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Patau Syndrome: Understanding a Rare Genetic Disorder

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Exploring the Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Impact of Trisomy 13 (Patau Syndrome).

Patau Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 13, is a rare genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 13 in some or all of the body’s cells. This condition leads to severe intellectual disability and physical abnormalities, including heart defects, brain or spinal cord abnormalities, very small or poorly developed eyes, extra fingers or toes, an opening in the lip (cleft lip) with or without an opening in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate), and weak muscle tone (hypotonia).

Causes and Diagnosis

Patau Syndrome is typically not inherited but occurs as a result of random events during the formation of reproductive cells (eggs and sperm). The extra chromosome 13 disrupts normal development, causing the characteristic features of the disorder. The diagnosis can be made prenatally through screening tests like ultrasound and confirmed with genetic testing such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS).

Symptoms and Complications

Infants with Patau Syndrome often have numerous and complex medical issues that affect nearly every organ system.

Common symptoms include:

  • Severe intellectual disability
  • Developmental delays
  • Low birth weight
  • Cleft lip and/or palate
  • Polydactyly (extra fingers or toes)
  • Microcephaly (small head size)
  • Structural heart defects
  • Abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord

The severity of these symptoms can vary, but the prognosis is generally poor. Many infants with Patau Syndrome do not survive past their first days or weeks of life. However, some may live for several months or even years with intensive medical care.

Recent Case Highlight

A tragic instance that brought attention to this disorder was the death of an 11-month-old baby boy, the son of a pop star, due to Patau Syndrome. This case highlighted the devastating impact of the disorder on families and underscored the need for awareness and research. The loss of this young life is a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by those affected by genetic disorders .

Pop star’s 11-month-old baby son dies of rare genetic disorder (msn.com)

Management and Support

There is no cure for Patau Syndrome, and treatment focuses on managing symptoms and providing supportive care. This may involve surgery to correct physical abnormalities, medications to manage complications, and therapies to support developmental and intellectual growth. Palliative care is often recommended to ensure the best possible quality of life.

Support for families dealing with Patau Syndrome is crucial. Genetic counseling can provide valuable information and support for parents and family members. Support groups and organizations can offer a community for affected families to share experiences and resources.

Gene and Cell Therapy: A Potential Rewrite for Chromosomes in Patau Syndrome

Patau Syndrome, or Trisomy 13, is a severe genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 13. This leads to significant developmental and physical abnormalities, with most affected individuals not surviving beyond infancy. Traditional treatments focus on managing symptoms, but recent advances in gene and cell therapy, particularly CRISPR technology, offer new hope for potentially correcting genetic anomalies at their source.

Understanding CRISPR and Gene Therapy

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is a groundbreaking gene-editing tool that allows scientists to make precise changes to DNA sequences. By using an RNA molecule to guide the CRISPR-associated protein (Cas9) to a specific location in the genome, researchers can cut the DNA at that location. This enables the removal or correction of faulty genes or the insertion of new genetic material.

Gene therapy involves the introduction, removal, or alteration of genetic material within a person’s cells to treat or prevent disease. It can be performed in vivo (inside the body) or ex vivo (outside the body, with the modified cells then returned to the patient).

CRISPR’s Potential for Patau Syndrome

  1. Correcting Chromosomal Abnormalities: The primary challenge with Patau Syndrome is the presence of an entire extra chromosome. CRISPR technology, combined with advanced gene-editing techniques, has the potential to target and deactivate the extra chromosome selectively. While this is a complex and ambitious goal, early research in model organisms has shown promising results in editing entire chromosomes.
  2. Targeted Gene Editing: If deactivating the entire extra chromosome is not feasible, CRISPR could be used to correct specific problematic genes on the extra chromosome 13 that contribute to the disorder’s symptoms. This approach could mitigate some of the severe complications associated with Patau Syndrome, potentially improving the quality of life for affected individuals.
  3. Mosaic Trisomy Treatment: In cases where Patau Syndrome presents as mosaic trisomy (where some cells have the extra chromosome and others do not), CRISPR could be used to target and edit the affected cells selectively. This targeted approach could reduce the number of cells carrying the extra chromosome, alleviating symptoms without needing to edit every cell in the body.

Cell Therapy Approaches

Cell therapy involves the transplantation of healthy cells into a patient to replace damaged or diseased cells. For Patau Syndrome, this could involve:

  • Stem Cell Therapy: Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from the patient’s own cells can be genetically edited using CRISPR to correct the chromosomal anomaly. These corrected cells can then be differentiated into healthy tissues and organs.
  • Gene-Corrected Hematopoietic Stem Cells: Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from bone marrow can be edited to correct the genetic defect and then transplanted back into the patient. This could potentially address blood-related abnormalities and provide a systemic benefit.

Challenges and Ethical Considerations

While the potential of gene and cell therapy for treating Patau Syndrome is exciting, several challenges and ethical considerations must be addressed:

  • Precision and Safety: Ensuring precise editing without off-target effects is crucial. Unintended changes in the genome could lead to new health problems.
  • Delivery Mechanisms: Developing safe and effective methods to deliver the gene-editing components to the appropriate cells is essential.
  • Ethical Concerns: Editing the human genome, particularly in embryos, raises ethical questions about consent, long-term effects, and potential misuse of the technology.

Current Research and Future Directions

Research in gene and cell therapy for genetic disorders is rapidly advancing. Clinical trials for CRISPR-based treatments are already underway for other genetic conditions, showing promising results. For Patau Syndrome, continued research and investment in understanding the disorder’s genetic basis and developing safe, effective gene-editing techniques are crucial.

Conclusion

Gene and cell therapy, particularly using CRISPR technology, hold significant promise for potentially treating and even curing genetic disorders like Patau Syndrome. While there are considerable challenges to overcome, the rapid pace of scientific advancement offers hope that we may one day be able to rewrite the genetic code and provide new opportunities for those affected by this devastating condition.

