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Mental Health Awareness, Mentally and Physically Abuse

Mental Health Awareness by Muddled Up Mummy

Today (10th of October 2015) is World Mental Health Day. So to do my part in trying to create and spread awareness I want to share with you my story. I am the person behind ‘Muddled up Mummy‘ and I call it ‘Behind the Smile.’

Please feel free to ‘share’ this to help create more awareness on Mental Health.

By the way, it’s long but very much worth the read. If you don’t have time to read it now, please save it for later.

Behind the Smile:
Mental Health AwarenessFor those of you that have met me, I’m sure you’d probably say I seem like a really happy go lucky kind of person. For those of you who haven’t met me, I’m sure you’d probably say similar. After all, I am a very optimistic and a positive type of person. You can probably tell this from my posts on Muddled up Mummy. But there is more to me than meets the eye. Behind the smile, there is a whole other person. A person who has been through more than most people you know. So let me introduce to you the real me.

I was born in Perth WA Australia in 1984. I was born into what seemed like the perfect little family. To onlookers, it would have been. Behind closed doors, though, it was far from that. At first things seemed good. Well for a bit they were. Then my brother was born and soon things turned really sour in our perfect little family scenario.

First it started with my Mother. She was mentally and physically abused by the person who was supposed to love her. After a couple of years, my father kidnapped my brother and I and fled to the capital of Australia, Canberra.

My mother soon followed, but he wouldn’t let her see us. She was devastated, and the fact that she already suffered from poor mental health didn’t help. As time went on my father got worse. He was hurting everyone, even his own kids.
Once he put me in hospital in the Intensive Care Unit, fighting for my life. What he did to me is a bit too much to share, though, but so you all know it wasn’t pretty, and I was only 4.
Another day he was sick of me and put me in the car boot while he was driving.
My brother and I were living in fear. Every mistake we made suffered costly consequences at the hands of our so-called father.
This went on for quite some time until authorities finally stepped in, and we were saved and went to live in foster care.

We soon started seeing our mother, and that eventually became every Saturday. She was the most beautiful soul, and I knew this already at such a young age. It was sad for us though as she suffered from Bipolar disorder and really couldn’t take care of us full time. So, when we did see her we really looked forward to it. We adored her so much. In my eyes, she was perfect and could do no wrong.

At the time though we didn’t even know she wasn’t well mentally. Then one day just before I turned 11 she passed away from a burst an aneurysm in the brain. I felt an angel had been taken from the earth. I was so sad. Yes, even angry.

God had taken one of the most beautiful souls on earth, and it had to be my mother.

I took this out on my foster mum because, in my eyes, she would never be, or could replace MY MUM.

I was really down for many years. I was never the same after my mother died.
As I got older, I started to date. I was in 3 serious relationships over a period of eight years. Two of them were disasters. The other wasn’t that great either – full of violence and mental abuse, name calling, control, alcoholism and cheating.

These were just some of things I had to endure. After I finally got free from this vicious dating spiral, I realized I‘d been dating versions of my dad and lost a lot of trust in people.

After years of torment, I developed a mental illness. Although doctors believe now, I had problems with my mental health from a young age as I would always struggle. But, after my entire trauma from both my childhood and from adulthood, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.)

I tried to take my life many times and was in the hospital a lot. Slowly though I started to understand it was trauma from my past catching up with me and invading my life like a virus I couldn’t shake.

With a lot of support, I got my life back on track. It took a lot of strength and plenty of counseling, but I got there. But, this wasn’t the end of my struggles. It turns out I had Bipolar.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder a couple of years ago but, they say it’s been around for awhile and just wasn’t being treated.

I hated getting this label. It made me feel like I must be some kind of crazy. But, you know what; it really doesn’t make me crazy at all. I can’t help that I have this. They say it was probably passed down to me because both my parents had it.

