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bipolar Dual diagnosis Forgiveness hams harm reduction Inner demons mental health mental illness moderation NAMI pandemic psychosis Recovery relapse schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety suicide

What I Have Been Up To Lately

I had therapy last week. I started seeing this therapist after the pandemic, so all my sessions have been virtual. I forget what she asked but I mentioned I remember mistakes from the past, 20, 30 years ago or more and they torment me. She wanted me to share but I am not comfortable with that. I feel such shame and they were mistakes that I feel are unforgivable. If I did not feel shame there would be something wrong. But, I don’t want to delve into them.

My father did not believe in mental health treatment even though schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar run in our family. When I started therapy he discouraged it saying talking about the past just makes everyone sad. I did not understand what he meant until now.

My therapist wants me to work on forgiving myself.  I have to explain to her that some of these things are best kept hidden.

 

 

I have been able to stay alcohol free after my planned intoxication in April.  My plan is sobriety until our wedding anniversary in October.  It was pretty easy to get back to it.

 

 

I posted a link to an In Our Own Voice presentation I did for NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, in a different post. I have not been speaking much lately. I saw a different program by NAMI called VOICES. It is geared towards first responders. I signed up to be a speaker, but am having trouble figuring out where to start. My initial interaction with mental healthcare and police was not until I was 39, but since mental illness runs in my family that was not foreign.

My brother had a psychotic break in college at 20 (I was 15). He refused treatment and would get picked up by the police for 72 hour observational holds in the late 70s. His is a sad story. He was severely symptomatic for 6 years when he finally was placed on a different medication that he responded well to. But, he started becoming symptomatic again, paranoid, edgy, and probably needed his medication adjusted. He went to Yosemite while symptomatic and fell at a waterfall. I don’t know if it was accidental or not, but he died from the fall.

This is supposed to be a story of hope, but it is part of my story.  If I had not seen him so ill for so long I may not have accepted treatment, but I did not want to be stuck in psychosis like he was.  I think it is okay for first responders, but not sure if it will scare the general public who may be worrying about their own children.

My story is much different.  I did go in and out of psychosis for 3 years, but I have been stable since 2006.  I have not been hospitalized for 16 years.  I am married, have healthy grown children, work part time.  I still have some doubts about what was real from the past, but I can function.

 

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Brain keto Medication mental health mental illness schizoaffective schizophrenia

Advice From a Dietician on Brain Health

Image of highlighted brain

I zoomed with a dietician this week.  We talked about ketogenic diet and brain health, specifically schizoaffective disorder.  She gave me goals for macros and ketones.  I am having trouble just staying in the requirements of Virta, the company that is monitoring my diabetes, so she suggested following that and then make changes.

The suggestions she made was: going from 30g carb a day to 22g. And, cutback on artificial sweeteners.  Keep my protein the same, and increase fat.  She also suggested, for my particular issue, that I should have 2-3 mmol/l ketones in blood.  When I started keto, I was getting numbers in that range, but now it runs around 1.0 so she suggested adding mct oil.  She also suggested balancing the unsaturated fat I use with some monounsaturated fats.

I am trying to hit the macro targets now, but will really start in earnest in May.

I had asked my psychiatrist if he would talk with the Virta doctor and he agreed, but I don’t think he has called. I have been stable a long time, and am wary of making any medication changes. The dietician told me to work with my psychiatrist about any changes, which I would do anyhow.

I really can’t believe I have stuck with this as long as I have. I want to make it a lifestyle change but it is hard. I feel good and am thinking clearly. My main issue is that something does not agree with my gut. My fasting glucose has dropped 20 pts. Still not low enough to change my diabetes meds, but it is an improvement. I have lost about 1 lb/week, it’s not melting off, but I think it is reasonable.

I am in a medically monitored nutritional ketosis program and working with a psychiatrist for my mental illness. Please don’t try this alone.

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anxiety bipolar Coping skills distorted thinking Medication mental health mental illness NAMI psychosis Recovery schizoaffective schizophrenia stigma Therapy

In Our Own Voice Presentation

Yesterday I did a presentation for NAMI Orange County on my recovery.

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/8I-z9RKNONCJ958C7klIYBjCf3ZzCXs_BD743CKZD0QUzGcCtPbtjjVcYygq5hk.nKTSbzmA_Jj3DrvG


Passcode +6$T%coQ

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keto mental health mental illness moderation schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety Therapy Weight loss

Medical ketosis for psychiatric illness

Image of highlighted brain

I have been on a ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes, through a company called Virta for about 3 months. I have lost about 1 lb/week, my fasting glucose has dropped 20 pts, and I feel good.

My friend was pushing me to try the diet and now he has been pressuring me to find out information on medical ketosis for psychiatry. He says it has greatly helped his depression. My provider from Virta agreed to talk with my psychiatrist about how a keto diet can affect mental health. But, I started wondering what am I doing. I have schizoaffective disorder controlled with medication and also take medication and use coping skills for anxiety. I don’t know that I want to change anything.

My therapist coached me on how to tell my friend thanks, but I feel pressured. I am not great at setting boundaries. I took her advice and he was cool. He said it is not his business what I decide to do and he is just making suggestions.

Then, I read a post on Reddit where someone is working with a dietician from the Charlie Foundation on a keto diet for schizophrenia. They work on keto for epilepsy in children and have expanded. I emailed and they gave me info on a dietician and I made an appointment for a zoom call on Wed.

The diet I am on now is 30 g total carbs, 13 oz protein containing food and fat to satiate. I am sure the dietician will have something more precise with macro g or percentages. Right now I weigh some but estimate amounts, where I will be measuring more.

