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Therapy

I don’t know how to do therapy

I am seeing a new therapist. I picked her because she has experience treating patients who have experienced trauma. At my first appointment, I told her at the very end of the session that I want to delve into the past because it affects me still. It took me the whole time to get up the nerve to say that.

So, I go in today and talk about my husband, kids, dog, work, anxiety level. Everything is okay. I ran out of things to talk about so I left early. The problem is, there is more, .i just don’t know how to spit it out. I guess I can tell her that next time. Maybe, it will take me a bit longer to get comfortable.

I am going to try to write down things when they come to me and bring that.

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family Uncategorized

I value my Family

Continuing the alphabet game with the letter F.

I have issues with my family of origin, but my little family (husband and 2 children + our dog) is very important to me. Thankfully, we are all doing well.

I worried about how having a mental illness would affect my children, but they are grown now and are great people.  I grew up in fear and I am so happy they are not afraid of me.

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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.

face2

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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Coping skills DBT mental illness psychosis Recovery relapse schizoaffective schizophrenia support groups Uncategorized

Mental Health Conference

i went to a conference today. There were 32 workshops..

the first i went to was on Borderline Personality Disorder. It was very informative and i learned a lot.  The next was on support groups, that was good. There were a number of organizations represented.

the last one i went to was “ask the doctors” on schizophrenia. It was an open forum for people to comment, and ask questions. There were suggested questions on the screen.

one of the questions was, “what has worked for you?”  I would have loved to hear the answers to that one.

one thing that worked for me, was talking to people with similar experiences, either on-line or in person. I went to dbsa support groups, nami connections and eventually started a group affiliated with the national organization, schizophrenia alliance. I don’t run the group anymore, but i am glad it is still going.

another thing, that is a little different, was when i was very troubled with auditory hallucinations, my psychiatrist found a way to communicate. He wrote words while he spoke, circling and crossing out important words.

no, one had asked what my experience was like when i had a psychotic break. They asked about symptoms, but not what were the voices saying or what the messages were. Not until i saw a therapist who seemed interested. It felt lke a relief to be able to tell my story.

i would love if anyone would share what has helped them

 

 

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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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Uncategorized

The Gift

I go to a support group for people with mood disorders.  Moods are part of schizoaffective disorder. The moderator likes to refer to our illness as a ‘gift’. Like we have special powers. He believes he is more creative, has deeper feelings, and I don’t know what else. He even said he would not take a cure if he would lose these things.  He is definitely pro-med, pro-treatment. He also sees more positives than I do.

If there was a cure, I would jump at the chance.  The bad things, far outweigh any benefits. If this is a gift I want to return it.gift3

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DNA Uncategorized

DNA testing

imageI have been interested in the different DNA tests available, like ancestry or 23andMe. (I am not endorsing any products).

At one time, I worked at a company that did DNA work.  I even met Francis Collins, one of the leaders of the human genome project, who was a consultant.

I was interested, but I was not sure if I wanted to have my dna results out there. What if they were used against me? That is not paranoia. Right now, there are laws against that. But, I think it is a legitimate fear.

Then I heard of Promethease. One of a number of websites that will analyze the raw data and compare it to scientific studies, mainly health related. I decided to give it a shot.

I ordered a kit from Ancestry.  I was not very interested in the heritage data, but I wanted the raw data results. You can get raw data from other dna kits, too. I have dry mouth from my medications, so it was not easy collecting the small saliva sample. Then I had to wait. It takes about 6 weeks. I found a distant relative, but for the most part the results were not too exciting.

Next, I downloaded the raw data from Ancestry and following the instructions, uploaded it on Promethease. It did not take long and I had MANY results.  They tell you what you are a risk for developing. It knew my eye color, diabetes, obesity ( I have what is called the fat gene). I have a number of genes associated with schizophrenia and one for bipolar and depression. It told me I am a risk for macular degeneration and breast cancer. I am sensitive to NSAIDS and caffeine. There are results about how you metabolize different medications.

23andMe has a health panel which gives similar results, but the Promethease analysis was free in Dec and is not expensive. I think it is regularly $10.

There are so many results, it is hard for me to read it all.

 

I was pleased enough with the results, I am having my dog dna tested, now. You can’t do anything with the raw data, but they give breed and health info.  You can share the results with your vet, too. (I don’t think my dr would want to look at my results). I am in the process of waiting until March.