Tag Archives: Personal Experience

AGORAPHOBIA~ TRYING TO EXPLAIN IT AND LIVING WITH IT

4e6c3c08ff6f95cf9844a1cddcf97d5a

After spending a week in my state’s local psychiatric facility I realized I did need help and I needed to make some big changes in my life.

Unfortunately I wasn’t really given the tools or resources to deal with my biggest problems that have been preventing me from living the life I want to for a very long time.

I did what probably a lot of us have done and looked for some self-help books.

I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, and Conversion Disorder (not sure if it’s still called that). The Anxiety Disorders started when I was around 8-10 years old and have been the most debilitating.

I always thought Agoraphobia was like what you see in the movies. The person is unable to leave their house without collapsing or having a full blown panic attack. I was wrong.

Agoraphobia is actually related to Social Anxiety Disorder and panic attacks. With Social Anxiety Disorder the person becomes anxious around social situations like meeting new people, public scrutiny, starting conversations, speaking to authority figures, dating, etc. This can lead to panic attacks where you feel fear, impending doom, nausea, dizziness, trembling or shaking, have trouble breathing, hot and cold flashes, a lump in your throat, sweating, or chest pain. Some of these symptoms you’ll have with Social Anxiety anyway but with a panic attack you’ll have more of them and they will be bad enough to where you start avoiding social situations or anything that makes you feel this way.

Little by little you begin to limit your contact with society.

With Agoraphobia you only feel safe in certain environments or with specific people.

Being away from home or the people/person you feel safest with fills you with anxiety. Your anxiety increases each time your safe places or people are too far away or unavailable to you and what you feel becomes intolerable.

You stay home more often and begin to isolate yourself. Your safe places/people can start to shrink if your Agoraphobia goes untreated. Some people do become confined to their home or bedroom.

Agoraphobia has a higher risk of occurring in late adolescence and young adulthood. A second period of higher risk occurs later in life after the age of 40.

Agoraphobia is thought to be passed on in families and/or environmental. It’s also a chronic disorder and reoccurring if left untreated.

HOW THIS RELATES TO ME

Ok, I’m not very good with time periods so cut me some slack. In my early teens and lasting into my early 20’s I couldn’t go anywhere alone. Either my twin, best friend, or a parent had to be with me. I couldn’t put gas in my car by myself, go to the grocery store, the mall, or the movies, alone. I never did anything alone.

I’m not sure what changed except that I began drinking but I remember going to the mall alone and my entire family being shocked. It could be when the Bipolar Disorder started or that I wanted to look pretty for a guy I drank with, I don’t know. It would happen again.

At some point I tried to quit drinking and my anxiety in general was overwhelming. I believe I was in my late 20’s and it lasted a year. I spent most of the year in my bedroom watching movies and reading books. I lived with my parents who never made me go to the store or leave my room if I didn’t want to. I think they were just happy I wasn’t drinking. I was afraid of everything. I declined all offers to go anywhere with anyone.

Ten years ago when my Mom passed away it started again. The only reason I think it ended before was that my parents eventually forced me to go back to work and my Mom had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. My love for her forced me to help take care of her and work. When she passed, everything crumbled.

I knew I couldn’t go back completely to the way I was because my Dad needed me. The first few years my Dad and I spent a lot of time together. Then I started to go up to my bedroom earlier and earlier where I would watch movies and chain smoke. I cut myself off from everyone again and it started to become difficult to go places by myself. My Dad started to fall back into the habit of going to the store for me. When I think back on it I can see how bad it was and how codependent we both were.

What forced me out of my room this time was my Dad getting sick and me having to take care of him until he passed away. I don’t regret that for a minute.

Recently I’ve had to face going to a Laundry Mat for the first time and thought I would throw up and die. I didn’t.

I’m trying to move from Rhode Island to Florida, for someone like me this is like trying to climb Mount Everest naked. I’m still trying and struggling but I want some happiness in my life for a change so I need to find a way to do it.

Thank you all who read my blog you help keep me going.


PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS~ HOW MUCH HAVE THEY REALLY CHANGED?

 

f8240ad9ad5a6076c22d047ebb667620

 

If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know that I had been having a hard time with the death of my Dad and my siblings. My Dad didn’t leave a Will and it was and still is causing a lot of problems.

