Daily Archives: June 24, 2018

Mental Illness

There’s a lot of things that people don’t understand about mental illness. And it is often frustrating when you try to explain to someone what it feels like or why you do some of the things you do. And the blend of the illness and your personality doesn’t have a line where one becomes the other. It’s all mushed up together and leaves you exhausted and lost many times.

I don’t say those things easily, and I think because I am so outspoken, sometimes people equate my illness as something that I have control of. And I don’t. Honestly I take my meds and I logically know that I am better than before I started taking meds. But there are days when all I want to do is crawl in a hole and live there.

I have moments everyday where I wonder if my thoughts or feelings or words are appropriate or not. I wonder if I should say something or not. And often I say nothing because I don’t really trust my own judgment. Do you trust your judgment? Do you spend days or weeks thinking about one thing and yet, still don’t have an answer.

I worry that because I am so outspoken and passionate that I am actually the one that has something wrong with them. My family isn’t really like me. Actually I have met very few people like me. And I can promise you I am 100 times harder on myself than you or anyone else could be. Small miss steps are magnified exponentially in my mind. When some is made or upset with me I literally FEEL it. It stays with me hour by hour, minute by minute until some resolution is found. I confront issues and like confrontation because that’s how things get worked out. In order for me to have close relationships I have to step out there and trust someone that could take my illness and use it against me.

I’m sure that is something that is hard to understand. I mean if I talk about my illness then why shouldn’t someone be allowed to bring it up. It’s not that that bothers me except most people only use it as a weapon when they don’t like or disagree with something I say or do. I’m a realist and in a world full of people who only seem to want to share the beauty of this world, I don’t really fit most of the time. While I am acutely aware of how blessed and loved I am. I still live in this world. And this world has a lot of bad and things bad people in it. And this world has so many people that only need someone to love them and invest a little of themselves in them for the person to get their life together.

There are things that people will never understand unless they live it or are very close to someone who deals with it. The truth is there is visible sin. There is sin that people can see and there’s sin that people commit under the cloak of darkness and never have to confront because no one knows to hold you accountable. I know there are people who disagree with me but I have yet to meet someone that disagrees AND has experienced a big visible sin. Because of this I carried around guilt for years. I still do some days. When I bunch of people look at you and you can feel the condemnation you figure out pretty quick that things will never be the same for you.

Ask me about a specific situation and I can tell you what I think or what I would do. But most people do t take my advice. It requires strength and confrontation. It takes looking at yourself and deciding that the part of you that’s broken is from the devil. And the part of you that is redeemed comes from God. It’s hard to find a balance sometimes. But I believe that when God looks at me He sees His daughter and He knows exactly what I have done and why I did it. But still all He has is love and grace for me.

I have learned that there are consequences to all the decisions we make. Some good, some bad. But who are we to say someone needs to repent or be punished for what they have done. God set it up pretty good to start with. God gives us guidelines. Things that will only help us stay happy and healthy and in sync with Him. When we choose to make bad choices there are always consequences(punishments) built into whatever you have done. I had sex in high school with someone that I didn’t even really care about. And I got pregnant. And then the leaders at my church thought they had the right to punish me. And I was told by one that I should have a good attitude on our mission trip and not cause any problems. Who does that?!?!?! I had someone else tell me they didn’t want to have the teens over to their house again because I said I was bored. Mind you I was 17 and I wasn’t the only one who said that. It’s like the go to thing for teenagers, I’m bored. So I learned at a young age that I was responsible for things that I should have never been responsible for. I had to fight and talk and defend myself and my love for God all because I got pregnant. They like to say it’s about the sex. But it’s not. It’s about the fact that people could see my sin so I needed to be punished. Guess what?!?! That’s Gods job not yours and since my parents didn’t even punish me who are you to decide I’m not worthy.

I carry all these things with me. I live with them everyday. Sometimes what happened 20 years ago still haunts me like it was yesterday. I have tried to let it go. And I logically know that these people thought they were doing what God wanted them to. But they didn’t. They were wrong. And to this day only one person has reached out to me and said “we were wrong, I’m sorry”.

And all of that is why I try to be very careful about what I say and how I respond to things. I probably mess up a lot but I try. It is also why I’m drawn to people who have lived life and who understand that it’s just different. It’s why I want to help people and love them any way I can. It’s why I ask questions and try to learn about the people around me and what is going on in their lives. It’s a gift, a very powerful one. And one that I know God guides me in.

I wish that people weren’t afraid of people who are strong and passionate and not afraid to ask the tough questions. But sometimes those questions hurt people. I don’t do it on purpose but I have a thirst for knowledge and truth. I am very methodically and logical. I have the ability to state things plainly in a way that people can understand them. People who are real want that. They understand that life is messy and that we will never be perfect. Jesus makes us pure and that never changes. This world has so many things that we don’t understand. But God does and when we trust Him we can have peace.

