Getting Out Isn’t Always the Answer

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Many, many times, when I have been severely depressed or anxious, I have heard the repeated suggestion that I just “get out and do something”. I think this is a common misunderstanding that people have about depression and anxiety, that the cure is always just going out and finding something to do.

Personally, I can say that if I am mildly or moderately depressed or anxious, getting out can indeed be a huge help. It is a good way to distract myself and can make my life feel less empty and more meaningful.

However, if I am severely depressed or anxious, “getting out” is absolutely NOT the answer, and I know this from experience. Whenever I have been severely depressed and I somehow managed to make myself leave the house, I have just been a teary, numb mess who ends up feeling worse for being unable to stop the tears in public. During these times, I am unable to join in with anything going on around me and will just sit there and cry and feel embarrassed, wishing desperately I had never left home.

As for times of severe anxiety, I often also deal with severe irritability and a tendency to snap at others, even when I don’t mean to do so. “Going out” when in this state can actually damage relationships because people wonder why you are taking it out on them, even if you absolutely don’t intend to do so. Not to mention the fact that severe anxiety often comes with intense panic attacks, which are something that is horrible to experience in public. Panic attacks suck no matter where you are when you have them, but given the choice I would always choose to be in the comfort of my own home dealing with one rather than out in an unpredictable public environment.

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I’m Super Grumpy and Annoyed Today

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I am in a mood today. Seriously grumpy and feeling like crap both mentally and physically. I was supposed to go to a support group meeting today, but the absolute last thing I want to do when I feel like this is socialize or go anywhere. Instead, I just want to cocoon on the recliner or in bed, watching tv or YouTube and letting my grumpy butt get over this particular mood swing.

I could feel this irritability building and creeping up on me the last few days. Even when my husband and I took a walk in the park and I posted those pictures of snakes, turtles and frogs in my last blog post, I was starting to feel more and more off kilter. Every time a couple or family crept up behind us on the trail and made noise, I just wanted to throttle them, which isn’t like me. I normally love kids and adore having them around, but that day I just wanted to ship them all off to Siberia. I felt somehow personally offended that other people were simply sharing my space…and even though I knew how irrational that was, I still felt that way.

Last night I noticed that I was falling into one of those moods where I wanted to spit and hiss like a cat at anyone who dared touch me or even looked at me wrong. I’m still feeling that way today, so it is probably a good thing that I’m home alone right now lol. Hopefully this feeling will pass soon and I will get back to my more humane self.

Ever Heard of Sexual Anorexia?

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Last night I was looking through book giveaways on Goodreads and happened to spot a book about “sexual anorexia”. I’ve studied psychology and mental health issues for years, but that was a phrase I had never come across before. Now curious, I had to Google it and found the subject rather interesting.

Apparently, just as anorexics starve themselves of food, a sexual anorexic starves themselves of sexual experiences. Some do so because of strict religious or moral beliefs, but the majority do so because of fear of intimacy and trust or a history of sexual abuse. There do seem to be some who seem to have OCD issues about sex as well, and avoid it due to a belief that it is repulsive or disgusting. This last category seems especially hard hit because they tend to beat themselves up or feel degraded for even having sexual urges in the first place.

Often the sexual anorexics that are afraid of intimacy and trust might still indulge in porn, masturbation, and such, but they avoid actual sexual encounters with others. They often choose to be celibate, but some do get into relationships and then find ways to avoid actually being sexual with their partners, which obviously can lead to major issues between couples. I found it interesting that there is also a category of “sexual bulimics” which are people who might go out and sleep around a lot all at once, but then will starve themselves of sex for a long while afterward.

I know this may seem like a weird subject for a blog post, especially when I don’t have personal stories or experiences to share, but I find stuff like this fascinating. The intricacies and oddities of the human mind never fail to amaze me.

Severe Nail Biting and OCD

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I am a nail biter. I have always been a nail biter from what I can remember. It isn’t just an occasional thing either, it is a constant habit that I can’t control. I bite my nails until they bleed or until the nail bed is exposed. Even then, even if it causes real pain, I continue to pick at them. I chew off the skin around the nails too, including the skin on my fingertips. The end of my fingers often look scraped raw.

Yesterday I just happened to come across something online that said that this particular behavior is actually considered a disorder, a sub classification of the OCD diagnosis. There is even a fancy name for severe nail biting (onychophagia). I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, since there are other similar grooming behaviors that can lapse into obsessive compulsions (such as skin picking, hair plucking, etc.) I do have many other OCD habits and am pretty sure I have been officially diagnosed with the disorder somewhere along the line, but since I have been diagnosed with so many things it can be easy to forget the specifics.