I have a twin sister and a half brother who is 7 years older than we are. I believed he had been squatting on the property and breaking into the basement with his new girlfriend. My twin believed I was hallucinating and having a Psychotic break. No matter what I said or did she refused to believe me.

My sister wanted me to get away from the house for awhile to see if I was still “hearing things” and suggested an Extended Stay Hotel for 30 days. I really didn’t want to but I was exhausted, recovering from surgery, and tired of arguing with her.

The Hotel parking lot was filled with drunk people, one of them was passed out in his car where I had to park. It was going to cost me $1,450 to stay there for 30 days. The room was filthy, my poor dog was scared to death and I kept worrying he was making too much noise. I didn’t sleep at all and had started bleeding from my surgery. My sister came the next day and even she was disgusted. I was stuttering and shaking because I was upset. She said I needed to do an inpatient treatment program at the local Psychiatric Hospital or she wouldn’t have anything to do with me any longer. I had ruined her life and now her marriage was suffering because of me.

She knows I’m terrified of hospitalization and haven’t been hospitalized since I had one round of ECT in 2012. This was my twin saying these things to me, I had no one else to talk to, the one person I had that accepted me and loved me unconditionally had just died. I agreed to go to the hospital. She agreed to watch my dog and dropped me off at the door.

As soon as I entered the building my legs buckled. I couldn’t speak or write. The staff was nice enough to help me to a chair and wait until I calmed down enough to speak. I didn’t know my sister had called ahead and told them that I was “hearing voices”. This meant I would automatically go to the highest security level unit. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive her.

The were only a few changes since 2012, they no longer mixed the detoxing patients with the mental health patients. They also had more restrictions on what you could have with you. 1 pair of pants, 1 shirt, 2 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of pajamas, 1 pair of glasses, 1 set of contact lenses (no solution), and that’s pretty much it. Needless to say some people didn’t always smell that great. The bathroom doors had no locks (which I understand) and no way of telling if it was occupied. Every single time I went to use the toilet my roommate walked in on me. We talked to her about it and 5 minutes later she did it again. She also snored louder than anyone I know and talked about personal trauma in her sleep that I was extremely uncomfortable hearing. Again, no sleep.

The second day there I called my sister to check on my dog. She told me she might have to “give him away because T (her husband) didn’t want him there”. This triggered my stuttering, tremors, crying, hiccups, and I had to hide in my room or I would’ve been given Haldol. The doctor in charge of the Unit was in charge of ECT and a big believer in Lithium, Haldol, and Depakote. He was an older man and not up to date on newer medications/treatments. He was also against Adderall, Xanax, and Klonopin. I’ve been taking 30mg of Adderall for years it helps with word finding, my speech, and cognitive issues. He took it away cold turkey, cut my antidepressant in half, and cut the Klonopin in half. He then told me I shouldn’t have any withdrawal or problems with the changes. I’ve been on the same meds and dosages for years.

He didn’t even question the new medication that had been added, Risperidone, which I was having horrible side effects from and felt worse since taking it. Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. He couldn’t even get my name right for the 5 minutes I met with him every other day.

I didn’t receive any kind of therapy, we did a lot of adult coloring and watched TV. Some of the patients were violent which was hard for me to be around. The men and women are kept together, there were a few physical fights that happened next to me and I froze, hands cold and tingling, blood rushing through my ears, I didn’t even hear them yelling at me that it was a lockdown and I needed to go to my room. I finally had to speak up and tell them about my PTSD and Conversion Disorder diagnosis.

The one positive thing to come out of all this is that I learned I have to speak up for myself. I can’t ask or let other people do it for me anymore.

There are things I need to work on and one on one Psychotherapy is my first step. It’s been difficult finding someone who takes Medicare but I’m still looking. My meds are almost back to where they were. I was in the hospital for a little over a week. I’m not sure if I can ever truly have a relationship with my twin sister. I’ll be civil but I won’t call her for support or tell her anything personal.

I’ve been walking my dog and getting more fresh air, I’ve also been looking into what I need to do to move to Florida once my Dad’s estate is settled.

The Extended Stay charged me $1,450 for being there less than 24 hours. Hopefully that will get resolved. Supposedly my sister handled it and told them I was going into the hospital. I wasn’t there so I don’t know and my sister is on vacation so I can’t ask her.

My hospital stay was scary and not much has changed but the staff was kind and I received 1 marriage proposal and 3 phone numbers (from patients) when I left. I’ll never let anyone talk me into or make me feel like I have to do it again. I didn’t hear my brother’s voice or anyone else’s the entire time I was there.

Thanks Everyone!


12 STEP PROGRAMS AND A LINK TO PTSD/TRAUMA

I recently read an article written by Dr. Marc Lewis. Don’t worry I did a thorough check on his credentials and if there were any complaints against him. Dr. Lewis is a Developmental Neuroscientist who did research at the University of Toronto from 1989 to 2010. He was also a Professor of Developmental Psychology there. He’s now at Radboud University in the Netherlands. He’s had 50 journal publications in Psychology and Neuroscience. His book Memoirs of an Addicted Brain garnered high praise from top experts in the Mental Health and Addiction community including Gabar Mate.

Dr. Lewis also knows firsthand what the struggle of addiction feels like. Addicted to opiates in his youth, it cost him his family, trouble with the police and almost his life. At 30 he was finally able to stay off drugs for good and reentered grad school where he received his Ph.D.

12 Step Programs appear to put a freeze on emotional development (active drinking/drug abuse does also). Groups are known for convincing members that even if they’ve been clean for awhile their addiction is like a bogeyman you thought was under your bed as a child. Keeping you in one place no matter how much you had to pee or how thirsty you were, you were frozen. This bogeyman is patient and will wait forever for that one slip up, 1 drink, 1 pill, that will lead to a full relapse. So to avoid this you need to “Keep coming back” and define yourself as an alcoholic/addict for life.

The way you live your life and your self image is frozen in place. If you change anything, don’t follow the steps, you’re warned that you’ll be back to where you started and out of control.

Many or most 12 step groups intentionally reinforce the terror of relapse. They keep the anxiety alive in order to embed traumatic memories of addiction by telling and retelling anecdotes about how bad it was when they were at their worst or the repercussions of their last relapse.

12 step practice is the opposite of trauma treatment. To plug yourself into a static state of PTSD where you’re with people who intentionally try to get you to relive emotions that have already done damage, it’s no surprise why so many leave the program or never enter one at all. The other issue is defining yourself as a lifetime addict/alcoholic because it sounds like a self fulfilling prophecy.

MY EXPERIENCE AND PERSONAL OPINION

I tortured myself recently by listening to a Dr. Drew podcast where he said there has never been an addict/alcoholic who has successfully maintained sobriety without a 12 step program. Of course this made me a little upset. This is a person who isn’t a licensed Psychiatrist/Psychologist or Neurologist, he’s a licensed Internist. Your everyday General Practitioner who thinks he knows about PTSD, Mental Illness and Addiction. He doesn’t. What he also doesn’t realize is the damage he’s doing by promoting these false beliefs.

I had been in AA for 2 years. They were the worst 2 years of my life. I had not been diagnosed yet but a Doctor had me on Prozac and Buspar (an anxiety medication that has to be in your system for 3-4 weeks before it starts to work, the level has to be maintained). The State I live in is an odd one. The group I went to had many old timers and a few younger people. They would go to different meetings around the state to speak to large groups. When they did this members were picked to tell their stories in front of up to 100 people. If you were picked you didn’t have a choice, you had to do it. When I was chosen it was a nightmare come true. All I remember is the sound of blood rushing in my ears. I have no idea what I said but I remember a guy my age taking my hand and helping me off the stage.

This didn’t go well with the group I was part of. I was told that I would never make it, I would be a drunk again if I didn’t get on my knees and ask God for guidance.

When people found out I was on medication it was suggested I go off it because it was a “crutch” and the same as alcohol.

I am not religious and didn’t appreciate being forced to say the Lord’s prayer after every meeting. If I refused comments were made and I was told that I would fail and be in the gutter drinking again. When I missed a meeting because I had Bronchitis someone told me I better “get on my knees and ask God to forgive me” or I would never make it. Me failing was a reoccurring theme. I went to meetings all around the state and they were all the same. I heard the same stories over and over. But if you tried to be too honest someone would stop you and say “Save that for your sponsor” because they thought it was too personal. I wanted to hear it! I wanted to hear that someone had done something as bad as I did but they stopped him.

There isn’t anyone in these programs equipped to deal with those of us who have a mental illness and began drinking to self medicate. The 12 steps are life saving for some people, a replacement for alcohol/drugs for a few and damaging for others.

My Dad has been sober over 36 years without a program. My mom was sober was 29 years at the time of her death without a program. I have been sober over 9 years without a program the longest I’ve ever been able to maintain sobriety.

12 step programs are not for everyone and they are not the only option. Depending on your location your experience can differ, some areas do rely on the older version which mentions God more often. There are some that don’t. Just remember it’s your choice and there are more options now than ever so do your research and choose wisely.

 

 


EXOTIC PETS (CHANGING IT UP A LITTLE)

I enjoy watching Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER but what I don’t enjoy is when a person who has no experience with a specific species buys one off the internet and it ends up in Dr. K’s ER in a life or death situation.

Exotics do not have the Immune System to fight off infections they can get from Humans. There are also diseases that can be passed from the animal to humans that can be life threatening.

I’m going to talk about a pet that I actually have a Moluccan Cockatoo. It also is sometimes called a Salmon Crested Cockatoo.

MOLUCCAN COCKATOO

The Moluccan is from eastern Indonesia and considered Vulnerable on the Endangered Species List due to the over exportation from Indonesia for the pet trade, the Timber business taking away their habitat, and being seen as a threat to coconut palms by locals. It’s illegal for Moluccans to be used in the pet trade today but there are loopholes in this law.

Moluccan Cockatoos are mentally and emotionally complicated parrots and very few people are able to meet their demands. They are also one of the largest parrots and eat berries, nuts, seeds, coconuts, and insects. They need plenty of room, a lot of attention, and mental stimulation.

Lack of attention, the wrong food, the wrong cage or cage placement can upset them. The Moluccan suffers the most from forced isolation. They are birds that need to be a happily mated pair. Males and females are rarely apart and were never meant to live a solitary existence.

Baby Moluccans often never learn how to relate to other birds because breeders take the eggs immediately from the mother and put them in an incubator. My father always let the mother sit on her eggs and raise her babies. His Moluccans were always mated pairs except for the one we have now, her mate passed away several years ago and my Dad is no longer part of the Exotic world. When he was it was because he was one of the few people successful at breeding endangered birds and helping endangered programs at Zoos and Wildlife Centers.

When a Moluccan isn’t given enough attention, their mate dies, their diet is wrong, really any small thing can set off feather plucking beginning on the chest. Most birds have a hard time breaking this habit and it turns to self mutilation. This is sad and painful to watch I’ve seen it before. If the self mutilation continues it’s best to euthanize the bird. They will self mutilate to the bone and the area will be the circumference of a baseball. Most will not let you tend to the wound and a bite from a Moluccan is serious. They can bite to the bone. Honey in it’s pure form is used the most to cover the wound and has had some success. Unfortunately it’s limited and the bird goes back to old habits.

People need to think hard when looking into owning an Exotic Bird many have long lifespans and do not adapt well to captivity. If you could fly wouldn’t you actually fly all the time? So why deny the natural born instinct of an animal so you can look at it?401px-Cacatua_moluccensis_-Kuala_Lumpur_Bird_Park_-aviary-8a


PSYCHIATRIC COMMITMENT (Experiences and Threats)

If you have ever had to spend time in a Psychiatric Facility or Psychiatric Ward of a Hospital than you would probably agree that it isn’t pleasant. At least in my experience it never was. Maybe it’s different in other States or places.

If a family member believes that you are a danger to yourself or others they can call the police and you may be held for up to 3 days on an Emergency Hold. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. Usually a judge will get involved and you will be evaluated.

THE FIRST TIME

I was about 18 when I was forced to stay a week in the Psychiatric Ward of a Hospital. They were able to do this because I had been in their ER 2 times previously with suicide attempts. The third time the hospital had a judge look at my records and he signed off on holding me.

What I remember is the screaming at night from other patients, the tuna they gave us to eat that smelled bad, I did not see a Doctor, I was not given any kind of tests, therapy or medication. I slept and watched television when we were allowed. The only person who came to see me was my Dad. My twin sister was embarrassed and my Mom was afraid. I just wanted to go home.

THE SECOND TIME

The second time I walked in on advice from my Doctor as a way to get ECT. It did not go as planned. What was supposed to be a two day stay turned into four days there and another four days at another Hospital that was worse.

THE THIRD HOSPITAL

The third Hospital left me feeling so helpless at one point I came close to jumping through the large window at the end of the hall. I knew there were bars on the other side of the glass and didn’t even care. The hospitals always mix together different mental illnesses and people detoxing. This is not a good mix. All you hear is moaning and screaming and no one helps them at all. Benadryl is a Psychiatric Hospital’s drug of choice. It’s cheap and makes most people sleepy. I’m not your average mentally ill patient. When the nurse came in with my “medication” I looked at it, then at her. I said “Benadryl?” she wouldn’t answer me. I told her I have a right to know what I’m taking. She finally said it was Benadryl. Every hospital I’ve been to uses it.

The Doctor in charge there didn’t believe in Klonopin so I was not allowed to have it. I had been taking it for over a year. Klonopin is not a drug that you just stop you have to be weaned off of it. The hospital didn’t carry my antidepressant either so they never gave that to me either. The Doctor also didn’t believe in using Topamax as a mood stabilizer so there went another medication. The only thing I was given the entire time was Benadryl.

After the Doctor performed a Bilateral ECT and I was recovered he patted me on the head and said “You’re such a young beautiful girl I don’t think you needed ECT or all this medication”. I wasn’t supposed to have a Bilateral ECT and if he had bothered to read my file he would’ve known that I did need the ECT and the medication or I would be dead now.

THREATS

The most vile thing you can do to a person like me is threaten me with Hospitalization. The last time was so bad I don’t think I could do it.

My Dad started an argument with me the other day and it triggered my Conversion Disorder. He couldn’t understand what I was saying, it was gibberish. I was crying so hard, rocking back and forth, and repeating words that were not really words. This happens when I feel threatened or afraid. He screamed that he was going to call the police or 911. This made me worse.

My sister is on speed dial so I called her. She couldn’t understand me either. So she said that she was going to have me committed and then get me social workers so they could find me somewhere else to live.

Do you know what I wanted someone to say?

I LOVE YOU DANA AND YOU ARE GOING TO BE OKAY

Something I’ve only heard from one person who is no longer here.

 


The Trouble With Addiction, Mental Health, And Spirituality.

I’m not really sure how to begin. These subjects are so important to me and I want to make sure I write in a way that isn’t boring or too one sided. I won’t lie, it will be hard for me given my own personal experiences. That’s why I will lean on research and statistics until it all comes together. This will probably be a two part post. There is so much to all of these subjects that it’s hard to for people to read a 1,ooo word post.

The reason I decided to write about these topics is due to a post I read stating that “Addiction is a disease of Spirituality”. When I read the post I found myself becoming angry and confused that so many could still think this way with all of the scientific research that’s been done. So I’ll go through a shortened version of their reasoning.(If possible)

Addiction as a Spiritual Disease

Addiction is explained as a thirst, hunger, or starvation for some type of fulfillment or wholeness in your life. Addicts have an initial void of spirituality, a higher drive for a spiritual connection.

When speaking of spirituality the author states it’s not a religion. Spirituality refers to finding purpose and meaning in life along with a connection to the Universe outside of our self.

Types of connections such as nature, love, friendships, understanding the Universe, meditation, and mindfulness are all connections we probably experience, but may not understand what they mean.

Specific Examples

  • Moment of clarity
  • Sense of inner peace or calmness
  • Euphoria
  • Feeling connected to the world around us
  • Being in the moment
  • Feeling like your true self
  • Unconditional love

The author of the post sites a Collegiate Study of 200 people focusing on the reasons why they use alcohol. They had a list of reasons and had to put a check next to the box that applied. 100% of the people checked the box for “I like the feeling”. Not surprising. The author of the post talked to people who were either actively using or in early recovery and came up with a list of their own feelings. The following is what they had for responses.

  • Everything makes sense (Moment of clarity)
  • I relax and don’t worry about life (Inner peace)
  • Everything is better, food, people, jokes (Euphoria)
  • I understand people better (Interconnection)
  • Content in the moment (Being present)
  • Freedom from self criticism (True self)
  • No judgement about anyone (Unconditional love)

This in turn leads us back to Spirituality.

The American Medical Association declared Alcoholism to be a disease in 1956. Years later the American Society of Addiction Medicine proclaimed all addiction as a disease.

WHY?

Scientific evidence showed that addiction is rooted in distinct brain changes, similar to mental illness. For 25-50% of people with an addiction problem it is a progressive relapsing disease.

People with addiction do make a choice whether or not to take a drug or drink, but they do not choose how their brain and body will respond to the drugs or alcohol.

Choice doesn’t determine a disease. A person with Heart Disease or Diabetes may sometimes choose a diet or lifestyle that has lead to these diseases. A disease is what happens in the body and/or brain as a result of those choices.

RISK FACTORS

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Specific brain characteristics
  • Psychological factors
  • Exposure to physical/emotional/sexual abuse or trauma

If one or more of these are present it doesn’t mean someone will be an addict it just means the odds are greater. 

MENTAL HEALTH

People with severe mental health problems are more likely to have addiction problems. Most likely due to many not getting a diagnosis for years or the incorrect diagnosis. Instead they self-medicate which can make psychiatric symptoms worse.

Some of us with what are considered “severe mental illnesses” and addiction tend to experience the same problems:

  • More severe psychiatric symptoms
  • Physical health problems
  • Increased stigma
  • Financial problems
  • Homelessness
  • Aggression or verbal hostility 
  • Some time spent in jail or trouble with the law
  • Increased suicidal feelings and behavior

Our brains also look similar when viewed by Neurologists or other Doctors in the same field of study. There is often a hyper-intensity on one side.

I personally do not think this has anything to do with Spirituality. I had two wonderful parents. I do come from a long line of alcoholics and mentally ill people. The amount of both is astonishing. You can’t chalk that up to Spirituality. FIFTEEN of us in my immediate family have addiction/mental illness problems. Sorry, make that fourteen. My Uncle Jimmy died after a long battle with HIV first (from a needle) then AIDS. He was Schizophrenic and homeless. He chose to live on the streets just like he chose not to take medication. He was well over six feet tall and very handsome when he was young. I don’t know where he’s buried. I do know that not many spiritual people showed him any kindness. My mother and I would bring him food and clothes while she was alive.

My cousin Rhonda has been missing for years. She took off one day from her real estate job and was living in the woods. No one can find her. She is also Schizophrenic like her mother. I tell a million stories, one sadder than the other but there is no point. Addiction is a disease/illness, just like Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder are illnesses. There is nothing to make me change my mind about that. When your brain wants you to die and you don’t even know why it isn’t a question of faith or spirituality. It’s a question of survival.thktpzxxqk

 

 


IS IT A SLIP OR A RELAPSE?

I first want to start off by saying how sad I am to hear of the passing of George Michael. He struggled with many issues in his life and I hope he has found some peace. I also hope the Tabloids won’t destroy his memory and leave him as the vocal icon he was. I know that’s too much to ask.

 

How do you define a “slip” or a “relapse”?

It boils down to intent.                                                                                                                                    A slip is usually a single unplanned use of drugs or alcohol.                                                              A relapse is when you abandon sobriety or abstaining from drugs or alcohol all together.

There were times I knowingly went somewhere with the intention of drinking even though I had been sober for a considerable length of time. I knew I would continue to drink.

There was one time I had no intention of drinking, no need to drink, but when I arrived at the place I was going, I felt so awkward, alone, and noticed I was the only one NOT drinking. I drank. The next day I immediately wrote down what I had been feeling at the time and how I could’ve handled the situation differently. I had to understand WHY I felt the NEED happen in the first place. Why did I feel so out of place? Why did I always feel I was “less than” everyone else? If I didn’t deal with those feelings then I wasn’t going to be able to give up alcohol.

It happened at a time where I had learned not to let “shame” and “guilt” consume me. If I did I would convince myself that it was useless to try to please the people around me who wanted me to stay sober. I also realized WHY I had to do it for ME and NOT THEM.

With a relapse you know what the outcome will be if you drink or use drugs but you do it anyway. You might use what started as a “slip” as an excuse. Like I did at one time. I went from an everyday drinker to a weekend binge drinker rationalizing it by thinking “at least it’s not everyday”. It was still the same but I was actually causing more harm by binge drinking.

A slip DOES NOT MEAN YOU RETURN TO DAY ONE. This kind of thinking is detrimental to anyone who is struggling with addiction. The thought of starting over after say 15 years or more has left many returning to their old ways. Only this time their bodies are not use to the same quantities of drugs or alcohol it once was. This is why you see many people who have been sober for a length time that have overdosed or died from alcohol poisoning or alcohol related deaths.

You can never take away a sober day. It all counts no matter what. A mistake doesn’t mean the end. It means you are human, you have to find a reason, a way, to get back up and keep going. The only thing chips are good for is dip.1b7c9bceda54495b68ea705d83a18aa3


EATING DISORDERS, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND MY OWN DISTURBING EXPERIENCE

I will start off with a confession. When I was over 200 pounds I would’ve done just about anything to be thin. But part of me was afraid to lose weight. So I didn’t try that hard.

My twin sister started to exhibit symptoms of an Eating Disorder in her Junior/Senior year of High School. It didn’t become dangerous until College. She constantly said she was “fat” when she wasn’t. She only ate white rice with vinegar on it. In college she began to black out in a few of her classes. She had gotten to the point where you could see her hip bones, her collar bone stuck out, depending on what she was wearing you could see her ribs. She was pale all the time and her eyes were sunk in.

She wouldn’t listen to anyone. It wasn’t until she was dating her future husband, who also had an eating disorder, that they made a pact to keep each other healthy. If that hadn’t happened I don’t think she would’ve gotten better.

I’ve been having problems with Medicare and a few of my Doctors. I had to download my records. What I found there bothered me. It bothered me a lot. I repeatedly saw a diagnosis for Anorexia. I couldn’t understand why or why no one discussed it with me.

ANOREXIA NERVOSA~ Self starvation leading to excessive weight loss.

SYMPTOMS

  • Inadequate food intake
  • Extreme fear of weight gain
  • Obsession with weight gain
  • Self-esteem related to body image
  • Person can’t see the seriousness of the situation
  • Food restriction
  • Refusal to eat specific foods
  • Frequent comments about feeling “fat”
  • Denial of hunger
  • Food rituals
  • Avoidance of mealtime situations with friends or family
  • Excessive exercise
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

HEALTH CONSEQUENCES

  • Slow heart rate, low blood pressure
  • Risk of heart failure due to lower heart rate and blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle loss or wasting
  • Severe dehydration causing kidney failure
  • Fainting or Fatigue
  • Dry hair, skin, and nails
  • Hair loss

The longer the illness continues the chance of death increases. Anorexia has one of the highest death rates of any Psychiatric Condition but receives the least amount of Funding for Research. Early detection is key.

The other important thing is to make sure your Doctors are not assuming you are Anorexic based on your symptoms or tests.

I have a slow heart rate, low blood pressure, Osteoporosis, Muscle wasting, dehydration, hair loss, dry hair, skin and nails. I rarely “feel” hunger or thirst. There are scientific reasons for this. If these doctors had consulted with my Hematologist they would’ve had their answers instead of putting a label on me as soon as they saw the weight loss and other symptoms.

I have Autoimmune Diseases that cause all of the above. The part of my brain that triggers the need to drink is not working, the same for hunger. I have to set alarms and force myself. Once I start I’m fine. I have the same type of muscle wasting that happens to patients with HIV/AIDS, it’s a different type and cause of muscle wasting having to do with my Immune System. When your Kidneys start to fail, you lose weight fast. Instead of assuming I was Anorexic they may have researched harder and saved me a Kidney.

This brings me to a subject I can’t comprehend. Encouraging others in their illness. Blogs, Twitter accounts, Instagram, all kinds of Social Media promoting Anorexia/Eating Disorders to be “Thin”.

Examples: “Thin is In”, “Thin Me Pretty”, “Feeling for Bone”, “Thin as a Twig”, I find all of it appalling. I mention Eugenics and Twitter flags me but it’s ok to inspire others to basically kill themselves by starvation because their ideal look is the Olsen twins. (They showed up the most on these accounts)

When asked, over 60% of people with eating disorders said that Celebrities, Models, and Social Media played a large part in how they thought they should look. It’s hard to change something associated with “beauty” or the public’s idea of what should be “beautiful”. Believe me I know all too well. I’ve been on both sides of the scale and you will never please everyone so stop trying and worry about yourself.disturbios-alimentares


%d bloggers like this: