img_0249Just tired, exhausted. My son has the flu and i’ve been staying with him, maybe I am also coming down with it.

Some stories keep coming to my mind, the story of a friend who followed her husband to Europe, and then had to move back with her children under bad circumstances, involving the betrayal of his marriage vows. But she persevered and is now living with her young children, on her own terms.

Another friend, whose husband, under the effect of substances, becomes abusive, becomes a monster. She is trying to help him get clean and reclaim himself and their life together. She has children as well, and they have suffered because of the effects of substance abuse. I can only wish them well, and send them all my support and love.

Another friend, she has been rejected by her partner. Her partner has disappeared into a cocoon of silence and she doesn’t even know what the problem is. She talked to me and we had a guessing marathon based on past events. But guessing marathons are about as useful as melted ice when you’d like a cool drink.

All of these friends of mine, and mostly all of us, would benefit so much from communication. What if in the case of my first friend, her husband had said he wanted to get a divorce and not dragged her to Europe, uprooting her life? Things would have been so much better for her and her children.

In the case of my second friend, communication during the early phases of substance abuse may have helped them nip the problem in the bud. This is a tough one, because people don’t admit they have a substance abuse problem to themselves, let alone anyone else.

My third friend is agonizing over what is wrong, she can make guesses, but she doesn’t know why her partner has left her. Not knowing is much worse than being able to say why. If he would tell her what is wrong, perhaps they would have a chance at correcting it. But he says nothing, refuses to communicate with her.

These stories of my three good friends, these strong, amazing women, who have gone through so much in their lives, they still continue to battle for themselves, their children and even their partners if they would let them.

Life can be very difficult at times. What do you do? Give up? Fight? Persevere? Try. We try.


Doctors Now Prescribing Music Therapy for Heart Ailments, Brain Dysfunction, Learning Disabilities, Depression, PTSD, Alzheimers, Childhood Development and More

Music not only soothes the savage breast, but heals! Amazing list below. Among the illnesses helped are blood pressure maladies, heart ailments, depression, stress, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, sleep apnea and more. Read on!

music therapy

Music has proven time and again to be an important component of human culture. From its ceremonial origin to modern medical usage for personal motivation, concentration, and shifting mood, music is a powerful balm for the human soul. Though traditional “music therapy” encompasses a specific set of practices, the broader use of music as a therapeutic tool can be seen nowadays as doctors are found recommending music for a wide variety of conditions.

1) Music Helps Control Blood Pressure and Heart-Related Disorders

According to The Cardiovascular Society of Great Britain, listening to certain music with a repetitive rhythm for least ten seconds can lead to a decrease in blood pressure and a reduced heart rate. Certain classical compositions, if matched with human body’s rhythm, can be therapeutically used to keep the heart under control. The Oxford University study states, “listening to music with a repeated 10-second rhythm coincided with a fall in blood pressure, reducing the heart rate” and thus can be used for overcoming hypertension.

2) Listening and Playing Music Helps Treat Stress and Depression

When it comes to the human brain, music is one of the best medicines. A study at McGill University in Canada revealed that listening to agreeable music encourages the production of beneficial brain chemicals, specifically the “feel good” hormone known as dopamine. Dopamine happens to be an integral part of brain’s pleasure-enhancing system. As a result, music leads to great feeling of joy and bliss.

It’s not only listening to music that has a positive effect on stress and depression. TheNamm Foundation has compiled a comprehensive list of benefits of playing music, which includes reducing stress on both the emotional level and the molecular level. Additionally, studies have shown that adults who play music produce higher levels of Human Growth Hormone (HgH), which according to Web MD, is a necessary hormone for regulating body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly heart function.

For more on how music can be composed to benefit the brain, read about States of Consciousness and Brainwave Entrainment.

3) Music Therapy Helps Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

Music therapy has worked wonders on patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. With Alzheimer’s, people lose their capacity to have interactions and carry on with interactive communications. According to studies done in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, “When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements.”

4) Studying Music Boosts Academic Achievement in High Schoolers

Early exposure to music increases the plasticity of brain helping to motivate the human brain’s capacity in such a way that it responds readily to learning, changing and growing. “UCLA professor James S. Catterall analyzed the academic achievement of 6,500 low-income students. He found that, by the time these students were in the 10th grade, 41.4% of those who had taken arts courses scored in the top half on standardized tests, contrasted with only 25% of those who had minimal arts experience. The arts students also were better readers and watched less television.” This goes to show that in the formative stages of life, kids who study music do much better in school.