Patau Syndrome is a rare and serious genetic disorder that presents significant challenges for affected individuals and their families. Increased awareness, research, and supportive care are essential to improve the quality of life for those with the condition. The recent high-profile case of a pop star’s child succumbing to this disorder serves as a sobering reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of medical advancements and compassionate care in the realm of genetic disorders.


Everything You Need To Know About OCD and Germ Contamination

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Brown & Cream Image Depicting Typed Wording On Typewriter Paper, Mentioning ‘Fear & OCD’. Image Credit: PhotoFunia.com Category Vintage Typewriter


OCD and Germ Contamination: Understanding the Fear and Its Implications

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions). A common subtype of OCD is contamination OCD, where individuals have an intense fear of germs, dirt, or other contaminants. This fear can be so overwhelming that it significantly impacts daily life, including the ability to go out in public.

Understanding Contamination OCD

Contamination OCD involves a fear of germs and an intense need to avoid perceived sources of contamination. This fear is not just about being clean; it is an overwhelming anxiety that contamination will lead to illness, death, or severe discomfort. People with this condition often engage in compulsive behaviors, such as excessive hand washing, cleaning, or avoiding certain places or activities, in an attempt to alleviate their anxiety.

Reasons for Avoiding Public Places

For someone with a fear of germs, public places can be a source of significant stress and anxiety.

Here are 30 reasons why individuals with this fear might avoid going out in public, along with explanations for each:

  1. Public Restrooms: Fear of encountering germs on toilet seats, sinks, and door handles can be paralyzing.
  2. Public Transportation: Buses, trains, and subways are seen as breeding grounds for germs due to high foot traffic.
  3. Restaurants: Concerns about food handling, cleanliness of utensils, and surfaces can prevent dining out.
  4. Grocery Stores: Fear of touching carts, baskets, and products that others have handled.
  5. Workplaces: Shared spaces and equipment, like keyboards and phones, can cause anxiety about contamination.
  6. Schools: High concentration of people and shared facilities increase the perceived risk of germ exposure.
  7. Hospitals: Ironically, a place for health is seen as full of germs from sick patients.
  8. Shopping Malls/Centres: High traffic areas with many surfaces touched by others.
  9. Parks: Concerns about germs on playground equipment, benches, and public restrooms.
  10. Gyms: Shared exercise equipment and communal showers are seen as highly contaminated.
  11. Theaters: Fear of germs on seats and in confined spaces with many people.
  12. Public Pools: Concerns about the cleanliness of the water and surfaces around the pool.
  13. Airports: High volume of travelers and frequently touched surfaces are major anxiety triggers.
  14. Hotels: Worries about the cleanliness of rooms, especially bedding and bathrooms.
  15. Libraries: Fear of germs on books, computers, and other shared resources.
  16. Public Events: Crowded places like concerts and sports events are overwhelming due to close contact with many people.
  17. Grocery Checkout: Handling money or credit card machines touched by many people.
  18. Cafés: Concerns about the cleanliness of tables, chairs, and the handling of food and drinks.
  19. Churches: Shared hymnals, seating, and communion practices can trigger contamination fears.
  20. Public Markets: High traffic areas where goods and money exchange hands frequently.
  21. Doctor’s Offices: Fear of germs from other sick patients in waiting rooms.
  22. Playgrounds: Concerns about children’s exposure to germs on play structures.
  23. Public Transport Stations: High touch areas like ticket machines and railings.
  24. Amusement Parks: Shared rides and attractions touched by many hands.
  25. Public Beaches: Worries about the cleanliness of sand and public restrooms.
  26. Barber Shops/Hair Salons: Fear of germs from shared tools and close contact with others.
  27. Community Centers: Shared spaces and facilities used by many people.
  28. Dentist’s Office: Anxiety about the cleanliness of dental tools and surfaces.
  29. Car Rentals: Concerns about previous users and cleanliness of vehicles.
  30. Public Computers: Fear of germs on keyboards and mice in places like libraries or internet cafés.

Coping Strategies and Treatment

While contamination OCD can be debilitating, various treatments can help manage and reduce symptoms. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). ERP if you train your mind can help, however, one needs to be strong-willed, (for me I have tried to resist the urge on many occasions if I have accidentally touched something, but somehow my mind overpowers me). ERP involves gradual exposure to feared contaminants without engaging in compulsive behaviors, helping individuals build tolerance to anxiety.

Disclaimer: CBT & ERP does not fit all, where it may work for some people it may not work for others, so people need to be mindful (no pun intended).

Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can also help reduce symptoms. Additionally, mindfulness and stress management techniques can assist in coping with anxiety.

Conclusion

Understanding the reasons behind the avoidance behaviors in contamination OCD is crucial for compassion and support. By recognizing the profound impact this condition can have on an individual’s life, we can better support those who struggle with these fears and encourage them to seek effective treatment. With proper care, individuals with contamination OCD can lead fulfilling lives, even in the face of their fears.

I have lived with OCD for the best part of 40 years and in my happier moments have noticed my symptoms subside. But I am recovering from a lot of trauma that I have encountered in my life and I am trying to heal one day at a time. Recovery is going to take a long time. It is like going to the gym to lose weight, one needs to be in the right frame of mind, otherwise you go there a few times and then give up. This mindset applies to everything, alcohol addiction, drug abuse, smoking, and dieting. What I do as self-help therapy is document my health online (journaling). I have also become a recluse and fear going out for several reasons including ‘OCD Germ Contamination’. I don’t even like people visiting. I am trying to heal my way one step at a time.

Even though I have announced I am only working on the backend of my business on technical issues I have decided to come out today to educate people about what it is really like for someone to have a fear of germs and suffer from ‘OCD Germ Contamination’.


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The Ubiquity of Illness and Disability: A Shared Human Experience

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Brown and Cream Landscape Image Of A Typewriter With Wording Typed On Paper “Disabilities & Illnesses”. Image Credit: PhotoFunia.com. Category: Vintage/Typewriter.


