Have Migraine Headaches or know someone who does? – Take this Quiz!

What do you know about MIGRAINE?

What do you know about MIGRAINE HEADACHES? - Virily

I’ve just created a Quiz on Migraines!  Hope you will try it out!

https://virily.com/virily_quiz/know-migraine-headaches/

Deb

 

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The Pain of Fibromyalgia and Depression in Women

The WashingtonTimes.com reported that research from Sweden has shed some light as to why women are more likely to suffer from depression, chronic pain (CPS) and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) than men.  Also, the same study discovered why women are prone to depression and mood swings from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and post-partum depression.

Serotonin production, re-absorption and normal levels in many women are not sufficient and wreak havoc on the mind and bodies of those affected. The effect on female hormones is broadly significant. Serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone,’ plays a significant role in pain management.

Chronic or clinical depression can be the causation of chronic pain. Chronic pain can lead to chronic or clinical depression, so healthy levels of serotonin play a significant role in managing depression and chronic pain.

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The Fog Between My Fingertips

BLACK DEPRESSION

Hollowness, loneliness

Black hole

No light at the top

Drowning

No one saving me

Why?

No future

Just black dreams

Despair

Feels like a prison cell

Handcuffed

Black fog

Feeling the fog between my fingertips

Nothingness

Empty

No treatments working?

No doctors helping?

Why?

What kind of life is this

Black death sentence

Written & copyright by Deb McCarthy

Study says: CBT Showing Significant Reduction in Chronic Pain

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a helpful CBT intervention that improves outcomes in patients attending a rheumatology pain rehabilitation program

Summary:  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on psychological flexibility and behavior change, provided a significant reduction in self-reported depression and anxiety among patients participating in a pain rehabilitation program, new research has demonstrated.

This treatment also resulted in significant increases in self-efficacy, activity engagement and pain acceptance.

To assess the potential benefits of an 8-week programme of group Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in people with persistent pain, measures of pain acceptance and activity engagement were taken using the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire. Measures of psychological distress using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and self-efficacy were also taken at assessment, on the final day of the programme, and at the follow-up six-month review.

For those chronic pain patients with scores at all three-time points, there were statistically significant improvements in all parameters between baseline and at six months follow-up, including the change in mean score of depression, anxiety, self-efficacy, activity engagement and pain willingness (p<0.001).

“To further validate the role of ACT in the treatment of chronic pain, specifically in a rheumatology context, a randomized controlled clinical trial that includes measures of physical and social functioning within a Rheumatology service would be desirable,” said lead author Dr. Noirin Nealon Lennox from Ulster University in Northern Ireland.

ACT is a form of CBT that includes a specific therapeutic process referred to as “psychological flexibility.” ACT focuses on behaviour change consistent with patients’ core values rather than targeting symptom reduction alone. Evidence for this approach to the treatment of chronic pain has been mounting since the mid-2000’s. A previous systematic review had concluded that ACT is efficacious for enhancing physical function and decreasing distress among adults with chronic pain attending a pain rehabilitation programme.

In this study, patients were referred into the ACT programme by three consultant rheumatologists over a five-year period. Over one hundred patients’ outcome measures were available for a retrospective analysis.

Source: European League Against Rheumatism

Article source: ScienceDaily.com

 

PTSD ~ Those ‘Dirty Little Secrets’

I’ve written many posts about my PTSD (childhood sexual abuse); which was a ‘dirty little secret.’  Have you held on to secrets for years and years?

Recollecting my past, at around eight years old, while my friends and I played in our yard, the predator next door sat on his veranda puffing on a cigarette or repairing whatever under the hood of his car.

I was panicked for them and me, wanting so much to convey to them of the sexual abuse at the hands of this man, yet at the same time felt bewildered.

I had a secret; an ugly little secret, to something that I didn’t cause – or did I?

There was the distressing apology, forced by my parents to blurt out and recite with sincerity to this predator for abusing me.  That sincerity was met with confusion wondering how I wronged in the first place.  All kinds of feelings swished around: guilt, helplessness, and I was embarrassed.

