From me to you, have a safe and happy holiday. Deb
“Living in Stigma” connects with everyone coping with chronic pain, mental illness, and all invisible illnesses.
My blog “Living in Stigma” was launched in 2007 and originally dedicated to all of us struggling with mental illness. I felt as if I was living in stigma with my own major depression.
Many forms of mental illness comprise of Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, PTSD, Eating Disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and much more.
I struggle with both mental illness and chronic migraines, and with news articles, social media, research and valued readers sharing comments and opinions on my blog, it’s a reality that invisible illnesses such as fibromyalgia, lupus, headaches, recurring back and leg pain, and so many more are also a vast portion of invisible illness stigma. Continue reading
What is stigma?
When someone appears to be different than us, we may view him or her in a negative stereotyped manner. People who have identities that society values negatively are said to be stigmatized.
Stigma is a reality for people with a mental illness, and they report that how others judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life. Society feels uncomfortable about mental illness. It is not seen like other illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
These, among others, are the greatest presents I ever received as a young child:
Thumbelina (I adored this doll – the doll that had the thumb permanently in her mouth). Doesn’t sound the greatest, however, she was the greatest doll to me.
Etch-A-Sketch – this to me was the invention of all inventions. I drew lines on this flat screen for hours – it was amazing.
64 Crayola Crayons – a necessity for any child, and I absolutely adored mine
Easy Bake Oven – I dislike cooking, even to this day, but I loved my Easy Bake just for the fact that I could create cookies that were never fully cooked, yet still tasted fantastic.
Memorable not so memorable gifts
Hot wax removal system thingy – this apparatus was absolute torture. When I applied the wax to my legs and tore the strip off; I am positive you could hear me scream clear across the city! This was painful stuff. I forgot the product name, as it went into the dumpster the next day. As for my legs, the hair was removed alright, as well as any possible hair follicles underneath and I didn’t have to shave for long after. Thanks, Aunt Sandy.
“The Clapper” Clap-On Clap-Off – This gadget uses a sound-activated switch sensitive to hand clapping to turn on/off such things advertised as: lamps, radio etc. (up to two appliances that are plugged into it). Too much clapping for me; felt as if I was at a concert. Thanks, but I forgot who gave this to me.
Written by: Deb
Here we go with the New Year’s Resolution thing again. I didn’t make one as I generally only seem to keep it for less than 2 weeks. I describe my protest of New Year’s Resolutions, the reason being is I, along with 88% of the world, also don’t end up keeping them past March. I recollect one year that I did make it to late February on a daily diet consisting of skinless chicken breast, grapefruit and unlimited water and 3 daily workouts per week. I shed the pounds, however, gained it back faster than I lost it.
On four occasions I have gone the fitness club route – all I have quit and lost money.
The last club I joined, caught my attention with an advertisement “Join 4 months for $1.00.” Who wouldn’t sign up? Was this too good to be true….yes, as it turned out, it was.
I made an appointment; meeting the sales rep/personal trainer/receptionist who gave me the club tour (I think her main job was more the sales rep dressed in work-out fatigue). She talked extremely fast, and showed me the club just as fast, with me having a work-out just touring the club! Next came the all out sales pitch. I asked about the “4 mos/$1.00” deal – “works out in the end for the annual fee, (she was bubbly), but doesn’t include towel service”, she stated. Towel service? I always bring my own towels anyways? I was then presented with a long, legal sized 3 sheet document written in 6 font. Lots of “I” this and that. But all in all it was a decent price, I could afford it and I signed on the dotted line.
I was bound and determined to make a go of this. At least 3 times per week I promised myself; no less, no excuses, aqua fit and floor apparatus with each visit. Commitment.
After about a month, what began as 3X per week, sort of dwindled to 2, then 1. Every excuse I could think of for myself; library to pick up books, going out to dinner (should have been working out-not eating), too damn tired, groceries, Wal-Mart before it gets busy, etc. etc. Flimsy stuff; easy to think of excuses.
Not to make excuses, but the club was a little shy of the number of treadmills and other equipment causing wait times. I am impatient to say the least, and sometimes just headed out the door home. The first time on the treadmill (I’m sure others can relate to this), I stupidly stood on the belt, so when the machine started, I darn near went flying. Thank goodness I was holding onto the metal side bars, as that would have been a sight. Red faced and attempting to appear it an equipment malfunction, I did it right the next time ultimately becoming a pro after that. I never enjoyed the huffing and puffing and that was only in the walking position on these machines; comparing to the more fit ladies next to me who were jogging, no huffing/puffing and staring at the TV above at the same time. A wonderment at best with this coordination.
