Understanding Paranoia: Causes, Symptoms, and Coping Strategies
Paranoia, a term often used colloquially to describe excessive and irrational distrust or suspicion of others, is a complex mental health phenomenon that can have a profound impact on an individual’s life. While paranoia is often portrayed in popular culture as a symptom of extreme mental illness, it can manifest in varying degrees and affect people from all walks of life.
What is Paranoia?
Paranoia is characterized by an intense and unfounded belief that others are plotting against, deceiving, or intending harm to the affected individual. These beliefs are often irrational and disconnected from reality. While some level of wariness and suspicion can be a natural response to certain situations, paranoia takes these feelings to an extreme and persistent level.
Causes of Paranoia
Paranoia can arise from various factors, including:
Mental Health Conditions: Paranoia is commonly associated with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. In these conditions, individuals may experience hallucinations and delusions that contribute to their paranoid beliefs.
Trauma: Past traumatic experiences, such as physical or emotional abuse, can contribute to the development of paranoid thoughts. Individuals may develop a heightened sense of mistrust as a way to protect themselves from perceived threats.
Substance Abuse: The misuse of drugs or alcohol can lead to paranoid thinking. Some substances can alter brain chemistry and amplify feelings of paranoia.
Stress and Anxiety: High levels of stress and anxiety can make individuals more prone to paranoid thoughts. Stress can distort perceptions and make it difficult to distinguish real threats from imagined ones.
Personality Factors: Certain personality traits, such as high levels of suspicion and mistrust, can predispose individuals to paranoia.
Symptoms of Paranoia
The symptoms of paranoia can vary in intensity and may include:
Suspicion: A pervasive belief that others are untrustworthy, even without concrete evidence. (Accusing your partner of cheating, believing you are being watched or followed or someone is out to get you).
Delusions: Fixed, false beliefs that are resistant to reason or evidence. These can involve conspiracy theories, thoughts of persecution, or grandiose ideas.
Hallucinations: In some cases, individuals with paranoia may experience sensory perceptions that are not based in reality, such as hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there.
Social Isolation: Paranoia can lead to social withdrawal as individuals may fear interacting with others due to their suspicions.
Anger and Hostility: Feelings of anger and hostility toward perceived threats or conspirators.
Living with paranoia can be challenging, but there are coping strategies and treatments that can help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life:
Seek Professional Help: If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of paranoia, it’s essential to consult a mental health professional. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options, which may include therapy and medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT can help individuals with paranoia by teaching them to challenge and reframe irrational thoughts and beliefs. It can also provide strategies for managing anxiety and stress.
Medication: In some cases, antipsychotic medications may be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms of paranoia, especially when it is associated with psychotic disorders.
Supportive Networks: Building a support system of trusted friends and family members can be crucial. These individuals can provide emotional support and help counteract feelings of isolation.
Stress Management: Engaging in stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and exercise can help individuals manage anxiety and reduce the intensity of paranoid thoughts.
Education and Awareness: Learning more about paranoia and its causes can be empowering. Understanding that paranoid thoughts are a symptom of an underlying condition can help individuals feel less isolated and stigmatized.
Connection Between Paranoia, Intrusive Thoughts, and OCD.
While paranoia, intrusive thoughts, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are all distinct mental health conditions, they share some common features and may co-occur in individuals.
Exploring the connections:
Intrusive Thoughts in OCD: Intrusive thoughts are a hallmark feature of OCD. People with OCD often experience distressing, unwanted, and intrusive thoughts or mental images that are repetitive and difficult to control. These thoughts can be disturbing and may lead to compulsive behaviors as a way to alleviate anxiety or prevent feared outcomes. For example, someone with OCD might have intrusive thoughts about harming a loved one and engage in compulsive rituals to counteract these thoughts, such as repeatedly checking locks or avoiding sharp objects.
Paranoia and Intrusive Thoughts: Paranoia involves irrational beliefs and suspicions that others are plotting against or intend harm to the individual. While intrusive thoughts in OCD are typically self-generated and revolve around fears of causing harm or experiencing a negative event, paranoid thoughts often involve suspicions about external individuals or groups conspiring against the affected person. However, in both cases, these thoughts are intrusive, distressing, and difficult to control.
Overlap and Comorbidity: It is possible for individuals to experience both OCD and paranoid thoughts simultaneously. In such cases, the intrusive thoughts in OCD may fuel or exacerbate paranoid beliefs. For example, someone with OCD who has intrusive thoughts about contamination may develop paranoid beliefs about a conspiracy to contaminate their surroundings or harm them through contamination.
Common Cognitive Processes: Both OCD and paranoia involve disruptions in cognitive processes. In OCD, individuals often engage in compulsive behaviors to reduce the anxiety caused by their intrusive thoughts. In paranoia, individuals may develop elaborate coping strategies to protect themselves from perceived threats. These strategies can sometimes reinforce the persistence of paranoid beliefs.
Treatment Implications: When OCD and paranoia co-occur, treatment approaches should address both conditions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, including exposure and response prevention (ERP), can be effective in managing intrusive thoughts in OCD. Additionally, therapy for paranoia may involve addressing underlying mistrust and working on reframing irrational beliefs.
Paranoia is a complex mental health phenomenon that can have a significant impact on an individual’s well-being and relationships. It is crucial to approach paranoia with empathy and understanding, recognizing that it often stems from underlying mental health conditions or past traumas. With the right treatment and support, individuals experiencing paranoia can improve their quality of life and learn to manage their symptoms effectively.
It’s important to note that while there can be overlap between paranoia, intrusive thoughts, and OCD, not everyone will experience paranoia, and not everyone with paranoia will have OCD. Each person’s experience with mental health is unique, and a thorough assessment by a mental health professional is crucial to determining the appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan for any individual struggling with these issues.
If you or someone you know is struggling with paranoia, seek professional help to address the issue and work toward a more balanced and fulfilling life.
Disclaimer: This article is sensitive and mentions suicide, anxiety, and depression.
OCD The Demon Inside My Head
The Complex Link Between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety & Depression
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterized by intrusive, distressing thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive, ritualistic behaviors (compulsions), OCD can significantly disrupt an individual’s life. While OCD is often discussed in isolation, it is crucial to understand its intricate relationship with anxiety and depression, two prevalent co-occurring conditions that can exacerbate the challenges faced by those with OCD.
The Basics of OCD
OCD involves a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, distressing thoughts, images, or urges that repeatedly invade a person’s mind. These thoughts often provoke significant anxiety. In an attempt to alleviate this anxiety, individuals with OCD engage in compulsions—repetitive behaviors or mental acts. While compulsions may provide temporary relief, they do not address the underlying anxiety and can even worsen the condition over time.
The Connection with Anxiety
Anxiety is a central feature of OCD. The anxiety triggered by obsessions is a key driving force behind the compulsive behaviors. People with OCD often engage in these rituals to reduce the intense anxiety caused by their intrusive thoughts. For instance, someone with an obsession with germs may repeatedly wash their hands to alleviate their anxiety, while another individual with intrusive violent thoughts may engage in mental rituals to neutralize those thoughts.
The relationship between OCD and anxiety is bidirectional. OCD can increase overall anxiety levels in a person’s life as the obsessions and compulsions consume time and energy. Conversely, pre-existing anxiety can make a person more vulnerable to developing OCD. This complex interplay between OCD and anxiety underscores the need for comprehensive treatment addressing both conditions.
The Link to Depression
Depression often accompanies OCD, compounding the emotional toll of the disorder. The chronic stress and frustration associated with OCD can lead to feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and despair. Additionally, individuals with OCD may become socially isolated due to the secretive nature of their compulsions, which can further contribute to depressive symptoms.
Moreover, the cyclical nature of OCD, with its repetitive and intrusive thoughts, can lead to rumination—a hallmark of depression. Rumination involves obsessively thinking about problems and their possible causes, consequences, and solutions, often leading to a worsening of mood.
Effective treatment for OCD often involves addressing both the obsessive-compulsive symptoms and the associated anxiety and depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), specifically Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), is a widely recommended therapeutic approach for OCD. ERP helps individuals confront their obsessions without engaging in compulsions, ultimately reducing anxiety. CBT can also address negative thought patterns that contribute to depression.
Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often prescribed to help manage OCD symptoms, as they can reduce anxiety and, in turn, alleviate depressive symptoms. However, medication alone is rarely sufficient for comprehensive treatment.
