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bipolar life lessons Recovery schizoaffective schizophrenia Uncategorized

A Doodle of How I Feel

I am not good at drawing, but I doodled a picture of how I feel.  It is me with my hands on my ears with thoughts racing a million miles a minute. Yelling Stop in my head.

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But, to the world around me, I seem fine.

Categories
DBT life lessons mental illness psychosis Recovery schizophrenia stigma Uncategorized

How to Talk to a Person: my response to how to talk to people with X disorder

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You have seen the articles. How to talk to a schizophrenic or how to deal with someone with borderline personality disorder as examples.

I am not saying they do not have useful observations. After all, these are published by practitioners with much experience. Having contracts in a therapy relationship and firm boundaries is normal. Controlling your partner is not.

I just read such an article by Nancy Carbone, a couples therapist in Australia. It is a year old and I don’t mean to point a finger at her, it is just an example. I don’t happen to have a BPD diagnosis. I do not like articles on how to deal with other types of people, clumping us all together.

The first thing you should do, if you want to communicate with people is learn active listening and other communication skills. Maybe, if you pay attention to what you may consider nonsense, you will see there is more there.

If the articles on schizophrenia were about actually trying to communicate, like writing the key points down if the person is distracted by voices, I would not dislike these articles so much. That is not what these are about, though. It is “tough love” or I know what is better for you. It is about dealing with someone who is flawed and somehow that makes you superior.

I welcome comments. Sometimes I have knee jerk reactions and if I am off-base I want to know.

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13 reasons why depression life lessons relationships suicide Uncategorized

13 Reasons Why (thoughts)

I recently watched the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. If you haven’t heard of it, it is about a teenage girl who commits suicide.

I don’t have a well-thought out analysis. It brings up many topics and I have no one to discuss them with. I have not read other writings on the series yet.

I am far past my high school years, my daughter graduates this year.  She has seen the show but doesn’t talk to me about much of anything.

SPOILER ALERT: There are spoilers throughout this post, and the series unravels slowly. so if you plan on watching it, read this afterwards.

 

I don’t know where to start, so I am going to ramble.

One thing that troubled me personally, was the suicide scene. Not so much that it was graphic or disturbing (they did have warnings). Just that it depicted how she did it. I know you can google anything, but some people don’t complete suicides because they don’t know how .

The movie tackles issues like gossip, social media, stalking, drunk driving. Objectification, sexual assault and rape.

It makes you think about some of the common statements people say about suicide, that people act out for attention. About suicide awareness or anti-bullying campaigns and how effective they are. And, that how it is said it was the person’s choice and no one’s fault. It makes you think about personal responsibility and if someone could have done something to stop them.

I thought it was well-done. You start out as confused as the main character and things slowly reveal themselves.

It is one viewpoint but it could spur discussions.

I guess I will go read what others have wrote. If you have seen it and have any thoughts I would like to hear them.

I think high school has changed from when I was a teen and it was not easy then. There was not social media. People did not drug drinks. Maybe I am wrong, but it seemed safer in that respect.

Bullying was not addressed and suicide was not talked about.  They didn’t have the number of anti depressants as today and  there was even more stigma on getting psychological help.

I was left wondering what the main male character, Clay, had done. He did what Hannah asked and had his own emotions. There was a whole series of horrible events that she would not have witnessed had he stayed when she told him to leave, but you can’t blame him for that.

It went into the realm of non-consensual sex and how not saying “yes” means “no”. How the young man felt since she came to his party and went in the hot tub she was willing.

There is so much more.

I am going to post now. I may edit and add as I think of things.

 

 

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Bloggingfundamentals Daily prompt life lessons relationships Symbiosis Uncategorized

Symbiosis- Daily Prompt

Symbiosis

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When I read the word, my first thought was ‘lichen’, the part fungus, part algae that grows on rocks, i knew they were somehow interdependent. But, when I actually investigated (googled) I found the word means a relationship between organisms that live closely together. So yes lichen, but, much more.

Dependence on each other in a relationship has been coined “symbiotic love”. This is natural at first, when you gaze into each other’s eyes and share yiur similarities. But, you don’t want to lose yourself.

It can be cute and sweet when couple’s know each other so well they can finsh each other’s sentences, or it can be frightening that they aren’t individuals anymore.

Mutualism is another type of symbiotic relationship. Is this type each gain, but they aren’t dependent on each other. Clown fish snd sea anemones have a mutualistic relationship. They help each other and live close together, but are seperate

Be a clown fish, not a lichen!

