Helping Others Through Understanding

Many people suffer from social anxiety and/or depression, some more severe than others. If you know someone who does, please talk to them.

I was reading the blog post linked below and felt I really needed to pass the message on.

http://www.newlycrunchymamaof3.com/dear-diary/social-anxiety-strikes-again?fb_action_ids=10202082985225280&fb_action_types=og.likes

Reading this woman’s blog really cut close to home for me since I’ve suffered from depression for many years.

Depression goes in waves and even with medication it doesn’t go away, the waves just get calmer and less erratic.  It’s hard dealing with people who think that you should “get over it” or think that medication should “cure you” or worst of all can’t tell or refuse to acknowledge that there’s a difference between having depression and being depressed about things.  For that reason I really wish there was another name for it other than depression.

Thoughts come into your head that you didn’t put there, you don’t want there and can’t control.  Worst of all, you’re afraid to talk about them because of how people will react.  Some people treat you differently.  Some people freak out.  Some think you’re saying it for attention – which by the way is one of the most horrible things you could ever say to a person with depression.  We don’t want this, I can promise you that.

My daughter has dealt with panic & anxiety almost her whole life.  I’ve dealt with some anxiety issues, but not to the level that she has.  Having the opportunity to home school allowed her & I to come to understand her issues better, know what triggers to avoid, when we need to talk things through and when she needs a “time out”.  Because all nerves are connected, these “mental” issues affect physical ones as well… over sensitive hearing, sense of touch can be painful, stomach cramps, headaches, etc.

Overstimulation has always been a big issue and she can’t handle crowds.  Once we were able to isolate this, she started putting herself in “time out”.  Our code was that she had one of “her headaches”, it let me know that things were getting to be too much for her and that she couldn’t handle it.  If we were in a social setting it allowed her to gracefully bow out away from other kids with parental support so she could go to a quiet place and regroup.

I’ve got to say Bach’s Rescue Remedy was a miracle drug during those years.  A few drops in whatever she was drinking, made a huge difference and she still keeps it on hand to this day and thankfully rarely needs it.

Diet and medications can play a huge roll in these issues like these.  While you cannot “be cured” by eating a certain diet, etc, what you put into your system can make symptoms worse.

Many years ago I pulled a muscle in my back and the doctor had prescribed a certain pain medication (one that I have refused to take since).  Within days I could swear I could feel the gravitational pull of the planet.  My tone of voice was just nasty and hateful without meaning to be and I wasn’t aware that I was doing it most of the time.  When you say something to your (then) six-year-old and they look at you and say “it’s okay Mommy, I know it’s the medication” – there’s a problem.  Huge!

While you hear warnings in the media about giving antidepressants to teens because of the adverse effects (i.e. suicidal tendencies) they can cause. However you rarely hear about other medications and how they can cause problems.  My doctor knew of my depression and was the one that put me on medication for it.  He then gave me depo-provera for birth control and never once mentioned that it could be contributing to my depression worsening… even though depression is the number one side effect of depo-provera!  Instead he just kept adjusting  the dosage of my medication.  Thankfully I was able to say “this isn’t working anymore” and
“my symptoms are getting worse”.  Some people aren’t that lucky, instead they get consumed with it then try to (and sometimes succeed at) taking their own life.

If you have a friend or family member that suffers from social anxiety, depression, etc.  If they’re turning down your invitations but saying they’d like to get together, find out what’s up.  Maybe they can’t hang out with you at the club or the bowling alley or Chuck E.Cheese with the kids, but they’d love to meet you at the park or in a coffee shop.

If you’re not inviting them to something you know they can’t handle – let them know! Say “hey, I’d love to have you there but I know you can’t handle this”, so they know you’re not ignoring them and they also know you’re trying to be understanding of what they’re going through.  By all means let them know if they’re up to it you wish they’d come. Silence makes things worse.  Don’t let them think that you’re shunning them when you’re really trying to help.  Communication is key!

If you’re a parent, please listen.  Don’t assume.  If you have never dealt personally with anxiety or depression but you think your child is having these issues, introduce them to an adult that has if you can.  Whether it’s a friend of the family or a counselor, better to err on the side of caution.  Learn what you can and encourage your child to open up to you, without judgement.  It can be scary to hear certain things as a parent, but you must have empathy rather than panic or anger.  A little girl who my daughter was in Brownies with didn’t have anyone to listen and took her own life at 17.

There is nothing lonelier than depression, anxiety and panic.  It’s like being in a dark hole and the air is getting thick.  You can’t reach out because you can’t see anyone in the dark.  Please be the light in the dark and reach out.   Ask how you can help to understand what they’re going through.  You may be able to help, then again most likely there may be nothing you can do.  Or they may just not know what you can do but knowing that you’re there for them and care enough to ask makes a huge difference.

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

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