Families Need To Educate Themselves on Mental Illness


A diagnosis of mental illness like anxiety or a mood disorder in one family member affects the whole family. It can bring a strain on relationships and can be trying on the entire family in addition to the effects it has on the individual. These responses are not intentional; they usually arise because of differences in understanding what a mental illness is and how to best deal with it. But it can lead to fractures in families, serious disagreement and sometimes estrangement.
First of all its scary. Most of our experiences with the mentally ill has been in movies. They portray mental illness as something to be ashamed of , afraid of, afraid you’ll be hurt in some way by someone who has a brain disease. It is not as taboo as it used to be to talk about it but there is still a stigma attached to mental illness.

When I found out that I had Bipolar 1, I educated myself on the illness. It’s important for families to be educated as well in order to understand the person and the illness and the best way to help the person.  Out of fear sometimes people don’t want to really know what is going on in a mental person’s mind unless maybe it is a close family member. I’m pretty sure that most of my family members don’t have a clue as to what a person with say, Bipolar 1 goes through. Why would they know. I don’t live with any of them and I believe that you need to spend time with a person with mental illness in order to understand or even get a clue as to what I go through on a daily basis just to function.

Recently I had a severe episode to where I just wanted to die. No particular reason, there were several reasons. It’s difficult for some to tryly be happy for another especially when your own life is falling apart. I believe if my family knew how seriously mentally Bipolar 1 is they would stand up and take notice. I don’t just need a bandaid over my wounds I need treatment, inpatient treatment. I was in treatment Fifteen years ago when I was first diagnosed with Bipolar 1.

Below, therapists share several common myths and misunderstandings about mental illness.

Myth: People can control their symptoms with sheer willpower.
As clinician Julie Hanks, LCSW, said, “Telling someone struggling with depression to ‘cheer up’ or telling an individual with an anxiety disorder to ‘stop worrying so much’ is like telling a person with diabetes to simply ‘lower your blood sugar level.’”
Believing that someone can control their illness isn’t just unhelpful; it “may create additional layers of pain and shame when the person suffering fails to make themselves ‘feel better,’” she said.
Myth: People have a physical illness, but people are their mental illness.
This inaccurate belief actually makes it difficult for people to distinguish between their identity and their illness, said Ryan Howes, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and professor in Pasadena, Calif. And this can sabotage their recovery.
For instance, if an individual thinks “I am OCD,” they’ll have a tough time imagining that someday they won’t struggle with obsessions, Howes said.
“With one in four people experiencing a mental illness in their lifetime, it’s important [people] know their identity is much greater than a simple label or diagnosis,” he said. That’s why in graduate school Howes and his classmates were taught to say a “man with depression” instead of “a depressive” or a “woman with schizophrenia,” instead of “a schizophrenic.”
Remember that “You aren’t your diagnosis, you are a complex, vital person coping with an illness,” Howes said.
Myth: Bad parenting causes mental illness.
Even educated and experienced professionals make the mistake of pointing the finger at parents, according to Ashley Solomon, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who blogs at Nourishing the Soul. “With most mental health issues, we can’t easily point to sun exposure or an extra chromosome to explain why a particular person is suffering,” she said.
So we focus on what’s at the forefront: Parents who might be struggling to parent their kids, she said. Families can play a role in mental illness. “Certainly we know that things like abuse and neglect literally change our brain chemistry, and can prime us for future mental health issues,” Solomon said.
But blaming parents “is reductive and often serves only to alienate the people that could be an individual’s greatest support,” she said.
A single factor doesn’t cause mental illness, she said. Instead, a complex combination of contributing factors, including biology, genetics and environment, does.
Myth: Medication is the only solution for mental illness.
For some mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, medication is a critical part of treatment. But for all mental illnesses a comprehensive approach is key.
“Medications work on one aspect of our bodies — neurotransmitters — but can’t make up for major problems in areas of nutrition, sleep, muscle tension, physical alignment, relationship strain, and so on,” Solomon said.
This is why psychotherapy, lifestyle changes and some alternative treatments are important for managing mental illness and leading a fulfilling life, she said.
While Borchard ends her piece by saying she needs to lower her expectations, because many people just don’t get it, I think we can do better. Mental illness touches everyone. Educating yourself is never a waste. Learn the realities of mental illness — and support someone who really needs it.

