Monday, October 28, 2013

Changing into a Smile

I have traveled partially around the world as a child, later settling into Colorado with my family, I noticed I was saddened by all the friends I had made while I was growing in child hood that were suddenly left behind, and just as perplexed as to making new friends in neighborhoods which carried no décor of ancient history, no space of hills or streams, no enchantment.  The fantasy of childhood became a lackadaisical definition of growing years older when you could not; the confusion of being older to live and survive was denying adolescence.  I sit around these days living memories, and trying to keep up with society surrounding me and fearing failure, being all a matter of time and need, home, energy food, transportation, water, and all the necessities which were never necessities when I was a child.  The world carries on, and I too wonder how far does a person go in order to maintain their life without resiliency and all the more a lack of motivation.  I can feel the indifference in my shoulders, I no longer hold my world above me for the moment, and my esteem is shallow.  I feel like this some mornings, not throughout the day, just long enough to tell myself that I need to carry on.  Going to the mental health clinic gives me determination to keep my inner strength and my faith grows with the understanding of others whom have met with similar emotions and scenarios of livelihood anymore holding on to those smiles which say everything will be alright. 
Focus is the motion of maintaining the emotions, the ideas, and energy of our lives.  Knowing how we will achieve reaching those boundaries and crossing them so that we have succeeded in being what we choose to be.  We can choose to be healthy, or we can choose to be morose, even mentally ill.  Some people don’t have a choice because their illness may be more than mental, being physical, it may be harder to smile, but when you focus on reality, knowing what you want, how you want to feel, and what you want to understand, life means something more than hardship and you are not at a loss to overcome the negatives in your world.  Crossing into a new world, changing ideas, means challenging not only yourself, yet building your strength, so that you mean to be yourself, surrounding yourself with others whom have the same strength and character as you want for yourself, with the ideology that you can believe in something great and maintain your future with such the belief that you will always be a part of the world you see.
Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Obesity 4 Times More Likely in Schizophrenia Patients

That is the title of this article that talks about obesity in schizophrenia patients. “The risk for abdominal obesity is more than four times higher in patients with multi-episode schizophrenia compared to the general population, according to new meta-analytic research. These individuals are also at greater risk for other cardio-metabolic problems- such as low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, hypertriglyceridemia and diabetes.”  I already have a stomach.  Which I wish I could get rid of it because I was doing that and it stopped working and I fear I have gained some weight that I lost but not all.  I always get my labs checked when I go to the doctor.  The only thing I ever cared about is the diabetes number.  I go next Monday to check again.  My other numbers are usually ok.
The article says they checked a lot of people for this study.  “For the study, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 136 studies involving 185,606 patients with schizophrenia – 28 of which provided data on nearly 3,900,000 population controls matched for age and gender.  This study is one of the largest ever conducted on people with schizophrenia. The findings reveal that patients with multi-episode schizophrenia were 4.43 times more likely to have abdominal obesity than controls.”  They studied a lot of patients.  People with schizophrenia are more likely to have obesity than the regular society.
The article goes on to say: “Furthermore, the risk for low HDL cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and hypertriglyceridemia were more than doubled, at 2.35, 2.35, and 2.73, respectively.  The risk for diabetes was nearly double in these patients, and the risk for hypertension was increased 1.36 fold. With the exception of diabetes and hypertension, the risk for these conditions in multi-episode schizophrenia patients was also significantly increased versus that for first-episode or drug-naïve patients. Schizophrenia researchers have warned that weight gain occurs in up to 40 percent of patients taking medications called second-generation or atypical antipsychotic medications, which have been found effective in controlling major symptoms of schizophrenia.”  I do not know why it is so hard to lose weight I am doing the same things that I did when I lost twenty pounds so why did it come back.  I do have high blood pressure controlled by my medication. I really cannot remember if the weight came on first or the high blood pressure.  I was sick with something else and it all was happening about the same time gaining weight. Also at that time I had quit smoking.
According to the article: “Given the high rates of metabolic problems, the researchers propose that schizophrenia patients should, at the very least, have their waist circumference measured regularly, and, ideally, also their fasting glucose, triglyceride, HDL cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1C levels.  The also suggest routine screening of cardiovascular risk factors at key stages to create a risk profile for patients that takes into account their personal and family history.  This risk profile should afterwards be used as a basis for ongoing monitoring, treatment selection and management, wrote the researchers in World Psychiatry.”  They are all things I always check with my PCP.  I just want to see where I am at so I can make more changes if needed to make sure I am losing and not getting diabetes.
In closing the article says: “Lead researcher Davy Vancampfort, Ph.D., of the University Psychiatric Centre KU Leuven and collegues believe it is important to educate schizophrenia patients and their family members about the increased risk for cardio-metabolic abnormalities and ways to lessen it.  According to the researchers, many schizophrenia patients are either unaware of the need to make appropriate lifestyle changes or do not possess the knowledge and skills to do so.  The findings support guidelines from the World psychiatric Association recommending physical health screenings and monitoring in patients with schizophrenia. And further emphasize the need for patients with schizophrenia and their family members to be educated about the possibility of cardio-metabolic risk.”  I am already thinking about the changes I am going to have to make. It will be good because I want to do it for myself.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Living with Dual Diagnosis

