Tag Archive: Mental Health


Chronic Pain: End of My Rope

I try so hard to be positive but there are times when I just can’t manage it. In fact, I think often times it is just a cover: I plaster a smile on my face and pretend that I am really doing better than I am. But today the floodgates have opened and I am crying. My fibromyalgia pain is through the roof and there is no point in pretending I am okay, because I am not. I just am not. I am pretty much non-functional and I have been that way for a while. Pain and unrelenting mind-boggling fatigue. I never even knew it was possible to feel this much fatigue. Imagine not sleeping for a year, that is how bad it feels. My pain is from the top of my head to my very toes. Aching, sharp pains and muscle spasms.

Imagine trying to type a simple post like this. It takes forever. My brain is in a fog all the time, I can’t remember how to spell, forget grammar as well. My hand co-ordination is horrible. My eye-sight is fuzzy even with new glasses and magnifying the page. It is the way you see when you have not slept..

Imagine being home bound because you can’t drive anymore without having accidents. I use the dial-a-ride service for the disabled. But when I go out I can’t enjoy myself. A simple shopping trip is torture. I use a cane because my balance is off. I once broke my knee in a fall. My muscles feel incredibly weak and heavy. I go to Walmart and first I go to the in-store McDonalds and treat myself. Then I slowly make my way around the store. I have to take breaks and sit down. It is especially trying if I need to get stuff from both sides of the store.

I used to enjoy browsing, now I can’t do it. I need new clothes and the thought of having to look and try them on is overwhelming.

It may take several days to recover from my shopping. The pain and fatigue is always worse afterwards.

All I can say is if you have good health, treasure it! I am 50 years old going on 90.

Needless to say this is not conducive to good mental health. For a long time before I got sick and when I was working at the mental health social center I thought I would never be depressed again. Never say never I guess.

Conventional medicine has no answers for this except medication. I am already on a ton of medication for bipolar disorder. Some of the medications I take actually are used to treat fibromyalgia as well as they are supposed to reduce nerve pain. But they don’t work for me.

Another option is addictive pain killers. No thanks, I already got in trouble with sleeping pills and tranquilizers years back. Besides one of the insidious affects of pain pills is that your body can get used to them and they are not as effective. So the dose has to be raised. This leads to addiction but that is not all. I have read comments on online forums from people with fibromyalgia where they say that they keep having to be put on harder and harder drugs to get relief, but there obviously is a limit to how big a dose you can get without killing yourself. What ends up happening is that they run out of options, even the strongest ones don’t work anymore.

Now I will say that everyone reacts to medications differently so not everyone has this problem. But the operative word here is “tolerance” People who get addicted to medications when their bodies process medications differently than other people. I have already had that experience with tranquilizers and sleeping pills where the effects wore off and the doctor just kept raising the dosage. After a while I was in a constant state of withdrawal and started to abuse them both.

By the way a good doctor will monitor a patient for signs of tolerance. Mine didn’t. I just thought my symptoms were getting worse. I had never done drugs in my life and so it never occurred to me that I could become an addict.

So…what are my options? I can’t go on this way, that is for sure. Truth be told, many times I do not want to live anymore. But I am not going to take that road again. I have hurt people before with my suicide attempts and I am not going to do that again. But there are times when I pray for God to take me. Since I am still here I guess I know what the answer is.

I am going to do some research online on using meditation for pain management. I have not thought too much about it because frankly, it is pretty difficult to meditate when you are in pain. But since I keep seeing headlines that say that meditation helps then maybe I should look more closely. Maybe it is a different method than what I have tried before.

I just want to get functional again and maybe even have a little joy in my life. I may never get the life back that I used to have, but I just need to stop this black hole that is eating me alive.

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A new theory for why Buddhist meditation makes us feel good

Meditation

Booze. Cigarettes. Gambling. The human brain is vulnerable to all sorts of addictions. And thinking might be one of them. That’s right – in many Buddhist texts, the endless stream of rumination that runs through the mind of the average person isn’t merely a distracting habit, but a genuine addiction that befuddles the intellect and inhibits spiritual development. In a new article, a leading neuropsychologist makes the same claim – that we’re all addicted to daydreaming, and that the neurology of our addictions is the same as that of addiction to drugs. What’s more, certain forms of Buddhist meditation may release the brain’s chemical hold on itself, releasing us from our addictive daydreams.