5) Playing Guitar (and Other Instruments) Aids in Treating PTSD

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shared a study in which veterans experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experienced relief by learning to play guitar. The organization responsible for providing guitars, Guitars For Vets “enhances the lives of ailing and injured military Veterans by providing them free guitars and music instruction.” Playing music for recovery from PTSD resembles traditional music therapy, in which patients are encouraged to make music as part of their healing process. Guitar is not the only instrument that can help PTSD. In fact, Operation We Are Here has an extensive list of Therapeutic Music Opportunities For Military Veterans.

6) Studying Music Boosts Brain Development in Young Children

A research-based study undertaken at the University of Liverpool in the field of neuroscience has light to shed on the beneficial effects of early exposure to music. According to the findings, even half an hour of musical training is sufficient to increase the flow of blood in the brain’s left hemisphere, resulting in higher levels of early childhood development.

The Portland Chamber Orchestra shares, “Playing a musical instrument involves multiple components of the central (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral (nerves outside the brain and spinal cord) nervous systems.  As a musician plays an instrument, motor systems in the brain control both gross and fine movements needed to produce sound.  The sound is processed by auditory circuitry, which in turn can adjust signaling by the motor control centers.  In addition, sensory information from the fingers, hands and arms is sent to the brain for processing.  If the musician is reading music, visual information is sent to the brain for processing and interpreting commands for the motor centers.  And of course, the brain processes emotional responses to the music as well!”

7) Music Education Helps Children Improve Reading Skills

Journal Psychology of Music reports that “Children exposed to a multi-year program of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.” In the initial stages of learning and development, music arouses auditory, emotional, cognitive and visual responses in a child. Music also aids a child’s kinesthetic development. According to the research-supported evidence, a song facilitates language learning far more effectively than speech.

8) Listening To Music Helps Improve Sleep

According to The Center for Cardiovascular Disease in China, listening to music before and during sleep greatly aids people who suffer from chronic sleep disorders. This “music-assisted relaxation” can be used to treat both acute and chronic sleep disorders which include everything from stress and anxiety to insomnia.

9) Playing Didgeridoo Helps Treat Sleep Apnea


A study published in the British Medical Journal shows that people suffering from sleep apnea can find relief by practicing the Australian wind-instrument known as thedidgeridoo. Patients who played the didgeridoo for an average of 30-minutes per day, 6 days per week, saw significant increases in their quality of sleep and decreases in daytime tiredness after a minimum period of 3-months of practice. Dr. Jordan Stern of BlueSleep says, “The treatment of sleep apnea is quite challenging because there is not a single treatment that works well for every patient. The didgeridoo has been used to treat sleep apnea and it has been shown to be effective in part because of strengthening of the pharyngeal muscles, which means the muscles of the throat, as well as the muscles of the tongue.”



Lithium is kicking in :-)

I increased my dose of Lithium from 900 mg to 1200 mg, and my mood has settled down. The fight or flight seems to have dampened and generally I feel calmer and better. 

Went to the wedding last night, it was held at the Buffalo Hyatt Regecy, a beautiful venue for it and it was amazing, the Vikings were there again. 😀 Danced for hours again and in a sari!



It’s odd, even at the beginning of a manic phase, when you are feeling like hell, everything is setting off your fight or flight response*, your emotions are off the charts, of course it is all fear driven and you are not functioning well at all, there are times, minutes, even hours, when you can function normally. I went to a Mehndi (the henna ceremony the day before the wedding) of one of my best friend’s daughters. Yes, there were moments of almost panic and tears, but I kept them at bay and talked and laughed for hours and DANCED for about three hours! I love dancing, I think if I could dance everyday, I would never be depressed and maybe not manicky either.

It was a lovely respite from the awful emotional fire and thunderstorms lately in my mind.

Tonight is the wedding, and the only problem I’m thinking about right now is how I’m going to dance with a sari on!


* Fight or flight response is your body’s physiological response to life threatening situations, as in you are taking a walk and a lion, a band of machine gun toting guerrillas, or gorillas come up on you, or any other life threatening situation happens. Your fight or flight is activated, adrenalin surges through your body, your heart starts pounding, you are ready to fight or flee for your life. There are times when this is needed. However, when it keeps getting activated either because of mania or even depression or mixed phases, due to inconsequential things, basically everything becomes catastrophic, it is very, very difficult to deal with.

Funny how you feel better when you realize it’s your illness that is flaring up!