I know that God knows exactly what is going on with me. That He knows my heart and my illness and has no problem seeing pst that to the amazing, strong, compassionate, passionate, zealous person that I am. And He helps me everyday. He sends signs that I have no doubt come from him. Something happens and it is along the lines of something I had been thinking about. I know God. I see Him and I see what He does and what He wants. And I am proud that all the people that have hurt me haven’t for one day pulled me away from Him.

I want to help people. I want people to know that if they have questions or concerns they can come to me. I want people to know that I don’t share about my illness to get sympathy or anything else. I do it because I would be devastated if someone had to suffer some of the things I have been through because I want to make my life easier by not sharing. It makes me tear up every time I think of someone I know suffering because they don’t know that there is help. Or are scared to face whatever happens. I will be there all the way with anyone that wants help or has questions.

And you know what?!?!? I will keep sharing because it’s important to me. And because I believe Hod allowed this strong outspoken woman to have an illness because SHE will be the one who shouts it from the roof tops and makes sure that everyone she knows knows that they are not alone. So I will talk to my doctor next month about my antidepressants and see if we can change things up. Because I know they aren’t working right and I want to be able to live my life. That is what I will do.

Be blessed today! And if you ever need someone to talk to please get a hold of me!!9

How To Train Your Brain To Go Positive Instead Of Negative.

Love, love, love this. Just one minute a day, three times a day. I’m going to do this religiously from now on. Sick of looking bing in my awfully negative world.

Love and light my fellow humans. 💖💥❤💥


Negativity will engulf you unless you build yourself a positivity circuit. To do that, spend one minute looking for positives, three times a day for forty five days.

Our brain is not designed to create happiness, as much as we wish it were so. Our brain evolved to promote survival. It saves the happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) for opportunities to meet a survival need, and only releases them in short spurts which are quickly metabolized. This motivates us to keep taking steps that stimulate our happy chemicals.

You can end up with a lot of unhappy chemicals in your quest to stimulate the happy ones, especially near the end of a stressful workday. There are a number of reasons why your brain goes negative. The bad feeling of cortisol has its own survival purpose. It alerts you to an obstacle on the path to meeting your needs so you can navigate your way to good feelings. But once you do that, your brain finds the next obstacle. You will feel bad a lot if you follow your survival brain wherever it leads. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to rewire this natural negativity.

Let’s start with an example I call the Dog Poop Paradox. Pet mess was everywhere when I was young because picking up after your pooch was not the norm. Then customs changed and the streets were gloriously cleaner. Did that make anyone happy? NO. People barely noticed. They do notice an oops, however, and they get plenty mad about it.

Our brain evolved to scan for problems and it is skilled at finding problems when it looks. For example, reporters predicted the downfall of civilized society when the bicycle was invented. They warned that people would flit from here to there instead of having long conversations, and that we’d retire early from exhaustion instead of conversing in the evening. We have inherited the brain that helped our ancestors notice threats in time to act. We are skilled at finding threats, even as we seek rewards.

Build Yourself A Positivity Circuit

Negativity will engulf you unless you build yourself a positivity circuit. To do that, spend one minute looking for positives, three times a day for forty five days. This trains your brain to look for positives the way it is already trained to look for negatives. You may think there aren’t enough positives in the awful world around you. But you don’t have to perform in Carnegie Hall and rescue orphans from burning buildings to create positivity. Any positives, no matter how small, will build the pathway that seeks and expects positives. Just appreciate the absence of dog poop on the path in front of you and neural connections will develop. It may seem false to seek out positives when negatives are so apparent. But as explained in my prior post (7 Reasons Why Your Brain Goes Negative), your present lens is false and in need of correction.

It’s hard to go positive when everyone around you is going negative. Your mammal brain wants to run when the rest of the herd runs. In the state of nature, you’d end up in the jaws of a predator if you ignored your group-mates’ threat signals and waited to see the threat for yourself. Mammals bond around shared threats, and fighting the common enemy raises a mammal’s status within its group. If you ignore the perceived threats that animate your group mates, you will probably pay the price in social rewards. Positivity has a cost, but the benefit is greater.

PARE Your Negativity

When you build your positivity circuit, you will PARE your negativity with Personal Agency and Realistic Expectations.

Personal Agency is the pleasure of choosing your next step. You can never predict the results of your efforts but you always get to choose the next step toward meeting your needs.

Realistic Expectations are the alternatives you generate when your cortisol surges. Though it’s natural to have a survival-threat feeling when your efforts fail to bring immediate visible rewards, you can remind yourself that your survival is not actually threatened. Most human achievement came from efforts that did not bring immediate visible rewards. When your results are disappointing, you can adjust your expectations and take another step.

PARE and you will REAP, because Realistic Expectations lead to Acting Personally. You will stimulate your own happy chemicals instead of just hoping the world stimulates them for you.