Embracing the Inevitable: Illness and Disability as a Universal Human Experience

Illness and disability are universal experiences, that affect the lives of people across all ages and socioeconomic statuses. Despite advances in medicine and healthcare, it is an undeniable fact that everyone, at some point in their lives, will face some form of illness or disability and will encounter grief. Understanding the most common ailments and their underlying causes can help demystify these experiences, fostering empathy and support within our communities.

DisabledEntrepreneur.uk and DisabilityUK.co.uk aim to support individuals from all walks of life, recognizing that everyone will be affected by health issues at some point. These platforms provide comprehensive resources and guidance for managing various disabilities and chronic conditions, emphasizing empowerment and inclusion. By offering practical advice, inspiring success stories, and valuable links to support services, we strive to create a community where individuals can find the information and encouragement needed to navigate their health challenges. Their mission is to ensure that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, has access to the tools and support necessary to lead fulfilling lives.

At some point in their lives, everyone will be touched by disabilityuk.co.uk and disabledentrepreneur.uk, whether directly or indirectly. These invaluable resources provide a wealth of information and support for individuals facing various disabilities and illnesses. From practical advice on managing specific conditions to inspiring stories of entrepreneurial success despite physical challenges, these websites offer comprehensive content to help navigate the complexities of living with a disability. Visitors can find useful links to support groups, legal advice, financial assistance, and adaptive technologies, making these platforms essential for anyone seeking guidance and community in the realm of disability and chronic illness.

Common Illnesses and Their Causes

  1. Respiratory Infections
    • Common Cold and Influenza: These viral infections are ubiquitous, affecting millions annually. Their prevalence is due to their highly contagious nature, spreading through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
    • Pneumonia: Often a complication of the flu, pneumonia can affect individuals of all ages but is particularly severe in the very young, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
  2. Chronic Diseases
    • Cardiovascular Diseases: Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death globally. Risk factors include poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and genetic predisposition.
    • Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes, in particular, is on the rise, largely attributed to lifestyle factors such as obesity and sedentary behavior. Statistics for Type 2 Diabetes in the UK, Approximately 4.7 million people in the UK have diabetes, with around 90% of these cases being Type 2 diabetes. This translates to about 6.8% of the UK’s population. Europe: it is estimated that around 60 million people have diabetes, with Type 2 diabetes making up the majority of cases, on average, about 8.5% of the adult population in Europe. United States: In the USA, approximately 37.3 million people have diabetes, with 90-95% of these cases being Type 2 diabetes.
  3. Mental Health Disorders
    • Depression and Anxiety: Mental health issues are incredibly common, with one in four people expected to experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime. Stress, trauma, genetic factors, and biochemical imbalances are significant contributors.
    • Stress: Stress, in itself, is not typically classified as a disability. However, chronic stress can lead to or exacerbate conditions that may be considered disabilities, such as anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health conditions. When stress results in a significant impairment of an individual’s ability to perform daily activities or work, and is documented and diagnosed by a healthcare professional, it may then be recognized as a contributing factor to a disability.
    • Grief: Grief, while a profound emotional response to loss, is not typically classified as a disability. It is a natural process that individuals experience after the loss of a loved one, involving a range of emotions such as sadness, anger, and guilt. However, if grief becomes prolonged and severe, leading to significant impairment in daily functioning, it may develop into a condition known as complicated grief or persistent complex bereavement disorder. In such cases, this condition might be recognized as a mental health disorder and could potentially be considered a disability under certain legal definitions, depending on the jurisdiction and the impact on the individual’s ability to work or perform daily activities.
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): OCD is a mental health condition characterized by persistent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that individuals feel driven to perform to alleviate stress and anxiety. In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that around 1.2% of the population suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which equates to approximately 750,000 people. In the United States, the prevalence of OCD is similar, affecting about 1.2% of the adult population, which translates to roughly 2.3 million people. These statistics highlight the widespread nature of OCD and underscore the importance of accessible mental health resources and support for those affected.
  4. Musculoskeletal Disorders
    • Arthritis: This condition, causing pain and inflammation in the joints, is prevalent among older adults but can also affect younger individuals, particularly athletes or those with repetitive strain injuries.
    • Back Pain: A leading cause of disability, back pain affects people of all ages and is often due to poor posture, lack of exercise, or occupational hazards.
  5. Cancer
    • Various Types: Cancer does not discriminate, affecting people regardless of age, gender, or status. Risk factors vary widely, including genetic predisposition, environmental exposures, lifestyle choices, and sometimes unknown causes.
  6. Neurological Disorders
    • Alzheimer’s Disease: Primarily affecting older adults, Alzheimer’s and other dementias are increasing as life expectancy rises.
    • Epilepsy: A neurological condition causing recurrent seizures, epilepsy can develop at any age.
    • Multiple sclerosis: is a chronic neurological condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective covering of nerve fibers, leading to communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body.
    • Autoimmune diseases: occur when the immune system mistakenly targets and attacks the body’s tissues, causing inflammation and damage to various organs and systems.

The Non-Discriminatory Nature of Illness and Disability

Illness and disability do not discriminate. They affect the young and old, rich and poor, and individuals from all walks of life. This universality underscores the importance of healthcare access and the need for societal support systems.

  1. Children and Adolescents: Conditions like asthma, ADHD, and congenital disabilities are common among the young, affecting their development and daily lives.
  2. Adults: Working-age adults often contend with stress-related illnesses, chronic pain, and lifestyle diseases, balancing their health with professional and personal responsibilities.
  3. Elderly: Aging brings its own set of challenges, including increased susceptibility to chronic diseases, cognitive decline, and physical disabilities.

Embracing a Supportive Community

Recognizing that illness and disability are shared human experiences can promote compassion and solidarity. It is essential to create inclusive environments that accommodate individuals with varying health needs. This involves:

  • Accessible Healthcare: Ensuring that everyone has access to affordable and quality healthcare services.
  • Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about common illnesses and disabilities to reduce stigma and encourage early intervention.
  • Support Networks: Building strong support networks, including family, friends, and community resources, to provide emotional and practical assistance.

