Positive & inspirational lift your spirits on the long term

Venting when you feel down is good. But filling your mind with negative thoughts and pictures all the time is not going to help, I’m afraid it’ll get even worse. Do you use social networks a lot? Tumblr is a wonderful place to share and reblog beautiful pictures that will empower and brighten your mind; just type the keywords #positive or #optimism or #love. Same with Facebook. Groups such as https://www.facebook.com/lessonslearnedinlife offer inspirational quotes and pictures. I’m not saying that by reading/watching them you’ll feel better at once, but in the long-term, you’ll benefit from it. What also makes one feel good is to share positive words or pictures on the website(s) of someone you care for. You can never share too much love and light.



Anxiety: coping strategies

1. Breathe deeply and fully into a large brown paper bag. This regulates the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your lungs. It can be especially useful during a panic attack.

2. Think positive thoughts! It sounds simple, but happy thoughts are essential in your journey of recovery! Your attitude can really impact your emotions.

3. Count backwards from 10. It can really take your mind off your worries and anxieties and can stop the unhealthy cycle of negative thoughts if you’re having a panic attack.

4. Count anything! Count how many colours are in a painting. How many cars are driving past, how many people have black hair etc. Count money, count buttons. All of these things can distract you from the panic that might be going on inside you.

5. Be MINDFUL! This is extremely beneficial for anxiety sufferers. Live for the moment. Be aware of the ‘here and now’. Concentrate on the sights you see, the things you feel, what you smell, hear, taste etc. Really focus on these things – it will make your life so much more enjoyable!

6. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) – an emotional, needle free version of acupuncture that is based on new discoveries regarding the connection between your body’s subtle energies, your emotions, and your health. EFT has been reported successful in thousands of cases covering a huge range of emotional, health and performance issues. It often works where nothing else will. Click here.

7. Play video games. It is a great way to occupy your mind so that you’re not focussing on negative thinking patterns.

8. Sing to your favourite music. Even if you’re breathless, it seems to all level out and become stable. Breathe through your diaphragm whilst you do sing. It is the healthiest way to breathe.

9. Step away from the computer, it usually doesn’t help. And as tempting as it is, try not to label your disorder too much. When you read up on things too much, you can become convinced that you are suffering from it. Never self diagnose yourself.

10. Heating pads. Get one. It’s good for the chest and will make breathing easier. If you can’t get hold of one, try a hot bath. The heat will free up your chest and the water will relax you.

11. If you feel your heartbeat racing, sit down and hang your head to your knees, and slow down your breathing. If you can’t do that, just focus on breathing slowly.

12. Be mindLESS. Think of something so far off in fantasyland, until you’re basically mumbling to yourself in thoughts, hardly paying notice to either them OR your body.

13. If you can, get a doctor to listen to your lungs, get bloodwork, etc. Basically, have a check up with your doctor to make sure everything is fine. Make sure you’re not malnourished and that you’re perfectly healthy. One less thing to stress about.

14. Get the necessary amount of sleep that your body and your brain needs. If you are deprived of sleep, you are less likely to be able to handle tough situations. Teenagers should get 9 and a half hours sleep every night.

15. If you are in the middle of a panic attack, placing a cold compress or wash cloth on the back of your neck can help as it instantly takes your mind off the panic you’re feeling.

16. Try muscle relaxation regularly. Click here for a detailed script If you practice this daily, it can help you to recognise when your muscles tense up so you can release them more quickly.

17. “Music sways the human soul.” Listen to music when you’re feeling anxious. It will help distract you. Perhaps try putting some relaxation music onto your iPod or mp3 player like nature sounds to calm you.

18. Identify the problem, give your feelings shape and form, focus on it – and repeat to yourself that you “completely and fully accept yourself” until you get a feeling of calm and emptiness. Then, literally – let the sunshine in. Feel it warming your limbs and diminishing that shape or form you identified. Soon, your troubles will melt away and you will feel balanced and calm.

19. Try smiling. If you find myself stressing out, force yourself to smile. It really seems to help. Also, every day try to think of at least one thing that makes you happy or grateful.

20. Walk. It doesn’t have to be far, but if you’re prone to holing up in your room frequently or don’t have a space of your own at home, walking helps. Grab your mp3 player, and just go out for a bit. Or do it in silence if that helps you more. The important thing is to change your surroundings slightly while engaging your body in some sort of physical activity.

21. HUGS! Give them, receive them! It makes us all feel better.

22. Keep a journal. I don’t mean blogging…I mean actual pen-to-paper journaling. Keep a journal and a pen in your bag and write out what’s bothering you, jot down something to make yourself laugh, or doodle. You’ll find that it helps to center your thoughts when you start to panic.




Helping, but how and at which cost?