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Categories
bipolar Coping skills life lessons schizoaffective Uncategorized

Trusting Your Moods With Schizoaffective Disorder

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First published Psych Central

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/2017/03/trusting-your-moods-with-schizoaffective-disorder/

I have a thought and mood disorder called schizoaffective disorder. It is similar to bipolar disorder, in that I have mood swings with periods of mania and depression.

When I was treated for my first severe manic episode I was heavily sedated and slowly titrated down on the medications. When I got to a dosage where I was no longer sedated, and my symptoms were under control, I started to feel okay, good even.

 

It scared me. “Would I feel too good?” I voiced my concerns to my psychiatrist and he reminded me I usually have other symptoms that precede mania. I think most people do.

You could go through a list of symptoms and see which ones are typical for you that would be noticeable.

Do you spend a lot of money?

Are you impulsive?

Do you talk fast?

Do you start lots of projects?

A lot of people monitor their sleep. I often have trouble with insomnia, so that isn’t a particularly good indicator for me. One thing is that I get irritable. I am usually pretty mellow, so if I start snapping at people that is a good sign that something is off. My psychiatrist also told me if people are looking at me strangely that is a warning sign. I am not sure if he meant I do strange things or I get paranoid, which I do, and get suspicious.

Isn’t everyone entitled to an off day, though? Sometimes when I am upset at someone, it is for a good reason. A lot of people imagine others think poorly of them, once in a while.

It would help to have someone I trust, tell me if I didn’t seem right. I have trouble with trust, though, when I am symptomatic. I think everyone else has the problem and I am fine. I am working on that, because I know it is important. Otherwise, you can have a great list of warning signs, but deny them. “I’m not talking fast, you are just listening slowly”.

Once you notice these warning signs, what do you do? That is a million dollar question.

This is where it is best to consult with your doctor and find out when they want you to contact them.

It is good to catch things early, but you don’t want to be worrying every time you have a bad, or good, day.

Categories
anxiety bipolar Coping skills life lessons mental illness psychosis schizoaffective

Coping With Schizoaffective Disorder

Originally published Psych Central
https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/2017/03/coping-with-my-mental-health-symptoms/

With schizoaffective disorder and social anxiety, I have a number of different types of symptoms to cope with.

For me, psychotic symptoms can be the hardest to deal with. The first thing I turn to is medication. I have tried a few of the newer atypical anti-psychotics and fortunately, I respond well. It takes more than medication alone, though.

Some things that can help people cope with psychotic symptoms:

• Help from others– I have issues with fatigue and motivation. If someone can help me with chores: childcare, housecleaning, cooking it is a big relief.
• Music– Listening to music can help drown out voices.
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This is a type of therapy based on moving from distorted thinking to more rational thinking. It can be used to treat people with psychotic symptoms, but anyone can have distorted thinking.
• Asking– If I trust someone I can ask them to help me determine what is real.
• Acting “As If” – I can act like consensus reality (what everyone else believes) is real. The longer I do the more I start to believe it.
• Psychiatric Service Dogs– Dogs can be trained to perform specific functions that help with your disability.
• Technology– Apps like snapchat can be used to verify that what you are seeing is real.

My mood symptoms are varied. I rarely am euphoric. I am more typically irritable and paranoid. Or sad and anhedonic. But, I can be reckless and impulsive. Some things that help me with different mood symptoms. (There is overlap with the different coping skills):

• Support groups – A number of organizations have support groups for people with mental health conditions. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) and National Alliance on Mental illness (NAMI) are two national organizationsOkay.
• CBT– like I mentioned above this is a type of therapy that helps with distorted thinking. Distorted thinking can lead to depression and CBT can help your mood.
• Acting against Impulse– This is a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) technique. If your first impulse is to do something reckless, push yourself to do the opposite.
• Talk Therapy– This goes for all the sections, but if I am irritated at something specific my therapist can help me put it in perspective.