Being dual diagnosed and having to maintain sobriety is something like climbing a tree with leather shoes on.  You can’t make mistakes in keeping up with your symptoms as you realize what your mental illness is about and you can’t backslide when it comes to relapsing when it comes to drugs and alcohol.  With the 12 steps of A/A and N/A to guide you, you must also look into the guidelines of psychotherapy and how you want to continue to grow beyond the misery you have lived in.  I look into my own life right now and feel slightly down trodden as to how my survival will continue, how I will live without fear or remorseful feelings. My problem is common with many people through the world, and that is looking for work and having not very much in order to live on or provide for loved ones.  Depression is a part of dual diagnosis, as well as schizophrenia and manic-depression, how well many consumers have felt the grasp of these illnesses, yet not so much when having to live on only so much because you are lacking an income or even worse a home to live in.  I began to see that those on social security or other means of an income provided by the government are much more the better off than those struggling without any source of income or housing.  I must maintain, obtaining my medications, seeing a therapist, gain employment and maintain a place to live besides other necessities in order to say, I am living.  I see other people slipping into other worlds, using drugs and alcohol because they could not find their way back into society by working, often times living in resentment because they cannot find peace nor do they have resilience.  Living with a dual diagnosis is virtually the same, having to climb a slippery tree and not look down from where you are, such as crossing a street and not looking back, the feelings the same, trying to overcome the hurdles which are boundaries before you.  I want to feel as if I have overcome my mental illness, yet as long as I know that I could lose my motivation in keeping my strength, I know I will be dependent upon the system to keep me climbing with some success.
There have been some intense feelings about my dilemma of  losing my job and having to search for another, or live off unemployment for a short while and those feelings are the very ones I have been diagnosed with.  Yet the smiles and laughter I once had seem to have highs and lows as well with me as well and all that I perceive makes me that much more closed about what is right in maintaining not only being my mental strength but my self-esteem as well.  
Written by Donald S

