Finally.

I think I pinpointed one of my major problems today.

As I was driving home, listening to SAD by XXXTentaction for whatever reason (shut up), one of his lines caught my attention. It goes:

maxresdefault“Who am I?”

“Someone that’s afraid to let go” (Should be WHO’S afraid to let go, but I let him slip since he got shot and killed)

“You decide”

“If you ever gunna let me know”

“Suicide”

“If you ever try to let go”

“I’m sad I know, yeah, I’m sad I know yeah.”

Not the deepest lyrics in the world, but to me they hit a chord, particularly the “I’m sad, I know yeah” portion. I think denial has been an issue of mine for a long time now. Through the entire three years that I’ve been blogging on this account, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this. And it’s hard to write about something I haven’t already mentioned on this fucking blog.

But I think I denied how “Sad” I really was for some years now. I played it off so well that I convinced myself nothing was going on. So when I got extremely low, I broke. Then I repaired myself, denied it ever happened, and waited until the next break. I think that’s where portions of my psychosis comes from.

Which is another weird thing to say: “my psychosis”.

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For a long time I denied that as well. And it wasn’t always just because I actually believed the delusions and such. It was also because I just didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. Regardless of the thoughts or any voices, I just didn’t think anything was wrong. I was suffering, and refused to believe anything was going on. I don’t understand how a brain can do that. I just don’t. I don’t because I was aware of everything so vividly. And yet I was so distant from it all.

It feels vindicating to say those few words “I’m sad I know yeah, I’m sad I know yeah”.

I also think I denied the psychosis because it wasn’t “as bad” as other people. I didn’t end up involuntary because of paranoia until I threatened to kill myself over it, so it’s not like I was found running naked down the street screaming about aliens. No, I kept my naked, screaming self hidden within the back of my mind and suffered that way. If there’s no such thing as a quiet psychosis, I’ve just invented it.

I’ve invented quiet everything, trust me. Quiet rage, quiet happiness, quiet sadness, quiet psychosis, it’s copyright. Don’t steal it. The only exception is “quiet borderline” which is already a thing so I can’t steal it. Fuck whoever coined that term. That’s MY term.

I feel like I’m starting to get back into this writing groove. This is nice.

success

Anyway, my point is I feel like I’m getting my brain back, my motivation, my determination, and my passion. I also feel like I’ve learned so much about myself over these last three years that I’m really thankful for every bit of the experience, even the times that have been roughest I’ve ever been through.

It’s been the first time I’ve spoken in therapy about my delusions. I call them that, but at the same time I still kind of believe them. So I don’t really know how to deal with that. I guess I can say that everyone else calls them delusions, I just call them reality. But regardless, I’m talking about them, and it feels good to have a therapist who isn’t judging what I’m saying. She may talk like a speed demon, but her words are valid and kind. So far.

I’ve also been recognizing when my perception of others is getting in the way of me seeing their true self. That’s a whole other can of worms to open.

I think that’s enough for now.

Own up to what you deal with. You don’t have to believe you’re crazy. You don’t have to believe you’re delusional or psychotic or any of those things. Just know you’re struggling, and start to get okay with that, or you’ll never be okay with it. And that’s today’s mental truth.

Psychosis, the poem

Under the tree that whistles

lies a sharp and pointed thistle,

that pokes and prods

whenever I intend to leave this little spot under the whistling tree.

A bunny hops,

with four eyes and two legs,

and I poke it with a peg,

to shoo it away.

I hear you call my name

as a hundred others do,

and I hear curses whispered,

apparently from me to you.

They say I’ve infected you, injected you,

and I must run away;

there’s no time for play under this whistling tree today.

They get louder and louder and I don’t know what to do

so I get up and run, I run right past you.

I’m in danger, can’t you see?

My shadow senses it and bolts ahead of me,

leaving me unprotected.

I stop and shiver, cry and quiver,

as I lose myself within the night.

There’s no coming back and you’ve gone,

I’ve gone,

and the whistling tree seeks revenge.

I go roughly into that good night,

beaten and scarred,

feathered and tarred,

and you are there beneath the whistling tree with angel wings

out of my reach.

I lay on the ground beneath the spotlight

curled with my knees to my chest,

my best defense

against the dark arts.

You fly to heaven and I am alone, truly alone,

comforted by the whistling tree.

 

I think what’s ironic about this poem is that, to me, my experience with psychosis has been poetry. It’s been a beautiful, terrifying, cold dance with the devil who is, as he is in the Bible, an angel.

The Benefits of Holistic Choices for Mental Health

I come from a long lineage of depressed people. I picked up the depressive torch at a very young age and in my teenage years, my depression became so severe that I sought help. I soon found out I only had two choices available to me: 1. Talk therapy or 2. medication.