A 30-year-old man is forcing sex on a child.  Would that warrant an apology?

Perplexing also was permitting this predator into our home for Sunday dinners.  Were my parents attempting to soothe the predator’s feelings for being wrongly accused?

Continue reading

MENTAL ILLNESS: Should I Apologize?

WHERE WOULD YOU BE IF IT WEREN’T FOR MENTAL ILLNESS?

WHERE WOULD YOU BE IF IT WEREN’T FOR DEPRESSION?

This thought has crossed my mind many times over the years, forever questioning what my life would be like without mental illness.

Beginning in the mid-1990’s, this illness first tossed me into a life of bleak depressive despair, feeling hopeless and helpless, coupled with hospitalizations, countless medications, and ineffective ECTs. With it came a loss of so many things, as well as myself. I found myself apologizing for being ill, but why? Apologizing for an illness?

For one, I kissed my livelihood goodbye. As an accounting supervisor, I had a well-paying position, enjoyed my job and colleagues, and imagined I would have continued with my career with that company.

A misfortune, becoming so ill with depression and hospitalizations, I ultimately lost my job, then hanging on for over two years frantically waiting for government disability to kick in. You discover swiftly to become thrifty.

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Am I being punished for having Depression?

Rummaging through my unorganized closet, I came across an article I wrote during my years in the hospital fighting depression. A roommate during my stay, whom I became close friends with, recalled her descent into hellish depression, as well as her suicide attempt. She gave me permission to write this article (excluding her name).

Dreaming. In tranquil waters. I’m sitting in my dinghy cross-legged, floating. The sea and sky are black.

I awaken. Black. Black is black. The room is black, but it must be morning. I’m all mixed up. I thought I heard the food trays arrive. I sneak a quick look out my room, and yes it is morning, but the halls also look black. All I sense is dread. Am I in a dream world? I shuffle back to bed.

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Dark Clouds and Shattered Sanity

Dark clouds, isolated

Lack of faith

Laughter faded, only tears

~~~

I hate my mind, I hate my brain

I hate my heart for it breaks every day

~~~

I will perish this way I know

I’ve run away from life

I don’t fit outside

I don’t fit inside

I drown in my disgrace

~~~

Black circles beneath my eyes

Hands grip my head

I’m all alone

My life isn’t cherished

Why should I pretend it to be?

I’m not living for me

I’m living for you

~~~

Shattered sanity

Worthless, pointless, hopeless

Tears flow from my eyes

Depression has taken over

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017

Originally posted on Niume.com

What’s the difference between Sadness and Depression?

 

The difference between sadness and depression?  and why so many people get it wrong….. This article below appeared in www.psychologytoday.com written by Guy Winch Ph. D

Sadness is a normal human emotion. We’ve all experienced it and we all will again. Sadness is usually triggered by a difficult, hurtful, challenging, or disappointing event, experience, or situation. In other words, we tend to feel sad about something. This also means that when that something changes when our emotional hurt fades when we’ve adjusted or gotten over the loss or disappointment, our sadness remits.

Depression is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. When we’re depressed we feel sad about everything. Depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger. In fact, it often occurs in the absence of any such triggers. People’s lives on paper might be totally fine—they would even admit this is true—and yet they still feel horrible.

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Panic Moments: Avoiding people

After years of depression and hospitalizations, I finally returned to the working world.

I worked for my company for six years, left unexpectedly due to “can’t function at this job any longer” depression, resulting in long-term disability over four years ago.

During those years of employment, it was never disclosed to anyone (including supervisors or managers) that I was struggling with a mental illness, namely depression. My reasons were largely due to trust issues and stigma. The lunch ladies weren’t honorable; a bunch of gossipers with loose lips who thrived on spreading news, so I imagined my secret escaping could impact a job loss in the future. Therefore, on my final working day, people questioned why.

