Tag Archives: Depression

We’re Suffering and It’s Real, Too Real In Fact

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Once again I saw another human at the end of their rope because a friend, loved one, co-worker or any other allegedly sentient being on the planet did a number on them about their fibromyalgia.  

The stories are always the same… “you’re an attention seeker”, “you’re lazy and trying to get out of _____”, “it’s not really *a thing*, it’s just lazy doctors who want to dump people in a pile when they don’t want to find out what’s *really* wrong with you – or – there’s nothing wrong with you, everyone feels that way from time to time.”

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Speaking on behalf of our brothers and sisters, here and across the globe. Our pain and symptoms are very real, regardless if you “buy it” or not.  We do not need you to be patronizing, to offer us lip service, telling us what *you think* we want to hear, or have you be downright defiant and dismissive of what we are going through by claiming it to be “all in your head”, or that it’s a “b*llsh*t excuse the doctors use when they don’t know what’s wrong. To some degree. that last one is correct.  

Image result for free images for blogs fibromyalgia

Doctors used to write off symptoms that they could not find the root cause, lumping them in a pile named fibromyalgia.  As a result, what’s happened is that someone finally noticed similarities in all of the patients’ symptoms in that pile. After that, they started recognizing that this is a real, somewhat treatable, currently incurable disease/condition.   It is unknown as to whether the cause of the symptoms are in the nerves or if it is in an area of the brain sending wrong signals which cause our symptoms or environmental sources. I’m inclined to believe it is the latter two, but I don’t know any more than anyone else.

Why are some people allergic to something and some else, even in their own family sometimes, are able to binge on.  I was born with several health problems including a severe intolerance to lactose and in those days (no old jokes please) there weren’t the options that there are now.  My sister came along 5 years later, spent 3-4 days a week in the hospital under an oxygen tent.  Once they were afraid that her heart could wind up damaged from all the epinephrine they were giving her, they finally agreed to allergy testing.

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Out of the 204 things that she was tested for, thankfully she was *only* allergic to… 196 of them.  Only… sheesh.  And guess what, none of ours overlapped and still haven’t.  I have spinal diseases, she had cancer,  She’s allergic to morphine and it doesn’t even work for me.  The list of differences goes on an on.   The same is true for fibro, we’re all alike, and we’re all different.

I read somewhere that fibro can be caused by a traumatic experience where you got hurt. For me that makes total sense, that’s when mine reared its ugly head, but you could put 200 people in a room and only perhaps  7% of us would be able to point to it as when fibro walked into our lives like a person you can’t stand who now won’t leave your house.

Read More about the
100 Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Personally, I think we’re all f*cked to some degree because we are all members of what I refer to as  the Pop-Tart generation. So many things were not on the landscape until the 60’s with the ‘fortified with  vitamins and minerals”, why did it need to be fortified in the first place? Pop-Tarts were fortified with 5 vitamins when they started and now it’s 16 and calcium and fiber? Why was Tang nutritionally better than orange juice? Cold cereal was introduced, prior to this it was oatmeal, Cream-of-Wheat or grits, and we all know what the ingredient list looks like on the side of the box of cereal.  We started running public water to more families, fluoridated of course. Our bodies have been beaten like a bad boxer with no end in sight.  

We need acceptance, acknowledgment, better treatment, and a hope for a cure. Empathy and the willingness to take us our word for it won’t cost you a thing; much like manners, this is free to use and available 24/7 if you choose.

Thanks for listening

Maggie ॐ 
“Art and Giving are Food for the Soul”​
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PTSD Awareness

June is PTSD Awareness Month, and it’s more common than you might realize.

PTSD-after-Open-Heart-SurgeryWhat is PTSD?

It’s estimated that approximately 20% of combat vets suffer from PTSD and only half will seek treatment.  But they’re not alone. Originally noted by terms of “shell shock” and “battle fatigue”, we’ve come to realize that it’s not just soldiers who suffer from this. Anyone who has been subject to a severe emotional trauma can experience this as their mind tries to process what has happened.

Abuse victims, rape victims, victims of violent crimes, combat, natural disasters, etc. all take time to emotionally heal from what they’ve experienced. However when the symptoms are severe and they last more than four months, they may very well have PTSD.

