All of us have to accept some anxieties.
Back in the day, when I was working all the hours God sends, I suffered terribly from the effects of stress. Everyone around me suffered too because I was bad-tempered, impatient, irritable and moody.
We all experience stress, to a greater or lesser degree. In fact without some stress we couldn’t function ~ our minds and bodies need a little stress to feel alive. However, too much stress is bad, and far too much stress can kill you.
Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. ~ Hans Selve
The proximate causes of stress and distress vary from person to person, but the usual suspects are: Bad News, City Life, Too Many People, Mindless Bureaucracy, Being Discriminated Against, Bullying, Work, The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, Dysfunctional Relationships, Failed Relationships, Sex, Sexual Dysfunction, and the Death of Someone Close to You. And then you might have your own particular reason to feel that you’re under intolerable stress. Of course, there is also a chance that you are seriously mentally ill with something like Borderline Personality Disorder.
People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. ~ Marsha M. Linehan.
The warning signs that stress is adversely affecting your mental and physical health are;
- Apathy and Depression
- Chest pains
- Drinking too much
- Inability to relax
- Intolerance of and over-reacting to noise and disturbance
- Irritability and a bad temper
- Lack of concentration / brain fog / poor memory
- Palpitations (oh Gods, did I suffer from heart palpitations!)
- Tiredness and an inability to get things done
The symptoms associated with stress are in themselves so distressing that they are likely to make you even more stressed.
Many of us will approach our doctor if we feel under intolerable stress and are suffering from one or more of the very serious symptoms listed above. What your doctor is most likely to do is prescribe you some powerful psychoactive drugs; Celexa, Cymbalta, Klonopin, Lexapro, Librium, Paxil, Prozac, Tofranil Valium, Viibyrd, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft… to name but a few of the very powerful chemicals your doctor could give you.
All of these drugs come with a load of side-effects, from tiredness, to sexual dysfunction, to feelings of dread, to wanting to commit suicide… Reading the leaflets that come with these drugs can be a very sobering experience. In my experience these drugs will either detach you from reality so you don’t worry about anything at all, or they will have an adverse effect.
If you’re lucky, then your doctor will also / instead refer you to some ‘talking therapy’ such as; Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Gestalt, Group Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, and Psychoanalysis. Alternatively you could take yourself off to a 12-step group like Alcoholics Anonymous.
I love going to my AA meetings and I don’t think I will ever stop. ~ Davina McCall
Drugs act fast, but all they do is mask the symptoms and make you ill from the nasty side-effects. Talking therapies and 12-step meetings will eventually make you well again ~ but the key word there is ‘eventually.
So what can you do to help yourself overcome stress?
Breathing is good. I mean slow deliberate breathing with serene and peaceful visualisations is good.
When I was under extreme stress I would take myself off to somewhere quiet, maybe into a church or public garden or down to the beach, stand or sit, or lie down comfortably, and really slow down my breathing, and at the same time I would breathe very deeply. Concentrating on my breathing I would listen to the sound of each breath, imagining it was the gentle sound of soft surf washing in and out on a white sandy beach under a blue sky. My breathing in and out exactly matched the sea gently washing in and out. After just a few minutes of this breathing exercise I always felt immeasurably more peaceful, and ready to face the next thing the day was going to throw at me.
Learning how to relax is the cornerstone of helping yourself to overcome stress.
‘Ha!’ You say; ‘If I knew how to relax I wouldn’t be so stressed…’
Breathing exercises are recommended by doctors and psychiatrists everywhere as a method of relaxation to overcome stress and anxiety.
Being better organised also helps alleviate stress. The best way to begin being better organised is to start writing things down, keep a journal, keep your diary and day-planner up to date, make lists, always have a to-do list, never go shopping without a shopping list… If you think of something you need to do, write it all down and then stop worrying about it.
Break big tasks into a number of smaller parts, and write a list of those smaller tasks with the date and time they need to be completes ~ then stop worrying about it all.
Learn how to say NO. Being at everyone else’s beck and call all the time is a sure-fire way to put yourself under extreme stress.
Stop using social media first thing in the morning, or late at night, and especially don’t look at crap like Twitter and Facebook when you are pressed for time.
Get plenty of good quality sleep. It’s hard to sleep when you’re under stress. If you really have insomnia, then it may be worth asking your doctor for something to help you sleep. But only rely on sleeping medication for a couple of weeks ~ these drugs are addictive.
