Daily Archives: May 1, 2017

Mental Health Awareness Month

As some of you might know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a time for open dialogue about mental illnesses and elimination of the stigma attached to our conditions.

This was started in 1949 by Mental Health America, a national advocacy organization. But almost no one knew about it because psychiatric illnesses were a taboo subject and often accompanied by shame and embarrassment. We have made progress since then, but not enough. Too many people still believe that “mental patients” are dangerous and prone to violence, along with “crazy” behaviors. Yes, I’ve seen street people yell at trashcans. Yes, I’ve had a few psychotic experiences myself. It doesn’t mean we’re going to shoot up a school or go after strangers with a knife.

I would like to see my readers share some of their own stories during May. You all know mine. Be part of the Awareness movement!

 


Scientists Find The “Physical Source” Of Depression

Scans of people suffering from depression and healthy controls show that the disease is associated with the lateral orbitofrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain becomes active when receiving punishment, not receiving reward and is also associated with the sense of one self. One can see how in depression, this part of the brain could be activated. This will allow researchers to develop new therapies. Interesting!

 

http://www.iflscience.com/brain/scientists-find-the-physical-source-of-depression/

A recent breakthrough may have found the physical source of depression in the brain. The discovery could lead to some game-changing developments in the way we treat and perceive the mental illness, while also taking a bold step in understanding the physical root cause of depression.

Research by the University of Warwick in the UK and Fudan University in China has shown that depression affects the lateral orbitofrontal cortex. This part of the brain becomes active when suffering punishment or when rewards are not received, suggesting depression could be associated with the sensation of not receiving reward.

“More than one in ten people in their life time suffer from depression, a disease which is so common in modern society and we can even find the remains of Prozac (a depression drug) in the tap water in London,” study author Professor Jianfeng Feng said in a statement. “Our finding, with the combination of big data we collected around the world and our novel methods, enables us to locate the roots of depression which should open up new avenues for better therapeutic treatments in the near future for this horrible disease.”

“The human medial (reward-related, OFC13) and lateral (non-reward-related, OFC47/12) orbitofrontal cortex networks that show different functional connectivity in patients with depression.” University of Warwick

The study was recently published in the neurology journal Brain.

The researchers reached this conclusion after scanning the brains of 909 people in China with a high-precision MRI. Of these patients, 421 were diagnosed with major depression, while the remaining 488 were control subjects.

This imaging technique was able to show activity in the connections between different parts of the human brain affected by depression, namely the medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortex. The lateral orbitofrontal cortex, associated with non-reward, showed considerably stronger connectivity in those in the depressive group.

As the team notes, the lateral orbitofrontal cortex is also connected with the area that is associated with one’s sense of self. Stronger connections were found between these two areas in those suffering from depression, perhaps explaining why people with depression often have thoughts of personal loss and low self-esteem.

“The new findings on how depression is related to different functional connectivities of the orbitofrontal cortex have implications for treatments in the light of a recent non-reward attractor theory of depression,” computational neuroscientist Professor Edmund Rolls said in a statement.

Updated 24/10/16: Top main image has been changed to show a more typical MRI scan 


To Tell or Not to Tell-Getting passed insecurity

am I good enough

In January 2014, I went to the computer and learned how to use wordpress.  I decided I was going to start writing about mental illness.  It was truly scary.  What was running through my mind were things like–what will people think?  I’ll never be able to coach basketball again.  People will think I am crazy.  What if no one ever talks to me again?  How will this effect my ability to work? Do I write well enough for anyone to read it?  

The thoughts rambled on and I definitely pushed myself forward.   Writing had always been a way I found to heal myself.  A few years ago I needed a lot of healing.  The benefits far out weighed the risks.  Sharing became a powerful empowering tool.

How did it all turn out?

Well, the sky did not fall. People still talked to me.  I coached a girl’s basketball team this year. I don’t know if people think I am crazy or not, but I learned not to really care very much.  The people who love me, still love me.

What are the next big steps?

In the past year I have been writing a book about my experiences with bipolar disorder.  When I first started writing I was really guarded and conservative.  I was deciding very carefully what I would say and what I would not.  But as time passed I would have these revelations and would reassure myself that I could talk openly about anything I wanted to.  I believe people respect honesty and I decided leaving out very important truths was a bit on the side of dishonesty.

So, the next big step is putting everything on the line and telling my story including all the ugly stuff you might find hidden in a basement corner.  The things I hesitated to talk about…just like three years ago when I typed those first few words of my biography…scaryWhat will people think?  What if no one ever talks to me again? 

Insecurity is perhaps my biggest hurdle.  My old Coach the late Pat Summitt always used to tell me I was my own worst enemy.  I doubted myself too much.  But the thing about it is I was able to overcome my worst enemy.  And I am about to do it again in a big way.

 


Winding Down

So I have a week to take a breather before graduation stuff begins to hit.  I’m glad I’m done with writing my final project and only have one workshop piece to review this week.  I need to get my house in better order; my laundry room is complete havoc.  So we will see what we can accomplish this week on that.

Had a video conference with my professor in nonfiction talking about what I needed to continue concentrating on In fiction workshop that will help me in my thesis.  So that was a productive conversation.  WE talked about building scenes and creating tension. We will see how it goes.

My middle one got the top award in band for leadership–the John Phillip Sousa ‘award. It’s like a nationally recognized award that she can put down on her resume.  So that was exciting for her.

We had both the oldest ones’ birthday parties yesterday.  That went fairly well.  The girls got  lots of nice presents–the middle one got a bike for campus next year from her grandparents.  It’s very girly–it’s solid pink.

WEll, I hope everyone has a good start to their week.

 


Working For Dr. HasHerShitTogether Today

sunrise

I am working (YAY!) for Dr. HasHerShitTogether, the gynecologist, today.  This is NOT Dr. Flaky, the psychiatrist, who I usually work for.  Dr. HasHerShitTogether truly has her shit TOGETHER and I helped her start up her business (very orderly because she had her shit together) and then I haven’t had much work because she got her business running like a well-oiled machine.  However, once in awhile her medical assistant can’t make it in, and then she calls me to sub.  YAY!  It’s a nice chunk of money and I am living in financial fear right now so this is great.

Dr. HasHerShitTogether is a functional medicine doctor which means she a) doesn’t take insurance and b) has these nice long appointments with her patients for c) piles of money and d) she also sells supplements for e) shit-piles of money.  (This is probably a shitty use of a,b,c, etc., but sometimes I enjoy listing things out with letters so SUCK IT!)  She also does aesthetic appointments (shooting women’s faces full of Botox and Juvederm) for the big bucks and the women are my age or even much younger, in their thirties even, and I’m like, damn!  Should I shoot my face full of shit?  But then I think of Lara Flynn Boyle when her face blew up like a balloon and I say AH HELL NAH!!

Due to having to be here at the rude hour of 8:00 am, I was up at the crack of dawn and I got to see the sun come up!  It was beautiful (this shitty iPhone pic doesn’t do it justice) and the birds were SCREAMING their joyful song and it was lovely.  So yeah.  Hope your day is equally lovely!


Filed under: Bipolar, Bipolar and Work, Psychology Shmyshmology Tagged: Bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Blogging, Depression, Hope, Humor, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Psychology, Reader