Support groups and individual therapy can provide invaluable emotional support and coping strategies for individuals with OCD. It is essential to involve loved ones in the recovery process to enhance understanding and provide a network of support.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a complex mental health condition, closely linked with anxiety and depression. Recognizing this intricate relationship is crucial for providing effective treatment and support to those affected by OCD. A holistic approach that addresses both the obsessions and compulsions of OCD and the associated anxiety and depression can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals battling this challenging disorder. With the right support and treatment, individuals with OCD can learn to manage their symptoms and regain control over their lives.
A real sufferer true-life story.
I would first like to introduce myself I am a disabled entrepreneur. I have been in business for the last 30 years. I have decided to stay anonymous as I do not want people to judge me. I suffer from OCD (germ contamination and intrusive thoughts). Contrary to belief I do not spend hours washing my hands or cleaning. I used to and now I counteract this by using latex gloves. I found washing my hands (in undiluted Dettol) dried them up and made them crack. My mother would go through a full tank of hot water. I also used to have a thing where I could not mention certain names or words, namely my ex-boyfriend. I used to also have an issue with numbers but have overcome this. For example, I avoided the number 13 (unlucky for some), by coincidence it happens to be my birth date (don’t laugh). I believe my OCD is my security blanket so to speak, protecting me from harm.
Just because I have a mental health disability does not make me less intellectual than anyone else.
My OCD started to manifest about 35 years ago when my ex-boyfriend (P.E., I would have taken a bullet for him), decided to act suspiciously. I got curious after I found him a job working at a local Bank. In those days we did not have social media and these jobs were not always posted in the local paper. So when I visited the job center I applied on his behalf, I even chased them up after he had not heard from them and thanks to me he got an interview and the job.
Not Knowing – Dead or Alive?
From his LinkedIn profile, he is a regional manager for the West Midlands. Plot twist after reading what I thought was his obituary I contacted the bank and they said no one by that name is working in the West Midlands. I did try reaching out to his sister and seeing she hadn’t even opened up the message decided to delete the message completely. Maybe I should put an ad in the personal column of the local newspaper. Why do I need to do this?, basically speaking because I want closure. Yes, he hurt me emotionally more times than I care to remember but I loved him and I thought he was the one, my soul mate. However, looking back we were like chalk and cheese.
He would always make plans and then cancel at the last minute. Sometimes I would wait for him all night and eventually, he would turn up early hours and I would send him packing.
I met him on a blind date and his sister hated me from the start because the blind date was supposed to be for her boyfriend who changed his mind and asked her brother to take his place.
We were together for a year, he came from a middle-class family, whilst I came from a working-class background. His mother in particular did not like me because I sensed I did not meet with her approval and made remarks like “You could do much better than my son“, what mother says that unless she has an ulterior motive?
Moving on after he started to act suspiciously and after I found a lot of adult magazines and brothel brochures under his bed, I started to go through his pockets and found telephone numbers with girls’ names. I phoned the girls and each one of them confessed they had gone out on a date and the common denominator was they all were customers of the bank and had never given their number out. This would be a sackable offense if it was done in this day and age.
I kept the information quiet, I did not want to lose him, I loved him no matter what and would have done anything for him. If you can imagine Tom Cruise in the Top Gun movie that’s what he looked like and his LinkedIn profile picture now makes him look like David Cameron.
As time went on he would be less and less interested in being intimate. I tried to arouse him in my sexy underwear whilst he was putting his multigym together and his reply was I will never forget it to this day “Who would want to go near a fat walrus like you“, on the contrary, I was not fat, I was slim and I was modeling. I started to question myself if was I really fat and unattractive, I started to have self-doubts that I was not good enough. This should have been my opportunity to break up with him but I continued to stay in the hopes something would change and that he would love me as much as I loved him.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) does appear to have a genetic component, meaning that it can run in families. However, the inheritance pattern is complex, and multiple genetic and environmental factors likely contribute to the development of OCD. Here are some key points to consider:
Family History: Research has shown that individuals with a family history of OCD are at a higher risk of developing the disorder themselves. This suggests that there may be a genetic predisposition.
Twin and Family Studies: Studies on twins and families have provided evidence for a genetic component in OCD. Identical twins (who share 100% of their genes) are more likely to both have OCD if one twin has it compared to non-identical twins (who share about 50% of their genes). Similarly, first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, and children) of individuals with OCD have a higher risk of developing the disorder than the general population.
Specific Genes: While researchers have identified some specific genes that may be associated with OCD, the genetic basis of the disorder is complex and not fully understood. Multiple genes are likely involved, and their interactions with environmental factors play a role.
Environmental Factors: Environmental factors, such as childhood trauma, stress, and infections, may also contribute to the development of OCD. These factors can interact with genetic predisposition to increase the risk of the disorder.
Neurobiological Factors: OCD is associated with abnormalities in brain structure and function, particularly in areas of the brain involved in regulating emotions and behavior. These neurobiological factors may be influenced by genetics.
It’s important to note that having a family history of OCD does not guarantee that an individual will develop the disorder. Many people with a family history of OCD do not develop symptoms, and conversely, some individuals without a family history of OCD do develop the disorder.
Overall, while genetics play a role in the development of OCD, it is a complex and multifactorial condition influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors.
“I believe genetics plays a factor in the development of OCD and there is a link in family history, because my grandmother suffered from it, my mother, my uncle and now me”.
Traumatic Event No 1:
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he had to have medication for genital crabs. It was this that repelled me and started my OCD and even though I knew it was from his flings I still was willing to forgive him as long as he stopped doing what he was doing and committed 100% to me. Not long after, we broke up. He admitted he had found someone else that worked in the bank, I was devastated to the point I believe I had a nervous breakdown.
I remember that evening as I sobbed in my parent’s house and after my dad had gone to bed, raging at me to shut the f#ck up or he would kick me out. This caused an argument between my mother and father as she took my side and stuck up for me stating that no one was kicking me out.
As morning came around I tried to make an emergency appointment with my local GP to get something to calm me down and when the receptionist asked what was wrong with me and I declined to say she said “There is nothing wrong with you as your mouth is in working order”. I do not believe I was rude I was insistent that I needed an appointment, and I was feeling suicidal. I changed my doctors and got seen at a different surgery that very same day.
The days went into weeks and I could not get him out of my head. My OCD had taken over me and I could not touch things other people had touched before me without disinfecting things first.
I then decided to move away thinking a break would do me good. I moved to London but it was short-lived before returning home again. No sooner I was home I got a phone call from my ex saying he needed to see me. Like an idiot, I went to find his mantlepiece and TV strewn with engagement cards. Oblivious of what was around him he told me he missed me and wanted to have sex with me one last time. This was my cue to run and never return as I demanded he phone a taxi for me. He humiliated me again and kicked me in the teeth metaphorically speaking when I was feeling down and he was the reason my mental health declined.
Traumatic Event No 2:
I decided to leave home for good and found a job many miles away. This is where I met my husband who rescued me from a sexual assault, which caused my OCD to go through the roof. No sooner than the shops were open I bought 6 litres of Savolon Liquid, they did not stock Dettol so went to the bath and completely covered myself with the orange liquid. I felt dirty and humiliated again. It was my husband who pulled me through. He showered me with gifts took me out to fancy restaurants and put me on a pedestal.
My OCD was manageable but my husband would always complain that I refused to hold hands.
Trauma Event No 3:
Five years after meeting this man in shiningarmorr we got married and we started a business together. On the second day of what would have been our honeymoon a woman phoned wanting to speak with my husband, joyfully I said you could talk with his wife and that I would pass on the message. Her response was what caused my husband and I toarguet, two days into our marriage, she refused to give her name and said she wanted to speak to him on a private matter. My husband said she wanted to pass on security codes, so why did she not say that?
This caused my OCD to play up and I would make him have baths in Dettol and would be repelled at him touching me. Our marriage lasted three years after the company that I had financed was milked dry, by the manager and my husband. Both were to blame as both had access to the money. If I could turn back time I would have done things differently, knowing what I know now. There was about £120,000 missing from the business that I could not account for.
My depression then became bad I guess when my first relationship went south and I felt my whole world had collapsed around me there was nothing left to live for. In hindsight he did me afavorr otherwise I would be a boring housewife, it was the end of my marriage that finally broke me. He left our business in a mess whilst I was six months pregnant for the woman who by coincidence had phoned the office two days after we got married. Does that not scream alarm bells?