Contributor Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. is an Associate Editor and regular contributor at Psych Central. Her Master’s degree is in clinical psychology from Texas A&M University.

The individual who has an illness such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety has his or her world changed (temporarily) and is usually looking for relief from emotional pain, as well as support and understanding. Often times this person feels mis-understood, that his family or friends just don’t “get” it or think that what bothers him is important. He may feel dismissed, that his concerns and emotions are not valid and thus may need repeated reassurance of this. He may hear messages like “pull yourself together” or “get over it.” They are not helpful in the long run as they show no understanding of the depression or anxiety as a biologic illness.

Statements like these assume the individual has control over the illness, which is false. A person who has a mental illness cannot control the illness, but he does have some control on how he manages and responds to having the condition. When differences in understanding exist in families, it can be the cause of strain, resentment, arguments and more.
Dealing with a family member who has a mood disorder or anxiety can also take a lot of effort on a family member, even be exhausting. There’s dealing with the daily distortions in thinking and behavior, frequent medical appointments, added time and expenses devoted to the individual. It can be disruptive to the flow of the entire family’s routines and patterns, which is stressful over time. It may entail late night phone calls or conversations, continued concerns over their loved one’s health and wellbeing, and overhanging fear of a potential suicide attempt. When pressed, fatigued and frustrated, family members may snap out less effective comments as those above. That leads to further anger and resentment.
The family members of someone who has a mental illness often feel perplexed. They are usually trying to do their best to offer support and understanding, in so far as they are able. Often times they are doing this without a compass, without clear direction as to the most effective approach. They may not know the most effective thing to say or do. So there could be inconsistencies and variations in their ability to respond.

Some family members are good at it; some not so much. A lot has to do with their understanding of the illness as an illness and how well educated they have become about it. And some family members come with a bias about mental illness that includes strong beliefs about it being a weakness or character flaw or that you are lazy and not trying hard enough. These deeply ingrained views are hard to confront, and are not helpful to hear when in the midst of an episode.
Contribution: Susan J. Noonan, MD, is a physician, patient, and the author of Managing Your Depression: What You Can Do To Feel Better, and When Someone You Know Has Depression: Words to Say and Things to Do.



Making Good Decisions-Bipolar Disorder

a93a931f6a60a535d76b44eee2d941e3[1]I always seem to have trouble making good decisions. I have a lot going on in my mind at any given time. I have to disable everything and think of all the possible outcomes instead of trusting my gut instinct. There is truth in the saying “when it rains it pours.” Only in my case it “poors.”

Lately I have been on a losing streak. I am not only referring to material things but in general, everything. I am making some positive changes in my life, one is to stop smoking again. I quit almost three years ago and started up for about seven months. I am done. I am done throwing my money away as well as my health. Sometimes I don’t care but those thoughts don’t last.

I have two adult children and my first grand-baby on the way in July. I have a responsibility to these children to be the best I can be and that is to be healthy and available. Their father passed away so I must do what is right and loving. Smoking is selfish and their father passed away with lung cancer at age Fifty-five. Too young.

Decision making has a great deal to do with impulsive behavior. One of the criteria for a manic episode is that the person is that the person engages in risky behavior. This can be anything from gambling or money spending to sexual behavior. Again, the extent of the behavior depends on the person and the severity of the disorder, but Impulsivity is generally present in some form across all phases of bipolar disorder, including between episodes.

I have Bipolar 1 and find that I am making almost all of these poor choices. I may have hit my bottom but I am not sure just yet. What that usually means to me is that I am going into a depressive episode which hasn’t happened in probably a year or so. I am fortunate in that aspect.

One of the critical thinking skills that can be affected by bipolar disorder is decision making. This goes along with other aspects of cognitive functioning such as memory, attention, some motor skills and social skills. People are affected in different ways and to different extents depending on the severity of the disorder. Decision making in people with bipolar disorder also depends on whether the person is manic, depressed or between episodes.

