“Privacy Bed” That Converts Into A Fort Is A Dream Come True For People With Anxiety

By​ Ruta Grasyte

Privacy Pop has created something to make nap time even better – it’s called The Bed Tent!

The Bed Tent is exactly what the name suggest – a tent that attaches to most beds (depending on the size) to create a dark little cocoon to sleep in peacefully. Not only does is block that little annoying light coming from the window, but it also shields you from the curious eyes of third parties! It’s also perfect for anyone who suffers from anxiety or just needs a minute alone. You can buy The Bed Tent through Privacy Pop’s website.

Thank you, Privacy Pop, for making nap time a whole lot better!

 

Modern Depression Is Caused By This One Thing- And We All Do It

Just like diabetes, cancer, allergies, and asthma, depression is considered a disease of civilization.

Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, is the number one cause of disability in the world for people aged 5 years or older. Approximately 1 in 8 children suffer from depression in the United States, and a total of about 14.8 million American adults have been diagnosed with the disorder. That’s a lot of people, and the number is frighteningly high when you consider depression is the main contributor to suicide, which claims more than a million lives per year.

Depression takes the most basic things we find joy in, and hides them away behind the shadows of sadness. Sleep, energy, focus, memory, and even libido are stolen from us. The loss of these simple necessities can destroy a person’s desire to love, play, work, and most notably, their will to live.dealing-with-distress-discouragement-and-spiritual-depression091911

In a recent TED Talk, Stephen Ilardi said, “Depression lights up the pain circuitry of the brain- to such an extent that it’s torment, it’s agony, it’s torture. And many begin to look to death, as a welcome means of escape.”

Ilardi, author of The Depression Cure, explains further to help us to understand what depression really is, what is really causing it, and how to make it really disappear.

Similar to our flight-or-flight response, the brain has what Ilardi refers to as a “runaway stress response.” He believes depression to be the result of prolonged exposure to this specific response. See, when our ancestors were faced with vicious predators or life-threatening dangers, the fight-or-flight response evolved to assist them with these situations. When the fight-or-flight response was answered with a feeling of safety, or security, the brain and body reverted to a state of reduced-stress. This reversion could only take place after the runaway stress response triggered intense physical activity, which could last for a few seconds or a few hours.

“The problem is for many people throughout the Western world, the stress response goes on for weeks, months and even years at a time, and when it does that, it’s incredibly toxic to the body and the brain,” Ilardi said.

The conditions in which we live today are extremely stressful, and this contributes to society’s rapid decline in health. Modern-day life disrupts our brain’s helpful chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, which can cause sleep deprivation, brain damage, inhibited immune response, and inflammation. This finding led Ilardi to another fascinating discovery: “Depression is a disease of civilization.”sad-man-with-umbrella-walking-in-a-lonely-street-digital-art-artw_preview_e2cd

Just like diabetes, cancer, allergies, and asthma, depression is considered a disease of civilization. Have you ever wondered why these diseases are so pervasive nowadays but were unheard of within indigenous cultures and tribes? It’s because we weren’t meant to live our lives like this- flooding our stress-receptors with trivialities while consuming poisoned food after a long work-day behind a computer screen.

As an example, Ilardi mentions research on the Kaluli people of the New Guinea. An anthropologist named Edward Schieffelin interviewed over 2,000 Kaluli and was surprised to discover that only one of those 2,000 showed symptoms of clinical depression. This was shocking information for Schieffelin, since the Kaluli face daily tribulations and horrors like high rates of infant mortality, parasitic infection, and violent death, yet they do not display or experience depression. Why is that?

Ilardi says the answer is because the Kaluli still follow the hunter-gatherer tendencies that helped shape humanity, while the dynamics of Western culture have instead shaped a “lifestyle of disease.”

99.9% of the human and pre-human experience has been lived in a hunter-gatherer context. “Most of the selection pressures that have sculpted and shaped our genomes are really well adapted for that environment and that lifestyle,” Sad little girlsaid Ilardi.

The industrial revolution began 200 years ago, and in that time, American and Western culture removed themselves from everything that came before them. All of the habits and ways of life that contributed to our very genetic makeup were replaced with something completely foreign to us.

And yes, we adapted our schedules and struggles to this new lifestyle, but our brains simply have not had enough time to alter their chemical constitution from the hunter-gatherer ways.

As Ilardi perfectly explains, “We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, socially isolated, fast-food laden, sleep-deprived, frenzied pace of modern life.”

