10 Ways to Battle Nightmares

Baby in pajamas

“Those with the greatest awareness have the greatest nightmares.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Each night fills me with terror. Sleeping, which so many people seem to love, is one of my least favorite activities. Not only does it feel like a waste of time, it also brings awful nightmares.

Perhaps I am the villain one night, killing millions of people until everything around me is red. The next evening, a friend or coworker is kidnapping me. Almost worst are the nights when people tell me how they truly feel, how much they really hate me. Sometimes that is the hardest to hear.

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Top Ten Signs You Are Burned-Out

On the plane home from Oxford

Returning from Oxford, I was tired but not burned-out.

Working without breaks six days in a row before returning to college really drained me. I have tried to pretend that everything is fine and I can take on any task thrown at me. However, the reality is I feel like I am beginning to break down because of my workload and busy schedule.

Being overextended is part of the lives of millions. Our society convinces us that rushing from one thing to another is normal. Yet, that is not healthy. Look at the people who are constantly bustling from place to place without reflecting on where they have been or what they have seen. Do they seem more at peace or happy? Probably not. Then why do we try to force ourselves to mimic their lifestyles?

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Top Ten Ways to Create Safe Place When Feeling Suicidal

Sitting on the plane

On the plane to get home

My thoughts began to spin out of control this evening into a dark place. A long day at work, frustration with scheduled hours, hurt over words from a guy, and cancelling of play rehearsal all added up to making my anxiety peek. Then my mother could not talk at the moment. Suddenly, I felt lost with voices screaming in my head.

After all this time and therapy, the urge to commit suicide still remains so difficult to fight.

Tonight was worse than it has been in a long time. For a few moments, I felt lost and stuck. There was no one that I could turn to for help. Even those who would have listened patiently and tried to help seemed impossible to reach. I did not want to talk to just anyone; I wanted someone in particular. Other than my mother, no one seemed like a good option to open up to for guidance and support.

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Top Ten Ways to Adjust to New Medication

Many people who have struggled with health know the roller coaster ride of finding the right medication. Sleepiness, not knowing what dose is right for you, weight gain, decreased attention span, having to wait several weeks to see if your new prescription works – these are just a few of the challenges faced when trying a new medication or altering an old one. Sometimes, it does not even seem worth the effort, but finding the right one can be life-saving.

Flower heart

A flower heart that I left on the grave of J.R.R. Tolkien

Last night, I forgot to take my evening medication. At 1:30 AM, my brain was still racing which altered me to the fact that something was wrong. Seroquel, one of my pills, makes you extremely sleepy and helps me to make it through the night restfully along with calming my intrusive thoughts. Taking it late was not a big issue – until this morning. At 8:30, I awakened with my head throbbing as if someone had hit me with a sledgehammer. Maybe this is what it feels like to be hungover, thought my naive brain once it adjusted to the pain. All morning was a struggle to simply function. Walking, talking, and typing seemed like laborious tasks.

The reason that I bring this up is because it reminded me of adjusting to new medication. That process can be simple or painful and aggravating. Often, I wish that someone would have given coping skills and helpful tips to me. Sure, doctors explain all of the potential side effects or dangers. However, that is not the same as someone sitting down and comforting you through the uncomfortable journey.

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Ten Tips to Dealing with Inner Pain

Coping Skill. 19: Grieving Honestly

You don’t go around grieving all the time, but the grief is still there and always will be.
Nigella Lawson

Today the speaker at my university spoke to the women on campus about how we fear expressing inner pain. Normally, women sessions focus on modesty, so hearing another topic was so refreshing. Plus this issue is one that I struggle with ever day.

Pain is a huge part of everyone’s life. Being human means that you will experience physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional hurt. Some of these troubles are easier to talk about than others. For example, people generally can open up about a broken leg or bruised elbow. However, having vivid flashbacks after abuse or feeling worthless after a break-up are hard to be honest about usually.

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Ten Tips for Eating in Public

Mario eating food

Tips to eating in public

One of my biggest fears is eating in public.  People often scoff at this anxiety, but it continues to haunt me.  What will others think about my weight?  Will they judge my food intake?  How are they talking about me and my meal to others?

When I voice these fears, friends attempt to calm them with reassurances.  “No one judges you,” they claim while I see a girl eying another’s dress.  “But you are so skinny!” They lament but quickly grip about their own weight.  The contradictions confuse me even more.  Why is it that food, weight, and appearance hold so much power over us?

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Ten Tips to Saying No

Throughout my years of treatment, many men and women have expressed fear of telling others “no.”  This common theme for people struggling with perfectionism, depression, eating disorders, and other mental illness has also been a struggle for me.   Only slow steps toward self-care and self-respect have helped me to begin conquering this fear.

In previous posts, I have blogged about my anxiety when telling others “no.”  Although this post addressed my struggle, it did not give too many helpful tips that I have learned to counter this impulse.  So, I decided to make a list today of ten tips that I use when I need to say “no” to someone.

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Ten Tips to Dealing with Nightmares

Baby in pajamas Going to sleep is a struggle for me. Not only does my mind have difficulty settling down, I also deal with nightmares.  Recently I have begun a medicine to help with these terrifying dreams.  Since then, my nights have been better.  Still, overwhelming darkness creeps into many of my dreams.

However, there is hope if you struggle with this as well.  Although it might seem point less, relief from nightmares is possible.  Will they still occur?  Yes, but there are practical way to combat these frightening images.  I am going to share ten tips that I have used of the years to help me.  Hopefully you will find several that might work for you.

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Ten Tips to Silencing Perfectionism

Ten Tips to Silencing Perfectionism

No one is truly perfect.

In a therapy group that I attended on perfectionism, the therapist said an interesting thing.  “The opposite of perfectionism is not failure but excellence.”

According to her, perfectionism actually holds you back from performing at your best.  Now, you might not agree with this exact quote but I hope that you can see where trying to be perfect leads to misery and failure.  When I stress over something for hours, it takes longer and drains me of joy.

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Ten Tips to Small Talk

Ten Tips to Small Talk

On our dinner cruise years ago

Last night, my family and numerous other people set sail on a lovely dinner cruise.  The annual fundraiser for the non-profit my dad runs, this evening was filled with food, strangers, and small talk.  What most would view as a relaxing evening was a night of high anxiety and dread for me.  Although I refused to eat in front of strangers and hid away part of the trip, overall I had a victory simply boarding the boat and attending the event.

Small talk terrifies me more than almost anything else.  Ask me a question about literature and I will drone on for hours.  Compliment one of my siblings and I can reminisce dozens of old stories.  Even come to me with a deep dark problem or moral question and I will enjoy a meaningful discussion.  But when attending parties or meeting new people, I am at a loss for words.  Is it still proper to talk about the weather or is that a topic of past eras?  Should I ask multiple questions to get to know someone or is that prying into their life?  How much eye contact am I supposed to make without staring them down?  So many unanswered questions race around in my head.

Worse yet, everyone seems to know how to behave except for me.  Feeling lonely and discouraged, I just want to skip each social event and hide under a blanket in my room.  However, that also is a miserable way to spend one’s whole life.  Thus, I have made up a list of ways to do small talk effectively.

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