But each day after finding out I would wake up, realize I have this label, and it would get me down. So one day I decided to ditch the label. I decided I am who I am, and not the label I’d been given.

So this is me.
I’m intelligent and witty.
I’m not bipolar.
I have a positive outlook on life even if I have some really down days.
I’m not bipolar.
I can actually be pretty funny.
I’m not bipolar.
I’m good looking.
I’m not bipolar.
I’m an amazing mother.
I’m not bipolar.
I’m a great friend, partner, sister, daughter and aunt.
I’m not bipolar.
I am me.
I’m not bipolar.

So, although I have this label that I don’t really like, I try not to focus on it. I focus on all the other things that make me myself. I take my meds and get on with it. But, I do have days that are really fucking hard. I have anxiety attacks at times. Some days I don’t really feel like talking to anyone. But amongst all this I’ve decided Bipolarity doesn’t define me. It doesn’t make me a freak. It’s just something I’ve been dealt, and I’ve learned to be OK with that. So OK with it, that I’m now sharing this.

Most of my family and friends don’t even know I have this illness. This fact will probably even surprise some of them. I used to be so ashamed because of the stigma behind Mental Health that I didn’t want anybody to know, but not anymore.

There needs to be more awareness about mental health, and this is my part in spreading it.

There will probably be a few of you that will dislike my page because I’ve shared this. But my hope is most of you will ‘Share’ this post and help spread the awareness.

Mental Illness doesn’t define a person. But you still need to be aware it’s there. It’s a struggle, and if you think those with it can just suck it up and learn to be happy. They can’t. It doesn’t work like that. So please share my story as awareness is a key to removing the stigma and being more open about the struggles that some people face.

Also thanks so much for taking the time to read this.

Now click ‘SHARE’, and also make a note of yourself that you actually don’t know someone and their struggles unless they are open about it. So spread some awareness so more people feel they can open up. Also, try to be more understanding when they do, because if we can all do this it just might save a life.

Also here is a link to a short film I made a couple of years ago about my life.

Feel free to check it out at http://youtu.be/rZFmo6pWq7c

To follow more of my journey, come over and ‘like’ my page. I am a first time Mummy sharing the good, the bad and the totally muddled up world of parenting. I also share a whole lot of inspiration & some humor as well. So why not come over and check out Muddled Up Mummy and if you like what you see, how about giving us a ‘like.’

Anxiety and Sleep

Hard to live with anxiety without a healthy sleep pattern

Among the many things that can cause insomnia, anxiety is the number one culprit. No matter how tired your mind and body may feel, when the house gets quiet, and you get still, your mind will go into overdrive — with worry — if you are suffering from anxiety.

This scenario happens because there is nothing else to occupy our minds. During the day, we have tasks and activities that keep our minds engaged and away from the worry in many cases. Anxiety and SleepBut at night, when all gets quiet, our minds are free to focus on other worries.

Your first instinct may be to ask your doctor for sleeping pills, and there are many good sleeping pills available on the market that are mild enough to help you sleep, but gentle enough that you don’t feel drugged the next morning. The newer sleeping pills are even nonaddictive, making them great to use for temporary insomnia or long-term insomnia.

However, there are a couple of things that you can try before you turn to chemical help as well. Taking a hot bath before bedtime helps many people. Beware, however, that for some people, taking a hot bath only serves further to energize the mind and body. As with other things in life, this has a different effect on different people.

You can learn some deep breathing exercises that you can practice when you lie down in bed at night. With deep breathing exercises, your mind will be focused on the breathing, and not have any room to focus on worries. The breathing will make it easier to fall asleep.

You should also have a regular bedtime and a regular wake up time. Try not to stay up past the bedtime that you have set for yourself, and don’t sleep past your usual wake up time. If you do, this will put your body on a schedule, and even if your mind is worried, your body has a better chance of taking over and stick to its plan.