PTSD occur

It’s estimated that as many 8% of all Americans (over 24 million) will experience PTSD in their lifetime.  We tend to hear the term thrown around but I wonder how many people really know what it is?

PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is characterized by three types of symptoms:

Reliving the event – Most commonly known as flashbacks or triggers, hearing a car backfire can trigger someone to re-experience sounds of gunfire, seeing a car accident can cause someone to relive their own traumatic event, etc.  Something as subtle as a news broadcast or online video, a sound or even a smell can trigger this things during waking life.  Reliving the event in dreams is common as well.

Avoidance of reminders – This can be avoiding tv or movies with similar subject matter such as war movies or ones with fires, earthquakes or one where a character is raped, or avoiding similar locations.  For example, getting robbed at an atm may cause you to only take cash out when you’re at the store so you don’t have to go near the bank.

Having been in a shoe store when it got robbed caused one of my best friends to not be able to bring herself to go in that chain store again for many years; and not just that location but all of them since they all look-alike.

Feeling numb or keyed up – Staying “numb”, shutting down emotionally as a means of not dealing with feeling… with people, activities or even forgetting parts of the traumatic event or just not be able to talk about them.

Being “keyed up” includes sudden rushes to anger or irritability, trouble sleeping or concentrating, becoming almost paranoid about your safety or startling very easily.

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I was working in a restaurant years ago as an hourly supervisor when we were robbed at gunpoint.  No one was hurt thankfully and it was over in about a minute.  It was my last day of work before vacation which I thought was a blessing at the time but it turned out to be my downfall.  With not being there, I wasn’t able to deal with it and fear took over.  When I did go back to work, I couldn’t be anywhere near the register without breaking into a sweat from a panic attack.  My boss was very understanding and accommodated me stepping down from my supervisory position for a couple of weeks and kept me in the kitchen. Sadly it just got worse.

After 9 years with the company I wound up putting in my notice and left because I just couldn’t handle even being in the building anymore. I had nightmares regularly for a couple of years after the incident, each time I wound up getting shot, even though no one got hurt in real life.

A year later my family and I went out to dinner (my daughter was 4 at the time) and my sister noticed a sign that it was supposed to be family night complete with a clown and balloons.  As the server came by my sister asked where the clown was and that my daughter would enjoy a balloon only to be told that he had already left for the night since there weren’t many children in the restaurant.  I was tending to my daughter and heard my sister exclaim “we got robbed” – speaking of the clown and the balloons.  I however broke into a cold sweat and started crying and eventually excused myself to go throw up.  The very definition of being “keyed up” and “startling easily”

I’ve dealt with many things in my life, which to me (on paper at least) would seem to be more traumatic that this one minute window of time… but it derailed me for a several years.  I have no idea why one incident would create such a lasting effect while others did not.  I never sought help, in fact I didn’t even know that what I experienced even had a name.  It wasn’t until many years later when I was retelling the story to someone when they told me it was PTSD.  Had I or someone around me known what it was, I could have sought help to deal with it.

The effects of PTSD run deep

PTSD doesn’t just affect your moods and  your dreams. There is a physiological component to PTSD.  Studies have shown that there are physical changes that take place in the brain.  In other words, your brain gets rewired.  That’s why overcoming it is so difficult. Most affected are the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex.

The brain controls everything, so physiological changes can affect all areas of your body and life.  The limbic system, located deep in the cerebrum, is composed of the amygdala, the hippocampus and they hypothalamus.

The amygdala deals with our primal instincts – fear, panic and all that’s associated with it; Heart rate changes,  sweaty palms, tremors, even nausea and diarrhea.

The hippocampus handles memory which is why people with PTSD can lose sections of their memory and even what’s called “anterograde amnesia” which is the inability to form new memories even if the old ones are completely intact.  These changes are thought to be caused by increased exposure to cortisol, also known the “stress” hormone.

The hypothalamus controls hormone production.  It affects sex drive, weight gain, sleep, thirst, body temperature, hunger and the release of hormones from other glands including the pituitary.  The pituitary gland is a critical part of our ability to respond the environment around us, most often without our knowledge.

