Journal 2018 – Day 2 – My Diagnosis

Since the last journal entry was about my PTSD I thought that this one should be about my Diagnosis.  I was first diagnosis Manic Depressive when I was 22, which was a long time ago. More than half my lifetime to tell the truth. At first it was all depression. I was not sleeping at all. then crashing for a day or two then back up for an entire week before crashing once again. This was not good for me or my new husband. It didn’t help that he was in the Navy and working a job that kept him away from the house 16 hours a day every day for 7 days straight with varying breaks depending on shift that he was working on that week. I was left alone at the house with no one. He was a student Naval Officer so there was no Wives Club, yet. By the time he got home all he wanted was food and sleep and get up and do it all over again the next day.

The first thing they tried to straighten out was my sleep because without good sleep your moods are going to be out of whack anyway. The problem was that my body was adjusting to the medications too fast and they would stop working and I would stop going to sleep. Then we had to move and it was another doctor and different medications.

You see as with any mental illness, getting the medication right is a hit and miss, trial by error situation. You start off trying this and seeing if it works and adjusting as you go along. some medication will work on one patient, but not on another because we are all different. I cannot tell you the number of medications that I have been on since I was first diagnosis. It would blow your mind. And this is the longest I’ve been on the same medication in a while, 8 months with only a change in dosage.

When the Doctors On High changed Manic Depressive to Bipolar I where was no II at the time and it said that you had to be Manic (not happy but very active in the mind and body) for days . I was Manic for hours not days but mostly depressed with trouble sleeping so they changed my diagnosis to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Between all the moving around as a Naval wife, then the divorce and moving and marriage, and divorce, and marriage and divorce and moving around all the time and having had several doctors and a whole lot of medication, It’s a wonder I’m not dead yet! LOL

About two years ago my then doctor for some unknown reason yelled at the top of her lungs to me that I was no longer MDD but Bipolar II, PYSD, and schizoaffective and she never wanted to see me again. She gave me enough medication for three months which gave me enough time to find another doctor. Schizoaffective is schizophrenia with a mood disorder like mania or depression. I finally found the doctor that I now have and love. He lets me have an active role in my illness instead of just telling me what medications to take, I tell him what’s going on and he gives me options and let’s me choose for myself. This is a first and I like it. After a while seeing him, I asked if he really thought I was schizoaffective and he agreed with me that I was not schizoaffective because I didn’t have the hallucinations and delusions of schizophrenia. I know about schizophrenia because my mother has it. But he would not change what another doctor had done. So I guess I’m stuck with it.

Bipolar II is a form of bipolar disorder characterized by depressive and hypomanic periods. Hypomanic periods are at least four days of either elevated moods or irritable mood with periods of pressured speech, inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, decreased need for sleep. It is less severe than mania. It has similar symptoms with elevated mood and increased activity. Hypomania is a pleasurable state. It many confer a heightened sense of creativity and power. It can be hard to diagnose be it masquerades as mere happiness. Because it is an important part of the Bipolar disorder, it may cycle into depression.

Now you have to whole drawn out story of my journey so far with mental illness. Actually, My journey started a long time before I came to be 22. I have dealt with mental illness all my life, but it wasn’t my mental illness. It was my mother’s, but that is another story. Praise the Lord!

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Journal 2018 – Day 1 – PTSD

Welcome to Day 1 of my new Journal to tract what I’m going through as a Christian with PTSD, Bi[polar II, and schizoaffective.    Now I know through my research that if you are schizoaffective Bipolar II is included within it added to schizophrenia so I am stating it twice in my above statement.  The reason I stated it the way I did is that is the way that my doctor informed of my diagnosis.

I have lived with these disorders for 29 years and counting.  I have been on a lot of medication with the many doctors that I have seen over the years trying to find the magic combination that will “fix” me.  The medication won’t “fix” anyone.  Let’s make that clear.  It does help to keep me together so that I can function like a human being for at least some of the time…..lolol

I’ve done a great deal of research into my diagnosis and medication.  In fact, I will investigate any medication that any doctor gives me before I take it.  It’s not that I don’t trust the doctors but I want to know what’s going on before I take it.  Anyway.  I thought that I would break up my diagnosis and look at each one up close.  I also thought that I would start with the easy one first.

PTSD you have most likely heard of. It stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It is a mental condition that a person gets after they have experiences or witnesses a traumatic event.  It can result in a series of emotional and physical reactions to fear for their personal life and wellbeing.  Examples would be a car collision or other accident long term abuse physical or sexual assault, torture living in a war zone, a natural disaster or a life-altering experiences such as the death of a love one.  Symptoms of PTSD can be but are not limited to:

A] Physical Pain – Dizziness, digestive problems, headaches, chest pain, stomach issues, migraines, breathing difficulties, and fatigue.

