Bien être….

i am one of them…

by Maggie

 

Post № 7

bien être…

T

 

oday is a very special day. It’s the start of 31 days of Mental Health Awareness in the United States. According to the World Health Organization, 450 million people world wide are affected by mental conditions and I AM ONE OF THEM. Yes, I have a condition widely known as Social Anxiety Disorder or “S.A.D.”… (This darned acronym doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies about it either.  You know cus it spells out S-A-D)

On the outside, I look like your typical extrovert. I am outgoing, bold, talk to anyone and everyone about anything under the sun (yes… even small talk. I do enjoy surface level convos just as much as deeper intellectual conversations) and possess a genuine love for people. If you have ever gone grocery shopping with me, you know that I swap recipes in the produce section with perfect strangers.  Because sharing is caring, right?  While I do absolutely love people, it’s not because I am an extrovert, because I am not. I am in fact an introvert. I just have a genuine curiosity for people; furthermore, I possess an abundance amount of compassion and empathy towards others.

But just to be clear let me state some facts before I continue———>
* Introversion and social anxiety disorders are two separate matters. Not all introverts have social anxiety disorder and not all people with social anxiety disorder are introverts.
* Compassion and empathy are also two separate characteristics and those who are introverts and/or have social anxiety may or may not possess either qualities. I just so happen to possess both – I am a highly sensitive person and INFJ after all.
* Also, not all introverts hate people- a common misconception. We love people just as much as extroverts, we just need down time (alone- quiet time) to recharge our batteries.
* And while there isn’t a shy bone in my body (a HUGE fact apparent to anyone who has met me in real life), I do feel anxiety when dealing with specific social situations. BUT…Not all people who suffer from SAD are shy, and not all shy people have social anxiety disorder; another misconception perceived by many.

 

“There are 450 million people world wide are affected by mental conditions and I AM ONE OF THEM.”

-Maggie

A Happy Go Lucky Optimist

I must admit, my boldness has sometimes followed with inevitable regret… you know, because from time to time I simply cannot resist saying the thing that I really want to say in the first place. FYI- I NEVER allow my SAD to interfere with what set’s my heart on fire. If I want something, that’s it. I’ve expended an inordinate amount of time and resources to ensure it’s feasible and execute a plan to obtain it. I do not allow my SAD to interfere with the desires of my heart or dreams. It’s the reason I refer to myself as “tenacious to a fault”. I make a point to not allow it to control my life, even at the expense of my feelings or fears; I am not in the habit of avoiding people or situations due to my social anxieties. {FUN FACT}—> I USED to be incredibly shy.. Like Raj Koothrappali shy from the Big Bang Theory sitcom. Except, unlike Raj’s character, my shyness included becoming mute to virtually anyone and everyone. And because we all know shyness is a personality trait which one can overcome, that’s precisely what I did. HOWEVER, I actually find the shy personality trait to be incredibly appealing on other people..7 It’s quite a charming and attractive quality.  Just saying…  I just never liked how it felt on me-so I overcame it and quite quickly, to be honest. Because of this boldness, it’s hard for some to even concede I have social anxiety because I am not shy any more— not even a little bit.. But all of the SAD symptoms are there; this is the part which distinguishes my social anxiety disorder.

It’s not “normal” that palms sweat, knees weak, heart beating out of chest or even feelings of nausea occur most times I am faced with a social interaction with just the sheer prospect of an interaction going to the worst possible scenario. Am I boring? Will I be perceived positively? Am I too “perky”? (yes I am naturally “perky” ) Although I must admit, it’s easier for me to interact with strangers on the premise I will never see them again, thus my inhibitions carelessly thrown to the wind. And while today I tackle social situations like a pro, this doesn’t negate these feelings when dealing with certain social settings, particularly with work, people with whom I feel strongly for or even family and friends. I feel these feelings (all of them ), but have learned to stuff them deep down inside and push through them. In fact, sometimes these feelings are quite welcomed as to discover another opportunity to conquer my “demons”. I am that Chick who will boldly and courageously challenge the “freeze, fly or fight” reactions to a sudden death match (most of the time I win  K-O!!~!). I realize medication is a great treatment for thwarting off such symptoms, but its not the right treatment plan for me. I refuse to be dependent upon meds, not even supplement vitamins. I live my entire life on the basis of cognitive preventative measures and while meds can prevent onsets of symptoms and might be a terrific option for some, I choose to engage in cognitive behavioral therapy instead. I mean, what if the zombie apocalypse truly does break out and all pharmacies are forced to shut down?!? 

Though I no longer shrink in social settings, this act of valiancy wasn’t always the case. I used to retreat anytime an inordinate amount of focus and attention was brought onto me; I would somehow shrink in my seat as if trying to wield myself invisible. To this day, impromptu speeches, specifically in smaller groups (you know, because the smaller the group, the more intimate), makes me freeze briefly when the moment is presented.

Bringing visibility and awareness to these types of matters is so imperative. How many people unbeknownst unto you could potentially suffer with this sort of mental health condition (or similar ones)? And there are a plethora of ways people deal with their conditions, not everyone is as naturally open, bold, or even as “perky” as I; SAD can take on so many different forms on other people. Without this confession, you would have never known this tidbit about me and my constant daily struggles. Just as diverse as us humans are, thats the range of different types of people and personalities that suffer. You may know someone who you would have never guessed has this condition. But…. theres’s a silver lining….