Making a decision is a fight between logic and emotion. Logic requires significant amounts of energy and thoughtfulness. It takes time.

There are several steps in making any decision.

Identify exactly what the decision entails and the desired end goal.
Gather relevant information.
Examine the options available using both logic and emotion.
Weigh each alternative option based on the best way to reach the end goal.
Make a decision based on the best option.
Turn the decision into action when ready
Evaluate that decision and its consequences..
Trust your gut feeling about a situation.

During mania, the mind is moving very quickly. Thus decisions are made very quickly – and impulsively. Because of this, decision making is often poor; “stopping to think hard about a decision can be incredibly difficult. People may not consider the consequences of their actions.” I know that I don’t. I make snap uneducated decisions mostly when manic.

During depression, there is very little planning. There is also very little hope for the future. “In this state, there is little energy left to think and plan ahead, so decisions are made in the now, without forethought. This combination of hopelessness and Impulsivity increases the risk for suicide.”

Suicide is one of the greatest risks for someone with bipolar disorder. When they are in a normal or manic episode, they usually will not consider it; however, when in a depressed episode, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can become overwhelming, and suicidal thoughts given serious consideration.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that more than 90% of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder.

The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) reports that 30-75% of suicide victims have suffered some kind of depression.

Although many people with bipolar disorder who attempt suicide never actually complete it, the annual average suicide rate is 10 to more than 20 times that in the general population.

Between 6-20% of bipolar patients die by suicide compared with 25-56% attempting suicide.
Risk factors for suicide include the following:

· Being in a bipolar depressive episode
· Having threatened suicide before
· Having attempted suicide before
· Having family members who have attempted suicide
· Having knives or firearms in the home

Some warning signs of suicide include:
Talking about death or suicide
Making comments about feeling helpless or hopeless
Saying things like, “I’d be better off dead,” or “You’d be better off without me”
Deep feelings of guilt, shame, or remorse
Sudden switch from depression to calmness or abnormal happiness
Giving away of possessions
Risk-taking behaviors
Sudden accidents (these could be suicide attempts)
Putting affairs in order
If your loved one is in a bipolar depressive episode, they are at risk for suicide. If they are showing signs of suicidal behaviors, do not leave them alone if it is at all possible. People often talk about suicide before they attempt it, so pay close attention to what they are saying.

Take all threats of suicide seriously. Try to get your loved one to seek help or at least call the suicide hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE.

Are You a Human Being or a Human Doing


I am almost always a human doing. I can’t sit still for long especially during a Bipolar manic phase. I don’t’ know how to just “be” most of the time. I either have a project I am working on or something I am planning to do. The doing part is exhausting. Especially during the day. Since I work out of my home, it makes it nearly impossible to sit still for very long. There is always something that needs tending to. Almost everyday is the same. I am a hard worker and take pride in what I do.
The symptoms of mania or manic episodes in bipolar disorder include:

an elevated, expansive, overly joyful, overly silly or irritable mood
a decreased need for sleep
racing thoughts
rapid speech
inflated self-esteem or “grandiosity”
excessive involvement in pleasurable but risky activities
increased physical or mental activity and energy
an increase in sexual ideation or interest
a decrease in the ability to concentrate and stay focused
I have a growing list of things to do. It’s when the “being” part comes in and I am susceptible to the depressive side, The just “being.” My thoughts choke me while strive to focus on one thing at a time which is virtually impossible for me. Sometimes I just want to “be” and find a comfort level I can live with. Although I can’t sit still long I can find that comfortable spot to just relax for awhile before my next feat. Although I have not had a depressive episode for months, I try to prepare myself.

One great asset I have are my family and friends. That’s when I need them the most. I don’t have to pretend I’m ok because I can talk about it without shame. I have come a long way to get to this good place in my life. It’s taken all my live so far to put this disease into perspective and deal with it one day at a time. That’s all any of us can do. And I remember upon waking to thank God every morning for this beautiful day. Even if it it’s raining. My flowers are growing and that is a beautiful gift from God.