Traumatic Events No 4, 5, 6, 7, 10:
The passing of my loved ones. I won’t go into detail as it is too painful to recollect.
Traumatic Event No 8:
Whilst abroad a boy who was known to my daughter stole my daughter’s keys to my flat I knew nothing of this until I was woken at 5 am by a phone call from the Police saying that the door to my fat was wide open and the lights were on and music blaring asking where was I. I said I was abroad and when I returned, my home had been trashed and all my valuables stolen. The insurance company did not pay out because it was not a break-in. I lost £40,000 of camera equipment, computers and jewelry. To add insult to injury and as an added measure my landlord threatened me with eviction because my neighbors had phoned him and did not bother to notify me there was something suspicious going on.
Traumatic Event No 9:
I was involved with a guy who no longer lives in the UK who physically and mentally abused me. I do not want to go into what he did as I am not strong enough to talk about it. All I will say is he dislocated my knee by kicking it seven times, hence why I have problems with it now.
Traumatic Event No 10:
The obituary of not knowing if he is alive or dead. I lost touch with all his friends and his family. His parents and uncle have passed away and I do not know who else to ask other than do a press release.
Coping with grief.
No 1: P.E: The Traumatic Breakup
No 2: Barry Island: Sexual Assualt
No 3: The Divorce
No 4: J.M: Passing
No 5: L.M: Passing
No 6: B.R.M: Passing
No 7: A.B: Passing
No 8: The Robbery
No 9: E.S: Abusive Relationship
No 10. P.E: Passing
When people close to you die, you are left feeling hopeless living in an empty void.
I am constantly sad. I keep myself busy not to ‘THINK’ about all the hell I have gone through and how I miss the people who are no longer in my life. No money or anything you do can bring them back; all you are left with are photos and memories. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy and I have tried this as well as ‘exposure response therapy (ERP) again you need to be in the right frame of mind to resist your urges to make your anxiety subside. (I was mad to touch things that would cause a trigger and resist washing and disinfecting my hands) I resisted long enough the the therapist to leave and immediately went to wash my hands. For me this was a waste of time and no stranger is going to be my friend for me to confide in, hence CBT & ERP cannot help me and I prefer to use online journalling therapy or talk to Bing AI to write how I am feeling. Even journalling people can be judgemental but if you turn your comments off that sizzles that. I think I can handle a little criticism but will back off the moment any negativity becomes overwhelming.
I have intrusive thoughts: If I do not do things a certain way something bad will happen to me. Or if I do not do something fast enough I am convinced something bad will happen.
I have anxiety: When I have to wait for people to make a decision and play God with me, I get anxious. I worry a lot. This manifests into depression where I am sad and feel like crying. I get depressed when people take advantage of me and scam me. I get depressed when greedy people think they are better than me and put my rent up exponentially above the rate of inflation and against government rent cap guidelines. I get depressed when people show me no respect. I get anxious when I get judged and scrutinized. My anxiety finding more business and believe me I have done nearly everything other than sell my body on ‘OnlyFans’, just joking. Despite all the trauma in my life I still have some humour.
Fear: I am afraid of being judged. People think they are better than you and often can come across as condescending. Just because I have a mental health disorder does not make me stupid.
Germ Contamination: I cannot touch things with my bare hands that have not been disinfected first (food is in packaging and cooking at high temperatures kills germs. I cannot sit where someone else has sat, thinking they have not cleaned their posterior properly or have farted (pathogens).
Dog Poo and Dog Hair: When I was going through my breakup with (P.E) a woman where I worked said she had to clean dog poo with her hands and then touch the swimwear in the factory I worked in. This caused my OCD to be problematic as I refused to talk to her and avoided any garments she had touched. This dog poo manifestation stuck with me as my mother also had OCD and had an obsession with dog poo. Animal hair like cat hair is also an issue and even though I do have a cat, I smooth him with latex gloves but won’t let him anywhere near me. Furthermore, I cannot be around people who own dogs including family that I do not see often but when I have to, I find it difficult to interact. An instance was last Christmas when I stayed in a cottage that my brother rented on Airbnb a few days earlier and I had to sleep in the bed. I could not wait to come home have a bath and wash and disinfect my clothes. I have not put my Cavali boots on again that I only wore once and am fighting the demons not to throw them away. Anything I cannot disinfect I normally bin.
Personal hygiene: I cannot sit on my own toilet I have to hover. I must ensure my bath is germ-free before I get into it. I cannot share a bath after another person has used it. Or sleep in a bed that someone has slept in. My bathroom has to be quarantined. If I am vacuuming and the air blows out of the vent on me I have to change my clothes and disinfect myself.
I do not like socializing: Is socializing going to put food on the table or drain my bank account? Wasting time talking about nonsense and the weather makes no sense to me, whilst making someone else richer and you get poorer. Brushing past people and touching things they have touched is impossible for me (Germs I cannot get the thoughts out of my head). My grocery shopping I touch with latex gloves and the contents are fine as most of the time they have not been touched by humans but by machines. Takeaways are fine as they have been cooked at high temperatures. I do not buy from places like Subway (e-coli). I am wary of my surroundings.
Accidents: If I touch something by accident I have to disinfect that area and if it is my clothes I have to change and wash my clothes with detergent and Dettol. If a splash of dishwater ricochets on me it sends my OCD to overdrive. I have learned from CBT to try and fight my thoughts and sometimes it works and other times it does not, this all depends on how stressful my day is.
My Rituals: I used to spend hours cleaning, but now I have quarantined areas, this in an office environment would be impossible to contain.
Anger Management: I have a short fuse and will speak my mind, anyone who tries to rile me will feel my wrath. I have little patience for people who are condescending, rude, and lazy. I used to be a happy person but am not now. I have lost near enough everything that was important to me. I am now trying to rebuild my life one step at a time.
My therapy: I have tried CBT (constant reminder, talking about my feelings and my past) and hypnotherapy but I cannot fight my thoughts. Hypnotherapy works to a certain degree but you have to be consistent with it on a daily basis. I also find journaling helps get things off my mind. It is not a cure but it helps ease anxiety and depression. My medication is a godsend, it sends me to sleep which is good but makes me really drowsy during the day, so to counteract this I drink two to three energy drinks a day. Ideally, I want to be medication-free and find another way to help overcome my OCD.
My PPE: I wear latex gloves for everything I do and double up under rubber gloves when doing washing up. Every product I use has to be antibacterial, hand soap, washing up liquid, and bubble bath.
I have distanced myself from humans and have little interaction in the physical sense of the world because too many people have taken advantage of me and hurt me in one way or another. I do not trust people easily. I have no problem interacting virtually but face to face is extremely difficult. Removing negativity from your life and socially disconnecting can be a powerful step toward personal growth and well-being. By consciously distancing yourself from toxic relationships, environments, or habits that breed negativity, you create space for positivity to flourish. This process involves setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and surrounding yourself with supportive and uplifting influences. While it may seem daunting to disconnect from certain social circles, it can ultimately lead to greater emotional resilience, mental clarity, and a renewed sense of purpose. Embracing this journey allows you to foster a more positive and fulfilling life, where your mental and emotional health take center stage.
“People have done this to me and caused me emotional distress to the point my mental health has declined.
I am trying to rebuild my life and perhaps if sharing my story will help someone, it will make me feel I am doing something right and worthwhile.
I am constantly learning about OCD and dealing with my health one day at a time. I do not need to speak with a therapist because everything I need can be found online or on this website. I have decided to share my story so the people who need to know can reference this.
I am not looking for sympathy or pity I just want to let people know that you do not know what is going on in someone’s life and everyone has a story to tell.
All I want is for my life to change for the better, that’s all I am asking.
Breaking Down Mental Health Stigma: Understanding the Statistics
Mental health stigma continues to be a pervasive issue in society, hindering the well-being of countless individuals worldwide. While progress has been made in recent years to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, there is still much work to be done. Understanding the statistics behind mental health stigma is essential in order to address this issue effectively and promote a more compassionate and inclusive society.
Prevalence of Mental Health Issues
To understand the depth of mental health stigma, it’s crucial to first acknowledge the prevalence of mental health issues. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 264 million people suffer from depression globally, and around 20 million individuals are diagnosed with schizophrenia. Additionally, anxiety disorders affect an estimated 284 million people worldwide. These statistics illustrate that mental health conditions are far from rare and impact a significant portion of the global population.
