Six Ways to Beat Childhood Trauma and Stop Self-Sabotage

A great and comprehensive article about recovery from childhood trauma and how to stop self sabotage. Definitely worth reading if you were abused as a child.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/experimentations/201707/six-ways-beat-childhood-trauma-and-stop-self-sabotage

You will see light in the darkness
You will make some sense of this
And when you’ve made your secret journey
You will find this love you mis
s     — The Police

It isn’t easy to deal with developmental trauma, and many readers have responded with their own heartfelt stories. Because so many people struggle with these issues, I wanted to offer some thoughts on how to proactively deal with them. There is no substitute for doing the work, but I hope these unavoidably incomplete ideas will be useful:

1. Know what you are dealing with. When making a plan to address any complex problem, it is necessary to know what we are dealing with. Developmental trauma is no exception. However, because one of the most common ways of responding to distress is with avoidance, in adulthood developmental trauma can manifest in many ways which are not obviously connected with earlier experiences. In my experience, although public awareness is higher and health-care provider training better, many people only recognize the traumatic origin of their problem after years of suffering.

It’s not uncommon to have been diagnosed with other mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and various personality disorders, before the developmental component is recognized (bearing in mind that traumatic issues are often co-present with other problems). Post-traumatic and dissociative symptoms fly under the radar, and the enactments of those issues in personal relationships, self-care, and professional life are attributed to other factors — often reinforcing self-blame, self-defeating patterns, and the tendency to push others away. Why? Because there is often a “don’t ask, don’t tell” feeling to trauma. This is typically institutionalized, and is arguably a core component of our culture — to ignore and downplay trauma. Doing so helps maintain the status quo, preserving stability at great expense.

Even in clinical evaluation settings, it is very common for patients to omit traumatic experiences, and clinicians are often poorly trained about how to evaluate for them and their consequences. Often the focus is on a presenting problem — depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, and so on — and sometimes trying to address the underlying factors leads to individual and family resistance. The omission of addressing the underlying problems creates a vicious cycle, often driven by feelings such as shame and psychological pain, to create chronic non-recognition. Patients often repeat a core pattern from their family of origin, intended to cover up abuse and neglect and pretend everything was fine.

Work toward putting trauma in perspective: Even suggesting keeping trauma in perspective can feel like an insult to someone who has lived through terrible experiences. It is difficult to recognize the presence of developmental trauma in oneself, because of the challenging feelings evoked, and the tendency to either avoid or become overly preoccupied with it. It is a delicate balancing act that takes time. Being over-identified with trauma can reinforce an identity of victimization, leading one to live only as a traumatic self in a traumatizing world. Likewise, with unresolved trauma, we are more likely to perpetrate against others without knowing it. We may become compulsive caregivers, sometimes even over-empathizing with those in need, to our own detriment. Putting traumatic experiences in perspective — working toward having a context for understanding trauma in the broader sweep of one’s life, while building new experiences which are healthy and self — can lead to greater empowerment and a shift toward a non-traumatic sense of self.

2. Be aware in the moment. Emotional dysregulation is a common feature of unresolved trauma. Often there is numbing and dissociation, as well as fixation and preoccupation, or some mix of either extreme. Because traumatic experience is often driven by avoidance of one’s core self, memories, and emotions, many people with unresolved or resolving developmental trauma struggle to remain present with themselves and others. That basic capacity to sit with and name difficult experiences didn’t develop properly because of early trauma, but can be cultivated as part of recovery and post-traumatic growth. Various forms of meditation, typically in the mindfulness tradition, can be helpful for this. There are structured forms of mindfulness as well, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, which are becoming more common in clinical practice. Compassion-based meditations and loving-kindness practice, based on eastern traditions such as Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism, can be additionally useful, because they are intended to directly fix core consequences of developmental trauma. However, mindfulness and compassion-based practices can sometimes be problematic, because they can make one aware of emotions and memories which one is not ready to handle properly, can lead to the worsening of other problems in response, triggering re-traumatization, and generally are most effective as part of a broader recovery plan. It’s important to take self-awareness in small doses, building up proficiency and gradually digesting whatever experiences come up.

