1

Fear Based Depression

Not all depression is based on fear, but depression can be a sign that on a deeper level you need to face and make big changes in your life.

You may be feeling unsatisfied or unhappy in areas of your life but not sure how to address/ change these issues. Abandonment fears, survival fears, fear of failure etc.. come into play and hold you.

You may feel very indecisive, conflicted or experience episodes of cognitive dissonance. This is a sign that you are processing your choices on a deeper level.

Through this battle of the mind vs. the soul you will ultimately come to a decision regarding what is best for you. Taking action on your choice happens when you’re ready. Generally when you’ve had enough of being scared, conflicted, anxious, paralyzed, frozen and depressed.

When you’ve had enough of the pain and suffering. When the fear of staying in your present situation is greater than the fear of leaving or change.

When you feel you have a degree of support, when you have a plan, when you feel strong enough, and when you feel a degree of safety to move forward.

You come to a point of acceptance of what you need to do to be healthy and reduce your stress levels.

Often we are pushed to face our fears head on. Crisis pushes us to move forward. Feeling sick and tired of being scared all the time pushes us forward. Wanting more from life pushes us forward. Getting sick from unhealthy coping mechanisms pushes us forward. Losing relationships or our finances. Realizing that taking no action is a living death pushes us forward.

Fear based depression is painful but it is a process of growth. It takes time to understand, find support, gain strength and overcome your fears.

Be gentle.

Be patient.

Find support.

Even if it seems bleak and painfully slow, everyday you are moving forward. One day you’ll look back at this dark time and honour it as the time where you grew the most even if it seemed like you weren’t doing much at all. On a much deeper level you were, and you’ll be so proud that you reached the light at the end of the tunnel.

Love & baby steps,

SG x

Having anxiety and depression is like being scared and tired at the same time:

 

3

When Relationship Abuse Is Hard To Recognize

COERCIVE CONTROL

Signs of coercive control are hard to spot; support and information will help.

Great campaign from @CitizensAdvice

By Lisa Aronson Fontes

Paybacks. Silent Treatment. Isolation. Threats. Humiliation. Sometimes even physical abuse. These are the weapons of coercive control, a strategy used by some people against their intimate partners. A relationship that should involve loving support ends up as a trap designed for domination. Although coercive control can show up in a variety of relationships, the most common is one in which a man uses coercive control against his wife or girlfriend. However, people of any gender and orientation(link is external) can be victims or victimizers.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, verbal and psychological attacks used to control an intimate partner or family member. Without intervention, violence typically escalates in frequency and severity. safehaventc.org:

People subject to coercive control grow anxious and afraid. Coercive control strips away their independence, sense of self, and basic rights, such as the right to make decisions about their own time, friends, and appearance.

Many men who use coercive control also abuse partners physically or sexually, but some use coercive control without physical violence. Outsiders may not be able to see the signs of coercive control in a couple; those who use it are often quite charming.

 (Do you know someone who is being controlled in this way? Do you wonder if your relationship is too controlling? Here’s a checklist(link is external) from my book, Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship(link is external).)

Victims of coercive control often feel like hostages. Over time, being grilled, criticized, stalked, and monitored may seem routine and inescapable. Victims often blame themselves as they feel despairing and disoriented. It’s easy for a person in this position to lose confidence and accept a partner’s view of reality. They may feel confused as they are told again and again that they themselves have triggered their partner’s behaviors by doing something “wrong.” At the same time, to keep the peace, victims may suppress their own desires, silence their voices, and detach from loved ones. Unfortunately, victims often do not see the connection between their partner’s control and their own isolation until time has passed. Losing self-confidence and close relationships at the same time can be paralyzing.

People who get caught in the web of a controlling person are no different from others. They just have the bad luck to become involved with an abuser at a time when they are especially vulnerable. Typically, an abuser will lavish attention on a woman at the beginning of the relationship. Over time, he becomes jealous, monitors her whereabouts, and restricts her interactions with others. His partner thinks the original “helpful man” is the “real” him, and if she does things right, he’ll go back to being wonderful again. At times he may indeed act loving, if this seems like the best way to maintain his control. Loving acts become another controlling tactic.