So, if this is where we are after 200 years of advancement, and this advancement has brought about a change in lifestyle, and this change in lifestyle has brought about such an epidemic like depression, what will our next progression as humans brings us? We keep looking for ways to advance ourselves, our culture, and our lives when really, the best thing for us is to revert.

Learn self-sustainability, grow our own food, use solar energy, and spend some time outside. If we truly want to change our lives, we need to start with how we live.

I highly recommend you watch Stephen Ilardi’s TED Talk below and hear what he has to say about the depression epidemic, as well as his 6-step program to cure it.

WHEN YOUR PARTNER HAS ANXIETY: A MELTDOWN GUIDE

By kylarosesims

TW: I swear a lot in this article. 

What do you do when your partner is having a panic attack or a depressive episode?

It can be really scary and super frustrating watching someone you love go through an episode, especially if you don’t know how to be helpful.

This Meltdown Guide was created to help those of you who are in love with people who struggle with anxiety and depression to feel like you can be helpful when your partner seems to be spiraling.

Mental illness can be rough on any relationship, and it is truly no one’s fault. You do not have a responsibility to be super human and protect your partner from every little thing, including themselves. And it’s not your partner’s fault that they are struggling.

This guide was created to inspire those of you with anxiety and depression to communicate with your partner about what you need when you are spiraling, while you are in a better place.

Please take, leave, amend, and rip this list off to create a guide of what you think might work for you. Adapt it over time, and make sure to talk about it with your partner and make it available to them when needed.

So, your partner is having a meltdown. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Stick to the following guide, and they will calm their shit in no time. The rewards will be tremendous, and you will be rolling in the perks that come with a grateful and calm partner if you just follow these simple steps to helping them keep their fucking cool.

UNDERSTANDING ANXIETY: A METAPHOR

It is important to understand that because of the neurological connections in your partner’s brain, that have been fired consistently, maybe for their entire life, your partner may respond to stress by exhibiting symptoms of PTSD.

A Metaphor:

Think of this reaction as akin to hiding in a bomb shelter: They can’t live in there forever but it is safe. It is protection from a real or imagined threat or stressor on the outside. It allows one to periodically peer out through the periscope, assess the situation and deal with it in pieces. It also makes it very hard to make real decisions or take real actions.

In these situations, think of your relationship as the ground that the bomb shelter is built in and surrounded by. If you fall away or retreat, it often will make your partner feel exposed or threatened. The threat has nothing at all to do with the surrounding earth, but the emotions and actions that are a reaction to the actual threat, are played out within the earth.

Under no circumstances are you, the stable bedrock, responsible or accountable for the stress occurring above. You are an innocent third party.

If you assume responsibility, then you embody the threat. It is like the earth that surrounds the bomb shelter falling inward and crushing the bomb shelter. Everybody dies. That’s no good.

REACTING TO A PARTNER IN CRISIS

Depression, anxiety, and panic attacks should be treated with the same mindset as someone who has just been launched off their bike into a gravel pit. It hurts, and it’s gross and can be a bit frightening, but it will pass, wounds will heal, and it’s not a big deal, except for right when it is happening.

Getting upset about it does not make it go away. It has already happened, and now it is time to take care of business. Get your partner to a safe space, and start wiping up the blood and picking out the gravel.

NON-PROXIMITY DEPENDENT TIPS TO SUPPORT YOUR PARTNER WITH ANXIETY

No matter whether you are with your partner or not at the moment of crisis, these five tips will help get you both through it.

DO remain calm. You are a fucking champion. This skill and these experiences will help you in every relationship, intimate or otherwise, that you will ever have, for the rest of your life.

Don’t ask them to make decisions. They may be incapable of making any at all. Whether it is deciding if they want to go to bed, what they want for dinner, or if they want a glass of water, assume all decision-making faculties have been thrown out the window.

DO take control. This can mean telling them to brush her teeth, put on pajamas, take a shower, eat their dinner, etc. Taking off the pressure of having to make decisions and having the foresight to complete simple tasks like plugging in their phone is HUGE.

Don’t assume they can ask for what they need in that moment. Also, don’t assume you have to be a mind reader. You don’t, just try your best. You know your partner.

DO try the proximal and non-proximal suggestions below if you are unsure of your next step.

PROXIMAL SUGGESTIONS FOR A PARTNER IN CRISIS

Sensations

Disclaimer: Always ask for consent when touching a person who is having a panic attack. They may not be able to answer fully, but be aware of their body language and the subtle cues that they don’t like what you are doing, or that touching them is making it worse.