Learn to regulate emotions: Because of the emotional regulation challenges that unresolved trauma presents, it is crucial to learn how to cope differently. This goes hand in hand with basic awareness, because having effective coping tools empowers one to recognize and respond to challenging experiences in oneself without as much fear of making things worse as a result. Rather than getting stuck in vicious cycles of failed recognition and further suffering, focusing on basic coping and awareness can lead to virtuous cycles of developing greater capacity and making headway with problems which once were intractable. It’s typically a slow process, especially in the beginning, but positive changes build up over time and become more established, hopefully eventually leading to stable and enduring changes. Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Skills Training in Affect and Interpersonal Regulation (STAIRS), and Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET) are examples of structured approaches which start with basic awareness and skills and move on to more advanced work in a step-wise format.

3. Rewrite your story. Because fear-based brain systems dominate in trauma, one’s story of oneself becomes dominated by generally one-sided, negative perceptions of oneself and others, as well as the expectation of an unsafe and indifferent, or even malevolent, world. This is a self-protective story, but sadly comes with high costs as a result of erring on the side of staying away from new experiences, which may be positive and useful because of exaggerated fears. It is common to interpret others’ intentions and events in one’s life negatively to manage expectations and try to avoid repetition of injury and disappointment. Mistrust is a dominant theme and shapes decisions. It makes sense — surviving a traumatic developmental experience often called for such measures, but out of context in adulthood, as a sole view of life, it is too rigid and too often leads to repetition, which is painful, but confirms the belief in a traumatizing world.

Rewriting one’s story, putting trauma in context, has been shown to be an effective method for getting out of survival mode and shifting our approach to ourselves, others, and life in general. It’s easier said than done, because doing so involves further engagement with very challenging subjects. Narrative therapy and narrative exposure therapy are structured approaches that are intended to recontextualize trauma, and help to re-tune the brain so that fear-based systems exert the right amount of control — neither too much nor too little. Regular talk therapy may also be useful, but sometimes is not geared toward addressing trauma and related issues specifically.

It’s key to practice new patterns in real life as part of rewriting our stories. Seeking out positive experiences, cautiously at first, over time leads to building a track record of more optimistic expectations and chips away at the belief that life is incontrovertibly bad. Even just the idea of doing so can feel upsetting, challenging basic adaptations to chronic distress, and the suggestion of doing so can be met with confusion, anxiety, and even hostility. Making a sustained effort to be rationally optimistic can seem like a very misguided concept. Hand in hand with banking positive experiences, resisting repetitive negative experiences is just as important, and just as challenging. For one thing, as mentioned, a lot of self-protective perspectives and behaviors, out of context, lead back into disappointment and even re-traumatization.

Further, many drivers of traumatic experience are habitual or unconscious, and efforts to make better choices can lead to disappointment and feelings of helplessness when they inadvertently don’t work out. It’s important to have the basic ability to be aware of and manage emotions in order to understand that unlearning old patterns and re-learning new ones is going to have ups and downs before becoming more consistent and reliable. There’s a lot more to this, because taking emotional risks isn’t always going to work, and the times it doesn’t can lead to major setbacks if one is not well-prepared.

4. Practice self-care. Unresolved developmental trauma too often leads to a negative sense of self. We can feel undeserving of love and care, we can be too self-blaming and have a basic sense of unworthiness, and we can come to belief that any attention to ourselves is “selfish.” In addition, taking care of oneself can simply be unfamiliar, a skill set which never fully developed, especially if self-care is overly focused on basic survival. Self-care is about both taking care of oneself physically, but also emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

The basic orientation toward self-care can be minimal, almost absent, and the idea of anything more than the barest minimum, especially if neglect was a major part of one’s upbringing, can be alien. It’s important to work toward self-care in a gradual manner as well, first working toward accepting the idea that self-care is not only not bad, is not only ok, but also is potentially a source of accomplishment and even enjoyment. Building self-care over time leads to a sense of greater self-efficacy, creates resilience, and reduces the negative health impacts of trauma, both mental and physical. Forgiveness, permission to grieve, gratitude, and related practices can come with time, and are an important part of self-care as well.

