist others.
This could be as simple as sharing a genuine smile, and as complex as starting a non-profit.
The key is to get in touch with yourself through self-love, and then listen to and act on your inner guidance which allows your highest path to appear.
Oftentimes, when you’re helping others, doing charity work, and taking steps to have a positive influence on the world around you, that is what feels most rewarding.
Return To Self-Love
In an instant… Right now… Make the commitment, observe, and choose to shift into self-love.
Choose to shift into taking action, to be your biggest supporter and encourager, take care of you so that you’re able to shine so bright that you can overflow love out beyond you to make a difference in the world.
Making a difference in the world, being of service to others in a way you love and enjoy that is also in the highest interest of all …That is the true power of self-love. And yes, this is truly possible for you now.
It starts and unfolds one step at a time.
22 Simple Ways to Inspire Self-Love
Here are a few more ideas for little steps you can take, that when added together and compounded equate to really big shifts:
Write out on a sheet of paper the strengthens and things about your personality others might admire.
Start a personal healthy eating challenge, prioritizing and choosing the types of food and drink that nourish your body and support your well-being.
Practice self-love affirmations like: “I accept myself unconditionally”
Get creative and express yourself through writing, color, movement or some other way.
Listen to a guided meditation and just be.
Read a fun or inspiring book.
Tune into the things you’re grateful for.
Spend time in nature.
Prioritize time for fun and play in your schedule.
Practice journaling to process your thoughts and emotions.
Set boundaries with the people in your life.
Forgive yourself for the things you’ve done or left undone in the past.
Contemplate what you truly need and value in your life. What is most important to you.
Release the need to gain approval from other people.
Start an exercise or movement routine.
Optimize your sleep! Know how much sleep you need.
Make a list of all the things in your life that are working well for you.
De-clutter and clean your space.
Stop comparing yourself to other people!
Stop worrying about what other people think.
Study something new that excites and interests you.
Work on the projects that are meaningful for you.
Let Self-Love Grow and Blossom From Within You
Choose to shift. Choose to cultivate love. Cultivate your inner light, and let your light shine.
Here’s how to tell if you’re a blamer: When something goes wrong, do you immediately want to know whose fault it is or do you make room for empathy and accountability? If you’re guilty of the former, you’re probably a bit of a blamer—But take heart, you’re in good company. In this animation by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Brené Brown shares a funny story illustrating the magnitude to which she’s a blamer (spoiler: it ends with her getting hung up on by her husband). Brown goes on to share some research and insights into this toxic behavior—Here are two interesting takeaways:
Blame releases discomfort and pain: We often try to fault others for our mistakes because it makes us feel like we’re still in control. “I’d rather it be my fault than no one’s fault,” says Brown. But leaning into the discomfort of mistakes is how we can learn from them. “Here’s what we know from the research,” says Brown, “blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain. It has an inverse relationship with accountability. Blaming is a way that we discharge anger.”
Blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain.
Blame is faster than accountability:Accountability is a vulnerable process that takes courage and time. “It means me calling you and saying, hey my feelings were really hurt about this, and talking,” says Brown. “People who blame a lot seldom have the tenacity and grit needed to hold people accountable. Blamers spend all of our energy raging for 15 seconds and figuring out whose fault something is,” adds Brown. It’s difficult to maintain relationships when you’re a blamer, because when something goes wrong, we’re too busy making connections as quickly as we can about whose fault it is, instead of slowing down, listening, and leaving enough space for empathy to arise.