Daily Archives: February 14, 2016

30 years after Glienicke Bridge | Rachel Sharansky Danziger | The Blogs | The Times of Israel

What is freedom, if not truth?
What is religion, if not compassion?
What is compassion, if not right action?

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/30-years-after-glienicke-bridge/


Imagine You’re 80 Years Old

The latest exercise in The Happiness Trap asks the reader to imagine being 80 years old and finish the following sentences: I spent too much time worrying about… I spent too little time doing things such as… If I could go back in time, then what I would do differently from today onward is… I must say […]

Memories of Grandma

In therapy last week, Sadie and I discussed ways I could honor my grandparents on the anniversaries of their deaths, which both occur in February, and which tend to send me spiraling every year.  I agreed that I would take a picture that each of them would like, and write blog posts to go with […]

Losing Your Mother to Mental Illness

Painful…especially being a mother. Do my kids feel this way?

Dear Hope

This piece, titled “Losing Your Mother to Mental Illness”, comes from the incredibly brave Ariana Hegarty, who reflects upon her mother’s bipolar disorder.

I’ll never forget our shopping sprees and laughing until our stomachs hurt in the dressing room when something I thought was adorable, looked ridiculous. But as the years go on, the good memories fade away while the bad ones continue to stand out. And I’m not sure if it was the bipolar disorder or her mere disinterest in raising children, but on my 14th birthday my mother moved out and I would never see her again.

There was no casket, no funeral was held, and you won’t find an obituary anywhere but by all other definitions, my mother is dead. She is simply a shell of a woman who was once married to her high school sweetheart with two daughters who loved her endlessly. But now, I don’t know exactly what she does…

View original post 611 more words

Losing Your Mother to Mental Illness

Painful…especially being a mother. Do my kids feel this way?

Dear Hope

This piece, titled “Losing Your Mother to Mental Illness”, comes from the incredibly brave Ariana Hegarty, who reflects upon her mother’s bipolar disorder.

I’ll never forget our shopping sprees and laughing until our stomachs hurt in the dressing room when something I thought was adorable, looked ridiculous. But as the years go on, the good memories fade away while the bad ones continue to stand out. And I’m not sure if it was the bipolar disorder or her mere disinterest in raising children, but on my 14th birthday my mother moved out and I would never see her again.

There was no casket, no funeral was held, and you won’t find an obituary anywhere but by all other definitions, my mother is dead. She is simply a shell of a woman who was once married to her high school sweetheart with two daughters who loved her endlessly. But now, I don’t know exactly what she does…

View original post 611 more words

My Bloody Valentine

Rest easy, I’ve not maimed or killed anyone. I just remember one of my favorite movies as a kid was My Bloody Valentine, seems as appropriate a title as anything. (Yes my mom let me watch it when I was 8, she also treated me to Motel Hell, and yet…I’m not a serial killer, go figure.)

I think what got my dander up to write a post is watching Deadly Women. No matter how many times I watch the same episodes, I am always triggered when their “profiler” Candace Delong weighs in on those with bipolar disorder. In the past it’s been the sheer idiocy involved in, “She took benzodiazepine to control her bipolar disorder.” Um,fact check much?

Today it was: “People with bipolar disorder SUFFER…The people around them SUFFER EVEN MORE.”

What the fuck?

Yes, it IS difficult to live with someone who is bipolar.

But to say those around us suffer more than we do when they have the luxury of walking away whereas this is what we’re stuck with???? I don’t fucking think so.

Not to downplay how hard it is on those around us. But it’s akin to saying a cancer patient’s family suffers more than they do.

Mental health disorders are the bastard child of the health world. We are dismissed, labeled, stigmatized, and even the professionals don’t seem to put much stock in our plight. It all seems so fucking futile. And let’s not forget the “Buck up!” mentality. GRRRR. I am not a violent person nor am I easily angered while medicated properly but I gotta say…This misinformation and sheer ignorance out there as far as mental health issues are concerned…makes me wanna hulk out a bit.

Today has been far more productive than yesterday even though it is far colder and very snowy. I already went out into the dish cos derp, I forgot to get my kid something for Valentine’s. That was fun, trying to see even though my windshields were frosted inside and out. Pfftt.

Mom called to tell me my sister will bring her home later today and that’s a relief.

Gave me time to do dishes, burn Spook a dvd, I even baked sugar cookies and decorated them with pink icing and sparkles. (Trust me, it’s a big deal as I am not even a distant bastard relative of Betty Crocker.) I tried to write but ha, all the stress has me blocked yet again. I can’t write about happy stuff (even if filled with strife) when all I am feeling is the anxiety and strife. My brain is imbalanced.

And why wouldn’t it be. My mom’s biopsy is this week, court is this week. That’d stress a normal person out. For one with my rioting anxiety disorder, I am back in a place where everything has halted until the awful stuff is over.

Other than that…quiet day so far. I even put on clean clothes, albeit slobwear chic.  I want warmth, not fashion brownie points.

Now I am hitting my wall. Functionality quota met. Blah.

AND I won the lithium lottery today, no nausea. Stomach’s settled a bit.

That can only mean one thing.

ALL HELL IS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE.

Not pessimism, just wariness. Cos if I am wrong, I get to be pleasantly surprised. If am I right, I am not caught unaware. Win, win.

Fuck therapy and its sunshine spewing new method.

Much like this core math they’re teaching these days, it’s all more convoluted and difficult than it needs to be and it sucks.

Not that I am opinionated.


The Teen in my Head

There is someone else living inside my brain.

I don’t have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly called Multiple Personalities). I just have another me who pipes up from time to time. And, man, can she be annoying!

She’s 14 years old, and she doesn’t have a name. I don’t know when I acquired her, but I do know when she acts up.

She’s the one who frets when a friend doesn’t answer my IM. When he does, she squees, “He noticed me! He noticed me!” She’s the one who wants to buy ridiculous, useless – but amusing – things. She makes me eat that extra chocolate cookie, then frets about getting fat and pimply. She’s the one who is hooked on all the stupid clicky Internet games.

I’ve heard the theory that everyone has a mental age that they get stuck at. No matter how old they get, they always picture themselves at that age. Mine is somewhere between 28 and 34. So how did I end up with a 14-year-old?

My theory about her existence is that she is there to try to do what I never did when I was 14 – all the regular teen-age angst and frivolous stuff: mad crushes and pouting, self-obsession and discovering her sexuality, in-jokes with BFFs and trying out fingernail polish.

When I was actually 14, I did none of that. I was in a prolonged downward mood swing, made worse by puberty and the horrors of junior high school. I wrote depressing poetry and read French existentialists. If they had had hipsters back then, I suppose I would have been one.

When I feel her popping up in the back of my skull, most of the time I have to put her in a box and sit on the lid. It’s scary to let her take over. She’s rapid-cycling, impulsive, and worst of all, unmedicated. (I don’t know why my meds don’t affect her, but there you are, they don’t.)

Once in a while I let her out of the box. I let her enjoy some mad crushes (as long as she doesn’t do anything about them). I let her buy things that cost $20 or less. I let her talk me into fake fingernails (once!). I let her have some of the fun that I never had at that age.

The thing is, I don’t know if this is just a me thing, a female thing, or a bipolar thing.

I know I’m not completely alone in having a teen ride-along. I do know a man with DID who has an alter that is a teen girl. I could tell when she was out because she giggles a lot and buys junk food. A friend of mine who has suffered from depression also has a 14-year-old in her head. She has given her teen a name – Innie Me. Hers behaves a lot like mine.

I also don’t know whether having a teen living in my head is a good thing or a bad thing. It could be good, because it does give me access to the feelings and experiences I never had as an actual teen. My teen is better than I am at having fun.

On the other hand, I know it would be a bad thing if I let her have her way all the time. She needs that box and I need to sit on the lid. The trick is knowing when and how and for how long to let her out.

On an episode of Scrubs, one character remarks that no matter how old a woman gets, she always has an insecure 14-year-old inside her. I suppose that men have similar phenomena. Most people are said to have an inner child (although I think they are usually younger than 14). I think my husband’s inner child is usually about seven.

Certainly my teen is insecure. There’s no question about that. But she’s also enthusiastic, engaged, and energetic, as well as moody, dramatic, and confused. I think she may be related to the hypomanic part of myself, although I’m also sure some of my fits of apparently reasonless weeping have been her acting up.

My therapist knows about my 14-year-old. We have discussed her and her behavior and her moods several times. Dr. B. has never expressed surprise or shock or puzzlement at the idea. She does think it’s good that I’m learning to sit on the box lid when I need to. We’ve talked less about when it’s a good time to let her out. That’s something I still need to work on.

I guess I’ll have to learn to live with my 14-year-old, because I don’t think she’s going away anytime soon. And I don’t think I really want her to.

 

 

 

 

 


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: anxiety, bipolar disorder, bipolar type 2, depression, hypomania, inner child, mental health, mental illness, moods, my experiences

The Teen in my Head

There is someone else living inside my brain.

I don’t have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly called Multiple Personalities). I just have another me who pipes up from time to time. And, man, can she be annoying!

She’s 14 years old, and she doesn’t have a name. I don’t know when I acquired her, but I do know when she acts up.

She’s the one who frets when a friend doesn’t answer my IM. When he does, she squees, “He noticed me! He noticed me!” She’s the one who wants to buy ridiculous, useless – but amusing – things. She makes me eat that extra chocolate cookie, then frets about getting fat and pimply. She’s the one who is hooked on all the stupid clicky Internet games.

I’ve heard the theory that everyone has a mental age that they get stuck at. No matter how old they get, they always picture themselves at that age. Mine is somewhere between 28 and 34. So how did I end up with a 14-year-old?

My theory about her existence is that she is there to try to do what I never did when I was 14 – all the regular teen-age angst and frivolous stuff: mad crushes and pouting, self-obsession and discovering her sexuality, in-jokes with BFFs and trying out fingernail polish.