Away from this company for those years, I’ve only run into about five colleagues, but then I’m somewhat of a recluse and luckily a quick ‘hello’, or ‘good-bye’ ensued. However, yesterday I was shopping for groceries, passed by my former manager in one of the aisles, but was uncertain if she spotted me or merely strolled by.

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Depression: How are you Coping With Pregnancy Loss?

Symptomfind.com includes an article on: “6 Important Steps for Coping with Pregnancy Loss’.

A miscarriage, or other forms of pregnancy loss, is a devastating and difficult process.  It is important to surround yourself with your family and loved ones, and take steps to take care of yourself in a healthy manner emotionally, mentally and physically.  Even though it may feel like you will never be the same again, healing will come with time.

Step #1 – It Is Okay To Grieve

~This includes: Denial, anger, guilt, depression and acceptance

Step #2 – Get Support

Step #3 – Communicate With Your Significant Other

Step #4 – Take Care Of And Protect Yourself

Step #5 – Make a Memorial

Step #6 – Moving On

I was incarcerated because I panicked

This was my first time “behind bars” taken via a police car and booked tonight just because I panicked. One feels this is jail, tossed into a cold cell awaiting the guard to slam shut the heavy metal door. Lying there frozen, shivering, alone peering down to shackled ankles. Why do I deserve this? Jailed because I have a mental illness?

Bolted down. Incarcerated.

Eyes open slowly and encircle a dingy room. Everything is bolted; windows, a desk, chairs, and including this bed. The windows have bars attached, walls are an ugly light pink and the curtain dividing my neighbor’s bed looks hideous also, but what was I expecting; a hotel room?

Is it daybreak? A rap on the door startles me, followed by a female voice stating, “breakfast and meds”.

I prefer not recalling what happened last evening, dialing the Distress Center, talking for what felt like hours with a counselor who had a monotone voice about my obsessive suicidal feelings. Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming of ways to carry out my demise. Then, at some stage in this conversation, I became irritated and slammed down the phone, prompting an unexpected visit from the police. Next a knock at my door where I was unconvincing as to my state of mind, and there a decision was made, I was to be transported somewhere?

Neighbors, who don’t as a rule, walk their dogs, now saunter by the police car, peering in, along with others peeking through window blinds and curtains. The back seat of this cruiser is larger than expected, however, I am seated with my mind in a muddle, confused, uncertain of the future yet despising the present.

Both police officers chat quietly in police jargon; I assume they are awaiting word of which hospital to take me, then suddenly I’m on my way. The drive is a speedy drive, yet for me, a lengthy one. A time to reflect… a time to sob…. a time to sit in wonderment. In the back of a cruiser – how can this be? Punishment? I’ve never committed a crime in my life. Will I go before a judge; am I to be sentenced and charged for suicidal ‘thinking’ and (to some) selfishly wishing to end my life?

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Depression and Changes in Appetite ~ How does it Affect People?

For me: As far as those dark depressive years go, it was all weight gain.  The cocktail of medications I was prescribed (including a few antipsychotics), produced side effects causing a huge weight gain. Isolation, boredom, lack of exercise and eating all of the wrong foods (you know the ones that taste better), just contributed to me gaining over 60+ lbs.  It’s so easy to gain weight, but hell taking it off.


This article was found on HealthyPlace.com (Coping & Depression blog) by Erin Schulthies 

One of the most common symptoms of depression is a change in appetite. People who have depression either lose their appetite and eat less than they did before or else their appetite increases and they eat more than they did before their depression started. For me, my appetite has lessened but it’s affected me a lot more than a simple reduction of hunger pangs. Depression and lack of hunger can be distressing.

How Depression and Lack of Appetite Affects Me

Depression affects my eating habits mostly by making me apathetic about food. Flavors feel dulled so I never really enjoy anything that I eat. I opt for really sour candy, ice cream or whatever seems tastiest. I fill up on junk food and then don’t care about fruits and vegetables.

A Depressed Brain is Still Part of Your Body

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Now the police are at my door….

