Daily Archives: May 14, 2018

RIP Lois Lane – Thank You

I get “breaking news” clips on my computer and phone. Much of the time I just ignore it but today my Hubby said I should take a look. It stated that Margot Kidder had died. Now I have long been a fan of her acting, especially opposite Christopher Reeve’s Superman as Lois Lane. They say …

Easy ‘Cause You’re Beautiful

I am 33 years old. My generation is basically the first generation to be born and raised into ‘The Self-Esteem Age”. Those of us raised in the 80’s and 90’s heard about our self-esteem all the time. We heard about how special uniqueness was and how unique everyone was. We heard that everyone is good […]

Scientists Have Identified The Physical Source of Anxiety in The Brain

Scientists have discovered “anxiety neurons” in the hippocampus of mice. They fire when mice are in anxiety provoking environments. And they can be silenced with light, at which time mice don’t exhibit anxious behavior any longer, but explore environments that would normally have been very anxiety provoking. Also these same cells can be activated with another setting of light and when that happens the mice exhibit very anxious behavior even in safe environments. And as of mice, so of men! So, hopefully this will lead to better treatments for anxiety for us humans. I’d be totally willing to be their guinea pig for new therapies for anxiety! I’ve been dealing with sometimes debilitating anxiety for at least two years now. Waiting for new treatments, as are a lot of others, I’m sure. Godspeed researchers!

https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-identified-control-switch-anxiety-brain-cells-neuron-disorder-anxiety

And they can control it with light.

PETER DOCKRILL

13 MAY 2018

We’re not wired to feel safe all the time, but maybe one day we could be.

A recent study investigating the neurological basis of anxiety in the brain has identified ‘anxiety cells’ located in the hippocampus – which not only regulate anxious behaviour but can be controlled by a beam of light.

The findings, so far demonstrated in experiments with lab mice, could offer a ray of hope for the millions of people worldwide who experience anxiety disorders (including almost one in five adults in the US), by leading to new drugs that silence these anxiety-controlling neurons.

“We wanted to understand where the emotional information that goes into the feeling of anxiety is encoded within the brain,” says one of the researchers, neuroscientist Mazen Kheirbek from the University of California, San Francisco.

To find out, the team used a technique called calcium imaging, inserting miniature microscopes into the brains of lab mice to record the activity of cells in the hippocampus as the animals made their way around their enclosures.

Anxiety cells (Hen Lab/Columbia University)

These weren’t just any ordinary cages, either.

The team built special mazes where some paths led to open spaces and elevated platforms – exposed environments known to induce anxiety in mice, due to increased vulnerability to predators.

Away from the safety of walls, something went off in the mice’s heads – with the researchers observing cells in a part of the hippocampus called ventral CA1 (vCA1) firing up, and the more anxious the mice behaved, the greater the neuron activity became.

“We call these anxiety cells because they only fire when the animals are in places that are innately frightening to them,” explains senior researcher Rene Hen from Columbia University.

The output of these cells was traced to the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that – among other things – regulates the hormones that controls emotions.

Because this same regulation process operates in people, too – not just lab mice exposed to anxiety-inducing labyrinths – the researchers hypothesise that the anxiety neurons themselves could be a part of human biology, too.

“Now that we’ve found these cells in the hippocampus, it opens up new areas for exploring treatment ideas that we didn’t know existed before,” says one of the team, Jessica Jimenez from Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons.

Even more exciting is that we’ve already figured out a way of controlling these anxiety cells – in mice at least – to the extent it actually changes the animals’ observable behaviour.

Using a technique called optogenetics to shine a beam of light onto the cells in the vCA1 region, the researchers were able to effectively silence the anxiety cells and prompt confident, anxiety-free activity in the mice.

“If we turn down this activity, will the animals become less anxious?” Kheirbek told NPR.

“What we found was that they did become less anxious. They actually tended to want to explore the open arms of the maze even more.”

This control switch didn’t just work one way.