The article, published this fall in Religion, Brain & Behavior, outlines a novel model for how meditation works. As such, it doesn’t present any new empirical research, and only reviews prior studies. But its author, Bowling Green State University psychologist Patricia Sharp, is deeply read in the neurophysiology of reward, addiction, and meditation, and her synthesis of material across related disciplines is both rich and compelling.

Sharp’s argument hinges on the claim that, as Buddhist scriptures teach, life’s rewards tend to lose their sweetness over time. For example, people who get rich tend to enjoy a quick spike in happiness – but that spike doesn’t last very long. Pretty soon, their happiness levels tend to return back to where they were. Their new riches don’t make them any happier than they were before. Thus, the pleasures of the world are inherently, well…disappointing.

What’s innovative is Sharp’s claim that thought itself – particularly the ruminative, daydreaming style of thought that consumes nearly half our waking hours – fits this same pattern. Each individual daydream might offer a little internal reward, such as when we fantasize about accepting a trophy or scoring a date with the office bombshell. But over time, the constant barrage of imagined experiences begins to lose its luster, to become unrewarding – and maybe even to inhibit our ability to feel pleasure in general.

Sharp doesn’t mention the First Noble Truth of Buddhism in her paper, but she’s referring to something pretty close to what it calls dukkha, or suffering – the fundamental unsatisfactoriness of life. Dukkha means that all the things we crave and become attached to can’t actually deliver on their glorious promises. Whether it’s rich food, sex, alcohol, wealth, or mere fantasies, the objects of our cravings always leave us feeling dissatisfied after we attain them.

Offering a neurobiological description of this basic unsatisfactoriness, Sharp points out that the nucleus accumbens – a part of the brain that plays a central role in reward and motivation – receives dopamine inputs from other regions such as the ventral tegmental area and the medial substantia nigra. Together, these regions form a circuit that enables reward-based learning, or conditioned responses. Think Pavlov: train a dog to understand that the sound of a bell is always followed by dinner, and pretty soon the dog learns to salivate when he hears the ringing. Inside his brain, dopamine projections into the nucleus accumbens (yes, dogs have them too) have learned to fire in in response to the predicted reward. The dog literally gets a little burst of happy chemicals when he hears the bell, because the conditioned responses have worn grooves into his reward circuitry.

The problem? “Overlearning.” If you fire the same circuits often enough, their reward value starts to decline. The job of the nucleus accumbens, in this model, is to reinforce adaptive associations between stimuli and behavior. Dopamine in the nucleus accumbens may serve as a “biochemical stamp” that marks connections between stimuli and behavioral responses. Once the right pattern has been established, the brain doesn’t necessarily need that dopamine signal anymore – the pathway is already there. So the reward signals fade away, suppressed by inhibitor cells that project from the nucleus accumbens back into the midbrain, where they down-regulate dopamine release. The reward pathway is still there, entrenched in the brain through a network of strong, habit-worn connections. But the reward itself – dopamine – is gone. This process may explain the “hedonic treadmill” effect so unpleasantly familiar to us all, in which initially pleasurable or exciting stimuli lose their appeal over time.

One particularly nasty result of this hedonic treadmill effect can be compulsive, addictive behavior. Think about a rat obsessively pulling a lever to deliver cocaine – or a glassy-eyed casino-goer stuffing quarters into a slot machine. These compulsive behaviors arise from long-established reward pathways, now devoid of dopamine but still connective and active. Sharp argues that both chemical addiction and simple habituation to everyday rewards result from this gradual down-regulation of dopamine projections to the nucleus accumbens.

What’s more, our habitual fantasies and daydreams may follow the same pattern. Each time our minds wander, we start to fantasize, plan, and construct imaginative scenarios. Many of these imaginative scenarios come with their own little pulses of reward, as the hippocampus and other limbic regions carry excitable signals into the accumbens. Over time, our brains crystallize patterns of thought that repeat the same types of thoughts and daydreams over and over. Initially, these crystallizations were motivated by dopamine flushes in the reward system. But eventually, the dopamine rewards taper off – even though the thought patterns are still there. We’re left with a compulsive, clinging re-running of the same old thoughts, a repeating of the same mental scenarios obsessively. Worse, the holistic effect may be a general drop-off in happiness, because we’re indulging in lots of mental activity that offers no rewards. Our daydreams may be literally inhibiting pleasure. In Sharp’s words,

our constant engagement in compulsive, repetitive thought patterns tends to cause an ongoing, powerfully conditioned decrease in dopamine release, so that dopamine is chronically below what would be expected in the absence of these ongoing mental patterns.