I began with talk therapy, but those sessions left me exhausted from sobbing and with more terrible feelings. I knew I had to do something else if I was going to survive, so I agreed to take medication, even though every fiber of my being told me this was not a good idea. This was in the 1990’s and Prozac was gaining acclaim as a miracle drug. I was given a prescription and within a month of taking it, I attempted to take my own life. As I was “recovering” in a forced two-week stay in a psychiatric ward, I refused any other medication.

This was the start of my 20-year journey to search out alternative and natural solutions for my mood disorder. I scoured old bookstores and obscure websites and I started to find that there were effective non-medical solutions to the symptoms that plagued me. I wondered why no one was talking about this.

As a result of my research, I have found many effective alternatives to medication that have worked for me and others. I have listed a few of my favorites here as a starting point for you to research. My main message is this: there are many effective things we can do to heal from mood disorders that do not involve taking pharmaceutical medications. In fact, there are so many different modalities available, I started a website to compile them at www.AlternativeMentalHealthRevolution.com.

  1. Amino Acids- This is by far my first choice for effective, natural mental wellness. Amino acids are affordable, safe, and fast-acting. I have personally experienced relief within 5 minutes by taking certain amino acids. It took me quite a while to try them out because the information was overwhelming. I didn’t know which ones to take, how much, and which brand. Then I stumbled upon the book The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, and this book explained in detail about how to use amino acids. The author includes a quiz at the beginning of the book that helps people identify which aminos might be effective, based on symptoms. There’s also wonderful information about thyroid and adrenal health, two other root causes of depression-like experiences.
  2. Food- The old adage is true: you are what you eat. Even if you try to eat well, there are ingredients in modern food that can be problematic for people prone to depression and anxiety. For instance, the government requires food manufacturers to add synthetic folic acid to processed foods. The problem with that is more than half the population has a genetic mutation known as MTHFR that doesn’t allow them to process this food additive well. You may want to look into getting tested for this, or you can simply avoid foods with synthetic folic acid. Other ingredients in food may also contribute to mental health symptoms like: casein (dairy) or gluten (wheat). The pesticides that are sprayed on fruits and vegetables may also be problematic for your body. Some diets that have been successful for people with mood disorders include: the paleo diet, The GAPS diet, clean eating, and Gerson therapy. It may also be helpful to get tested for food allergies so you can avoid foods that cause inflammation. Everyone is different, so getting to know what works for your body is crucial.
  3. Toxins William Walsh of the Walsh Institute has a wonderful pie chart that explains the 5 biotypes of depression. In it, he attributes one of the root cause to toxins. In modern society, we are inundated with a variety of toxins everyday, even if we’re practicing a healthy lifestyle. For instance, most of our drinking water had added fluoride, which is a known neurotoxin. Some tap water has high levels of copper, which can also contribute to mental illness symptoms. In addition, the air we breathe, and the chemicals that are in beauty products and deodorants can cause our bodies to become toxic. If you’ve received a vaccine, those contain very high levels of toxins and can cause symptoms. Many people are finding that their bodies have dangerous levels of heavy metals, including mercury and aluminum. Focusing on detoxification methods is an excellent way to start improving overall health and wellness, in addition to mental health.

These three areas are great places to start your research and begin to take your mental health into your own hands, but there are many more as well! Part of healing is the beautiful journey of really getting to know who you are and to truly love and care for yourself.

Judy Meyer, HHP, NHC is a holistic mental health coach practicing in San Diego, CA. She is the founder of alternativementalhealthrevolution.com. Follow her on Twitter @altmentalhealth or Instagram: Holistic_Depression_Coach.

Medication Contemplation

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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “mental disorder”?

I think for a lot of people it’s sequentially “medication”.

Let’s talk about that.

I haven’t kept it secret that the field I am going into, the field of psychiatry, is very inadequate at keeping track of who they medicate, why they medicate them, and yet is very adequate at hiding research results of medication. I haven’t kept it secret that there are lots of pill pushing physicians and pill pushing pharmaceutical companies. Let’s put it all on the table and be honest about it: medicine is a business. It’s not about you, it’s not about your health, it’s about how much money they can make off your health.

That doesn’t make medication any less important. That doesn’t make your health any less important. And although I stopped medication years ago, it doesn’t defeat the fact that I realize how much harder I’m making it on myself.

So every once in a while the thought slips into my mind: see a psychiatrist. Talk to them. See what they recommend. You have the smarts to tell them they’re being ignorant if you feel they’re being ignorant.