One of my former colleagues is very attached to me. She’s said and repeated that she never had a daughter (and therefore considers me as such). Problem is while I like her, I am not FOND of her. Since I’ve left my former workplace, she keeps calling with despair in her voice, saying again and again that she misses me, that she’s depressed, that everything’s going wrong at work. I’ve tried (clumsily, as her reaction troubled me) to calm her down, but then I realized that it didn’t help her, that she was still really down and did not accept the fact that I had left the workplace forever, and clang to me anyway. Now, talking to her or meeting her makes me feel very stressed and almost panicky, because I don’t have a clue as how to deal with her despair and her smothering attachment to me. For the next couple of days, she’s been calling like 6 times, and I didn’t answer the phone. And I felt guilty. Because, I used to be like her. Calling people I was overly attached too, too often. Most of them sent me packing. And I don’t want her to feel rejected like I have, but her distress and overattachment makes me utterly distraught. I am, myself, someone sensitive and delicate. So my mum ended up picking up the phone for me and had a long talk with my former colleague. She gave her the number of a social assistant so she can talk to her about her problems. She explained that I was delicate and couldn’t carry her problems and suffering as I had my own problems too.

I want to be useful. I want to help people when I can. But at the same time, I have to protect myself and my sanity. What is the good balance between helping and protecting yourself from others’ negative influence (even if they don’t mean to harm you?). I am lost. I hated people for letting me down and now I’m having the same reaction as them. My mum says I must not take this burden (my colleague’s suffering) on me. My guilt says I have to be less selfish. I wish things were easier…


What skinny tastes like – what recovery tastes like

What skinny meant to me:

  • Brittle hair falling all over the floor
  • Exhausted
  • Shaky
  • Dizzy
  • Depressed
  • Suicidal
  • Constipated
  • Cold all the time
  • Panicky

I gained like 14 pounds in 7 years and I needed it but sometimes I have to try and accept my newest curves. My BMI is “normal”, whilst I was underweight when I weighed less than 100 pounds.

It’s OK. Your body changes and you see those skinny bitches in the magazines, but eventually you end up thinking:

  • It’s no big deal.
  • I’m pretty anyway.
  • I’m healthy and that’s priceless.


Avatars on the couch

These are some English translated extracts from an article I found in a French magazine:

“Computers are not always harmful, they can heal too.” Doctor Pommereau is convinced that child psychiatry must adapt to the new generations. These “teens.com”, children of images and communication, born in the computing era, tell more about themselves and their pain in pictures than aloud.

Teenagers are able to tell me [when they create their avatar] that they created themselves the way their mothers wanted them to be. Anorexics create obese avatars…

“We can change things, it’s great. You can’t change in the mirror.”

“I’m less hung-up than a few years ago, but I’d still like to be a little skinnier.” The young woman likes the idea of the avatar. “In therapy you feel you are observed, so our words are evasive. We say nothing but yet they [the shrinks] write down like 4 pages. We no longer dare make any move! But [with the avatar] we’re playing, the shrink’s look upon us is less oppressive.”

The avatars enable suicidal people to show the wounds they inflict upon them, ignoring they are only the reflection of their inner wounds. We allow them to represent their scarifications. When the teens see their avatar, their detachment enables them to give another meaning to these scarifications and they start talking abundantly with the nurse.


Hydrotherapy vs stress & anxiety

How Hydrotherapy Relieves Stress and Helps You to Think Better

The parasympathetic branch of our body’s nervous system increases hormones that cause the body to relax after stress has passed.

Warm water immersion seems to reduce the hormones associated with stress, at the same time separating you from your sources of stress which can further decrease your anxiety. Many people report an energizing effect from aquatic therapy that can last about four hours.

Another research found that, with 25 minutes of soaking in hot water (38ºC/102F) the autonomic nervous system alters, producing changes that are parallel to those seen during relaxation and accompanying a reduction in anxiety.

The study also suggests that along with the relaxation, warm water immersion may well have a positive effect on working memory and performance of cognitive tasks, including problem solving.



Blessed blog

Blogging helped me beyond expectations. Firstly because I discovered a brand new world through the Internet and made friends – some of them became real friends. But mostly because when one of my teachers found out my blog, she realized everything I was going through and supported me; she left kind notes on my blog, and talked to me face to face at school. And of course, writing was an excellent therapy. Looking back though, I realize I displayed too much of my private life and thoughts on the Web, that’s why I have locked my most intimate blog (in my native language) with a password. Only selected friends have access to it.

Music & art are our friends

I remember, back when I was bullied at school, that special moment when I was in my room, drawing and singing along with a tune at the same time. And in that moment I swear I was happy and felt worthy. Music and art are our friends. Definitely. No wonder art therapy and music therapy are prescribed to people with mental illnesses.

Pic: my latest drawing