Common symptoms of bipolar depression include:
Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty
Inability to experience pleasure
Fatigue or loss of energy
Physical and mental sluggishness
Appetite or weight changes
Sleep problems
Concentration and memory problems
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Thoughts of death or suicide

Being Truthful and Being Rejected


I have Bipolar 1 and have known about it for the last 15 years. I have been in recovery ever since. One of the hardest things to go through is rejection. People say they understand but in reality they don’t and some don’t want to know. Us so called “crazy people” get the short end of the stick everytime.

Unless you know someone who has it then you know nothing about it. Read all you like but to experience it first hand gives you complete insite to the disease. I was even scared when I got the diagnosis. I thought I was crazy but I not. I am more normal than many of the people I run across. My illness has a name that I can live with. Some people are just crazy.

1. Accept and acknowledge how you feel:                                                                           When we experience rejection, we tend to show resistance trying to hold back our painful emotions and even though it might seem to be the easiest to do, this is the best way to prolong the pain and dwell on feelings of rejection. Feel your feelings and let it out. I guarantee the pressure in your head and heart with be elevated to some extent

You should allow yourself to acknowledge and feel these emotions and remember that you have the right to feel hurt, disappointed, embarrassed, or angry. Give yourself enough time to grieve, depending on the intensity of the experience and the emotions that arise. Once you have allowed yourself to express and feel your emotions it may be easier for you to bounce back and move on with your life. Some things like a death is almost more than some of us can handle. I have mourning over my moms death sex years ago and my first husbands five years ago. I don’t’ know how to work through this except for one day at a time. I miss them terribly.

2. Learn from rejection
Once you were able to process the feelings and get a better understanding of what happened, try to turn rejection into an opportunity of self-growth.
Rejection can be a good way to gain feedback from others. You might even realize that there is something you want to change. Of course, you should only consider this if you want it and you feel it would allow you to grow. I’m not talking about changing to get other people’s approval or fit in.
You could even ask the person why they rejected you. You will realize that, often, the reason is entirely different from what you thought.
In some cases, being rejected can be an opportunity to spot incompatibilities or even screen out toxic relationships. At the end of the day, if someone leaves your life, it probably means that the two of you were not a match.
3. Accept rejection
This doesn’t mean that you should expect rejection, but depending on the situation, preparing yourself to be rejected might help you handle your emotions more easily. When our children reach a certain age, we should be prepared to sometimes be rejected by them and even encourage them on their journey to finding themselves. In this case, knowing that this behavior is perfectly normal can help process the strong emotions that might emerge.
4. Face your fear
We shouldn’t let the fear of rejection prevent us from doing certain things. One of the best ways to diminish the effects of rejection on you is to face your fear consciously. As with most feelings, we handle them better once we get used to them. Consider purposely putting yourself in (manageable) situations with a risk of being rejected: if you are dating ask someone out; if you are running a business, offer your services; if you believe in something, share it with other people. This is a constructive way of taking your power back – and who knows which opportunities it might bring?
Even if rejection is an integral part of life, nobody is immune to it. If we want to grow and be ourselves, we need to put ourselves out there and face rejection. However, it is crucial that we don’t let it affect our self-image and stop us from being ourselves. Learning how to embrace rejection gives you a great opportunity to develop your emotional strength.

5. Try to understand why it hurts you.
It is not an easy feat to take a good look at ourselves but it is necessary. If you find yourself being upset when people don’t respond in a timely manner when you contact them, or maybe you noticed that you couldn’t handle someone showing their disapproval. Everybody has their own triggers.
Overcoming rejection can be an excellent opportunity for self-examination. Try to understand why a specific situation is particularly alarming for you. Our triggers are related to old wounds. Identifying your emotional triggers will help you understand and maybe adjust your responses to specific situations and then comes the healing.
6. Don’t take it personally
Be aware of your wounds. Identify self-critical and unrealistic thoughts by putting rejection into perspective. It is important to understand that rejection is a two-sided situation. You might feel upset and hurt when a friend refuses your help, but it might have nothing to do with you. Maybe they need time to process their feelings or don’t want to bother you with their problems.
Also, remember that, just as you, other people have their triggers too. Maybe your behavior or a simple comment made them feel uncomfortable, but it has little to do with you. Don’t let rejection define you. If a person turns you down, it doesn’t mean you are not worthy or unlovable. It could be that you are just incompatible with this person or that they couldn’t handle a specific behavior instead of your entire person. Remember that rejection is a kind of judgment and therefore something subjective.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side Borderline Personality