Conclusion

Illness and disability are inescapable aspects of the human condition. By acknowledging their prevalence and understanding their causes, we can better prepare to support one another through these inevitable challenges. Fostering a culture of empathy and support ensures that when illness or disability touches our lives, we are not alone, but rather surrounded by a caring community ready to help.



Disability UK: Empowering the Disabled Community

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Disability UK: Empowering the Disabled Community through Digital Innovation

Accessibility and inclusivity have become paramount. Disability UK (www.disabilityuk.co.uk) stands as a beacon of support, advocacy, and resources for the disabled community in the United Kingdom. Owned by the pioneering UK Website Designers (www.ukwebsitedesigners.co.uk), Disability UK is part of a broader initiative that includes the recent acquisitions of www.disableduk.co.uk and www.disbleduk.com.

The Vision of Disability UK

Disability UK was created with a clear mission: to provide a comprehensive, user-friendly platform that caters to the needs of individuals with disabilities. The website serves as a hub for information on disability rights, accessible services, adaptive technologies, and community support. By consolidating a wide range of resources, Disability UK ensures that users can easily find the information they need to navigate the challenges they face.

Comprehensive Resources and Support

The content on Disability UK is meticulously curated to address the diverse needs of the disabled community. The website offers:

  • News and Updates: Keeping users informed about the latest developments in disability rights, legislation, and advocacy.
  • Resource Directory: A comprehensive listing of organizations, services, and products designed to support people with disabilities.
  • Personal Stories: Inspirational accounts from individuals who share their experiences and triumphs, fostering a sense of community and solidarity.
  • Accessibility Guides: Practical advice on making homes, workplaces, and public spaces more accessible.

The Role of UK Website Designers

UK Website Designers, the company behind Disability UK, is renowned for its expertise in creating accessible, user-centric websites. Their commitment to inclusivity is evident in their design philosophy, which prioritizes ease of navigation, readability, and compatibility with assistive technologies. This ensures that Disability UK is not only a repository of valuable information but also a model of accessible web design.

Expanding the Reach: Acquisitions of Disabled UK and Disabled UK

In a strategic move to broaden their impact, UK Website Designers recently acquired www.disableduk.co.uk and www.disbaleduk.com. These acquisitions are more than just expansions; they represent a consolidation of resources that will enhance the accessibility and usability of information for people with disabilities. By integrating these platforms, Disability UK aims to create a unified network that can better serve its audience through:

  • Unified Content: Merging the content from all three websites to provide a more comprehensive resource pool.
  • Improved Accessibility: Utilizing the latest in web design to ensure all sites meet high accessibility standards.
  • Greater Community Engagement: Expanding forums, support groups, and interactive features to foster a more robust online community.

Looking Ahead

The future for Disability UK and its sister sites looks promising. With the backing of UK Website Designers, these platforms are set to continue evolving, driven by the needs and feedback of the disabled community. Upcoming features will include more interactive tools, enhanced support services, and continued advocacy for disability rights.

Conclusion

Disability UK, supported by UK Website Designers and bolstered by its recent acquisitions, is not just a website; it is a movement towards greater inclusivity and support for people with disabilities. By leveraging digital innovation, Disability UK is paving the way for a more accessible and empowered future for all.


Hoarding: Understanding the Disorder and Its Implications

Brown and Cream Coloured Image Depicting A Typewriter with Paper and Typed Wording "Hoarding". Image Credit: PhotoFunia.com Category Vintage Typewriter.
Brown and Cream Coloured Image Depicting A Typewriter with Paper and Typed Wording “Hoarding”. Image Credit: PhotoFunia.com Category Vintage Typewriter.


Learning To Declutter.

Hoarding, a condition often sensationalized in media and misunderstood by the public, is a complex psychological disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Characterized by the excessive acquisition of items and an inability to discard them, hoarding can lead to severe emotional, physical, social, and financial consequences. This article aims to shed light on the intricacies of hoarding, its causes, effects, and potential treatments.

What is Hoarding?

Hoarding disorder is defined by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. This difficulty is due to a perceived need to save the items and the distress associated with discarding them. As a result, living spaces become cluttered to the point that their intended use is impaired, causing significant distress or impairment in functioning.

Causes of Hoarding

The exact causes of hoarding are not fully understood, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development:

  1. Genetics: Research suggests a genetic component, as hoarding tends to run in families. Individuals with a family history of hoarding are more likely to exhibit hoarding behaviors themselves.
  2. Brain Function and Structure: Neuroimaging studies have indicated that people with hoarding disorder may have abnormalities in brain regions involved in decision-making, impulse control, and emotional regulation.
  3. Trauma and Stress: Traumatic life events, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or significant loss, can trigger hoarding behaviors as a coping mechanism.
  4. Psychological Factors: Conditions such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often comorbid with hoarding disorder.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Hoarding disorder is characterized by several key symptoms:

  • Excessive Acquisition: Continually acquiring items that are not needed or for which there is no space.
  • Difficulty Discarding Items: Extreme distress or indecision about getting rid of possessions, leading to accumulation.
  • Cluttered Living Spaces: Spaces become so cluttered that they can no longer be used for their intended purpose, such as kitchens becoming unusable for cooking or bedrooms for sleeping.
  • Distress and Impairment: The condition causes significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Diagnosis is typically made through clinical interviews and assessments that evaluate the severity and impact of hoarding behaviors on the individual’s life.

Impact of Hoarding

The repercussions of hoarding extend beyond the individual to affect their family, community, and overall quality of life:

  1. Health Risks: Accumulation of clutter can create unsafe living conditions, increasing the risk of falls, fires, and unsanitary environments that can lead to health problems.
  2. Social Isolation: Individuals with hoarding disorder often feel ashamed and embarrassed about their living conditions, leading to social withdrawal and isolation.
  3. Financial Strain: The compulsive buying associated with hoarding can lead to significant financial problems, including debt and bankruptcy.
  4. Family Strain: Family members may experience stress, frustration, and helplessness when dealing with a loved one’s hoarding behaviors, which can strain relationships.

