Insecurity is a common feeling that most of us will experience due to a lack of confidence, anxiety, or uncertainty. According to The American Psychological Association, insecurity can impact both mental and physical health. So where does insecurity come from?
Think back to your own life. When was the first time you felt insecure or lacked confidence? Were you at work, at school, a social gathering, or applying for a new job?
Since insecurity seems like an unavoidable part of life, it’s important to know what is driving it. The 5 most common causes are comparison, rejection, social situations, past experiences, and perfectionism.
Many people try to hide their insecurities. For example, a person who is insecure about their weight may wear baggy clothes to hide their body size. A person with social insecurity may stand in the corner alone at a party or avoid group gatherings altogether. This is not a good long-term solution.
Instead of enjoying the moment, feeling insecure takes the fun away and replaces it with fear of failure.
While there is no instant fix there are behavioral changes that can help anyone to conquer insecurity.
Stop comparing yourself with others. This is a slippery slope and very evident on social media. Even though most people know many images on social media are manipulated, they can still bring up negative feelings about how we look or what’s going on in our own life. Instead, remind yourself that everyone has challenges. Focus on what you like about yourself and if there are things you would like to change, create a plan and go for it.
Nobody wakes up wanting to be rejected, yet it is a pretty universal experience that can lead to intense pain. According to Seattle therapist Brian Jones, rejection can provide opportunities for self-discovery and growth.
For example, you apply for a job you really want and have a great interview, but you don’t get the job. At first, you feel rejected and devastated. After reviewing your resume, you realize there are some skills you can improve to obtain your dream job.
The best way to overcome rejection is to avoid setting unrealistic expectations. Should you find yourself feeling rejected, ask: “what can I learn from this experience?”. Remember, rejection is not the same as failure. It’s just another opportunity for personal growth.
Social insecurity or social phobia causes someone to experience intense and persistent fear and anxiety in specific or all social situations (verywellhealth.com). While the easy solution is to avoid social situations, it is not always practical or possible.
Instead of throwing yourself into situations that cause you fear, try to slowly build up your confidence and tolerance to social situations. For example, you might start out making small talk with the cashier at the grocery store and work your way up to hosting a group of friends at your home.
Past experiences can negatively affect self-confidence and trigger feelings of inadequacy. For example, being bullied at school, filing for unemployment, or getting a divorce.
There is an internal dialogue that accompanies our feelings of insecurity. This is called the “critical inner voice,” says Dr. Lisa Firestone, co-author of the book Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice. “The critical inner voice is formed out of painful early life experiences in which we witnessed or experienced hurtful attitudes toward us or others close to us. As we grow up, we unconsciously adopt and integrate this pattern of destructive thoughts toward ourselves and others.”
Try these three tips to help you avoid letting past experience influence your future:
The inability to be satisfied with progress and the desire to control the outcome of any project until it is perfect can be a sign of insecurity stemming from the feeling that you or your performance is never enough.
The first step to changing the perfectionism within oneself is to recognize it. When one is trapped in this thinking they tend to check and recheck their progress, apologize for minor mistakes, and spend too much time redoing things. Perfectionism is a myth and should not be used as a tool for measuring your performance.
Finally thought: Not all people experience insecurity so intensely that it disrupts their life and ability to function. If insecurity is impacting your mental health and you can’t seem to conquer it alone, you may want to try cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is often preferred to traditional psychotherapy because it can quickly help identify and offer solutions for specific challenges. It generally requires fewer sessions than other therapies and is done in a structured way (mayoclinic.org).
Author - Candace Schoner, Freelance Writer and Mental Health Advocate.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. According to the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI), “people with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality, which can be distressing for them and for their family and friends.”
The term ‘schizophrenia’ meaning “a splitting of the mind ”was coined in 1910 by Swiss psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Eugen Bleuer. The symptoms present differently in men versus women and children versus adults. Yet, these significant differences aren’t always seen in films and television programs that over simplify characters with schizophrenia without illustrating the complexities of the condition.
The first film that comes to mind when I think about schizophrenia is A Beautiful Mind. The movie based on the life of American mathematician and Nobel Prize winner John Nash was criticized by many for its inaccurate portrayal of Nash’s mental health. Nash, himself, said the movie showed him relying on medication longer than he really did. He also said he believed psychotropic drugs are overrated. Still, it’s worth noting that the idea of ignoring your schizophrenia symptoms, as portrayed in the movie, isn’t a medically supported treatment plan. (FHAhealth.com).
May 24 is World Schizophrenia Day. The purpose of this day is to spread awareness about this illness affecting more than 21million people worldwide and eliminating the myths around mental illnesses in general.
Schizophrenia usually starts in late adolescence or early adulthood between the ages of 15 to 28. Men are at higher risk of suffering than women and tend to suffer from a more severe form of the disease with less chance of a full recovery.
