Daily Archives: August 28, 2015

Coke is Not My Friend

But I can’t seem to live without it.  I tried going with water at lunch and by the time I drove home I was so sleepy it was dangerous. I stayed without it until my youngest came home and then I just had to drink another one.  I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  And I so hate that feeling that I went ahead and got a  Coke.  So we will see if I can cut back a little at a time instead of so much at once.

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the news has been all over it for longer than a week, it seems. I’ve been avoiding news sites and programs all week long.  Hopefully after tomorrow it will be over and I can quit thinking about it.  I may post them at at some point, but right now I am just not up to thinking about the hurricane and what it did to my life at the time.

I can’t get the computer to act right for my assignments.  All I have to do is send my drivers’ license in to school and let them have it for documentation purposes that I am who I say I am. I seem to be incompetent at working the webcam thus far.  It’s blurry whether I put it close to the cam or far away.  I sent the best picture and hope it will do.  They rejected the first one.   We will see.

I did send in a pretty good video for my class assignment.  At least I hope it was good.  Hope it was what they were looking for.  I’m not sure about this new class in new media.  It seems to be starting very slowly so far  But slow is fine. Let me ease into it and get my feet wet as my professor says.


I Am This

I am aware that more often than not my tone on this blog comes off as whiny and woe-is-me like. I suppose that is what happens when you try to relate every aspect you can think of, of a disease that is mostly a negative part of your life. I have mentioned before how I […]

I Am This

I am aware that more often than not my tone on this blog comes off as whiny and woe-is-me like....

The post I Am This appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.

Some Thoughts on the “Nasal spray device for mental illness” Post

I saw the article “Nasal spray device for mental illness” (http://www.neuroscientistnews.com/clinical-updates/nasal-spray-device-mental-illness) article late last night and decided to simply post it because it was so interesting (https://bipolar1blog.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/nasal-spray-device-for-mental-illness/) Somehow, even though I didn’t post it on my FB Bipolar1Blog page, my statistics show that it’s gotten 25 views! That is a huge amount of traffic in less than 12 hours! People are looking for new ways to treat mental illness, obviously, we all are. And here is a novel way, using a nasal spray. Although not so novel if you think about people whose noses are/were rimmed with white powder in rest rooms of fancy restaurants, coming out with glassy eyes and torrential conversations and activity. That would be the first intranasal “therapy” for whatever you thought ailed you. Just something that occurred to me, no disrespect to people with mental illness or old or new or developing treatments for mental illness! Anyway, we’ve known for a long time that substances can reach the brain through the nose, (nose http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20010222/this-nasal-spray-may-clear-your-brain-not-your-sinuses) There are nerve endings in the nose from two very powerful nerves, the olfactory nerve and the trigeminal nerve. And both these nerves obviously have their roots in the brain. So if substances can travel these nerve “super highways”, they can get directly into the brain without having to go into the bloodstream, thereby avoiding the blood brain barrier. Large molecules such as Oxytocin, cannot cross the blood brain barrier. It is also faster to send molecules to the brain through the nasal route than to have them enter the bloodstream, go to the heart and then be pumped out to the rest of the body and brain.

So these researchers in Oslo decided to look at Oxytocin, a molecule that promotes social interaction, eases pregnancy, childbirth, and milk letdown after the birth of the infant. They observe that people with autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar d/o have poor social functioning, so a dose of Oxytocin will help them be better in social interactions. Since Oxytocin is a large molecule, it wouldn’t pass the blood brain barrier, so they decided to try this nasal route. It helps if you have a big nose, and if you breathe. The Oxytocin goes directly to the brain and “The research showed that only those administered a low dose of oxytocin experienced an effect on how they perceived social signals.”

The researchers say that these effects were seen in only the men who received low doses of Oxytocin intranasally. The effects were not seen in men who received Oxytocin intravenously.