Treatment and Management

Effective treatment for hoarding disorder typically involves a combination of therapeutic approaches:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is the most commonly used therapy, focusing on changing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to hoarding. It includes strategies for organizing, decision-making, and developing coping skills.
  2. Medications: In some cases, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed to help manage symptoms, particularly if there is an underlying condition such as depression or OCD.
  3. Support Groups: Connecting with others who have similar experiences can provide emotional support and practical advice for managing the disorder.
  4. Professional Organizers: Working with professional organizers who understand hoarding can help individuals gradually declutter and organize their living spaces.

Commonly Hoarded Items – Individuals with hoarding disorder can hoard a wide variety of items, including:

  1. Papers: Newspapers, magazines, mail, and important documents are commonly hoarded due to a perceived need to keep information.
  2. Clothing: Old, worn-out, or never-used clothes often accumulate, as individuals struggle to part with them due to sentimental value or perceived future need.
  3. Books: Collections of books can become overwhelming, often kept due to an attachment to the knowledge they contain.
  4. Food: Non-perishable and sometimes even perishable food items can be hoarded, leading to health hazards and unsanitary conditions.
  5. Household Items: Broken appliances, empty containers, and various knick-knacks are often saved for their perceived usefulness or potential repurposing.
  6. Trash and Recyclables: Items with no practical value, such as empty bottles, old packaging, and broken items, are often retained due to an inability to discard them.
  7. Animals: Animal hoarding, a subtype of hoarding disorder, involves keeping an excessive number of pets without the ability to provide proper care.
  8. Sentimental Items: Objects with sentimental value, such as gifts, souvenirs, and family heirlooms, are often hoarded to preserve memories and emotional connections.
  9. Electronics: Outdated or non-functional electronics, like old phones and computers, are commonly kept due to the belief they might be useful in the future.
  10. Furniture: Excessive amounts of furniture, often old or broken, can create significant clutter, obstructing living spaces.
  11. Craft Supplies: Including yarn, fabric, beads, paints, and other materials intended for future projects that often never get completed.
  12. Toys: Children’s toys, sometimes kept long after children have outgrown them, or collected due to sentimental value or as potential collectibles.
  13. Tools: Various tools and hardware, often kept with the belief they will be useful for future repairs or projects.
  14. Kitchen Utensils: Excessive amounts of kitchen gadgets, cookware, and utensils that may be broken or rarely used.
  15. Cleaning Supplies: Stockpiles of cleaning products, often far more than what is necessary for regular use.
  16. Gardening Supplies: Pots, seeds, tools, and other gardening materials, sometimes kept despite a lack of gardening activity.
  17. Beauty Products: Old or unused makeup, skincare products, and toiletries, often kept long past their expiration dates.
  18. Bags and Containers: Plastic bags, boxes, jars, and other containers that are saved for potential reuse.
  19. Hobby Items: Collections related to hobbies, such as sports memorabilia, model kits, or collections like stamps and coins, often growing beyond manageable levels.
  20. Jewelry and Accessories: Excessive amounts of costume jewelry, scarves, belts, and other accessories that are rarely worn but kept for their perceived value or beauty.

These additional items further illustrate the wide range of possessions that individuals with hoarding disorder may accumulate, often resulting in significant clutter and distress.

“Navigating Landlord-Tenant Dynamics: Implications and Considerations”

As a tenant, failing to maintain a clutter-free living space not only risks fines but also the possibility of eviction notices. Holding onto possessions that serve no practical purpose can lead to severe consequences, both financially and emotionally. It’s essential to train your mind to distinguish between necessity and desire, questioning whether an item truly adds value to your life. While you may justify keeping things for their potential usefulness in the future, the reality is that day may never arrive. Learning to let go is crucial, akin to releasing trauma or negativity endured, including mental and physical abuse. While accumulating possessions might provide a false sense of security, it can harbor hidden dangers. Excessive paper clutter, for example, can pose fire hazards, and hoarding items susceptible to rot can lead to germ contamination. Prioritizing safety and well-being means embracing the practice of decluttering and letting go of unnecessary belongings.

“Understanding the Distinctions: Hoarding Disorder vs. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)”

Hoarding disorder is often considered distinct from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), although there are overlapping features between the two conditions. Both hoarding disorder and OCD involve repetitive behaviors and intrusive thoughts that cause distress, but they differ in several key aspects:

  1. Nature of Obsessions and Compulsions: In OCD, obsessions are intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that cause anxiety or distress, while compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts performed in response to the obsessions to reduce anxiety. In hoarding disorder, the primary symptoms are excessive acquisition of possessions and difficulty discarding them, rather than specific obsessions and compulsions.
  2. Focus of Concern: In OCD, the focus of concern is typically on specific themes such as contamination, symmetry, or harm. In hoarding disorder, the focus is on the possessions themselves and the perceived need to save them, rather than on particular obsessional themes.
  3. Response to Treatment: While both OCD and hoarding disorder may respond to certain treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), the specific interventions may differ. Hoarding disorder often requires specialized treatment approaches that address the unique features of the disorder, such as difficulties with decision-making and emotional attachment to possessions.
  4. Neurobiological Differences: Neuroimaging studies have suggested that there may be differences in brain activity and structure between individuals with OCD and those with hoarding disorder, although more research is needed to fully understand these differences.

However, it’s worth noting that hoarding behaviors can occur as a symptom of OCD in some cases, particularly when the hoarding is driven by obsessions related to fears of losing important information or items. In such cases, the hoarding behavior would be considered a manifestation of the individual’s OCD rather than a hoarding disorder per se.

Overall, while hoarding disorder shares some similarities with OCD, it is considered a distinct diagnosis with its own set of diagnostic criteria and treatment approaches.

Is Hoarding Considered Eligible for Personal Independence Payments?