Once a controlling man has caught a woman in his web, he will do everything he can to prolong the relationship. Sometimes he will threaten, stalk, assault, or even murder her if she leaves or he suspects she’s trying to leave. For this reason, even if there is no physical violence it is important for a person who is being controlled to contact a domestic violence agency and devise a safety plan.

Only a couple of decades ago, society named and recognized the problems of sexual harassment, dating violence, marital rape, and stalking. Coercive control needs to be similarly named and recognized, so we can begin to address it. We all need to learn more, so we can offer the right kinds of support(link is external) and not allow victims to become isolated.

* If you don’t like the word “victim,” feel free to substitute “survivor” or another term that you prefer. 

Interested in learning more? Check out my book, Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship(link is external).

2

Basics On Training Your Empathic Abilities

Psychic Advice

There are three major forms of psychic abilities: clairvoyance, which in French means “clear seeing” and involves seeing psychic visions; clairaudience, which is hearing psychic messages; and clairsentience, or empathy, which is receiving psychic feelings or impressions. Empathy is the easiest form of psychic information to receive, but it is the hardest to define, because you must be clear about whether what you are feeling is yours, or if you are picking it up from someone, from someplace, or from something else.

People who are empathic are very sensitive to everything and everyone around them, and have often been told that they are “too sensitive”, particularly throughout their childhood. Empaths are heartful, caring, kind people who want to please and make other people happy, and often tend to do volunteer work, or to work in service to others in some way. Empaths can have a tendency to be overweight, particularly in childhood, because they use their weight as a type of shield to protect themselves from other people’s energies.

Empathic people can be “psychic sponges”, picking up and absorbing energy everywhere they go, which is why it is very important for empaths to have strong boundaries of protection. It is absolutely essential for those who are empathic to envision a bubble of white light around them at all times as a psychic shield.

For those who are extremely sensitive, it is even better to imagine layers of boundaries like a rainbow surrounding them, beginning with a layer of red around the body, then a layer of orange surrounding that, then yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, and finally a thick layer of white light surrounding all the layers. Those who can be highly emotional may also want to put these rainbow layers around their heart, because empaths tend to experience the world through their heart, which can be challenging and painful.

Empathically sensitive people must be very diligent in cleansing themselves of other people’s energies. One can release energy by using an affirmation such as:

“I am willing to work with all that is mine, and I release all that is not mine”.

It can also be helpful to affirm:

“I am willing to receive all that is for the highest good of all for me to know, and I am protected from all else”.

This will create a filter, so you will only receive information that is important for you to know and act upon.

You can use meditation and visualization for cleansing yourself energetically. You can visualize the doorway to your home and office as a shower of light that washes away all negative energy from all those who pass through it. You can also release negative energies by washing your hands in cold water up to your elbow, or standing barefoot in the grass. Whenever you take a shower, you can envision all negative energy being cleansed from you.

Meditation can also be very helpful for getting centered within yourself and getting to know what is going on within you. The most challenging thing about developing and honing empathic abilities is learning to discern between what feelings, sensations and emotions are yours, and what belongs to someone or something else.

Before you leave your home, take a moment to check in with yourself to determine how you are feeling. Then get a sense of what you feel inside you as you encounter different people and places throughout your day. If you meet a person or a group of people and find yourself feeling suddenly angry, depressed, sad, or agitated, or even having a sudden headache, tension or other aches and pains, then you may be absorbing energy and emotions from others. Ask yourself, “Is this mine?” to determine whether what you are feeling is yours or not.

Always watch out for sudden shifts in your mood or emotions. If you enter a place and suddenly feel tense, uneasy, gloomy, or even frightened, or if you get physical sensations such as chills, gooseflesh, or dizziness, then you are picking up energies from what has transpired there. Places and things absorb energy from the experiences they have “witnessed”, and therefore hold a historic record of significant emotional events. Empaths especially need protection in emotional places, like funerals, cemeteries, haunted buildings, crime scenes, etc. Empaths or clairvoyants can intuitively read the energetic impressions that have embedded themselves in a particular place or thing using the psychic gift of psychometry, which is often employed by psychic detectives.