Very odd, your mind is going a millions miles an hour, everything has become too difficult to handle, your are having crying jags, fighting with your siblings, what the hell is going on? Why are you feeling like this? Your son got his first job, and all you can think about are negative things in regard to this. Nothing looks good, anger, sadness, over thinking, all tumult, all overly emotional. And then it hits you, you are going into a manic phase or a mixed manic phase and all of a sudden you feel calm. You say: Oh my god, it’s the bipolar disorder acting up again! Now you know what’s going on, you can do something about it. Abandonment? Yes that is an issue in your psyche, BUT when all of a sudden you can’t get it out of your mind, and start feeling very sorry for yourself, then it is not the abandonment that is the issue, but your mood state.

I, in the last few days have experienced all this but now feel a lot better, simply because I suddenly realized: I’m not going crazy (haha) my bipolar disorder is acting up. Now I have increased my dose of lithium, and in a few days, I will feel much better. Once I realize that I am getting “sick” I can do something about it. I get the control back over my life. Instead of my emotions controlling me, I will soon be able to control them. Instead of every little thing becoming an insurmountable obstacle, I can navigate my world again.

Lithium, I love you. I am looking forward to not being the drama queen SOON!

Hello Abandonment My Old Friend

Hello Abandonment my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.
And I don’t want to talk to you, I don’t want to know you, but you keep rearing your ugly head in my life! Perhaps it’s because my son is all grown up, even has a job as an Immigration Attorney! And I am thrilled by this development, however I believe it has set off abandonment issues again. And I feel the devastating feelings of the child I was who was abandoned, abused, denigrated. And once again, I am taking it out on innocent friends, these people, who don’t deserve the emotional firestorm that is brewing inside of me. I spoke with my therapist, she helped me realize it is happening again. She gave me a wonderful example to illustrate what’s going on: I am in a room with a friend. I walk towards a table to get something and on my way, I stub my toe on a piece of furniture. I am in intense pain, my foot is throbbing and I can think of nothing else but the pain. Am I now going to blame the friend who was in the room with me when I stubbed my toe? No! It is not my friend’s fault. Am I going to expect this friend of mine to take away the pain of my stubbed, perhaps broken toe? No, how could my friend do this?

So, why, when the abandonment monster rears its ugly head, do I expect other innocent people, people who had nothing at all to do with my childhood abandonment, why do I expect these people, these friends to take away the pain? It is a very illogical thing to do. Unfortunately though, abandonment issues don’t have anything to do with logic, only emotions. If you have a therapist who is good and who can make you realize what is going on, you can stop expecting your friends to take away the pain. It’s not fair to them, it’s most likely very annoying for them for me to behave in this strange, clingy, fearful, childish way.

It comes and it goes. I wish there was something I could do to make it go away forever. But realizing I am putting pressure on my friends to heal me or make me feel better or loved, is the beginning of stopping it, at least for now. And when it comes back again, we do it all over again. Abandonment, it can make you feel like you are going to die, like your heart is going to explode with the fear of loss. But you realize it, and then you can stop it.

Please, gods of love and happiness, free me from this monster. I don’t want to live there anymore. addiction/201006/understanding-the-pain-abandonment

When children are raised with chronic loss, without the psychological or physical protection they need and certainly deserve, it is most natural for them to internalize incredible fear. Not receiving the necessary psychological or physical protection equals abandonment. And, living with repeated abandonment experiences creates toxic shame. Shame arises from the painful message implied in abandonment: “You are not important. You are not of value.” This is the pain from which people need to heal.

For some children abandonment is primarily physical. Physical abandonment occurs when the physical conditions necessary for thriving have been replaced by:

  • lack of appropriate supervision
  • inadequate provision of nutrition and meals
  • inadequate clothing, housing, heat, or shelter
  • physical and/or sexual abuse

Children are totally dependent on caretakers to provide safety in their environment. When they do not, they grow up believing that the world is an unsafe place, that people are not to be trusted, and that they do not deserve positive attention and adequate care.

Emotional abandonment occurs when parents do not provide the emotional conditions and the emotional environment necessary for healthy development. I like to define emotional abandonment as “occurring when a child has to hide a part of who he or she is in order to be accepted, or to not be rejected.”

