Silver Lining

A loving community finding the silver lining.


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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Definition: severe, ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily activities

 

Symptoms:

  • persistent worries about small or large concerns that are out of proportion to their actual impact. Most people with generalized anxiety disorder realize that their worries are unrealistic.
  • inability to relax and let go of worries; feeling keyed up and on the edge
  • difficulty concentrating or feeling like your mind “goes blank”
  • worrying about worrying too much
  • indecisiveness, worrying about making the wrong decision
  • physical symptoms: fatigue, irritability, muscle tension/aches, trembling, nervous, insomnia, sweating, nausea, bowel problems, headaches
  • symptoms specific to children and teens:
    • excessive need/desire to fit in
    • perfectionism
    • lack of confidence and constant need for reassurance and approval
    • spending excessive time doing homework

 

Statistics:

  • Prevalence: very common; more than 3 million cases a year in the United States alone.
  • GAD affects twice as many women as men
  • People are most at risk for GAD between childhood and middle age, and the disorder usually develops gradually

 

How to feel better:

  • Exercise: Even if you don’t feel like it, try to get yourself moving, whether you’re taking a walk or playing a game of basketball with a friend. Exercise is a potent stress-reliever and can help elevate your mood, helping alleviate your feelings of anxiety.
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, and coffee: sedatives like alcohol, nicotine and caffeine can make your anxiety worse.
  • Sleep: Make getting enough sleep a priority – it should be as important, if not more so, that getting good grades or doing other work. Sleep deprivation can lead to a slew of negative consequences, including impaired focus, coordination, and learning; higher blood pressure and risk for heart disease; and greater anxiety and depression. All around, you’re better off going to bed and getting the sleep you need than staying up those extra hours cramming for that chemistry test.
  • Face your worries: This doesn’t mean actually going out and doing whatever is scaring you, but it’s important to sit down with yourself once in a while and productively think about your worries. Go over the list of things that are giving your anxiety and ask yourself if those problems are solvable. If the problem is solvable, start thinking about solutions, and get ready to implement those solutions if necessary. If it’s not, that’s okay too. It’s not possible to be certain about everything that happens in your life, and uncertainty doesn’t mean something bad will happen. Everything will be just fine. 🙂
  • Professional Help: When all else fails, don’t be afraid to seek out professional help. Seeing a psychiatrist isn’t shameful – it’s smart. You’re getting the help you need and deserve, and you’ll feel better soon.

 

Additional Links and Sources for this Article:

Have trust in others!

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In elementary school, I didn’t have any friends and I often felt lonely. I used to play on the monkey bars and and with other fellow classmates, but nothing helped the feeling of loneliness. I was friendless and sad.

Then one day in 4th grade, I started talking to a girl who sat next to me in class. I asked her if I could hang out with her and we slowly became good friends. However, one day I started noticing that she was a bully. In fifth grade, I went back to having no friends. I graduated and was deeply saddened by what my elementary life was like.

Despite this, I moved forward and entered middle school. I was always a shy person and I was bad at starting conversations. Thankfully, I sat in a big table group with some talkative people. They talked to me and we all became close friends by the end of the year. Even though I was afraid that they would turn out to be bad like the friend from 4th grade, I gave them a chance and became friends with them. I was scared the friendship wouldn’t last but the following year they stood by me even though we were in different classes. They reached out to me and did not let go of my hand.

Still today, we continue to be close friends. If I had not taken a risk and if they had not been open to accept me as their friend, we would not have this deep friendship between us. When one door closes, another opens. By taking their hand and letting myself take a chance, I was able to form a deep bond with my friends.


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Major (Clinical) Depression

Definition: a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness.

Symptoms:

  • feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness
  • loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • significant weight loss/gain without any attempt to do so
  • insomnia or increased need to sleep
  • slowed behavior or restlessness that is obvious
  • constant fatigue
  • feelings of worthlessness, guilt
  • trouble making decisions and/or concentrating
  • thoughts of suicide or self harm – please get help as soon as you can! You are loved and help is available; there are many people who can and want to help you feel better. 🙂

Statistics:

  • Prevalence: very common; more than 3 million cases a year in the United States alone.
  • One in eight teens has clinical depression; so do one in thirty-three children.
  • The median onset of depression is 32, but anyone from young children to senior adults can get it.