B] Flashbacks and/or Nightmares – It is also know as re-experiencing where the person is suddenly and vividly reliving the event over and over again.  It can happen when you are asleep, but it can also happen suddenly in waking images or sensation of physical and emotional pain and fear.  Sometimes it will cause the person to become homebound because they fear the world outside.

C] Depression and/or Anxiety – Mental phobias or irrational and persistent fear and avoidance of certain objects or situations can cause paranoia and depression

D] Withdrawal – Sudden lose of interest in favorite hobbies, activities and friends in some that was socially active is also a symptom of PTSD. On the other end of the spectrum is seeking out risky behavior can also be a form of escapism through drug or alcohol abuse or thrill seeking.

E] Avoidance – Another one is why a person doesn’t what to do something physical or mental that reminds them of the event.

F] Repression – this is the intentional blockage of the memories that associated with the past even or experience

G] Emotional Numbing – A person after a trauma most of the time wants to numb their feeling  because it’s hard to suffer the pain when you don’t feel anything.  Unfortunately, numbing leads to withdrawal which eventually leads you to complete isolation from social circles.

H] Hyper-Arousal – Sometimes a person suffers from a form of the jitters so sever that it becomes impossible to relax due to the fear of threats. They are thought to be “on edge” or “jumpy” and easily frightened.

I] Irritability – A state of constant fear and paranoia that causes irritability, indecisiveness, and a total lack of concentration, sleeplessness and difficulty maintaining personal relationships.

J] Guilt and Shame – If they can’t get past the negative experience, the patient will find it difficult to move forward and maintain a healthy life.  Blame of themselves will come into the picture and they will constantly relive the event wanting to know what else they could have done to prevent it.  Finally, they will blame themselves for the tragedy and have immense shame and guilt for it.

Well, if you stayed through all the dry information part of this post then I will reward you with some personal information…..LOL  I know that is most likely not what you were looking for, but then why else would you be reading my blog?   I have PTSD because I was abused as a child and I have been in some really bad relationships.  I have dealt with most of it with the help of doctors, medication, friends, Jesus and God, but there are times that it sneaks up on me and the fear takes hold of me as if I was back there again.  I have no control at that point without the people around me that help me to remember my “helps” and that gets me back to the present so I’m not stuck in the past. Praise the Lord!!!!!  I am so thankful to the Lord for getting me to this point in my life!!!!!

Thanks for listening to me.  God Bless You!!!  I’ll talk more tomorrow!!!! Day 1 Out!!!!

To Complain or Not To Complain?

There are a lot of reasons to complain, but the main reason is pain.  Pain.  It is an interesting word.  It comes in so many different shapes and sizes.  In the Dictionary it means a feeling triggered in the nervous system. What a simple answer for such a complex word that causes so many feelings and emotions and images that come to ones mind and/or heart.  Some people can handle it so easily and others have such a struggle with just a paper cut which is nothing at all much less a busted lip or black eye.   Pain can manifest itself in so many very different ways; physically, sexually, mentally, emotionally and verbally.  It can feel like a pin prick at the tip of your finger, or a sting by a bee, the burn of the flame of fire, the ache of muscles well used, or the tingle of your funny bone after you have hit it on something hard.  If your lucky you only experience pain in one way in one area of your body such as only having mild Migraines.  Unfortunately, I have pain in several different areas and the pain is varied in multiple ways and intensity.  Some of  pain is correctable but not all so  I am classified as in chronic pain.  Chronic pain effects about 86 million people in American.  They range from mild chronic pain to severe chronic pain. Because I’m in the high mild chronic pain, I am on medications, but my pain doctor is trying  nerve blocks to cut down on some of the pain and it is working in some of the areas, but unfortunately not all.

For a long while I was constantly talking about my pain to everyone who would listen and some who wouldn’t. When people  asked me how I was doing, I would actually tell them about all the pain I was in and how depressed I was.  It turned people away from me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.  I was so self absorbed and wrapped up in my pain-put-upon me wrap.  Finally, a friend who had not cut me off was brave enough to tell me to my face that they were tired of hearing all the negative thoughts that I was saying and to stop complaining.  She also told me that maybe if I didn’t talk about it so much, the pain might not be so bad.

Well, It made me stop and think.   I started thinking about other people for the first time in a long time. Would I like to hear about nothing but someone’s pain everyday, all day, long without stop?  No!  Would I try to do something about it? Yes, if I could.  If I couldn’t,  I’d do what I could for that person and pray for them.  I have started watching my words and trying extremely hard to stop talking about the pain at all , but there are times that the pain is just so bad that it  has to be acknowledged if for no other reason than to ask for pray or when you hit a hole in the road and your head hits the roof for your car.  .

