Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Are You Stressed?

Posted on April 16th, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

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Are you stressed now?  I am.  When I first saw this many, many, many years ago while in college, we were shown a 15 minute segment of it.  Our professor suggested that if it was too much for us that we could put our heads down or leave and stay by the building if you were still having problems.  I ended up with some others outside.  The music is by Philip Glass.

The Hopi word Koyaanisqatsi (English pronunciation:  KOY-ah-nis-KAHT-see) means “crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living.”  This film entilted Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance.

The films director Godfrey Reggio stated that the Qatsi films are intended to simply create an experience and that “it is up [to] the viewer to take for himself/herself what it is that [the film] means.” He also said that “these films have never been about the effect of technology, of industry on people. It’s been that everyone: politics, education, things of the financial structure, the nation state structure, language, the culture, religion, all of that exists within the host of technology. So it’s not the effect of, it’s that everything exists within [technology]. It’s not that we use technology, we live technology. Technology has become as ubiquitous as the air we breathe…”

I decided to use this piece to introduce you to National Stress Management Day which is traditionally on April 16,  the day after taxes are due in the US.  Other  countries have this day and in the US it is actually the whole month.

Stress is the normal emotional, physical and cognitive reaction to events that make you feel threatened or sets you life out of the normal balance . There are two types of stress, eustress and distress.  Eustress is the “good type of stress” like weddings, birthday celebrations vacations etc.  distress is the “bad type of stress,” such as, divorce, death, work, etc.  However, both evoke the same type of bodily reactions (fight or flight)  which is mostly based in our perception of the stressor. 

Everyone experiences stress which in not inherently a “bad” thing.  It spurs the flight or fight resonse, so you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, and stress can save your life. I am generally able to handle emergency situation with ease and am able to direct and take control to direct people. It is afterward that I can really feel the stress.   Stress is what helps you cope with a during a presentation or contentious meeting at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV.

After a certain point, stress becomes detrimental to you health, mood, productivity, relationship and quality of life. The stress response also helps you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV. 

But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, your thinking and your quality of life.  Stress can have significant damaging effects. 

From ChangingMinds.org.

Symptoms of emotional and cognitive stress include: 

  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling frustrated at having to wait for something
  • Feeling restless
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Becoming easily confused
  • Having memory problems
  • Thinking about negative things all the time
  • Negative self-talk
  • Having marked mood swings
  • Eating too much
  • Eating when you are not hungry
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate
  • Not having enough energy to get things done
  • Feeling you can’t cope
  • Finding it hard to make decisions
  • Having emotional outbursts
  • Generally feeling upset
  • Lack of sense of humor

Physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Muscle tension
  • Low back pain
  • Pains in shoulders or neck
  • Pains in chest
  • Stomach/abdominal pain
  • Muscle spasms or nervous tics
  • Unexplained rashes or skin irritations
  • ‘Pounding’ or ‘racing’ heart
  • Sweaty palms
  • Sweating when not physically active
  • ‘Butterflies’ in stomach
  • Indigestion and ‘the gurgles’
  • Diarrhea
  • Unable to sleep or excessive sleep
  • Shortness of breath
  • Holding breath

Below is a short video of way of coping with stress.  I would also add meditation, prayer, minfulness, breathing exercises, doing something for yourself (a warm bath, deep breathing exercises and taking time out from the stressors of daily life…go enjoy the moment or just simply relax and have fun…NOT something you feel like you have to do)

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Do Tell…What do you do to help you cope with stress.  Any and all comments and questions welcomed.

What is Autism?

Posted on April 5th, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

On the night of April 1st, California time at least 200 significant points of interest and national monuments all around the world were lit up to glow blue.  Why?  To signify World Autism Awareness Day!! (which was April 2nd) This is a basic article to educate people as to what is Autism; therefore, I will not be writing about the controversial interest regarding causes, diet and treatment very much.  (For those, who want more Google will give you some great references.  So, what is Autism?