When touching, I find that skin to skin is best, face to face. Alternate between whole-body holding/constricting and light back circles with head petting.

Blankets in a quiet, warm, and relatively low-lit atmosphere can be soothing.

Platonic-ish kissing is good but mostly appreciated on the forehead, head, and upper back and upper arms. Neck kissing is too sensitive and sticking your tongue in their mouth will be overwhelming and inappropriate.

Keep your voice low, either quiet or whispering.

Extra special holding technique: Cradling in any form is exceptional; particularly if it allows the one doing the cradling the ability to whisper, rock back and forth in some way, and allows for gentle stroking or petting of the non-sexual variety. Think holding a baby.

Activities

Distractions can be good once the initial episode is over and it is time to recover. Music may be too emotionally triggering. I find cartoons are best.

Read to them, anything.

Bath or shower.

Do not fucking fall asleep. They will hate you forever.

Tell them about your day, or a mundane topic. Dumb facts about penguins or elephants work here. Do not expect a high level of participation but they are listening, and they do care. This is super helpful and can be very soothing.

Nourishment

Start with a glass of water, and if that is good, move to warm beverages – NOT alcoholic, or super creamy or sugary.

Encouraging words, “It’s okay, it’s okay.”

Breathing together.

Make sure they have eaten in the last 3-5 hours.

WHEN YOU CAN’T BE THERE

You can’t always be there when the shit hits the fan. That is not your fault nor is it your responsibility to babysit your partner. When you can’t be there, here are some great tips to get you and your partner through it.

Sensations

Hearing your voice can be soothing. If they don’t answer the phone, leave a message. If you don’t know what to say or talk about, just talk about yourself or your day.

Send a photo of wherever you are, or whatever you are doing. This relays that you have stopped to take a picture to send it to them because you are thinking about them. You can also send a picture of yourself making stupid faces, or take a picture of a horrible drawing of a whale you just did. Anything that brings them back into the moment with you. You get the idea.

Affirmative statements.

Activities

Be available. You’re in a relationship, and if you were going through stuff, you know they would be there for you. If you don’t want to make yourself available, you probably shouldn’t be in this relationship. Obviously, if you are at work, this is an exception, but don’t decide it’s not your concern. You are partners so act like it.

Make a plan. Don’t dwell too much on what is happening but tell them what is going to happen NEXT. Don’t ask for help making the decisions. Take the initiative to make the decisions about what is going to happen with the rest of their day. This will give them something to look forward to and is extremely helpful. Knowing that they will be taken care of is almost as good as being hugged right at the moment.

GO FORTH!

Now you know the basic steps to help the prettiest or handsomest, sweetest and loveliest person in your world handle their shit.

This list is in no way exhaustive, but it is a really healthy start. Every person is different, and what they need in the moment is going to vary – so talk about it, gosh darn it.

Remember that everything you do is deeply appreciated and it is strengthening your bond in ways nothing else could. You are also learning a lot about nurturing and being a better friend and lover. It’s not pretty, but it’s important.

If you or someone you know is struggling to have these conversations, please consider seeking professional help. You’re not alone, and no matter how ashamed or weird or fucked up this makes you feel, there are people trained to help you work through it and get on with your life. 

The Story Of The Strong Woman With High-Functioning Depression

By Raven Fon

She smiles brightly for all the world to see. But what lies beyond her cheerful countenance is chaining her to an unbearable weight.

Her smile is contagious- as is her laugh. Her eyes shine brightly and make you feel safe in their glow. Look from the outside, her life looks so put together. She’s spoken of her dreams for years, and now she’s living them. She seems to have the “perfect” life- and why shouldn’t she? She deserves it.

But things are different when she’s alone. She hides away all those smiles, and she cries.

She cries to find the inner-strength to keep going. She cries for the aches in her bones and muscles that never get a chance to rest. She cries for the money she isn’t making, despite working endlessly. She cries for the emptiness in her heart that pierces her to the very core.

And she smiles.

She smiles because her tribe shows her the love she so desperately needs. She smiles because she gets to wake up to gorgeous sunrises. She smiles when the majestic moon shines its blue-white beams down upon her. She smiles because she has manifested her dreams into a reality. She smiles because at the end of the day, she knows things will get better.

She plays many roles: your neighbor, your sister, your mother, and your wife. She knows she’s not perfect, but she strives to be anyways. She sees that other’s needs are met before her own.

She hides behind that big bright smile, but every single day, she is dealing with depression.