The symptoms of borderline personality disorder include: a recurring pattern of instability in relationships, efforts to avoid abandonment, identity disturbance, impulsivity, emotional instability, and chronic feelings of emptiness, among other symptoms.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a significant pattern of instability in personal relationships, self-image, and emotions. People with borderline personality disorder can be very impulsive and may demonstrate self-injurious behaviors such as risky sexual behaviors, cutting, or suicide attempts.

I know a few people like this. I used to think I had it until I became educated in similar mental disorders. I have Bipolar 1 and some of the symptoms mimic each other. It is a little disturbing to experience to see a loved one go through a phase or fit of rage and all you can do is stand back and let it happen.

I was recently caught int the cross fire of couple I know. The rage seemed to come out of nowhere. And the best thing I could do at the time was to walk away and address it later. When someone is in the middle of a meltdown it’s best to step back and try to be supportive. I decided to take an online test to see if I have it and it came back “probably” which doesnt’ really bother me because I am already seeking treatment for my Bipolar disorder.

Borderline personality disorder occurs in most people by early adulthood (early 20s). A person with this condition will have experienced an unstable pattern of interacting with others for years. This behavior is usually closely related to the person’s self-image and early social interactions with friends and family. The behavior pattern is present in a variety of settings not just at work or home and often is accompanied by a similar a fluctuating back and forth, sometimes in a quick of a person’s emotions and feelings.
People with borderline personality disorder are usually more sensitive than most people to environmental circumstances. The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition, and behavior.

They experience intense abandonment fears and inappropriate anger, even when faced with a realistic time-limited separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans. For instance, a person with this condition may experience sudden despair in reaction to a clinician’s announcing the end of the hour; or panic and fury when someone important to them is just a few minutes late or must cancel an appointment.

They may believe that this “abandonment” implies that they are a “bad person.” These abandonment fears are related to an intolerance of being alone and a need to have other people with them. Relationships and the person’s emotions may sometimes be seen by others or characterized as being shallow.

A personality disorder is a lasting pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates from the norm of the individual’s culture. In order for a personality disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be seen in two or more of the following areas: cognition (thinking); affect (feeling); interpersonal functioning; or impulse control.
In personality disorders, this pattern of behavior is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations. It typically leads to significant distress or impairment in social, work or other areas of functioning. The pattern is stable and of long duration, and its onset can be traced back to early adulthood or adolescence.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

A person with this disorder will also often exhibit impulsive behaviors and have a majority of the following symptoms:

  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging such as
  • excessive spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating
  • Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, whether the abandonment is real or imagined
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger and frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights
  • Identity disturbance, such as a significant and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Emotional instability due to significant reactivity of mood that is intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days

Because personality disorders describe long-standing and enduring patterns of behavior, they are most often diagnosed in adulthood. It is uncommon for them to be diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, because a child or teen is under constant development, personality changes, and maturation. However, if it is diagnosed in a child or teen, the features must have been present for at least 1 year.
Borderline personality disorder is more prevalent in females (75 percent of diagnoses made are in females). It is thought that this disorder affects between 1.6 and 5.9 percent of the general population.
Like most personality disorders, BPD typically will decrease in intensity with age, with many people experiencing few of the most extreme symptoms by the time they are in the 40s or 50s.

Unless you have a mental illness you can’t possibly know how that person feels. It is wild at times and frightening other times. Using the tools given (the links below) you may find it beneficial to you or a loved one and a great possibility for getting the help needed to live a long and loving life.

Getting help for BPD



Remember Where There Is Life There’s Hope- Stephen Hawking


adbf83378262017b3e52c2331692c5cfAlthough Stephen Hawking suffered from clinical depression this brilliant man had a lot to say about life. I dedicate this blog to him who was such an aspiring man his entire life. I placed a link at the bottom of the page for those of you who want to know more about the genius behind the genius. I disagree with some of his beliefs, such as no God, but he does have some positive things he left behind.