Perhaps the oddest thing about my severe nail biting is that I have absolutely no desire to stop. I never have. Others have wanted me to stop, but I never really cared. It feels good. It is a satisfying feeling to nip and nibble at my nails. It is an especially helpful distraction during times of great stress or fear. I have never cared much what my nails looked like or worried about what other people think of them. I do get a bit self-conscious sometimes if they are bleeding in public, but other than that, I simply don’t care.

Being Too Clingy and Possessive

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I can be a bit possessive, especially when in a close relationship. I’ve always been like that. Even as a kid I would get jealous sometimes if my friends had other friends or wanted to do stuff without me. I’m not sure why, but I am easily prone to feeling left out or threatened by outsiders. However, I know this dynamic isn’t exactly healthy and I am trying to learn to let go a bit and not be so demanding by monopolizing anyone, specifically my husband.

It may be my autism, since I have heard it is typical of autistics, but I don’t make close relationships easily. I usually only have one or two truly close relationships at a time, and I can definitely be guilty of being clingy or insecure about those relationships. For the past 16 years, my closest relationship has been my husband (as it should be), but my husband is a bit different from me in what he needs socially.

Socially I only need those one or two people, although it can be terrifying if those relationships are threatened, since it is so hard for me to connect with others and build closeness. My husband on the other hand seems to desire more social interaction and the chance of making more friendships than I do. He wants to feel a part of things more than I do, as I am more of a homebody.

So, I have been working at letting go some and not feeling resentful or frightened by him reaching out for other friendships. It is still hard sometimes and honestly there is still a big part of me that thinks he should need absolutely nothing else in life but being with me…but I know that isn’t realistic or healthy. Does anyone else out there struggle with issues like this?

Good Therapy Session Update, and Books for Emotional Healing

I had a really good therapy session today. We talked more about the symptoms I am currently experiencing which might be related to a mood disorder vs what might be related to PTSD and my past. On the mood disorder (or Bipolar) front, I think I have made some progress, especially when it comes to sleeping and making hasty decisions I later regret during hypomanic phases. Unfortunately, not much seems to help the depression side of it, whether it be cognitive therapy techniques or medicine.

As I told my therapist today, I feel like my personal “normal” emotional state starts at -1 (mildly to moderately depressed), so I only really have down to go from there if the depression worsens, which it often does. According to my mood charting so far, I have about the same number of mildly to moderately depressed days as I have moderately to severely depressed days. And then I have a day here or there where it goes even lower and those are the dangerously depressed days. It actually makes me feel a little better though to know some of it is probably the mood disorder and not just me “refusing to get well”, which I have sometimes accused myself of in the past. After all, if I really WANT to be well, why aren’t I yet? That is the way I used to think about it, but with a mood disorder it doesn’t work that way.

We also talked about the affirmations I have been doing, which I have actually been doing a good job of keeping up with! I even do some mirror work (where you say positive affirmations to yourself while looking into your eyes in the mirror). It really does help! Below I have attached a photo of two inspirational books I am currently reading regarding affirmations:

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The first, “The Body Heals Itself” by Emily A. Francis is a fascinating look at the emotional connection to our muscular system and chronic pain conditions. I know for sure that my physical problems DEFINITELY flare up when emotional issues surface, so there is no doubt a strong mind-body connection. The book includes research, affirmations, stretches, and other practical modalities to try for relief, each separated into specific sections about each body part. I am most interested in the back pain and foot pain sections myself, as I suffer greatly from chronic back pain and plantar fasciitis.

The second book is Jack Canfield’s “Success Affirmations”, which I haven’t been as impressed with, but am giving a chance. For me the affirmations in this book are a bit too long and drawn out. I tend to like simple and to-the-point things better overall.

Losing Blog Followers and Self-Doubt

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It is hard for me to be emotionally vulnerable about things that hurt my feelings or make me feel worthless, but my #1 goal with this blog is total honesty, so I’m going to share what I’m struggling with right now.

Yesterday I lost at least 5 blog followers. I gained 2 I believe, so the net loss was only 3 followers, but it still made me feel really bad. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was what I posted yesterday. Maybe it came across as too negative and whiny? I didn’t mean for it to, I was just trying to express my feelings at the moment. Sometimes maybe I can come across as a little too dramatic, but I believe that is part of the mood swings aspect of bipolar. I feel things so strongly and emotions can wildly dip and rise so quickly that it is hard to find a good sense of balance emotionally.

Of course, I tell myself that the unfollows might have nothing to do with yesterday’s post, but then that leads me to think I just must be generally boring and annoying to others. I know that is probably just my lousy self-esteem talking, but it is a genuine feeling none-the-less.

I’m not sharing this in hopes of obtaining pity or sympathy, but more to just show the inner workings of my mind and how little things can affect me so much more than they should. Does anyone else relate to this? Are there any other bloggers out there that feel really bad when they lose a few followers all at once?