Underreporting: One significant aspect of mental health stigma is underreporting. Many individuals hesitate to seek help or disclose their mental health issues due to fear of judgment or discrimination. Research from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suggests that approximately 60% of people with mental health disorders do not receive treatment. Stigma plays a substantial role in this underutilization of mental health services.
Workplace Stigma: Mental health stigma also affects workplaces. According to a study conducted by the Center for Workplace Mental Health, approximately 83% of employees feel that mental health issues are stigmatized in their workplace. Fear of potential repercussions or damage to their professional reputation often prevents employees from seeking the help they need.
Stereotypes and Discrimination: Stereotypes and discrimination related to mental health conditions persist in society. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that around 46% of people believe that those with mental illnesses are prone to violence. This unfounded belief contributes to the perpetuation of stereotypes and further stigmatization.
Impact on Youth: Mental health stigma has severe consequences for young people. Half of all lifetime cases of mental health conditions begin by the age of 14, according to WHO. Stigmatization can discourage young individuals from seeking help, potentially leading to worsened mental health outcomes.
Consequences of Stigma: Mental health stigma doesn’t just affect individuals; it has far-reaching consequences for society as a whole. Some of the notable consequences include:
Delayed Treatment: Stigma often leads to delays in seeking treatment, which can worsen the severity of mental health conditions.
Isolation: People who experience stigma may become socially isolated, leading to feelings of loneliness and depression.
Reduced Quality of Life: Stigma can hinder individuals from fully participating in daily activities and enjoying a high quality of life.
Economic Costs: Mental health stigma results in lost productivity in the workplace and increased healthcare costs.
Lower Self-Esteem: Stigmatized individuals may internalize negative beliefs about themselves, leading to lower self-esteem.
Efforts to Combat Stigma: While the statistics surrounding mental health stigma are concerning, there is hope. Numerous organizations, campaigns, and individuals are working tirelessly to combat stigma and create a more accepting society. Initiatives like Mental Health Awareness Month and anti-stigma campaigns encourage open conversations about mental health and reduce misconceptions.
The Damaging Effects of Stigmatizing Individuals with Mental Health Disorders
Stigmatizing individuals with mental health disorders can have profoundly detrimental effects on their mental and emotional well-being. While the consequences of such stigmatization may not be immediately apparent, they can lead to a worsening of symptoms and a reluctance to seek help, exacerbating the challenges faced by those already grappling with mental health issues.
Increased Isolation: One of the most immediate consequences of stigmatization is social isolation. When individuals with mental health disorders experience negative judgment or ridicule, they often withdraw from social interactions out of fear of further rejection. This isolation can intensify feelings of loneliness and contribute to the deterioration of their mental health.
Reduced Self-Esteem: Stigmatizing individuals with mental health disorders reinforces negative self-perceptions. The derogatory remarks and attitudes they encounter can lead to a decrease in self-esteem, causing them to believe that they are somehow “less than” or “broken.” Such beliefs can become deeply ingrained and further erode their sense of self-worth.
Reluctance to Seek Help: Stigmatization also discourages individuals from seeking the help they desperately need. The fear of judgment or discrimination can prevent people from opening up about their struggles or seeking professional treatment. This reluctance to seek help can result in delayed or inadequate care, leading to the worsening of their mental health condition over time.
Self-Stigma: In some cases, individuals with mental health disorders may internalize the negative stereotypes and prejudices they encounter, a phenomenon known as self-stigma. They may begin to believe that they are solely responsible for their condition or that they should be able to “snap out of it.” This self-blame can intensify their suffering and create additional barriers to recovery. This can also lead to imposter syndrome.
Escalation of Symptoms: Stigmatization can exacerbate the symptoms of mental health disorders. The stress and anxiety caused by social rejection and discrimination can trigger or worsen conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders. This, in turn, can lead to a vicious cycle where deteriorating mental health leads to more stigmatization and vice versa.
Barriers to Employment and Education: Stigmatization can have practical consequences as well. People with mental health disorders may face discrimination in the workplace or educational institutions, limiting their opportunities for growth and financial stability. This added stressor can contribute to the deterioration of their mental health.
The statistics surrounding mental health stigma are a stark reminder that there is much work to be done in creating a more inclusive and compassionate society. As we continue to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, and advocate for policy changes, we can reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. By doing so, we can ensure that more individuals seek the help they need and ultimately lead healthier, happier lives.
It is crucial to recognize that degrading or stigmatizing individuals with mental health disorders does not help them in any way; instead, it harms them and exacerbates their struggles. Promoting understanding, empathy, and acceptance is essential in creating a supportive environment where those with mental health issues can seek help without fear of judgment or discrimination.
Addressing mental health stigma through education, awareness campaigns, and inclusive policies is essential in ensuring that individuals feel comfortable seeking the help they need. By fostering a more compassionate and accepting society, we can reduce the damaging effects of stigmatization and support those facing mental health challenges on their path to recovery.
Disclaimer: The provided article addresses topics concerning mental well-being, including the term “suicide.” It’s crucial to acknowledge that conversations surrounding mental health and suicide can be delicate and possibly distressing for certain individuals. This article is meant solely for informative purposes and should not be seen as a replacement for expert mental health guidance, assessment, or therapy. If you or someone you are acquainted with is grappling with mental health challenges, including contemplations of suicide, we strongly urge you to reach out to a certified mental health specialist, call emergency services, or use our useful links page to find relevant support.
PIP Assessments: Pushing People to the Brink of Suicide
The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) system, introduced in the United Kingdom as a replacement for the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), was intended to provide financial assistance to those with disabilities and long-term health conditions. While its aims are commendable, the reality of PIP assessments has been far from the promised support. Instead, for many vulnerable individuals, these assessments have become a source of immense stress, despair, and in some tragic cases, a factor pushing them to the brink of suicide.
The PIP Assessment Process
The PIP assessment process involves a series of evaluations to determine an individual’s eligibility for financial support. This process requires claimants to complete a lengthy and complex application form detailing their medical history, daily living needs, and mobility issues. After submission, an assessment provider, often a private company (PIP), conducts telephone or face-to-face assessments based on the documentation provided.
The Flawed System
Lack of Compassion: Critics argue that the PIP assessment process often lacks the necessary empathy and understanding required for assessing the needs of people with disabilities and health conditions. Assessors, who are not necessarily healthcare professionals, have been accused of insensitivity and a lack of understanding of complex conditions.
Inconsistencies: The assessment process has been plagued by inconsistencies, leading to cases where individuals with similar conditions receive different outcomes. This lack of standardization can lead to frustration and despair among claimants who perceive the process as arbitrary.
Stress and Anxiety: The very nature of PIP assessments, with their stringent criteria and extensive documentation, can trigger immense stress and anxiety for claimants. The prospect of losing essential financial support adds to this psychological burden.
Lengthy Appeals Process: If an individual’s PIP claim is denied, they have the option to appeal. However, the appeals process can be protracted and emotionally draining, with long waiting times and no guarantee of success. This adds further stress to claimants who are already vulnerable.
The Human Cost
It is essential to recognize that behind every statistic is a human story. Many claimants have reported the profound impact of PIP assessments on their mental health:
Depression and Anxiety: The stress of the assessment process and the fear of losing vital financial support have led to increased cases of depression and anxiety among claimants.
Isolation: For those with limited mobility or severe health conditions, financial support from PIP can be a lifeline that enables them to engage with the world. Losing this support can result in isolation, further exacerbating mental health issues.
Suicidal Ideation: There have been alarming reports of individuals who have contemplated or taken their lives after their PIP claims were denied or reduced. The fear and hopelessness engendered by the system can push vulnerable individuals to the brink.
Deteriorating Health: Some individuals, unable to cope with the stress of the assessment process and the resultant financial strain, have reported worsening health conditions.
Calls for Reform
The harrowing experiences of individuals undergoing PIP assessments have led to calls for reform within the system. Advocates for change propose several key improvements:
A More Compassionate Approach: Critics argue that PIP assessments should be conducted by healthcare professionals who have a deeper understanding of the complexities of disability and health conditions, promoting a more compassionate and accurate assessment.
Simplify the Process: Reducing the complexity of the application process and minimizing paperwork would make it more accessible and less stressful for claimants.
Fair and Consistent Assessments: Implementing stricter standards for assessors and ensuring consistency in decision-making can help restore trust in the system.