5. Work with others. Because trauma often divides people, especially in families, leading to fragmentation and an “every man for himself” mentality, it is important to recognize that working on recovery alone may not be efficient, and may even stall at some point. Working with others can be informal, or can involve seeking out groups of people in different settings ranging from meditation groups to recovery groups and clinical settings. Being able to ask for help is an important part of self-care, and can be difficult to do, especially when trauma came from trusted others who betrayed that trust. Having a supportive group is important during periods of forward motion as well as during challenging periods, and having a plan to reach out for help, especially when things are at their worst, is often the decisive factor.

6. Cultivate patience. Growth takes time. There are periods where things may get better, and other times where it looks very bleak and terrible things happen. The overall goal is to establish a different pattern and to have a goal of maintaining the process, rather than focusing on short-term successes and failures (though goals along the way are useful to establish, as long as they are flexible). Patience, compassion, and curiosity are likewise long-term process goals, good to cultivate with the understanding that the ongoing effort is worthwhile, rather than having an expectation of developing them overnight. Our basic attitude about change itself may change, providing relief and room for development in new directions.

Bipolar Disorder and Grappling With Obsessive Thinking

Here’s a great article about obsessive thoughts and how to deal with them.

Obsessive thoughts are a part if bipolar disorder. I do know this very well as I am constantly obsessed about one thing or other. Thinking only these obsessive thoughts, being very singleminded, can in normal circumstances help, but mostly, when in hypomania or a mixed phase, it causes anxiety and stress. This is happening to me right now. Ok, so there’s the situation, then there are my thoughts about the situation. Lately these thoughts have taken a turn for the highly obsessive and catastrophizing kind. I can’t turn off my brain from obsessing and thinking of all the worst care scenarios. It is frightening, not necessarily even true, and counterproductive. Still my brain keeps on doing it. This article offers some good strategies to stop the obsessing. It will take work, but it will be worth it.

https://www.bphope.com/obsessive-thoughts-thinking-obsession/

Obsessive thinking is a fairly common but rarely discussed symptom of bipolar. We look at ways you can take charge when intrusive thoughts take hold.

By Robin L. Flanigan

Getting something stuck in your head—the catchy chorus of a song, a gruesome image from the news—can be annoying for anyone. But annoying segues to alarming when intrusive thoughts, worries or even enthusiasms turn obsessive.

For at least a fifth of people who live with bipolar disorder, that scenario happens all too often. And when it does, the consequences can be troublesome. Michelle O. of Florida recalls how one obsessive bout injected a septic ooze into her marriage.

When demonstrating an app called Find My iPhone to her mother-in-law, Michelle decided to use her husband’s cell number to show that his phone was with him at the grocery store where he works. Instead, the app pinpointed a location five miles away from where she thought her husband would be.

Already off-balance because of mood symptoms, Michelle became obsessed with proving her husband was having an affair. She started checking his cell phone when he was in the shower, and his computer and iPad when he was at work. If he came home tired, she took it as a sign he had spent his energy on another woman. If he was on his phone, she would want to know why.

One day, after seeing a number on his screen that she didn’t recognize, she grabbed her wallet and left the house, unsure whether she would return home. She drove around for a while before calling the suspicious number.

“It was a Walmart,” Michelle reports. “I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’”

That was the moment Michelle realized she needed help. She called her psychiatrist and asked to be seen right away. She had her medication adjusted and began cognitive behavioral therapy, which has helped her learn to be shift back to more realistic thinking when she’s getting obsessive.

“There’s a lot of repeating the rational thought just to get me to hear it sometimes,” says Michelle, who has a bipolar II diagnosis and co-existing anxiety disorders. “It’s almost as though I have a person on each shoulder—one funneling in the bad stuff and one fighting to funnel in the rational thoughts.”