Dialing the Distress Center Hotline, speaking what seemed like forever with a counselor about my obsessive suicidal feelings and depression, then abruptly hanging up was a terrible idea. Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming and planning for ways to kill myself, yet I still reached out for help. The counselor’s voice was grating on my nerves, we weren’t making progress, so didn’t want to talk to this chick anymore.

Then a loud rap at my door, “Police”.  I cautiously open my door to discover a male and female officer standing on my front veranda, asking if I’m ok and can they talk to me.  Me? Why? Police?

They clarified the Distress Center’s “phone hang-up” policy, so they had no alternative but to call the police. I was ‘distressed’ to say the least, and the cops weren’t buying my story that I will be ‘ok’ now.

Neighbours, who as a rule don’t walk their dogs, now saunter by the police car peering in, along with other neighbours peeking through window blinds and curtains. The back seat of this cruiser is larger than I expected, however, I am seated with my mind in a muddle, confused, uncertain of the future yet despising the present. Continue reading

Triggering Triggers (PTSD)

Trigger Warning!!

Triggers can pop up just about anywhere.  Just when you think that you have tackled an issue, whether it is dealing with a traumatic experience or re-living memories in a disorder called (PTSD), post-traumatic stress disorder, triggers may resurface.

A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.  PsychCental.com

For me, traveling the tough therapy road, confronting issues relating back to my horrid past of childhood sexual and emotional abuse (PTSD), I lived with flashbacks and frightening dreams.  Certain smells, certain surroundings…..hard to pinpoint, can trigger a recollection.  Luckily, I have moved on with my life and can swiftly shove these painful thoughts aside.  It took years though to be able to achieve this.

A couple of years ago, a tough test for me tackling triggers was put to the test.  Nine years of hospitalizations ended in 2002, and I had not visited the inside of any hospital ward since that time.  My psychiatrist’s office was in the hospital, and although I had to pass by the doors to the ward for each appointment with him, it never bothered me due to the fact that I was an outpatient now.

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Depression: Planning my Escape

Attending a party when you feel like crap? Imagine planning your escape the moment you walk in?

Envision feeling lonely when you are actually with people; with friends, celebrating a birthday party at someone’s house. You experience emptiness. The room is filled with chatter and laughter, yet you are seated; numb.

Depression is lonely. Curled up in a ball – lonely.

This actually happened to me. I was pretty much forced to attend a birthday party, and although I resisted, I soon surrendered due to the fact that it was for a dear friend and I was absent from all other celebrations throughout the past year.

Seated in a Lazy-Boy for part of the evening, I held tightly onto a diet Coke. I thought it polite to rise and finally mingle; show a smile, pretend to enjoy the evening, yet the feeling of hollowness was debilitating. Laughter echoed.

For the majority of the year, I had been in the hospital more than out. Depression was black; I felt as if I was literally dumped into a black hole and left for dead. It was stated there was light up at the top of this hole, yet I was forever waiting to witness any.

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Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?

Yes, it felt as if I was handcuffed to my house.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But for countless years, and at times even today, depression = dark fog and black clouds. Recalling my most difficult years of major depression, that’s the way things were.

My life was filled with such overpowering blackness; the black, muddy life of depression. The massive hands took hold of me and wouldn’t set me free.

Days upon days were spent just existing in my house, rarely venturing further than the end of the driveway. Appointments with my family doctor or psychiatrist became a major production; organizing what to wear, bus route times, what to discuss. As the months and years progressed, I became a depressive recluse. Outings with my husband for dinner or lunch were a rarity, as well as, a trip to the mall. Life was just too dark.

I lost contact with friends, triggering further feelings of abandonment and isolation; that coupled with not having any energy, just hating life itself, propelled these horrid feelings of “who gives a shit”. I grew comfy in my house, and never a “sleepy” depressive, I forever arose fairly early, planted myself on the sofa and spent the better part of the day there.

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Why Am I Still Waiting for my Antidepressants to Work?

Image result for depression

I recall questioning my psychiatrist many times when he prescribed a new antidepressant and feeling nil results. His quick answer, “be patient“, and with that, I’d roll my eyes thinking, ‘yeah, you’re not the one with depression’.