The solution? Meditation! In particular, Buddhist samatha, or shamatta, meditation entails intense mental absorption and the cessation of thoughts. Sharp suggests that such meditative states, while difficult to achieve, may serve to break up established patterns of connectivity within the brain. These patterns, or “attractor networks,” are sort of like long-established wrinkles in your favorite shirt. You might put the shirt through the wash, but if you leave the shirt draped carelessly over a chair…well, the same crease shows back up again. Likewise, our habitual patterns of neural connectivity – in which the same clusters of neurons are activated synchronously – are always waiting to reappear.

In contrast, previous research has shown that intense meditative states synchronize activity across networks in the brain. These whole-brain patterns of synchronization are structurally similar to certain epileptic seizure states, in which normal, localized patterns of connectivity are suppressed and global synchrony takes over instead. These epileptic states, Sharp suggests, flood the brain with acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that can boost signal connections between cells from widely separated regions in the brain. In an acetylcholine-soaked brain, established knots of habit-bound connectivity may be temporarily relaxed, replaced with more general, dynamic connectivity across the entire cortex.

The overall effect of samatha meditation, then, may be what Sharp calls a “general loosening of the existent attractor networks in the brain.” Importantly, this loosening may be exactly what we need in order to experience bliss. Attractor networks in the brain are tight knots of connections. When the nucleus accumbens is activated by a long-established circuit, it sends signals back to the midbrain to inhibit dopamine production. Thus, when long-established knots of connection are suppressed, these inhibitory signals go silent. The dopamine can start pumping again. And we start to feel good. This, Sharp suggests, is how meditation works its magic: by releasing our brains’ constrictive holds on our reward systems, and allowing the normal flow of dopamine to start up once more.

Sharp’s model is speculative and theoretical. It appears in print alongside with a half-dozen response commentaries from experts, many of which are critical. It doesn’t offer any new empirical data. But it’s fascinating. And it suggests exciting new possibilities for research, and for thinking about how the brain works. Nowhere else has the time-honored Buddhist claim that our daily obsessive thoughts and mind-wandering are actual addictions been so forcefully presented in modern biological terms. Sometimes, speculative science is the most interesting – and the most groundbreaking.

Now for a confession: recently, I’ve nursed curmudgeonly concerns about our growing American enthusiasm for Buddhism and “mindfulness” training. I’m nervous that claiming Buddhist identity has become a marker of upper-middle class bourgeois sensibility, set against the hopelessly uncool Christianity or Judaism of the establishment. (Bizarrely, the bourgeoisie in the United States suffers from the chronic, and dangerous, delusion that it is somehow not the establishment – as evidenced by how canny companies sell their goods by showing off how countercultural and rebellious they are.) And I’m wary of the assumption that all mind-wandering is necessarily bad. We don’t all need to be “mindful” all the time. In fact, as recent research has shown, lack of daydreaming can even hurt us.

So Buddhism may be a little trendy these days, and our conversations about mindfulness could use more depth. But just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it’s bad. Buddhism has produced some of the most powerful psychology the world has ever seen, and its practices and insights are, frankly, invaluable. Sharp’s fascinating model gives us another useful insight into why.

 
Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/scienceonreligion/2014/12/a-new-theory-for-why-buddhist-meditation-makes-us-feel-good/#ixzz3LF18zTu4

I found this great article by Christian author Rev. Dr. Sarah Griffith

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink Mental Illness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lund addressing common very bad and hurtful advice given to Christians who suffer from mental illness.  This is not to bash Christians, who are generally well-meaning in their advice. But their arguments come from ignorance and this article refutes them very well. It also gives great spiritual resources at the end of the article:

Reblogged from the Patheos Progressive Christian Blog Post Traumatic Church Syndrome:

5 Lies Christians Tell About Mental Illness

In honor of National Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 5-11), I invited minister and social worker Rev. Dr. Sarah Griffith Lund to write this post about some of harmful lies told in Christian communities about mental illness and faith. She is the author of Blessed are the Crazy: breaking the silence about mental illness, family & church (Chalice Press), which is both a memoir of her own family’s struggle with mental illness and a resource for faith-based organizations to provide healing and comfort for those who suffer.  