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Then I think about everyone who has had the displeasure of being stuck in “the cycle”. We all know what the cycle is:

  1. Try medication.
  2. Hate side effects.
  3. Try different medication
  4. Doesn’t work.
  5. Try different medication.
  6. Hate side effects
  7. Doctor gives another medication to combat first medication side effects.
  8. New side effects. New Health problem
  9. Two new medications.
  10. Cocktail of pills at the end of the day.

“The Cycle”.

Then there are people who get stuck in the “secondary cycle”:

  1. Find good medication
  2. Develop tolerance
  3. Up dosage
  4.  Doesn’t work
  5. Coming down off medication is too hard
  6. Stays on medication.

There are about fifty other common cycles we could discuss here.

It’s hard for me to sacrifice my personal beliefs. I am not one to readily put a man-made product in my body. It doesn’t react well with me, it feels wrong, it’s foreign, it’s a form of control. . .

And yet, here I am contemplating it once more.

I think this is common for many of us who struggle. We teeter between a variable amount of medicinal release and a variable amount of “I can handle this”. The result:

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But then I think of the cycle I currently live in.

  1. A few good days.
  2. Heavy anxiety
  3. Paranoia
  4. Depression
  5. Mood swings
  6. insomnia
  7. Suicidal ideation
  8. self harm
  9. depression
  10. A few good days.

“The other Cycle”.

This alter of mine ( I like to consider it as such) is, simply put, a beast. Teflon strong. Impenetrable.

Were I to live a life inside of my room six days out of the week with no threat of ever having to drift from routine, with no threat of ever having to learn new skills or meet new people, I could manage these things. But that’s not a life I want myself to live, that’s a life my alter prefer I live.

I feel this is something that is often common with some people who struggle. It’s easier not to tempt our comfort zone with abandonment. It’s easier to be in our heads and know where we stand. It’s easier to watch the world carry on than to even think of interacting with it on an on-going basis.

pharmacy_software_trainingTomorrow I start the week long training course for the counseling position I work. They do it every year and you need to attend at least 4.5 days out of the 5. Each day is 7.5 hours and although I know I am surrounded with people like me, I know my trust issues will get in the way of me connecting with them the way they will try and connect with me. I don’t believe their eyes, their expressions, their words, their body language, none of it. It’s as if they’re impostors, mimicking human beings in an effort to mock me.

Today I became much more aware of my hoarding issues. I’m one to buy things online that I only use a few times, then set it off to collect dust. I keep old papers from years before, and the majority of the time my floor, my desk, my dresser, and bed-side furniture are overflowing with things to the point where you can barely see floor or desk top. And when it comes to “clean”, as I’ve had to do partially today because an electrician is coming tomorrow and the spark plug box is in my closet, I shut down.

Every step someone makes near or in my room, I snap at them. Every paper touched, even torn ones, I have to read and touch to make sure I don’t want to keep it. I hold onto the majority of things, but I have the ability to  toss some things if they are absolutely useless. I’ve been worse.

And when I finally see things starting to clear up, I panic. My sensitivities skyrocket, just the simple sound of paper crumpling or the movement of someone’s arm passing by me to pick up something sends me into a rage. I just want everything and everyone to stand still, shut up, and let me think in silence.

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The whole process has exhausted me even more. And as usual, I don’t have anyone willing to talk to me about it, nor do I feel like bothering anyone at 11:30 at night.

So I think about medication. I think about how it would dull some of the anxiety and paranoia, how it would blunt some of the moods as well. I think about how it might help me think clearer, get rid of some of the miscellaneous thoughts clouding up my vision and preventing me from smoothly writing this post right now. It might even ward off some of the depression.

There is a possibility I could live easier than I am.

I enjoy who I am. I love my personality, I love the quirks of my day. I love seeing the world in a different light and honestly I love being suspicious of every one and everything. Why would I want that defense dulled? I love living in fantasy. I love having overloads of ideas and shocking people.

But it all comes with a price.

I don’t remember a moment from the time I was aware of myself consciously where I wasn’t living in a fantasy world, where I wasn’t in my own head,  where I wasn’t anxious about every living and non-living thing. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to not have that.

normalAnd I think that’s what attracts many of us to medication when we first hear about it: the prospects of living as close to a societal “normal” as possible. Because the concept of normal is quite attractive.  The concept of relief is quite attractive. The concept of not being lost within your struggles or your disorders is quite attractive.

I don’t know what I will do. A psychiatrist is appealing, but expensive.

I will not go to another physician for my mental health, for Gods sake that’s a nightmare and pointless.

Perhaps I will just go in for a consultation. Perhaps I will talk about my options and ask the right questions. Perhaps I will make them tell me what they don’t tell the average person because the average person doesn’t ask.

It doesn’t hurt to try yet again, does it?