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Autism is a neurologically based developmental disorder which impacts their social, communication and social skills in which symptoms begin to occur before age three. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are for those that meet different criteria than the typical Autism diagnosis.  One is Asperger syndrome which has the characteristics of Autism, but lack the delays in cognitive development and language, and PDD-NOS, diagnosed when full criteria for the other two disorders are not met.


Most people with ASD have a wide range of abilities which range from mild to severe. It can coexist with other conditions, most common is mental retardation. Many famous and extremely intelligent people in history had some sort of Asperger Syndrome and have made a significant impact on science and arts.  Other misconceptions is that they are like “Rainman” and other movies and television shows that have someone who is autistic in them. 

It is estimated that Austism and ASD occur in 1 in 110 births annually.  The increase by medical professionals is attributed to increased awareness and identification by parents and physicians. The expansion of the definition to include milder symptoms. It is more common in boys that in girls. It occurs throughout the world, in families of all racial, ethnic and social backgrounds.

It is believed to have a genetic componenet as in twin and non-identical studies have been complete with interesting results. Identical twins occurred in 65% of the participants and non-identical twins occurred in 0% of those who participated. Often, there is a family history of Autism. Researchers have discovered a link of autism occuring within the structure of chromosomes 15 and 7.  Further research is very important. Physicans can identify autism by there symptoms only.  A provisional diagnosis can be made as early as 18 months and a follow up at 5 years to confirm the diagnosis.

As stated, above one of the areas effected is in social interaction.  Individual with autism often lack eye contact, interest in other children, or other people in their lives.  This is especially difficult on their mothers and unfortunately were incorrectly for many years thought to occur because of cold and distant mothers. Often, those with autism use non-verbal communication and lack social and emotional reciprocity and empathy. These symptoms do not occur in all individuals.

Another area of impairment includes communication.  Their play is not as varied and they seem not to understand the idea of play.  There are delays in speaking, conversing, repitive language, and make-believe play or social initiative.

Lastly, are difficulties in restricted interests and sterotyped behavior. Often those with autism have abnormal preoccupations, insistance on routines or rituals, repetitive motor skills mannerisms.

In Asperger’s Disorder the is impairment of social interaction, restricted interests, sterotyped behaviors, causes impairment in daily life, generally there is no language delay and not cognitive delays.

In Pervasive Developmental Disorder-NOS (PPD), there is sever impairment in social interaction and communications.  There interests are also restricted and they do not meet the criteria for Autism or Asperger’s.

Early identification, good education and the support of family and friends, most children with autism can improve. They require intesive teaching, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy for some and programs of preschool.  The earlier intervention begins the more effective it can be which should include systematic and organized teaching, specialized curriculum intensive interation  (20-25 hours per week between the ages of 3-5 years) and family involvement.

For adolescents and adults, they often require transitional programs from the education system.  Some an live alone and maintain employment with some guidance and others will always require someone to live with them. 

One of my clients, although he seemed to have the skills to live alone, in actuality he required much assistance at home.  I was “travel training” him to utilize public transportation to and from work and home.  This was my first time on a bus and he knew directions instantly. I came back and my supervisor asked, “So, who did the training?”  I have to admit he did.  At his job, cleaning tables he would often become fixated on one section of a table and require prompting to do something different.  His workers were very understanding.

The public, law enforcement, education system and the media need to have a better understanding of autism and ASD. “Typically” they seem them as only flapping their hands and being non-responsive to others or at the other end like “Rainman”  As stated before abilities vary.  I also had a client who had to have his specific routine at day progam and home before he left and when he arrived.  Often, he would throw an screaming and crying “tantrum”

Most people look at the parents as “why don’t you do something more” when in fact the child or adult is simply distressed by the change in routine.  Others actually say, “can’t you manage your own child?”  Other reasons for a “tantrum” may be too much stimulation as sound and touch are very difficult for them to handle.  They seem to have a hypersensitive neurological system.