Lie #1: God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.

This statement echoes across the Christian landscape. Intended to comfort the afflicted, it actually lays an ugly guilt trip on the person suffering. To say that mental illness is something that “God gave you” implies that God wants you to suffer. “Mental illness is part of God’s will, and you are supposed to be strong enough to handle it.” FALSE!

Lie #2: Daily prayer and bible reading alone cures mental illness.

According to a recent LifeWay poll, nearly half of Evangelical Christians between the ages of 18-30 believe that prayer and bible study alone can cure mental illness. This belief is in direct opposition to medical research that confirms that many types of mental illness are best treated by a combination of cognitive, behavioral and pharmaceutical treatment plans supervised by mental health professionals. To say that mental illness can be cured by spiritual practices alone discourages Christians from getting the mental healthcare they need to treat and recover from mental illness.“God cannot use scientific advances to heal the human body.” FALSE!

Lie #3: Depression is a sin, a curse, or demon possession.

It’s true that we do not yet fully understand all of the environmental and biological causes of mental illness. Yet to state that mental illness is only caused by things in the “spiritual realm” denies what we know to be true: mental illness is a brain disease. While there are certainly spiritual aspects to both the cause and the treatment of mental illness, mental illness is not simply a spiritual disease, curse or demon possession. To talk of a person’s mental illness as a result of a sin, curse, or demon possession is to further stigmatize, shame, and isolate the person. “Mental illness is the result of a sin, curse or demon possession.” FALSE!

Lie #4:If you loved Jesus more you would be happier. 

This is a Christian twist on the “just try harder” lecture. If only you just loved Jesus more. If only you just believed more. If only you just let Jesus all the way into your heart, then you would be happier. This belief denies the reality of clinical depression that is not a matter of simply trying harder. Jesus loves all people, including people who have mental illness. Loving Jesus more is something we strive for as Christians, but not because it will make us happier. “Mental illness is a result of not loving Jesus enough.” FALSE!

Lie #5: You can’t be a Christian if you have a mental illness.

This is an old one, something that saints in the church have struggled with for centuries. We think that perhaps we are not deserving of God’s love because we have a mental illness. We do not know how God could accept us or love us because we are not perfect. So we think that a person with mental illness cannot be a Christian, cannot be a leader in the church, cannot be an ordained minister. Ministers, especially, are not supposed to have mental illness. But the truth is that Christians are humans, just as sick, broken, and in need of healing and wholeness as everyone else. As a person with mental illness, being a Christian can be a way to find compassion, support and love from a community of faith.“True Christians are immune from mental illness.” FALSE!

Sarah’s recommendations for healthy, faith-based mental health resources are as follows:

NAMI Faithnet: www.nami.org/FaithNet

Pathways to Promise: www.pathways2promise.org

Mental Health Ministries: www.mentalhealthministries.net

Interfaith Network on Mental Illness: www.inmi.us

United Church of Christ Mental Health Network: www.mhn-ucc.blogspot.com

 Follow Reba Riley on Facebook and Twitter

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rebariley/2014/10/5-lies-christians-tell-about-mental-illness/#ixzz3FySQchp9

 

Reblogged from Science Daily:

 

Spirituality, religion may protect against major depression by thickening brain cortex

Date:
January 16, 2014
Source:
Columbia University, Teachers College

A thickening of the brain cortex associated with regular meditation or other spiritual or religious practice could be the reason those activities guard against depression — particularly in people who are predisposed to the disease, according to new research led by Lisa Miller, professor and director of Clinical Psychology and director of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University.

The study, published online by JAMA Psychiatry, involved 103 adults at either high or low risk of depression, based on family history. The subjects were asked how highly they valued religion or spirituality. Brain MRIs showed thicker cortices in subjects who placed a high importance on religion or spirituality than those who did not. The relatively thicker cortex was found in precisely the same regions of the brain that had otherwise shown thinning in people at high risk for depression.

Although more research is necessary, the results suggest that spirituality or religion may protect against major depression by thickening the brain cortex and counteracting the cortical thinning that would normally occur with major depression. The study, published on Dec. 25, 2013, is the first published investigation on the neuro-correlates of the protective effect of spirituality and religion against depression.