Depression is a mental illness that affects how a person feels, thinks and handles daily activities. Antidepressants are prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of depression and help the brain process and use certain chemicals that regulate mood or stress. Unfortunately, existing medications usually require two to four weeks of use before patients respond.

In a recent Paper of the Week in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Mark M. Rasenick and his team at the University of Illinois at Chicago describe why antidepressants have a delayed impact.

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Is there a Link between Caffeine and Depression?

COFFEE1

What is the relationship between caffeine and depression? Does caffeine make depression worse?

The exact relationship between caffeine and depression isn’t clear.  There’s no evidence that caffeine — a mild stimulant — causes depression.  However, some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than are others. In such individuals, caffeine may worsen existing depression.  How or why this occurs isn’t clear.  But several theories exist.

·         Although caffeine initially gives you a “lift,” it may later have the opposite effect as the effects of the caffeine wear off.

·         Caffeine can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.  A lack of sleep can worsen depression.

·         Caffeine appears to have some effect on blood sugar, especially in people with diabetes.  Fluctuations in blood sugar can be associated with mood changes.

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Depression and Caregiving

Could the sadness, loneliness or anger you feel today be a warning sign of depression? It’s possible. It is not unusual for caregivers to develop mild or more serious depression as a result of the constant demands they face in providing care.

Caregiving does not cause depression, nor will everyone who provides care experience the negative feelings that go with depression. But in an effort to provide the best possible care for a family member or friend, caregivers often sacrifice their own physical and emotional needs and the emotional and physical experiences involved with providing care can strain even the most capable person. The resulting feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness, isolation, exhaustion—and then guilt for having these feelings—can exact a heavy toll.

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Depression continues…

I didn’t compose the words in this quote, and for the past few months, I’ve been struggling with depression several days per week.  Researchers state that there is a connection between migraines and depression, and living daily with excruciating migraine pain; who wouldn’t be depressed. I’m pretty much housebound. Depression seems a never-ending crawl through muck.

But, writing is my passion, keeping me sane, and distracting my mind off my thumping head.  I’m starting Somatic Experience Therapy next week, anyone ever heard of it? Does it help for trauma?

Deb

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Depression may pass from mothers to daughters

Depression appears to be passed down from mothers to daughters, say researchers who have been looking at similarities in brain structures between generations. The research is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Around 8% of Americans aged 12 years and over are affected by depression. It is commonly found in both mothers and daughters, previous human studies have reported.

Animal studies in the past have shown that when mothers are stressed during pregnancy, this is more likely to be reflected in the brain structure of daughters than of sons, specifically in the corticolimbic system.

The corticolimbic system is used to assess danger, and it is also where emotions are processed and regulated. It includes the hippocampus, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

Mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and stress are reflected in changes to this system. These structural changes are most likely to be passed down from mothers than from fathers; they tend to affect daughters rather than sons.

Researchers from the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), led by Dr. Fumiko Hoeft, PhD., an associate professor of psychiatry, studied 35 families, none of whom had a diagnosis of depression, in an attempt to link the two study areas.

Source: Medicalnewstoday.com 

Psychodynamic Therapy

My first involvement with therapy back in the early 1990’s was Psychodynamic Therapy, and at the beginning I was uncertain what it involved.  This form of therapy was used to confront the issues dealing with PTSD, but little did I know I was in for an incredibly bumpy ride.  Back then there wasn’t much information on types of therapies used, and wished I had researched and had use of the internet and resources that we do today.

The information on PsychCentral.com site explains:

Psychodynamic therapy, also known as insight-oriented therapy, focuses on unconscious processes as they are manifested in a person’s present behavior.  The goals of psychodynamic therapy are a client’s self-awareness and understanding of the influence of the past on present behavior.  In its brief form, a psychodynamic approach enables the client to examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past dysfunctional relationships and manifest themselves in the need and desire to abuse substances.