Make reducing the stress in your life your #1 project, something you practice all the time, every single damn day.
Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not. ~ Valerie Bertinelli.
And please, please don’t resort to booze or recreational drugs, they make things worse very fast, and you can trust me on that one.
click on the book
then I was just a pathetic nobody
it felt like no one could hear me cry
and now my race to hell has been run
I’m out of the darkness and into the sun
feeling the warm breeze hearing the ocean
I’ll never forget the real love of the true one
but life isn’t the same since she has been gone
her leaving wasn’t easy, she had to say goodbye
seems I’m barely hanging on and it’s all so wrong
click to find the book
(p.s. I’m not actually feeling like that today.)
Men who fear demons see demons everywhere.
My life has been plagued by demons; or character defects, or weaknesses, or a disease, or a mental illness, or Borderline Personality Disorder ~ call it what you will but with a new understanding I know that there are demons lurking in the deep darkness of my innermost subconscious.
We all have inner demons to fight, we call these demons, fear and hatred and anger. If you do not conquer them then a life of one hundred years is a tragedy. If you do, then a life of a single day is a triumph. ~ Yip Man
My demons have attacked me, tormented and tortured me, brought me low and taken me down the long lonely Road to Hell.
My demons have not won the final battle. Yet at times I have been overwhelmed and given in to anger, depression, drink ~ and that is exactly what my demons want.
My demons are cunning shape-shifters and change from one insidious, pernicious, torturous form to another as soon as my back is turned.
My demons are very good at finding the things that can hurt me the most, cause me the most pain, and bringing those things to the forefront of my mind in an ugly distorted form designed to torment and torture me. My demons use negative thoughts of those I care for the most to hurt me the most.
My demons assume the guise of Fear of Rejection, Worthlessness, Anxiety, Depression, Jealousy, Fear of Failure, Addictions, Obsessions, and Compulsions ~ and all of those disguises are designed to cause me the maximum suffering. And my pain never seemed to lessen, or subside, or stop. The pain always got worse than the time before.
It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster. ~ Carl Jung
My demons are my shadow side from my deep subconscious, and my demons may also exist in an evil spiritual form. Yet I have embraced my shadow side, I have accepted and acknowledged the existence of my demons. If dark spiritual forces surround me, if demons lurk in the blackness of my deep subconscious, I will make those demons face the light of my awareness.
My demons now know that they cannot win, they cannot kill me. The pain only lasts if I allow it to. Now that I am aware of my demons I can accept that all the vicious negativity in my soul is only my demons trying to hurt me. My demons want me to feel the pain, my demons want me to fail, and my demons want me to descend into drunken depression ~ and I will not give my demons the pleasure of hurting me, of witnessing me hurt others, of seeing my abject failure.
Facing my demons is not easy. Facing my demons may well be the most difficult thing I have ever done. From out of nowhere my demons can make me feel mentally and emotionally exhausted, angry, jealous, afraid…
My demons want me to stop looking them in the face and telling them that they can never again cause the kind of pain and suffering I have known in the past.
My demons no longer have ultimate power over me ~ now I have some little power over them, and now I can truly begin to recover from the poison in my soul and walk the warrior’s path.
Our very souls may be consumed by shadows.
We each have a complex relationship with ourselves. If we have ever really suffered through something like; alcoholism, drug addiction, addiction to gambling, sex addiction, too many of the wrong prescription drugs, parental abuse, an abusive relationship, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, serious problems with our diet, mental health problems, failed relationships, job loss, loss of our home… (or more likely a mixture of all of these problems and more), then we also have a complex relationship with the whole world and everyone in it.
At times we can find ourselves in a very bad place where every voice is critical, malevolent, and negative ~ even our own inner voice. Our inner voice creates inner demons; anger, depression, fear of rejection, rejection of others, jealousy, judgementalism, self-doubt, self-hatred, worthlessness…
All the dark, malevolent Passions of the Soul are roused and exerted; its mild and amiable affections are suppressed; and with them virtuous Principles are laid prostrate. ~ Charles Inglis
Unless you have been there you can have no idea how bad the pain and anguish these inner demons can create. One will do almost anything to escape the crippling pain; including going back to our addictions, making big geographical moves, shutting down and numbing ourselves, isolating ourselves, psychotherapy, strong prescription drugs, attending 12 step groups, spirituality, retreating further into mental illness, suicide…
It is not just our inner demons. If we are in that bad place then we are also surrounded by demons. Everyone we know, everyone we meet, adds to these outer demons with their misplaced concerned advice, criticisms, and rejection. Many people do not want us to get well, they measure themselves against our struggle and feel superior, they add their negative demons to our own. When I was at my last rock-bottom I became aware that almost everyone I knew, everyone I met, was feeding off my pain. Few understand, few want to understand, and fewer still truly want to help.