“The new study links this extremely large protective benefit of spirituality or religion to previous studies which identified large expanses of cortical thinning in specific regions of the brain in adult offspring of families at high risk for major depression,” Miller said.

Previous studies by Miller and the team published in the American Journal of Psychiatry (2012) showed a 90 percent decrease in major depression in adults who said they highly valued spirituality or religiosity and whose parents suffered from the disease. While regular attendance at church was not necessary, a strong personal importance placed on spirituality or religion was most protective against major depression in people who were at high familial risk

See original article here.

I am at a point in my life where there are some things I can’t tolerate anymore, especially while dealing with the stress of having both physical and mental problems. As much as I know spiritually that everyone has good within them there are those that simply can’t be trusted. In many ways I am naïve in that I think certain people will change if I just give them the chance or if I conform to what they want from me. The way I am with people is that I bounce between being totally wide open to being totally shut down. Neither side is healthy but I think a good start for me to fix this problem is to figure out what kinds of behaviors are warning signs that I need to pay attention to.

That brings me back to my family problems but instead of talking about my sister and my problems with her as I have done a lot, I will focus on my brother-in-law. In fact I am beginning to understand that some of my sister’s antagonism towards me stems from his behavior and the fact that he is a master manipulator and a liar.

I do realize that there is no point in trying to change him but I am using him as an example of what I need to watch out for. Perhaps this is karma, except that as I frame it (in my better moods) it has less to do with punishment and more to do with second chances. The Universe keeps sending me messages that I cannot afford to ignore.

I will start with an example of how he has set me up to fail.

When we as a family went out for dinner my brother-in-law would pay for everyone. I would have my debit card out to pay and he would tell me to not worry about it since he would get it. I asked him “Are you sure?” He always said yes and I thanked him. It was a break for me as I am on disability.

Later on when my sister and I had a falling-out he sent me a very nasty e-mail and made the charge “Every time I see you, you pick my pocket!” What the hell???

I mentioned this bizarre charge to my father and he clarified what was going on. My father asked my brother-in-law to put my meals on his credit card without my knowledge.. The reason why is simple, my father pays off his credit card and in fact all his bills since he does not have a job. My father was the one who was paying for my meal, not my brother-in-law. He just found it convenient to do it this way.

Now I have tried to blow this off as a simple misunderstanding, but I am wondering if it is more than that. Because how could he possibly think that I put my father up to this when I had my debit card out to pay? And surely he is intelligent enough to figure out the reason why my father asked him to do this. How could I be “picking his pocket” when it was not his money in the first place???

If he had a problem with what my dad asked him to do then he should have addressed it with him. But now I have the reputation with him and my sister of being “a thief.”

Later on my sister told me that he sometimes puts the meals on his business account, which is still funded by my father because it is not successful. In fact the reason why my father is paying their bills is because he refuses to get an outside job as my father has repeatedly told him to do.

How the hell does he expect me or my father to know that he is doing that, especially when it is only “sometimes”?

The irony here is that in actuality he is picking my father’s pocket and mine indirectly because it would be nice if I had an inheritance., especially since I am disabled. But even more important is that my father needs the money for himself. He is 86 years old and retired. He worked hard to save his money, but my brother=in-law has not made a serious attempt to get a job in three years, since he lost his last job.

Because of stuff like this it is becoming more and more clear to me that with all this going on that having a relationship with them at this point would be an exercise in futility. I do realize that I have made mistakes in our relationship but in some cases it is obvious that I am being set up. And my brother-in-law lies about me all the time to make me look bad. He has done it with my father, who doesn’t buy it for a second but he has told me about it. I am sure he is doing the same with my sister.

I once had a dream where I was so mad at my sister I was literally at her throat in anger and then the scene changed to my brother-in-law flying a model airplane with a smirk on his face. While I am not an expert in dream interpretation I wonder if this was a warning about him playing games behind the scenes to intensify the problems with my sister. Flying a model airplane could symbolize manipulation.

This is just one example of many of where I simply cannot trust him and by extension my sister as well. It is a hard lesson for me to realize that not all people I encounter have good intentions. On the surface he is a very nice and pleasant person. And he has done some good things as well for me. But that does not mean that I can trust him. Sad but true.

 

 

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Originally posted to Comics on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 02:50 PM PDT.
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Magical Merry Go Round

Magical Merry Go Round (Photo credit: Floyd’s Noise)

There are times in a family relationship when it can’t be maintained anymore. But I feel that it is still my fault, because to be honest, part of it is. But apologies mean nothing unless I totally capitulate to her point of view, that basically I am a horrible person and therefore my position on anything is totally invalid. Because, you know, that “bipolar thing.”

She refuses to acknowledge that I have genuine concerns in this “relationship” Quotes because it really fell apart years ago. There is no relationship, unless it is totally on her terms.

I started the argument. So lots of guilt right there. But after a reluctant look at myself I realized that I was wrong and apologized. But not until after I got blindsided with a whole bunch of rules I should follow, based on grievances that I had no way of knowing about others that I thought had been resolved.

Like the fact that she openly agreed to an arrangement we had and every single time I asked her about it she assured me that she was fine with it. But she wasn’t and so she has a lot of anger about it and so one of her “rules” was that I should not expect that from her and that I apparently should have known that. What is wrong with her just saying “No” in the first place? I would have been fine with that. This has been an ongoing pattern in our relationship, but she will not take responsibility for it. I actually feel completely set-up by her. I go along thinking everything is fine until I get dumped on. And she completely mangled my motives for having this arrangement. I have gotten dumped on by both her and her husband for many years about how selfish and thoughtless I am (which it true that I can be that way, but not most of the time as they claim) but here I bend over backwards to make sure that everything is okay by asking her repeatedly if it was. I did not pressure her in any way.

Then I got a lot of verbal vomit about a situation that I thought we had resolved. She even accused me of things that I had not done. A while back she threw me out of her house over a minor misunderstanding. When I saw she was upset I kept calm and asked her what the problem was. I asked repeatedly but she thought I knew so she did not answer. She just threw me out with no explanation.

Now her version of this is that I yelled at her and that is why she threw me out. So therefore one of her “rules” is that she has the right to throw me out if I yell at her, Well I would agree that she has that right, but I resent the accusation because I took great pains not to yell at her. In fact I was completely and totally stunned.

After months of not talking she reached out to me and she even seemed to reluctantly acknowledge my point of view that the problem had been miscommunication on both our parts. Which is something I told her at the time.

Doesn’t that sound like an apology of sorts?

But now it appears that she still thinks it is my fault and it is not just about my supposed yelling incident but about everything.

I sent an e-mail to her saying that I am willing to abide by rules but that I did not appreciate the nastiness. Then I had a few rules of my own. That went over like a lead balloon!

You see she wants a relationship with me only on her terms. In fact she gave me a condescending figurative “pat on the head” by saying I sounded too upset, implying of course that my feelings were not worth listening to because “obviously” it has to do with my having bipolar disorder. So essentially only she has the right to be angry and make ridiculous accusations, but I am not allowed to respond. Ever.

She has taken a page from our upbringing. The only people who were allowed to have feelings were mom and dad. Actually my father was not hands-on so it was mostly my mother. I can only think of a few times where I expressed a feeling, only to be shot down. I went numb inside. At least until I had a nervous breakdown at sixteen.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to that numb state. But I digress.

My mother would often take a minor incident (such as my talking at the wrong time) and turn it into an “attack” on her. She would cry and ask me why I wanted to hurt her. At the time she started doing that I was so young that I actually thought I had wanted to hurt her somehow, even if I didn’t feel it. Because mommy was “always right.” Then one day it dawned on me that I did not have that motive so while I was grounded in my room after the lecture I started crying hysterically. My mother came to check on me and while crying I told her that I did not want to hurt her. She simply said that I was feeling sorry for myself and left.

Now I have forgiven her, but I am simply looking at the dynamics of what went on between us. And to be honest, I have treated people the same way in my illness. I am actually glad that I never had children, because I think I would have been a horrible mother.

So how much am I at fault for what happened between my sister and I? I did start the original argument but I did apologize. But it isn’t just me that is the problem and she refuses to take any responsibility for her actions.

Supposedly she is the “normal” person in the family. but she definitely has issues. Big issues. She is a very angry person, but in her mind I am the only one with an anger problem.

