What To Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One with Anxiety or Depression? Part 1

What do you do when it’s a friend or a loved one that has anxiety or depression?

Strong relationships can go a long way toward improving the outlook and emotional well-being when they live with mental health conditions.

Friends and family can:

  • listen with compassion when they need to talk
  • provide encouragement and emotional support
  • join them in hobbies or activities that offer a positive distraction
  • offer rides, grocery runs, and other more tangible forms of support when they have trouble getting things done

Simply knowing they have someone they trust in their life can often help them feel less alone, whether they actually want to talk about your symptoms or not.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/depression-and-anxiety#coping-tips

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Tearing Down Paradigms

Me: Why does this have to be so hard?

God: Because walls don’t come down easily. It takes demolition.

Me: I don’t like this.

God: I know. But, it’s for your good.

That did not make me feel much better. Knowing something is for my good but, the huge challenge of not just shifting thoughts but, tearing down fixed thoughts. Breakthroughs are BREAK-THROUGHS and they come by breaking something. This mental war to remove a fear is a battle I haven’t fought in a long time. I am not sure if I have ever been through something like this and if I have, I can’t remember. So, how do I deal with this thing? This…huge fear about a particular thing. This fixed array of thoughts?

I’m not quite ready to face it but, I know I have to. In the meantime, I am trying to understand the root of this fear and how to control my thoughts and tear down thoughts at the same time. In my research, this came about, “THOUGHTS ARE DIFFICULT TO CONTROL BUT, NOT IMPOSSIBLE”. The NOT IMPOSSIBLE part gave me hope and it’s continuing to give me the strength to keep up the “good fight”. Think about it, so many things we do or have done are difficult but we do them!

I got that from Swami Makundananda along with these things:

  • It requires EFFORT
  • It requires PRACTICE. Effort and Practice.
  • It requires DETACHMENT. Effort and Detachment

And this will lead to success.

I am trying and it is a very difficult challenge that has come at a time when I wish it had not. Yet, here I am in the middle of it. If you believe in prayer, send up some for me. If you believe in love and light send that, too. Continuously. Overcoming this paradigm is draining and I am just beginning to uproot it through understanding. Not to mention, my attitude is “I don’t like this!” and I am trying to conform to “acceptance” because I know accepting it will make it easier.

~Nikki

Mental Health: What Helps Me

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One of the major keys to dealing with anxiety and depression is to get ahold of it before it spirals out of control. But exactly how is that done? Also, having a plan for when it does spiral out of control is necessary to expedite your recovery to mental and emotional stability. Therapy, scriptures, and affirmations are three major tools that have helped me. Also, having someone you trust when you can’t talk to your therapist and having a SOURCE, which I call God/Creator/Divine/Source when you have no one to talk to is major. For me, Source is always available but, I know there are things I can do on my own to help myself. And this is encouraged by Source.

I think you should really get to know who you are and how things affect you. The only way to do that is to be totally honest with yourself. I am sensitive as I found most creative people are. It allows us to channel our emotions into what we are creating. I have a tendency to take things more personally, overthink, and overanalyze. I have learned how to back out of those things and become an observer for the most part. I also know that it takes me time to move past things. Over the years it has become easier to move past things. I think that comes with wisdom and not age.

Here are some of the things I do to help me to get ahold of anxiety and depression:

I acknowledge what I am feeling and then I ask myself why I am feeling it. What happened? Who said it? Consider the source from which it came from and are they credible? No one is more credible than God for me. If it’s coming from a person I don’t know, a person that is negative, a person that doesn’t like me, why would I feed into their opinion? Exactly. Unless, deep down inside I feel that way about myself and I am honest if I do! If they say, “You are ugly” and lately I have been ripping myself apart I’m going to feel bad. BUT YOU have the power to change what you feel by changing what you think and speak.

I use affirmations for anxiety and depression. If I feel afraid to sleep, I say to myself over and over, I am safe in my body. I am safe in my home.

I use scripture pertaining to whatever I am feeling or scriptures to contrary. If I feel weak, I say I am strong. If I feel afraid, I say God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power and love.

I pray.

I say, “Oh. I am feeling some anxiety today. I can fold my clothes. I can do some work as I work through this. I can do some exercise.”

If I have persistent thoughts or episodes, I make an appointment with my therapist (currently searching for a new one).

I talk to a friend I trust.

I cry. Crying is a release.

I pamper myself. I take hot showers. I oil and lotion up. I give myself a pedi/mani or go get one. I soak in a lavender Epsom salt and pink Himalayan salt mix. I schedule a massage session.

I go to my bathroom and read my yearly marching orders or my affirmations to reset my brain.

Now, what about when anxiety is CODE RED or depression is CODE BLUE!

My plan is to shut things down for a day or two this can include social media and putting phone calls on hold.

I call my therapist.

I rely on all the things above.

I immerse myself in Netflix, a blanket, and the couch.

I allow myself to sleep.

I lose myself in a hobby.