The prefrontal cortex area controls your cognitive behavior, decision-making and even appropriate social behavior.

That’s just the start of it.  These changes convert into pain sensitivity, auto-immune disorders, fibromyalgia, etc.  Alcohol and drug use and abuse are frequent occurrences as well in the attempt to self-medicate and cope with all that one is dealing with.  As you can see, it’s not just a simple bad memory but your world being turned completely out of control.

 

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If you’ve had symptoms like these, please find someone to talk to and know that you’re not alone.  If you know someone who is having these issues, please give them the help and empathy they need to deal with it.  Know that they have to heal in their own time.  There is no schedule, no cure, no pill they can take to make it go away, just time, support and understanding.

June is PTSD awareness month, and I’m so glad that it’s getting a bit of a spotlight, but knowing exactly what it is, is crucial to dealing with it.  So please, share the word.

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

The One That Affects Us All

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Today I am immensely saddened by the loss of an amazing man – Robin Williams.  Not only a man of immeasurable talent but immeasurable heart as well.  As a co-founder of Comic Relief, he, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal brought the topic of homelessness into everyone’s consciousness as well as their living rooms.  He was a donor and spokesman for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and spent countless hours with American troops.

Robin Williams crossed many lines in his comedy and his acting, the biggest one to me was the line making stars untouchable.  Robin was the first celebrity that you could picture being at the parent-teacher conferences, at the grocery store or even in your home.  He was the guy that no matter if you agreed with his politics, you would love the opportunity to sit down and have a beer or a cup of coffee with him and just talk.  He was an anybody and an everybody and everything in between.

He not only appealed to our children but to the children in all of  us, letting us know it was okay to just have fun every once in a while. His movies made me cry like no other… The Fisher King was the first one to really put its hooks into me and not let go.  While I’ve been a fan of his ever since his walk on role on Happy Days and his subsequent spin-off of Mork & Mindy making him a household name, The Fisher King was the one that showed me not only the depth of his acting but forced me to see the depth of my own feelings as well.

I don’t think that there’s a single person who watched Dead Poet’s Society who didn’t wish they’d had a teacher like his Mr. Keating or reminded us of our own Mr. Keating.  More importantly he inspired us to be Mr Keating.  That’s really what it’s about isn’t it.  Touching someone with your passion?  That’s what he did, both as himself and as the many characters he portrayed on-screen.

Unfortunately, depression does not discriminate.  It doesn’t matter race, creed, color, age, size of your bank account or the number of accolades on your shelf.  It leaves you alone and in pain.  For those of us who have wrestled those demons, we know what he was going through.. yet something else that he has managed to share with us as well.  Like I said, he was an anybody and an everybody… and anybody can suffer depression and everyone knows someone who has… whether they realize it or not.

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So please, if you’re struggling with depression.. tell people.  Let them know.  Don’t worry that they’ll judge you, what matters is that they know you deal with this horrible burden and that you might need help.  We all need help in that wrestling match and its okay to seek help.  Remember, if you’ve made it this far you’ve got a 100% success rate in battling depression.

To Robin Williams’ family, I wish to offer you my sincerest condolences.  Your loss and pain is the greatest of all.  Suicide not only leaves a trail of grief, but a trail of guilt in its wake as well.   Please know that there was nothing that you could have done.  This was a battle that only he could fight and unfortunately he lost to a formidable foe.  I hope he has found the peace he was so desperately needing and I hope you find it as well.

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

 

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
The arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Helping Others Through Understanding

Many people suffer from social anxiety and/or depression, some more severe than others. If you know someone who does, please talk to them.

I was reading the blog post linked below and felt I really needed to pass the message on.

http://www.newlycrunchymamaof3.com/dear-diary/social-anxiety-strikes-again?fb_action_ids=10202082985225280&fb_action_types=og.likes

Reading this woman’s blog really cut close to home for me since I’ve suffered from depression for many years.

Depression goes in waves and even with medication it doesn’t go away, the waves just get calmer and less erratic.  It’s hard dealing with people who think that you should “get over it” or think that medication should “cure you” or worst of all can’t tell or refuse to acknowledge that there’s a difference between having depression and being depressed about things.  For that reason I really wish there was another name for it other than depression.