Having to hide a part of yourself means:

  •  it is not okay to make a mistake.
  •  it is not okay to show feelings, being told the way you feel is not true. “You have nothing to cry about and if you don’t stop crying I will really give you something to cry about.” “That really didn’t hurt.” “You have nothing to be angry about.”
  • it is not okay to have needs. Everyone else’s needs appear to be more important than yours.
  •  it is not okay to have successes. Accomplishments are not acknowledged, are many times discounted.

Other acts of abandonment occur when:

  • Children cannot live up to the expectations of their parents. These expectations are often unrealistic and not age-appropriate.
  • Children are held responsible for other people’s behavior. They may be consistently blamed for the actions and feelings of their parents.
  • Disapproval toward children is aimed at their entire beings or identity rather than a particular behavior, such as telling a child he is worthless when he does not do his homework or she is never going to be a good athlete because she missed the final catch of the game.

Many times abandonment issues are fused with distorted, confused, or undefined boundaries such as:

When parents do not view children as separate beings with distinct boundaries

When parents expect children to be extensions of themselves

When parents are not willing to take responsibility for their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, but expect children to take responsibility for them

When parents’ self-esteem is derived through their child’s behavior

When children are treated as peers with no parent/child distinction

Abandonment plus distorted boundaries, at a time when children are developing their sense of worth, is the foundation for the belief in their own inadequacy and the central cause of their shame.

Abandonment experiences and boundary violations are in no way indictments of a child’s innate goodness and value. Instead, they reveal the flawed thinking, false beliefs, and impaired behaviors of those who hurt them. Still, the wounds are struck deep in their young hearts and minds, and the very real pain can still be felt today. The causes of emotional injury need to be understood and accepted so they can heal. Until that occurs, the pain will stay with them, becoming a driving force in their adult lives.

Immune Disorders Tied to Mental Illness?


Wow! This is my pet hypothesis, that mental illness is caused by immunological factors, and may even be an auto-immune disease. Well here, ladies and gentlemen, a bone marrow transplant cures mice of compulsively pulling out their hair!

Compulsive hair pulling is akin to obsessive compulsive disorder and changing the mice’s immune system (bone marrow transplant) stops them from pulling out their hair.

Please can I get a bone marrow transplant? Please?

A provocative study using genetically altered mice finds a cause-and-effect link between the immune system and a psychiatric disorder.

Mario Capecchi, a Nobel Prize-winning geneticist, discovered that bone marrow transplants cure mutant mice who pull out their hair compulsively.

The study provides the first cause-and-effect link between immune system cells and mental illness, and points toward eventual new psychiatric treatments.

“We’re showing there is a direct relationship between a psychiatric disorder and the immune system, specifically cells named microglia that are derived from bone marrow” and are found in the brain, says Capecchi.

“There’s been an inference. But nobody has previously made a direct connection between the two.”

The findings – published in the journal Cell – should inspire researchers “to think about potential new immune-based therapies for psychiatric disorders,” says Capecchi, a 2007 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine.

Capecchi and colleagues showed that pathological grooming and hair-pulling in mice – a disorder similar to trichotillomania (trick-o-til-o-MAY-nee-ah) in humans – is caused by a mutant Hoxb8 gene that results in defective microglia, which are immune system cells that originate in bone marrow and migrate from blood to the brain.

Microglia defend the brain and spinal cord, attacking and engulfing infectious agents.

Mice with pathological grooming appear to groom normally, but do so too often and for too long, leading to hair removal and self-inflicted skin wounds. The disease of pulling out head or body hair is common in humans; studies in seven international communities found trichotillomania affecting 1.9 to 2.5 of every 100 people.

In the key experiment, geneticist Shau-Kwaun Chen, Capecchi and colleagues transplanted bone marrow from normal mice into 10 mice that had a mutant Hoxb8 gene and compulsively pulled out their own chest, stomach and side fur.

As the transplant took hold during ensuing months, grooming behavior became normal, four mice recovered completely and the other six showed extensive hair growth and healing of wounds.

“A lot of people are going to find it amazing,” says Capecchi. “That’s the surprise: bone marrow can correct a behavioral defect.”

Nevertheless, “I’m not proposing we should do bone marrow transplants for any psychiatric disorder” in humans, he says.

Bone marrow transplants are expensive, and the risks and complications are so severe they generally are used only to treat life-threatening illnesses, including certain cancers and disabling autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

Capecchi says that mice with the mutant gene that causes pathological grooming now can be used to study the surprising connections between the immune system’s microglia cells and mental illness – and ultimately to produce new treatments.

“We think it’s a very good model for obsessive-compulsive disorder,” he says.

Source: University of Utah Health Sciences