Controlled habits

Today I was drawing out in public, and as I was working on the face of my portrait, someone walked behind me. As quickly as I could, I hugged my sketchpad to my chest to block their view. I was to late though, but the guy that walked by stopped and told me I was doing a good job. It was nice to hear but I hated the picture, I could find a million and one flaws. I realized then that I criticize everything I do, even if it looks pretty good to everyone else. I put so much pressure on myself and have such unrealistic expectations that it’s hard to ever like or be proud of anything I do.

After thinking about it for a while, I think I use it as a coping skill to feel in control. I have felt out of control sometimes, like I couldn’t control my brother’s outbursts or how many times he would end up in the hospital. I also couldn’t help what other people thought of me or thought of what I’ve done but I could control what I think of me and what I’ve done. Sometimes it was just easier to criticize myself because then, no matter what others said, they couldn’t hurt me because I already told myself everything they could use to insult me. I realized though, that criticizing myself and never being happy with what I’ve done isn’t healthy.

I have seen different forms of the same issue in my friends. For instance, eating disorders, because with eating disorders you control how much food goes into your body. It may not seem like much to control but when you feel like your life is really out of control, anything you can control is important. I can easily say from experience dealing with those issues and watching them happen to people I care about, that if you can avoid having those issues by telling someone, tell them.

I think that sometimes what you really need is to know someone understands you without judgement. I am lucky to have friends that I know won’t ¬†judge me and who have always boosted my self-esteem. I know it’s really hard to trust someone with something that scares you but it feels great when they tell you they understand. Even if they haven’t been through what you have, chances are that they have had to deal with issues somewhat like yours. Honestly, even if they haven’t been through what you have at least they would be there to support you, and that still makes things much easier. ¬†Sometimes it seems crazy but you probably do know someone going through the same thing but they hide it too.

For most issues, therapy really helps and it doesn’t just have to be talk therapy either. Depending on how severe, you might need more help than therapy can give alone but if you add therapy to other treatment, it could still be helpful. Also, using a healthy coping skill, especially when something or someone is triggering you should help to keep you from resorting to your old habits. If you know a friend or someone who is having difficulty and your not sure how to help, let them know you are there and that if they ever need to talk, they can come to you without worrying about being judged. If you think they are doing something really destructive then it would a good idea to tell someone like your parent(s).

I hope this helped and if you have any questions, I would love to answer them. Thanks!!

~~Noelle

 

Social anxiety

I have never really known why I was uncomfortable having sleep overs even with people I’ve known for a really long time. I always tried to make myself invisible because I was really nervous about people thinking I was weird. I also worried about making a fool of myself and everyone laughing at me, I took care of this problem by just not talking. I felt like I didn’t belong with most people in my classes, not because it was true but because I was so scared I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t go up to anyone and talk to them and as ridiculous as people said that was, I just couldn’t do it. Honestly, I’m still like that but I’ve gotten better. What helped and still helps me is being surrounded by outgoing friends who constantly encourage me. They also included me in everything even if I stood off to the side trying to be invisible. If you want to help someone who has social anxiety, just try to include them. Another good thing to do is walk over and invite them to do something but if they truly don’t want to do it, let them be and maybe try again later.

It’s totally normal to be nervous at times or self conscious once in awhile but social anxiety interferes with daily life. I would also worry about things a week ahead of time and when I thought about what scared me that I was going to have to do, I would shake uncontrollably. I could barely talk, I would get really hot all of a sudden and my heart would start racing. I would try so hard to stop but I couldn’t. It was easier when people just came up to me and talked to me normally even though I trembled sometimes because I was nervous and couldn’t make it stop.

If you do suffer from social anxiety, you are not alone at all, many people struggle with it but sometimes it’s just hard to see it in others. Click here if you want to read more on social anxiety. Therapy is always a good option, if you are looking for help. I hope this was helpful.

~~Noelle

Dealing with depression

I have siblings with mental illnesses and for me it has caused some issues and my life has been difficult most of the time. I want to help others who deal with depression or who know people who struggle with it. I don’t think many people understand how hard dealing with depression really is. Depression is hard for people to understand if they don’t struggle with it, and that’s okay. If you are telling someone with depression to just be happy though, it’s not helpful. Depression isn’t something you can control, you can’t wake up and decide today I’ll be happy, it’s just not that simple. Sometimes the people struggling with depression don’t even quite understand why they feel the way they do, and other times they can’t express it either. I didn’t know why I felt the way I did. It was hard for me to be happy and most of the time I pretended to be happy and it wasn’t healthy, I wish I had told my mom sooner because now that I take medication I feel great!

The thing about depression is that it can be managed without medication too. Medication should also not be the first step you take, it’s really only if therapy and other options don’t work for you, but medication isn’t a bad thing at all. If you have a sibling struggling with depression it would be more helpful if you knew what it feels like to struggle with it. People might have different experiences with depression, but for me I had many different feelings. I felt overwhelmed constantly over the smallest things, I had trouble doing the simplest tasks because I had no will to do them, I always felt like I was out of energy and couldn’t focus on anything. I was frustrated all the time and sometimes I took it out on my siblings for no reason and as hard as it is to extend compassion and patience to someone who takes out things on you, it’s good to do try.

You have to make sure though that you don’t let them just take out whatever anger or frustration they hold on you all the time. For people who deal with depression, sometimes the best thing to do is ask someone you trust to talk and tell them what’s going on. It makes it easier on them and you because you won’t have to carry the burden all by yourself. If you aren’t able to tell someone because you aren’t ready one thing to do is either listen to some music and relax, paint or draw, or just take a little while and go somewhere quite to just relax and calm down. Though it may be easy to isolate or distance yourself from others, it isn’t something you should do often.

The best thing to do is remember that you have people around you that care, they are there to support and help you. It’s good to be reminded of that, you aren’t alone and you don’t have to go through this and hope it will go away. There are good therapists that would love to be of any help possible.

~~Noelle