Loretta Breuning, PhD, is Founder of the Inner Mammal

Same Shit, Different Day

My mind is racing like a roller coaster going off the tracks today. But I had 2 days of relative peace without my dad’s faction coming around and now that has been broken. I try not to get bent, I try to hard, but invasion of my safe space and noise are just triggers that throw my equilirium so far off kilter it takes awhile to recover. Who wouldn’t want to maintain their equilibrium as much as possible if having it thrown off results in paranoia, anxiety, fear, and a recovery period? And since we moved to Armpit down the street from dad’s faction, I don’t get much break from my brother’s constant intrusions. Dad and stepmonster tend to leave me be, but my brother won’t back off. I went off on him this morning in a huge way because he just came in and plopped, taking my kid’s tablet to use like he owns the place.

Then of course, I felt shitty for tearing into him. I’m just so disturbed by an entitled 23 year old with the mentality of a 10 year old. I don’t think him hanging with an 8 year old constantly, niece or not, is normal or healthy. What really sent me over the edge on him aside from him plopping with her tablet was an incident Thursday. She was trying to move a weighted base fan into the living room and asked him for help and he said, “No, I’m busy, I’m watching pretty girls on TV.” He was watching a cartoon on PBS geared toward 4th graders and they were CARTOON CHILDREN, not sexy anime girls. But like a lump he sat there while my kid struggled with the fan, begging for his help. So I helped her and made disgusted sounds aimed at him. Then I told him he couldn’t come around 7 days a week, we need a break, and he started with his mom’s “I’m sawwy” baby talk which creeps me out. Especially because he’s not sorry at all. He’s entitled and he needs to check that fucking privilege at my door because I don’t baby my 8 year old as much as they baby him.

Today they took her to their house and they are going to teach her how to mow. My clumsy 8 year old near power mowers that can shred flesh. I should have said absolutely not. Then my brother said, “I mowed when I was 8.” Yeah well, my dad drove a semi when he was 6, I don’t subscribe to their 1950’s child slave labor mentality. But Spook wanted to do it so…Pick my battles. Knowing her aversion to chores…I give it maybe a half hour before she’s bored, bored, bored. They’re supposed to mow my lawn later. I wish I could shake off my fear of power mowers, I really do. I never realized how much certain things can impact us when we witness them at a young age but seeing my mom cut her leg open on a mower really fucked me up. I can use the old reel push mowers fine, but this yard is so thick and enormous, it’s just not feasible. I hate being hindered by my fear, I know I need to nut up and get over it. Bullying just doesn’t work for me. I have to be in the proper mental space for certain things.

And if that shrink had increased my Cymbalta, I think I might be in the appropriate mind space. But I am on week 7 at the same dose and it’s stalling. I don’t even want to hit yard sales and housework feels like climbing a damn mountain. I am irritable, my memory is swiss cheese, the paranoia strikes at random moments, and I can’t stand social interaction beyond 20 minute jaunts. I even had to basically turn my phone alerts down to barely audible because the sound-of songs I love, even- was triggering major anxiety and paranoia. I don’t even get that many calls or texts and it was still too much for me. I understand Dr. H’s reasoning, I am very sensitive to medication, and a higher dose could worsen the anxiety, but now that I am doing singular antidepressant therapy as opposed to dual…low dose ain’t cutting it. And because of their staffing issues, I am going into 4 weeks without them calling to tell me who I’ve been assigned to and when I can get in next. IF they even remember me, the place has become such a joke. Shit insurance and a rural area do not lend to adequate mental health care.

Further adding to my stress was a legal letter from the circuit clerk about appearing in court next month regarding the legalities of having a child with someone. And my heart started beating so fast when I opened it, I almost passed out. It was all I could do to keep my cool but I had to, my kid was with me, so I played it nonchalant as if I’d expected it. But I wasn’t expecting it because the lawyer my uncle hired TWO YEARS AGO never replied to my calls or emails or even sent a bill. And last I knew the donor was whining-to my dad, no less- that even with a job promotion he could barely make ends meet. So wtf is going on? I have no idea. Guess I will just show up that day, pray my anxiety doesn’t make me throw up or run doubled over to the bathroom, and the sight of the donor doesn’t send me into a rage.

I don’t understand why it puts me into ‘smack a bitch’ mode. I certainly have zero warm fuzzy feelings for him. I am glad he left, though I think the way he did it all sneaky and underhanded was a pussified cowardly move. My outrage is how he abandoned Spook and even the one time we talked he offered to help “But I have bills too” and I said fine, buy her some Pull ups, you can just leave them in my car..and he didn’t even deem her worth $8. He realy hates me more than he loves his own flesh and blood, and I can’t fathom a planet where that shouldn’t incense me. She’s just a kid, we were the ones who fucked up. Well, mainly I did, because my first impression of him as an elitist snob was pretty much dead on. Shows what happens when you ignore your gut. But then,I wouldn’t have Spook so I guess good things can come out of idiotic choices.