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Walking in the Woods

This is a blog about walking and an article to relieve stress and boost your immune system.  I am always trying to get healthier and today I am going to get weighed.  I came across this article and it fits what I wanted to talk about today. “Work, home, even in the car, stress is a constant struggle for many people.  But it’s more than just exhausting and annoying.  Unmanaged stress can lead to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.” There are a lot of things that can lead to stress.  When it becomes hard to sleep then it is a problem.
The article says: “The American lifestyle is fast-paced and productive, but can be extremely stressful.  If that stress is not addressed, our bodies and minds suffer, said Dr. Aaron Michelfelder, professor of family medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.  Our bodies need sleep to rejuvenate and if we are uptight and stressed we aren’t able to get the rest we need.  This can lead to serious physical and mental health issues, which is why it’s extremely important to wind down, both body and mind, after a stressful day.”  After a stressful day it is important to not keep being bothered by a problem or whatever else makes you stressed.  I need my sleep.  I do not have a hard time falling asleep.
The article says: “According to M|ichelfelder, one of the best ways to wind down and reconnect after a stressful day is by taking a walk.  Though any walking is good, walking in the woods or in nature has been proven to be even better at reducing stress and improving your health.  When we get to nature, our health improves. Michelfelder said.  Our stress hormones rise all day long in our bloodstream and taking even a few moments while walking to reconnect with our inner thoughts and to check in with our body will lower those damaging stress hormones.  Walking with our family or friends is also a great way to lower our blood pressure and make us happier.”  While I do not get to the woods to walk, I do walk.  If I have a problem it does make sense to walk and reason the problem out.  It feels better.
Here is an interesting fact: “Research out of Japan show that walking in the woods also may play a role in fighting cancer.  Plants emit a chemical called phytoncides that protects them from rotting and insects.  When people breathe it in, there is an increase in the level of ‘natural killer ‘cells, which are part of a person’s immune response to cancer.”  That makes person want to walk in the woods as much as they can. I walk also to lose weight and in the last two weeks I have changed my lifestyle again to better lose the pounds.  Today I get weighed and if I lost at least two pounds I will know that my lifestyle changes are working.  This is not the big test in two weeks I will have my labs taken and that is the big test to see how my blood sugar is doing and hopefully low number for diabetes. It also says: “When we walk in a forest or park, our levels of white blood cells increase and it lowers our pulse rate, blood pressure and level of stress hormone cortisol, Michelfelder said.  He also suggests reading, writing, meditating or reflecting to help calm the mind after a long day.  To help calm the body yoga and breathing exercises also are good.  If you want to wind down, stay away from electronic screens as they activate the mind.  Electronic devices stimulate brain activity and someone’s post on Facebook or a story on the evening news night might cause more stress, Michelfelder said.” I am going to have to try walking in a park as I have no woods close by. I also had been meaning to start reading again. I’m going to have to see what is out now that I would like.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Life’s Tribulations

I have been writing about psychological behaviors, symptoms, how to find faith, hope and determination during Recovery, now I am at a lost as to how to feel as I am frustrated in finding work.  I have had pep talks, and compliments about my abilities, yet I find that in searching for a means to keep what I have gained, my own sanity, I find I have both positive and negative options for decisions.  I think this shouldn’t be, everything is not everything when it comes to peace, and I have no peace of mind in my endeavors.  I have tried walking, talking to acquaintances, strangers as well and I have the same compliments, yet I have nothing to show me proof that I will succeed in what I truly want to do.  Determination slips and slides with each contact I make, and my faith builds itself on trust, yet I look at myself and wonder if I am missing something when it comes to trustworthiness.  I can hope all Iwant to, but without working towards a goal, my hope is only a word and my faith is only a story to tell.  Thinking these things as I do makes me wonder how much can a person perceive in themselves to remain consistent in their Recovery.  Can being resilient lend to personal strength and belief in what a person wishes to overcome?  Does worry carry over to frustration, lending over to backsliding and even worse, relapse?  I thought of the negative directions, its flight time if I turn my back on my personal Recovery and this is another fight I must win to keep my strength.  If you believe you can succeed, someone else will believe with you and the battle is nearly quite won, if you turn your back on the mirror, you will not see the light of your beliefs and that is when you begin to know you have reached another reflection in error.  I feel somewhat better in the last two days, my mental strength comes in surges, yet I am holding on to the believe that even though I am not the only one going through trials and tribulations, there are others who can wield faith and keep me building upon my hopes and aspirations.  The one word exist to me which carries me forward as many know thereof…BELIEF.
Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Recovery Story

I had my first bout of mental illness in prison in 1987.  I had just finished a computer programing class but I was also running a gambling house in the east wing of the prison.  I had money and street clothes as the allowed us to wear street clothes in the east wing even though I did not want to be in the east wing.  I liked the south wing.  There I had a partner to run my gambling house.  Things were not going good for me in the east wing.  My ex-wife was bothering me they asked me to up the limit on my gambling house and I did. One of the guards that I knew previously from south wing when I was there a few years earlier wrote me up for gambling.
Everything that was going on it made me mad and of course I fought it the charge of gambling and was found guilty.  I was sentence to three days in the hole.  I was still angry when I went to the hole and the next thing I knew I was on another wing.  I did not know what was going on.  I broke open my razor and tried to commit suicide.  All it did was scratch me.  The guard that wrote me up said he did it for my protection because I had raised the stakes in gambling and he thought one of the players would hurt me.  I did not know this when I fought the case.  I told the guard on this new wing that I had tried to commit suicide.   They sent me to Cannon City to a doctor.  He asked some questions and at first was going to say I had a mental illness then he changed his mind and just thought I had the breakdown because I was not sleeping. He put me on Halcion to sleep.
I was there in the infirmary and he asked if I would like to go back to Buena Vista or where I would like to go and after watching inmates there behind the walls I said here.  Now my friends back at Buena did not understand what happen to me they thought it was because of someone on the streets and they still would stick by me.  Although I had to figure out what happened to me.  I did not feel the same way I did before.  I wasn’t the same person.  I stayed behind the walls until my appeal came through.  I told my lawyer on the streets that I just wanted a deal where they would leave me alone and I would plead guilty.  It was only supposed to be a misdemeanor if I took it back to trial although I had already had done two years.  I just wanted to be left alone.
I was going to leave the state and go back to Portland, Oregon although a computer class came along that was accelerated.  So I signed up all went well until it was time for finals and then I had my breakdown and ended up at the state hospital.  I did not know where I was at.  I had sat in the county jail without medication for six months.  I was insane.  I finally received medication when I was at the state hospital.  After a while not going to groups or understanding mental illness I talked the doctor into taking me off the medication.  They transferred me to another ward after three months and there is where I had my last full breakdown into mental illness.  The doctor there put me back on medication but my arms shook or something would be wrong with the medication.  He was ready to give up on finding me a medication and he tried an older drug called moban with a side effect medication called kemidrin.  The worked as I got better I started thinking about my future.  When one of the people who worked there asked what I would like to do with my life I said I wanted to learn computers.  She introduced me to somebody in vocational rehabilitation and he taught me computers on his computer and I was going to school and learning typing from scratch and math and all the subjects I needed for college.
I was being sent back to the original ward where I asked the doctor to take me off medications when I was there I asked to be sent to the Circle program for drug and alcohol abuse. He sent me there and then I was able to get passes to stay at my mom and dads and I enrolled in college.  I was able to go to school half time.  When I first started college I had a relapse because my medication was too low.  I have had no problems since then.  I received my bachelors and my masters.  I was finally taken off moban and put on Geodon and now I work and the only problem I have is stigma

Monday, October 7, 2013

Changing Life styles

I have reached the age where everything in life counts towards my existence.  Relationships and family, employment, self-esteem and faith all matter when a person must rely not only on the self, yet others understanding where you have been and where you want to be as well just to name a few.  Just a short while ago, I received news that my job position was being discontinued; I am being phased out of my data entry position.  I was shocked somewhat to learn this, and as I began to listen a bit more intently, I found out that I was not qualified to continue to do the work which was now changing from clerical to programming.  I realized I have no computer programming experience, but I felt a bit more relaxed when the program manager told me that I had at least 6 months to find another position in the company that I may be suited for or the opportunity to find employment in another company.  I was confounded at first, yet to hear that the company I am working for wanted me to continue working for them if I have other talents to put to use was a reprieve.  I have to admit that I was worried at first very intently, and I still am almost feeling anxiety due to such a lay-off and what to do after 5 years of service and was counting on even more time with the people I had grown to respect.
I did not lose my respect for anyone, though I was a bit fearful as to whether this change in employment was some kind of ruse or get-back or ploy to undermine my being.  I am still scared somewhat in that I will have to probably search the realm of business, in order to find work, being out of touch with associating with those I have never met and making impressions in order to be found worthy of employment.  When I think of where I am at this present time, my mind spins, nothing seems satisfying and the road seems even more distant to walk down after what took 5 years to gain.  I feel this is judgment day and the world and the many people I have grown to know are the jury while I am awaiting a verdict.  It’s not really that way, work is the backbone of every person’s livelihood and I know I cannot give up or quit to become what I once was, a vagabond, a transient without any intellect or a fool to my own delusions.
As a consumer, I have about as much reason to wonder if I will make it in this world as any normal person does.  I thought that I should not use the excuse of being with a mental illness as a means to gain pity, yet showing I am stronger in knowing that I should know what to do and rely on others who can help is as beneficial as gaining respect of those who do not know that I am a consumer of mental health.  I cannot hide from what I am, I can only become better with a working faith and hope and the determination that I can succeed without looking down on any one or searching for pity.

Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Research Attributes High Rates of Smoking among Mentally Ill to Addiction Vulnerability

Well this article talks about how smoking is not self-medicating when the person is mentally ill. “People with mental illness smoke at much higher rates than the overall population.  But the popular belief that they are self-medicating is most likely wrong, according to researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Instead they report, research indicates that psychiatric disease makes the brain more susceptible to addiction. As smoking rates in the general population have fallen below 25 percent, smoking among the mentally ill has remained pervasive, encompassing an estimated half of all cigarettes sold.  Despite the well-known health dangers of tobacco consumption, smoking among the mentally ill has long been widely viewed as ‘self-medication’ reducing the incentive among health care professionals to encourage such patients to quit.” It has been fifteen years since I quit and I do not miss it.  I do not spend all my money on cigarettes.  I buy more food now.
The article says: “This is really a devastating problem for people with mental illness because of the broad health consequences of nicotine addiction, said R. Andrew Chambers, M. D., associate professor of psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine.  Nicotine addiction is the number one cause of premature death in the United States, and most of that morbidity and mortality is concentrated in people with mental illness.  In a report published recently in the journal Addiction Biology, the research team lead by Dr. Chambers reported the results of experiments using and established animal model of schizophrenia in which rats display a neuropsychiatric syndrome that closely resembles the disease.”  I for one want to live as long as I can.  I have said before that I want to be there when my youngest grandson grows up.  As I have said before I took wellbutrin to quit because of the side effects of taking it for a month I quit smoking and I quit the wellbutrin. I just put both out of my mind.
It goes on to say: “Both the schizophrenia-model rats and normal rats were given access to intravenous self-administration of nicotine.  The mentally ill rats acquired nicotine use faster and consumed more nicotine, Dr. Chambers said.  Then when we cut them off from access to nicotine, they worked much harder to restore access to nicotine than did the normal ‘control rats.’ In additional testing, the researchers found that administration of nicotine provided equal, but minimal, cognitive benefits to both groups of rats when performing a memory test. When the nicotine was withdrawn, however, both groups of rats were more cognitively impaired, so that any cognitive benefits to nicotine administration were ‘paid for’ by cognitive impairments later.”  When I smoked I can remember waking up I would have to have at least three to four cigarettes right in a row.  A friend from college would say as soon as we have a break Charles is smoking.
The article says: “These results strongly suggest that what has changed in mental illnesses to cause smoking at such high rates results in a co-morbid addiction to which the mentally ill are highly biologically vulnerable.  The evidence suggests that the vulnerability is an involuntary biological result of the way the brain is designed and how it develops after birth, rather than it being about a rational choice to use nicotine as a medicine, Dr. Chambers said.  The data, he said, point to neuro-developmental mechanisms that increase the risk of addiction. Better understanding of those mechanisms could lead to better prevention and treatment strategies, especially among mentally ill smokers, Dr. Chambers said.”  When you are mentally ill you smoke like a train.  That is what I used to do.  I do know I suffered those thirty days trying to quit.  I do not know to this day what made it so easy to quit besides the thirty days.  Having my baby granddaughter come over on weekends and anytime I could babysit or was it the wellbutrin.  In which the side effects were bad. I do know I am better off having quit.