Daily Archives: March 4, 2018

New Topic

My whole life I have never been shy!! Probably the understatement of the year. I have gotten smarter as I have gotten older and I have learned better ways to express myself. But mostly I’m a fact based truth kind of person. Even when it hurts!

Having said that I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and I think God is pushing me to share. Many of you have seen my posts about my diagnosis and life as someone who is Bipolar. But there’s another part that I don’t really talk about much. I was also diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Society throws around the word Narcissistic a lot. They use it for anyone that has their own opinions that usually are very different from most other people’s. This word has a horribly bad and out of proportion reaction to this word.

But it’s not a bad word. And it doesn’t always have to be a negative in a persons life. Most of the time we only hear about the really bad people. And most people don’t even really discuss this. When we got my diagnosis Chad basically said “I can deal with the narcissist I’ve gotten used to that, it’s the other stuff I can’t deal with”. Lol

I was glad that he didn’t blow it out of proportion and make me feel even worse than I already did. And the truth is I am pretty self absorbed. I love people and I love helping people. Maybe this is part of why. It’s like I share my narcissism with someone for a time and it builds their spirit enough that they can move on and do great things without me. I am proud of that.

I am proud that I can be a cheerleader for people who just need someone to love and encourage them. I am proud that what is sometimes a bad thing is also so many times a wonderful thing. To be honest I read the definitions and I think “is that really me?” When it comes right down to it it is me. I have learned to act different ways but at the end of the day I’m a bottom line kind of person. If we are in the middle of a rush at work I am so focused I often forget that I have coworkers with me. That probably don’t want a nasty person working next to them. But honestly I don’t care what your problems are. If we are busy do your job and do it right.

It’s not that I can’t see that that’s a little cold and disconnected but it is the vast majority of the time my first reaction. I think I’m awesome. Pretty much all the time and in so many ways. It doesn’t help that I am extremely self aware and God have me the gift of discernment. Those two things together pretty much guarantee something happens that makes me think how great I am.

I know I am not supposed to be inflated with self. But I say all the time “at least I share it. I do think I’m great but I think other people are as well and I take the time to tell them”. And sometimes I wonder if this “sickness” isn’t what allows me to feel so close to God. I have ALWAYS felt close to Him. I have always known that I am ok and perfect in His eyes. It’s not something I think about I just KNOW. And there’s that very small place in my heart that is always content and at peace. I know when I leave this world where I’m going. I know that being mentally sick is one of the very worst and safest things that anyone can deal with. I know that my inflated sense of self effects my life and relationships on a regular basis. I know that most of my waking hours are spent trying NOT to do things that I’m not supposed to say or do. I fail a lot. But I know that God knows me and he knows that I only want those around me to have a better, happy, and more productive life.

Narcissistic is a hard word to wrap your mind around. It’s even harder to wrap your mind around the fact that YOU have this illness and it effects your life everyday. I am so much better with my meds. I feel more control of my mind and my feelings. For that I am grateful but they don’t take it all away. Like my Mom has told me more than once “I just want you to not have to struggle so hard just to live your life”. That’s probably one of the greatest things she has ever said to me and I hang on to it everyday. I still struggle but it’s not even close to what it used to be. And I’m grateful to have a Mom that decided I needed help, even if it took years to find all the answers.

I have Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I love my life. I have friends and family that love me and I am NOT a monster. So if you wanted to try to remember to pray for those of us who struggle on a daily basis just to live life I know a bunch of people who would appreciate it. And please remember when you hear or see people using the word Narcissistic they don’t always know what they are talking about and often they are using it in the wrong way or to define someone that is most likely hurting themselves.

If you read this long post I appreciate it. Be blessed and LIVE your life and be THANKFUL that you don’t have to battle your mind everyday from things you don’t even always understand.