High-functioning depression, to be exact. It is a debilitating mood disorder that’s suppressed just enough for someone to carry out their daily responsibilities.

Some signs to look out for:

  1. Enhanced irritability
  2. Being too hard on themselves
  3. Substance abuse issues
  4. They feel like they are wasting time
  5. Anxiety
  6. Dismissing things they once cared about (appearance, cleanliness, relationships)

If you feel like this, or if this sounds like someone you know, please remember that there is always someone who cares and who wants to help.

You matter. You are enough.

10 Signs You May Have General Anxiety Disorder

We all get nervous sometimes.

For instance, waiting for medical results — like those that can detect whether we have a thyroid problem — is completely nerve-wracking. So is speaking in front of an audience, confronting someone about a problem, or even going on a date.

But for many of us, once we tackle these difficult situations, our nerves calm and we can happily go on with our lives.

However, for 6.8 million Americans with an anxiety disorder, forgetting about problems isn’t so easy. The most common form of this illness is called generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, and it is characterized by excessive worry about everyday life even when there is little to no reason to worry.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, sufferers aren’t even aware that they have the ailment, which also affects more women than men.

“I always thought I was just a worrier,” says an anonymous patient who worked with NIMH. “At times it would come and go, and at times it would be constant. It could go on for days. I’d worry about what I was going to fix for a dinner party, or what would be a great present for somebody. I just couldn’t let something go.”

Does this sound like something you or possibly a loved one may have? Check out the symptoms below, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Anxiety Symptom #1: Excessive Worry

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We all worry about things like a health, money, and family problems. But people with an anxiety disorder are extremely worried about these and other things, even when there is no reason to worry about them.

They think things are always going to go badly and getting through a typical day is an upward battle. Sometimes this even prevents them from doing everyday tasks.

“You continually anticipate bad things happening to you that can range from missing work deadlines to dying in a natural disaster,” says Doctor of Psychology Deborah Khoshaba. “You most likely try to ward off bad things from happening to you, by exercising a lot of control over your daily life and by engaging in other maladaptive strategies to manage the anxiety that you feel.”

If people often refer to you as neurotic, high-strung, or a perfectionistic, there is a chance you may have GAD.

Anxiety Symptom #2: Muscle Tension

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Anxiety is not just a mental issue. If you have a disorder, your anxiety can be so intense that it can quite even have a physical effect on your health.

In fact, according to published psychologists Catherine C. Goodman and Kenda S. Fuller, anxiety increases muscle tension. “This increase in tension can reduce blood flow and oxygen to the tissue and in turn cause a buildup of cellular metabolites.”

For instance, if your jaw often feels swore or tense, it could be a sign of a much bigger issue.

Anxiety Symptom #3: Headaches

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Headaches are a result of muscle tension, so if you are getting intense headaches that develop in areas where you can strain your face muscles — like around the temples or behind one eye or ear — it’s a good indicator that you may have GAD.

If fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, migraine headaches can act as alarm bells for the onset of a mental disorder.

“Researchers found that 11 percent of participants in the study had migraines and a variety of disorders: major depression, general anxiety disorder (GAD), dysthymia, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, panic disorder, substance abuse disorders, agoraphobia, and simple phobia.”

Anxiety Symptom #4: Difficulty Concentrating

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When one tries to concentrate when they have anxiety, they often suffer from something called “rapid thoughts.”

“Rapid thoughts are actually another type of anxiety symptom,” according to the Calm Clinic. “They are caused by your body becoming overly activated to the point where it starts processing all thoughts as rapidly as possible, only to end up focusing on nothing at all.”

When rapid thoughts start to pop into someone’s brain while they’re trying to focus, they have to use even more mental energy to drive them out, which can make a simple task feel really exhausting.

Another tactic some people with anxiety use to cope is distraction. In situations where someone may feel anxious, like at work, they’ll try to escape their problems by browsing the Internet to calm and get their mind off of situations that make them nervous.

Yet, this strategy prevents them from actually getting anything done.

Anxiety Symptom #5: Sweating

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You may get sweaty palms before a job interview or feel a drop trickle down your back before having to speak publicly.

This kind of perspiration, provoked by nervousness, is actually different from the kind of sweat you get from exercise or heat.

“Sweat from being overheated is produced by eccrine glands, which are located just under the skin all over the body,” says the Wall Street Journal. “But sweat caused by stress, fear, anxiety and sexual arousal is produced in the apocrine glands, found only in certain areas, such as under the arms.”