Some especially gifted, intelligent, and sensitive people believe that there is a third layer of demons, in addition to our inner demons, and the tormenting demons gifted to us by almost everyone we know. Most spiritual and religious people also believe that there are more demons than the physiological and psychological. These special people believe in genuine demons, in the spiritual realm, and that some of us may be victims of these demons. In my mind’s eye I am very aware that in the shadows surrounding my soul lurk the powers of darkness seeking to torment and torture me.
Demons manifest themselves in people in different ways. For instance, out of nowhere, somebody can become very angry for no reason. That’s not just an emotion. That’s a demon. ~ Stephen Baldwin.
None of the details really matter. What I do know is that if you have truly suffered, and if you are suffering now, then you are the victim of demons who will feed off your pain, and want nothing more than to destroy you and everything and everyone you care for.
It is our demons that make us believe that our partner is sleeping with other men, that giving into our addiction will solve our problems, and that suicide is painless.
Many of us have tried over the years to face down our inner demons. Some succeed, many fail. Many fail because they don’t realise that the main causes of their misery are inner demons which seem to have an intelligence and will of their own. Many more fail because they never realise that they are also surrounded by malevolent evil demons emanating from the subconscious psyche of everyone they know. And, some fail because they are the victims of true demonic possession.
Demons are not your superiors, demons are not even your equals. All demons have is the ability to make you cause yourself pain and suffering. Demons can only torment and torture you if you let them, but most of us allow demons to torture us because we are not even aware that they are there.
Negative thinking patterns can be immensely deceptive and persuasive, and change is rarely easy. ~ David D. Burns.
Recovery begins with admitting that you have a problem.
I cannot yet face down my demons, but I know they are there, trying to make me torture myself so that they can feed off my pain. (Even your inner demons feed off the pain you cause yourself.)
Now, when I feel myself going down a negative path to my own personal hell, I can tell myself that it’s just my personal demons trying to destroy me, and that I should ignore their oppressive persecution. That helps me. A psychological bully can only bully you if you let them. Your demons have no physical power over you. Ignore them and your demons will go away. Eventually I shall be able to face down my demons and tell them to fuck off ~ and that will be a good day.
Demons are to be pitied. They have nothing but your pain and suffering. If you do not allow your demons to make you cause yourself pain and suffering, then those demons will eventually die and vanish into nothing.
You can and will get well if you do not allow your demons to torment and torture you.
click on the book
You don’t pick your demons; your demons pick you.
when demons came
every night has its dawn
don’t listen to the sad song
it will only bring you more pain
and cut your mind like a dull knife
remember this your life and be true
nightmares and demons cannot hurt you
if you take care to guard your incarnate soul
I use a Panasonic Lumix
the pictures help my mood
you reach the end of day
just wishing you could fly away
from people, places and possessions
but as happens with all commitments
you can find yourself caught in such a trap
you get so used to it you can’t find your way back
just assert yourself and hope they won’t all desert you
you know when you are not yourself every day just hurts
I’ve been awol for a while. Sorry about that. I’ll be back soon.
Meantime he’re a song I’ve been playing.
solitary hopefulness in the midst of blackness
do not condemn me to Stygian darkness
lonely abandonment in unhappiness
shine over me with watchfulness
care for me in mindfulness
lift my hopelessness
my shining star
words and pictures by jack collier
Night Sweats, Night Terrors, Nightmares, Sleep Terrors.
Night Terrors are not Nightmares ~ typically a nightmare happens when you’re in deep dream sleep, whereas night terrors wake you up, so the experience of a night terror is one of wakefulness. Night terrors are also different from Sleep Terrors, because a night terror will wake you up, whereas with a sleep terror you will have all the symptoms of extreme fear, but you will stay asleep. If you are awake, or partially awake, and terrified in the night, then the chances are you are suffering from night terrors, (which are a recognised psychological disorder).
Nightmares usually occur in the early morning during REM sleep when our dreams are at their most vivid. More often than not we can remember all the cinematographic details of a long, scary nightmarish dream when we first wake. On the other hand, night terrors usually happen during the first part of the night, aren’t part of REM sleep, and we won’t remember anything much other than waking up / being awake in a terrified state.
