Childhood interrupted (Part 2 of 2)

private school

Consider reading Childhood interrupted (Part 1) before reading this post.

I remember when I first met the replacement guidance counselor, I liked him immediately. Unlike the former counselor who acted like a disciplinarian, this new gentleman had kind eyes, a soft voice, and unlike most school officials, seemed to treat me like more than just a kid. He was genuinely concerned about what had happened to me. Continue reading

Long-term uniform mild mood disruption is not good enough. Or is it?

moodchart

People who experience mood disorders, like unipolar depression and bipolar disorder, are most intensely monitored when severe mood disruptions are occurring, such as moderate-severe depression, moderate to severe mania, or episodes with mixed features. Also of deep concern are labile moods where the afflicted quickly cycle between various mood states. In the case of bipolar disorder, this would mean mood fluctuations between depression, hypomania/mania or mixed states within short periods of time (i.e. hours, days or weeks). But what happens in many of these peoples’ treatments when the mood state is uniform/level, but not severe, and yet not completely considered stable either, like in dysthymia or mild hypomania. Continue reading

A tad too demonstrative and open at times

open zipped mouth

In many of the posts I write, I try to acknowledge that some characteristics of people with bipolar disorder (or other mental illnesses) are not totally absent in those without such diagnoses. For example, a symptom of bipolar hypomania or mania is rapid speech, but we all know that there are non-mentally ill people out there that speak very quickly and voluminously.  In this post I want to discuss my tendency to be a tad too demonstrative and open at times. I’d like to explore if that tendency is related to my bipolar disorder, or just me, and if just me, why I’m like this. Continue reading

Seemingly small trigger, but big panic

panic scream

I have had issues with anxiety and panic attacks at various times of my life. It either comes with my bipolar disorder at times, or is a separate mental health issue. My panic attacks can be brought on by what may seem like nothing, or at least seemingly small triggers. And panic attacks can easily breed more frequent attacks. Scientists believe this may be part of the “kindling effect”. The kindling effect (originally applied to epilepsy, but now also applied to bipolar disorder, addictions, and even other mental health issues) is where with each episode of the illness, later episodes become more likely and more severe.  It can sometimes be difficult to finally break the cycle of kindling. Continue reading

Psychiatric Avalanche Effect – Unraveling the mystery of my past brain quirks

avalanche

About 12 years ago, one “thread” of my brain’s tapestry got pulled hard, and some of the rest started to quickly unravel. It wasn’t just the blue threads, but the red, yellow, and purple threads seem to unravel, too. The image of stability and mental wellness started to disappear. Doctors of various sorts, and numerous therapists, tried to knit my brain back to before, but the various colored “threads” became misaligned at times and the image was sometimes unrecognizable and disturbing. Continue reading

Labeling yourself (or others) “I am [insert illness]”

labeler

Are you an illness (label)?

A topic that sometimes comes up in my circles is the use of the “be” verb with medical or mental illnesses. Have you ever noticed that for some illnesses people say “I am [insert illness]” or “He is [insert illness]”? Some specific examples of this labeling include “I am bipolar”, “I am schizophrenic”, “I am an addict”, “I am diabetic”, and “I am epileptic”. I find that strange, especially because you would never say “I am a headache”, or “I am cancer”.

Stigma and Continue reading

Depersonalization and derealization – Grounding techniques I’ve found effective

Stay connected to yourself in the present…

out-of-body-experience

For all of you lucky enough not to be in the know, both depersonalization and derealization are states falling under the category of dissociation, which the Mayo Clinic defines as “a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and/or identity.” Continue reading