“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
― Stephen Hawking

“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”
― Stephen Hawking

“The victim should have the right to end his life, if he wants. But I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”
― Stephen W. Hawking

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.
It matters that you don’t just give up.”
― Stephen Hawking

“I have noticed that even those who assert that everything is predestined and that we can change nothing about it still look both ways before they cross the street”
― Stephen W. Hawking

“The thing about smart people is that they seem like crazy people to dumb people.”
― Stephen Hawking

  • “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
  • “We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.”
  • “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”
  • “Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.”
  • Quiet people have the loudest minds.

Steven Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at 21 years of age, according to Bio. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is most commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, notes Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic explains that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurological disease that causes neurons to break down and die. Early symptoms of ALS begin with muscle twitching and weakness, usually in the arms and legs.

As the disease progresses, ALS begins to affect the ability to control muscles to move and speak. There is no cure for ALS, and the disease eventually leads to death as it impairs the sufferer’s ability to eat and breathe.

For more information on Stephen Hawking —

Stephen Hawking was a brilliant and inspiring man. He passed away March 14, 2018 at the age of 76.

Don’t Mess With Things You know Nothing About



Curious minds always want to know. I have Bipolar 1 and have been in a manic state for months. I don’t recall the last time I felt even, not depressed and not manic. I have little control over who takes each day and makes the best of it.

I say who because there is a definite change in me. I feel it and I know it. But I don’t know when changes will take place. It depends on the different triggers.
Triggers are things that cause to think and/react negatively to the threat of Sobriety of any sort. My goal is to find sobriety from chaos. It’s one day at a time.

So, because I am in a manic phase, I have to keep busy. My mind or physical ether one. Mainly physical activities that I turn to. I love to paint and garden. Today I decided that I wanted to move a tree into a different area of the yard. My goal is to make sort of a natural privacy fence from a neighboring business.

I decided to move the tree. I tried to dig it up but the roots were too deep and scattered. So brilliant me decided to get the chain saw after trying some other means. I put the fuel in the saw and decided to was best to try and start it on the steps. I pulled the cord a few times after I primed it, and the next time it almost started but it turned and the blades landed against my shin. I thought it was like a pressure washer. Oh my God I thought what almost happened but it taught me a lesson. I put it away. Don’t Mess With Things You know Nothing About.
I learned a lot today and one is to live in the moment because it might be your last. I did wind up transplanting that tree and it looks great so far.

Do What You Know
Do What You Love
Give To Others
Learn To Use Power Tools

Another thing to never mess with is self diagnosis of a mental illness.

A formal diagnosis is often the first step on the road to healing from a physical or a mental illness. A diagnosis provides a faint feeling of illness with a name, and the right diagnosis can provide someone with a clear road to wellness. Often, people visit their doctors in order to get this kind of information. They submit to tests, answer questions and otherwise provide the raw data a clinician can use in order to really get to the root of the discomfort.

But sometimes people skip the doctor’s office, and they hop online to diagnose their own diseases. While this method might seem expedient, and it’s certainly common, it can be remarkably dangerous.

I’ve done it time after time when I want answers now. The thing with using certain information obtained on the internet is that it is sometimes generalized and there may be more going on than just the basic diagnosis or information that can not be obtained unless you get a complete proper diagnosis from your doctor.

In a report published in 2013, researchers found that the average American consumer spends an average of an hour each week looking for health information online. They might browse casually, reading up on disease prevention or general health management, but many of these consumers are performing targeted searches in which they’re outlining the symptoms they have, and hoping to find out what they can call their particular ailment.

But researchers found that people looking online are likely to walk away from that search thinking that they have a brain tumor. The most serious thing is given prominence, even though it may be a much less likely reality than less serious conditions.

In this day and age of limited time with doctors coupled with ample opportunity to google anything, the temptation for people to reach their own conclusions about their illness is strong. Here are a few truths to consider and how self-diagnosis affects this.
When you self-diagnose, you are essentially assuming that you know the subtleties that diagnosis constitutes. This can be very dangerous, as people who assume that they can surmise what is going on with themselves may miss the nuances of diagnosis.