Whatever the effects were, whether Oxytocin can be used as a therapy for mental illness or not, this study is important because it shows that drugs can be delivered intranasally, directly to the brain, avoiding the blood circulation and the blood brain barrier and or GI/stomach problems. More drugs can be tested for intranasal delivery. A quicker and hopefully more effective route into the brain, leading to more effective therapies for treating mental/neurological illnesses.


Virginia Shooting: Mental Illness vs Gun Violence

mental illnesss blogEvery time there is a mass shooting, I just wait for the media to tell us that the person was mentally ill and that is why they did it.  It saddens me that the media oftentimes does not mention that less than 1% of people with mental illness are violent.

They also don’t use the opportunity to educate the public about mental illness, let them know what signs to look for, assure them it is okay to get help and where to get it.  Instead the media would rather just let the public think that all people with mental illness are violent.

After this horrible tragedy, some  politicians have tried  to use the opportunity to further their stance on either gun control or to express concern about  how the nation needs a better mental health system. However, I was encouraged to see that most of them didn’t. Some of their responses

This time is different!  I have heard the people in the media blame this on Vester Flanagan’s, (Bryce’s) mental health and others make it clear that gun control would have prevented it.  These people in the media came to the conclusion that the shooter was crazy and had a mental illness within hours of the incident.  It is now two days later and no one has mentioned what mental illness they have.  For some examples, watch Fox News, specifically The Five the day of the shooting and the day afterwards.

Trump used it as a chance to say, “This isn’t a gun problem, this is a mental problem.” He went on to diagnose Bryce himself by saying, ““In the old days they had mental institutions for people like this because he was really, definitely borderline and definitely would have been and should have been institutionalized,” Trump told CNN. “At some point somebody should have seen that, I mean the people close to him should have seen it.

Rather you like Trump or not, what he said is ridiculous!   The man at no time was told he had a mental illness that we know about.  Does he have any idea how hard it is for family members and friends to realize if someone is “not right”?  Does he also have any idea how hard it is for family members to get help if they need it?  Oftentimes there are no beds and they are turned away.  Other times, they have to say they are a threat to themselves or others to get admitted.  Most of the time, what the family member says has no influence if the person can get admitted or not.  Does Trump even know that?

He went on to say, “Everybody sees the signals … they see people and they think they’re disturbed” I don’t think people know what to look for.  This could be helped by the media letting the public know like previously stated.

Clinton seized the opportunity to bring up gun control. Whether you like Clinton or not, gun control would not have helped this because he did not have a known mental illness and a background check would not have changed anything. What exactly is she going to do to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness, educate the public about mental illness, provide places for  people to go when they need help?

People with mental illness need help. They need better resources, and  less stigma so they are more willing to seek help.  Families of people with mental illnesses need help too. They need to know that their voice matters when it comes to getting help for their sick loved one.

People with mental illnesses do not need the media and politicians leading the public to believe that these horrible crimes are being committed by only people with mental illnesses and not make it clear that not all people with mental illnesses are criminals.

The way the media and politicians treat these crimes in regards to mental illness matters. “It exacerbates negative attitudes towards people with mental illnesses” according to a study done in 2013.  Source

The quotes below and other information about mental illness and violence and the connection can be found  here.

“Although studies suggest a link between mental illnesses and violence, the contribution of people with mental illnesses to overall rates of violence is small, and further, the magnitude of the relationship is greatly exaggerated in the minds of the general population”

“The vast majority of people who are violent do not suffer from mental illnesses”

“The absolute risk of violence among the mentally ill as a group is very small. . . only a small proportion of the violence in our society can be attributed to persons who are mentally ill”

When will this change?  I hope soon because people with mental illness have it hard enough. They don’t need to fight the politicians and media and their biased,  views about people with mental illness that contribute to the stigma.

stigma102

Picture Sources

Note: My heart goes out to those affected by this horrible tragedy.  My thoughts and prayers are with their families and co-workers.


