World Mental Health Day 2012

 

Today is World Mental Health Day.  The focus this year is Depression.  As a sufferer of depression, more specifically bipolar depression, I can attest that depression is not a simple illness.  It affects you mentally, physically, socially and professionally.  It can be hard to get out of bed in the morning.  The day drags by and you don’t really care if that report gets done on time or how well it gets done.  Everything feels grey and pointless.  You want to go home and go to bed.  Just get the day over with.  You think, “I’ll start fresh tomorrow.”

But tomorrow is just like today. Another cloudy day in your dreary life.

Approximately 5-8% of the American population suffers from Major Depression Disorder (MDD) and women are twice as likely to be affected when compared to men (NAMI 2009).  MDD is often a recurring illness, as half of all sufferers will have repeated episodes.  There are also genetic risk factors for MDD.

Depression is thought to be the result of an imbalance of the neurotransmitters seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are chemical messengers in the brain.  Most antidepressants work by changing the balance of these neurotransmitters, usually by changing the sensitivity or affecting their receptor sites.  For example, SSRIs or Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors, work by blocking the reuptake receptors in the brain.  This means that the brain does not reabsorb as much seratonin as it normally would, leaving extra to float around and combat depression.

Depression is more accepted than other mental illnesses, although there is still plenty of stigma to go around.  You may have heard, “snap out of it”, “cheer up”, or “it’s not that bad”.  Yes, even trivial things are “that bad” when you are suffering from depression.  As well meaning as your family, friends or coworkers might be, if they have never suffered from depression, then they don’t understand how you can feel so down.

Depression is a serious illness and should be treated seriously.  So join me today in the battle against stigma and spread the word about World Mental Health Day.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

New Page Design

My posts are normally pretty serious stuff, and I don’t want to detract from that, but I wanted to change things up a bit.  I am changing my regular blog background to one of WordPress’s Halloween themes.  I hope it doesn’t detract from my content, but I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to lighten up my page for a while.

So if you normally just read my blog via the Reader or email, please stop my page to see the fun background.  Thanks! 🙂

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

A Preview of Winter

image from freefoto.com

The past few days have been very cold here. Not very cold compared to the North, but cold compared to the late summer we have been enjoying. Nights in the 30’s and days in the 50’s.  This shouldn’t happen for another month or two where I live. The days are growing shorter. I’ve been running the heat for two days and even turned on the space heater today. (I hate the cold.) It’s been kind of grey and overcast and I’ve been sleeping a lot this weekend. I’ve felt tired and achy – is it the winter blues already?

Winter is often unkind to those suffering from bipolar or unipolar depression and seasonal affective disorder. It probably affects many other mental disorders as well. So when I look out the window and see a cold, grey sky, I feel like I don’t want to move from under the covers. I know what winter means. It means a cold house because I can’t afford to run the heat too high, and freezing feet and fingers because I have poor circulation. The holidays are coming and that just reminds me how isolated we are from our families, or at least I am. There will be sweets that I cannot eat, gifts I cannot afford to buy, and depression I cannot avoid. We won’t get snow, we will get ice, and driving will be difficult. Not that I have anywhere to go.

I have a feeling that I will be unemployed all winter. I’m going to do my best to hope for at least some part-time work. My unemployment checks will be running out soon – probably next month – so I hope my mortgage refinance happens before then. I’m not looking forward to this winter.

The weather is supposed to turn warm again in a couple of days. The last remnants of summer.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I wish I had done some of this research before I agreed to go on Geodon. Thanks to Vivien for this great post.

Manic Muses

For those who aren’t regular readers of my blog, I have been struggling to quit Abilify – a powerful antipsychotic medication – without success.  This has been a frightening, long and drawn out process for me, since the withdrawal symptoms I’ve experienced every time I have tried to quit this drug inevitably included a mild psychosis.  What is even more disconcerting is I never had any symptoms of psychosis until I started taking Abilify.

Last night I received a reply from a gentleman named Ed to one of my former posts: Abilify Withdrawal – Round 3: Abilify Wins and Antipsychotic Dependence. It is a very thoughtful piece from a person whose son had a psychotic break after trying to quit antipsychotic medication.  If you read Ed’s comment and follow the links he provided, it seems there is  now evidence  in a just published study that withdrawal from antipsychotics may lead to…

View original post 1,236 more words

Therapy

I’m really feeling a little mixed right now.  I don’t mean a mixed manic-depressive episode, I mean that my feelings are a little uncertain.  I went to therapy today.  I remember having a lot to write about therapy last week, but I’ve since forgotten and because I didn’t get it down into words while it was fresh, I’ve forgotten.  Other than this: my therapist has read a few of my personal posts.  I sent her to A Canvas of the Minds because I think there is good stuff there that people are sharing, but she somehow got connected to this blog.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  She hasn’t mentioned anything this week, but I haven’t written anything much that’s personal lately.  (I’ve got all these posts rattling around in my head, the ideas slowly slipping away before they pass through my fingertips to the keyboard.)  I didn’t bring it up because I didn’t even think about it.  I’ll have to think some more about it before I bring it up next week.

My therapist is wicked sharp – she picks up on things both in what you say and how you act.  She is a master at reading body language. She points out when I’ve crossed my arms or a look on my face or if I start tapping a foot.  Things that even I don’t notice. One day she commented on how I was dressed in brighter colors and my nails weren’t painted in this black (actually, a really deep plum) color and how it was indicative of my mood.  Well, the next week I wore black just to mess with her and she got that.  I don’t like having ‘tells’.  We all have them, but I don’t like having them.  Usually my clothes aren’t much of a tell these days because it mostly depends on what’s clean and what fits.  (Most of my clothes are too small now 😦 )

Back to therapy… sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but I guess it’s supposed to be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to have these things pointed out to you.  We talked about therapy being uncomfortable.  If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t get anywhere.  (So if PT stands for Physical Torture, does MT stand for Mental Torture?)  We are trying to work on mindfulness.  She’s been photocopying stuff from books for me.  The latest one is from Mind Over Mood.  I HATE self-help books.  I feel like I am being talked down to and that everything in there is so cheesy.  But I told her to present things to me as research results instead of just whatever – therapy talk, I guess.  So does this book qualify as research based because it’s got copyrights stamped all over the pictures and worksheets?

NOT MINE – See copyright

No, it’s still a self-help book.  I can buy it on Amazon for $16.47.  Maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt – perhaps she is photocopying the clinician’s guide version of it.  Oh wait, I just checked that out on Amazon and it looks to be identical.

The basic theory makes sense: everything impacts everything else.  I’ll go so far as to agree that thought affects moods, behaviors, and physical reactions, but I have a hard time with the vice versa.  When I am feeling down, not even a walk is going to rattle me out of the blues.  It just doesn’t work for me.  Just like the magic ‘fake it ’til you make it’ doesn’t work for me either.  If that were the case, then I’d have self-esteem by now.  But apparently (based on my therapy session), I am being too pessimistic and that’s why it’s not working for me.  Just because I’m in a semi-stable mood, does that mean that all the psych tricks are going to work?  And if they work so well, why doesn’t everyone do them?

So maybe I am simply a pessimist and doomed to be miserable.  I don’t see how this is going to help me deal with difficult people or lift my recurring depression.  DH recommended a couple of chapters in one of his old psych books.  Maybe that’s more my speed.  I’ll try it.  That’s all I’m going to commit to.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.