God, I am so rattled I feel like my skeleton is crawling out of my skin. I can’t even get interested in TV shows as a distraction. Round and round the hamsters go on their wheel in my brain and I can’t slow them down. Same shit, different day, if I am forced to interact with others. As stressful as my kid can be, she belongs in my safe space, it’s her home, we are family. But the other interlopers, I avoid them for a damn good reason. I am sure they are decent people but until I can get my mind straightened out, they’re just big biohazards that are poisoning me and I try to convince myself otherwise but…scumbag brain is having none of it.

I wish more than anything I could just ‘get over it.’ I am so tired of the same shit, different day, when it comes to my mental states. Tired of talking and venting, tired of living it, tired of the high point of my day being bedtime. Because now even with 9mg melatonin, it is still taking me 3 hours to get to sleep and I am still waking up 3, 4 times a night.

Okay, rant over. I took my meds without food and now I am dizzy and nauseous. Hey, docs, ever occur to you side effects are one reason people dont want to take meds? This nausea lottery on a daily basis SUCKS. But hey, it’s not the doctor’s lives so why should they care.

Except I thought the whole point of being a doctor was because you care about people. I am pretty fucking naive even at 45 and cynical as I can be. I still want to believe the best in people.

One more thing I guess I need to ‘get over’.

The Compliant Patient

My mother was not a compliant patient. She would have side effects from medication and just stop taking them: The meds gave her sores in her mouth or nauseated her.  And that’s valid. We’ve all had medications that we couldn’t tolerate because of the side effects. But Mom stopped taking them without telling her doctor. Once she went to the emergency room, where they had a list of the meds she was supposedly still on and I had to tell intake, “No, she stopped taking that one. And that one too, I think.” (She was not mentally ill, but that’s where I’m going with this.)

There is only one psychotropic medication I know of (though there may be others by now that I haven’t heard about), where the potential side effects are so horrible – potentially lethal – that patients are advised to stop taking them immediately and get medical help right away.  The side effect is called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and it is a potentially fatal rash.  I wrote about it a few years ago, (https://wp.me/p4e9Hv-1g)

Other than that one instance, psychotropic medications should never be discontinued unless you have consulted your physician. You never know what withdrawal symptoms lie in wait for you, but they’re bound to be unpleasant, even if they don’t cause you to relapse, which could easily happen. Withdrawal from any drug is not fun; it’s to be avoided.

Nonetheless, I read posts in support groups all the time which say that people have decided by themselves to stop taking a medication, or even all their medications on their own. I have friends who have taken their treatment into their own hands this way.

There are several reasons they sometimes give for giving up medications. One is that the meds aren’t working. What they really mean is that the meds aren’t working yet. Many psychotropics don’t show positive effects until they have built up in your bloodstream, which can easily take four to six weeks. Expecting results in a day or two is unreasonable.

Others stop taking their meds because they “feel better” and think they no longer need the pills. This is just ridiculous. The meds are the reason that you feel better. Your psychiatric condition does not just go away, like the flu, when you feel better. Your disorder may soon come roaring back (or creeping back). And the thing is, when you restart a medication, it sometimes no longer works as effectively. Then you have to start all over with a new prescription and have another four to six weeks of symptoms while you wait to find out if it works or doesn’t.

Still other people simply don’t like taking medications.  This I don’t understand.  People take meds for flu and infections and such conditions and never seem to resent them. Maybe it’s the idea that you could well be – will likely be – on psychotropics for the rest of your life. But lots of people have meds they need for life – insulin, cholesterol meds, anti-inflammatories, asthma meds, thyroid meds, and others. People don’t quit taking those just because they don’t like to take pills or injections.

I think the real reason people don’t like to take their psychiatric meds is that they’re psychiatric meds. There is still massive stigma around the subject of mental illness. Taking medication for a mental illness means admitting you have one, which some people are reluctant to do.

Or they may be giving in to “pill-shaming.” There are plenty of people, perhaps in your own family – and certainly across the Internet – who will tell you that all you need is self-love or affirmations or sunshine or exercise or vitamins or meditation or willpower to banish your mental illness. Funny how they never tell people that sunshine will cure their broken leg or that exercise will cure their breast cancer.

I hesitate to say that I love my psychotropics, but in a way I do. They have brought me out of states of mind that were harmful to me. They have made it possible for me to function and create and communicate. They probably have saved my life.

Occasionally I let my psychiatrist know that I may need a change in dosage or that one of meds is no longer working. I’ve even reviewed with him whether there are any meds I could quit taking (there aren’t at the moment). But I keep taking them faithfully, every day, morning and night.

I need the psychotropics. So I am a compliant patient.