The article continues on PsychCentral.com

The Lady Found in the Snow

She was in her fifties and reported missing four or five days ago, a picture of a woman looking cheerful, with striking blue eyes, shoulder length light brown hair wearing a black and green mid-length parka. It was on the news and in the newspapers repeatedly, her picture of a woman with a warm smile.

To me it sounded peculiar, as if intentional or planned; waking in the morning, followed by calling in sick to work then vanishing. When reported missing, the police were summoned, then several friends and relatives began searching also. The investigation dragged on with no success, and it’s as if she went ‘poof’ into thin air, no trace, no use of credit cards.

Days passed, when someone identified her van at a cemetery, and not too distant from the van they discovered her body dead in the snow. The police didn’t reveal information as to the cause of death.

The newspapers stated that she was a registered nurse, worked for twenty-two years at the same hospital, extremely well liked and exceptional at her job. Her spouse was a clergy at the only church in the town where the family lived, and she leaves behind two children.

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Rudolph is banned from the Psych Ward

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Struggling with depression for many years, I found myself spending three joyless Christmases (over the nine years of repeateded hospitalizations) on the dingy psych ward of a medical hospital. Two years of which I was deemed too risky, therefore, forbidden to enjoy Christmas dinner at home with family. Difficult to resign yourself to yet too unwell to converse with people anyways.

Rudolph was banned from the hospital.

So, four of us sat around a laminated and steel table (minus a tablecloth), in the gloomy dining/craft room and picked at our ‘festive turkey dinner’. Each meal consisted of turkey roll, faux mashed potatoes, lukewarm gravy, a scarce array of ho-hum veggies, stale roll, two packets of cranberry sauce and butter.

To my surprise, I did awaken to a gift planted on my side table; a red sparkly colored gift bag stuffed with loads of goodies including handmade crocheted kitchen items and knitted bright aqua mittens, yummy chocolates, which I thought very thoughtful and caring.

The Christmas year when permitted home for a two-hour visit, allotted barely enough time to wolf down a holiday dinner. As memory serves me, I believe we discovered a welcoming diner open Christmas Day, yet unsure if we truly ate turkey!

Christmas mood in the hospital was somber, the three-foot fake tree standing in the TV room was virtually naked due to prohibited string lights, (potential suicide risk) and only a few crocheted and cardboard decorations placed on branches sparingly. Underneath was a dull green round skirt covered with empty wrapped gold boxes assumed to resemble gifts sourced from years before.

TV and dog-eared magazines were there for our amusement, as well as visitors allowed for extended hours. Quick thinking by nurses, miniature candy canes in plastic wrappers were located at the ‘medication station’. Continue reading

The Mental Illness of Isaac Newton

This statue was shot outside the British Library in London, UK   Image Source:  Wikipedia

It is almost a platitude to acknowledge Isaac Newton as one of history’s greatest geniuses. In all likelihood, his intelligence level outstripped what contemporary IQ tests are even designed to measure. He articulated the law of gravitation, the three major laws of motion, made important discoveries in astronomy, optics and mathematics, making it possible to calculate distances, speeds, and weights. These discoveries laid the foundation for numerous important modern discoveries.

Nevertheless, Newton was not exactly what one would describe as mentally healthy. Exactly what was responsible for his mental suffering is controversial, but many speculate that he suffered from bipolar disorder. Beginning in early life, he was extremely reclusive and spent most of his childhood in solitude, building miniature mills, carts, and machines.

He was neurotic, arrogant, and in later life, prone to fits of explosive rage, which he discharged on family and friends. At one point, he threatened to kill his parents and burn their house down. He was particularly reactive when his work was criticized, which would be the occasion of fits of rage and withdrawal from the scientific community, refusing to speak with scientists who disagreed with him.

Indeed, he was highly introverted and rarely contributed to conversations at all. He befriended only one person at Cambridge and recorded struggles with anxiety, depression, self-loathing and suicidal ideation in his journals.

He would also have periods of intense remorse over his rage, during which time he would list the wrongdoings of which he had become guilty during these periods. With the exception of his niece, Catherine Barton, and the Swiss mathematician Fatio de Duillier, he does not seem to have developed meaningful or deep interpersonal relationships at all.