By changing the light settings, the researchers were also able to enhance the activity of the anxiety cells, making the animals quiver even when safely ensconced in enclosed, walled surroundings – not that the team necessarily thinks vCA1 is the only brain region involved here.

“These cells are probably just one part of an extended circuit by which the animal learns about anxiety-related information,” Kheirbek told NPR, highlighting other neural cells justify additional study too.

In any case, the next steps will be to find out whether the same control switch is what regulates human anxiety – and based on what we know about the brain similarities with mice, it seems plausible.

If that pans out, these results could open a big new research lead into ways to treat various anxiety conditions.

And that’s something we should all be grateful for.

“We have a target,” Kheirbek explained to The Mercury News. “A very early way to think about new drugs.”

The findings were reported in Neuron.

https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-identified-control-switch-anxiety-brain-cells-neuron-disorder-anxiety

Hive Mind

So, this isn’t (unfortunately for Trekkies) some sort of Borg/Collective post about hive mentality. Rather, it is about the fact that due to both physical and mental factors year round, I find myself breaking out in itchy red spots. The physical thing is a condition my daughter and I both have where the PH in our own perspiration makes us break out in itchy white and red spots so warm weather is pretty miserable for us.

The mental is when panic or anxiety have set in and I just randomly start itching, arms, neck, leg. My mom has this and her mom had it, as well, and it’s some sort of stress induced non-contact dermititis thing. But then the itching turns it into contact and round and round we go cos itching makes the hives worse. I am experiencing this today, the fall out from yesterday’s socialization with the family for Mother’s Day.

Seven straight days of people in my close proximity for hour after hour- it takes a toll. I think I am allergic to others when overdosed. It’s my issue, I don’t hold them responsible, but it’s also something I have to deal with the aftermath of. Today is the aftermath and I am aching, crampy, sleepy, uncomfortable, and itchy. I don’t want the cats on me. I am happy my kid is at school because much as I love her, she is a noisemaker and I didn’t get a break from her at all over the weekend so the quiet is nice. I locked the doors and keep eyeballing the phone, as if able to mentally will it NOT to ring, willing people NOT to knock. Because I need a break from people.

Sounds awful and misanthropic and even worse coming from a mom, but…It’s not hatred or nastiness or even selfishness. My circuits overload with anxiety from too much stimuli and I have to isolate in order to recover. Been that way my whole life, though I must admit, it’s gotten so much worse since I had my daughter. And again, that is not to blame her, I just think the entire spawning process altered my hormones and chemicals in a way that worsened my preexisting mental conditions.

I’m a step from mood splat. Dad and them dumped more auction stuff on me so the progress I had made with unpacking is clusterfucked again, and I have 5 clean loads of laundry waiting to be folded and put away. The sink is full of dishes again, I haven’t vacuumed cos even the ‘new’ vac they got me just spits the stuff back out and I won’t even discuss the biohazard that is the kitchen floor. (I hate mopping, it’s so pointless, give me a generic Roomba mopper thingie.) It’s overwhelming me and while I know I have to take today to recover from circuit overload…the bully in my head is telling me to get over myself, get off my ass, and just get the stuff done. Stop being a baby, don’t be such a wuss, grow the hell up. Over and over my inner bully screams at me. And much like the bullies at school who tried to change me with their neverending onslaught of slurs and acts of physical aggression…

I remain unchanged, just defiant, rebellious, and inert until my mind and body decide change is needed or we are ready to ‘snap out of it’. Bullying may work for some but it’s counterproductive for me. Wish my inner bully would get the message.

And this brings me to segue into an attempt at a short explanation of why I am not on social media with my fundraiser. I know once upon a time I did a post explaining the whole sordid mess but I can’t be arsed to try and find it. Let’s just say that long before Fuckfacebook became everyone’s new deity, I was very very active on myspace and I had way too much fun. I lived on line. And I started promoting bands left and right and I made friends I couldn’t even keep track of, met a few of them even. One even convinced me I ‘had’ to have a Facebook page and she’d set it up for me. It languished and then after meeting on line people in real life and finding out my personality is apparently only appealing from behind a computer…

I killed off my social media presence. It lead to nothing but problems. Nastiness ensued, things got broken, and I won’t say I was shattered but I was…humbled. I am apparently great at promoting music because it’s not about me. If I try to promote myself, it becomes painfully aware how lacking I am in every aspect. I may be okay with who I am (for the most part) but others are not. The saving grace is that I learned early on what social media really is-shallow. And the way it has devoured society is just sad. Last cookout I went to with ten people there, nine of them were on their phones updating their status or Tweeting. That, to me, is the very definition of anti social.