One of the ways for an empath to read psychic energy is through the hands. Psychometry involves touching an object or photograph to pick up on psychic impressions, which can come in the form of certain feelings, emotions, sensations, visions or quick flashes. Empathic people can also use their hands to read energy from people, making them outstanding healers, nurses, doctors and massage therapists. Empaths can feel when and where energy is flowing harmoniously or inharmoniously, and how to correct and balance it in people, and even in places. Empathic people are also excellent at real estate, interior design, and Feng Shui, because they can pick up on what other people want and need, and what makes others happy or uncomfortable – so they are also ideal matchmakers!

Trust is always key to developing intuition. You must learn to pay attention to the feelings and impressions that you receive wherever you go. You may have a feeling that you don’t want to go into a certain place, or you don’t want to connect with a certain person – always trust that those feelings are there for a reason, whether it makes rational sense to you or not. Remember that intuition does not come from the rational side of the brain, it comes from a place of higher knowing that is meant to guide you and keep you safe, so allow yourself to always trust what you feel.

Source : askgrace.com

0

Social Animals

love it... sooo true

We are social animals who need friends.

We need a community to survive.

Friends are made on the basis of trust, which only grows if you are kind to people. Exploiting, cheating and bullying others will win you no friends.

Kindness and compassion gives rise to self confidence, which in turn empowers you to be honest, truthful and transparent. This self-confidence brings peace of mind, which also favours good health.

~ Dalai Lama

11

PTSD and Living the Gentle Life

I am floating on the river -  my hand is trailing in cool water - I am moving gently I am moving on the river

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is often reactivated by ‘triggers.’  These can include people, places, things, or sensory feelings that reconnect you with the trauma of the relationship.  In the last newsletter, I talked about the gentle life and how an over-taxed and anxious body/mind needs a soothing life.  I cannot stress this enough: people MUST remember that their PTSD symptoms CAN BE reactivated if they aren’t taking care of themselves and living a gentle life.

What IS a gentle life?  A gentle life is a life lived remembering the sensitivities of your PTSD.  It isn’t ignored, or wished away—it is considered and compensated for.  Since PTSD affects one physically, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually—all of those elements need to be considered in a gentle life.  Just as if you had diabetes you would consider what to eat or what medication you need to take, so it is with PTSD.

Interestingly, although PTSD is listed in the psychiatric manual as an emotional disorder, PTSD has some very real physical effects as well.  In fact, it has been discussed having PTSD listed in physician’s manuals as well, because the untreated, ongoing effects of acute stress are well known in the medical community.  Since PTSD has both components of emotional and physical symptoms, someone recovering from PTSD must take those aspects into account.

 Physically, PTSD often becomes a chronic condition by the time you get help.  That means you have been living with it for a while and it has been wreaking havoc on your physical body during that time.  Unbridled anxiety/stress/fear pumps enormous amounts of adrenaline and cortisol into your body.  This over stimulates your body and mind and causes insomnia,paranoia, hyperactivity, a racing mind/intrusive thoughts and the inability to ‘let down’ and ‘rest’.

A body that has been living on adrenaline needs the adrenal glands to ‘chill!’  People often complain of chronic insomnia, which also leads to depressionDepression can lead to lethargy, overeating, weight gain and hopelessness.  It is possible to have both anxiety and depression occurring at the same time.  Unmanaged stress, anxiety, and adrenaline can lead to long-term medical problems often associated with stress—lower GI problems, migraines, teeth grinding, aggravated periods, chest pain, panic attacks, and most auto-immune disorders like fibromyalgia, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis and MS.

So, CLEARLY, PTSD is something that SHOULD be treated.  Physically that means going to someone who can diagnose you—a therapist or psychiatrist.  In the early parts of treatment, it is normal to take anti-anxiety medication, anti-depressants or sleep aides in order to rectify your depleted brain chemistry and to allow the adrenal glands to ‘rest’ and stop pumping out adrenaline.  Your doctor is in the best position to tell you what will help to relieve your physical symptoms.  Some use alternative medicine to deal with those symptoms. What is effective for each person varies.