How to feel better:

  • Foster Relationships: reach out to people you trust, such as a parent or close friend, and tell them how you feel. If you don’t feel like you can trust anyone you know, there are plenty of online resources and telephone hotlines (1 (800) 273-8255) you can use to talk to professionals who are trained to help people like you.
  • Exercise: Even if you don’t feel like it, try to get yourself moving, whether you’re taking a walk or playing a game of basketball with a friend. Research has shown that exercise fights depression as well as some antidepressants.
  • Beat Negative Thinking: It’s okay to make mistakes; no one is perfect, and that’s perfectly fine. Surround yourself with positive people and drop perfectionism. You can also try keeping a log of positive things that happen to you every day to help yourself think more positively.
  • Hobbies: Do things you enjoy (or used to enjoy), such as a sport or other activity. Even if you don’t feel like doing it at the moment, you might be pleasantly surprised by how you feel afterwards. Doing something will also keep your mind busy and rouse you from your low.
  • Laugh: While it might seem overly simple, laughing or even just smiling has been shown to scientifically increase your happiness. Watch a funny TV show or some cute baby animal videos on Youtube.
  • Professional Help: When all else fails, don’t be afraid to seek out professional help. Seeing a psychiatrist isn’t shameful – it’s smart. You’re getting the help you need and deserve, and you’ll feel better soon.

 

Addition Links and Sources for this Article:

Hotline (call for instant professional help 24/7): 1 (800) 273-8255

Challenge Recap

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Please leave a comment on how the challenge has been for you! I hope it encouraged you to step out and ask for help if you need it 🙂 

Another reason to ask for help

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It’s common for people to not want others to know when they’re suffering. Most people I know are like this, and I am too. Whenever I’m going through a lot of stress or sadness or anxiety, I never tell anyone but just smile and pretend that I’m okay. I don’t really know why I or other people do this; I think it’s become a standard response for people to have today. But however standard it may be, it’s not healthy. You’re only human, you can only take so much struggling on your own. It’s important for you to remember that there are people around you who care about you and you can tell them what’s wrong and ask for help. I think that asking for help has somehow become associated with weakness, and people don’t ask others for help anymore, but I see people fall apart on their own and it’s horrible to see. I want to help the people I care about when they’re struggling, not just sit by and watch them suffer while they just pretend that they’re alright. I don’t want people to suffer this way when they can succeed with help. Just remember this: asking for help does not make you weak or inferior; it simply makes you human.

How to ask for help

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How to Ask for Help:

When you’re at your breaking point, or you’re struggling with something, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Here are a few steps we put together 🙂

  1. Realize that it’s going to be okay. Your helper will not judge you. They love you wholeheartedly and want to be there for you. They are waiting for you to reach out to them. It’s only going to get better from here on out.
  2. Think about who you want to ask. Someone you love, trust, and know loves you as well. This can be your parents, siblings, teachers, counselors, or friends.
  3. Realize that the only thing stopping you is yourself. Think of what will happen if you ask. Your helper will give you a big hug, give you the yummiest chocolates in the world, and assist you in your struggles. You won’t have to face it alone! The worst thing that can happen is that they say no; you won’t die because you’re asking. Even if they do say no (which is pretty unlikely because you’re so awesome and loved), there’s always someone else to ask. 🙂 But seriously, who could say no to such an awesome person? You’re great! ❤
  4. Figure out when you want to ask them. For me, it’s easiest to get things done right away, or else I’ll spend forever worrying about it. Others might just need to set a time and it’s all good. But don’t overthink it; everything will be fine. Your helper cares about you and won’t be bothered, even if you call them at 3am.
  5. Breathe. You’re taking a big step here, and I’m incredibly proud of you. If you’re getting worried about asking, just take a deep breathe. IInnnn, and outttt. Repeat. Smile. You got this.
  6. Go for it! It’s time. You are ready and everything is going to work out. You can do this. I believe in you.

Challenge of the Week: Ask for help

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This week, hold a deeper conversation with someone, and if this is a norm for you, try holding this conversation with someone new. Get to know about their past, what they’re dealing with right now, and what their future plans are. Become besties! Everyone has something to say, and life is so much better when you truly get to know people. 🙂