Guest Post: Living with Someone with a Personality Disorder

Thank you, Millie Jane, for this guest post. Millie shows compassion for her boyfriend who lives with a personality disorder. Too often those with personality disorders are vilified by family, friends, and even mental health professionals. Millie is UK-based. I’m…

March Madness

It’s almost spring, and with the change in seasons comes my semiannual experimentation with my meds. I don’t know why I do this to myself, except it always happens around the beginning of March (and the early fall as well) and each time I do it I think it’s going to work this time.

It didn’t, of course. It started out with actually forgetting my AM meds, and by early afternoon I was buzzing. It felt GREAT!! Sometimes I get sooooo tired of being this calm, almost emotionless person, and as the day progressed I felt life flooding back into me. My conversation became somewhat more animated than usual, and I took more interest in my surroundings. I was alive for the first time in what seemed like forever. Yippee!

I decided to take only my blood-pressure meds and Trazadone last night. I wanted to sleep but I also get sick of being a zombie in the morning, so I left the antipsychotics and the mood stabilizer in the pill box. Later in the night I started worrying about having a seizure since that’s one of the effects of abruptly stopping Lamictal, so I got up and took that. Not surprisingly, I was awake well into the night even though I’d gone to bed at my usual time, and my mind was on fire! Thoughts upon thoughts raced around the inside of my brain as I stared wide-eyed into the darkness. I knew I was going to be up earlier for church, but I believed I wouldn’t need the sleep…stinkin’ thinkin’ for sure.

But as the night went on, I began to ponder the possible consequences if I continued on with my experiment. My mind was fragmented, but I was still able to piece together some coherent thought. And the truth is, I may be boring, but I’m steady, and there are so many things that can go sideways when I’m manic. I spend money like it’s going out of style. I start arguments with friends and family, and act inappropriately in public. I thought about my church ladies and wondered what they would think if I suddenly stood up and began shouting about gun control. I could see myself doing it, too. I’ve done much worse, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

That must’ve been about the time the Lamictal kicked in. Even though I was still pleasantly high, I knew I’d have to take my meds in the morning. I just can’t do this to the people I love—they deserve me at my best, even if my ‘best’ means being a bump on a log. Finally I drifted off into a broken sleep, my conscience at rest for the time being.

Now, with all meds on board, I marvel at the fact that twice a year this same thing happens. I get a wild hair and decide I want to be more exciting, and the only way to accomplish this is to mess with my pills. Ordinarily, I know better than this and am religious about taking them; in fact, I kind of thought I’d skip the festivities this spring because I haven’t been depressed at all during the winter, and up until this weekend I hadn’t even thought of not taking my meds. Fortunately, it never takes long for me to get myself back in line, not just because I feel guilty but because being unmedicated is really quite uncomfortable. My heart races almost as fast as my thoughts; I’m agitated on the inside if not on the outside; I visualize myself flying out of control. I’ve been out of control before, and it was frightening at the same time that it was exhilarating. Does that make sense?

I guess I’ll have to forgive myself for doing this yet again. Like I said, I KNOW better, but bipolar does some very weird things to a person and this March madness is one of the things it does to me. It’s become predictable and I don’t know why it always catches me off guard. The one positive thing is that as quickly as it comes on, it goes away and common sense returns. Yay me!

 

Why nutritional psychiatry is the future of mental health treatment

Blueberries

Very interesting and may be so helpful.

Below is a direct quote from the article below. I wonder why we are not told to add vitamin and mineral as well as OTC anti-inflammatory supplementation to out diets and medicine regimen? It would be worth it to try it, if it doesn’t help, ok, but imagine it does help! I am going to ask my psychiatrist about all of these and if they have any adverse reactions with the medications I’m on. That’s would be the best way to go here. Wishing us all the best of physical and mental health.

“It is now known that many mental health conditions are caused by inflammation in the brain which ultimately causes our brain cells to die. This inflammatory response starts in our gut and is associated with a lack of nutrients from our food such as magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, vitamins and minerals that are all essential for the optimum functioning of our bodies. Recent research has shown that food supplements such as zinc, magnesium, omega 3, and vitamins B and D3 can help improve people’s mood, relieve anxiety and depression and improve the mental capacity of people with Alzheimer’s. Magnesium is one of most important minerals for optimal health, yet many people are lacking in it. One study found that a daily magnesium citrate supplement led to a significant improvement in depression and anxiety, regardless of age, gender or severity of depression. Improvement did not continue when the supplement was stopped. Omega-3 fatty acids are another nutrient that is critical for the development and function of the central nervous system – and a lack has been associated with low mood, cognitive decline and poor comprehension. Research has shown that supplements like zinc, magnesium and vitamins B and D can improve the mental capacity of people with Alzheimer’s. Shutterstock The role of probiotics – the beneficial live bacteria in your digestive system – in improving mental health has also been explored by psychiatrists and nutritionists, who found that taking them daily was associated with a significant reduction in depression and anxiety. Vitamin B complex and zinc are other supplements found to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Hope for the future? These over-the-counter” supplements are widely available in supermarkets, chemists and online health food stores, although the cost and quality may vary. For people who have not responded to prescription drugs or who cannot tolerate the side effects, nutritional intervention can offer hope for the future. There is currently much debate over the effectiveness of antidepressants. The use of food supplements offer an alternative approach that has the potential to make a significant difference to the mental health of all age groups.”

 

http://theconversation.com/why-nutritional-psychiatry-is-the-future-of-mental-health-treatment-92545

A lack of essential nutrients is known to contribute to the onset of poor mental health in people suffering from anxiety and depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and ADHD. Nutritional psychiatry is a growing discipline that focuses on the use of food and supplements to provide these essential nutrients as part of an integrated or alternative treatment for mental health disorders. But nutritional approaches for these debilitating conditions are not widely accepted by mainstream medicine. Treatment options tend to be limited to official National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines which recommend talking therapies and antidepressants. Use of antidepressants Antidepressant use has more than doubled in recent years. In England 64.7m prescriptions were issued for antidepressants in 2016 at a cost of £266.6m. This is an increase of 3.7m on the number of items prescribed in 2015 and more than double than the 31m issued in 2006. A recent Oxford University study found that antidepressants were more effective in treating depression than placebo. The study was led by Dr Andrea Cipriani who claimed that depression is under treated. Cipriani maintains that antidepressants are effective and a further 1m prescriptions should be issued to people in the UK. This approach suggests that poor mental health caused by social conditions is viewed as easily treated by simply dispensing drugs. But antidepressants are shunned by people whom they could help because of the social stigma associated with mental ill-health which leads to discrimination and exclusion. Prescriptions for 64.7m items of antidepressants were dispensed in England in 2016, the highest level recorded by the NHS. Shutterstock More worrying is the increase in the use of antidepressants by children and young people. In Scotland, 5,572 children under 18 were prescribed antidepressants for anxiety and depression in 2016. This figure has more than doubled since 2009/2010. But according to British psychopharmacologist Professor David Healy, 29 clinical trials of antidepressant use in young people found no benefits at all. These trials revealed that instead of relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression, antidepressants caused children and young people to feel suicidal. Healy also challenges their safety and effectiveness in adults. He believes that antidepressants are over-prescribed and that there is little evidence that they are safe for long-term use. Antidepressants are said to create dependency, have unpleasant side effects and cannot be relied upon to always relieve symptoms. Nutrition and poor mental health In developed countries such as the UK we eat a greater variety of foodstuffs than ever before – but it doesn’t follow that we are well nourished. In fact, many people do not eat enough nutrients that are essential for good brain health, opting for a diet of heavily processed food containing artificial additives and sugar. The link between poor mental health and nutritional deficiencies has long been recognised by nutritionists working in the complementary health sector. However, psychiatrists are only now becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of using nutritional approaches to mental health, calling for their peers to support and research this new field of treatment. It is now known that many mental health conditions are caused by inflammation in the brain which ultimately causes our brain cells to die. This inflammatory response starts in our gut and is associated with a lack of nutrients from our food such as magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, vitamins and minerals that are all essential for the optimum functioning of our bodies. Recent research has shown that food supplements such as zinc, magnesium, omega 3, and vitamins B and D3 can help improve people’s mood, relieve anxiety and depression and improve the mental capacity of people with Alzheimer’s. Magnesium is one of most important minerals for optimal health, yet many people are lacking in it. One study found that a daily magnesium citrate supplement led to a significant improvement in depression and anxiety, regardless of age, gender or severity of depression. Improvement did not continue when the supplement was stopped. Omega-3 fatty acids are another nutrient that is critical for the development and function of the central nervous system – and a lack has been associated with low mood, cognitive decline and poor comprehension. Research has shown that supplements like zinc, magnesium and vitamins B and D can improve the mental capacity of people with Alzheimer’s. Shutterstock The role of probiotics – the beneficial live bacteria in your digestive system – in improving mental health has also been explored by psychiatrists and nutritionists, who found that taking them daily was associated with a significant reduction in depression and anxiety. Vitamin B complex and zinc are other supplements found to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Hope for the future? These over-the-counter” supplements are widely available in supermarkets, chemists and online health food stores, although the cost and quality may vary. For people who have not responded to prescription drugs or who cannot tolerate the side effects, nutritional intervention can offer hope for the future. There is currently much debate over the effectiveness of antidepressants. The use of food supplements offer an alternative approach that has the potential to make a significant difference to the mental health of all age groups. The emerging scientific evidence suggests that there should be a bigger role for nutritional psychiatry in mental health within conventional health services. If the burden of mental ill health is to be reduced, GPs and psychiatrists need to be aware of the connection between food, inflammation and mental illness. Medical education has traditionally excluded nutritional knowledge and its association with disease. This has led to a situation where very few doctors in the UK have a proper understanding of the importance of nutrition. Nutritional interventions are thought to have little evidence to support their use to prevent or maintain well-being and so are left to dietitians, rather than doctors, to advise on. But as the evidence mounts up, it is time for medical education to take nutrition seriously so that GPs and psychiatrists of the future know as much about its role in good health as they do about anatomy and physiology. The state of our mental health could depend on it.

Weight one moment

I take three different meds to control my bipolar disorder and they all cause significant weight gain. I’ve had to make a decision whether to spend my life ‘fat or mad’, with the only realistic option being ‘fat’. I’ve put on over two stones in a couple of years.

As  if I didn’t have enough problems already.

cropped-bipolar-hand-2

 

Mental Illness, Faith, and Sin

This post started for me when I read a headline that said “What Made Mental Illness a ‘Sin’? Paganism.” It was by the staff of Christianity Today.

The article spoke of an evangelical women’s conference where “speaker Rebekah Lyons, in telling about her daughter’s anxiety attacks, suggested that mental illness could be healed through prayer.”

That’s a subject that I took up not long ago in this blog . In that post, I said, “In my opinion, what you can’t do is ‘pray away’ the bipolar disorder. If you’ve got it, you have to find a way to live with it. If prayer helps you do that, more power to you.” I stand by that.

But the CT article did not really explain how paganism was involved. To get a grasp on that, it turns out that you should go to the podcast “Quick to Listen,” episode 94, on Apple Podcasts. There Amy Simpson, author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission, explains that by paganism, she means the early Greek and Roman civilizations and their many deities, who saw some physical and psychological conditions as punishments from on high.

This link between mental illness, sin, and spirituality “isn’t really a Christian or religious idea,” says Simpson. “It’s really rooted in superstition and a misunderstanding of what mental illness is.”

The Christian Bible betrays some misunderstanding itself, when at least some of what we would today consider schizophrenia, other psychoses, or even epilepsy are defined as demonic possession. The Catholic Church, it should be noted, still – though rarely – performs exorcisms. And there are definitely still churches that equate mental illness with sin:

The bible makes it very clear that insanity, depression, anxiety, stress, paranoia are the punishments for living a sinful rebellious life contrary to the moral pattern revealed by God in the Bible. Remember, insanity is not a bodily disease, it is a behaviour choice. The only “cure” of insanity, is repentance of the sinful lifestyle and the sinful behaviour choices to solve the problems such a sinful lifestyle creates.

Leah Godfrey wrote an article that appeared on TheMighty.com. It was titled “5 Unhelpful Things Fellow Christians Have Said About My Mental Illness (and My Responses).” In it, she addresses the complicated topic of mental illness and the sometimes insensitive reactions of Christians to it. For example, to those who represent prayer as a power that can heal mental illness, she responds:

Yes, I do believe in God’s healing, that’s why I’m taking medication… because I’m blessed with enough resources to get help to be healthy again. I understand that some people … heard a sermon and *poof* they were healed; I am not that case.

And on the subject of suicidal thoughts, she says:

Yes, you can be a Christian and have suicidal thoughts. We all have thoughts of things we shouldn’t do or won’t do….I don’t believe anyone has the right to take a life, including their own. I’m a Christian who has had years of suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm… Suicidal thoughts are lies we tell ourselves.

Such issues are not limited to the Christian community, however. In researching modern-day paganism (which is what I thought Christianity Today was going to talk about), I found a number of interesting resources. One talked about problems of sexual and emotional abuse within pagan groups and among their leaders, a subject hardly exclusive to the pagan community.

In fact, in my reading, I was interested to learn that pagan communities and Christian communities sometimes address mental illness in similar ways, and how one could benefit from the other’s perspective.

For example, I found this statement:

Many religious communities have support groups and other resources for members who suffer from mental illness. These kinds of services are desperately needed in the Pagan community. We need to learn from other religious communities and adapt to the needs of our own community.

Another pagan author, Luthaneal Adams says:

Can a person find that paganism is beneficial for their mental health? Certainly.  I’d say that spiritual fulfillment is one element of mental wellbeing.  If Paganism is what helps you find that spiritual fulfillment, then great. However, that is not the same as saying that Paganism (or things within Paganism) are themselves tools for achieving better mental health…. When it comes to mental illness, we’re talking about major, chronic illnesses.  No single ritual or ceremony is going to make that just go away.

Other fascinating subjects regarding Christianity, paganism, and sin are the multiplicity of sects and practices and beliefs in both forms of spirituality; the circumstances for excommunication and disfellowship as regards “sin” or disruption of the community; the question of “sinful” behaviors caused by mental illness; and so on.

I don’t have the theological background to address these points. But, to sum up what I found: that mental illness is or is not a sin, depending on whom you ask; that paganism, as well as Christianity, concerns itself with the mental health of its practitioners; and that many spiritual traditions advocate compassion for the mentally ill and an understanding of their suffering.

Certainly there exist both Christian and pagan communities that are more judgmental or less inclined to minister to the sinful or the mentally ill, rather than rejecting them.

These are things that all faith communities need to address.

References

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/february-web-only/mental-illness-sin.html

https://wp.me/p4e9Hv-B6

http://www.bible.ca/psychiatry/psychiatry-mental-illness-bible-sin-guilt-conscience-cognitive-dissonance.htm

https://themighty.com/2017/03/christianity-mental-illness-anxiety-depression/

https://paganactivist.com/2014/04/09/pagans-mental-health-and-abuse/

https://paganleft.wordpress.com/2006/09/10/mental-illness-in-the-pagan-community/

https://www.luthanealadams.com/authors-blog/mental-health-and-paganism

 

 

 

 

 

Reblog – Body Behaving Badly

Originally posted on My Medical Musings:
Those of us living with chronic illness will know only too well how our bodies rebel against us with little warning. Every morning I tentatively wake up, opening one eye at a time very slowly, scared to move. Will my body behave a little today? Will the slightest movement…