Finally, make some gentle noise. Turn the fan on. It doesn’t have to be blowing on you — it is a soft noise from the fan that you need. When you lay down, focus your attention on the hum of the fan. You can also try “boring” yourself to sleep with a book. The book should be boring. The process of reading will occupy your mind, but the boring book will have your eyes closing before you know it.

Deep breathing exercises can help you to fall asleep.

A healthy sleep pattern can help against anxiety attacks

Panic Attacks and Anxiety

Suffering from anxiety disorder and have panic attacks?

Do you have anxiety?
Are you constantly worried?

We all probably know that anxiety is a normal part of life.  That horrible feeling of anxiousness is something that can happen to all of us from time to time — and with good reason. However, many people suffer from anxiety without any valid reason — regardless of how correct the reason for the anxiety seems to them.

Anxiety can cause a host of other mental health problems.
Child AnxietyFirst, when the brain is stressed, the body’s immune system fails to function properly. Things like this leads to illnesses. Second, anxiety can prevent one from living life to the fullest. And, finally, stress can lead to full-blown anxiety attacks, otherwise known as panic attacks.

A panic attack might feel like a heart attack. In fact, when one suffers their first panic attack, this is what they think that it is, in most cases. They will usually seek out medical emergency services. A lot of the symptoms are often the same as a heart attack. The person may feel chest pains, have trouble catching their breath, become dizzy, feel nauseous, and also feel completely out of control.

AnxiousLuckily, you won’t die from a panic attack — even though you can’t be convinced of that when it is happening. Even better news is that panic attacks can be prevented. Medication can be prescribed, relaxation techniques can be used, and counseling, in the form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be sought.

Your doctor will most likely prescribe an antidepressant for your anxiety. However, antidepressants take about three weeks to become effective, and during this time, you may discover that you are more anxious than you were before. Panic attacks may become more severe during this time.

For reasons mentioned, your doctor may also prescribe a benzodiazepine. The benzodiazepine will effectively take care of the anxious feelings, and help to prevent panic attacks. However, this is not a safe long-term drug, as antidepressants are. Therefore, after about three weeks, your doctor will most likely discontinue the benzodiazepine, and continue with the antidepressant. Naturally, CBT will also be recommended.

Panic attacks are very real — and very scary. If you suffer from panic attacks, know that there is treatment out there, and with that treatment, you can avoid future panic attacks.

Stress and Anxiety – Is There Any Relationship? (Free PDF)

Panic attacks and anxiety disorder sufferers

Stress and Anxiety Defined

Find a good strategy to reduce the negative effects of stress.

Ever since the term was first coined in 1936, there’s been an ongoing debate about the definition of stress.

Being such an ambiguous concept, people think that stress isn’t real. But the truth is that as common as stress is, it can have serious effects to your health if left unmanaged.

Even though we all know what stress is, it’s hard to perceive it as something damaging because it’s so intangible, and the effects of stress vary from person to person. This is another aspect that interferes with its being defined in the same way by different people.

Hans Selye - About StressWhen Hans Selye invented the term “stress” in 1936, he defined it as “the nonspecific response of the organism to any pressure or demand.” Later on, as he progressed in his studies and he modified the definition to: “The rate of wear and tear on the body.”

While these are very general definitions, they are very accurate in describing how it is perceived.

Stress is the result of a person’s inability to cope.
Whether you have an urgent project that needs to be done to perfection or you’re going through, and emotional crisis, the effect of stress will depend on how well you can cope with that situation.

Do you feel that you can handle it? Or is it too much?

Because the emotional response is such an important aspect of stress, I like this more modern definition a lot better: “Stress refers to any reaction to physical, mental, social, or emotional stimulus that requires a response or alteration to the way we perform, think, or feel.”

If the failure to adapt to a situation exists, this results in stress. In many cases, stress and anxiety occurs if we are encountering something new or unknown. But stress isn’t always originated by a failure to adapt. Pushing you to complete a presentation or even the thrill of landing that prestigious position can cause your body to experience stress/anxiety.