The aqua fit I really did enjoy, as being wet in the winter time was a turn-off. Another flimsy excuse.
I never lost any weight or inches, and somewhat embarrassed when out of curiosity the sales rep/trainer did a 6 week follow-up of my progress. Progress? My numbers were worse than when I started! Humpty Dumpty potato chips along the way didn’t help I guess!
I eventually quit and once again – more money went down the drain.
So this year, I am going to tough it out on my own; eating the celery and carrot sticks at my desk, soup or salad for lunch, and god knows what for supper. I’ll just do my best and aim for a regimen of walking the dog more often, and parking further from the mall doors when I go shopping. What’s a gal to do? No excuses.
Working as a speaker and writer in the mental health field, I hear a lot of things over and over. Stigma, for example, comes up a lot, as do various analogies for different diagnoses. Obviously, I don’t agree with everything I hear, but sometimes…
What do you know about MIGRAINE?
I’ve just created a Quiz on Migraines! Hope you will try it out!
PTSD and CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
How can anyone learn how to react to a child who discloses abuse when we as a society still put our hands over our ears when the subject arises?
One-third of all women and 14% of men have been sexually attacked as children. These statistics haven’t changed in decades.
Why not? See remainder of this post Source: DISCLOSURE
What a wonderful and compassionate idea. This would be very soothing for someone experiencing a treatment, and I’m sure it made their life a little less painful if only for a few moments.
The project began about four months ago and I don’t foresee an end in sight. The blue wire basket sits on the table by the pharmaceutical window at the cancer center. It holds painted rocks with inspirational saying written on them in paint pens. Some rocks have hearts and flowers drawn on them because I […]
What exactly is Sjogren’s Syndrome?
I’ve never heard about this illness, have others heard or experienced this syndrome?
The WashingtonTimes.com reported that research from Sweden has shed some light as to why women are more likely to suffer from depression, chronic pain (CPS) and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) than men. Also, the same study discovered why women are prone to depression and mood swings from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and post-partum depression.
Serotonin production, re-absorption and normal levels in many women are not sufficient and wreak havoc on the mind and bodies of those affected. The effect on female hormones is broadly significant. Serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone,’ plays a significant role in pain management.
Chronic or clinical depression can be the causation of chronic pain. Chronic pain can lead to chronic or clinical depression, so healthy levels of serotonin play a significant role in managing depression and chronic pain.
The silence demanded from a child after she is sexually attacked by someone within the family system is where the most harm comes, not from the sexual attacks. A child can recuperate from those with love, help and protection from any further attacks.
It is the silence most children are forced to bear to keep the family safe from shame which kills, figuratively and literally. The family’s shame is too great, greater than the survival of the child. This mistaken belief, that all must be kept quiet to keep the family’s name and unit together needs to radically change to save our children.
Society would not approve, and that must reverse. We as a society must face that this crime occurs and occurs at an alarming rate within families; one of every four girls and one in every six boys.
Forced into silence at an early age, containing horrors that…
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Vitamin D Deficiency & Chronic Pain
It was mentioned by my family doctor that taking Vitamin D can help with brittle bones and may ease chronic pain.
Here is a link to Medicine Net.com which includes comments by people who have taken Vitamin D for various issues, including pain. Sounds positive and I will give it a try myself.
It’s a peculiar feeling knowing that other people share the same personality trait as yourself. Odd, yet comforting in a way!
It’s exhilarating (perhaps I’m a bit dramatic) to discover that there are 16 Personality Types and one type that illustrates your traits. My scores, after undertaking two different tests, both conclude that I’m an INFP Type Personality, with their qualities so ‘dead on’ to my own. It’s almost spooky!
With various personality traits, I often considered of myself as an oddball; unique from others who rarely mull over or sense things the way I do, or perceive the world and people.
I’ve been in therapy for some years (PTSD) and have discussed the way I operate day to day, and now there is a name for it!
A few of my odd ways:
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NARCISSISTIC MATERNAL ABUSE
I wrote this quote referring to the selfishness of my narcissistic mother. She fails to recall the days of ignoring me, joining in on anything I found enjoyable or excited about or the entire way she treated me. Her abuse had an enormous impact on my life, and I remain in therapy.