Typically, night terrors are caused by a previous psychological trauma, (such as an abusive childhood), or by stress, or by substance abuse, (such as drinking too much just before bedtime). However, as one of the causes of drinking too much before bedtime is a mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder, which is itself probably caused by a previous psychological trauma, it’s fair to say that if you suffer from night terrors you’re probably drinking too much and suffered some severe disturbance / abuse / trauma in your past. Chances are if you’re in that situation you’re also feeling very pressured right now, and suffering from the symptoms of undue stress. It’s an illogical Catch-22 situation.
If you suffer from night terrors it’s likely that you wake very suddenly with an intense fear of something unknown / a nameless dread. Your heart will be beating fast, you will be breathing hard and fast, your blood pressure will be elevated, your eyes will be wide and staring, and you will be sweating. This is different from night sweats, which is severe and excessive sweating, without the associated terror. The common causes of night sweats are medical, and some of them are very nasty, such as cancer. However, one other cause of night sweats is drinking too much.
What night terrors will do to you is prevent you from getting the 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep that most adults need every night. As well as making you feel tired, lethargic, and irritable, not getting enough sleep can cause lots of nasty illnesses such as; high blood pressure, strokes, and heart disease.
The most likely advice if you have night terrors when you get beyond your teens is that you should see a doctor. Good luck with that one, because the only real cure for night terrors is to treat the underlying problem(s). That will mean doing something about the effects of any psychological trauma in your past, and cutting out whatever drug you’re taking too much of late at night ~ including coffee, booze, prescription drugs, street drugs…
There are some very common-sense things you can do if you suffer from night terrors, sleep terror, nightmares, and / or night sweats ~ without resorting to medication and a long period of talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy. None of these are easy, or likely to give you a quick fix, but you should consider;
- Giving up booze completely, or cutting down a lot, and never drinking late at night.
- Quitting smoking ~ and if you smoke do not have a cigarette last thing at night.
- Stop using street drugs, and talk to your doctor about any prescription medication you are on.
- Late at night don’t drink coffee, and don’t eat a meal within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime.
- Stay hydrated. The average person needs 3 litres / 6 pints of water a day ~ but tea, coffee, wine, and beer don’t really help you to stay properly hydrated.
- Do not take a nap during the day, especially don’t take an afternoon nap.
- Go to bed at the same reasonable time every night, (if you need to be up at 7 am you need to be in bed at 10 pm), and get up at the same reasonable time each morning. Stick to this sleep schedule, even at weekends. Changing the time you go to bed, and the time you get out of bed, wrecks your internal body clock.
- Wind down in the evenings. Don’t use social media late at night or first thing in the morning. Instead practice a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as meditation and listening to relaxing, classical music.
- During the day get at least an hour of fresh air and moderate / vigorous / strenuous exercise.
- Make sure your bedroom is right for sleep. Your bedroom should be clean, tidy, quiet, very dark, still, and fairly cool, (between 60 and 67 degrees F). You really do need to sleep in total darkness and quiet.
- Make certain your mattress and pillows are comfortable for you. If your mattress is good quality it should last 10 years, after that, get a new one.
- Keep a sleep diary.
An episode of night terror can be brought on by worry, stress, emotional tension, fatigue, conflict, and especially too much alcohol late at night, (or more likely a combination of factors, including booze). How much is too much alcohol? Actually, too much booze is however many drinks puts your health and well-being at risk. For me, one drink is one too many.
After suffering night terrors you are likely to be utterly inconsolable, grown women, (and men), may cry, and the event may be so disturbing that your mind will wipe most of it from your memory. The next morning you won’t be able to remember what terrified you.
In adults, it is most likely that night terrors, sleep terrors, and nightmares have an underlying cause of previous severe stress, trauma, mental and / or physical abuse, and subsequent mental disorders and generalised anxiety. In fact, the underlying causes of sleep problems can be very similar to the underlying causes of addiction.
Not getting enough good quality sleep is a serious matter. The consequences are severe, up to and including death. If you’re suffering from night terrors, sleep terrors, nightmares, night sweats, then you really do need to take action right away. Start with the tips I’ve given above, but if you have to, go and see your doctor.
captive in a locked mind
camera behind locked doors
the empty vodka bottle is unkind
imagination’s running distant shores
inhabited in gloom and blackness defined