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Understanding the criteria for eligibility for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) can be complex, especially when it comes to conditions like hoarding disorder. While PIP is designed to provide financial support for individuals with disabilities or long-term health conditions, determining eligibility for hoarding disorder can be nuanced. Therefore to prove you have a problem you must be diagnosed with the disorder, backed by a medical history which you need to prove with photographic evidence of your hoarding or allow social workers to come and inspect your property. A health journal also helps DWP & NHS understand you and how you are dealing with your disability daily.

The Complex Reasons Behind Hoarding Behavior

Hoarding, often misunderstood and misrepresented, is a complex psychological phenomenon that manifests in the excessive accumulation of possessions and the reluctance to discard them. While the cluttered living spaces characteristic of hoarding may seem perplexing to outsiders, the underlying motivations driving this behavior are deeply rooted in individual psychology and experiences. Let’s explore some of the reasons why someone may hoard and unravel the intricate layers of this disorder.

Fear of Letting Go

For many individuals who hoard, the act of discarding possessions triggers intense anxiety and distress. This fear of letting go stems from a variety of sources, including a deep-seated belief that they may need the items in the future or that discarding them will result in loss or harm. The possessions serve as a form of security blanket, providing a sense of comfort and control in an unpredictable world. Whether it’s old newspapers, broken trinkets, or seemingly worthless items, each possession holds significance and represents a tangible link to the past or a potential future need.

Grief and Holding onto Memories

Hoarding can also be a coping mechanism for dealing with grief and loss. In times of emotional upheaval, such as the death of a loved one or the end of a significant relationship, individuals may cling to possessions associated with the past as a way of preserving memories and maintaining a connection to the person or event. Each item becomes imbued with sentimental value, serving as a tangible reminder of happier times or a source of comfort amidst pain and loneliness. The fear of forgetting or losing cherished memories drives the compulsion to hoard, even if it means sacrificing living space and functionality.

Feeling Safe Amongst Possessions

In some cases, hoarding is driven by a profound sense of insecurity and the belief that one’s possessions offer protection and stability. For individuals grappling with feelings of vulnerability or instability, surrounding themselves with material possessions provides a sense of safety and reassurance. The cluttered environment acts as a physical barrier, shielding them from external threats and offering a semblance of control over their surroundings. However, this perceived safety is often illusory, as the clutter itself can pose hazards and exacerbate feelings of isolation and despair.

Conclusion

Hoarding is a serious disorder with far-reaching consequences. Understanding its causes, recognizing its symptoms, and seeking appropriate treatment can significantly improve the lives of those affected. By increasing awareness and compassion, we can better support individuals in overcoming the challenges associated with hoarding and help them lead healthier, more organized lives.

Hoarding is a serious and often misunderstood disorder that requires compassionate and comprehensive treatment. Understanding the underlying causes, recognizing the symptoms, and seeking appropriate help can significantly improve the lives of those affected by hoarding. Through ongoing research and increased awareness, we can better support individuals in overcoming the challenges associated with this condition and promote healthier, more organized lives.

Hoarding is a multifaceted disorder with roots in deep-seated fears, unresolved grief, and a quest for security and control. Understanding the underlying motivations driving hoarding behavior is essential for providing effective support and intervention. While the cluttered living spaces may seem chaotic and overwhelming, each possession holds a story, a memory, or a fragment of identity for the individual. By addressing the emotional and psychological needs underpinning hoarding, we can help individuals navigate towards healing and reclaiming their lives from the grip of clutter.

I can say I am a makeup hoarder I buy makeup even though I may never use it. My mother taught me “Do you want it or do you need it”? and clearly, that has not resonated with me. Note to self, it’s time to declutter...


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Navigating Knee Surgery and Business

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Brown and Cream Image, Depicting A Typewriter With The Wording ‘Business’ Typed On Paper.
Image Credit: PhotoFunia.com Category Vintage Typewriter.


The Resilience of Disabled Entrepreneurs: Navigating Knee Surgery and Business

Entrepreneurship, challenges often arise unexpectedly, testing the resilience and adaptability of business owners. For entrepreneurs with disabilities, these hurdles can present unique complexities, especially when health issues demand attention. Imagine a scenario where a disabled entrepreneur faces the prospect of surgery, a situation that could potentially disrupt their business operations.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Knows No Bounds

Meet Alex, a wheelchair user and the founder of a thriving e-commerce venture. Despite facing physical challenges, Alex has built a successful business through determination, innovation, and relentless effort. However, like anyone else, health issues can arise unexpectedly, requiring attention and potentially impacting daily operations.

Recently, Alex received news that knee surgery is necessary to address a long-standing issue. While the prospect of surgery looms, Alex hesitates to step away from the business, knowing the implications of being incapacitated, even temporarily. For Alex, entrepreneurship isn’t just a career; it’s a passion and a way of life. The thought of being sidelined from the business, even for a short period, is daunting.

The Business Impact of Incapacitation

In any entrepreneurial endeavor, the absence of a key decision-maker can disrupt the flow of operations and hinder business continuity. In the case of a disabled entrepreneur like Alex, whose business relies heavily on their leadership and involvement, the impact can be particularly significant.

Without Alex’s guidance and oversight, crucial decisions may be delayed, leading to missed opportunities or suboptimal outcomes. Clients and customers accustomed to Alex’s personalized approach may experience a disconnect in service, potentially tarnishing the business’s reputation. Moreover, if the entrepreneur is expected to be on call 24/7, as is often the case in competitive industries, the absence could further strain the business’s responsiveness and ability to meet client needs.

Navigating the Road to Recovery

Knee surgery, in Alex’s case, presents not only physical challenges but also logistical hurdles. Immobility resulting from the surgery requires extensive support systems for daily tasks, both personal and professional. Without someone to assist, tasks as simple as navigating the workspace or attending client meetings become daunting obstacles.

Moreover, the implications of not having someone available to provide care extend beyond the immediate recovery period. For a disabled entrepreneur, the prospect of managing daily activities independently while recuperating from surgery adds a layer of complexity and stress.