So today and everyday, my friends, I challenge you to have compassion for those who may be suffering from a mental condition. Yes, use your judgement, but please don’t be so quick to judge. You don’t know the mental place people are in at the end of day when they go home, wash off their pretenses and lay their vulnerable heads on their pillows at night. You don’t know the demons that could live in their minds. So please refrain from any judgements. For goodness sake we all bleed the same on the inside. If you suspect someone is suffering; be a positive beacon for them. Let them in and show them what humanity truly looks like. Lend them your ear and just be there for them. We want to be heard, seen and accepted just as much as anyone else.

If you are reading this and are suffering, I want you to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I have dealt with social anxiety my entire life. The fact that we live day in and day out with our condition is a complete and utter act of BRAVERY. YOU ARE MUCH STRONGER THAN YOU KNOW. There are an abundance of resources and help for anyone interested. Taking that first courageous step can make such a difference in the way you view your world and how you perceive others viewing you. So keep fighting the good fight, keep pushing against those erroneous thoughts of doubts, negative talk and how we think we are being perceived by others. And know, beyond anything else, without a shadow of a doubt, we are all in this together…

Below are great resources for anyone who is interested:

Resources are taken from com. Please read for further assistance regarding mental health aid and awareness.
https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health-resources#online-and-phone

Hotlines
Many organizations run hotlines and online services to provide mental health support. These are just a few of the hotlines and online services that are available:
* National Domestic Violence Hotline offers phone support to people experiencing domestic violence.
* National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers phone support to people in emotional distress.
* SAMHSA’s National Helpline provides treatment referrals and information support to people coping with substance abuse or other mental health conditions.
* Veterans Crisis Line provides support to veterans and their loved ones.
An online search will turn up more services in your area.

Mobile apps
A growing number of mobile apps are available to help people cope with mental illness. Some apps facilitate communication with therapists. Others offer links to peer support. Still others provide educational information or tools to promote good mental health.
You shouldn’t use mobile apps as a replacement for your doctor or therapist’s prescribed treatment plan. But some apps might make a helpful addition to your larger treatment plan.

Free apps
* Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool. It provides detailed information on how stress affects the body. It also helps users learn how to manage stress using a technique called diaphragmatic breathing. It’s available for free on iOS and Android devices.
* IntelliCare is designed to help people manage depression and anxiety. The IntelliCare Hub app and related mini apps are available for free on Android devices.
* MindShift is designed to help youth gain insight into anxiety disorders. It provides information about generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and panic attacks. It also provides tips for developing basic coping strategies.
* PTSD Coach was designed for veterans and military service members who have PTSD. It provides information about PTSD, including treatment and management strategies. It also includes a self-assessment tool. It’s available for free on iOS and Android devices.
* SAM: Self Help for Anxiety Management provides information about managing anxiety. It’s available for free on iOS and Android devices
* TalkSpace seeks to make therapy more accessible. It connects users to licensed therapists, using a messaging platform. It also provides access to public therapy forums. It’s free to download on iOS and Android devices.
* Equanimity is a meditation app. It may help you develop a stress-relieving meditation practice. It’s available to download for $4.99 on iOS devices
* Lantern offers sessions designed to boost emotional well-being. It’s a subscription-based service. (Email customer support for current pricing.) Although the service is web-based, you can also download a free supplemental app for iOS devices.
* Worry Watch is designed to help users document and manage experiences with chronic worry, anticipatory anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorder. It’s available on iOS for $1.99.
Paid apps
For information about other mental health apps, visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Video game therapy
Video gaming is a popular leisure activity. Certain doctors also use video games for therapeutic purposes. In some cases, immersing yourself in virtual worlds might help you take a break from everyday anxieties.

Some game designers have created games specifically geared toward mental health. For example:
* Depression Quest aims to help people with depression understand that they’re not alone. It also illustrates how the condition can affect people.
* Luminosity uses games to strengthen players’ cognitive abilities.
* Project EVO was designed to provide daily therapy to people with brain disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism.
* Sparx is a role-playing game. It strives to promote positive affirmations through interactions among players. It’s currently available only in New Zealand.
* SuperBetter aims to increase resilience. This is the ability to stay strong, motivated, and optimistic in the face of difficult obstacles.
Ask your doctor for more information about the potential benefits and risks of video gaming.

ALSO!!~! NOT INCLUDED IN THIS ARTICLE….
Reading a GREAT Book!!~!
Reading has always been a sense of escape for me. A mental getaway from worries, woes, and any doubts or troubles I may be facing. Some of my favorite books are both nonfiction and fiction alike. It’s a great place to get lost AND found. The adventures one may embark expanding your horizons to a new and exciting book is endless. So don’t be afraid to feel the beautiful and pristine pages of a great new book between your fingertips. Or enjoying the ruffled and musky pages of a journey many others have traversed before you in a used novel. Books are, after-all, uniquely portable magic. No two persons ever read the same book. The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense. And if you are so lucky to find another person who shares your interest in great books, this is a wonderful opportunity to put your S.A.D. behind you and strike up meaningful and undiscriminating conversation to a potential positive connection!  And it’s also just a really great way to decompress. 

 

Feeling Cheeky?

some facetious antics…

Party in my Mouth Pho!

Today I am breaking down barriers and slaying a beast…

Victorious Mindset

Adversity is the stone on which I sharpen my blade.

Spaghetti de Pétoncles Grenobloises au Bacon

An exquisite dish made simply with literally a hand full of ingredients

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