When I was actually 14, I did none of that. I was in a prolonged downward mood swing, made worse by puberty and the horrors of junior high school. I wrote depressing poetry and read French existentialists. If they had had hipsters back then, I suppose I would have been one.

When I feel her popping up in the back of my skull, most of the time I have to put her in a box and sit on the lid. It’s scary to let her take over. She’s rapid-cycling, impulsive, and worst of all, unmedicated. (I don’t know why my meds don’t affect her, but there you are, they don’t.)

Once in a while I let her out of the box. I let her enjoy some mad crushes (as long as she doesn’t do anything about them). I let her buy things that cost $20 or less. I let her talk me into fake fingernails (once!). I let her have some of the fun that I never had at that age.

The thing is, I don’t know if this is just a me thing, a female thing, or a bipolar thing.

I know I’m not completely alone in having a teen ride-along. I do know a man with DID who has an alter that is a teen girl. I could tell when she was out because she giggles a lot and buys junk food. A friend of mine who has suffered from depression also has a 14-year-old in her head. She has given her teen a name – Innie Me. Hers behaves a lot like mine.

I also don’t know whether having a teen living in my head is a good thing or a bad thing. It could be good, because it does give me access to the feelings and experiences I never had as an actual teen. My teen is better than I am at having fun.

On the other hand, I know it would be a bad thing if I let her have her way all the time. She needs that box and I need to sit on the lid. The trick is knowing when and how and for how long to let her out.

On an episode of Scrubs, one character remarks that no matter how old a woman gets, she always has an insecure 14-year-old inside her. I suppose that men have similar phenomena. Most people are said to have an inner child (although I think they are usually younger than 14). I think my husband’s inner child is usually about seven.

Certainly my teen is insecure. There’s no question about that. But she’s also enthusiastic, engaged, and energetic, as well as moody, dramatic, and confused. I think she may be related to the hypomanic part of myself, although I’m also sure some of my fits of apparently reasonless weeping have been her acting up.

My therapist knows about my 14-year-old. We have discussed her and her behavior and her moods several times. Dr. B. has never expressed surprise or shock or puzzlement at the idea. She does think it’s good that I’m learning to sit on the box lid when I need to. We’ve talked less about when it’s a good time to let her out. That’s something I still need to work on.

I guess I’ll have to learn to live with my 14-year-old, because I don’t think she’s going away anytime soon. And I don’t think I really want her to.

 

 

 

 

 


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: anxiety, bipolar disorder, bipolar type 2, depression, hypomania, inner child, mental health, mental illness, moods, my experiences

Happy Valentine’s Day! “Love Hormone” Oxytocin Shows Promise in Treating Anxiety Disorders

DSCN7588

Happy Valentines Day friends!

https://bbrfoundation.org/brain-matters-discoveries/love-hormone-oxytocin-shows-promise-in-treating-anxiety-disorders

Although the symptoms of generalized social anxiety disorder are sometimes alleviated by antidepressant medicines such as Prozac, and tranquilizers such as Valium, these medications do not work for everyone. But a former NARSAD grantee and members of an international research team now report progress in understanding a new potential medical treatment for anxiety, which affects approximately 40 million American adults.

The researchers looked at the anxiety-reducing effects of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter sometimes called the “love hormone” for its ability to reduce stress and promote pro-social behaviors such as trust, empathy, and openness to social risk. Oxytocin has now been shown to make the amygdala less reactive to pictures of threatening or fearful faces. Previous research identified the amygdala as a crucial brain area for emotional processing.

In a paper appearing August 6th in Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers expanded on previous findings showing oxytocin’s influence on the amygdala. The research team was led by Stephanie M. Gorka, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois and included Pradeep Nathan, Ph.D., of Cambridge University (formally Monash University), recipient of a 2007 NARSAD Independent Investigator grant. They examined how oxytocin affects connections between the amygdala and other parts of the brain in people with anxiety disorder.

As study participants viewed fearful faces, brain scans with functional MRI showed that the amygdala communicated significantly less with other parts of the brain in those with generalized social anxiety, compared to those not diagnosed with anxiety disorder.  The less connected the amygdala was to other brain regions, the higher the anxious participants’ baseline stress levels were. Importantly, oxytocin reversed those trends by increasing amygdala connectivity in anxiety patients, while decreasing amygdala connectivity in everyone else.

These findings suggest that oxytocin can have specific effects in people with anxiety through its influence on the amygdala. More broadly, the fact that oxytocin had opposite effects in the two participant groups indicates that the neurotransmitter’s success in reducing stress and promoting social behavior depends on individual brain characteristics, which differ between those with anxiety and those without the disorder. Thus, while oxytocin continues to show promise as a potential treatment for anxiety, it may not promote positive social behaviors in everyone.

As noted by Professor Nathan and colleagues, these findings are preliminary. To better assess how presumed changes in the brain influence actual experiences of anxiety, further research is needed to test oxytocin on more people with and without anxiety disorders. This, the scientists say, will be crucial in determining whether and exactly how oxytocin can improve treatment for anxiety disorders.


Ode to Fuck-Because I Hate Valentine’s Day

Source: Ode to Fuck


Filed under: Bipolar