Whether it’s a good change or a bad change, any change is bound to be stressful.

Finding a good strategy to cope with pressure, change, and responsibility can significantly reduce the negative effects of stress.

Also read: The Biology of Stress

The Anxiety Attack

Anxiety attacks come quite quickly, with little or no warning.

What is the physical aspects of an anxiety attack, you may ask?

An anxiety attack, which is also referred to as a panic attack, is not the same thing as “feeling anxious.” We all feel anxious from time to time, and many people even feel anxious all of the time — because they suffer from an anxiety disorder. However, anxiety attack — which is, of course, brought on by extreme anxiety — is just a side effect of anxiety.

Anxiety AttackAn anxiety attack comes on fairly fast, with little or no warning. They last as long as 10 minutes, but the average attack lasts between one and five minutes. After one has suffered one or several anxiety attacks, they accept it for what it is. First-time sufferers often think that they have a heart attack, or even a nervous breakdown. They may even think that they are dying — even though they aren’t.

While many people may think that anxiety attacks are brought on by mental issues, this isn’t quite true. We all have a fight or flight response. Sometimes, when one suffers from anxiety disorders, the fight or flight response goes into “overdrive.” This causes the body to be flooded with hormones, including adrenalin, which causes the other symptoms of a panic attack.

An anxiety attack can be quite overwhelming and scary. Several things occur at once — physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Physically, people may start profusely sweating. They may become short of breath, have a pounding heart, experience chest pain, become dizzy and/or lightheaded, feel nauseous, and even hyperventilate. They may feel as they are being choked or smothered, and there are numerous other physical aspects of an anxiety attack.

Mentally, the person will feel complete out of control, experience as they are going crazy, may hear things louder than they actually are have racing thoughts, and have impaired vision. They may seem like life has either slowed down or sped up. They may feel as they are in a dream (or nightmare) state. Tunnel vision is also common during a panic attack.

Emotionally, they will feel terror. They may fear that they are dying, and they may experience flashbacks to either earlier anxiety attacks or other traumatic events in their lives.

As you can see, anxiety attack is no joking matter for the person experiencing it. Luckily, there are medications that can be prescribed to minimize the appearance of panic attacks, as well as the symptoms experienced during such attacks.

What Are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

Recognizing anxiety is fairly easy.

We all feel anxious from time to time throughout our lives. That anxiety is usually short term – lasting a day or less – or mid-term – lasting several days or weeks during a normally stressful period. Anxiety is a normal thing in life. It is part of our “fight or flight” response system, and when a situation occurs that stresses us, we feel anxious.

But anxiety is not always normal. You may feel anxious and discover that there is actually nothing to be anxious about in your life at the moment. If this is a problem that persists, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.  If your anxiety is constant, to the point where it is consuming your life – it is a problem. This type of anxiety could even cause you to fear certain situations, which in turn causes you to isolate yourself.

Note that feeling anxious and having an anxiety or panic attack is in fact, two different things. If you feel anxious, you may be worried or even feel fearful.

However, when you are having an anxiety attack, there are physical symptoms that you will have along with it, such as:

1.  Being short of breath
2.  Chest pain
3.  Shaking or trembling
4.  Pounding heart or palpitations
5.  Dizziness
6.  Nausea
7.  Hot or cold flashes

Bipolar - Mental Health

Along with worry and fear, if you feel these symptoms, you may think that you have a heart attack. You may even fear that you are going to die. While all of this is terribly scary, and treatment should be sought, the good news is that nobody has ever died from an anxiety attack. People do, however, die of a heart attack, which has similar symptoms, mistakenly thinking it is a panic attack.

The best thing to do, if you are feeling anxious, is to seek treatment for the anxiety before you suffer an anxiety attack. Treatment for anxiety is twofold – treating the mental state as well as treating the physical state.