Persons with autism see and perceive the world as different than we do, so their behavior is different which accounts for “unacceptable” public behavior. Their perception is different, so they don’t understand why we seem to not understand what they see.  In the picture on the left, most will see the right center dot as being larger.  Someone with autism are not “fooled” by such perception illusion picture and will immediately say that they are the same size.  They are able to “see” through the illusions quite quickly and accurately.
 
Besides the color blue, a rainbow of colored puzzle pieces are most often the symbol of autism awareness.  This is because it is looked at as puzzle pieces that need to be indentified and put together.
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GO! Smell the full moon! Do you feel it?

Posted on April 2nd, 2010 by Jim

Hi from Doo-bye where a full moon is in full effect tonight. I’m popping out (matron) to Palm Island to get some sand between my toes and lemon between my ice at a full moon party.

After all it is a marvellous night for moondance:

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So what is it with full moons – do you ‘feel’ them, act differently or is it just another day.

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 Do tell, werewolf comments are optional as we ch-ch-ch- change!

Stigma of Mental Illness ~ Pentagon Shooting

Posted on March 29th, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

CC writing from Southern Californial. By now, if you live in the U.S. I would think that most people have heard about the Pentagon shooting. Well, in surfing the Internet about this event, I found so many things that show how much stigma there is and how the media reinforces it. I became really angry and wanted to scream at some of the stuff that I found.  The following is a video about the event:

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Words that I found referring to Bedell’s mental illness: unhinged, whack job, disturbed, crazy, mental problems, idiot, fucking psycho, lunatic, bizarre, insane, half-wit, faggot, moron, mental illness is an excuse etc. Some other phrases, “mental illness and defect of? character. Aren’t they the same thing?” And from the media broadcast: “Bipolar, subject to violent psychotic behavior.”

Another comment: “The main stream media is lying ABOUT HIS MOTIVES. They keep saying he’s was a lunatic and suffered MENTAL DISORDERS. What they dont say is he? thought OUR GOVERNMENT WAS BEHIND 911!”

I’d rather be described as a person diagnosed with a mental illness that was being treated. How about you?

Regarding psychiatric care: psychiatrist responsible; Beldell “snapped” after being in the hands of a Psychiatric facility they, nor their drugs, fixed or cured or prevented him from doing this and; “bipolar disorder” is just a collection of symptoms that Psych’s have thrown a label on, it has no scientific basis. This guy was in Psychiatry’s hands, they got him on the amphetamine based little pills and he did this. The true cause of this problem is not “bipolar”, it’s the fact that he got further messed up by those who were supposed to be helping him.

I really am try not to scream at the comments. First off, Bipolar Disorder is most often addressed with the drugs of Lithium, anti-convulsants, and anti-psychotics. Some people fail to remember that he had taken himself off of the medication and was using marijuana instead. Marijuana just makes the problems much worse and may lead to a psychotic break. Amphetamines are not a part of treatment. Psychiatry did not cause his actions. It is also one of the few mental illness that generally require life long medication management.

The following video is about some myths and facts regarding Bipolar Disorder:

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Bedell did not get “futher messed up by…those…helping him.” It seems that during his court mandated hearings that he did not meet the criteria for being a danger to himself or others. This often happens and psychosis does not occur all the time.

In the 1960s and 1970s, due to abuse of the “mental institutions” of being dumping grounds and often people really did not have to be incarcerated, they began the process of deinstutionalization. The plan was to have community support services to help maintain and provide necessary treatment. Well, due to constant funding cuts the services are not there. In fact, in California, there is an over 250 millons cut in funding in these services including other social services, adult day health care, and education and much more.

Along with the deinstitutionalization came rights that really had been violated. No longer was there automatic sterilization. No forced medications and total reform of how people were supposed to be treated. This means that even if they are in the hospital adults cannot be “forced” to take their medications, so it isn’t their fault. Without the stabilizing medication, the symptoms of his disinhibition, agitation and fearfullness complicated the lack of treatment which included psychosis and paranoid ideas which were further fueled his conspiracy theories regarding the government and the Internet.

People who have Bipolar Disorder can life fully productive and meaningful lives with medication to help stabilize their mood. John Patrick Bedell was unable to accept the help that he needed. The following video shows just a small handful of individuals who have led meaningful and full lives:

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What Would You Do?

Posted on March 24th, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

I know that this is not a usual post, but I want opinions.  I have an antibody that is low, so I have been receiving infusion therapy/immunoglobulin therapy every four weeks for about six months now.  The following is a description is from Mayo Clinic:

 Immunoglobulin therapy. Also called gamma globulin therapy, this treatment can be a lifesaver for people who have an antibody deficiency. Immunoglobulin consists of antibody proteins needed for the immune system to fight infections. It can be either injected into a vein through an IV line, or inserted underneath the skin (subcutaneous infusion). Treatment with intravenous gamma globulin is needed every few weeks to maintain sufficient levels of immunoglobulins. Subcutaneous infusion is needed once or twice a week.

Getting my rate of the amount given by ml per hour.  I am very sensitive to the rate and last month we figured out that my rate should not go above 60 ml, for which, the order is written as such. I am receiving it at home due to my allergies to all types of fragrances and some odors. It takes about six and a half hours at that rate.

Yesterday, the nurse that was sent to my home was very nice.  However, I suspect that she increased the rate to 70 ml while I was napping. When I woke up from my nap, I did not feel good.  I was beginning to get a migraine and was nauseated which are some of the symptoms that I had when the rate was above 60 ml.  I need to use “the little girls room” and had my husband go with me. We checked the rate and it was at 70 ml. 

I went back to the living room where I was receiving treatment.  I told the nurse my symtoms and she stated that we needed to lower the rate.  Then, out of character, she asked what rate do I want it at.  I asked what is the rate currently and she stated, “60.” I asked again, as I was not feeling well, (it was a test and a way to give her an out).  She stated “60,” so I told her 50 ml. This morning at 12:30am I woke up because my right forearm was red, blotchy and itchy.

Now, I’m trying to decide what to do. I could just call and complain.  Wait for the pharmacist of the home care center to call due to my side effects being charted. I need to schedule an appointment, so I could request that I not have her assigned to me again. There are also other options.  What do you think I should do or what would you do?

Down Syndrome?

Posted on March 22nd, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

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Yesterday, March 21th was World Down Syndrome Day.  This is a subject near and dear to my heart as up until I stopped working, I dedicated seventeen years of my career to working with individuals with developmental disabilites including those with Down Syndrome. Seven of those years was as a social worker.  I have a special interest in adults.  When people with disabilities are young they often may receive attention or are cute to others, but once they are adults they are often forgotten by their family or friends because they are not longer cute or for many other reasons.

Down syndromeDown Syndrome is a genetic disorder where there is an extra 21st chromosone.  There are different types. In 1866, Dr. John Langdon Down, was the first to accurately describe the description of Down Syndrome thus the condition was named after him. Down syndrome occurs in approximately 1 to 800 to 1,000 births per year. The older the age of the mother, the more likely it is to occur.

147320785v5_225x225_Front_padToSquare-trueIn 1929, the average life span, if they survived, was 5-6 years old.  Now it is close to normal age.  One of my clients was in her 70′s. Most individuals with Down Syndrome are in the mild to moderate range of mental retardation and able to live full productive lives, live independently, be employed in the community, maintain friendship, have sex, have children and get married.  It should be noted that males with Down Syndrome are sterile.

291509534v17_225x225_Front_padToSquare-trueIndividuals with Down Syndrome have some health comonalities, such as, developmental delays, gastrointestinal disease (40-60%), congenital heart disease (40-60%), hearing (recurrent ear infections) and vision (cataracts) problems, hypothyroidism, excessive weight gain, smaller bones, increased white blood cells, recurrent upper respiratiory tract infections, constipation, behavioral changes and depression.  Physical features include flat midface, upward slanting, small oral cavity, redundant skinfolds, fingers are short and stubby, toes have increased spaces and hand creases.

347520278v4_480x480_FrontWhen it comes to personality, my experience is that people with Down Syndrome usually are very friendly, caring, people pleasing, easy going and like physical affection.  However, if they do not like what they need to or are asked to do something, they can be some of the most stubborn persons.  One thing that is helpful is that they like to please others and like praise.  This means that reward systems and time out works well.

143370213v12_480x480_Front I had one client whose supervisor came running to me saying, “Nancy is having a seizure.”  I laughed and said that she doesn’t have a seizure disorder. When I got to Nancy I said, “Nancy you don’t have a seizure disorder, so stop it.”  She immediately stopped, smiled at me and attempted to give me a hug.  I told her that you don’t get hugs for faking a seizure, but you do if you are working.  Once she started working I immediately praised her and gave her a hug.  This is one of my favorite experiences and they are much smarter than most people give them credit.

KOREA As the video indicated, individuals with Down Syndrome have same needs as everyone else. Like anyone else friends and support are an esential part of life.  The following are just a few of my pet peeve when working with adults and teenagers:

 

 

  • 347720343v5_225x225_Front_padToSquare-true People with Down Syndrome usually know that they are different than others and are often teased or harrassed and called retarded. Although they are retarded it has negative connotations which hurt their feelings and reinforce feelings of low self-esteem.  I hate it when someone uses the word “retard” to insult another person. This is also hurtful. 
  •  Individuals with Down Syndrome usually have some speach impairments which is frustrationg for the individual and often causes them to give up trying to communitcate or think that they are bad for being unable to speak properly.  With my clients, I used to tell them that “it is my job to try to understand you, but I may need you to slow down or use other words. I would also ask them to be patient with themselves as it is important for me to hear what you want to say.”  It takes patience and you get better at it as you become more familiar with the person, just as it is with other people that you meet. 
  •  155851528v25_480x480_FrontI hate it when others speak louder or speak in a condensending manner.  This would be insulting to us and is for someone with Down Syndrome.  They are not children to be spoken to in such a manner.  If you had a stroke, would you like it if your family spoke louder and treated you like a child. I usually speak slower and use simpler words, if called for.  Often they may have quite a sense of humor, so it makes it more fun.  Other times, I tell them that it is important for me that you understand, so please ask me if you don’t understand what I am saying. 
  •  I hate conversations and meetings that could happen whether the person is there or not as often people talk about the individual rather that involve them in the conversation.  They are told what to do, rather than being asked what they want. 

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I hope that this gives you an idea and some background regarding individuals with Down Syndrome and that you will think before you speak because you may not know that you are hurting someones feelings or offending someone. Think about how you would like to be treated.

What is your experience with someone with Down Syndrome or what did you learn from this post?  All comments and questions welcomed.

Coffee anyone?

Posted on March 12th, 2010 by Jim

GO! Smell the coffee anyone?

Having taken time out today to read all CC’s hard work and post, plus Angela in Canada dropping back in and the one n only Elton John getting back amongst it I’ll be reconnecting with some of the old regulars via Facebook and see if we can crack on and brighten up people’s time online.

With far less time online (with the exception of my daily facebook status update) I’ve been a bit blind to GO! Smell the coffee carrying on after all the initial hard work and thank all for this involvement to date and in the future.

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Let’s see how we GO! Comments welcomed….tweets optional.

Caffeinated?

Posted on March 4th, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

What an appropriate month for GO! Smell the Coffee!!  caffeine-awarness-monthToday is officially National Caffeine Awareness Month…or should I say anti-caffeine awareness month.  All of the articles that I’ve read seem to explain the reasons why you should quit…it is an addiction.  I call it one of world’s most socially acceptable drug.  Please keep in mind that I love coffee and am an avid coffee fan…or is it addict.  I can stop anytime…really. 

Most of the information links back to the Caffeine Awareness Association

 The following is their description from their site:

What is the Caffeine Awareness Association?

caffeine-main_fullThe Caffeine Awareness Association, a non-profit organization, is committed to the physical, mental, and emotional wellness of the public whose lives have been affected by their misuse of, or dependency on caffeine. Our mission is to provide objective, evidence-based information and advice to help reduce the health, social, and economic harm associated with caffeine abuse and addiction.

Did you know that an average size espresso drink has less caffeine than the average brewed coffee?  Or that coffee caffeine-awareness-monthcomes second only to petroleum as the world’s most widely traded commodity?  Caffeine can be found in coffee, decaf coffee, tea, decaf tea, medications, chocolate, sodas, and many other sources. For a child three caffeinated sodas is equivalent to an adult drinking three cups of coffee.  It takes about six hours to exit your system. 

There are many risks that have been found from intaking caffeine. Some are still in testing phases.  It affects the brain in similar ways of cocaine, heroine, methamphetamines as they all produce dopamine which stimulates the please area of the brain and increases adrenaline. 

spider-711569Caffeine increased cholesterol, is artery clogging, highly addictive, promotes heart disease, pancreas and bladder cancers, disturbs our central nervous system, increases risk for hypoglycemia, , increases risk for gallstones.  It affects the brains ability to take adenosine which causes sleepiness. It also creates headaches, dehydration, impairs absorption of iron and calcium, causes headaches, and impairs the body’s ability to absorb iron and calcium. Doctors recommend that pregnant women, heart disease patients and those at risk for osteoporosis should not drink coffee.

starbucks-ivSo, are decaffeinated items better?  Even decaffeinated items contain some caffeine. For coffee, some of the processes used to “decaffeinate” produce dangerous carcinogens.  However, those that use “naturally decaffeinated” or “swiss water processed” are safe.

 The UP side of caffeine research is showing that it does help prevent heart disease and asthma. It also increases the body to produce antioxidants. It increases memory, mixed with carbohydrates replenishes the body faster, decreases risks for colon cancer and cirrhosis of the liver, can stimulate hair growth in those that are balding, decreases post work out pain by 48%, wards off Alzheimer’s disease, eases depression, increases stamina, decreased risk for diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and risk of cavities.

Research at times seems contradictory and are in the beginning stages, but there are some things that are consistent regarding the addictive effect.  So, it is up to you.

caffeine-curve-wpaIf you decide to stop drinking coffee or other caffeinated items be prepared as it is a drug with withdrawl side effects.  When caffeine intake is reduced, the body then becomes oversensitive to a chemical in the brain (adenosine) relevant to the sleep process, causing blood pressure to drop dramatically, producing an excess of blood in the head area (not necessarily on the brain), and leading to a headache often lasting several days. Other withdrawal symptoms reported are fatigue and muscle pain, irritability, inability to work, nervousness, restlessness, and feeling sleepy, and in extreme cases, nausea and vomiting. Gradual reduction of caffeine intake abates these symptoms.

By the way, I am enjoying my caffeinated coffee here in Southern California and you can’t take it away…it is mine…all mine!!!

 So, will you stop drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages?  All comments and questions welcomed.

FUN TIME!!!

To find out how many cup of numerous choices of caffeine that it would take to kill yourself go to this link:  http://www.energyfiend.com/death-by-caffeine.

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
Created by OnePlusYou – Free Dating Sites

 

What…Self-Injury?

Posted on March 1st, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

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I am one of the estimated 5% (not including eating disorders which is also a form of self injury) of Americans who struggle with self-injury. I have been self-injury free for about one year except for my eating disorder and unintentional non-compliance with physican orders. But, the daily urge to cut, burn or bruise is not there anymore.  Sure, there are “good” day and “bad” days. I used to think about all the time, but not anymore.  It was kind of like Muzak because that is what it is all the time with the volume turned up, at times.
 
It is called self-injury, self-harm, self-injury; whatever, you name it is one of the most misunderstood behaviors associated with mental illness.  But, I share my struggles with celebrities who at one time or another self-injured including Fiona Apple, Brody Dalle, Johnny Depp, Richey Edwards, Colin Farrell, Jessicka Fodera, Kelly Holmes, Angelina Jolie, Alfred Kinsey, Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson, Princess Diana, Shirley Manson, Christina Ricci, Amy Studt, Sid Vicious and Amy Winehouse to name a few. These names were confirmed by self-injury.net.

 

This came from Live Journal and it nicely sums up those who self-injure…

 “We are male and female. We are artists, athletes, students, and business owners. We have depression, DID, PTSD, eating disorders, borderline personalities, bipolar disorder, or maybe no formal diagnosis at all. Some of us were abused, some were not. We are straight, bi, and gay. We come from all walks of life and can be any age. We are every single race or religion that you can possibly think of. Our common link is this: We are in pain. We self-injure. And we are not freaks.”
 
Self-injury is an addiction. According to FirstSIGNS, self-injury is defined as…

“Self-injury is any deliberate, non suicidal behaviour that inflicts physical harm on your body and is aimed at relieving emotional distress. Physical pain is often easier to deal with than emotional pain, because it causes ‘real’ feelings. Injuries can prove to an individual that their emotional pain is real and valid. Self-injurious behaviour may calm or awaken a person. Yet self-injury only provides temporary relief, it does not deal with the underlying issues. Self-injury can become a natural response to the stresses of day to day life and can escalate in frequency and severity.”

 

Types of self-injury include, but is not limited to cutting, burning, poisoning, bruising, overdosing, carving words or symbols on the skin, breaking of bones, hitting or punching oneself, piercing the skin with sharp objects, head banging, pinching, biting, pulling out hair and interfering with wound.

Personally, I have cut, burned and bruised myself. It is a part of my expression of self-hatred. I have some scared, but the cutting ones do not show. I have hidden the marks even from my husband. What I experience is that I usually do this to release the tension of intense feelings or agitation and to make the thoughts go away. It brings a sense of calm. That is where the addition cycle comes in because it releases endorphins, but then I feel guilty and ashamed…and there the cycle starts. It is an ADDICTION!!

Most people start in adolesence. However, the first instance may occur much earlier. My first instance was when I was four or five. It reached its peak when I was in my mid-twenties and almost forty years later I still struggle. I was able to stop for a few years. I am injury free right now!!I believe mine started as a way to deal with my sexual abuse other abuse, my emotions being unacceptable and watching other be out of control, domestic violence and chaos completely surrounding my childhood.

 

I was doing well for about five years. But, when  my grandfather passed away, I started again. At one point, work and therapy became so stressful that I was cutting 4-5 times per day just to get through work because I started to have flashbacks of my abuse.

What other reasons do people self-injure?  Communication, self-expression of emotions, release and relief from intolerable distress, having a sense of control over one’s emotions and environment, a cry for help, defense against emotional pain, self punishment, self hatred, expression of thoughts and feelings that are difficult to express.
 
A few words of advice, please don’t tell me to “just stop.”  You may think that is helpful or that will solve everthing.  I put incredible pressure to stop…more than anyone else.  By telling me to “just stop,” it makes me feel like I’m a bad person which leads to more self-injure. I need to learn coping mechanisms, how to express myself appropriately and how to love myself. But, then everything won’t just be fine..there are many underlying issues, so self-injury is my way of defending against that which I never wanted to deal with in the first place.  Also, do not get into power struggles with me it makes me feel less in control.  Self-injury like eating disorders are a form of control. 
 
To obtain other information including how to help a loved one please look at the links in this article or do an Internet search.  There is a lot of information out there.  I hope this article caused you to look at self-injury in a different light and HOPE both for those who do this and for those who don’t.

What Do You Know About Eating Disorders?

Posted on February 22nd, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

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Most countries have Eating Disorders Week within the month of February.  The U.S. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is from February 21st to February 26th.

Myths & Realities From Mirror-Mirror:

Only teenage girls suffer from eating disorders. Many eating disorders do begin in the teenage years, but children, men, older women and just about anyone can fall victim to this terrible disorder.

Addiction-CycleYou can never fully recover from an eating disorder. Recovery takes a long time, but with hard work and the proper treatment, you can fully recover from your eating disorder.

Men with eating disorders are always gay. Someone’s sexual preference has nothing to do with them developing an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are solely a problem with food. With all eating disorders, weight is the focus of life. By focusing on food, weight and calories, a person is able to block out or numb painful feelings and emotions. Some use food as a way to comfort themselves. Eating disorders are NOT a problem with food. They are in fact only a symptom of underlying problems.

Bulimics always purge by vomiting. Not all bulimics try to rid themselves of the calories they have consumed by vomiting. Purging can take the form of laxatives, diuretics, exercising, or fasting.

Logo-Ribbon-quer-klein_jpg_1831460390You can always tell someone is anorexic by their appearance. Not all anorexics look like the extreme cases shown on talk shows, etc. Some anorexics may be anywhere from 5 to 15 lbs. underweight. They look thin, but they do not have what society considers to be the “anorexic” look. Just because someone does not look emaciated, does not mean they are not  anorexic or that their health is not in danger.

Anorexics do not eat candy, chocolate, etc. Many anorexics do avoid such foods, but some do eat them on a regular basis. If an anorexic decides to only allow him/herself 300 calories a day, they may very well choose to eat a chocolate bar, candy, etc.

Anorexics do not binge or purge. Many anorexics will go on occasional binges and purge. Some anorexics can become so fearful of any food or drink that they will purge whatever they put into their system, including water.

You cannot die from bulimia. Bulimics are at a high risk for dying, especially if they are purging, using laxatives and doing excessive exercise. Many bulimics have died from cardiac arrest which is usually caused by low potassium or an electrolyte imbalance. Others have died from a ruptured esophagus.

People with eating disorders do this to hurt their family and friends. People with eating disorders are doing this to themselves. They are usually very upset when they know the people around them are worried or hurt by their eating disorder.

Compulsive eating is not an eating disorder. It is very much an eating disorder and is just as serious as anorexia and bulimia. 

Compulsive eaters are just lazy people. Compulsive eating is a way to cope just like anorexia and bulimia are. A person uses food as a way to comfort or numb themselves, block out feelings and emotions, etc. They are not lazy! They are people in emotional pain trying to cope using the only way they know how. Like anorexia and bulimia, they need proper treatment to overcome it. They do not need to be sent to health spas and diet clinics.

People cannot have more than one eating disorder. Many people have more than one eating disorder. It is very common for someone to suffer with more than one eating disorder. That just proves that the eating behaviors are only the symptoms, not the problem. 

EatingDisordersSome risk factors include:

  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Dieting
  • Low self-esteem
  • Perfectionism
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Family history of eating disorders
  • Obsssive-compulsive features
  • Need for control
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Media pressure to be thin
  • Being female
  • Mood disorders
  • Overly critical families
  • Athletes, actors, television personalities, dancers, models, ballerinas, gymnasts, runners and wrestlers.
  •  

    mainpicMy secret is that I am anorexic, but I have not been “really” discussing it with my therapist as I don’t want to stop. (He does know that I have an eating disorder).  I weigh myself everyday, skip meals or throw them away, I’m preoccupied with my body, count calories, have good and bad food and the list goes on.  It is an addiction and requires help if you are willing.  Right now, I am overweight due to health issues and don’t know other ways of getting the weight off quickly. (No advice please…often those with eating disorders know more about food than professionals.  It is an obsession and addiction.  I feel good when I lose weight or am able to go without eating.  If is a form of self-hatred and control of emotions.

    What have you learned?  Or, share a personal experience (family, friend, self).  All comments and questions welcomed.

    Post comments @ coffee!



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