Category: Relationships

Do You Have a Toxic Person in Your Life? That Could Be Affecting Your Mental Wellness

A lot of people talk about mental illness as if it spontaneously occurs one day. Maybe they assume that the person was born with the issue, or it is simply a chemical imbalance. That there is something inherently or biologically wrong with the person who has depression, anxiety or similar issues. And that may be true for certain advanced disorders.

Yet as someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety in the past, I don’t believe that it is all about biology. I believe many mental issues are deeply rooted in circumstance.

I don’t really like calling them “illnesses.” I think that many mental health issues are symptoms of things that are going on in that person’s life.

From my experience, a lot of people who struggle with their mental health have those issues due to the toxic people in their lives. Toxic people are those who may or may not be aware of their negativity and choose to spread it around any chance they get. They feed off of making other people feel sad, angry, frustrated, or defeated.

It could be that “friend” who makes you feel less than, as if you are lucky to be in their presence. Constantly launching veiled insults. Insecurity and depression.

The parent who either ignores you, mistreats you, or treats you like you don’t really matter. And when you say something in your defense, they tell you to stop being a crybaby because that’s how they were raised (who knows why someone would want to raise another generation that way when they’re miserable!). I think this begins to breed low self-esteem and depression in very young people.

That one sibling who constantly puts you down instead of bringing you up as they should. Depression, low self-esteem, and imposter syndrome.

That bully who bothered you every day you went to school, because he or she was miserable and probably being bullied at home. Anxiety and depression.

Watching a loved one be abused or treated badly for a long period of time. Anxiety.

Many people who struggle with substance abuse problems are affected by the toxic people in their lives who don’t understand them or don’t even care to understand.

Many people who struggle with depression feel abandoned and judged by the people who they would expect to support them.

Guilt and Shame

I have said before in my books and blog posts that guilt and shame are two of the most useless emotions. If you are feeling guilt and shame around your mental wellness, you shouldn’t. These two emotions are used to make people feel low and like they cannot rebound from whatever challenges they are experiencing.

Push the guilt and shame aside, and look forward to the future. What’s in the past is in the past—leave it there. Believe that there are better things on the horizon. Many people give up on life because they fall victim to guilt and shame and do not recover.

Limit Your Contact with Toxic People

It isn’t always possible to completely remove yourself from the presence of toxic people, whether they are friends or family members. But if you can, at the very least limit your contact with them. And when they start to affect you in a negative way, whether with actions or words, leave the situation as soon as possible. 

Do not allow yourself to mix in with their misery soup.

Understand that if you are dealing with mental health issues, it is not necessarily you or your biology that is the main problem. It could be overexposure to toxic people who you are forced to be around whether due to familial ties, work, or people who want you to believe they are friends. See how things go if you stay away from toxic folks for two weeks or more and spend more time with yourself, in peace.

Speaking from experience,

Love Lynn

Overcoming Loneliness: Ways to Stay Balanced and Optimistic About the Future

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been numerous studies and conversations surrounding the epidemic of loneliness. Even before covid, people were becoming increasingly isolated due to social media, technology, cellphones (texting instead of talking), depression, grief, and other reasons.

Post-pandemic, a lot of people are really feeling the struggle when it comes to being alone almost all the time, including those who have found no other choice than to quarantine and avoid meeting up with others. Experts have revealed that loneliness could have numerous effects on people, including physical and mental health issues, if this lifestyle isn’t managed properly.

We can forge better relationships with friends and family so that we increase the possibilities of having meaningful social interactions now and in the future. At the same time, unfortunately, we can’t force people to spend more time with us to “cure” our loneliness. But we can learn how to get more comfortable with being alone and enjoying our own company over time. Here are a few tips for how we can overcome feelings of loneliness and sadness, and think more optimistically for the future.

Maintain High Standards for Yourself

I talk about this in my book Sing While You’re Single. No matter how low, alone, or sad you may feel, strive to maintain a certain standard for yourself (personal hygiene and looks) and the place where you live (keeping it tidy, organized, and smelling good). Even if it’s just brushing and flossing your teeth meticulously each day or wiping down your kitchen counter so that it gleams. Just do it, it’s for you. You might feel lonely every now and again, but at least you can look good and feel good in your home—make it your Oasis.

Be Good to the Good People You Still Have in Your Life

Nearly a decade ago I was angry and resentful of pretty much everyone in my life because I felt that they abandoned me in my time of need.