Thoughts come into your head that you didn’t put there, you don’t want there and can’t control.  Worst of all, you’re afraid to talk about them because of how people will react.  Some people treat you differently.  Some people freak out.  Some think you’re saying it for attention – which by the way is one of the most horrible things you could ever say to a person with depression.  We don’t want this, I can promise you that.

My daughter has dealt with panic & anxiety almost her whole life.  I’ve dealt with some anxiety issues, but not to the level that she has.  Having the opportunity to home school allowed her & I to come to understand her issues better, know what triggers to avoid, when we need to talk things through and when she needs a “time out”.  Because all nerves are connected, these “mental” issues affect physical ones as well… over sensitive hearing, sense of touch can be painful, stomach cramps, headaches, etc.

Overstimulation has always been a big issue and she can’t handle crowds.  Once we were able to isolate this, she started putting herself in “time out”.  Our code was that she had one of “her headaches”, it let me know that things were getting to be too much for her and that she couldn’t handle it.  If we were in a social setting it allowed her to gracefully bow out away from other kids with parental support so she could go to a quiet place and regroup.

I’ve got to say Bach’s Rescue Remedy was a miracle drug during those years.  A few drops in whatever she was drinking, made a huge difference and she still keeps it on hand to this day and thankfully rarely needs it.

Diet and medications can play a huge roll in these issues like these.  While you cannot “be cured” by eating a certain diet, etc, what you put into your system can make symptoms worse.

Many years ago I pulled a muscle in my back and the doctor had prescribed a certain pain medication (one that I have refused to take since).  Within days I could swear I could feel the gravitational pull of the planet.  My tone of voice was just nasty and hateful without meaning to be and I wasn’t aware that I was doing it most of the time.  When you say something to your (then) six-year-old and they look at you and say “it’s okay Mommy, I know it’s the medication” – there’s a problem.  Huge!

While you hear warnings in the media about giving antidepressants to teens because of the adverse effects (i.e. suicidal tendencies) they can cause. However you rarely hear about other medications and how they can cause problems.  My doctor knew of my depression and was the one that put me on medication for it.  He then gave me depo-provera for birth control and never once mentioned that it could be contributing to my depression worsening… even though depression is the number one side effect of depo-provera!  Instead he just kept adjusting  the dosage of my medication.  Thankfully I was able to say “this isn’t working anymore” and
“my symptoms are getting worse”.  Some people aren’t that lucky, instead they get consumed with it then try to (and sometimes succeed at) taking their own life.

If you have a friend or family member that suffers from social anxiety, depression, etc.  If they’re turning down your invitations but saying they’d like to get together, find out what’s up.  Maybe they can’t hang out with you at the club or the bowling alley or Chuck E.Cheese with the kids, but they’d love to meet you at the park or in a coffee shop.

If you’re not inviting them to something you know they can’t handle – let them know! Say “hey, I’d love to have you there but I know you can’t handle this”, so they know you’re not ignoring them and they also know you’re trying to be understanding of what they’re going through.  By all means let them know if they’re up to it you wish they’d come. Silence makes things worse.  Don’t let them think that you’re shunning them when you’re really trying to help.  Communication is key!

If you’re a parent, please listen.  Don’t assume.  If you have never dealt personally with anxiety or depression but you think your child is having these issues, introduce them to an adult that has if you can.  Whether it’s a friend of the family or a counselor, better to err on the side of caution.  Learn what you can and encourage your child to open up to you, without judgement.  It can be scary to hear certain things as a parent, but you must have empathy rather than panic or anger.  A little girl who my daughter was in Brownies with didn’t have anyone to listen and took her own life at 17.

There is nothing lonelier than depression, anxiety and panic.  It’s like being in a dark hole and the air is getting thick.  You can’t reach out because you can’t see anyone in the dark.  Please be the light in the dark and reach out.   Ask how you can help to understand what they’re going through.  You may be able to help, then again most likely there may be nothing you can do.  Or they may just not know what you can do but knowing that you’re there for them and care enough to ask makes a huge difference.

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

Closer to the Earth is Not Just Spiritual

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How much do you really know about your thyroid?

thyroidExtrapolating that further, how could you tell if your thyroid wasn’t healthy, and what could you do to fix it?

First things first. Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped structure that sits just below the thyroid cartilage (your Adam’s apple) and wraps partially around your larynx (wind pipe). It’s main function is to produce hormones; when healthy, your thyroid is responsible for a) boosting your energy; b) warming you; c) keeping your immune system up and running.

Sometimes your thyroid produces too many hormones. That condition, known as hyperthyroidism, can produce rapid, forceful heartbeats, breathlessness, dramatic weight loss, nervousness, insomnia, an increased appetite, sweating and – in women – light or absent periods

But your thyroid can also work too slowly; that is known as hypothyroidism, and it’s the more common thyroid disorder. Some of the signs of an underactive thyroid include swelling in the arms, legs or face; abdominal weight gain; cold hands and feet (and fungus growth in your nail beds); increased susceptibility to colds and flu; and dryness, which can manifest itself as hair loss, brittle nails, achy joints and constipation. The condition can also lead to moderate-to-severe depression.

One thing to note: There seems to be a disagreement within the medical community these days about which tests are more effective evaluating thyroid function.

According to BodyEcology.com, “traditionally, TSH, Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone that is released from the pituitary gland in the brain, would be checked along with the two thyroid hormones it produces, T3 and T4. However, it has become commonplace to only test for TSH, and that is only one part of a very detailed picture. There are many other mechanisms at work in thyroid health.”

What makes your thyroid tick?

A healthy thyroid; for instance, relies on a few factors:

— Stable levels of other hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. “Too much estrogen, such as from the birth control pill, will create too many thyroid-binding proteins,” says BodyEcology.com.

— Beneficial gut bacteria. “Antibiotics wipe out these good microbes, which account for around 20 percent of the conversion of T4 to usable T3,” said the site.

— A healthy liver.

— Good adrenal gland function.

“Clearly, with so many pathways available for the production and conversion of thyroid hormones, there are a lot of opportunities for something to go wrong,” says BodyEcology.com.

There are other things that affect thyroid health, says pharmacist Suzi Cohen.

“People with high insulin levels face a greater risk of thyroid problems because it can cause thyroid resistance; the thyroid hormones can’t get into the cells or aren’t as effective as they should be,” she writes, making reduction of excess insulin levels “critical.”

Making your thyroid work like it should

There are ways – traditionally and naturally – to treat thyroid problems. As always, consult a physician.

One way is with traditional medicine. “Most physicians treat hypothyroidism with medications because it’s quick and easy. And drug therapy is necessary in many cases, at least for short periods,” Cohen says, cautioning that those with diabetes and heart disease should use caution in taking such medications.

But there are other, natural ways to preserve – and rebuild – thyroid health.

A diet rich in fruits and veggies is good, but you need to be careful: “Long-term consumption of soy foods or eating too much oatmeal, fiber supplements and fiber-rich foods (like cereal) and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts) may interfere with proper thyroid metabolism or absorption,” says Cohen.

Iodine is critical in the production of thyroid hormone (Cohen says she supplements with Iodoral, a combination of iodine-iodide). “Stay away from food made with white flour because processing creates the toxic chemical bromine, which competes with and replaces iodine,” she writes. Iron is also necessary for the production of thyroid hormone.

Antioxidants also seem to help correct improperly functioning thyroids. “Doctors may use Glutathione in their treatment of chronic thyroid conditions. Glutathione is the “mother-load” of anti-oxidants,” says the National Thyroid Institute. “Many doctors at the institute have seen miraculous changes in our patient population as a result of our specific glutathione protocols. Glutathione is especially helpful with autoimmune diseases.”

Finally, many experts recommend low-glycemic foods. “Strategies to reduce your “glycemic load” include eating more whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, fruits and non-starchy vegetables, cutting back on high-glycemic foods, such as skinless potatoes, white bread and instant rice, and limiting sugary foods, like cakes, candy and soft drinks.”

Sources:

http://www.lifescript.com

http://www.nationalthyroidinstitute.org/natural-thyroid-treatment/

http://www.naturalnews.com/thyroid.html

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/041983_thyroid_disorders_natural_remedies_iodine.html#ixzz2eeONpJyo