For now, I have my psychotic symptoms pretty well under control and my depressions are mild. I haven’t been manic in years. I am still plagued by anxiety. Here are some of my anxiety coping skills:

• Breathe– I take a deep breath and let it out slowly to help me calm down.
• Visualization– I picture an event coming up, going well and I don’t get so nervous about it.
• Routine– I take my medications and go to bed, wake up at the same time, plan for change ahead of time.
• Journaling– getting my thoughts out helps me to organize them and take some of the emotion out.
• Calling someone-talking to a friend helps me to not feel alone.
• Avoiding over-stimulation– Sometimes I just need quiet time. A big crowded place is too busy for me.
• Breaking Tasks into Pieces-If I try to take on a project all at once I freeze, but if I break it up into more manageable pieces I can get it done.
• Socialize- I tend to isolate which isn’t healthy so if I am invited out, I push myself to go. I usually have at least an okay time, it is just getting out the door.

Categories
alcoholism anxiety disclosure life lessons mental illness schizoaffective writing

Feeling Exposed

I have social anxiety and used to barely interact with others. Enough to do my job, get my groceries, but not much more. I have slowly been building on that and as far as overcoming my anxiety- I think I have come a long way.

I have been slowly disclosing information about myself to others. People close to me and people I don’t know. I give talks on my experience with mental illness for NAMI. I have been blogging on a private site. I made a YouTube video and did periscope chats. I have been posting more personal info on social media.

Now, I am blogging out in the open and I feel vulnerable. I showed my co-worker some articles I wrote and he followed a link here. It is fine. That is what it is there for. But, I felt like he was reading my diary at the same time.

And, I put a disclaimer on twitter that my views don’t represent my employer. I know you have to be careful what you say. My work knows about my mental illness. I work in the field. I just was pretty casual on the more private site. I worry I am going to get comfortable and say the wrong thing (like complain about someone or something).

And, I just announced some things about myself that people didn’t know. Not everyone that follows me on Twitter knew of my mental health or alcohol abuse issues. I feel like I need to explain everything, right now.

Categories
anxiety life lessons mental illness Uncategorized writing

What Did I Get Myself Into?

I am blogging for Psych Central. I have published 2 posts so far.

Shameless plug:

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/

 

It is about schizoaffective disorder and alcoholism.

I am supposed to write about 2 posts/week.

Did I mention I am really insecure and worry a lot and am a bundle of nerves????

I am so afraid I am going to run out of topics.

Or crash and burn in some humiliating fashion.

 

I already have 2 ideas for next week.

It is just the “what if?

I am going to try to stay in the present.

 

 

Categories
bipolar DBT life lessons mental illness Rapid cycling Uncategorized

Perpetual Patients

I  don’t know if I do this. It is easier to recognize in others. Every bad day is depression, any agitation is mania. They tell you every morning how many hours they slept the night before.

A friend was telling me much of what people think are mood swings have to do with distress tolerance and has more to do with therapy than medication. Specifically DIaletical Behavioral Therapy(DBT).

I don’t know if that is correct. I don’t think everyone that rapid cycles really has a personality disorder. That was what he seemed to be eluding to. But, if you can’t get mood swings under control and you can get into a DBT program that could be an option.

I want to be well and in recovery. I know I can relapse, but I try not to worry. The longer I go without psychotic symptoms, the more assured I get that it will stay this way. I get some minor dips. They don’t seem like they will end, but they do.

My major issue is anxiety. I have made great progress. At one point, I would just go to work and come home. I would shop at night and avoid people. Now, I work with people and even do some public speaking (I am not a good speaker, but I do it).

I think if you spend too much time focusing on possible symptoms you miss out on  what is around you.

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Categories
life lessons mental illness schizoaffective schizophrenia Uncategorized

Breathe

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Not long ago, I volunteered at a state conference for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I was able to see a few speakers throughout the event.

One lecture I went to was on schizophrenia. I was very interested since I have a thought disorder (schizoaffective disorder). The psychiatrist speaking was a good speaker, intelligent and down to earth. He spoke about getting through the illness and to the person.

There was time for questions. Hands were raised and you could also fill out questions on paper. I filled out the paper and waited, but he never read mine. The audience was mostly clinicians and family but there were a few others with the diagnosis, like me.

Afterwards, there was time to talk with the speaker. i waited for my turn. Finally, I got to ask him my question. He said he had not read it because there really is no answer. I asked about remission. I have been stable for years. I have pretty much not had psychotic symptoms for 10 years (I am on medication). But, still I wait for the other shoe to drop. When is it going to happen again?

My question was “When can I take a breath and not worry about relapse?” His answer was simple. “Breathe Everyday”. You aren’t having symptoms now. Enjoy the moment.

Originally published in “Invisible Illness”

View at Medium.com