Virginia Shooting: Mental Illness vs Gun Violence

mental illnesss blogEvery time there is a mass shooting, I just wait for the media to tell us that the person was mentally ill and that is why they did it.  It saddens me that the media oftentimes does not mention that less than 1% of people with mental illness are violent.

They also don’t use the opportunity to educate the public about mental illness, let them know what signs to look for, assure them it is okay to get help and where to get it.  Instead the media would rather just let the public think that all people with mental illness are violent.

After this horrible tragedy, some  politicians have tried  to use the opportunity to further their stance on either gun control or to express concern about  how the nation needs a better mental health system. However, I was encouraged to see that most of them didn’t. Some of their responses

This time is different!  I have heard the people in the media blame this on Vester Flanagan’s, (Bryce’s) mental health and others make it clear that gun control would have prevented it.  These people in the media came to the conclusion that the shooter was crazy and had a mental illness within hours of the incident.  It is now two days later and no one has mentioned what mental illness they have.  For some examples, watch Fox News, specifically The Five the day of the shooting and the day afterwards.

Trump used it as a chance to say, “This isn’t a gun problem, this is a mental problem.” He went on to diagnose Bryce himself by saying, ““In the old days they had mental institutions for people like this because he was really, definitely borderline and definitely would have been and should have been institutionalized,” Trump told CNN. “At some point somebody should have seen that, I mean the people close to him should have seen it.

Rather you like Trump or not, what he said is ridiculous!   The man at no time was told he had a mental illness that we know about.  Does he have any idea how hard it is for family members and friends to realize if someone is “not right”?  Does he also have any idea how hard it is for family members to get help if they need it?  Oftentimes there are no beds and they are turned away.  Other times, they have to say they are a threat to themselves or others to get admitted.  Most of the time, what the family member says has no influence if the person can get admitted or not.  Does Trump even know that?

He went on to say, “Everybody sees the signals … they see people and they think they’re disturbed” I don’t think people know what to look for.  This could be helped by the media letting the public know like previously stated.

Clinton seized the opportunity to bring up gun control. Whether you like Clinton or not, gun control would not have helped this because he did not have a known mental illness and a background check would not have changed anything. What exactly is she going to do to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness, educate the public about mental illness, provide places for  people to go when they need help?

People with mental illness need help. They need better resources, and  less stigma so they are more willing to seek help.  Families of people with mental illnesses need help too. They need to know that their voice matters when it comes to getting help for their sick loved one.

People with mental illnesses do not need the media and politicians leading the public to believe that these horrible crimes are being committed by only people with mental illnesses and not make it clear that not all people with mental illnesses are criminals.

The way the media and politicians treat these crimes in regards to mental illness matters. “It exacerbates negative attitudes towards people with mental illnesses” according to a study done in 2013.  Source

The quotes below and other information about mental illness and violence and the connection can be found  here.

“Although studies suggest a link between mental illnesses and violence, the contribution of people with mental illnesses to overall rates of violence is small, and further, the magnitude of the relationship is greatly exaggerated in the minds of the general population”

“The vast majority of people who are violent do not suffer from mental illnesses”

“The absolute risk of violence among the mentally ill as a group is very small. . . only a small proportion of the violence in our society can be attributed to persons who are mentally ill”

When will this change?  I hope soon because people with mental illness have it hard enough. They don’t need to fight the politicians and media and their biased,  views about people with mental illness that contribute to the stigma.

stigma102

Picture Sources

Note: My heart goes out to those affected by this horrible tragedy.  My thoughts and prayers are with their families and co-workers.


Once Upon A Time…A True Story About Mental Illness

Niki KindergartenOnce upon a time, there was a five year old named Niki. She was in Kindergarten. She loved animals, Wonderwoman, watching The Incredible Hulk and Dark Shadows. The worst thing she’d ever been through was watching her beloved dog, Snowball, pass away because an nasty neighbor poisoned him with glass for messing in their yard. It was her first experience realizing that the world was not all rainbows and that some people are plain bad. It left a mark on her heart but did not quash her spirit.