We exchanged a few e-mails but the last time she said she was cutting off contact. I told her that when she was ready to be honest with herself and take responsibility for her actions then I would be here. I don’t know if she read it but if she did I doubt that went over well either. But I am tired of this and I don’t really care anymore.

I have a choice. I can blame myself for the whole thing (which I have certainly done in the past) and become depressed and destructive to myself. I can blame her for everything wrong in our relationship (which I have done also). Or I can simply let her go like I have done in the past. She simply can’t be what I want her to be. Ever.

I could apologize until the cows come home and not only would that not work, but I would be giving away my power. She wants to be in complete control of the relationship. I don’t consider one person being in control as even fitting the definition of a “relationship”

I am exhausted from this and I simply can’t do this anymore.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I have decided to do a series on resources that are available for those who are (sadly) having suicidal thoughts. One thing I always do when I am feeling that way is to remind myself that I have a sick brain that lies to me. Then I count in my mind all the people who would be negatively affected by my killing myself. I even count my cat!  Caring for a pet has many mental health benefits. I do not want my cat to go to the pound where she might be put down.

I also tell myself that if I am still around then there must be a reason. I still have something to learn in this life, even of it is not apparent to me at the time.

And lastly therapy and support groups help me to put things in perspective and give me hope.

 

Anyway here is a good article I found listing tons of resources to help those who feel suicidal and those around them. Around 35,000 Americans die from suicide and one million attempt suicide in the U.S. every year. If you feel suicidal please get help!

English: Chart showing he circumstances for su...

English: Chart showing he circumstances for suicide in 16 states in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Suicide And The Cost Of Life

 

Suicide is a major public health concern. It affects young and old around the world without regard for gender, ethnicity, education, or income. Individuals who are suicidal can feel lost, confused, hopeless, alone, and unworthy. Issues like a sudden breakup, chronic illness, an untreated mental health condition, and being unable to find work, can lead individuals to believing that taking their own life is the only solution for stopping their pain. Suicide, however, can be prevented. Everyone can learn to be an advocate to support themselves, a friend, family member, neighbor, or work associate to get the help they need by turning to suicide prevention resources.

 

Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

 

The Alliance works to carry out the goals of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, a United States structured effort to halt suicide rates. Objectives of the plan include providing access to treatment and getting concerned citizens, businesses, researchers, and other sectors involved in the support process.

 

American Association of Suicidology

 

Suicide prevention professionals and volunteers will find training and accreditation programs, statistics, and current research useful for treating and prevention of suicides.

 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

 

AFSP believes that the key to preventing suicide is encouraging openness in discussions and increasing research projects about and public education initiatives directed towards those in crisis.

 

Coping with Suicidal Thoughts (PDF)

 

Stay safe when dealing with thoughts of doing self-harm by developing a safety plan.

 

Department of Defense – Suicide Prevention & Awareness

 

Articles, videos, crisis line information and other prevention resources designed for all current or past service members.

 

Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance

 

Use this guide for basic suggestions useful to those dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.

 

Helping a Friend Scenario

 

Confused about what to say or do when someone you know appears to be suicidal? This mock conversation provides a look at what you can say and do to support.

 

How Senior Living Staff can Promote Emotional Health & Prevention of Suicides

 

This free toolkit is instantly available by download and address concerns of suicide among seniors.

 

How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal

 

Those who are concerned about the emotional state of a family member, friend, or associate will find the suicide prevention tips, warning signs, and do’s and don’ts discussed in this article make talking about suicide a little less intimidating.

 

Invitations for Help (PDF)

 

Social prejudices that teach that suicidal individuals are being weak or selfish can stop those who need support from seeking it out. Communication, behaviors, and situations discussed here can identify those in danger of committing suicide and inform of ways to get help.

 

Jed Foundation

 

The Jed Foundation focuses on empowering college students to overcome suicidal thoughts.

 

Means Matter Campaign

 

This campaign addresses the methods used in suicide attempts and counsels on reducing access to highly lethal methods.

 

National Center for Injury Prevention & Control – Suicide Prevention

 

These data, reports, studies, and publications are useful in addressing and preventing suicides among youths and adults.

 

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – Suicide Prevention

 

The NIMH offers access to publications about suicide prevention, statistics, and treatment information.

 

National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide (NOPCAS)

 

NOPCAS works to ensure that minorities are not ignored in suicide prevention interventions and strategies.