A HAMSTER WHEEL

Having intrusive thoughts, images and impulses appears to be a nearly universal constant of the human condition. Concordia University and 15 other universities worldwide found that a whopping 94 percent of people experience them in some form at some time, according to research published in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders in 2014.

The problem comes when they do more than intrude—they won’t go away. In the absence of evasive measures, the invaders take control and start to keep you awake at night, disturb your focus during the day, and direct your behavior into counterproductive channels.

Obsessive thinking is like a hamster wheel in the brain, with different animals parading in and out over time, according to psychologist Bruce Hubbard, PhD, president of the New York City Cognitive Behavior Therapy Association and a visiting scholar at Columbia University Teacher’s College.

“People with bipolar disorder often report that there’s an obsession of the day or the week, and as one problem gets resolved, it can easily be replaced by another problem,” Hubbard says.

“There’s something in the brain that needs to ruminate and worry and obsess about different topics. It could be a real problem or a completely irrational problem—it almost doesn’t matter what the topic is.”

Psychiatry draws a distinction between obsessive thinking—fixating on fears and anxieties in a way that stirs you up—and the type of rumination common in depressions, when the mind tracks around and around some personal problem or past distress in a way that drags you down.

Real life, of course, is not quite so clear-cut. For example, a 2015 review of previous studies by two Brazilian researchers concluded that rumination is present in all bipolar phases and may reflect a hitch in the brain’s executive function (a set of processes relating to planning, organizing, and self-regulation).

Plus, those medical definitions don’t take into account the kind of obsessive thoughts and behaviors that can sweep in with mania or hypomania, when some particular enthusiasm gets taken to extremes.

As an illustration, say you come up with an idea for a new home business. It feels good to have a project you’re passionate about, and you spend more and more time thinking about how to get it off the ground. Pretty soon it’s all you’re thinking about.

You neglect current commitments because of the inordinate amount of time and money you’re funneling into finding just the right supplies and designing a website. You may periodically feel ashamed or guilty about being so distracted—but your mind keeps going back to your obsession regardless.

Then the enthusiasm wanes and you’re left with a load of debt and a life in disarray.

“It’s almost like people … grab the shovel and start digging and can’t wait to see what they find, but they wind up getting entrenched in their thoughts, and before they know it, they’re deep in a pit of nothing,” says psychiatrist Helen Farrell, MD, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and staff psychiatrist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “All the stuff they were originally excited about is just not there.”

STEPPING BACK

A big part of learning how to deal with this tiring parade is accepting that this is how your brain is wired, says Felisa Shizgal, MEd, RP, a registered psychotherapist in Toronto.

Shizgal suggests reminding yourself that obsessive thoughts “are a part of me, not all of me,” as a healthy way to recognize their presence in your life without getting overwhelmed.

“That doesn’t mean the worry has to be with you all the time or drive the bus,” she adds, “but it does mean becoming really expert at recognizing it and learning ways to slow yourself down physically and cognitively and emotionally.”

One way to become an authority is to track patterns in a log and be curious about them. What are you feeling insecure or upset about? Would it be a sensible concern to a neutral observer? Was there a trigger? Are there certain times of the day when your thoughts tend to be more intense?

With more self-knowledge in hand, it’s time to deploy distraction and defusion—a label for distancing and disconnecting your mind from whatever idea is consuming you.

If your thoughts tend to be more intense in the morning, for instance, you might plan to go for a regular run before breakfast. The key is to decide in advance on some options for distracting yourself.

“It could be some relaxation exercises, physical exercise like yoga or going for a walk, watching TV, calling a friend, or getting to work on some project you’ve been avoiding,” says Hubbard. “Anything that’s meaningful and valuable and gives you something concrete to shift your attention toward.”

Farrell suggests identifying the obsessive thought, then scheduling a brief block of time later in the day to pay attention to it—allowing you to be more present for the work or people in front of you.

“More often than not, that time never comes because the problem has been defused,” she adds.