That being said…I also recognize the great things social media can do. I wish I were a social media queen, I really do. I loved promoting music, interacting with the band and their fans, managing pages and promotions. It didn’t pay money, but it made me feel worthwhile. Social media has great value, if you know how to use it, work it, and it doesn’t consume you or psychologically destroy you. Unfortunately, that was my experience and I haven’t fallen off the wagon in 10 years. I even gave up Reddit because you couldn’t comment on a meaningful post without some troll starting a flame war. It’s just not my thing.

So it’s not laziness, it’s not that I think I am too good to do social media…It’s just that I have been there, done that, and still have the scars to show how it did not work out well. I haven’t written off the notion, but there’d have to be a better forum than what is presently offered. I don’t do shallow. And honestly, I don’t spend a lot of time taking pictures of my food even if it looks like Beyonce’s face is on my toast, this could get me a thousand likes! Just not me. If it’s you…go with Beyonce and the toast and be merry.

Anyway…that’s that story and this is our current one.

Maybe at some point I can take the two donations we have received (thank you, kind souls, you are amazing) and get into town to buy some allergy pills and stop clawing off my own flesh among other necessities. $35 from being able to pay car insurance by the 21rst and get gas, cat food, and meds.

Taking it one day at a time, trying to remember to breathe, and once again, giving the phone and door the evil eye to will away any callers or visitors.

My ability to be calm and civilized will only return if I am allowed peace and quiet for awhile. And that includes that damn inner bully that keeps calling me names and telling me to go do stuff. I’m out of bed, wearing clean clothes, what more do you expect from me? Oh, right, that’s basic functioning, not an Olympic accomplishment.

No,the medal will come if and when I finally find the energy to bathe.

Shit has HIT the fan. Again.

Why is it…every holiday…I go crazy? Just really insane?

I get really angry and shitty to my family. I withdrew from the world just to pop back into it tomorrow at work.

I am getting tired of exchanging my happiness for this stupid disease. This thing that had a hold on me since the beginning of this blog to now.

Now.

I thought I’ve moved on. I thought I could carry on with my life thinking it was just a sad phase. Now that there is a little me in the world and this thing keep popping it’s head up…I have to think that this is forever. Completely. 100%.

I’m tired and pissed that I am doing this again.

Talk

Finally talked to Bob Friday night about what he said Wednesday.  I was very calm and just said that what he said made me feel like I was out on bail.  He said he didn’t mean that–he didnt’ mean anything negative by it and he was sorry I had heard that.  I told him why that had been the message I heard and he said he understood.  But I had finally gotten better and realized that this whole episode was the kind of test I needed–was I going to put my trust in man or in God for my thoughts about my self-worth?  I had settled on God before I even talked to Bob–that’s why I was able to talk so calmly to him, I think.

My middle one leaves for England tomorrow for six weeks of study abroad and Then the oldest goes off.  So we are looking forward to some change from that front.  This time may be the last one before they are all scattered for good–the oldest wants to be in Florida full-time with Disney World and the middle one really enjoyed her co-op experience in Georgia.  So we may meet in the middle in Tallahassee for visits and such.

I go treatment tomorrow and  Wednesday and “graduate” Wednesday afternoon. I will be glad to get my time back all to myself and enjoy it with my oldest before she leaves. I may work her during her last week checking on cleaning out the rest of the house.  We have a plan for getting a lot of things cleaned up this Friday and what we don’t do then I may make both the girls who are home work on what’s left.  We will see,