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Intermittent Fasting (IF) and Stigma in Plasma Donation

Image of insulin and glucagon levels over time source Digbi Health

I saw the image above of how insulin drops between meals and while fasting. While insulin is low, glucagon can burn body fat. I was intrigued. I am 10 lbs away from a healthy BMI, but still have abdominal fat. I am type 2 diabetic and asked my doctor if fasting would be safe. My glucose is pretty well controlled and I don’t have hypoglycemic episodes. She said it is fine, but recommended 12-14 hour fasts. Which is mainly cutting out the nighttime snacking and eating breakfast later.

So far, no change. My weight has been stalled for awhile. My diabetes medication was reduced in June and my biometrics went south. Glucose up, ketones down, weight up. Thankfully, that stabilized but I can’t get my weight to go down. I log my food on an app (Cronometer) but sometimes I estimate weights. I am going to have to get better at calorie counting to start losing again.

So I am gung ho on intermittent fasting. Watching Dr Fung YouTube videos. Then, I saw this study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34135111/
A randomized controlled trial to isolate the effects of fasting and energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic health in lean adults

All I can see is the abstract and I heard a review but this is what I got out of it. There were 3 groups. One calorie restricted, one calorie restricted (same as group 1) but alternate day Fasting and a third group with no calorie restriction. The calorie restricted groups both lost the same amount of weight but the non fasting group lost more fat.

It was a short study 4 weeks, I think, and these were lean adults. Also, they were doing longer fasts than I am. But, I don’t know what to make of it. I would have expected the fat loss to either be similar or more for the fasting group since they have lowered insulin during the fasting period. if anyone has any insights let me know in the comments. I will stay with 12-14 hr fasts and keto diet for now.

I tried donating plasma at a donation center. I tried calling ahead to ask about restrictions but they do not give that information over the phone. And, they don’t take appointments for first time donors so I had to walk in and wait. For what it was it was not too bad. First someone checked my veins, which are fine. Then I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork. Then, I watched a video on plasma donation and read through a manual for first time donors.

Then, a woman, I don’t know her title, took me to an office to go over my paperwork. She got to the medications and asked what each was for and looked them up in a huge book. I take 7 medications for various conditions. After she goes through the medications she goes over them with me.

Most were fine. I take antidepressants but as long as anxiety and depression are under control it is fine. But, I take metformin for diabetes. She said that is a temporary deferral. If I was off it for a year I could come back. I don’t know what the likelihood of me maintaining my diabetes by diet alone is, my husband is able to, so possibly. Then she got to abilify which is an antipsychotic although it is sometimes used along with an antidepressant for depression. But, I told her I take it for schizoaffective disorder. That is a permanent deferral.

Bone marrow donation has the same policy. It is not the safety of the product. They consider me a safety hazard. I have been stable for 15 years but still people are afraid of me because of a diagnosis. They should have a sign out front: schizophrenics need not apply. So, I would not have had to waste my time.

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12 step AA depression mental health mental illness psychosis relationships schizophrenia Therapy

Discombobulated Thoughts

I had therapy, virtual, on Wednesday.  I went over what was going on in the present.  Then my therapist started asking questions about when I was school age.  Jr high and high school were not the best years of my life.  I had a friend drop me in 8th grade to hang out with more popular friends.  I had a boyfriend in high school who was very critical and was sometimes mean.

Creative Commons girlshealth.gov

My home life was horrific. My father had an undiagnosed, but quite obvious in hindsight, mental illness and my brother had a severe psychotic disorder. He was nice, just a bit scary to me. Everything was unpredictable. My dad would be fine one day and raging the next. I could not deal with being there so I spent most of my time out, with friends, drinking alcohol or smoking weed. I was very sad, and quiet.

After answering her questions she asked for my thoughts and I said they are discombobulated.  I don’t know what to think.  So, she told me to write down my discombobulated thoughts when they come to me.  She used my own words but I don’t  what she wants.  I am going to email mon.

She gave me other homework. To write what you can gain from AA, without spirituality. That is easier for me. I belong to a secular AA Facebook group. I tried one meeting but I felt out of place and have not looked at others. I did think the accountability and recognition for time sober helped me. I have not gone to meetings lately but I am staying sober,

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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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alphabet game bipolar schizoaffective schizophrenia

Schizoaffective Disorder

I was not sure what to choose for an “S” word, but this disorder affects my whole life. Also, most people have never heard of it.

Schizoaffective is basically a combination of a thought disorder, like schizophrenia and a mood disorder, like bipolar. There is controversy about the diagnosis. It can resemble bipolar with psychotic features except you have weeks of psychotic symptoms while not in a mood state (manic or depressed). Or, it can seem like schizophrenia with depression. There are 2 types, bipolar type and depressive type. I have the bipolar type and have had mania.

I had years of psychotic symptoms, it was either a long episode with periods of insight and lucidity, or a number of relapses. It all is rolled together in my mind. But, once I got on a good medication cocktail (I take several types), I have not had the severe symptoms. Now, I am more troubled by fatigue, anxiety and milder depressions.

Prognosis varies. I am married, have children, work part time. I had a psychotic break at 39. I know nothing about dating with a diagnosis or pregnancy and psych meds. Mental illnesses can be hard on marriages. We were married for 7 years before I was diagnosed. Fortunately, my husband is supportive and understanding.

I see a psychiatrist, a therapist, and go to a support group for mood disorders. Some good resources can be found through the National Alliance for Mental Illness NAMI.org and depression and bipolar support alliance dbsa.org.