MIND & BODY

Another approach is to ground yourself in the physical. Retreat to a space that feels safe and comfortable and engage the body’s senses by cuddling in a cozy blanket, lighting scented candles, drinking ice water, and so on.

It’s also important to check in on how your body is unconsciously reacting. Breathing can become shallow (so take a deep breath). Shoulders can migrate toward the ears (drop them back into place). Muscles can tighten (consciously relax them).

Mike W. of Michigan feels tension throughout his entire body when he can’t free his mind from the dark thoughts that have plagued him lately, making it difficult to focus on everyday tasks long enough to complete them. He doesn’t eat well or get much sleep.

“It’s like every muscle in my body wants to go somewhere. I feel like I could run a thousand miles,” he says.

The things that keep him most centered are solo walks in nature and listening to loud music while wearing headphones. Even so, there are times when his mind latches onto a notion so strongly that he can’t access the strategies he has learned in therapy.

“It’s like none of that stuff ever existed,” he says. “I can think of them at other times when somebody asks me, but in those moments, it’s not something I can grab out of my brain.”

The ultimate aim of cognitive defusion techniques is to get some perspective and see obsessive thoughts for what they are (temporary sensations) instead of what your mind insists they are (permanent facts).

What you don’t want to do is try to control or suppress the obsessive thoughts, because they tend to intensify when resisted.

LEARNING HEALTHY RESPONSES

You may benefit from working with a therapist to learn ways to fend off obsessive thoughts. Psychotherapy is helping Lisa C. get past a devouring inner narrative that makes it difficult for her to trust others.

When she was a girl, her father ridiculed her freckles and poked fun at her for being heavy-chested. She was teased about her weight by her brother and bullied by a classmate.

As a result, she has thoughts “every single day, all day long, about the past, about things that have happened to me, how people looked at me,” says Lisa, who lives in Ontario, Canada. “I’m always afraid somebody’s going to hurt me emotionally in some way.”

She can also feel consumed by unwarranted guilt because three of her four children also have bipolar disorder. Or she will get into a repetitive loop after she accepts some demand on her time that she’d rather refuse, second-guessing her decision. (Setting boundaries is another topic for her and her therapist.)

“It’s very difficult to separate the logical thought and the feeling,” she explains. “It takes a long time to be honest with yourself about it. But I need to be patient with myself no matter what anybody says. I need to do this on my time, not on their time.”

Olivia H. of Texas obsesses over feeling inadequate at her job. Surrounded by well-educated and more experienced co-workers, she feels like an imposter. She tries to keep those kinds of thoughts at bay by watching Netflix or talking to friends, along with techniques she’s learned from her psychiatrist and therapist.

“It gets really exhausting to talk back to, and correct, irrational thoughts, but you have to try,” Olivia says. “I give myself positive affirmations to remind myself who I am and hopefully prevent those thoughts from happening in the first place.”

She uses the analogy of being chronically late to class when encouraging herself to stick with it.

“If you knew the teacher was going to lock the door and mark you absent, you would do whatever is necessary to be on time, right?” she says. “You’d pack your bags, lay out your clothes and shower the night before, make sure you have a ride, and so on to make sure you aren’t late again.

“If I don’t want obsessive thoughts to take over, I have to use my coping skills like planning out my day, making checklists, and making sure I’m surrounded by people to keep my mind focused and occupied.”

*  *  *  *  *

STOPPING REPETITIVE THOUGHT LOOPS

Obsessive thoughts often revolve around irrational or exaggerated worries. The repetitive loops can make it difficult to focus on the tasks at hand, disrupt sleep, and affect daily behavior as you start to avoid certain activities or pursue others to an extreme. Psychologist Bruce Hubbard, PhD, offers these countermeasures:

Switch your focus. In what Hubbard calls “the premier cognitive defusion strategy,” you choose a target of attention (usually the breath) to laser in on when intrusive thoughts take over. With practice, this mindfulness technique exercises your “letting go” muscle, allowing you to release the thoughts that were absorbing you.