If you tend to break out in nervous sweats on your palms or under your armpits, it is suggested you visit the doctor.

Anxiety Symptom #6: Nausea….

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According to WebMD, nausea that is not provoked by a stomach virus is often linked to anxiety, varying from social and performance anxiety to fear, stress, and over excitement.

“Our lives are filled with emotions, from anger to shame, fear to delight,” Tracy A. Dennis, PhD, associate professor in the department of psychology at Hunter College, told WebMD. “These physiological and neuroendocrine changes associated with emotion influence all aspects of our body, including the digestive system.”

If you tend to experience nausea often, especially when you’re stressed, it is advised that you tell a doctor. But, for a quick fix, try deep breathing. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, then another. Inhale and exhale slowly. Repeat until your stomach begins to feel better.

Anxiety Symptom #7: Frequent Bathroom Breaks

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Do you feel like you need to use the bathroom all the time?
Do you worry about how often you need to use it?
Do you fear needing to use the bathroom when there may not be one available, like while on a bus or before a movie?
Do you often feel like you have to use the bathroom, but nothing comes out?

If these kinds of scenarios happen to you often, it can be an indicator of anxiety. While digestive problems are hard to pin down without the help of a doctor, you digestive system is very delicate.

“Bowel problems are a common problem with anxiety,” according to Calm Clinic. “As the stress from anxiety alters hormones, changes digestion speeds, and puts significant pressure on your intestines.”

Anxiety Symptom #8: Trouble Sleeping

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If you’re experiencing bathroom troubles and rapid thoughts, it’s no wonder you’d have difficulty falling and staying asleep — and that you would develop anxiety around bedtime.

“The more anxious [you] are about sleep, that undermines the ability to sleep well, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” says David Neubauer, MD, an associate director at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center in Baltimore, MD.

Sleep is important if you want to be emotionally healthy. If you can’t remember the last time you had a full night’s sleep, you may want to talk to a doctor.

Anxiety Symptom #9: Trembling

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Trembling is also a sign of an anxiety disorder — especially if trembling occurs in situations of high stress and continues even after you have attempted to calm the stress.

The reason why you may experience “the shakes?” It’s a spike in adrenaline.

“Anxiety is the activation of your fight or flight response to danger, even when no danger is present,” says Calm Clinic. “The response triggers a rush of adrenaline, which feeds your body with energy and prepares you to run or fight. It also constricts your blood vessels and feeds your nerves. All of these cause your body to start shaking.”

Anxiety Symptom #10: Easily Startled

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According to WebMD, being startled easily is one of the biggest symptoms of GAD, and being jumpy does seem like a normal response to other symptoms like tiredness, rapid thoughts, headaches, and constant worry.

If you find yourself on edge often, maybe it’s not so much “your personality,” but rather a sign that there is something much more complex at play.

If you get frightened easily and think you may have an anxiety disorder, it’s also important to recognize the signs of a panic attack.

Those who are suffer from GAD often experience panic attacks, which can be a confusing and scary experience. It can also happen suddenly and without warning.

Because a panic attack can resemble other medical emergencies, it’s important to know…

Panic Attack Symptom #1: Racing Heart

Panic Attack Symptom1

A racing or pounding heart is scary, and if you feel like it’s getting out of control, try to breath slowly. Inhale through your nose for five seconds and exhale through your mouth for five seconds and see if this slows the pace.

Panic Attack Symptom #2: Tingling

Panic Attack Symptom2

Tingling fingers is also a clear sign that someone is experiencing a panic attack. If this is happening to you, tell yourself: “What I am feeling is scary, but it is not dangerous,” and continue to breath slowly.

Panic Attack Symptom #3: Chest Pain

Panic Attack Symptom3

If you are young and relatively healthy, and you begin to experience chest pains (along with other panic attack symptoms), you might be having a panic attack. Try moving to a quiet place and continue to breath slowly and mindfully.

Panic Attack Symptom #4: Breathing Difficulties

Panic Attack Symptom4

If you are having trouble breathing, don’t fret. Although it may sound hard, freaking out is probably the worst thing you can do in this situation.

Instead, let someone know you are in this condition, and let this person know to do the following things:

  • Stay with you and help you keep calm.
  • Ask you what you need and do it.
  • Talk to you in short, simple sentences.
  • Have them help you focus on something.
  • Accept the current situation, but know that it will not last forever.

Have you experienced or know someone who has suffered from anxiety? Let us know in the comments!

Do you know someone who may have undiagnosed GAD?