For example, people with mood swings often think that they have manic-depressive illness or bipolar disorder. However, mood swings are a symptom that can be a part of many different clinical scenarios: borderline personality disorder and major depression being two examples of other diagnoses.
The clinician can help you detect whether you swing from normal to down or down to up, and by considering how long the mood swings last, the clinician can make the appropriate diagnosis. Here, the danger is that you may misdirect the clinician or even yourself.
One of the greatest dangers of self diagnosis in psychological syndromes, is that you may miss a medical disease that masquerades as a psychiatric syndrome. If you have panic disorder, you may miss the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism or an irregular heart beat. Even more serious is the fact that some brain tumors may present with changes in personality or psychosis or even depression.

If you assume you have depression and treat it with an over-the-counter preparation, you may completely miss a medical syndrome. Even if you do not want conventional treatment for depression, you may want conventional treatment for a brain tumor.

People with bipolar disorder go through intense emotional changes that are very different from their usual mood and behavior. These changes affect their lives on a day-to-day basis. Testing for bipolar disorder isn’t as simple as taking a multiple choice test or sending blood to the lab.

While bipolar disorder does show distinct symptoms, there’s no single test to confirm the condition. Often, a combination of methods is used to make a diagnosis. Mania The DSM defines Trusted Source mania as a “distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood.” The episode must last at least a week. The mood must have at least three of the following symptoms:

  • high self-esteem
  • little need for sleep
  • increased rate of speech (talking fast)
  • flight of ideas
  • getting easily distracted
  • an increased interest in goals or activities
  • psychomotor agitation (pacing, hand wringing, etc.)
  • increased pursuit of activities with a high risk of danger

Depression The DSM states that a major depressive episode must have at least four of the following symptoms. They should be new or suddenly worse, and must last for at least two weeks:

  • changes in appetite or weight, sleep, or psychomotor activity
  • decreased energy
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • trouble thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • thoughts of death or suicidal plans or attempts

Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder

This category is a severe form of bipolar disorder. It occurs when a person has at least four episodes of major depression, mania, hypo-mania, or mixed states within a year. Rapid cycling affects more women than men. Talk to your doctor if you believe you may be experiencing any symptoms of bipolar disorder or another mental health condition.

Mis-diagnosis Bipolar disorder is most often misdiagnosed in its early stages, which is frequently during the teenage years. When it’s diagnosed as something else, symptoms of bipolar disorder can get worse. This usually occurs because the wrong treatment is provided. Other factors of a mis-diagnosis are inconsistency in the timeline of episodes and behavior. Most people don’t seek treatment until they experience a depressive episode.

Suicide prevention If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

If you think someone is considering suicide, or you are, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Common Bipolar Triggers


Bipolar triggers are behaviors and outside events that lead to bipolar disorder symptoms. As you probably know from experience, these triggers can be positive or negative. You often have control of them, but some are just part of everyday life.

Getting to know your personal triggers helps with bipolar disorder symptoms to prevent relapse and stop symptoms from getting worse. Common triggers you may experience include:

Sleep difficulties A regular sleep routine — going to bed and waking up at the same time every day — is a good way to keep things stable.

Illness that is not treated or managed.

Disruption to sleep patterns decreases in the time the person sleeps can contribute to hypomanic or manic symptoms, and increases in sleep or bedrest may be followed by depressive symptoms.

Disruption to routine. A regular structure and regular bedtime and waking up times, regular activities and social contact can help to maintain the bodies sleep patterns and usual energy level

Conflict and stressful interactions with people

Too much stimulation from within the person Overstimulation from lots of activity and excitement when the person tries to achieve challenging goals or having stimulating substances like caffeine or nicotine

Abusing alcohol or street drugs can cause the person to have ongoing bipolar symptoms, more frequent relapses and hospitalizations.

Stressful negative or positive life events The birth of a baby, a promotion, losing a job, ending a relationship or moving. The trick is to manage it. Try regular exercise, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and watch your diet.

Meditation also can ease depression and anxiety.