Support for Mental Health: Recognizing the impact of PIP assessments on mental health, claimants should be offered mental health support services as part of the process.
Is asking the question about suicide dangerous and should it be asked by PIP assessors?
The question of whether PIP (Personal Independence Payment) assessors should directly ask claimants about suicide is a complex one. PIP assessors are typically not mental health professionals but are tasked with evaluating an individual’s eligibility for disability benefits based on their health and functional abilities. While their primary focus is on assessing physical and daily living aspects, they should also be aware of the mental health implications of their assessments.
Here are some considerations:
Assessing Mental Health: PIP assessors should be trained to recognize signs of mental health issues during their assessments. Some claimants may have mental health conditions that impact their daily living activities, which are relevant to the assessment. Assessors should be trained to ask about these issues in a sensitive and non-judgmental manner when it’s relevant to the assessment process.
Connection Between Mental Health and Disability: Some individuals with mental health conditions may struggle with daily living activities or mobility issues that are relevant to the PIP assessment criteria. In such cases, it may be appropriate for assessors to ask questions related to mental health.
Sensitivity and Training: Assessors should receive proper training on how to approach sensitive topics, including mental health and suicide. This training should emphasize empathy, active listening, and a non-judgmental attitude.
Collaboration with Mental Health Professionals: In cases where there are clear indications of mental health issues, assessors should consider collaborating with mental health professionals or referring claimants to appropriate mental health services.
Respect for Privacy: While assessors may inquire about mental health issues when relevant to the assessment, they should also respect the claimant’s privacy and autonomy. They should create a safe and non-coercive environment for any discussions related to mental health.
It’s important to strike a balance between addressing mental health concerns when relevant to the assessment and respecting the boundaries and sensitivities of the individuals being assessed. PIP assessors should prioritize the well-being of claimants and, when necessary, refer them to mental health professionals or appropriate support services.
Ultimately, the appropriateness of asking about suicide during a PIP assessment depends on the specific circumstances and the claimant’s condition. The key is to approach the topic with care, sensitivity, and an understanding of the potential mental health implications, and to ensure that individuals receive the support they need, which may include access to mental health services.
The PIP assessment process was meant to provide support to those in need, but it has proven to be a flawed system that pushes vulnerable individuals to the brink of despair and, in some tragic cases, suicide. It is crucial to acknowledge the human cost of a system that often lacks compassion and consistency. Reforms that prioritize the well-being of claimants and address the flaws in the assessment process are desperately needed to prevent further harm and suffering in the future.
An assessor who asks the questions poses the risk of planting a seed in someone’s head.Someone who has attempted suicide is not going to tell the truth for fear of being judged. A person who has attempted suicide may feel shameful if it was found out and hence may never admit it.
“It is a very dangerous path to tread, mentioning suicide. Instead, the assessor should ask “How is your mental health on a scale of 1-10” rather than plant intrusive thoughts into someone’s head”.
When the claimant says they are not comfortable talking about the subject the assessor should not press the claimant further.
When the claimant says they do not want to have intrusive thoughts then the assessor should move on to the next question. This actually happened to the editor of this site. The editor felt under duress to answer and was not comfortable answering the questions.
Intrusive Thoughts / Sick Leave
It is embarrassing and shameful that you can be driven to such a low point and feel you have no other way.
The editor because of the phone call has decided to step back to try and recoverfrom the humiliating, judgemental ordeal.
The editor stated that where she had worked hard to move forward and had progressed, through her self-help therapy including hypnosis, she now feels she has moved backward because of having to recall her abusive relationship and a flood of emotions and intrusive thoughts came rushing in. Even having to explain her knee injury brought back memories where her knee was purposely dislocated (03/02/13 – A&E).
She went on to say that she was asked questions not based on the evidence of her medical records and felt under scrutiny to prove herself. The assessor asked about the editor’s medication in particular co-codamol (codeine)and shortly after was asked “What is Solpadol“.
The editor went on to say she felt uncomfortable by the whole ordeal and made her feel inadequate. She told me she suffers from intrusive thoughts and today’s fiasco only made her mental health worse. The editor has social anxiety and suffers from OCD (Diagnosed in 1992) and Cerebellar Atrophy (Diagnosed in 2011) and felt scrutinized as if she of all people was trying to scam the system.
Considering the editor was diagnosed with OCD over 30 years ago she felt she was not treated with dignityor respect.
“PIP Should Go By Medical Records and Facts Not Put Patients Through Unnecessary Distress”!
This article mentions the wording about self-harm and suicide.
Understanding the Complex Relationship Between OCD, Anxiety, and Stress
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, and stress are three interrelated mental health conditions that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. Each of these conditions has its unique features and challenges, but they often coexist and exacerbate one another.
I. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized by persistent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) aimed at reducing distress. These obsessions and compulsions can consume a person’s life and become incredibly distressing.
Obsessions: OCD often begins with intrusive and distressing thoughts or mental images, which are irrational and unwanted. Common themes include fears of contamination, fears of harming others, or an intense need for symmetry and order. These thoughts can be incredibly distressing and lead to anxiety.
Compulsions: To cope with the anxiety caused by obsessions, individuals with OCD engage in repetitive behaviors or mental acts. These compulsions are performed to alleviate anxiety or to prevent a feared event. For instance, someone with contamination obsessions may engage in excessive handwashing.
II. Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders encompass a range of conditions, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and others. While the specific symptoms vary among these disorders, they all involve excessive and chronic worry, fear, or nervousness.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): GAD is characterized by excessive worry and anxiety about various aspects of life, often without a specific trigger. Individuals with GAD may experience physical symptoms like muscle tension, restlessness, and fatigue.
Panic Disorder: This disorder involves recurrent panic attacks, which are sudden and intense periods of fear and discomfort. Panic attacks can lead to further anxiety about having more attacks, creating a cycle of fear.
Social Anxiety Disorder: Social anxiety is marked by an intense fear of social situations and interactions. Individuals with this disorder may avoid social events or endure them with extreme distress.
Stress is a normal response to challenging or threatening situations. However, chronic stress can have adverse effects on both physical and mental health. It often results from various life stressors such as work, relationships, finances, or health issues.
The Body’s Stress Response: When we encounter a stressor, our body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This “fight-or-flight” response prepares us to deal with the threat. However, chronic stress can lead to an overactive stress response, which can negatively impact health.
The Complex Interplay
The relationship between OCD, anxiety, and stress is intricate and multifaceted:
OCD and Anxiety: OCD inherently involves anxiety, as individuals experience distressing obsessions and engage in compulsions to alleviate this distress. The obsessive thoughts generate anxiety, and the compulsive behaviors offer temporary relief.
Stress and Anxiety: Chronic stress can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders or exacerbate existing ones. Stressful life events can trigger or worsen anxiety symptoms, making it challenging to manage.
Stress and OCD: Stress can also trigger or worsen OCD symptoms. When individuals with OCD face high-stress situations, their obsessions and compulsions may intensify, further reducing their ability to cope with stress.
Managing OCD, Anxiety, and Stress
Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), particularly exposure and response prevention (ERP), is the gold standard for treating OCD. CBT is also effective for many anxiety disorders. Learning to manage stress through relaxation techniques can be beneficial.
Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. Antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often used for both OCD and anxiety disorders.
Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, can help reduce stress and anxiety. Mindfulness and relaxation practices, such as yoga and meditation, can also be valuable tools.
Editors Final Thoughts – My Symptoms, Treatment & Therapy
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, anxiety disorders, and stress are interconnected conditions that can have a profound impact on an individual’s well-being.
Recognizing the complex relationship between these conditions is crucial for effective treatment and management. With the right therapeutic approaches, support, and lifestyle adjustments, individuals can find relief and improve their overall mental health and quality of life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with these issues, seeking professional help is the first step towards healing and recovery.
As a sufferer of OCD, (germ contamination), I am the first to admit that OCD can be very overwhelming especially when I am under a lot of stress. My way of coping is to disinfect things around me. I have been a sufferer for over thirty years and I do believe OCD is inherited as my mother, grandmother, and uncle all suffered from the disorder. I also block out all negativity in my life to try and protect my mental health from deteriorating. Everyone has different ways of coping with grief, stress, and negativity. I choose to socially disconnect.