Look at the end game. Quiz yourself about the function of your obsessive thoughts. Do they serve some purpose? Are they helpful or harmful? Do they bring you closer to your goals or put you further away?

Label  the thoughts. Describe your thoughts in simple, objective, terms. You can say something like, “I just had a thought about X,” or use the one-word shorthand, “Thinking.” Or for more of a sense of distance and passive observation, use phrases like, “A feeling of X is present,” or, “The concern X is present.”

Write it out. Getting the thoughts out of your head and onto a document (paper or electronic) may be helpful since the words then are outside your head.

Use ridicule. Give your thoughts a silly voice. Imagine them narrated by a popular media character such as Donald Duck, Big Bird or Chewbacca, or something non-threatening like a cuddly teddy bear.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE

Statistics dating back to the 1990s suggest that anywhere from 20 percent to 35 percent of people with a primary diagnosis of bipolar disorder have comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The U.S. National Comorbidity Survey of 2001-02 found rates of 0CD among people with bipolar were 10 times greater than in the general population, the Psychiatric Times reports.

And those figures may not even include individuals whose symptoms ride in with mood episodes of either kind and disperse during periods of stability, or whose obsessions don’t take the classic forms found in OCD.

In any event, the crossover is seen so often that some scientists are arguing bipolar with OCD represents a specific subtype of bipolar illness.

Printed as “Mind Control”, Fall 2017

diabetes (such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes), your healthcare provider should check your blood sugar before you start LATUDA and during therapy.

Living near a forest keeps your amygdala healthier

IMG_1709

Country living or living near a forest is good for your amygdala! That means less mental illness, less stress, less fear, less anxiety, more health! Who’s coming with me?!

https://m.medicalxpress.com/news/2017-10-forest-amygdala-healthier.html?utm_source=tabs&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=story-tabs

October 13, 2017

Living near a forest seems to have a positive effect on the stress-processing brain areas. Researchers found that city dwellers living close to a forest were more likely to have a healthy brain structure than those with no access to nature near their home.

A study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development has investigated the relationship between the availability of nature near city dwellers’ homes and their brain health. Its findings are relevant for urban planners among others.

 

Noise, pollution, and many people in a confined space: Life in a city can cause chronic stress. City dwellers are at a higher risk of psychiatric illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia than country dwellers. Comparisons show higher activity levels in city dwellers’ than in country dwellers’ amygdala—a central nucleus in the brain that plays an important role in stress processing and reactions to danger. Which factors can have a protective influence? A research team led by psychologist Simone Kühn has examined which effects nature near people’s homes such as forest, urban green, or wasteland has on stress-processing brain regions such as the amygdala. “Research on brain plasticity supports the assumption that the environment can shape brain structure and function. That is why we are interested in the environmental conditions that may have positive effects on brain development. Studies of people in the countryside have already shown that living close to nature is good for their mental health and well-being. We therefore decided to examine city dwellers,” explains first author Simone Kühn, who led the study at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and now works at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).

Indeed, the researchers found a relationship between place of residence and brain health: those city dwellers living close to a forest were more likely to show indications of a physiologically healthy amygdala structure und were therefore presumably better able to cope with stress. This effect remained stable when differences in educational qualifications and income levels were controlled for. However, it was not possible to find an association between the examined brain regions and urban green, water, or wasteland. With these data, it is not possible to distinguish whether living close to a forest really has positive effects on the amygdala or whether people with a healthier amygdala might be more likely to select residential areas close to a forest. Based on present knowledge, however, the researchers regard the first explanation as more probable. Further longitudinal studies are necessary to accumulate evidence.

The participants in the present study are from the Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II) – a larger longitudinal study examining the physical, psychological, and social conditions for healthy aging. In total, 341 adults aged 61 to 82 years took part in the present study. Apart from carrying out memory and reasoning tests, the structure of stress-processing brain regions, especially the amygdala, was assessed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In order to examine the influence of nature close to peoples’ homes on these brain regions, the researchers combined the MRI data with geoinformation about the participants’ places of residence. This information stemmed from the European Environment Agency’s Urban Atlas, which provides an overview of urban land use in Europe.