Additionally, you need to help your body and brain produce the ‘good stuff’ in your brain chemistry.  This means exercising, eating well, and learning relaxation techniques.  Too much adrenaline has been pumping through your body with no way to get utilized.  Excessive adrenaline makes you feel jumpy and restless.  Exercise (even moderate walking) helps to produce endorphins in your brain, which produce those feelings of ‘well-being’ and helps to burn off the adrenaline and any extra weight you might have gathered.

Although during depression you often don’t FEEL like exercising, you will always feel bad if you don’t get your body moving.  Stress is even stored at the cellular level of our bodies.  You must, must, must, get moving in order to feel better.

Eating well means not trying to medicate your depression and low energy with carbs.  When you are depressed your body craves carbs as a source of quick energy, but the spikes in blood sugar add to the sense of mood highs and lows.  You’ve already had enough ‘junk’ in the relationship—think of it as nurturing your body with good food to replace all the ‘junk’ that it has been through.  You can greatly help mood swings by eating well.

It’s also necessary to deal with the negative habits you have acquired as ‘coping mechanisms.’ Many people with PTSD try to medicate their anxiety and depression.  This could be through smoking, relationship hopping, sex, eating/binging/purging, drugs (legal and illegal), and the increased use of alcohol.  In fact, one of the devastating side effects of PTSD is how many people develop alcoholism as a result. Any habits you are prone to right now tend to increase when you have PTSD, because the particular habit becomes more and more a way to manage your PTSD symptoms.  Finding positive coping skills instead of negative habits is a great step in your recovery.

Physical recovery also means paying attention to not reactivating your symptoms. Your physical environment in which you live, play and work must be conducive to low stimulation.  That means low light, low noise, and low aggravation.  Sometimes that means making big changes in the PEOPLE you hang out with—getting rid of the loud, noisy, overactive, aggressive and pathological.  And sometimes it means making big changes in a job where the environment does nothing but trigger you.

Lastly, learning relaxation techniques is not ‘optional’ for people with PTSD.  PTSD is a chronic state of hyper-vigilance, agitation, and restlessness.  Your body has been over-ridden with adrenaline for a long time and has ‘forgotten’ its equilibrium in relaxation.  It must be re-taught.  Re-teaching means doing it daily.  Taking 5 –10 minutes a day to use a relaxation breathing technique and allowing your mind to unwind.  Giving positive messages to your body to relax will help you tap into this natural relaxation, even during times you are not actively trying to relax.  The more you use this technique, the quicker your body can relax—even at work or when you are doing something else because it has ‘remembered’ how to.

There are a lot of tapes, CDs and videos you can buy on relaxation that walk you thru the process of relaxation (we also have one created for PTSD on the magazine site.)

Taking yoga will also teach you how to use correct breathing techniques that help correct the ‘shallow/panting’ breathing that is associated with PTSD and anxiety.  Shallow breathing or panting can actually trigger panic attacks.  Learning to breathe well again is a metaphor for ‘exhaling’ all the junk you’ve been thru and releasing it.  If you don’t have a relaxation tape, you are welcome to get our mp3 audio on relaxation techniques on our website.  Most importantly is to just become acutely aware that PTSD is physical (and often medical) as it is emotional.

By Sandra L. Brown, M.A., CEO of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education is a psychopathologist, program development specialist, lecturer, and an award-winning author. Her books include Counseling Victims of Violence: A Handbook for Helping Professionals (1991, 2006), How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved Book and Workbook(2005) and Women Who Love Psychopaths (2008).

(**If we can support you in your recovery process, please let us know.  The Institute is the largest provider of recovery-based services for survivors of pathological love relationships.  Information about pathological love relationships is in our award-winning book, Women Who Love Psychopaths, and is also available in our retreats, 1:1s, or phone sessions.  See the website for more information).