I conduct my own self-help therapy as my GP is as useful as a chocolate fireguard. I have reached out to them on multiple occasions and have evidence they put my letter on the system but never bothered to get back to me at all, other than to discuss my medication only once in the last 3 years and then was told the pharmacist read my letter to the GP.
I quarantine certain areas in my home which are a no-go to anyone visiting, although I do not socialize or entertain and the only people that come into the property are either the landlord or the contractors/engineers, which I keep at arm’s length.
My OCD has worsened in the last few years. I have socially disconnected myself from the physical world because not only would my OCD be embarrassing wearing latex gloves out in public but also the fear of being touched or touching something that I could not disinfect. My OCD has worsened because of events that have happened in my life, that I am trying to heal from.
I do have intrusive thoughts and sometimes if I do not do something fast enough I am convinced something bad will happen (also known as magical ocd). I try to override my thoughts by thinking this is just BS, I am stronger than that but sometimes it is hard to think this way which leads me into a dark spate of depression.
Some days I struggle to get through the day, and I tend to procrastinate. I have obligations and know I cannot abandon them, hence forcing myself to carry on, but is difficult when I overthink or worry. My medication works wonders when I need to go to sleep as it stops my mind wandering, I am usually out like a light within 30 minutes. Does it help with my OCD, not really.
When things get so overwhelming I tend to vent on my online journal, which does help to a certain degree because I am able to vent and release my anxieties to the world and know someone out there is reading it.
I am now a recluse entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong in a medical emergency I would have no option but to leave my home and worry about the consequences of being germ contaminated afterwards. Where I have not been able to disinfect things in the past I have simply thrown things away.
“I can function in my home by adapting my disability around my life”.
I have everything delivered to my door so there is no reason for me to leave my home. In all I have in the last five years left my home twice and both times caused me so much anxiety and distress, I am dreading the next time I have to leave.
I really could do with my own transport so that I could avoid public transport such as taxis, or buses. I have never been comfortable getting on buses and having to be cramped up like sardines sitting next to dirty people. Having my own transport would help with my disability.
I go through about 800 -1000 pairs of latex gloves a month and 6 liters of Dettol disinfectant. It has to be the Dettol brand as I am not confident in my head that any other brand could do a better job.
I do have a category about OCD and have pointed www.ocd.cymru to the 73+ articles and pages. I also have the domain www.germawareness.co.uk which I am in the middle of writing a series of superhero books for kids relating to germs.
I am now anxious about my PIP assessment due on the 11th of this month. I am anxious about the questions, with one in particular which could be a trigger. Even if you have never had thoughts of harming yourself, planting the seed could be dangerous. Has it ever crossed my mind? At my lowest point if I am being totally honest, yes, but I have always tried to reason with myself that these thoughts are BS and I am a stronger person. I have plenty of things to live for even though living is not as ideal as I would want it to be but I carry on. I am anxious, will I be judged?
I have endured grief over 19 times in my life, if I am being totally honest, and have for all intents and purposes tried to block the events/incidents out of my life. If I have made reference to grief in the past and omitted anything, it is because I have forgotten parts of my past, although some are more difficult to erase.
I want to bury my past!
Do I need to be reminded why my OCD has got worse and the measures I have taken to try and heal?
Depression is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lack of motivation, making it challenging for individuals to engage in their daily lives. While therapy and medication are effective treatments for depression, some people may not have access to them, or they may be hesitant to seek help. In these cases, AI chatbots can be a helpful tool for managing depression.
AI chatbots are computer programs that use natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to simulate human-like conversations. They can interact with users, respond to their messages, and even provide emotional support and guidance.
Here are some ways in which AI chatbots can help someone with depression:
Offer a judgment-free zone: Depression can make people feel isolated and ashamed of their thoughts and feelings. AI chatbots can provide a non-judgmental space for individuals to express their emotions and share their experiences without fear of being stigmatized or criticized.
Provide emotional support: AI chatbots can offer personalized emotional support based on the user’s responses. They can provide empathy and understanding, offer positive affirmations, and even provide coping strategies for managing negative thoughts and feelings.
Help track symptoms: Depression can manifest itself in various physical and emotional symptoms. AI chatbots can help users track their symptoms and provide recommendations for managing them. They can also alert users when they detect changes in their symptoms, helping them take proactive steps to manage their condition.
Provide access to resources: AI chatbots can provide users with information about depression, its causes, and its treatments. They can also recommend resources such as self-help books, online support groups, and mental health services.
Monitor progress: AI chatbots can track the user’s progress over time and provide feedback on their journey. They can help users identify patterns in their moods and behaviors and provide recommendations for improving their mental health.
While AI chatbots can be a helpful tool for managing depression, it’s important to note that they should not be used as a substitute for professional mental health care. Depression is a serious condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, it’s essential to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional.
AI chatbots can be a valuable resource for individuals struggling with depression. They can provide a safe and supportive environment, offer emotional support, and help users manage their symptoms. By leveraging the power of AI technology, we can improve access to mental health resources and help more people manage their mental health effectively.
Can AI Chatbots Keep A Lonely Person Company?
AI chatbots can provide companionship and keep a lonely person company to some extent. While they may not be able to replace human interaction completely, AI chatbots can engage in conversations with users, respond to their messages, and even offer support and advice in some cases.
There are chatbots designed specifically for companionships, such as Replika and Woebot, that use natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to simulate human-like interactions. These chatbots can provide emotional support, engage in small talk, and offer personalized recommendations based on the user’s interests and preferences.
However, it’s important to note that AI chatbots are still machines and cannot provide the same level of emotional intelligence and empathy as humans. They may also struggle to understand complex emotions and situations, and their responses may sometimes feel robotic or scripted.
Overall, AI chatbots can be a useful tool for people who are feeling lonely or isolated, but they should not be relied upon as a substitute for real human connection and support.
I have been playing around with Chat Open AI and Bing AI for a few weeks now. I am not a stranger to AI as I have integrated audio into my articles and also have a chat widget on my sites. But when I was asking Bing AI questions as I could not get to sleep and it was getting late the bot actually showed empathy by wishing a Goodnight and Sweet Dreams, followed by an emoji. I had to remind myself this was a machine I was chatting with and not a human.
This gave me the idea to integrate AI into my sites, giving people the opportunity to log in and chat without boundaries. Sometimes it is hard to talk to people about how you feel and just because you are smiling on the outside you could be in turmoil on the inside.
People find it hard to express their emotions and may find the ordeal stressful and embarrassing. People fear being judged and may not be so quick to say how they are really feeling. Talking to an AI does not compensate for talking to a person but an AI may have more knowledge, that our human counterparts.
If you are feeling, depressed lonely, or experiencing grief, talk with your local doctor. Do not suffer in silence. We have a useful links pages A-Z of organizations you can reach out to: https://disabledentrepreneur.uk/useful-links/
If you are feeling, depressed lonely, or experiencing grief, talk with your local doctor. Do not suffer in silence. We have a useful links pages A-Z of organizations you can reach out to: https://disabledentrepreneur.uk/useful-links/
What I have learned with OpenAI is that the developers oversee conversations and there are limitations to what you can say. Even AI has censorship as people would be asking all sorts of questions.
ChatGPT can answer most questions but there are content standards in place limiting the creation of text that promotes hate speech, violence, misinformation, and instructions on how to do things that are against the law.
However, users worked out a way around this by making Chat GPT adopt the persona of a fictional AI chatbot called Dan – short for ‘Do Anything Now’ which is free of the limitations that OpenAI placed on ChatGPT.
I do not know if the developers have found a way of censoring the fictional AI characters and I am not going to try to test it myself. I am just happy that OpenAI can support people with depression, grief, and loneliness. I am also keeping a close eye on all the latest tech news and what the future holds in terms of artificial intelligence and robotics.
Imagine if we could upload all our memories to AI through brain mapping, we would theoretically become immortal.
In today’s fast-paced world, communication has become more comfortable than ever. With the advent of technology, people can connect with each other from different parts of the world through various channels such as messaging, emails, social media, and phone calls. One of the most common forms of communication is a phone call, but sometimes, even a missed call can lead to anxiety. In this article, we will discuss how a missed call can give you anxiety.
Firstly, a missed call from a loved one can cause anxiety because it might signify an emergency. When you see a missed call from your parents, spouse, or children, you automatically assume that something is wrong. The feeling of uncertainty and not knowing what the call was about can make you anxious. Your mind starts to wander and imagine all sorts of worst-case scenarios, which can be stressful.