“Our study investigates the connection between urban planning features and brain health for the first time,” says co-author Ulman Lindenberger, Director of the Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. By 2050, almost 70 percent of the world population is expected to be living in cities. These results could therefore be very important for urban planning. In the near future, however, the observed association between the brain and closeness to forests would need to be confirmed in further studies and other cities, stated Ulman Lindenberger.

 

 

About the anxiety, a plan!

About the anxiety, I wake up with it every morning. Suffocating, thinking the most awful, frightening thoughts about what could happen to my loved ones. Every morning, terrified, panicked, what a way to wake up. Somehow I make it out of bed and make myself coffee.

Coffee helps dispel some of the gloom.

Doing something helps.

By evening I am fine. Back to my normal self. No doom, no gloom.

This happens everyday!

Can’t really increase Lithium, hairs falling out again.

I’ll increase Seroquel. I’ll live with a poochy stomach to get away from being tortured every morning. Maybe no poochy stomach as I am joining a Crossfit class for 6 weeks.

Hope that helps too.

So my plan is:

1) Coffee

2) Increase Seroquel*

3) Crossfit and Barre, and Woodworking workshop.

4) Julie Fast’s (www.bipolarhappens.com) Health Cards.

5) Still will try Havening a few times more at least

6) Deep breathing

7) Allergy shots (?)

8) And if terrifying intrusive thoughts still intrude, I hope they don’t, but if they do, I’ll challenge them and try to believe my words

* I’ll talk over the medication changes with my doctor of course.

I sincerely hope people out there are suffering from this kind of thing, but if you are, maybe making a plan in conjunction with your doctor will help.

Simply doing something immediately makes me feel a little better.

Change of seasons, change of moods, hang on everyone, we’ll get through it! We have done every year so far!

Anxiety

Having a hell of a time with anxiety. Stomach churning, heart hammering anxiety. Can’t tell if it is due to things happening in my life or due to a mood state change in bipolar as the seasons change. Maybe both. Can’t tell if I’m over reacting or not. I’ve had bipolar 1 disorder since 1985. Still suffering with its effects. It just does not want to let me go so I can live my life in peace.

I did just order Julie Fast’s books and health cards (https://www.juliefast.com/julies-books/)

The health cards are supposed to help you and your family and friends manage your bipolar symptoms.

Just this act of ordering has made me feel better, at least I am trying to do something to make myself feel better!

Ok, now I have to shower and get ready for an appointment.

Rather not sit in my bedroom and worry about things that may or may not happen. Shut up brain, just please shut up!

Depression Symptoms Declined with Mediterranean-style Diet

The healthy Mediterranean diet helps relieve symptoms of depression! Pretty amazing and significant!

“Story Highlight

In the first randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the effects of a healthy diet on depression, individuals on a Mediterranean-style diet were more likely to achieve remission after 12 weeks than patients who received no nutritional guidance.”

https://www.bbrfoundation.org/content/depression-symptoms-declined-mediterranean-style-diet

A Mediterranean-style diet involving lots of fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains may relieve symptoms of depression, according to a study published January 30 in the journal BMC Medicine.

The study, led by Felice Jacka, Ph.D., a NARSAD 2010 Young Investigator at Deakin University in Australia, is the first randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the effects of a healthy diet on the symptoms of depression.

Story Highlight

In the first randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the effects of a healthy diet on depression, individuals on a Mediterranean-style diet were more likely to achieve remission after 12 weeks than patients who received no nutritional guidance.

Share this quote

Randomized trial finds depression symptoms declined significantly after 12 weeks on a Mediterranean-style diet.

Tweet >

The trial, which the researchers called Supporting the Modification of Lifestyle In Lowered Emotional States (SMILES), involved 67 participants with moderate to severe depression, most of whom were already being treated with psychotherapy, medications, or both. Such treatments continued during the trial.  At the outset of the trial, all of the participants reported a poor diet—lots of sweets, processed meats, and salty snacks and little lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber.  Among those not allowed to participate in the trial were people who had failed antidepressant therapy two or more times. This was to reduce the chance that people included in the trial were atypical responders to existing antidepressant therapies and not (for whatever reason) unusually resistant to being helped by them.

After selecting the study participants, Dr. Jacka and her colleagues, including 2012 Young Investigator Olivia May Dean, Ph.D. and 2015 Colvin Prizewinner Michael Berk, Ph.D., MBBCH, MMED, FF(Psych)SA, FRANCZP, who are both at Deakin University, randomly allocated them into two groups. Those in the dietary intervention group met regularly with a dietician and were encouraged to follow a diet made up mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean red meats, fish, low-fat dairy products, eggs, nuts, and olive oil, while reducing their intake of fried foods, processed meats, and sweets and limiting alcohol consumption. The diet was not designed for weight loss, and there were no restrictions on how much participants could eat. Individuals in the control group met on the same schedule with a research assistant for social support, which is already known to be helpful for depression, but received no dietary counseling.

After 12 weeks, depression symptoms had declined significantly more in the group that had followed the improved diet. About one-third of the group following the Mediterranean diet had achieved remission, whereas only 8 percent of those who received only social support reached remission.

Larger studies will be needed to validate the findings, but the authors suggest clinicians should consider promoting healthy eating and providing nutritional support to patients suffering from major depression, in addition to other treatments.

Brain Chemical Abnormalities Identified in Early Stage Psychosis

High levels of glycine and glutamate are seen in early stage psychosis. These interact with the NMDA receptor which is implicated in psychosis.

https://www.technologynetworks.com/neuroscience/news/brain-chemical-abnormalities-identified-in-early-stage-psychosis-293166

AddThis Sharing Buttons

A new study of young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis reports elevations in the brain chemicals glutamate and glycine. Published in Biological Psychiatry, the study led by Dr. Dost Öngür of Harvard Medical School provides the first ever measurement of glycine levels in patients with psychotic disorders.

Abnormal brain activity in psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, is thought to stem in part from impaired function of the NMDA receptor. Glutamate and glycine activate the receptor, which is an important mediator of brain signaling for processes such as learning and memory. According to Dr. Öngür, the findings may serve as a marker in the development of future treatments aimed at restoring function of NMDA receptors.

Reliable detection of glycine in the human brain has previously been very challenging — if not impossible — with conventional techniques, as an overlapping signal interferes with its detection. But first author Dr. Sang-Young Kim and colleagues applied a new method of the brain imaging technique called MR spectroscopy to suppress the interfering signal and reveal the hidden glycine signal.

Glycine levels were higher in 46 patients with first-episode psychosis, compared with 50 healthy participants. “Our findings suggest that glycine abnormalities may play a role in the earliest phases of psychotic disorders,” said Dr. Öngür. The researchers also measured increased glutamate levels in patients, which lines up with strong support for elevated glutamate reported in other studies of first-episode psychosis. The elevations in glutamate and glycine indicate that NMDA receptors receive abnormal stimulation in psychotic disorders.

The increased glycine level was the opposite of what the authors expected to find — researchers have actually tried raising glycine levels in patients to compensate for the underperforming NMDA receptors. The new findings revealing higher levels early on in the disease might help to explain why glycine supplementation hasn’t worked as well as researchers hoped.

“This study supports the notion of different developmental phases in the biology of schizophrenia. These phases might require somewhat different treatments,” said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Elsevier. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Reference

In Vivo Brain Glycine and Glutamate Concentrations in Patients with First-Episode Psychosis Measured by Echo-Time-Averaged Proton MR Spectroscopy at 4 Tesla,” by Sang-Young Kim, Marc J. Kaufman, Bruce M. Cohen, J. Eric Jensen, Joseph T. Coyle, Fei Du and Dost Öngür. Biological Psychiatry (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.08.022).