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alphabet game neurotransmitters Uncategorized

Neurotransmitters

I don’t understand them well, but neurotransmitters rule my life. Too much dopamine and I get psychotic. Too little serotonin and I am depressed. Along with others like glutamate it is a delicate balance

I take medications and supplements to help restore the balance. They seem to be working. If only they did not come with side effects. My mouth is constantly dry to the point it is hard to talk. I usually carry a bottle of water everywhere. I am chronically fatigued which I believe is due in part to my medications. It is definitely worth those side effects to be functional

Chemical imbalance is one theory for mental illness. In my case it makes sense to me.

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DBT depression distorted thinking support groups Uncategorized

The Abyss

I won’t pretend to know what Nietzsche meant by “the abyss gazes into you”. The quote came to mind as I feel like I am at the edge of an abyss, gazing into the void. I feel empty. I am ashamed of who I am. If people knew who I really am they would turn away in disgust. I want to disappear. 

I spoke of how sad I am. How I feel I have done terrible wrongs and should be banished, at a support group for mood disorders. The moderator talked about dbt and eventually got around to mindfulness. I have been trying that, but there are too many thoughts. It is hard to focus. Then he mentioned that my self-deprecating thoughts could be a symptom of borderline personality disorder.

That would have been fine, if he had a basis to suggest that, but he just pulled it out if thin air. I went home looking at the symptoms and anxious to talk to my therapist. I was a little anxious going in and very agitated by the end of the meeting. I had trouble getting any words in, it felt like a competition to speak.

I texted my therapist this morning and she wondered why he would have suggested that. She said my thoughts could go along with a number of diagnoses, including depression. And, I am depressed.

I usually find the meetings helpful, but lately I have been leaving feeling worse than when I came.

I get up and face my obligations, but I feel like hiding. “Fake it till you make it.” I never really liked that expression, but I am doing it.

If you got this far, thank you

tl:dr Depression makes everything worse

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alcoholism depression relapse suicide Uncategorized

Hypocrite much?

 

imageI feel like a sham

i tell people coping skills, but I have trouble doing them myself. My therapist told me to try mindfulness. I know what it is. I recommend it. But, my mind spins so much,  i can’t be “mindful”

i have trouble breathing, cbt is out the window, i can’t seem to act as if, if as if is that things don’t suck.

my life is fine, i am fixated on the past. And, that i can’t change it.

and of course, i suck, i suck, i suck!

i slipped and drank, too, which i feel bad about, but if it is drinking or suicide, i don’t think it will hurt.

i am safe. I am afraid i would mess up, as usual, and make my life worse.

i can’t be sick. It is not a good time. It is a very bad time.

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mental illness support groups Uncategorized

Sometimes 80% understanding is enough

support

I have not been feeling well. Depressed and anxious, a little paranoid. I decided to go to a support group. I was hoping I would feel better, sometimes I feel worse afterwards. Lately, I have been getting agitated and frustrated during support group meetings. I am not sure why. I wasn’t sure if i should go. I did not need to feel worse.

I was the first to share. I just let everything out. The suicidal thoughts, sadness, anxiety. I told them I was anxious about past work experience and now i have a new job and it is change and I am already upset about work. And, the past is never going to change.

Many people were depressed there. I listened to others and could feel the pain. I tried to give support. I could not express myself the way I would like.

This moderator tends to talk a lot. Sometimes, I find it annoying, but not that night.  He seemed to get what i was saying and made sure i am safe. (I am). He and others validated my experience. No one seemed to get the unbearable shame I feel. The moderator tried explaining to me that the path you take leads you to where you are and that I would not be me if things were different.  I knew what he meant, but it did not apply to what I was saying. Maybe, I was too vague.

I accepted the feedback and felt supported. I think I was understood about 80% and that has to be good enough.  I did feel validated and heard.

 

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depression mental illness suicide Uncategorized

Depression sucks

I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but I have trouble knowing how I feel.  I knew I was miserable and anxious, but until

depression

my therapist said I was depressed I did not notice.  Someone was trying to help me and asked what I get up for and my immediate response was “obligations”. I am there if I have to be, but otherwise I sleep my life away.

I had a terrible night Tuesday. Ruminating about the past and having suicidal thoughts- repetitively. I hardly slept googling different methods.  I could not figure out what to do, and then beat myself up because I am too stupid. I tried contacting people on the internet but no one is around at 3am.  Then, I thought it was a plot to ignore me to teach me a lesson.

Eventually daytime came. When it was a decent hour I texted my therapist and she called back.  I told her i was thinking about mistakes from the past and that because the past will never change i will always have these thoughts. I was hopeless, Sobbing like a child.  She tried calming me down and showed empathy. I did calm down some, enough to go to work. I was afraid I would start crying at work. I told my co-worker I was having a bad day, but I was there. And, I made it though the day.

I was drained that evening and slept through the night. I saw my psychiatrist today. Luckily, he did not overreact to the suicidal thoughts, they are gone right now, and just changed my medication a little. I am having trouble being hopeful. I feel pressure to stay well. I feel like I can’t get sick. That it would ruin everything.

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depression disability mental illness stigma

Disabilities: What Not To Say

Originally published PsychCentral.com

link

There is a hashtag trending on twitter: #AncientAbledProverbs, started by @HijaDe2Madre. It is about things abled people say to the disabled, often unthinking, that can be hurtful or ignorant. These could be physical or mental, visible or invisible disabilities.

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