Too much stimulation from external sources Clutter, traffic, noise, light, crowds, work deadlines or social activities etc.

Travel – especially travel with time zone changes.

Relationship problems.

Non-supportive family members and friends.

Excessive media exposure to stressful world events.

Helping to reduce bipolar triggers
Positive methods a person may use to reduce stress and maintain stability include:

Taking ongoing medication as prescribed for bipolar disorder.

Having regular sleep patterns.

Maintaining a basic routine.

Exercising regularly (provided this is not done close to bedtime as this can interfere with sleep). Besides enhancing physical health, regular exercise has a positive effect on anxiety, depression, sleep problems and self esteem.

Regulating the stimulation they receive. Support the person’s decision to have quiet times between social engagements or restore sleep habits after celebrations

Setting realistic manageable goals.

Stopping or reducing the use of substances that make bipolar moods worse namely caffeine, alcohol or street drugs

Eating a healthy diet

Finding ways to relax and unwind

Adopting a problem solving approach to difficulties.

Accepting that not all problems can be solved, but people can try to make the most of things the way they are.

Mental Illnesses and Forgiveness


When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward. I recently had a falling out with a close member of my family. I have never been so humiliated and I suppose I brought this on myself. Having Bipolar 1 makes it difficult for me at times to “keep my mouth shut.” At the time I feel that I was being verbally attacked and completely judged by this person. Nobody is perfect and I usually know after the fact that I should have not responded like I did. I recieved a letter stating all the things I did wrong over the past 23 years. Can you believe that someone can hold a grudge for that many years. I didn’t have a clue as to all these things I did or didn’t do.

I have the freedom of choice and I don’t regret any of the things that I supposidly done to hurt this person. I would never do that on purpose. What wasnt’ stated or remembered were the good things that happenend to both of us. I am not sure at all how I am going to address this matter. Time will take care of some of it and sometimes it’s best to leave things the way they are instead of digging up old wounds. I believe that I am owed an appology. I won’t get it though. This person is headstrong and very controlling.

So who hasn’t been hurt by the actions or words of another? Perhaps a parent constantly criticized you growing up, a friend who betrayed you in some way or your partner had an affair. Or maybe you’ve had a traumatic experience, such as being physically or emotionally abused by someone close to you.
These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger and bitterness.
But if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays the higher price. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
What is forgiveness?
Generally it involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness means different things to different people.
The act that hurt or offended you might always be with you, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help free you from the control of the person who harmed you. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or justifying the hurt done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with your life as you should.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?
Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for improved health and peace of mind. Forgiveness can lead to:
Improved heart health
Lower blood pressure
Healthier relationships
Improved mental health
A stronger immune system
Fewer symptoms of depression
Improved self-esteem
Less anxiety, stress and hostility
Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?
Being hurt by someone, particularly someone you love and trust, can cause anger, sadness and confusion. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.
Some people are naturally more forgiving than others. But even if you’re a grudge holder, almost anyone can learn to be more forgiving.

What are the effects of holding a grudge?
If you’re unforgiving, you might:
Forgiveness is a commitment to a personalized process of change. To move from suffering to forgiveness, you might:
Recognize the value of forgiveness and how it can improve your life
Identify what needs healing and who needs to be forgiven and for what
Consider joining a support group or seeing a counselor
Acknowledge your emotions about the harm done to you and how they affect your behavior, and work to release them
Choose to forgive the person who’s offended you
Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.
What happens if I can’t forgive someone?
Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who’s hurt you doesn’t admit wrong.

If you find yourself stuck:
Practice empathy. Try seeing the situation from the other person’s point of view.
Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
Reflect on times you’ve hurt others and on those who’ve forgiven you.
Write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation — or talk with a person you’ve found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an impartial loved one or friend.
Be aware that forgiveness is a process, and even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven over and over again.

The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you’ve done and how they have affected others. Avoid judging yourself too harshly.
If you’re truly sorry for something you’ve said or done, consider admitting it to those you’ve harmed. Speak of your sincere sorrow or regret, and ask for forgiveness — without making excuses.
Remember, however, you can’t force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever happens, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.

Contributions by: Mayo Clinic Staff

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