Now she is elderly, feels isolated and displaying signs of illness. She questions “Why don’t you ever visit or come over for lunch because it’s lonely every day in this apartment?”. Hmmm, I wonder why?
I finally went NO CONTACT three years ago as I was tired of her never-ending abuse.
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE – BROKEN TRUST
Also, think before you speak. Cheers, Deb
While reading this article below, I immediately thought of myself and the difficulties I’ve experienced throughout my life with friends. For me, I believe it’s been a huge trust issue and becoming over-sensitive during many of my friendships.
At times, due to a phone call or an e-mail not being returned, I interpreted this as my mother disregarding me when I was younger, and now friends not giving a hoot about me either. Many other traumatic instances during my childhood came into play, thus losing many friendships.
While rarely mentioned, one common legacy of an unloving mother is the daughter’s diminished ability or total inability to form close and sustaining friendships. This is a significant loss since friendship plays an important role in many women’s lives: our girlfriends are often the people we turn to in times of joy and trouble, when we need company or support, or we just need someone to truly listen.
Unloved daughters often have trouble forging these bonds or maintaining them; the emotional isolation they felt in childhood is often replicated in adulthood when they find themselves with few or no girlfriends, or women they can actually trust.
Why is that? Our mothers are the first females we know in close proximity and we learn, for better or worse, not just what it means to be female but how females connect and relate. As children, we absorb the lessons our mothers model through their behaviors, accepting them as normal—we have nothing to compare them to, after all—and these become the unconscious templates for how we believe women act and relate in the outside world.
Even though we’re unaware of them and their influence, we carry these scripts when we go out into the world as children, adolescents, and adults, and make friends with other girls and, later, women.
The internalized voice of the mother—telling you that you are unlovable, unlikeable, unworthy, inadequate—can become especially shrill when you’re in the company of other women, whether they are neighbors, colleagues, acquaintances or even girlfriends you actually long to be close to.
Gleaned from many conversations, here are four pieces of the maternal legacy that directly affect female friendships.
Lack of trust
A loving and attuned mother models live in a world in which people are trustworthy and that extending yourself—leaving yourself open and vulnerable to another person—has great benefits. The unloved daughter learns the opposite and, even worse because her mother never acknowledges her behaviors, the daughter not only distrusts other people but her own perceptions and feelings.
In friendships, she may be dismissive or wary or in need of constant reassurance and proof that her friend is really on her side. Either way, how she acts—even though she may want and need the friendship desperately—effectively sabotages it.
- Unable to heed boundaries
Absent the validation of self a loving mother provides, unloved daughters have difficulty recognizing what constitutes a healthy boundary; they may vacillate between being overly armored and being much too clingy. While this is partly a result of the daughter’s lack of trust, it also reflects her ongoing unfulfilled need for love and validation. “I think I exhausted my friendships when I was in my twenties and thirties,” one daughter, 48, reported. “It took me a long time to recognize that my friends needed space and that, sometimes, my constant demands for their attention were too much. Therapy helped me see that all I was doing was focusing on my needs without understanding the give-and-take friendship requires.”
All unloved daughters have trouble managing negative emotions—they have difficulty self-regulating and are prone to rumination—and, if their mothers have been dismissive, combative, or hypercritical, are always vigilant and self-protective. A friend’s comment or gesture that wouldn’t even appear on a securely-attached daughter’s radar can be totally misunderstood and blown out of proportion by an insecurely-attached one. These can be small things—an unreturned phone call, a late invitation, an offhand remark—that become triggers and flashpoints.
- Feelings of rivalry
It’s often hard for the unloved daughter to acknowledge her feelings of competition because the culture tends to look away from or minimize rivalry between and among women. Thinking about sisterhood is so much more pleasant, even though the word frenemy has been around since the 1950s when it was coined to describe politics, not rival girlfriends.
Susan Barash Shapiro’s book Tripping the Prom Queen paints a more realistic picture of the complexity of female connections.
Alas, the loneliness of childhood may be unwittingly extended into adulthood unless conscious awareness is brought to bear on a daughter’s reactivity
The need for affordable dentistry has never been greater, and so traveling abroad to get better prices is very much an option. It doesn’t matter who you are today – times are tough, but just where is the best place for dental tourism?
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of options no matter where you choose to go, and dental patients from around the world can save up to 70% just by visiting a dental clinic abroad.
Best places seem to be countries in your own continent, although why this should be so no-one really knows! The main thing is to check out these top dental destinations and see how much you can save!