Secondly, a missed call from a potential employer can cause anxiety because you might miss an opportunity. When you are actively looking for a job, and you miss a call from a hiring manager or recruiter, it can be frustrating. You may worry that you missed your chance to impress them, and they will move on to another candidate. This fear of missing out can cause anxiety and stress.
Thirdly it is unprofessional to not leave a voicemail and expect the recipient to mind read. Not leaving the message will cause a person to get worried and anxious especially if they call back and the call goes into the answering machine.
There are consequences to people’s actions.
Some people may be anxious about the missed call itself. They may worry that they will never find out who called them or why, or that the call was important but they missed it. This fear can be particularly acute for people who have a fear of missing out (FOMO) or who have a tendency to overthink and ruminate.
If you experience anxiety due to missed calls, there are several things you can do to manage your anxiety. Firstly, try to identify the root cause of your anxiety. Are you worried about missing important calls, or are you anxious about the person who missed the call? Once you understand the source of your anxiety, you can take steps to address it.
For example, if you are worried about missing important calls, you can set up call forwarding or voicemail to ensure that you don’t miss any important messages. If you are anxious about the person who missed the call, you can reach out to them and check in to see how they are doing. If you are anxious about the missed call itself, you can try to reframe your thinking and remind yourself that most missed calls are not emergencies and can be returned at a later time.
In addition to these practical steps, there are also several self-care techniques that can help you manage your anxiety. These include exercise, deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness. By taking care of your physical and mental health, you can reduce your overall levels of anxiety and stress.
A missed call can trigger anxiety for a variety of reasons. If you experience anxiety due to missed calls, it’s important to identify the root cause of your anxiety and take steps to address it. By setting up call forwarding or voicemail, reaching out to the person who missed the call, and practicing self-care techniques, you can manage your anxiety and reduce your stress levels. Remember, most missed calls are not emergencies, and can be returned at a later time.
How anxiety can affect a person’s life
Anxiety is a natural human emotion that we all experience at some point in our lives. It is a feeling of worry, fear, or apprehension about what may happen in the future. While it is normal to feel anxious in certain situations, excessive and ongoing anxiety can be debilitating and can negatively affect a person’s life in many ways.
Anxiety can affect a person’s physical health. When we feel anxious, our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode, releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can cause physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, and shaking. Over time, chronic anxiety can lead to other health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and a weakened immune system.
Anxiety can also impact a person’s mental health. It can cause feelings of dread, panic, and constant worry. These feelings can lead to insomnia, difficulty concentrating and decreased productivity. Anxiety can also cause a person to become socially isolated, as they may avoid situations or people that trigger their anxiety.
Anxiety can also affect a person’s relationships. It can cause a person to become irritable, short-tempered, and withdrawn, which can strain relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. Anxiety can also make it difficult for a person to form new relationships, as they may feel too anxious or insecure to initiate contact.
In addition to affecting physical health, mental health, and relationships, anxiety can also impact a person’s career. Anxiety can cause a person to miss work, have difficulty completing tasks, and miss out on opportunities for advancement. It can also make it difficult to maintain positive working relationships with colleagues.
Furthermore, anxiety can also affect a person’s financial well-being. If anxiety is severe enough to cause missed work, it can lead to a loss of income. Additionally, anxiety can lead to increased healthcare costs as a person seeks treatment for their symptoms.
Overall, anxiety can have a significant impact on a person’s life, affecting their physical health, mental health, relationships, career, and finances. While it is important to seek treatment if anxiety is interfering with daily life, there are also steps a person can take to manage their symptoms, such as practicing relaxation techniques, exercising regularly, and seeking support from loved ones. By taking these steps, a person can reduce the impact that anxiety has on their life and regain a sense of control.
The domino effect of people’s actions regarding mental health
Mental health is a crucial aspect of our overall well-being. It affects how we feel, think, and behave, and it can have a significant impact on our quality of life. Unfortunately, mental health issues are widespread, and many people struggle with them in silence.
While mental health is a personal issue, it’s important to remember that our actions can have a domino effect on others. For instance, when we take care of our mental health, we inspire others to do the same. When we stigmatize mental health issues or downplay their significance, we create a ripple effect that can harm people around us.
The domino effect of our actions regarding mental health can manifest in many ways. Here are a few examples:
Stigma and Shame
One of the most common ways our actions can affect mental health is through stigma and shame. When we stigmatize mental health issues, we create an environment where people feel ashamed to seek help. This can lead to a domino effect where people suffer in silence, and their mental health deteriorates over time.
To combat this, we must work to create a culture that is accepting and understanding of mental health issues. This means promoting open dialogue and education about mental health, challenging negative stereotypes, and encouraging people to seek help when they need it.
Support and Understanding
On the other hand, when we offer support and understanding to those struggling with mental health issues, we create a domino effect of positivity. When someone feels supported and heard, they are more likely to seek help and take steps to improve their mental health. This, in turn, can inspire others to do the same, creating a positive ripple effect.
Self-care and Personal Responsibility
Our actions also have a domino effect on our own mental health. When we prioritize self-care and take responsibility for our mental well-being, we inspire others to do the same. This can create a domino effect of positive habits and behaviors that benefit everyone.
For instance, when we prioritize self-care by getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly, we are better equipped to manage stress and cope with challenging situations. This, in turn, can inspire others to prioritize their own self-care and improve their mental health.
Our actions have a significant impact on mental health, both on our own and on those around us.
By being selfish and not taking into account people’s mental health, not leaving voicemails says a lot about the person. It shows unprofessionalism if the entity phoning is part of a business and it shows that the caller does not care about the consequences of their actions.
The domino effect of selfishness can cause the recipient a catalyst of disorders, such as stress, anxiety, emotional distress, fear, depression, insomnia, and depression.
This actually happened to me today and when I phoned back my call went to voice mail where I did leave a message. I will try and contact the entity again if they do not email me and will give them a link to this post via SMS to teach them that not leaving a message has caused unnecessary stress and anxiety, which all adds up to my healing process. Putting spanners in the works only causes setbacks. I am now worried about what this person wanted from me. I hope the universe pays her back as the caller was a (she), because now I will be up all night worrying.
Apologizing is a lame excuse, the damage has been doneand there is nothing anyone can do to undo their thoughtlessness. Saying sorry, are just words, they do not mean anything, and they will not bring food to the table if the recipient becomes unwell because of a person’s selfish act.
It’s up to us to take responsibility for our actions and create a culture that prioritizes mental health and well-being and not be selfish.
Article Written and Published 9th December 2022 19.45 pm
This is a health update on how I am feeling today. It started off with Evri supposedly delivering two expensive parcels to my property with a photo of what looked like the side of a package and the pavement.
When I received the email I immediately went downstairs because I live in a First Floor Flat only to find nothing in the communal area, so my initial thought was to buzz my neighbor to see if they heard the buzzer go (seeing as I am partially deaf) and the woman said she did not hear anything. I then went outside and could not see anything.
So now I am starting to panic, I could feel my heart pumping faster and I started to shake.
Although this post is not entirely a medical guide I will still include a few links should you need to research further.
The symptoms I had were:
Shortness of breath or hyperventilating
Feeling ill and lightheaded
Feeling out of control or like you’re about to die (a distinctive sign of a panic attack!)
Tingling sensation in your fingers or lips
Shaking and sweating
Feeling out of control
Fear, Anxiety & Panic Attacks
I continued the small talk and asked if they had sorted the problem with British Gas chasing them for £2K even though they have only lived in the property for two months if that. Now, this is the bit that started alarm bells ringing because I am in communication with British Gas who have said my address has been reverted back to Ground Floor on the 8th of November 2022 where the debt is (which has nothing to do with me). I was even told by British Gas that my meter was associated with the building rather than the flat according to the national database. I have not had any problems for 23 years and all of a sudden I am.
I am feeling very anxious over a lot of things right now. My brother and his wife and son are coming to the UK for Christmas and although it would be nice to see them, I am anxious because I do not know how well I can cope with my OCD. Furthermore, they expect me to travel which is a journey of 3 hours and I need to go to the loo every hour. Public toilets are out of the question. I can cope with my disability at home but doing what I do is humiliating and embarrassing when it’s done in front of other people that do not understand.