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

 

Lifeline delivers confidential suicide intervention nationwide to anyone experiencing a crisis at any time by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

Reach Out

 

Those who are suicidal often feel as if they are alone. These survivor stories written by teens and young adults benefit those who are struggling realize there are others who have dealt with the same experiences.

 

Read This First

 

There is never any shame in asking for help. Individuals thinking about suicide should read these coping strategies.

 

Recommendations for Reporting On Suicide

 

Journalist and others in the media can play a large part in preventing suicides and encouraging those at risk to get help through responsible reporting practices. These recommendations dissect how the media can positively increase awareness of suicide.

 

Samaritans

 

Having a safe and private way to speak to speak to someone who will be supportive and nonjudgmental can help to prevent suicide. The Samaritans offer this needed support by phone, email, text and in branch offices for those in the United Kingdom.

 

Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide

 

Teenagers just like adults can feel so overwhelmed and confused by the struggles of life that they consider suicide as an option. This society focuses on stopping teen suicides with information provided for teenagers, parents, and educators.

 

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)

 

Those having thoughts of doing harm to themselves and those who do not know what steps to take when someone they love appears suicidal can use these resources from SAVE. Suicide facts, warning signs, and myths are addressed.

 

Suicide.org

 

Find Information here on different suicide prevention topics including how to recognize depression in elderly individuals.

 

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

 

Everyone can play a role in aiding someone to not commit suicide. These customized fact sheets give an overview of suicide related situations that those in specific roles might encounter. Guidance on appropriate responses in these situations is also addressed.

 

Take 5 to Save Lives

 

These ideas are created to help prevent a suicide related death in just 5 minutes.

 

The Bright Side

 

Greater understanding of suicide leads to earlier recognition of symptoms and timely intervention to save lives. 10 reasons not to commit suicide are also featured.

 

The Jason Foundation, Inc.

 

The Jason Foundation offers public workshops, training for professionals who work with youths, and information for parents to protect children.

 

The Trevor Project

 

Suicide and crisis intervention directed at youths and those who interact with youths dealing with issues related to sexual orientation. The Trevor Lifeline can also be reached at 866-488-7386 for immediate aid.

 

Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program

 

Reviewing the warning signs and risk factors associated with suicide can be helpful if determining if a teen you care about needs to get help.

 

Youth Suicide Prevention Program

 

Videos, posters, and other resources here expose the truth about youth suicides. Awareness of the warning signs discussed here and frequently asked questions relevant to kids, teenagers, and parents can aid in preventing tragedy.

 

From http://www.autoinsurancecenter.com

 

 

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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This is alert from SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

More than half of all adults with serious thoughts of suicide do not receive mental health services

Slightly more than half (51.8 percent) of the 8.6 million American adults who had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year did not receive mental health services according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

SAMHSA’s report shows that among those who had serious thoughts of suicide and did not receive treatment, nearly three out of four did not perceive the need for treatment.

Each year more than 35,000 reported deaths are attributed to suicide and studies have indicated that those who have serious thoughts of suicide are at increased risk of suicide attempts and eventual death by suicide.

“Suicide is among one of our nation’s most preventable causes of death and it devastates the lives of countless families and friends left behind,” said Paolo del Vecchio, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. “The earlier we can reach out to people in crisis with needed mental health services, the more lives we can save, and the more people we can help return to happy, productive lives.”

The SAMHSA-sponsored toll free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline –1-800-273-TALK (8255)– provides 24/7, year round immediate confidential counseling for people in crisis or for people who are concerned that someone they know may be in crisis. The Lifeline can also be accessed online at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

The report, Half of Adults with Serious Thoughts of Suicide Do Not Receive Mental Health Services, is available at:

http://www.samhsa.gov/data/spotlight/spot136-suicide-services-2014.pdf

It is drawn from data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey of 67,000 Americans from across the country.

Additional info on SAMHSA’s suicide prevention programs and other resources is available at http://www.samhsa.gov/prevention/suicide.aspx.
For further information SAMHSA programs please go to: http://www.samhsa.gov/
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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

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Johnathan Harris Fine Art Blog: March 2011

jhfineartblog.blogspot.com

… landscape painting of saguaro cactus and wildflowers in the evening hours before dusk. South of Phoenix, north of Tucson, Arizona. Hope you like it.

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