Schizophrenia should not be confused with multiple personality disorder (technically termed dissociative identity disorder). The main characteristic of dissociative disorder is that people become disconnected from their sense of self, resulting in memory and identity loss.
In the 1976 movie, Sybil, played by Sally Fields, admits to having blackouts to her psychiatrist played by Joanne Woodward. Throughout the film, the audience is exposed to 13 different personalities within Sybil.
Childhood schizophrenia or early-onset schizophrenia affects those under the age of 13 and.
is extremely rare and difficult to diagnose since the symptoms are similar to many other mental health conditions.
Brain structure, family history and genetics all increase a child’s risk for developing schizophrenia.
Treatment for Schizophrenia
According to the experts, schizophrenia “requires lifelong treatment, even when symptoms have subsided. Treatment with medications and psychosocial therapy can help manage the condition. In some cases, hospitalization may be needed.” (www.mayoclinic.org)
For more information on diagnosing and treatment of schizophrenia, visit www.nami.org. If you would like to share your personal experience with schizophrenia, please contact me at email@example.com.
I’m 62 years old and a former journalist, TV producer, marketing director, publisher and small business owner living with ADHD. Six years ago, I started having symptoms of confusion, memory loss, and dysphasia. I could no longer remember simple things like my office passcode, my own cell phone number, how to turn on the dryer, and what day it was. This is just a small list of things that slipped my mind on a regular basis. As an overachiever whose self-esteem was measured by my career achievements, I was scared to death that I was losing my mind. I was convinced I had early onset dementia. It was only a matter of time before I would need help with daily living. After years of achieving my professional and financial goals, I was frustrated, angry and depressed because I was broken and unable to hold down a job.
It was a nightmare. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have anything to look forward to. My career and personal life came to a screeching halt. I tried to hold down my current job in marketing at the local synagogue, but I knew my boss was getting extremely frustrated with my mistakes. Like my ADHD, I tried to hide my failing memory from coworkers and friends, blaming errors and forgetfulness on lack of sleep and hormones. Remembering appointments, birthdays, how to get across town, and names, were like using a toothpick to dig out letters from a bowl of alphabet soup. I felt like a failure and constantly worried about getting fired from my job. My life felt out of control and I wasn’t sure I had any fight left in me.
After a few weeks of an internal pity party for myself, I started seeing a therapist who helped me put things into perspective. She reminded me that my self worth was not determined by my job title. She also told me to stop looking into the future, focus on the now, and recommended that I see a neurologist before jumping to the worst possible conclusion.
Funny, I had always been the person who others came to for advice and prided myself on my intelligence, independence and resilience. I had as much resilience as a deflated balloon.
I tried my best not to think about the what ifs and took my therapist’s advice to get a medical professional’s opinion. Apparently, she did not think “Google” was a reliable source for a clinical diagnosis. After multiple doctor visits, I was finally approved for an MRI of my brain which ruled out dementia or Alzheimer’s. This was both good and bad news. Although, I still did not have a clue to what was happening to my brain.
After the MRI, my neurologist sent me for a sleep study since sleep inefficiency can negatively impact brain functioning and memory. I had to admit, this made sense given my monkey mind and inability to sleep for more than four or five hours at a night. Despite a year of being treated for sleep apnea, my memory improved slightly. So once again, I found myself searching for answers.
Stumped, my neurologist scheduled me for a “psych study” involving nearly four hours of verbal and written questions. The results concluded I had ADHD. This was not a surprise to me, or my friends, family and coworkers. I have always had trouble with concentration and am easily distracted by sounds, shiny objects, and repetitive houghts. According to my doctors, the ADHD diagnosis fits with my memory issues.
I had never considered that my ADHD would be partly or totally responsible for my memory problem. I’m still not 100 percent convinced but can see how my brain’s inability to concentrate, lack of focus and impulse control could result in poor memory. I don’t know about you, but I often have to double check whether I’ve locked the front door behind me, left the coffee pot on, or forgot my purse on the way to work because I get easily distracted.
On a positive note, there are many positive traits associated with ADHD such as: resilience, creativity, adaptability, drive, sense of adventure and humor.
I am pretty certain if it were not for my ADHD, I would never have had the courage to start a business, the creativity to work in marketing or the adaptability to work part-time while seeking answers and solutions to my somewhat unreliable memory.
There is one thing I now know for sure, being happy is a choice. Even on my worst days, I make a mental list of the positive things in my life. I try not to worry about what others think and celebrate the small victories. I also believe humor is the best medicine.
Learning to cope with a mental illness is extremely challenging and no one can truly understand someone else’s struggles. My best advice to anyone is to be honest with themselves and others. Hiding one’s true self, in my opinion, is like playing hide-and-seek on a sandy beach.
Stayed tuned to part 2: My Eyes Deceive Me
AUTHOR: CANDACE SCHONER, HOST AND PRODUCER OF THE PODCAST SPEAKING CANDIDLY WITH CANDACE