Well, you know what? I had to get over that because it was making me increasingly isolated and even more angry at life and people. That approach wasn’t working. So, I began to study Universal principles and listen to motivational speakers and authors. It calmed me and gave me some sense of hope. I worked on myself and forgave whoever I thought wronged me. Truth be told, most people do not care if you are mad at them. Some don’t even know. There is no point hanging onto negative feelings about others—instead, focus on the decent people you know or encounter and build better relationships with them.

Be About Your Business

It is difficult to feel lonely, unhappy, and caught up in negative thoughts when you are busy with something that you are passionate about. Get busy doing something that you love, whether it is working on a plan to generate extra income, studying your craft to become a high-end expert, or working on your artwork.

Remember though: everything in moderation. Avoid becoming a workaholic to the point where you lose yourself or get distracted from other aspects of living well, such as preparing healthy meals, getting exercise, and staying in touch with loved ones.

Continue to Actively Participate in the World

Feelings of loneliness are exacerbated when you start to isolate yourself in your home and not actively participate in the world. Make efforts to go outside as much as possible and stay active. You can take a walk in a park with an ice-cold Snapple or smoothie, go to a shopping center even just to window shop, or just go outside your house and have a short conversation with a neighbor.

Just make every effort to go outside and interact with the world in some way. Breathe in the fresh air. Regular exercise outdoors is renewing and invigorating. See if there may be an outdoor fitness class you can join that allows for proper social distancing or find a quiet, safe place where you can practice yoga stretches.

Recognize When You’re Talking to Your Higher Power

When you feel like you may be talking to yourself, it might really be that you’re talking to your Higher Power, a guardian angel, or maybe a loved one who passed. I don’t think you are really alone if you believe that. Deep down you know that someone who cares about you is listening. Be comforted by that when you are feeling lonely.

It Takes Time to Get Used to Being with Yourself

It can take months or years before you finally become comfortable with just being alone with yourself, whether it’s at home cooking, going to an outdoor restaurant by yourself for a special meal, or just going for a walk on the beach. But there’s a good chance that you might learn to like it: the peace of not having to entertain other people’s personalities or proclivities and just do whatever YOU want.

Sometimes when I am with others, I look forward to getting back to my solitude, peace, and calm. I love myself, I like myself, and I enjoy spending time alone. But that took time.

Despite a number of personal tragedies that were out of my control, I am still optimistic that things can get better. You may be able to relate. This “epidemic of loneliness” does not have to become our new normal. I believe that we can return to having stronger connections with others while also being safe and responsible. We take things day by day, step by step, show genuine care for ourselves and our loved ones, and focus on positive thoughts for the future.

Love Lynn

Who Are Your Real Friends?

When I lost my best friend, my “person,” who had also been my fiancé at one point, my life went into a tailspin. I expected my friends, who extended across numerous backgrounds and experiences, to come to my aid at that difficult time. In tears, I texted about seven of them to tell them the news right after I heard. I got a few “sorry for your loss” messages back.

Then nothing. For months. From anyone. Not even my close family members.

I was in a state of shock, and I changed a lot in those months, which extended to years. I lost my lightness, my humor, and my confidence in people. I finally came to the realization that I no longer had any true friends after my best friend’s passing—I just had a lot of acquaintances. I just had people I know who knew me at one point.

As time went on, I started to get the impression that many of my former “friends” were quietly happy to learn that I was in distress. I was just a topic of gossip. In school and social settings, I had always been the life of the party, the one who always got the guy, and the one who took the lead. Now I was the depressed, grieving woman who was gaining weight, detaching from humanity, and losing her personality.

I wrote about this in several of my books. And I came to realize recently, all these years later, that this experience continues to have a very real effect on me, and how I navigate my relationships. I have a really hard time trusting people.

What Is a Friend?

A friend is someone who comes through for you when times are the toughest. Like a hero, she doesn’t run away from the problem, she charges forward to your rescue because she loves you and cares about your well-being. A friend tells you the truth. She isn’t secretly jealous of you. She invites you out because she genuinely wants to see you. She also makes time to come see you when she knows you need some company. She texts or contacts you at least a few times a week to see how you’re doing. To make sure you’re OK.

If you are blessed to have someone like this in your life, a real friend, cherish them and treat them the same way. It’s so important.

Love Lynn