My friend did make me think about the complaining, and I wanted to know what God said about it.   First, I had to define pain and complain as they apply in the Bible. According to the Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary by W.E. Vine,  in the New Testament of the bible,  pain is both a noun and a verb.  As a noun it can be one of two Greek words; either pono  – “anguish” as in Revelation 16:10 or  ocin – “travail pain” as in Matthew 24:8 or “sorrows” as in 1 Thessalonians 5:3.  As a verb it can be basanizo or “ to rub on the touchstone to put to the test.” In this statement a ” touchstone” is a dark stone used in testing metals.  It can also mean in general “to distress” as in Revelation 12:2.

Now that we have an idea about what the Bible says about pain, let’s look at what it says about complaining.  In the Old Testament there are three different Greek words for complainer or complaint.  There are 1)mempsimoiros means “one who complains” or “complaining of one’s lot” as in Jude16. 2)momphe means “blame” or “occasion of complaint” or “quarrel” as in Colossians 3:13. 3) aitoma means “in charge” or complaints” as in Acts 25:7.

So we know the definitions but do we have the understanding of theses words and can easily use them yet? No! We need to put the definitions into action, so let us look into the Bible and see what God says about these concepts.  After Adam and Eve fall from grace, one of the things that God did was intensify a woman’s labor pains and added painful efforts with children.  Also because of their biting of the apple, we all as well will experience the pain of death.

According to Psalm 142:2 KJV we are suppose to lay complaints at God’s feet. In Isaiah 53 we get a eye opener on how both God and man look at these two concepts. It is clear that even when we were sinners, God loved us.  He took on all our sicknesses and He carries all our pains.  It also shows us as well that man has never treated prophets and men of God very nicely, but we were especially cruel to Jesus.

You have to keep in mind that God did everything for us that he has done not because of anything that  we could have done on this earth or in heaven.  We are born into sin thanks to Adam and Eve.  Not one of us is innocent and that includes babies. We have to stop complaining all the time or thinking that we are entitled to something in this world.  Thank be to God for loving us so much that he took on all our bad stuff so that we may have all of God’s good stuff.  AMEN

 

Welcome to Me and My Mind

I am a Real Southern Belle from Mississippi with a stubborn streak a country mile.  I’m open, honest, and blunt to a fault. I’m a hater of games except board games and cards but poker and I have a bad history. That’s a story that I will leave for a later post. Wow, I have a topic for my second post.
I don’t like drama of any kind, but I don’t like causing drama in any of my relationships except of course in a good and kind way. I don’t like being brought into the drama of other people unless  I can help them in some way.  Most of the time this is not the way things go.  God tends to use these types of situation to help us grow in one way or another.
A lot of people don’t know this but the two sides of my family are almost polar opposites. I love them very much, especially with all the ups and downs.  They don’t  like each other much so I always feel like the red flag in the middle of a tug-of-war between them.  sides of my family blessed me in so many different ways. I’m as comfortable working on a farm, having horses and cows and chickens, riding horses, working in a garden, climbing trees, and canning my favorite veggies, green beans (LOL) as I am in art museums,  fundraisers and fancy dinners and ballroom dancing. I am so thankful to them for their roles in my life.  I would not be the woman I am today without the family members that have taught me so much.
God is my Father and Jesus is my Lord.   They are my #1.  I talk to God all throughout the day.  I am a Prayer Warrior and the people around me are always giving me people to pray over and I do. I also listen because I love to hear God’s voice. I  love my church family they are like a second family to me.
We are very involved in missions, both locally and abroad.  We have two local homeless shelter meals a month that we do and my church tithes off the offering  every Sunday and Wednesday which goes to missions. We have several missions that we support abroad and one on the campus of the University of Memphis plus the local missions in one way or another.
Several years ago my Pastor divided the congregation into smaller groups he called families and color coded them as a way that we could  get to know each other better and pray for each other more specifically.  He named called us “Family Strong”. Each family is lead by a staff pastor.  I was in the Orange family for the first t wo years of the program, but now I’m in the Purple family. We try do stuff together every month.  We have friendly competitions among the families which are a lot of fun.  One Sunday a month is set up as Family Strong Sunday. We all wear our colored shirts, and seat with our family members.  Sometimes during the service there would be a game that each family would compete and win points, and at the end of a certain period, the family with the most points gets the big trophy and bragging rights for the next period.
Welcome to the interworking’s of my mind.  Thoughts dart from here to there  all the time never staying in one place for very long.  They are sometimes calm but not often. Mostly they are hard to tame or even catch. What will come out of my hands will be a wonder.
It will be interesting to see where this journey will go – COME JOIN IN!