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How does Depression and Lack of Appetite Affect People?

This article was found on HealthyPlace.com (Coping & Depression blog) by

One of the most common symptoms of depression is a change in appetite. People who have depression either lose their appetite and eat less than they did before, or else their appetite increases and they eat more than they did before their depression started. For me, my appetite has lessened but it’s affected me a lot more than a simple reduction of hunger pangs. Depression and lack of hunger can be distressing.

How Depression and Lack of Appetite Affects Me

Depression affects my eating habits mostly by making me apathetic about food. Flavours feel dulled so I never really enjoy anything that I eat. I opt for really sour candy, ice cream or whatever seems tastiest. I fill up on junk food and then don’t care about fruits and vegetables.

A Depressed Brain is Still Part of Your Body

Continue reading

The Depression Journey

Image source:  aboutdepressionfacts.com
Infographic by: Health Central
Reference: doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.168
Reference: doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e318215d0c9

Sarah Silverman Reveals a Decades-Long Struggle with Depression

sarah silverman

Every breath is labored. You are dying.

Sarah Silverman is, as a world-famous comedian, no stranger to laughter. But in a new interview with Glamour, she reveals that she’s had her fair share of darkness, too. Her story is honest, raw, and important.

Silverman’s depression started when she was 13 and was followed by full-blown panic attacks soon after. “People use ‘panic attack’ very casually out here in Los Angeles, but I don’t think most of them really know what it is,” she says. “Every breath is labored. You are dying. You are going to die. It’s terrifying. And then when the attack is over, the depression is still there.”

She went to several therapists; one hanged himself, another overmedicated her, and a third took her off medications and helped her feel “like myself again.” She got worse after college, while she was on staff at Saturday Night Live, and was given a prescription for Klonopin, which prevents panic attacks. “I eventually weaned off Klonopin, but to this day, I have a bottle of seven pills in my backpack that I never touch because just knowing that they’re there is all I need.”

Nowadays, she’s on a small dose of Zoloft and seeks out regular therapy. And she never loses her focus. “I’ve learned that keeping busy is a good thing for me,” she writes. “Like my mom always said, you just have to be brave enough to exist through it.”

Silverman stars in the new indie drama I Smile Back, out October 23, in which she plays a woman with a seemingly perfect life who secretly struggles with mental illness. It’s another way for the star to shine a light on depression—and the fact that it can get better. “The tough times, the days when you’re just a ball on the floor—they’ll pass,” she says. “You’re playing the long game, and life is totally worth it.”

See full interview @ MarieClaire.com

Image:  marieclaire.com

Continue reading

Depression may pass from mothers to daughters

Depression appears to be passed down from mothers to daughters, say researchers who have been looking at similarities in brain structures between generations. The research is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Around 8% of Americans aged 12 years and over are affected by depression. It is commonly found in both mothers and daughters, previous human studies have reported.

Animal studies in the past have shown that when mothers are stressed during pregnancy, this is more likely to be reflected in the brain structure of daughters than of sons, specifically in the corticolimbic system.

The corticolimbic system is used to assess danger, and it is also where emotions are processed and regulated. It includes the hippocampus, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

Continue reading

Depression: Am I here in this black hole forever? Huh?

I used to ask myself, almost every day throughout my depressive illness; is this it?  Does it get ever any better?  Am I stuck here in this black hole forever?

Sounds pessimistic, but my history of recurring hospital admissions and medications that were ineffective, coupled with suicide attempts and unrelenting depression, didn’t illustrate a positive picture.  At separate hospital admissions, I was frequently greeted by the same bed, same patients and same nurses who precisely dispensed my medications.  Many years ago, hospitalization was a sort of an incarcerated life; that of daily rituals, set meal times, social activities, lights out at 11:30 pm, and scheduled visits from visitors.   Finally, discharge, after serving my “time”, which meant adjusting to home life all over again.

With zilch changing; I’m asking “is this as good as life gets?”