Preparing for Knee Surgery: Ensuring Business Continuity and Smooth Recovery

Knee surgery, depending on the type and complexity, can incapacitate an individual for a significant period. Typically, recovery from knee surgery can range from several weeks to several months. For instance, a common procedure like arthroscopic knee surgery might require about 6-8 weeks for recovery, whereas more extensive surgeries such as knee replacement might necessitate 3-6 months or longer before full mobility is regained. The initial period of immobilization and limited mobility often includes pain, swelling, and the necessity for physical therapy to regain strength and flexibility.

Preparing for Knee Surgery: Key Steps

  1. Arrange for Assistance: Ensure that you have someone available to help with daily tasks, especially during the first few weeks post-surgery. This includes help with mobility, household chores, and personal care.
  2. Organize Your Living Space: Set up a comfortable recovery area with easy access to essential items. This might include a bed on the ground floor if stairs are a challenge, and items like medications, water, and remote controls within reach.
  3. Plan Your Work Schedule: Inform your clients and colleagues about your surgery and expected recovery time. Delegate responsibilities where possible and set up automated responses to manage communications.
  4. Leverage Technology: Utilize tools such as live chatbots and virtual assistants to handle routine business inquiries and tasks. Remote work tools can help you stay involved in business operations to some extent.
  5. Prepare for Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is crucial for recovery. Schedule your sessions in advance and understand the exercises you will need to perform at home.
  6. Stock Up on Supplies: Ensure you have necessary medical supplies, such as pain medications, bandages, and ice packs, readily available. Also, stock up on groceries and other essentials to minimize the need for outings.
  7. Financial Planning: Ensure you have sufficient funds to cover medical expenses and any potential loss of income during your recovery period. Emergency savings can help alleviate financial stress.

By taking these steps, you can help ensure a smoother recovery process and minimize the impact of your incapacitation on both your personal life and your business.

Businesses That May Need You on Call 24/7 or Available 7 Days a Week

  1. IT Support and Managed Services
    • Example: Addressing urgent system failures, cybersecurity threats, and network issues.
  2. Healthcare Services
    • Example: Managing emergency medical calls, patient care, and critical health consultations.
  3. Property Management
    • Example: Handling tenant emergencies, maintenance issues, and security concerns.
  4. E-commerce and Retail
    • Example: Resolving issues with online transactions, inventory management, and customer queries.
  5. Event Planning and Coordination
    • Example: Managing last-minute changes, vendor coordination, and client inquiries.
  6. Logistics and Delivery Services
    • Example: Ensuring timely deliveries, managing logistics issues, and customer support.
  7. Website Design and Development
    • Example: Addressing website downtimes, performing urgent updates, and managing online inventory.
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**Website designers, cannot be incapacitated and must be available around the clock to ensure their clients’ websites remain functional and up-to-date. If a client’s website goes down or requires urgent updates to inventory, a designer’s immediate attention can be crucial to maintaining business operations and customer satisfaction. Moreover, if you are responsible for marketing, advertising, and e-commerce inventory you cannot have time off work unless you outsource or employ someone to take your place.

The Importance of Support and Preparedness. While financial resources can help alleviate some of the immediate concerns associated with incapacitation, they cannot fully mitigate the impact on business operations and personal well-being. For disabled entrepreneurs like Alex, proactive measures and support systems are essential for navigating such challenges effectively.

Establishing contingency plans, delegating responsibilities, and leveraging technology to facilitate remote work are strategies that can help maintain business continuity during periods of incapacitation. Additionally, building a strong support network of colleagues, mentors, and trusted advisors can provide invaluable assistance and guidance during challenging times.

Conclusion

While the prospect of surgery and incapacitation may pose significant challenges, proactive planning, support systems, and a resilient mindset can help navigate these hurdles successfully.

Some individuals may downplay illnesses and disabilities, undermining and belittling those affected. They might assume that choosing to stay home or isolate is a sign of laziness or lack of success, rather than understanding the legitimate health or personal reasons behind these choices. Such attitudes can be profoundly demoralizing, especially when these individuals fail to motivate, encourage, or empower, leaving those they criticize feeling depressed and unsupported.

When faced with the prospect of surgery, these same critics might dismiss the importance of the individual’s business, questioning their financial stability and implying that their lack of success renders the need for recovery inconsequential. This lack of empathy and understanding exacerbates the emotional and psychological burden, making the already challenging process of dealing with health issues even more difficult. Assuming that a disabled entrepreneur is not financially stable perpetuates harmful stereotypes and underestimates their capabilities and achievements. This bias not only disregards the individual’s entrepreneurial success and resourcefulness but also reflects a broader societal misconception that equates disability with financial dependency. Such assumptions can undermine the confidence and legitimacy of disabled entrepreneurs, ignoring the diverse ways in which they innovate, manage businesses, and contribute significantly to the economy. It is essential to recognize and respect the financial acumen and resilience of disabled entrepreneurs, celebrating their achievements without prejudice.

As society continues to recognize and embrace the diverse talents and contributions of individuals with disabilities, it is essential to foster an environment that enables entrepreneurship to thrive, regardless of physical limitations. By championing inclusivity, accessibility, and support, we can empower disabled entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles, pursue their passions, and make meaningful contributions to the business world.

Further Reading:


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Lacking Support and Encouragement

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Brown & Cream Image. Motivation & Support Wording On Paper On a Typewriter. Image Credit: PhotoFunia.com Category Vintage.


Navigating Family Dynamics: When Support and Encouragement Are Lacking

Family is often considered the cornerstone of support and encouragement in our lives. However, this ideal scenario doesn’t always match reality. For many, family interactions can be fraught with a lack of praise, empowerment, and genuine interest. Instead, these relationships may feel self-centered, leaving you wondering why your achievements go unnoticed and why family members seem more interested in how much you earn than in offering support.