Hop on a plane for treatment in a resort town like Cabo San Lucas, Cancun or Puerto Vallarta. Or, take a short drive across the border for excellent care at a discounted price. Most frequent visitors: Americans, Canadians.
Thailand boasts some of the largest and most modern dental hospitals in the entire world. Tens of thousands of dental tourists have been successfully treated by expert dentists in a tropical locale. Most frequent visitors: Australians, Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders.
I was never aware of this type of therapy so thought an interesting topic to include for information. It especially received my attention when it mentioned chronic pain such as migraine/headache treatment.
Biofeedback therapy involves training patients to control physiological processes such as muscle tension, blood pressure, or heart rate.
These processes usually occur involuntarily, however, patients who receive help from a biofeedback therapist can learn how to completely manipulate them at will.
The three most common types of biofeedback therapy are:
- Thermal biofeedback – which measures skin temperature
- Electromyography – measures muscle tension
- Neurofeedback – measures brain wave activity
Biofeedback is particularly effective at treating conditions brought on by severe stress. When a person is stressed, their internal processes such as blood pressure can become irregular. Biofeedback therapy teaches these patients certain relaxation and mental exercises which can alleviate their symptoms.
Therapists can measure a patient’s performance by attaching electrodes to their skin and displaying the processes on a monitor. Eventually patients learn how to control these processes without the need to be monitored.
During a biofeedback session, electrodes will be attached to the patient’s skin, which sends information to a monitoring box. The biofeedback therapist reads the measurements and through trial and error singles out mental activities that help regulate the patient’s bodily processes.
Sessions are typically less than an hour long – most people will begin to see positive results after 8 sessions. However, some patients may need a as many as 50 sessions.
The remainder of this post @
Trust is so important to feeling safe enough to be true and real. And sometimes we have to take the risk to trust, but if trust has been precarious or ended in abandonment a lot before and in our young early lives it makes it harder for us to ask for support, allow ourselves to […]
I learned this bit of wisdom from my therapist during one of our many sessions discussing my narcissistic mother. She explained it very clearly how a parent has children (plants); she waters some and helps them grow and flourish, yet the others who aren’t so lucky receive less attention and ignored. I now understood how my mother cared and treated my brother vs. myself. Do any of you feel this way?
How passive you are depends on your personality, your perceptions of the world and your place in it, your feelings of empowerment and entitlement, and of course, the specifics of a given situation.
Passivity can be a useful strategy and a healthy coping mechanism in some situations. But it can also become habitual. When passivity begins to dominate our responses and interactions and determines our general approach to life, it can end up doing more harm than good.
The problem is we often do not realize how passive we’ve become and we often significantly underestimate how apparent our passivity is to others.
This is an excellent site flyingmonkeysdenied.com for articles on Narcissism and PTSD.
I found this post “How to Leave a Narcissist: Four key things to expect (step by step)
How to leave a narcissist.
Step one — understand walking away means planning to lose not only their half of the money and personal possessions, but also what they own.
Know they will do whatever it takes to destroy you socially, financially, psychologically, physically, and emotionally — more so if THEY were 100% at fault for the demise of the relationship (not less).
Expect zero help financially, physically, or with moral support; offering closure or remuneration to a victim is something a Narcissist resists, noting that even the process of grief will be interrupted repeatedly in order to make sure a target does not have it.
Step two — Plan you budget based on your own ability to produce income — not theirs.
Understand if you set your budget based on what you yourself can cover that you will never end up short; conversely, if you expect alimony and child support and rely on a dime to pay your bills that you yourself will have given them a highly effective manipulation tool to harm you directly each and every month a payment arrives late or never comes in.
Step three — Prepare to have your heart broken as they will perpetually strive to estrange children, family members, your entire emotional and social support network, and friendship circles from you with bonus points for their own ego if they can throw a home-town very public smear-campaign into the mix. Continue reading
They break you
And then they hate you
For being broken
They lie to you
Then they despise you
For seeing the truth
They abuse you
Then they unfriend and block you
As though YOU did something wrong
When they run out of supply
They will swoop back in
With fake promises, false repentance, and imitation love
Never go back
To the ones who broke you —
A tiger does not change his stripes
–Lynda Lee, copyright 2017
If my parents had of believed me when I was eight years old, I wouldn’t have been in therapy for 20 years healing from the impact of their ignorance.