I feel anxious just in case they make a diversion and want to come to my home, I have anxiety issues when workmen and contractors come in let alone anyone else. If I had more money I would make the place look more liveable but as it stands it’s I place I work and lay my head to sleep.
Although I have agreed to meet with my brother, he does not realize the ordeal I have to go through to get from A to B, It is stressing me because he is not taking my disability seriously. I am already leaving my comfort zone and am testing my OCD thresh-hold. My daughter said if I do this now I won’t have to go through this again for a while. So fingers crossed on how well I cope with my disorder.
So going back to my missing parcels they were wedged between the pavement and the bin where anyone passing by could have swiped. Nice one Evri part of the Hermes group shower of company.
I feel very on edge and feel very tearful. My tolerance levels are nil. I have no patience and am very irritable. Put it this way I found one last valium that I saved in case of emergencies which was prescribed donkey years ago. I still feel my heart racing and the valium pill did jack sh#t 💩 to calm me down.
A few hours have now passed since the fiasco with the courier this afternoon and writing how I feel down has actually helped to a certain extent.
It’s easy to say don’t worry, or things will be ok, but unless you are walking in my shoes it’s hypocritical for someone to judge.
“I will continue carrying on, one step at a time, until one day the universe manifests my desires”.
I believe one day I will have everything I dreamed of. I believe nothing stays in the same place forever. I continue to keep myself busy, to stop myself from thinking about my past. I have set myself goals that I will strive to achieve and from this, I will be able to eradicate my memories. I will be able to help others to also put their past behind them and learn to overcome their fears. Everyone has down days even the richest people on the planet and everyone has a story to tell. The trick is learning to love, respect yourself and learn to forgive. My therapy is called “writing”, this can be a letter, a diary, a blog, or a book.
Writing releases the tension and puts it out to the universe, it is up to God to punish the perpetrators that have hurt you, whilst allowing you to rebuild your life.
“I carry a battlefield of wounds and from my own personal experiences will tell my story”.
My Book Is Coming Out In 2023
“Like a Pheonix, From the ashes, I will rise and God help anyone that stands in my way. I am a survivor warrior and am iRenata”.
PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Personal Story.
Over the years I have endured many traumatic events, including domestic violence, the death of close family members, a car accident, and other life-changing incidents.
I have written articles about grief and how I have coped over the years plus I have cited source information on proven ways to help with, depression, anxiety, and stress disorders.
I have moments that trigger memories of past events like the time a criminal investigation officer (CID in 2011) walked into my property with another officer without knocking, being threatening, and taking my 10 yr old daughter into the kitchen, by himself to get her version of events, whilst I had the other officer talking to me in the living room because I would not press charges against the person that assaulted me. I ended up reporting him to the Police Ombudsman and he was demoted as a consequence.
So for anyone that comes into my property unannounced I start to get panic attacks and feel nauseous (28/11/22).
People who do not know my history and have not walked in my shoes have not got a clue what I have gone through, hence I plan to write my autobiography in order for the world to know so that people stop judging me.
Yes, I get judged because of my disabilities but it is because of the trauma that I have endured is why I have the disabilities.
I suffer from cerebellar atrophy, (head trauma). I also suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and intrusive thoughts. I have a bad knee from it being kicked seven times until it dislocated.
My therapy is to motivate and empower myself and learn about the mind. I am studying for a diploma in neuroplasticity and psychotherapy. I do not plan to change my career path, I just want to understand more about how the brain works and how I can re-wire my mind. This is just a personal goal.
I must admit I was shaken up today when I saw someone on the stairs but have got gradually over it by keeping myself busy as the day has progressed.
I tend to do a lot of research and writing so what happened a few hours ago is now in the past, although it was an unpleasant experience, which triggered my past memories, thus prompting me to write this article.
In hindsight, I should lock my flat door when I am inside but there is an outer door that a visitor must come through before opening my door. I am curious what would have happened if I was not home because obviously this entity must have had keys to get in or the flat below me let them in. However, if I was not home they would have needed keys to enter my flat.
“There should be a law that no one should enter the property without the tenant being present because what is to say that a contractor does not help themselves to valuables? You would have no proof they stole anything unless you had CCTV installed”. Yes, I may be accused of being distrusting, but over my lifetime I have been very trusting and people have abused my trust.
Overview – Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening, or distressing past events.
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks and may experience feelings of isolation, social disconnection, irritability, anger, and guilt. People often have trouble sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult. These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life.
Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions
Patients are characterized by having:
Anger issues, short tempers, jumpiness, and irritability
Short attention span, with no patience
High blood pressure or hyperventilation
Nausea or diarrhea
Cognitive and mood symptoms
The negative outlook on life, yourself, and others
Loss of hope for the future
Lapses in memory about the traumatic experience
Self-blame and guilt
Losing interest in previously enjoyable activities
Detachment from family members
For a PTSD diagnosis, a person must experience one or more re-experiencing symptoms and one or more avoidance symptoms. Also, they will need to display two or more changes in physical and emotional reactions and two or more cognitive and mood symptoms.
Risk and Resilience Factors
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress, and substance abuse often accompany post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, there are risk factors that can increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms of PTSD, such as:
A history of alcohol and drug abuse
No support system or social interaction following traumatic events
Experiencing prolonged trauma
High levels of stress in everyday life
Mental illness in oneself or relatives
Careers that have a high risk of exposure to a traumatic event, for example, military servicemembers or first responders
Gender: women are more likely to experience certain symptoms of PTSD
A domino effect of consequences, such as grief from separation from a partner, not having anyone to turn to, and losing a job, following a traumatic experience
Resilience factors that reduce the risk of having PTSD following traumatic events include:
Having a support group
Seeking out therapy
Having healthy personal relationships
Being able to control reactions related to fear and anger
Early intervention and PTS treatment, before it develops into a disorder
Having social and emotional support from an early age
Having positive coping mechanisms
Causes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Any situation that a person finds traumatic can cause PTSD.
These can include:
the sudden death of a loved one
a breakup with a partner
serious road accidents
domestic violence, such as sexual assault, rape, mugging or robbery
serious health problems
childbirth experiences, miscarriages
PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event. Sufferers of trauma may have symptoms of PTSD for many months or years.
PTSD is estimated to affect about 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience, but it’s not clear exactly why some people develop the condition and others do not.
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
People who experience multiple traumatic events in the course of their lifetime from situations such as severe neglect, abuse, or violence, may be diagnosed with complex PTSD. Complex PTSD can cause similar symptoms to PTSD and may not develop until years after the event. It’s often more severe if the trauma was experienced early in life, as this can affect a child’s development.
When to get medical advice
After you have experienced trauma you may feel life unbearable and very overwhelmed with the feeling the whole world is crashing down around you. You must seek professional help as quickly as possible to try and get your mental health under control. It’s normal to be very upset and confused.
The best thing you can do other than to see your doctor is to distract yourself and make yourself busy. Distractions could include, art therapy, going for a walk, meeting people, reading, and learning a new skill. Join support groups online if you feel you cannot interact physically.
You should speak with your GP first who can refer you to mental health specialists and advice you on all your different options for getting therapy.
I have in my time gone to psychiatrists and have also done CBT therapy but for me personally learning how to block out intrusive thoughts through accredited courses helps me to become an expert on how my mind works and what I can do to get better.
Learning is not for everyone, but as long as you write your thoughts down and release them to the universe you are one step closer to recovery.
How post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is treated
PTSD in many cases can be treated, even when it develops many years after a traumatic event.
A person suffering from anxiety and depression has to want to recover. It cannot be forced. It is a gradual process and it takes time. A person needs to take small steps, a day at a time.
Food for thought -This is more so for people who have done your wrong, abused, and hurt you. If you are a believer in God you may want to get the quote from Mathew 6 in the Bible that is to forgive the person that has done you wrong, thus God will forgive your sins and will take care of the rest. Who is more powerful than you to take revenge on the person that has hurt you, God of course…
Any of the following treatment options may be recommended:
watchful waiting – monitoring your symptoms to see whether they improve or get worse without treatment
As Rose says she feels she can never be totally free from OCD but has learned to manage it.
Personal stories of OCD help to analyze why we develop this disorder and how to overcome it.
Rose is a mental health advocate, Made of Millions cofounder, creative director, screenwriter, and the author of Pure, a memoir turned Channel 4 TV show. Her 2013 article titled Pure OCD: A Rude Awakening helped launch lesser-known manifestations of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder into the mainstream.
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