BUT the maximum I give myself is TWO DAYS and then I MUST come out of it. Anything longer than that can set me up for darker and deeper holes that are difficult and require help to come out of. I come out of it by pushing, forcing, and dragging myself to get back to a routine. A little at a time. And during this time, I make sure personal hygiene stays on top. If you don’t wash your face, brush your teeth, change clothes, shower, YOU WILL FEEL EVEN MORE LIKE CRAP. People tend to let themselves go in bouts of anxiety and deep dark times of depression.

During this time, I stay hydrated. I do allow myself some treats but I also make sure I eat as healthily as possible. Too much sugar or salt will make you feel worse. I add one of those packs of Vitamin C to my water. I sit on the porch. I go for a walk. I do 10 minutes of yoga if I don’t feel like doing 30. I do tai chi because it is slow movement. I may just stretch every two hours.

I hope this helps someone. Recently in Memphis, this week, we went through so many tragedies many of us are feeling things we can’t explain and some of us know exactly what we are feeling.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Understanding Anger Triggers

It all started with a text at 4 am that woke me up. It really could have waited until after 7am because it was not urgent. I could have waited to get up to do what they were asking me to do but, since they had already woken me up…I got up. There was a problem with the site I was on. Then I realized after a frantic search my license was missing. Magically, the site fixed itself and I was able to do what the person was asking me to do. Now, back to the license, I tried to enter my number and it just would not take it. I texted my friend at a decent hour because I knew they were up and they knew about the DMV and he asked me if I had 0 in front of the number. I tried that and it worked.

During this small window I was ANGRY. I was beyond ANGRY. I was unnecessarily ANGRY. You get the picture. After two meditations and half an affirmation, I began to calm down but, because I am analytical, I wondered WHY was I SO ANGRY. I should have been irritated perhaps but not ANGRY. Frustrated, yes. ANGRY no. And what exactly was I really angry about? Therapy has helped me to get this far in understanding my emotions and actions but, at this moment I am in search of a new therapist because mine retired. So….WHY? What’s the real trigger?

It wasn’t the text. It wasn’t the site. It was the loss of my license but, why? I can get another one even if I have to go there physically. It was finances, also. It cost me to do what the person asked me to do and I felt irresponsible for losing my license. Here is what you have to understand, the trigger is anxiety that surrounds finances that started when I became really ill and lost all of my savings. I was struggling going through the disability process. The irresponsible feeling really is from a feeling of YOU ARE ALWAYS GETTING IT WRONG OR CAN’T GET IT RIGHT that comes from childhood. You’re creating a problem and you are a problem because you create problems and this time with your “irresponsibility”.

No matter what it is, it is my fault. Getting sick and having a disease, my fault. Having anxiety around money because I could no longer work for 3 years and struggled, it is my fault. These thoughts are not reality. These things were out of my control. Although I AM responsible for managing my finances and keeping up with my license or important documents, I do not have to feel the huge weight of “fault”. We all misplace things. I am not the only person to have some unexpected expense or expected expense that impacted my finances. And that feeling of FAULT really is derived from GUILT. The guilt of not having it all together since my illness. And once again, why don’t you have it all together by now? You’re a problem.

But it also comes from me in the present having an overwhelming schedule of things to do and it’s not all related to the past. The feeling of I don’t need anything else on my plate! The inconvenience of it all. The waking me up, the site not running smoothly, the problem with the DMV site first thing in the morning sent me into ANGER.

So, as you can see, it’s complex! You can see where you may need some professional help to not only understand it but to create an effective plan to help you to put things in perspective and when you do that, you can learn to adjust your emotions and have the appropriate feelings. GOOD therapists are a gift to this troubled world. It’s four hours later and I am using my skills learned in therapy to put things into perspective and change my emotions. I am almost at a good place. There was a time when something like what happened this morning would have taken me all day or days to get over.

I am telling myself, “It was irritating getting that text. It broke my sleep and sleep doesn’t come easy for me. I was irritated. It was frustrating because the site was slow and logging me out. It was frustrating when I couldn’t enter my license to get a new one. I felt overwhelmed because I have quite a bit on my plate. I felt anxious about money coming out of my account.” I can see it now. I can understand it now. I don’t have to be angry but I can be these other things and I can let it go.

~Nikki

Protecting Your Peace of Mind through Journaling and Therapy

It’s funny that I am typing this right before bed and I have my journal out because I need to write in it tonight. I am also starting a new journal practice called Morning Journaling. It’s when you write whatever comes to mind in the morning. This can show you so much of what you are thinking about first thing in the morning. It could be something silly or it could be something heavy. Knowing this can help you navigate your day.

Journaling helps get what’s in your head and heart onto paper. Once it’s onto paper, it aids in relief of whatever you are feeling. It helps you to see things more clearly. It can help you process emotions and be an indicator of inappropriate thoughts and feelings. You can also audio journal by using your recorder on your phone. Once it’s recorded you can play it back and hear what you are thinking and process what you are thinking. It’s up to you to keep it or erase it.