As that little girl got older, she was exposed to more ugliness from people. Still, no matter how badly she was treated for whatever petty reasons- being too tall, too chubby, having the wrong last name- she remained a bright hopeful girl who began to write short stories about cats. She loved to rollerskate in the basement with her cousin. She loved listening to music. While not as extroverted as her younger sister, and not of the blonde hair blue eyed “she’s so pretty!” variety…Niki was smart, sure of who she was, and content with her life.

That would all change, and change drastically. Still, amidst years of being bullied at school…She remained optimistic. She had hopes, dreams. She knew who she was and it didn’t matter if even her own parents found her high strung and moody and “difficult”. She stayed true to herself, even to her own detriment.

Then it all fell apart. Convinced she was indeed moody and difficult and a “weirdo” because kids told her repeatedly that she was…She sought counseling, figuring her dysfunctional home life with parents that hated each other had made her “weird.” She refused medication because, frankly, she didn’t know about mental health issues. She thought she could “fix herself” by talking and figuring out where she went wrong. Except all the things she’d been told were wrong with her were opinions by small minded rural people. There was nothing wrong with the way she dressed, looked, or the things she liked.

There was, however, something wrong with the way she go from being ecstatic and energetic and talkative and social…to falling down into a hole where she barely left her room and wanted no one around. There was something very wrong with her inexplicable anger, her agitation, her screaming only to start bawling and coil up into a panic stricken ball of shame. It kept happening, year after year. No matter how much she changed her behavior, the moods and anxieties would come regardless of how good or bad her life was going.

So she agreed to see a doctor and be medicated. And it helped, with the depressions, keeping them limited to a specific period during winter and stressful times in life. Six to nine months of the year, she’d be elated, busy at home or not at home. She had hobbies and enjoyed everything to the fullest. Until she didn’t.

It took over ten years and five doctors before she learned she was misdiagnosed and the very meds given to “help” her were in fact responsible for her “manic” episodes where she engaged in behavior that was totally at odds with her core beliefs. Mood stabilizers changed everything. No more screaming and ranting. No more crying jags. Things were clearer, more level.

Too level. And the depressions still came, and now they lasted longer, even with medications. She lost relationships, friendships, couldn’t hold a job. She lost parts of herself, the best parts, which may have been born of mania yet she missed the shiny happy part of herself. The only true answer was to stay with the medication lest she make any more mistakes to haunt her for the rest of her life.

It didn’t stop her from feeling daily like a husk of who she was. Then again, she wondered if she’d ever really known who she was, or if she was a manifestation of the mood cycles and anxieties…

****

That is my story. That cherub faced girl up there was me, as a five year old. The version of me with light still in her eyes. Maybe a lot of psychological damage was done, but the bipolar and anxiety have been the destructive things. It’s been agonizing to be cast as a mercurial flake when there is a logical explanation. It’s insulting to have that explanation dismissed.

That little girl never once thought that one day, she’d find it a chore to get out of bed and put on clothes.

That little girl never once imagined she’d become so exhausted from it all she’d lose her will to live on a daily basis.

Five year old me never knew one day she’d become prisoner to a sick mind full of fear and distorted thoughts that tainted everything she touched.

She had reason for light to be in her eyes. She had the whole future ahead of her.

I loathe that the struggle extinguished that light in me.

Some days I fight with all my might because I KNOW I can emerge from the depressive ell and live again. Other days, the fight is perfunctory and pretty much auto pilot.

I use sarcastic humor (often mistaken as pessimism) as a coping mechanism. Because I don’t know how else to handle this endless nightmare called mental illness.

I’m exhausted for being exhausted. I’m fed up being accused of not trying hard enough, not having the “right” attitude.

I’m tired of barely being able to watch a show I like because the suspense heightens my anxiety. I am filled with self loathing that my issues have kept me from taking my kid to the park, to this school activity, or even teaching her to ride a bike. My issues transfer onto her in my ability to function and it sickens me.