My therapist gives me homework. The last thing she gave me was to give examples on where I could be more assertive, like with my friend. And to think of things I am grateful for and proud of. I am grateful for many things. The people in my life, especially my husband and even my pushy friend. My car, dog, food, home… i could go on, but proud of had me stumped.

I work and take care of my family but there is nothing I can identify as I am really proud about. I thought some more. I am proud I have been alcohol free for 6 months and have a plan for moderation. I am proud I have been able to stick with keto 3 months and with the results.

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12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety Uncategorized

Hearing What I Needed to Hear

90 days sober!

I went to a zoom AA meeting and someone said that you don’t try to control things that are already under control.  That was what I needed to hear.

I had all of these rules and thought my drinking was under control because: I didn’t drink and drive, I only drank in the evening, I got chores done before drinking, although I was pushing even those limits.

But, normal people just need one rule. Don’t drink too much.

I listed in a previous post how my life was unmanageable. I have to refer back to it to remind myself. I still have cravings even though I logically have decided I don’t want to continue drinking. I just remind myself of reasons I don’t want to drink.

I have schizoaffective disorder and I don’t want to interfere with stability, and alcohol does not play well with my medications. And, I am not very productive at home if I am drinking. Also, I think I was walking around with a mild hangover. My head feels more clear, I feel lighter now.

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12 step AA alcoholism depression Dual diagnosis mental health mental illness schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety

Moods and Sobriety?

I noticed it in the tone of my texts. I am insignificant I told a friend. Another friend asked me to be on a podcast. At first I said yes, but now I am having second thoughts. No one would be interested in anything I have to say

My husband held me, the dog licked me and my son texted he loves me. I can’t feel it. I just feel sad 

I have schizoaffective disorder and take antidepressants and an antipsychotic.

Maybe it is a response to sobriety?  I am not going to drink  I will probably try to get sleep instead

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12 step AA alcoholism higher power mental health mental illness peer support schizoaffective schizophrenia Uncategorized

My head is spinning

I have been thinking of a higher power and talking with people and now I don’t know what to think. My sponsor says all I have to do is believe something, anything, outside of myself could, possibly restore me to sanity. That I can do, but choosing what to believe in is more complicated. I have trouble believing in a man in the sky. I started with the Universe or nature. I feel more connected with the world outdoors. But, I don’t know how the Universe could help me. They say you can have the fellowship of AA as your higher power but I don’t know about turning my will over to the group

I talked to.my therapist about my issue with psychosis and she reassured me that it is unlikely I will start getting delusional. It has been 15 years since my last psychotic episode. She thinks my issue is with religion I am getting support and staying sober. I don’t like going to meetings every day and calling my sponsor everyday. My therapist thought maybe I should cut back but do something with that time I have trouble expressing what I want. My sponsor said I don’t have to do anything and that they are suggestions.


The meeting tonight was on step 2 and our higher power. People spoke about their faith or issues with religion. One woman said she can’t define her higher power but it helps her. I have been reading “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. In the book she listens to an inner wisdom that she calls God. I know my inner voice could help me, but that is not something outside of myself.


My friend does not think I have a problem and should not identify with an illness. That gets me wondering if I really need something outside to restore me. Is that something you can do on your own? I think my mind is shattered in a way and I have been searching for someone/ something to repair it.


So far I am staying with AA because it is not hurting anything and I am sober

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12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness psychosis schizoaffective schizophrenia

A thought on my higher power

The Universe is my higher power. I am tasked with describing how the Universe can help me. I had a point where I was seeing messages everywhere. I thought my therapist was suggesting things and guiding me by controlling the media and my environment. I imagine the Universe could guide me, but how do I trust it is not a delusion

ETA: I spoke with my sponsor about my concerns. She told me to stop for now.

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12 step AA alcoholism mental health mental illness peer support schizoaffective schizophrenia

Giving AA a chance

I had gone from abstinence to trying moderation with alcohol. I started having drinks after work, alone. The problem with that was I was letting other things go. My husband was walking the dog alone and I was not even showering as often. I have fatigue issues which only became worse.

I went to a zoom NAMI seminar and a psychiatrist I admire, Luis Sandoval, was talking about schizophrenia. Someone asked about substance use and he responded, You take medications to help you think clearly, why would you take something that interferes with that? Logically, I have known this, but for some reason this time it hit me. I decided to go to a zoom AA meeting afterwards.

I found a woman’s meeting that meets at the same time every day and have been going as often as I can. My start date is Oct 13, so I only have a week of sobriety so far. I have a friend who is very involved in AA and is giving me pointers. I asked a woman to be my sponsor and she said yes. She has me calling her every day and we will zoom once a week. I ordered the big book on kindle and have started to read.

I am not religious. My mom is Catholic and I recognize some similarities. Prayers, confession, etc. they asked me to end the last meeting with a prayer and the only one I know is the Serenity prayer, which was fine.

There are other options, as far as groups go, but I want to give AA a try. My sponsor says I can choose my higher power. I have not figured that out yet.

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mental illness psychosis schizoaffective schizophrenia Uncategorized

What you see is just the surface

I saw this picture by u/schizocelia on Reddit and it really touched me.

My observable symptoms: responding to internal stimuli, inappropriate laughter, mood swings are the tip of the iceberg. You can’t see the hallucinations, delusions, loneliness and the pain.

When I had my first psychotic break, no one around me noticed. I am married and was working. People asked me if I was sad. I was isolating, and they can’t know what is going on inside your mind. (Although, at times i have believed people could know my thoughts).

Now, it is hard to tell if I am isolating or just following stay home orders.

I have been stable for years.  Sometimes, I worry i will have another break, but hopefully we (my husband and I) will be able to recognize it and act quickly.