Understanding the Dynamics

Family dynamics are complex, influenced by individual personalities, past experiences, and societal expectations. Several factors might explain why your family doesn’t offer the praise and empowerment you seek:

  1. Different Value Systems: Families have varying beliefs and values. What you consider an achievement might not be valued in the same way by your family. They may prioritize financial success over personal growth or creative accomplishments.
  2. Jealousy and Insecurity: Sometimes, a family member’s lack of praise can stem from their own insecurities or jealousy. They might struggle to celebrate your successes because it highlights their perceived shortcomings.
  3. Generational Gaps: Older generations might not express pride or encouragement in the same ways younger generations expect. They may believe that not criticizing is equivalent to support.
  4. Self-Centeredness: Self-centered behavior in families can manifest as a focus on their own needs and achievements, often to the exclusion of others. This might result in them not acknowledging your milestones.

Social Media Dynamics

Social media adds another layer to these dynamics. You might notice that your family likes and engages with other people’s posts but not yours. Several reasons could explain this behavior:

  1. Curiosity vs. Support: Liking posts on social media is often driven by curiosity or social obligation rather than genuine support. Your family might engage with others’ posts out of nosiness or to maintain social connections.
  2. Emotional Distance: They might unconsciously distance themselves emotionally from you, making it harder for them to engage with your posts positively.
  3. Overlooked Familiarity: The more familiar people are with someone, the more likely they are to overlook their achievements. Your family might take your accomplishments for granted because they see you every day.

Strategies for Coping and Thriving

While you can’t change your family’s behavior, you can adjust your approach to protect your well-being and foster personal growth.

  1. Seek External Validation: Find support outside your family. Build a network of friends, mentors, and colleagues who appreciate and celebrate your achievements.
  2. Set Boundaries: If your family’s behavior is affecting your mental health, it might be necessary to set boundaries. Limit conversations about topics that lead to criticism or lack of support.
  3. Communicate Openly: Sometimes, family members are unaware of how their behavior impacts you. Having an open, honest conversation about your feelings can lead to positive changes.
  4. Focus on Self-Empowerment: Develop a strong sense of self-worth independent of your family’s approval. Celebrate your own successes and practice self-affirmation.
  5. Therapeutic Support: If familial relationships are particularly challenging, seeking help from a therapist can provide you with tools to navigate these dynamics and heal from any emotional wounds.

Coping with Resentment: Navigating Family Interactions When Support is Lacking

Family gatherings should ideally be times of joy, connection, and mutual support. However, for some, these meetings can become sources of stress and resentment, especially when family members who haven’t been supportive all year round only seem to show interest out of nosiness.

Understanding the Resentment

Resentment towards family members often builds up over time and can stem from various factors:

  1. Lack of Support: When family members fail to provide emotional, financial, or moral support throughout the year, it can lead to feelings of abandonment and frustration.
  2. Superficial Interest: When family members only reach out to inquire about personal matters without showing genuine concern, it can feel invasive and insincere.
  3. Unmet Expectations: Expectations of unconditional family support and encouragement can lead to disappointment and resentment when those expectations are not met.

Strategies for Coping and Thriving

While it’s difficult to change others’ behaviors, you can take steps to manage your feelings and interactions in a healthier way.

  1. Set Clear BoundariesEstablishing clear boundaries is crucial in maintaining your emotional well-being. Decide on the topics you’re comfortable discussing and politely steer conversations away from areas that make you uncomfortable. For example, if family members probe into your finances, you can respond with, “I’d prefer not to discuss that right now.”
  2. Limit ExposureIf family gatherings consistently leave you feeling drained and resentful, it might be helpful to limit the time you spend at these events. You can choose to arrive late, leave early, or skip certain gatherings altogether. Prioritize your mental health and well-being over social obligations.
  3. Shift Your PerspectiveTry to reframe how you view these interactions. Recognize that their nosiness may stem from their own insecurities or lack of awareness rather than a desire to undermine you. This perspective can help reduce the emotional impact of their behavior.
  4. Seek Support ElsewhereBuild a strong network of friends, mentors, and colleagues who provide the support and encouragement you need. Surrounding yourself with positive influences can help counterbalance the negative feelings from family interactions.
  5. Communicate Your FeelingsIf you feel comfortable, consider having an open conversation with your family about how their lack of support affects you. Use “I” statements to express your feelings without sounding accusatory. For example, “I feel unsupported when my achievements are not acknowledged, and it would mean a lot to me if we could celebrate each other’s successes.”
  6. Focus on Self-CarePrioritize activities that promote your well-being, such as exercise, hobbies, and mindfulness practices. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally can make it easier to handle challenging family dynamics.
  7. Professional HelpIf the resentment and stress are overwhelming, seeking help from a therapist or counselor can provide valuable tools and strategies for managing these feelings and improving your overall mental health.

Conclusion

Family dynamics can be complex and challenging, especially when support and genuine interest are lacking. By setting boundaries, limiting exposure, shifting your perspective, and seeking support elsewhere, you can navigate these interactions more effectively. Remember, prioritizing your mental health and well-being is essential, and it’s okay to distance yourself from situations that cause undue stress and resentment. Your happiness and peace of mind are worth the effort to create a more balanced and fulfilling life, even in the face of unsupportive family dynamics.

Navigating family relationships where support and praise are lacking can be challenging and emotionally draining. Understanding the underlying dynamics and reasons behind these behaviors is the first step toward coping. By seeking external validation, setting boundaries, communicating openly, and focusing on self-empowerment, you can thrive despite the lack of family support. Remember, your worth is not defined by their approval but by your own belief in yourself and your achievements.

MSN TEXT

I recently shared a screenshot of an email I received from an organization praising me for my content and considering the person I shared the information with also happens to work for the same organization but in a different department, did not say anything even though they did see my message. This, in turn, has caused me to overthink and have self-doubt, it made me feel inferior and caused intrusive negative thoughts. It made me feel no matter what I do I will never be good enough in their eyes, thus making me feel that I should distance myself from them.

The lesson I have learned from this is, not to expect approval or motivation much less of anything more from anyone, especially your family, and not to give too much information about your successes or failures because the lack of praise says they are not happy for you and if you mentioned failures they would be jumping for joy. So in order not to have any disappointments, praise and reward yourself without anyone else’s validation or approval and keep these people at arm’s length.


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