Five year old me was so blissfully unaware of the ugliness ahead of me.

I wish I could turn back the clock and relive that blissful ignorance. Because knowing what I know now…

I may have just stayed in my Wonder Woman Underoos, worn underpants as a hat, and not even bothered trying to live a normal life.

There is no such thing with mental illness.

Mental illness doesn’t kill you, they say.

Yet it kills your spirit. And often drives people to suicide.

So I think mental illness is a killer.

For so very long, I allowed myself to be convinced that it was all my “personality”. I was just that flawed. That flaky, that lazy, that much of a loser. You hear it day in day out, lies become a smidge of truth to a distorted mind.

Yet in the last few years, becoming active in the blogging community, reading others’ stories…The bipolar signs, cycles, anxiety issues- it’s all fairly universal. No one is exactly the same and yet…sometimes the behaviors are the same.

Now the mental health professionals would have you believe the very symptoms of bipolar they’re shoving meds at you to treat…are also part of your personality disorder.

It is my understanding personality disorders are born of genetics, personal experiences, etc. So pardon me if I cannot fathom how thousands of us, from different countries, from different income brackets, from different genetics- all end up with the exact same traits of a personality disorder. It’s just not logical to assume we all had the same experiences that warped us.

That five year old me had her blissful ignorance. My current incarnation has knowledge. I’m not sure if the trade off is worthwhile but it is what it is. And I am who I am.

I am bipolar. I have an anxiety disorder. I am mentally ill.

And I still miss my Wonder Woman Underoos.


Meet Yvette: Mom Blogging about Bipolar Disorder – South African Mom Blogs

Read this post by Yvette and comment there, not here. Tyvm. It’s call to action time. If I have any new followers who haven’t been nagged senseless about it already, Yvette and I have a general bipolar South African blog project called Our Lived Experiencethat needs follows, likes, comments and guest posts. It’s still in…

Welcome the Perinatal Mental Health Project

The Perintal Mental Health Project (PMHP) is a non-profit organization based at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. It is run in partnership with the Departments of Health and Social Development.
They run several programmes where they aim to address mental health by advocating for accessible maternal mental health care that can be delivered in low resource settings. They work with pregnant women, post natal women and even those who work with mothers to improve the quality of care they receive.

PMHP will be blogging soon to bring us more information as to what perinatal health is all about and what programmes they run in this project.

We took a look at the stories of some of the mothers they have helped and selected one (with their permission) to post on our site.

We at OLE are really inspired by the great work this organization is doing for mental health in South Africa.

Meet Ntombombzi:

 