It’s both upsetting and scary, no one should ever have to endure this type of life, and depression, for me, proved a dreadful existence.  After spending months in the hospital, I would continually sense that I was one footstep away from hospital waters every waking day.  Continuously, just a step away from hell; surviving only on the surface.

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Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?

For nine years I struggled with depression, resulting in repeated hospitalizations, and scraping by on disability.  Life was bleak and meaningless, but long story short, I recovered enough to return to the workplace.

At work, still battling depression every so often, I managed to hang onto my position for six years without divulging my secret: mental illness.  There is stigma in the workplace and taking a risk to discuss my depression, unquestionably would have cost me my job in the end, and so, I kept my trap shut.

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Why I Created “Living in Stigma” and 9 Ways We Need To Stop Mental Illness Stigma

stigma_2

When I activated my first blog in 2005, it focused on humorous articles only.  During that time I was struggling with major depression, yet amazingly I was competent enough to write posts, and surprisingly these articles were a remarkable success.

I continued on and gathered many followers, all the time questioning whether to write about my mental illness, yet frankly, I was very embarrassed and uncomfortable to share my thoughts and life of hell with any of my blogging buddies, the blogging world, or should if anyone in my circle of “personal people” were ever to uncover my ‘secret’, I’d be devastated.

I eventually mentioned it to two trusted blogging friends my apprehension, and them replying, “why are you so embarrassed, it not your fault you were ill, write about it, who cares if people don’t like it, go by ‘anonymous’, not using your real name this time”.  And so I did, in 2007, I began this blog.  It’s been an enormous success from day one, with so much support from the blogging community and it was the stigma that held me back from starting this blog sooner.

I was living in stigma (shame) thus the name “Living in Stigma” –Deb

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What is PSYCHOTIC DEPRESSION?

This is a very distressing condition where people often describe feeling black and empty, unable to think or feel.  Suicidal thinking is related to the profound feeling of despair and feeling of self-punishment.

Symptoms of psychotic depression can be summarised as:

  • Observable severe depressed mood
  • Severe social impairment
  • Severe psychomotor disturbance (agitation, retardation, cognitive processing problems)
  • Psychotic features such as delusions and/or hallucinations.

If a patient is very agitated, assume psychosis.  Those with psychotic depression usually don’t recover on an antidepressant alone.

Diagnosis of psychotic depression

Psychotic features:  consistent with mood (mood congruent) or mood incongruent.  Delusions more common than hallucinations (90% vs. 10%).

  • Pathological guilt: common in psychotic depression
  • Psychomotor disturbance: profound
  • Cognitive function: mild cognitive processing problems through to pseudo-dementia.

Useful questions

Some additional useful questions which can help to determine if a patient is suffering from psychotic depression include:

  • Are you a good person? Do you feel guilty? Do you deserve to feel like this?
  • Are you being punished or do you feel you are being punished for something you have done?
  • Are you being watched?  Are you being poisoned?
  • Do you have voices telling you that you are bad … or deserve to be punished… or should kill yourself / someone else?
  • Do you have something physically wrong with you? Can you please explain your concerns to me? What evidence do you have?

Treatment

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31 Honest Answers to ‘How Are You?’

I was hoping an article about this very subject would appear.  Whenever meeting someone for lunch, a colleague that I haven’t seen since 2011 or a gathering, I’m usually fumbling around for words.

This article appeared in The Mighty.com written by 

When someone asks, “How are you?” do you answer honestly?

This question is often thrown around as a casual greeting, so much so that we default to “I’m good!” or “I’m fine!” — even with our closest friends and family. And while we’re maybe less hesitant to open up about a stomach ache or that we’ve come down with the flu, our true emotional state can feel like a dirty secret — we don’t want to give it up.

So we asked our Mighty community — people who experience disability, disease, mental illness, parent children with special needs and more —  how they’re really doing. What we got was a collection of honest, inspiring and heartbreaking answers.

How are you? This lovely article continues @
http://themighty.com/2015/11/31-honest-answers-to-how-are-you/