I think journaling helps our peace of mind. Especially, when you have so much on your mind. Clearing your mind is a huge help in fostering peace of mind. Sometimes before bed I am overwhelmed or anxious thinking about what I need to do the next day. Writing a list before bed helps me to worry less. If it pops in my head, I tell myself, “You wrote that down. Relax.”

Therapy helps protect our peace of mind. Yes, it does because therapy helps us to see patterns, interrupt those patterns, and even assist us in developing new patterns of thinking. Therapy can help us see where our thinking goes off the rails and help us to understand why and how to keep it on track. It can help us to make connections with how we think and our past or present, family environment, or if it’s based on trauma. I know this from personal experience and I am a huge supporter of therapy. Your mental health matters.

~Nikki

Mental Health and Healthy Eating for a PEACE OF MIND

I have to admit that when I have too much sugar in my diet, I feel terrible. When I don’t eat enough carbs, I feel terrible. When my insulin level rises, I can’t think straight and when it is too low, I can’t think straight. I feel grouchy. Whether you are diabetic or not, the body needs balance. A fatty, sugary diet doesn’t help your body or your mind. A diet lacking in nutrition or protein doesn’t help your body, brain, organs or mind.

What we eat doesn’t just affect our physical health: it can also affect our mental health and wellbeing. Eating well – which means having a balanced diet full of vegetables and nutrients – can improve your sense of wellbeing and your mood. -mentalhealth.org/uk

When you stick to a diet of healthy food, you’re setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus, Dr. Cora says. Studies have even found that healthy diets can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. -aetna.com

When I am in a depressive state or dealing with exhaustion, water helps me tremendously. What I take into my physical body helps me tremendously. I am tempted to eat sugary foods and salty foods. More so salty when I am feeling anxious and sweet when I am feeling depressed. These types of foods only bring me a temporary feeling of satisfaction. Below is an explanation from aetna.com

Here’s how it works: Your GI tract is home to billions of bacteria that influence the production of neurotransmitters, chemical substances that constantly carry messages from the gut to the brain. (Dopamine and serotonin are two common examples.)

Eating healthy food promotes the growth of “good” bacteria, which in turn positively affects neurotransmitter production. A steady diet of junk food, on the other hand, can cause inflammation that hampers production. When neurotransmitter production is in good shape, your brain receives these positive messages loud and clear, and your emotions reflect it. But when production goes awry, so might your mood.

Sugar, in particular, is considered a major culprit of inflammation, plus it feeds “bad” bacteria in the GI tract. Ironically, it can also cause a temporary spike in “feel good” neurotransmitters, like dopamine. That isn’t good for you either, says Rachel Brown, co-founder of The Wellness Project, a consultancy that works with corporations to promote good health among employees. The result is a fleeting sugar rush that is followed shortly thereafter by a crash “that’s terrible for your mood,” she says.

When you stick to a diet of healthy food, you’re setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus, Dr. Cora says. Studies have even found that healthy diets can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Unhealthy diets have been linked to an increased risk of dementia or stroke.

To read more and to be better informed so that you can make better choices, here is the link https://www.aetna.com/health-guide/food-affects-mental-health.html

~Nikki

Mind Body Exercise Connection

As soon as confusion or anger arises your mind becomes cloudy. When you FEEL frustration and disappointment, you have trouble thinking or concentrating. There is no escaping the fact that there is a mind and body connection. Exercise can help you to CLEAR your mind and when you have a CLEAR mind you have clarity. You can think straight. You can gather the correct response and you can receive solutions to your issues. So, literally take a hike!

How does it work?

Part of the reason exercise enhances cognition has to do with blood flow. Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better. – scientificamerican.com

Exercise can help provide: Sharper memory and thinking. The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline. -helpguide.org

Before you “pop off” or go off go for a walk. Do some yoga. Pump some iron. Go for a swim. Jog. Wog (walk and jog combo). Taekwondo. Zumba. Go to kick boxing class. You get the picture ❤

~Nikki

Scriptures for Peace of Mind

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Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 14:2

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. John 16:33

They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:16

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Affirmations for Peace of Mind

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I am enough.

I am surrounded by peace.

Peace within and peace without.

I am safe in my body. I am safe in my home.

I choose calmness.

I release hurt and resentment.

I release stress and anxiety.

Peace and love are all around me.

I welcome miracles into my life.

I welcome joy and happiness into my life.

I welcome solutions into my life.

I set boundaries for peace of mind.

I make healthy choices for my body which helps my peace of mind.

Everything works out for my higher good.

I have a peace that surpasses all understanding.

I bring peace, calmness, and positivity wherever I go.

I attract calm and loving people into my life.

I create a life based on calm and love.

I make choices and decisions based on calm, love, and joy.

I am grateful to Source for showering me with love, peace, calm, and joy.

I am thankful.

I express deep gratitude for all that I have survived as I now thrive into greatness.

I choose to heal so that I may experience peace.

I choose to forgive that I may experience peace.

I am enough. Right here and right now.

I choose peace.

~Nikki