Ntombombzi and her little one

 
“When I first became a mother, I didn’t know about depression. Now I would like to let everyone know about this problem so that people can stand up and do something about it.
I was born, one of twins. My parents divorced when I was only two months old. Because my mother was alone she couldn’t do what she was supposed to do as a mother and I grew up with her family. There was really no one to talk to or to discipline us and I became pregnant at the age of 14. I have suffered depression since then.
Having a baby at such an early age was really hard. I had to leave school and was forced to work as a domestic worker, which I couldn’t really do because I was so young. I tried very hard, but I just couldn’t do it. So, I decided to go back to school when my baby was three years old. I passed my standard nine [penultimate year of high school], but didn’t have enough money to register for my final year. I was forced again to go back to work as a domestic worker; which I am still doing to this day.
When I was twenty-one years old, I got married to my husband. He is not the father of my first child. A couple years after being married, we had a child together. I again suffered very much from postnatal depression, although I did not know what it was called at the time. The clinic I went to in the township did not know anything about depression. So, I was unable to get help from them. Luckily, my husband was always there for me and supportive throughout my depression, even though he didn’t always understand what I was going through.
Since then, I suffered from depression until I was able to get help from the Perinatal Mental Health Project in 2004. This was the first time I heard about perinatal or postnatal depression. I had suffered from depression all these years, but I didn’t really know what it was. Finally, I was able to get help.When I was pregnant with my last baby, I was working for Linda, a psychologist. I was not at all happy to be pregnant. I was just very stressed and worried about telling her. I knew it was not the right time for me to become pregnant and I was very concerned about my job and all the things that I needed money for. But I realised that I needed to tell Linda, not only because she was my employer, but because I needed help. Everything was very hectic for me and nothing that I was experiencing seemed to be good. I knew that I was becoming more and more depressed.
I finally told Linda when I was 5 months pregnant. It turns out that she specialises in women who have perinatal and postnatal depression and when she heard my history she thought I was suffering from it. She decided to take the step to get help for me by sending me to the Mowbray Maternity Hospital which provides the Perinatal Mental Health Project.
At Mowbray, I met with a counsellor. It was very good to speak to her about how I was feeling and to just talk out about everything. That was what was killing me, having to keep all my feelings inside of me for a long time. I was so lonely and there were so many things that I needed someone to listen to. I needed to express my feelings and to be heard when I was saying something. I needed someone who could understand and who could listen when I was talking. Meeting with this counsellor gave me that chance to finally speak out, which helped so much. They also sent me to a psychiatrist to get medication for my depression. Now I am doing just fine and coping very well with motherhood. Dealing with perinatal and postnatal depression is a very difficult thing.
When you are depressed there are so many things that are affecting you. You may not be able to tell exactly what it is that is making you feel so bad, but just that you can’t get out from the fog you are in. Everything can feel like it is just falling apart, that nothing is happening right or according to plans. You may not know to take it seriously when you are first suffering from it, but it is very important to address it and to find a way out. There are so many women who are dying inside from this thing. They don’t know how to deal with it or how to cope. Everything in their lives is turning upside down. And they need someone who will understand and not judge them.
That is why I talk about this depression with everyone. I even talk to mothers I see on the bus. I want everyone to know about this problem. I want the mothers to listen. If I could have my way, each and every one of the hospitals would have these kinds of counsellors, especially the government hospitals which are for everybody. That way everyone, including women who really don’t know anything about this depression, could get help. Until that happens, I hope that all the mothers out there, who are suffering from perinatal and postnatal depression, will take care of themselves and find support. You only live once, and it does not have to be a life filled with depression!”
* Ntombombzi has given consent to tell her story and use her photo, pictured together with her daughter Liphiwe


Have I Lost My Blogging Friends?

Have I Lost My Blogging Friends?

So I’ve been busy, much busier than usual, in my real life, interacting with people in the flesh, which overstimulates me, so I haven’t been reading and commenting on other blog posts like I usually do, like I used to do.

The posts I published Wednesday received few comments. I wonder, is it because I have let down my online community of mutually supportive readers by not reading and commenting on their posts? Or, is it because my posts were not personal or particularly original in nature — just a rehash of a conference I attended Friday and Saturday and a repost of a TIME, Inc. infographic about why we still need Women’s Equality Day ? Perhaps my last post was simply too long (and boring, I now realize in going back and reading it).

I’ve been feeling guilty for not reading and commenting as much on other blogs, but I can only do so much, and taking care of myself comes first. I respond to comments on my blog. But, there are simply too many other blogs to read them all. I’m not even reading those with whom I’ve developed close online friendships.

Writing helps me. Consuming seemingly endless numbers of mental health posts, commenting on them and sharing them, unfortunately, does not. Perhaps doing so helps others, just not me. Not when I’m too overwhelmed. Not when I’m doing my best to slow down.

By the way, did some more in person volunteering. Once again trying to figure this one out. How much in-person social interaction and volunteering I can take on without spinning like a hypomanic top.


Filed under: About Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder, Hypomania, Recovery, Triggers to Mood Cycling, Volunteering, Writing Tagged: blogging, guilt, insecurity, obligations, online community, overstimulation, reading