Thank you, Mom and Dad
You will find 10 distinct types of personality disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, (DSM-V). The different personality disorders are put into one of three clusters based on similar characteristics assigned to each cluster:
Cluster A personality disorders – odd, eccentric
Cluster B personality disorders – dramatic, emotional, and erratic
Cluster C personality disorders – anxious, fearful
It’s common for people to receive a diagnosis of more than one of the personality disorder types, most commonly within the same cluster. As we explore further, you’ll begin to see how the four common features come together to manifest in the different personality disorders.
Personality Disorder Types
People with paranoid personality disorder are generally characterized by having a long-standing pattern of pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others. A person with paranoid personality disorder will nearly always believe that other people’s motives are suspect or even malevolent.
Individuals with this disorder assume that other people will exploit, harm, or deceive them, even if no evidence exists to support this expectation. While it is fairly normal for everyone to have some degree of paranoia about certain situations in their lives (such as worry about an impending set of layoffs at work), people with paranoid personality disorder take this to an extreme — it pervades virtually every professional and personal relationship they have.
Individuals with Paranoid Personality Disorder are generally difficult to get along with and often have problems with close relationships. Their excessive suspiciousness and hostility may be expressed in overt argumentativeness, in recurrent complaining, or by quiet, apparently hostile aloofness. Because they are hyper vigilant for potential threats, they may act in a guarded, secretive, or devious manner and appear to be “cold” and lack in tender feelings.
Doctor’s appointments, do you really ever get in @10:15?
I doubt it. Success in seeing your doctor at the scheduled appointment time is like a crap shoot, and typically not my luck. I’m forever on time, I don’t know why she never is and I keep forgetting to bring my camping gear to set up for the day.
You recognize a dilemma when the receptionist slides the plexiglass window and smiles, “Hi Deb, she’s a little backed up this morning, we’ll call you soon”. ‘Backed up a bit, call you soon?’ “Backed up” in my experience translates to at least a minimum of 1 hour or more.
I detest these ‘backed up’ doctors, people are trapped in the waiting room fearful to leave for even a snack or pee break in the event your name is called. I think to myself, “Why did I take all morning off work, run like an idiot for the bus, not grab a coffee or something to read on the way, all so I wouldn’t be late for this appointment. Why do they book every 15 minutes, when they’re never on time?
After you have called everyone you can think of (most are at work or waiting at their doctor’s office), play scrabble or crossword on your phone or delete old contacts and your cell is frantic for a charge…your name is called. Yippeee! Now you are escorted into a smaller waiting room to wait and wait and wait some more!
~~~ Article written & copyrighted © by Deb McCarthy
This short video is helpful for people who are unaware of pressure points for the possible relief of headaches or migraines. In my case with chronic migraines, every pressure point shown in the video is usually so horribly tender and painful to touch.
This is an informative list for incest survivors, however, Trigger Warning!!!
Source: Incest Survivors’ Checklist
No light at the top
No one saving me
Just black dreams
Feels like a prison cell
Feeling the fog between my fingertips
No treatments working?
No doctors helping?
What kind of life is this
Black death sentence
Written & copyright by Deb McCarthy
This is an especially informative post relating to PTSD and CPTSD.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often a complex and challenging condition to manage. Complex because it can stem from any number of traumatic events, possibly spanning over many years, and can be complicated by other patterns of stress from earlier in life. And challenging because a successful recovery requires from the individual a long-term commitment […]
My guest poster today is J.E. from her blog “This is My Silence”. (Trigger Warning)
Hello, I am J.E., 23 years old, and a PTSD survivor.
I’m married to a wonderful man who has been my rock and encouragement throughout those days when I didn’t believe in myself, nevertheless, he believed in me. I’m also delighted that I’m a working mother of two children (‘superheroes’), as the joy I see in their faces every day provides me with every reason, now realizing how past abusive years has an enormous impact on your life.
Writing is cathartic for me, and I’m using my healing journey to perhaps healing others. “This is My Silence” is my first blog, and here is my story.
A Little Piece of Me
Typing and deleting, typing and deleting. As I am sitting on my couch, I’ve come to a realization that this is now my second draft and remain struggling with a conundrum. It’s challenging to write about your journey, even though you may have memories floating around inside your head, writing them down on paper (computer) is difficult.
So, Where is my beginning?
I lay my jars of memories around me and search, and peering into each jar I take a moment to remind myself to breathe for a moment after each one. As I continue my search, slowly opening and closing each jar, I come to a standstill, noticing that every single one of these memories speaks my story, but only one conveys the beginning of my life. So I will begin like this: