Tag Archives: therapy

Depression: Shared & my experience.

I read THIS BLOG POST back in September when it was written. It struck close to home for me. The quote at the beginning was what resonated the most for me. When you’re really struggling, it does become about what is most frightening: continuing to live with the disease; or escaping through the route of suicide with unknown consequences, but with which comes a certainty of escaping the symptoms of the disease- the ultimate final end.

Being a new-agey type, having alternative beliefs to much of society, I spend a lot of time around people that think you can just think your way out of depression with the power of the law of attraction. Think happy thoughts and you’ll be happy.

As I’m discovering, that is hardly right.

The book I’m Reading, which was provided by my therapist, has been super helpful.

See It Here:

The Deression Cure by Dr. Stephen Ilardi

It really gets to the heart of the matter. There is a distinct difference between the emotion “Depression ” listed at the lowest position #22 on the emotional guidance scale, and the clinical disease with the common umbrella term of the same name.

The emotion Dr. Ilardi points out, is often a short lived disposition, the feeling place of something very difficult having happened in your life experience. It serves a role in the grief process and can help us make sense of elements within our life journey.

The disease, though it shares many characteristics of which the feelings and emotions are definitely present, is a much more sinister and all consuming state of being often with a medical cause.

As I wrote in my previous post, it seems a major factor for me is Inflammation- possibly because of my severe allergies, but also possibly [as Dr. Ilardi posits] simply due to an imbalance of Anti-Inflammatory Omega 3’s-thus diet related. Regardless, the most basic mechanism at play is that the inflammation is happening in the brain, literally causing a build-up of pressure on the brain, and causing it to malfunction.

Since starting therapy, reading the book, and taking action steps to adjust my diet and lifestyle choices. I can honestly say there is definitely a connection. Dr. Ilardi lays out 6 areas of lifestyle choices and swears that making very specific adjustments to those areas will result in reducing inflammation and essentially curing clinical depression.

Now, I’m not fully through the book. Still reading, but I’m working on making positive changes weekly, if not daily. One of the areas, meaningful social interactions, I felt pretty good about. I haven’t gotten to that chapter yet, but I know my friends are large factor as to why I’ve gotten as far as I have. I’ve never quit interacting with them or our home-school group, and I am grateful that they have literally held me and walked me through some of my rough days.

So first, was to go back on my strict version of the Pregnancy Diet (I plan on detailing what that means for me at some point soon). Second, was I started exercising again. I aim for 3 times a week, but some weeks I’ve managed 4 times. 3rd: I started taking fish oil. The book walks through how to determine how much to take depending on the nutrition label of the supplement you choose. For me that’s 6 a day, but occaisonally I feel the need for a 7th one (usually when I know I’ve made bad food choices). I mostly remember to do this, because in my morning routine I put all my supplements and allergy/thyroid meds into a pill box. The trick is remembering my lunch and dinner doses, and I do sometimes forget to take them.

Then I re-introduced light therapy. I had done light therapy in college, and for a while after graduating. It was when I was working in cubicle land and experiencing a severe bout of seasonal depression. At that time I simply had a high wattage bulb in a desk lamp that I aimed at my face the entire time I was working. This time however, my therapist gave me some tips to  ensure optimal results. It apparently needs to be above eye level aimed downward at a minimum of 30degrees. The higher the watts the better. And if you do 30 to 60 min of light in the first hour after waking it works best- gets you a really good kick start. I’ve been successfully remembering all that about 2/3 rd’s of the time for about 2 weeks.

The one element I’m struggling with is sleep hygiene. As of the first of the year I had adjusted my schedule to accomodate a 7 day paper route for extra income. It’s roughly 3 hours of work a night, and equals a little over half of what my current massage work comes out to. So, it’ll end up not quite doubling our family income. The schedule adjustment would have been fine if the papers were reliably on time. As I’m discovering what is actually the case, is that they rarely are. So, where I’d allotted myself 6 to 7 hours a night/morning during a fairly steady window. In actuality, I’m getting more like 4.5 to 6 hours of  sleep. It’s the same time frame each day, which is good, but I’m simply not getting enough. Nathan has offered to remedy this by doing the route by himself at least most of the time. I worry about a black man with dreds  (& heart disease) tooling around rural Missouri in the middle of the night, every night, so I’ll still be helping as often as I can manage. I don’t know what I would do if he died on route by himself, especially if it was at the end of someone’s gun. However, that being said, I think I’m not going to argue, as I desperately need more sleep each night.

As it happens, the sleep manifests fairly quickly for me. I get super cranky super fast, and I nose dive into depression when my minimal energy reserves run out. I also start having disjointed and incomplete thought processes. It makes for very difficult communication. So, the last 13 days have been fairly roller coaster like for me. Last night though, Nathan went out alone, so I’m doing better today.

That being said, even at my most sleep deprived, the last 2 weeks has been better than prior to Thanksgiving. I’m not 100% better, not “cured” yet, but I’m better enough to acknowledge that Dr. Ilardi’s TLC program is working. When I’ve had sleep I feel great. Even if I’ve had most of a nights sleep I still manage. That to me is huge, because before Thanksgiving that wasn’t happening.

And that is where the Law of Attraction has been able to come back in. Now that I can see my bad days for being related to sleep, diet, or exercise; I am now able to tell myself “It’s ok, I am where I am becasue of ___ and it will be short lived, this isn’t permanent, it’s meerly a side effect of certain choices catching up to me.” I am able to dig out with phrases like that, at least enough to function. I am able to keep myself going, and to make better choices to help pull out of the nose dive.

Those same phrases with untreated depression, when I had no idea that things were compounding to create inflammation in my brain, were worthless. Positive thoughts would bounce off of me, or flat off piss me off, I had trouble thinking even remotely positively when I was untreated. My brain was so inflamed it wasn’t able to make those connections, I wasn’t able to think straight. I had trouble communicating every day, loosing important things, and melting down at every turn. I simply had no idea that my emotional hurting, my mental hurting was because of very real physical pain caused by inflammation  in my brain.

So I write this in hopes that everyone dealing with depression can read this book. Put it into practice, and begin to heal their brain and their lives. I know I’m on my way there, even if I can’t see the finish line yet.

I hope one day to see every medical practitioner, from CNA to RN to midwife to MD to PhD, tell people about TLC. I have seen literally dozens, possibly over a hundred medical professionals, in my 22 years of struggling with depression. Those medical professionals half-ass-ed my thyroid, failed to treat it, but often offered psych meds. When in reality the thyroid was literally not even half of a larger issue, and failure to treat the whole package is why I’ve struggled with depression for those 22 years, and nearly lost my life to it several times over. IT could have been avoided all-together- if the first doctor being told I’d gained weight and was struggling with depression had genuinely dealt with my thyroid on a unique basis and utilized TLC to treat the rest of my life.

Although that makes me angry to contemplate the hazardous effects it had on my life, I’m more angry that it isn’t being corrected. We continue to crank out doctors, nurses, and all manner of medical professionals, that turn around and create assembly line medication stations instead of actually listening to patients and putting available knowledge to good use to figure out a puzzle and actually provide a real solution. Living on meds that merely mask chronic disease symptoms somewhat while additionally causing side-effects,  then planning to do that for the rest of your life, is not a solution.

That being said, neither option is cheap. I spend approximately $270/month on my Allopathic medications: Fast-acting Inhaler, nebulizer solution, Oral-Steriod (cumulative effect) Inhaler, Zyrtec, Singulair, and Desiccated Thyroid. I spend that much or more on quality supplements that I have seen the benefits from. I continue to take the ones that I’ve watched drop blood sugars. I continue to take magnesium because I have watched leg cramps disappear, and my stress levels drop. I take a good quality multivitamin to avoid all my allergens. I take a good methylated B-complex, with extra p-5-p and 5HTP, because I noticed significant mood improvements before TLC was even a possibility for me. And yes, it’s all very expensive, but I would have lost the battle long ago without them. I am utterly grateful they got me through when none of the doctors did. Perhaps one day, when I’ve mastered TLC, I can eliminate the need for all of it. It’s a process though, my sugars are still high, and I’m still having allergies and asthma symptoms, so for now I keep doing what I’m doing. One step at a time, one little improvement at a time.

On a final note. If you have ever lost someone you cared about to suicide, please stop for a moment and realize how much pain they were in. Think just for a second, did you ever try to genuinely help them, did you offer a ride to a clinic, did you do any research, did you make suggestions in a real hands on “lets try to beat this” approach? IF you had really cared you would have acknowledged their pain. I don’t care if it’s invisible or not, it’s still pain. When someone is in pain, our natural inclination should be to do our best to help, not offer “think positive, it’ll get better” or “think of your family”, those are neither helpful attempts at a possible solution, nor acknowledgement of very real pain. You wouldn’t offer “think positive” to someone with a broken leg, and you wouldn’t tell someone with cancer to “think of their family”. Yet when you do that to someone with clinical depression you are accomplishing both situations. Heaven forbid, you actually did loose someone to suicide, and still choose to blame them. If they were hurting enough to choose suicide, then their pain was unimaginably unbearable, and my heart goes out to them for their suffering, not to you for your loss. What could you have done to acknowledge their pain, and attempt to help find a real solution, and would they still be alive if you had? My own family has no clue that they were almost the ones that missed this message. I no longer talk to or associate with most of my biological family for that very reason. I’ve also lost potential friends in realizing they had no clue, blaming me for being depressed. A depressed person never wants to continually  live with the horrendous pain they bear, yet as a society that is what we have come to expect.

Be different, be the one that actively attempts to help someone out of their pain. Help them find Dr. Ilardi’s book, help find a therapist, if they are having finaincial difficulties help them fill out assistance forms,  if they need transportation see if you or someone you know can give them a ride, help them make TLC changes by being their “buddy system”. You will make at least that person’s life better, and may actually save them from  having to choose between a lifetime of horrible pain or death. They will know you care, because you will have shown it in real-time practical help.

Synchronisity: therapy,  allergies & depression- A Thank You!

Synchronicity

Synchronicity
Synchronicity is a concept, first explained by psychiatrist Carl Jung, which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related. During his career, Jung furnished several slightly different definitions of it.

SynchronicityWikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity

 

 

Last week (7th- 15th) I spent a lot of time very angry and upset.  I screamed at the divine “You have the ability to help me fix this!” The sentiment of the screaming was: I want to fix this- all of the things wrong in life and with me right now-and can’t,  you can help.  Why won’t you hear me and do so? !

Several days running, I screamed, and screamed during my commutes.

Thursday of that week (10th) I find myself at work crying.  I just couldn’t stop.  I tried going to the restroom.  I washed my faced twice;  the best I could do was slow the crying down to a gentle sob. One of the employees, which I’ve had many conversations with, saw me. He got me tissues and coffee.

He found his boss,  the woman I coordinate with, & they pulled me into a quiet space.  They spoke with me a long time, they gave me hugs, offered to take me to the hospital. After discussing that I didn’t have a specific plan,  she decided the hospital  might not be an appropriate option. They offered to find some resources and sent me home.  Before I could even leave the parking lot they had provided me with resources to try,  different ones than I’d already tried. I made calls & stopped at one of them on the way home.

It was such a relief. For the first time in ages,  I knew someone I worked with cared (something I asked for in my post: Trying to Hinde From My Fears).  Also for the first time in ages I was getting help without having to jump through thousands of overwhelming red tape hoops & paperwork nightmares. I felt relief.

The place I stopped at on the way home was a church that the nursing home coordinates with for services for the residents and certain holiday events.  They provided real-time financial assistance and got me on the list for their volunteer therapist program.  I’m on the waiting list and will be connected with someone there as soon as an opening is available. Again, I felt relief.

The other resource my co-workers provided was for KC Care clinic- formerly KC Free Clinic.  I came to learn that affordable care act regulations prevented them from seeing people without some hoops, but that they still try to help.

I was able to get paperwork (2015 tax return, proof of residency, ID)  & prof of insurance filed by the following Wednesday. They logged me as insured/uninsured because one medical appointment a year is covered,  but everything else isn’t.  After reviewing my financials I qualify for $10/appt and some prescription assistance.

I had a phone screening the next day and because of my answers the behavioral health counselor said she wanted to get me in as soon as possible.  She stated that she had a good therapist- a grad student in mind (as licensed therapists were booked 3 months out) -that she thought would be a great fit. After agreeing to try him & playing schedule tag, we found a workable appointment the next day (last Friday) .

The following morning I had a plan to fit as much in as possible to accommodate the lunch appointment.  But it seems the divine  had heard some  prayers finally (Thank you to those putting in a good word for me!).

My first clue was working on a woman that had the same physique and mannerisms of Nathan’s mom.  I  called him and told him he needed to call his mom, and explained why.

Then right as I’m trying to get one more person before scurrying on to my next location.

BAM! YOU JUST THOUGHT YOU’D HAVE PLANS!

My last lady was an 83 year old with COPD so bad that she needed oxygen constantly.  She confessed she’d never smoked but had pneumonia several times as a baby, and spent the rest of her life with multiple severe allergies- which is probably what damaged her lungs.  She told me she’d  figured a lot of them out on her own, and shared a list uncannily like mine, but longer. She continued saying;  after much trials & tribulations & several God given suggestions she’d ended up seeing a Doctor in Liberty that she later discovered was famous for his innovative treatments for allergies. It really helped, but later after having amalgam fillings removed she had trouble again. I told her about a detox I was going to try that’s supposed to help with heavy metals like found in amalgam fillings. I wrote the info down for her and took the allergy doctor’s info.

She then told me about a time when she’d fractured her hip & discovered she was allergic to pain killers. She said that she was hallucinating, she felt like she was in the TV, because she would respond to questions on the TV like someone was standing there asking her. She said she’d gotten really paranoid & was trying to lash out,  but couldn’t because her body felt too heavy.  She said that finally after hours of this, she got to where she couldn’t breathe & was slowly asphyxiating. The doctors thought she was dieing  & after telling her daughter, her daughter made the decision to stop the IV’ s. She  says within about an hour she was breathing normally, & several hours later it was like nothing had happened. She managed through the pain from the fracture  & eventually healed just fine. She told me: you’re young, you have plenty of time to figure things out & just refuse to take anything that’s not whole organic produce into your body; you might be able to avoid COPD. I was stunned, but thanked her for her story, explaining I needed to go.

The conversation was 45 min long and meant I wasn’t going to accomplish anything else before my therapy appointment.

I called Nathan again and explained what had just occurred. I exclaimed why; why would the divine give me valid information to try to act on, but not the resources to do anything with it. I Just don’t get it. He said I know, just log the info, keep the doctor’s information safe and maybe it will work out soon. I said I doubt it because it’s not like this journey is new. Again he repeated I know, we’ll figure it out.

I went ahead and headed to the appointment. I’ve been to a therapist in the past, but it’d been a while- about a decade. I cant say I was excited, because my previous experience helped a little, but hadn’t produced lasting results- obviously.  It also felt like failure. If I am needing serious help from professionals, then things have gone horribly wrong.

The appointment was much like I remember. Essentially sitting in an office talking to someone. Although in this case, the case manager that did the phone screening was there for the first visit- regulations, she told me. Lots of questions with uncomfortable answers. I can’t tell you how much depression hurts daily, and I have absolutely no words to describe how painful telling my life story to 2 strangers is. There was lots of crying. Lots of feeling ashamed. At one point I exclaimed that I can’t stand when I’m like this, I do things I wouldn’t normally.

We covered my journey with low thyroid, my journey with allergies, and even my past therapy and failed anti-depressant trials. They explained that the anti-depressants likely didn’t work because of the thyroid issues. I also told them about that earlier conversation with the 83 year old COPD patient, and I exclaimed: “Do you know how many times I’ve been to medical professionals with knowledge of severe allergies and long standing depression and no one ever mentioned that allergies could cause psychosis!” They genuinely listened. I felt some relief again.

As the appointment was winding down they left me with supportive words. This was the 3rd time in one week (co-workers, church people, and therapists) that I was hearing that I had hung in spectacularly. The jist of this 3rd round: They told me many people would have given up much sooner. They told me that I must be massively strong to talk myself out of suicide so many times, let alone avoiding hurting my family. They told me that I am an amazing mom for figuring out how to handle the time when my thyroid prevented breastfeeding. They told me that I had done the best I could with a whole lot of really difficult things that I couldn’t control, and that I was a wonderful supportive wife and mom. That I should just give myself a really big break, a pat on the back, and let others take care of me for a while, that it was time I came first. I CRIED SO HARD! I knew the words were echoing around my brain and bouncing off all the times I’d heard them before, but it’s  just so damn hard to hear them when you’re hurting. Yet it was still relief.

Finally, the grad-student therapist explains he’s been working with a well known doctor that has studied depression for 20 years, and has discovered a link between inflammatory diseases like allergies, and depression. Essentially, he explains, inflammation on the brain can manifest in many ways, including depression. Then he explains that there is a connection between Omega 6’s and increased inflammation, and that maybe boosting Omega 3’s which are anti-inflammatory might help. He also says there are other factors at play, and we’ll spend the next visit going through questions and answers to see if this Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes program might help. He then gives me the info to see the doctors Ted-X presentation…. SEE HERE for the video

I can’t tell you how much relief that appointment was. They listened, and in the end, essentially they say I’m on to something, I’ve got a good start, I just need help figuring it out the rest of the way. If this program works, I can’t tell you how much relief that will be. Can you imagine fighting something for 21 years and finally finding an answer?

img_0436-raw-atlantic-sized

I’ve already watched the TedX video (which brought me to tears) and I’ve even increased my Omega 3 foods (mostly salmon) drastically since Friday. I’ve also exercised more this week. Previously, I was getting 1 to 2 exercise days a week. I’ve already added a 3rd this week, and I’m shooting for a 4th somewhere in there. I’m not sure if it is helping yet, as it’s only been 4 days and I’ve done more yelling and screaming in that time, but I am hopeful.

I’m just so grateful that there’s possibly something that could eliminate my decades long battle, and that GOD finally gave me some clues. Now if he could just open up a way to see the allergy doctor in Liberty. I would love to heal my body too!

Seriously though, I know I have people reading my words and praying for me and my family. I thank you all. I honestly believe it made the difference and triggered this chain of events, I’ve been asking for years, and it’s not until screaming for days while other’s are praying for me that I get some answers. I appreciate it more than you could know, it means that I have hope again of possibly healing my brain and body and being able to leave depression behind me. That means sooooo much to me. Thank you.