Wednesday, 27 February 2019

What The DSM-5 Doesn't Tell You About Social Anxiety Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) currently defines social anxiety disorder as follows:

The Current DSM-5  Definition:

  1. A persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be embarrassing and humiliating.
  2. Exposure to the feared situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally predisposed Panic Attack.  
  3. The person recognizes that this fear is unreasonable or excessive.
  4. The feared situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety and distress.
  5. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance situation(s) interferes significantly with the person's normal routine, occupational (academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
  6. The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is persistent, typically lasting 6 or more months.
  7. The fear or avoidance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., drugs, medications) or a general medical condition not better accounted for by another mental disorder.
What They Don't Tell You:

  1. You have no sense of self. Quite simply, your sense of self is the identity you carry around all day every day – it is your sense of “this is me” and “this is not me.” The sense of self, also known as the ego, is an image we carry around in our minds about who we are. When we have a strong sense of self, we are able to differentiate ourselves from other people. It is the biological, psychological, emotional, and spiritual destiny of all human beings to create a strong sense of self. It feels like you have no personality or soul or that your body and soul are detached from each other. You don't know who you are or how to act around other people. You keep changing your mind about what you want to do with your life. It's almost like being constantly dissociated. People with no sense of self will often mimic other peoples personalities so that they can seem normal. They associate no sense of self with borderline personality disorder but in reality, it is more often seen in social anxiety disorder.
  2. You are likely to develop depression later on in life due to financial difficulties and loneliness. I know this all too well. I'm turning 40 this year and I am semi-agoraphobic because I am struggling with depression as well as social anxiety disorder. 
  3. You have difficulties forming relationships with other people and to maintain relationships. 
  4. You feel intimidated by everyone no matter how old or young they are. 
  5. You blush constantly when you're out in public and it's not something you can control.
  6. You have memory problems. Our memories can be affected when we are under periods of stress or experience some sort of disturbance in our mood. Having a significant anxiety disorder like SAD can create some of these problems routinely, leaving people operating below their normal level of memory functioning. 
  7. You struggle to maintain eye contact when speaking to people. You feel unable to look directly into other people's eyes when talking or feel like you are being judged or scrutinized when making eye contact.
  8. You can't concentrate for long periods when speaking to other people and tend to get distracted by your own thoughts.
  9. You are so nervous when you speak to strangers that you stutter or stumble your words.

    Thursday, 21 February 2019

    My Love Of Horror Movies

    I have been a horror movie fan since the age of ten. Yes, I said ten. I have no idea why but I have always had a fascination with all things horror. I love the feeling I get of being scared out of my wits. When your adrenalin starts pumping into overdrive and your fight or flight response takes over. It feels so exciting! And I'm not referring to when someone comes up behind you and scares you to make you jump, that is just plain nasty and I can't stand it. I'm talking about going down into a scary and dark basement with the lights off, see that? That feeling you just felt, that's what I'm talking about. That's the feeling I love so much. Most people cringe even thinking about it but for me, this is the kind of thing that gets my attention. I have a distinct memory from when I was ten years old. It was Friday the 13th and my parents went out and us kids decided to do a horror movie and popcorn night. I think we were almost done with the first movie when there was a knock on the sliding door (classic slasher movie move). We all startled and screamed (as you do) and we were all too scared to go and look. So, we all went together (there are three of us) and it was our neighbour's son, my brother's friend. Of course, he thought this was absolutely hilarious, as did we after a while. And that was the beginning for me, that is when I knew that this was a love story that would never end.
    From that moment on I would always celebrate Halloween and Friday the 13th with a night of horror movies, popcorn and the lights off. I would go on to be a huge Stephen King fan. I will admit, I have never read any of the books, even though I do love reading.  I would go to my local video shop (in those days we would rent videotapes) and I would book the latest releases in advance and they would call me on the day to come and get it. Most people I come across don't understand my love of horror movies because I seem to have a bit of an obsession rather than just a love for it.
    I would have to say that my all-time favourite sub-genre has to be slasher movies.  You know, the classics like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Scream and so on. Now there is something that really bugs me is when a person or love interest tells me that they also love horror movies but then when you sit down to watch with them they can't bare to look or keep screaming. Ugh! That's not being a true fan. Paaaalease Brenda, I can watch a horror movie with all the lights off and not even flinch once. There was only one horror movie that caused me to put my lights on and that was Bad Moon. I have no idea why but werewolves scare the living shit out of me (okay so I guess there is something I would flinch for lol). That movie had me so scared I'm not going to lie. Watch the trailer here: As I grew old I had to endure some seriously bad remakes. I honestly don't think they should even go there because it just ruins it for us die-hard fans. Now here's something that makes my blood boil... I LOVE the Halloween franchise. I have watched every single one of the Halloween movies since the first one and I have recently decided to watch the new Halloween sequel because Jamie Lee Curtis is in it and we all love Laurie Strode, don't we? Needless to say, I was absolutely mortified because they had ignored all the other sequels and started this one off forty years after the first one but had left all the other sequels out. What a waste of the last forty years of sequels GRRRRRRRR!!!! Not a happy Halloween camper.

    That being said I cannot wait for the new Pet Semetary to come out!

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    Monday, 18 February 2019

    Why I Watch ASMR Videos!

    Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia and may overlap with frisson.
    So, that's what Wikipedia tells us ASMR is (the official meaning) but of course, we want to know in lamens terms (autonomous what now??πŸ˜–) what this magical thing called ASMR is. Now that we know what it stands for, what is it actually? In my own words: Video OR Audio that stimulates the senses to create a euphoria like state and to cause you to have "tingles". This is similar to the feeling you get when someone tickles your back or plays with your hair. Now, before you get any silly dirty ideas, ASMR is not some kind of sex fetish (although you could possibly get sexual ASMR for those who love porn - I'm guessing😏😏)
    The purpose of ASMR is to relax people and it is a very popular topic on YouTube, in fact, it is one of the most searched things on YouTube. Most people watch or listen to these videos/audios because it helps to calm their anxiety or insomnia. Some people would even describe the feeling associated with watching or listening to ASMR as brain-melting or having a braingasm. I first stumbled upon ASMR one evening when I was struggling with my anxiety so I typed into the search bar "videos for euphoria" and BOOM a whole new world of wonderful ASMR opened up to me. I found it all so fascinating and had no idea that this even existed until that moment (about a year ago). The ASMRtist (YES I SO DID) uses a special microphone (there are a few different ones on the market) and recording equipment (this would include a camera FYI lolz) that can capture specific sounds really well.
    Why do I watch ASMR videos? I find that it calms me down (I have social anxiety disorder as well as general anxiety and insomnia) and takes my mind off of anything and everything. I don't get the magical tingles that some people feel from ASMR but I still find it extremely satisfying. My favourite ASMRtist is Oliva Kissper on YouTube. She has a few psychedelic videos with layered sounds and these videos put me into sensory overload. A natural high that makes me feel so relaxed that I feel like I am floating. She also does a few with hand movements, I don't exactly know how this works but it makes me so drowsy and calm. Her videos are specifically designed to help people to heal from trauma and anxiety. This has become a nightly routine for me (if only my phones battery would last longer sometimes GRRRRRRR!!!) So, my honest opinion is that ASMR is absolutely amazing and I would highly recommend it to anyone who suffers from anxiety and insomnia.

    Why I Hate Telling People I'm Not Okay!

    I honestly do not like telling people that I am going through a difficult time or that I'm not feeling well whether it's being caused by my mental health or my physical health. I know that everyone always says that it makes you feel better when you talk about things with someone be it a friend, family member or co-worker. However, their robotic and cliche responses always make me want to pull my hair out, so for me, it is never a good thing to do. I would rather tell them I'm doing fine because it saves me so much anxiety and frustration. In my entire life of living on this green earth, there has been only one person that has been able to say the right things in order to get me to a better mental space and that was my mother (bless her). Unfortunately, she passed away just over five years ago so that can no longer serve me. I feel so detached from the world, society as a whole, myself and just everything in general. It's almost as if all of that just left when my mom died. I can't for the life of me get it back no matter how hard I try. I obviously have a lot of self-searching to do and finding myself is going to be a painstakingly difficult thing to do but I know that when I get to that point where I know who I am and where I am going in life I will thank myself for it.
    Now, the thing that pisses me off about peoples crappy advice is that it doesn't come from a place of pure love. Usually, they are just saying it so that you will shut up or go away. I mean, let's face it, "normal" people hate having to deal with our mental health meltdowns. So, if it doesn't come from a place of love then where does it come from? I'm assuming it's a learned response, something they have heard other people say, the usual things that everybody always says because that's "what works". ERm, no!!! No, Brenda, just going for a walk isn't going to fix years of trauma, emotional abuse and PTSD. Brenda FFS, yes other people might have it worse than I do BUT my depression, anxiety disorder and PTSD are still valid and hinder me from doing everyday normal adult things such as having a normal job, getting married, having lunch with friends (Wait, what friends?), starting a family, going shopping, driving a car, going out for drinks. These are such easy things that most people just grow into so excuse me for being upset when I struggle to do them while watching the world around me keep spinning.


    Every time someone says THIS ⇈ to me I achieve massive eye rolls. I swear I should be given an award for my talent in eye rolling! Firstly, if it were that easy for me I'm sure I would be doing it, wouldn't I?

    If only people would just not say anything rather than saying what they think you want to hear, am I right? How about giving someone the necessary tools in order to be able to have enough courage, motivation and self-confidence to leave the house, rather than just pushing them to leave the house. Teaching someone how to meditate so that their anxiety starts to melt away little by little. Showing someone some easy beginner yoga moves to release muscle tension and get the heart rate up. What about telling them that there's this neat little trick called EFT (emotional freedom technique) tapping that they can do for 20minutes every morning in order to release negative emotions and intrusive thoughts? I have never had anyone advise me on how I can do anything to build a bridge in order to cross the water, all they do is skip to the standing on the other side of the water part.

    Why People With Social Anxiety Disorder Cancel Plans

    Our friends and family always get annoyed with us because we often tend to cancel plans and turn down invitations to go to family gather...